Re: Pace (pah-chay) (was Re: Zen and the Art of Flying Saucer

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 21:59:59 -0400

Michael M. Butler wrote:
> Michael:
> OK, now I understand where things stand.
> It's always a pleasure to meet another "experienced gambler"
> --unless you both happen to be sitting at the same table. :)
> Maybe my crew chief was embellishing, maybe not--but he was there,
> and the fact that, e.g., supply planes or P3s come in that heavy
> is not at all the same thing as operating squadrons of jets that
> have similar loads. But OK, you may be right--gee, after all
> that development, why wasn't the B variant fielded?

Variants of the F-111 ranged upward to the F variants. The B was the
FB-111B, i.e. the "bomber" version that was typically based exlusively
at Lakenheath over in England, and was used against those baddies, the
Libyans by good old Ron. The C variant was an export version bought by
Australia, the D version I worked on, which had more powerful engines
and shorter wings, and the E and F variants that were used in electronic
warfare missions, and still are today.

I can attest to the ruggedness of the D version. I personally was on the
ramp when one came in with the following story:

They were at around 5,000 feet and flew through a thermal that had a
bunch of eagles in it. They took one down on engine, which promptly
killed that engine, and sent pureed eagle through the compressor outlet
to the environmental system such that it began snowing frozen eagle
blood in the cockpit. Another hit the nose cone head on and shattered
the composite structure, so that it (the nose cone) then hung down
vertically like a flaccid John Holmes as a loose basket of fibers. A
second eagle then hit the nose, which penetrated the avionics bays,
happened to hit the pressure valve for the cockpit capsule dead on and
broke into the cockpit, dying its last gasps on the WSO's (pronounced
wizzo) lap, who was a butter bar leutenant on one of his first flights
in that machine.

WIth all the drag of the limp nose cone, and only one engine running,
the pilot, a Col. vietnam vet, put that last engine of full afterburner
to maintain speed above stall, and limped home over 400 miles.

I was rather impressed to watch the thing land, with its nose dragging
on the airstrip.

> Because it turned out to be a bad idea. There is no intrinsic
> shame in that, but there was pork in the process that led
> to a "large turning radius". That was my intended point.
> I know there are aerospace success stories, and I know how
> they sometimes get scotched, too--see the rise and fall of
> the DC-X, and NASA's lame "oh, gee, don't know where we
> can scrape up money" story. There are none so blind...
> By the way, the real aces up my sleeve were aircraft
> such as Paraplanes *and* the fact that I said
> "'til failure" of either the airframe or the powerplant.
> Run an RPV into the ground and your maintenance hours
> could be _zero_. :)

Hey, thats cheating....

> Darn, there goes my free Zoche. :)
> Anyway: it's down to your believing that we're such a hot
> radio item that our first visitors will (/have) come in the first
> thing they can bolt together that will make the trip. Correct?

Or even if they've been up there a while. Look at how we still haven't
gotten back to the moon, when "logic" says that we should be colonizing
Mars now with more than dead bacteria on our robots. Other civilizations
, odds are, would have just as much chance of backsliding, budget
pinching as we have shown. We've been focusing our energies on
consolidating power on this planet first. The initial moon trip was a
political ploy as a gambit in that contest.

Imagine the on that other planet the length of the lull after the first
interstellar voyage that only finds dead rock in the next solar system
over, and leaves a planetary economy in ruins. How many decades or
centuries do you think it will be before some engineers can con somebody
into paying for another mission to a different star. All of their
"conventional wisdom" will tell them that our radio signals are a
natural phenomenon that they don't understand yet, yak, yak, wha, wha.
"Why should we go to other stars when we can barely support the asteroid
habitats whe have now?" "We need to concentrate on problems with space
travel in our own system." The amount of time it will take to
consolidate power in a space the size of a solar system is a bit of a
chore. In this respect, I would guess that any advanced travelers would
be descended from free enterprisers that wouldn't let a star systems
bureaucracy slow them down.

> Plus you believe that operating hours for space vehicles
> _must_ be roughly equivalent (re: wear) to our experience
> with aircraft operating near our turbulent, corrosive little
> rockball under the political pressures we both acknowledge
> exist here in the good ol' US of A.

High fractional C velocities in our interstellar spaces is turning out
to be a pretty corrosive environment, according to data from Hubble. The
concentration of hydrogen is higher, as is the dust and ice
concentrations, not to mention the effect the radiation levels of such
speeds will have on materials structural abilities.

Given this, the risk of vehicle failure at the far end of the rope is at
its Murphy maximum.

> Can't prove you're wrong, old son; but you gussy it up like it
> was more than a guess. :)

I've been thinking about this subject for quite a while, and have read
far and wide on it. I think I can make some "educated" guesses.
> >That we
> >succeed in spite of politicians and bureaucrats says volumes about
> >engineers.
> Amen to that.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}