Flight and Flying Things

I have wanted to fly for a long time. I remember being sent on a glider ride when I was 12, and just about going nuts. I would have started flying lessons that day if it had been practicable, but the people at the airfield (Morrisville-Stowe State Airport, in Vermont) suggested that 13 would be a better age at which to start, and my parents couldn’t really afford that much in any case.

I actually did learn to fly gliders when I was an employee at Apple Computer, but the field was shut down by its landlord around the time I passed the written test (and ran out of money), and I never did take the flight test.

Sigh.

More recently, I’ve been thinking about starting again, and I may very well do so. In the meanwhile, I have also begun to investigate flying-wing aircraft, and have started to learn to fly radio-controlled planes. My own opinion is that it is harder to fly R/C than “the real thing”.

Speaking of R/C, I am just starting to build a powered model Platz-Gleiter with 36" wingspan, and if that project gets anywhere I will run up a page about it, which I will link to from here. I am also looking into boxwing aircraft, which you can learn something about by reading a paper by Ilan Kroo on the Stanford Aero site; it’s the second listing in 2005, the one about Nonplanar Wing Concepts. You can also see some practical results here. Some of this may work itself out at model scale, but there is a remote chance that I could get into it at full scale as well. This is a page about some very nice designs that Charles Fauvel did, in France. Some of the planes and gliders are still flying, you can still get plans for the AV-36/361 from Chris Falconar, at Falconar Avia, and it seems to me that Fauvel’s designs could easily be modernized to provide even better performance. (The AV-36 is apparently a little better in the air than the Schweizer 1-26, which I’ve actually flown.)



Simulation

As part of the ongoing effort, and at the suggestion of Bill & Bunny Kuhlman, I acquired a copy of X-Plane, which is a very fine flight simulator. I have now bought a force-feedback joystick made by Saitek, and I’m seriously thinking about acquiring a new computer. Argh.

Here is a page I made for Bill Woodrum, who has also been using X-Plane, and is flying the same sailplane sim that I am, a Grob 103 built by Sonny Lacey. It shows two screenshots with the Grob on approach to Lake Tahoe. My computer isn’t powerful enough (and I don’t have enough Video RAM) to display even the older scenery with full resolution, and the newer scenery is noticeably more detailed than what you can see on the page. X-Plane is quite amazing; it can even download and use real-time weather, at least in the US.

More about all of this as it transpires...



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Email: a@b.com, where you can replace the a with my first name (only three letters, please, no “H”) and b with joss.

Phone: +1 301 SAPWOOD (If you don’t have letters on your phone, that’s 7279663.)



Last modified: Fri Dec 9 11:43:39 EST 2005