Sunday, July 25, 2021
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
In fact Will Lighthorn (sic) who heads up the UK's space endeavour ~ a vanity project if ever there was one ~ says the billionaires are doing us a favour by dumping whatever needs to be dumped in space now that Earth is, like Will himself, full of shit.
This is madness, and something you'd hesitate to call civilisation: the remedy for shit on our door-step being to look for another planet to leave more on... or leave morons?
But the difference between the numbers interested in such ventures now, as against in 1969 when kids stayed up all night, is telling. Literally blink, and you've missed it... which is consolation if nothing else for anyone working in a warehouse instead.
(The views expressed here are not those of the author, but of the author after a glass of Pinot Grigio. He admires every billionaire's efforts to launch humanity into space, or indeed to offer the author a job in his warehouse if things get desperate.)
Monday, July 19, 2021
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Carbon-fibre tubing has its advantages in constructing drones. It certainly goes some way to explain the price-rise once you shift from the injection-moulded plastics used in domestic quadcopters toward commercial types dedicated to surveys or to filming for the likes of the BBC.
When it comes to using it ~ as I clearly could ~ for personal air vehicles however, it is much like the choice between buying a Maclaren instead of a Mustang (or in my case a seventeen year old Suzuki Jimny).
For your benefit, here's a rough formula I use to remind myself of its properties:
3 : 7 : 21
This is because compared to (non-aviation) aluminium tubing it is three times lighter, seven times stronger, but twenty-one times more expensive... even given the recent hike in global non-ferrous metal prices.
You could argue that because of that superior strength I could reduce the dimensions of the various struts involved (and therefore the cost) but to some extent that process is self-defeating. For as Brunel discovered whilst building London railway bridges using timber, doubling the depth of material involved alone quadrupled its strength.
In fact it was while I was flying for an airline in Germany, with leisure time invariably spent designing and building, that I was first introduced to a length of carbon-fibre tubing at a light-industrial concern of the kind that the country has in abundance.
I was astonished... light as a feather and unbendable despite being only wafer-thin. It is though useless for the rapid-prototyping on which until now I have been engaged, in which I've used and re-used the same sections of sheet and tubular alloy constantly.
It will happen at some stage, however, if only because carbon-fibre and my airframes were meant for each other:
All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air
With one enormous chair
In a carbon-fibre airframe
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?