Saturday, August 29, 2009

Some great aviation pictures

The Big Picture at has published an article with 40 great photographs of aircraft and aviation. Here are a couple of them (in reduced size) to whet your appetite.

The new 90 foot high tech catamaran belonging to America's Cup defender Alinghi
is airlifted on August 7, 2009 near Aosta, Italy,
flying from Switzerland over the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea.

Eurocopter EC120 Colibri helicopters from the Spanish Air Force's aerobatic team Patrulla Aspa
perform during an aerial exhibition
over San Lorenzo beach in Gijon, northern Spain July 26, 2009.

The Virgin Galactic WhiteKnight2 mothership "Eve" makes its first public debut at the world's
largest air show at Oshkosh, Wisconsin July 27, 2009. WhiteKnight2 is the largest composite
aircraft ever built and will be the aircraft that ferries the first commercial SpaceShip2 aloft
for passenger flight to space.

There are 37 more photographs at the link, and larger versions of these three. Recommended viewing.

(By the way: can anyone tell me what those strange devices are on the wing of WhiteKnight2 in the last photograph above? I'm referring to the flaps open on the upper central portion of the wing, with red interior showing. They're facing into the airstream, which must cause significant drag, and I can't figure out why they're open or what purpose they're serving. Anyone know?)



Anonymous said...

Strange configuration for those spoilers indeed. I wonder if it has something to do with aeroelastic load management for that center wing?

Can you imagine flying that contraption with two engines out on one side?


Anonymous said...

Compensating for the drag from the missing 'payload' ie WhiteKnight 2 ?

Marco said...

I was at Oshkosh and ws told those flaps are part of the system used to recreate the aerodynamics of the spacecraft for training purposes. That's right, they use this ircraft to train the spacecraft pilot

Thomas A said...

More likely they are training the pilot who will lift the spacecraft to the corrent altitude and speed, then jettison it. The spacecraft will fly completely differently that WK2. Boy, will it ever.

Marco said...

I thought the same thing, but they were adamant that this aircraft can simulate the WK2 and that long with a simulator, are the training vehicles for WK2. The guy said that this aircraft can very closely simulate WK2 ( and yes he used the term "flight profile of a brick" as he was explaining it. Burt Rutan has done some crazy stuff over the years or I would not have believed it either.( They did not really demo that during the demo flight however :-) )

Dirk said...

WK2 is the aircraft pictured. Spaceship2 is the actual spacecraft. No way the WK2 can ever simulate what flying the spaceship would be like.

I can certainly imagine that the flaps being up like that are to simulate flying the WK2 *with* the spaceship attached. In fact, it might actually be *necessary* to deploy those flaps while the spaceship is not there, as the whole WK2 airframe was designed specifically to carry the spaceship, and probably flies badly without the spaceship attached.