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* Posts by SkippyBing

634 posts • joined 21 May 2008

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Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech

SkippyBing

Re: Why?

'It's under the dash in the driver's footwell. Any new car sold in Europe for the last ten years is required to have one.'

It's possible the poster is referring to the original Mini Cooper S which is of course far superior to the current version that is far from mini. In which case it's barely got an electrical system never mind ODBII or a 12 volt adaptor/cigar lighter.

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Why hackers won't be able to hijack your next flight - the facts

SkippyBing

Re: Step back and thnk about this.

'I've always worried why the Nimrod (based on the Comet 4) was kept in servie so such a long time, but I surpose that is more a question around MOD purchasing/specifications and the almighty mess that is'

Probably for similar reasons to the Nimrod MRA4 program having its name changed from Nimrod 2000 when it became readily apparant BAe Systems were never going to make the original delivery date. It's almost as if they lied to get the contract...

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SkippyBing

In this case I don't think they're talking about the human factor in terms of gaining access to the computer, I think they mean in overcoming what happens next. E.g. the computer may be hacked so the flight plan takes you to the wrong place but the humans should notice that and question it. Of course that depends on the quality of human being employed, I think Ryan Air try and beat out any tendency for the pilot to think for themselves at an early stage in case it costs money.

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SkippyBing

Re: Step back and thnk about this.

'Try that on a podded engine and you'll find yourself flying in a corkscrew pattern thanks to the drag of windmilling fans'

So you're saying a windmilling engine inside the wing won't cause drag? Because I'd like to know how that magic works.

Of course if the podded engine is a higher bypass ratio then it may cause more drag, but then it's more fuel efficient when running and it wouldn't fit inside the wing anyway. It also allows you to build a lighter wing structure as the mass of the engine counters the aerodynamic twisting loads, whereas an integral engine doesn't.

Rivet Joint has the slight advantage that there are a few hundred of the basic airframe in service, vs the 20 max for the Nimrod. It makes getting parts easier.

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SkippyBing

Re: Collision avoidance system

From my understanding of how the ACAS/TCAS systems work it wouldn't really matter if you obeyed a false alarm as all it will have told you to do is make a climb or descent to avoid an aircraft that isn't there. The descent advisory is suppressed below a certain altitude above ground level as well so it won't order you into the ground.

You might, might, be able to confues the box as to which aircraft should climb and which should descend, which is based on serial number I think, but that means you'd have to be willing to sacrifice your spoofing platform, and get it in the right place to ensure a TCAS resolution advisory gets triggered agains your target aircraft. Which is the kind of non-trivial problem that makes air defence systems so expensive.

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SkippyBing

Re: Attacker vs Attacker

ACAS is not a radar, what they're talking about is spoofing the collision avoidance system to make the aircraft manoeuvre to avoid something that isn't there. To do that you'd have to transmit a series of transponder returns from a consistent position relative to the target aircraft.

It may be possible to hack the ACAS box, Google TCAS for an explanation of how it works, and I'm not sure how they're integrated into a modern airliner so their data is displayed on the flight displays. However it's perfectly possible to have it as a standalone box that only takes power from the aircraft.

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SkippyBing

Heck, it's not even digital

And yet it works, it's as if you don't need a series of 1s and 0s in the real world...

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Scottish independence debate: STV player flops under weight of viewers

SkippyBing

Re: Former UK

On a vaguely related note, for about the last decade there's been a French, Russian, UK and US naval exercise every year. Known as FRUKUS. I'm really hoping Russia aren't invited this year....

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Surprise! Government mega-infrastructure project cocked up

SkippyBing

Re: UK still leads the way in ripping off the taxpayer

'The UK is densely populated but we mainly live in towns & cities. Over 90% of the UK is rural, park, or undeveloped.'

Yes but annoyingly the railways tend to what to go where the people are as park benches and cows rarely use their service.

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SkippyBing

'Is it the job of the ordinary taxpayer to pay the ridiculous price of HS2 because the WCML is clogged by fat cats travelling first class? '

That depends, if the people travelling first class are subsidising the fares then your plan results in all the people who normally travel second class having to pay more anyway.

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If you ate at one of these PF Chang's restaurants, your bank card is at risk

SkippyBing

Cock

Well that explains how my card got used to spend $400 in Target last month. It doesn't answer the question why would you rip off a credit card and shop in Target mind you.

Still as I'm from the UK my bank were speaking to me as it happened so the card was cancelled straight away.

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NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'

SkippyBing

Re: We know, you know.

I'd suggest if your friend was in the TA his background may have been more thoroughly checked than your average punter at the airport. The questions about your relatives on the standard security vetting form are almost as intrusive as the State Departments visa application for people from the Middle East. Mind you they don't seem to notice if you make stuff up on that as the 50 members of the Iraqi Navy I completed the forms for all got in and out okay and I made half of it up...

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SkippyBing

Re: We know, you know.

You have a naive, almost childlike, belief in the competence of government organisations.

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Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

SkippyBing

Re: You always need extra fuel!

If only there was some way to defend the supply ships, maybe you could use aircraft...

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SkippyBing

Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

'Scimitars had fallen out of operational use at sea by 1966.'

As had the Buccaneer S1 which was the model that couldn't get off the deck with full weapons and fuel. The S2 had about 50℅ more thrust so was far less limited in what it could launch with and so less reliant on tankers. And actually useful as a tanker.

If you want to be really pedantic you could point out that of the two carriers that deployed the Mk1 Buccaneer only Eagle carried Scimitar tankers as Victorious didn't have the room. This meant the Vixens of 893 had to double up as tankers as the S1 Bucc was pointless in the role as it couldn't carry enough spare fuel, much like a marinised Typhoon would be.

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SkippyBing

Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

'Considering that Nimrods were Comet 1 airframes (yes, the very same that embarrassingly broke up in flight) I reckon they did pretty well.'

Yeah, until one blew up in mid air killing 14 people because BAe Systems lied about the safety case .

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SkippyBing

Re: Bust-up

@Alan Edwards

That's kind of my point, they adjust for different aircraft by altering the steam pressure, it's really the only variable there is. That's why in the linked pictures of cars and pianos going off the bow they don't go that far to avoid damaging the cat. Although you do wonder why they didn't try full pressure on the piano they launched off the Ark at the end of her last commission, it's not like they were going to use it again!

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SkippyBing

Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

'Well thats what you get if you don't build it here'

As I understand it BAe are also making part of the fuselage of every F-35. In fact something like 20% of the total build is from UK industry, which over the course of the programme will probably be of greater value than if we had a 100% UK built aircraft and then only brought a hundred or so of them.

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SkippyBing

Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

'Ignoring buddy-refuelling tanks, you mean?'

There's not a lot of fuel in buddy-buddy tanks*, normally the tanker also transfers fuel from it's internal tankage and as many external tanks they can hang off the thing. Ideally you want a tanker carrying as much fuel as possible, not launching one tanker per fighter as you'd soon run out of room on the boat.

There's also the issue of arrested landings where you need a tanker airborne to top up anyone who's delayed landing for whatever reason** otherwise you soon run out of aircraft as they typically only plan to have enough fuel for a couple of approaches, to minimise landing mass. For VSTOL aircraft this is less of a problem as they seem to get the landing right first time.

V-22 could work and would be an idea for F-35 as well, plus they'd make a more useful AEW platform. Alas I don't think the Treasury/Defence Logistics would be happy adding another type to the UK order of battle as they've spent the last few years trying to get us down to two fast jet and four helicopter platforms. Although it's still going to be a decade or so for that last one to pan out.

*In absolute terms there's quite a bit but not in fast jet terms and then half the tank is gubbins for transferring fuel.

**Either messing up their own approach a number of times, or someone else doing it and causing the recovery time to slip right.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

'You've never been in that position because you've never done any commercial or military flying. '

Wrong on both counts. I've never thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!, this doesn't mean I've always flown with a full fuel load it just means on those occasions I haven't I've cursed Westlands for their general inability to manufacture a half decent aircraft, or the passengers for never saying no to dessert.

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SkippyBing

Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

True, but if the best you can do is launch a Typhoon with an air to air load and partial fuel I can't see you getting a second one off the deck with enough fuel to transfer across. With the F-4 the catapults could get you off the deck with a full air to ground weapons load and as much fuel as you had room for. The second Phantom could then load up with full internal and external fuel and top up a number of other aircraft once they'd climbed to altitude and got to a more efficient flight regime.

A better comparison might be the Buccaneer S1, which like the Typhoon, couldn't get off the deck with a full weapons load and fuel because of some rather anaemic engines and weak catapults on the carriers in service. In that case tankers were used, but they were normally Scimitars, which could launch with full internal fuel and an external tank on each pylon. But that's not an option for Typhoon as if we had a fighter that could launch with that much payload we'd probably want to use it instead!

TL;DR, You need a tanker that can carry lots of fuel, Typhoon can't.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

'Fuel management is an art'

True, but I've never been in a position where I've thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!

My point was more that you should have the option of launching with a full fuel load as a matter of course which doesn't appear to be an option with a theoretical navalised Typhoon.

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SkippyBing

Re: Bust-up

The problem with launching a bus, car or indeed upright piano from a steam catapult is that it doesn't weigh as much as a fully loaded jet fighter. This means if you use the same steam pressure as you'd use for a jet on a bus the underdeck parts of the catapult will fuse together at the end of the run due to the much higher terminal speed. So ultimately it's still only going to come off the end of the ship at around 140 knots.

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r209/TurboBob/Military/ArkRoyalPianoLaunch-2_zps0af25ec5.jpg

Of course if you're not worried about writing off the catapult it could be quite interesting...

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SkippyBing

Re: No catapult, no use...

The decision to go VSTOL rather than have catapults was made a long time ago by someone who didn't understand that just because we were currently using Harriers didn't mean we always would be. And by a long time ago I mean last century, and presumably by someone who didn't understand the question.

However it may surprise you to know that many countries operate carriers using helicopters for AWACS, such as the Sea King Mk7, and manage to do COD with helicopters without dying of scurvy or running out of spares. Is it the gold plated perfect solution, no, but it works. People have even won wars with it.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

' not really much need for extra fuel'

You always need extra fuel!

I'm also not totally convinced by simulations from the people trying to sell you the aircraft, especially when BAe Systems are involved. I'm also not convinced by the argument that it would mostly be on fleet defence, if we'd had them for the last decade they would have been doing what the USN has been and launching with a full air to ground load, crossing over Pakistan and supporting ground forces in Afghanistan.

The recovery options for Typhoon aren't great either, all the simulations I've read about pointed out that to get down to landing speed the nose would be so high the pilot wouldn't be able to see the ship. And it's not a small ship.

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SkippyBing

Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

To be fair they're not that expensive, less than two weeks of benefits and pensions payments. Or about 18 months of TV licence fees.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

Oh you could get a Typhoon off a ski jump well enough, it's just useful things like weapons and fuel you'd have to leave behind. Which is presumably why you never seem to see Russian Navy Flankers launching with anything more than a couple of air to air missiles.

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Tesla, Nissan, BMW mull all-for-plug, plug-for-all electrocar charger plan

SkippyBing

Re: Battery Cars.

I'm also fairly sure most cars have an electric motor, if only to spin the internal combustion one up to speed!

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Whoops! Google's D-Day Doodle honors ... Japan

SkippyBing

Re: Why is "identical" good?

You may want to get better textbooks.

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Hey sailor, fancy putting your hands all over a NeRD fondleslab?

SkippyBing

Re: Shipboard Hardware

Hmm, I don't recognise that as a problem this side of the pond, possibly because everything is someone's 'my' as they've signed for it and have to return it in the condition it was issued or be fined. Certainly we had a number of non-ruggedised laptops used for a variety of purposes that had lasted years. On the flip side when I worked with the USN there seemed to be a greater availability of kit so it may be that there's less tendency to look after something if you know it can be replaced without having to spend a week begging stores to give you the last one on the shelf.

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SkippyBing

Re: Shipboard Hardware

My Kindle seems to have managed happily onboard a number of naval vessels and remains perfectly usable, as do all my other electronic devices, so you may be over estimating the challenge.

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A first-world problem solved: Panoramic selfies, thanks to Huawei's Ascend P7

SkippyBing

Re: Truisms Spoken Aloud

Sorry, you're saying there are people in the USA who're embarrassed to be heard pronouncing words incorrectly? It's just it doesn't seem to stop them trying to say Jaguar, route, schedule, herb...

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Sony Xperia Z2: 4K vid, great audio, waterproof ... Oh, and you can make a phone call

SkippyBing

Inadvertantly dropped my Z1 onto concrete while slightly hungover and handing it to a mate so I could get a hand free. After bouncing from its back onto its front there were a few more scratches on the screen protector it ships with but apart from that it was fine, even took it into the pool later to take some photos with no ill effects.

I just need to replace the screen protector now, and resist the urge to get a Z2...

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

SkippyBing

Re: Flight Route

I'd imagine it's because they don't want to take something that delicate through the inter tropical convergence zone (ITCZ). That's a more or less permanent line of thunderstorms around the equator, there's a degree of modification with time of year and land mass but either way the massive updrafts can push planes way above their operating limits, Flight of the Mew Gull by Alex Henshaw gives a vivid account of flying through it at night.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

SkippyBing

Re: Rolls-Royce monitoring system

I guess that can be turned off as well!? Yes, or at least the transmitter part can.

Just about every electrical component on an aircraft can be isolated, it's almost as if they're worried about fire. This is a requirement of the certification regulations which for a Boeing 777 is probably FAR part 25.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

SkippyBing

Re: A simple test…

'One problem though is that the satellite will presumably be in a different position'

That'd be an interesting geostationary satellite if it is...

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SkippyBing

Re: Another interesting hypothesis

'More likely the plane would be hit when on the ground, due to time plane is on the ground vs. airborne.'

Due to the cost of parking at an international airport most in service airliners spend more time airborne than on the ground.

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SkippyBing

Re: Spy satellite?

Re positive control, if you can figure out how to actively monitor the airspace more than ~200NM from land so they can do that then I suggest you patent it before going public. Once you're out of radar cover it's procedural reporting of the airliners position by the crew. To date this has proven remarkably reliable, in several decades they've only mislaid about 1 jet airliner.

Re spy satellites, oddly they tend not to monitor the open ocean on a regular basis because there's not a lot there to look at, the odd ship maybe but it's not an efficient way of doing it. You are effectively looking down a straw at the surface of the Earth, so you have to know where to look before you can make out the detail. Repositioning a satellite to scan the search area is an expensive task, although at the rate it's currently expanding that may change...

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SkippyBing

Re: Ping

I don't see why, the only satellite that would have been listening for them is the INMARSAT over the Indian Ocean. Others may have been in a position to receive it, but unless they were listening out for it it's unlikely they'd even log it.

The other problem you'd have is that the INMARSAT knows when it transmitted the signal so has the round trip time to give a range, other satellites wouldn't have that information. You could possibly recreate something with timestamps but I doubt they're of the accuracy you'd need to get a decent fix, even half a second at the speed of light is a long way.

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SkippyBing

Re: That arc seems a bit simplistic to me

I believe that's what they've done, which is why you see two arcs, starting an hours flying after the last known position, rather than a circle.

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SkippyBing

As I understand it, the arcs are the 5 or 6 pings joined together.

Remember, they know where the plane started from so you're only interested in the bit of the first range ring that's within a sensible distance of that. I.e. draw the range ring on a map. then draw a ring representing the max distance the airliner could have gone since its last transmission and where they intersect is your first point. Repeat for the next 5 pings and you get a line, as you only have the range you can't tell whether it went north or south.

The line they've drawn is really a datum to search from, there could be quite a bit of deviation from it depending on the actual speed of the airliner, but if the range to the satellite is changing you have to assume the aircraft is moving.

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Malaysia Airlines mystery: Click here for the TRUTH

SkippyBing

Re: So what is going on?

'What is its actual spatial resolution of genuine radar echoes?'

It depends on a variety of things, but mainly the ratio of the wavelength to the dish size, the bigger the dish the tighter the beam, and the pulse length i.e. the time the radar is transmitting for. The problem is the longer the range you want the worse these factors become as you need to pump enough energy into a pulse to get a detectable return after its travelled several hundred miles.

Even if your beam is 1/2 a degree in width by the time you've hit 120 miles it'll be a mile wide and probably half a mile or so in depth (this doesn't change with range).

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SkippyBing

Re: So what is going on?

'Someone needs to urgently re-do the risk analysis here. Yes, there's a (tiny?) fire risk in having some active electronics on a plane that cannot be disabled by any volitional act in flight.'

Put it this way, you've heard of one aircraft disappearing which may have been helped by the transponder being turned off. What you don't hear about is the hundreds of times the crew have had to turn it off for whatever reason, e.g. fire, or in the kind of underpowered things I fly load-shedding so the battery will last longer when the generator fails.

I'd say the risk to life from not being able to selectively isolate every bit of electrical equipment is greater than that from someone using that ability for nefarious purposes.

There's an analysis here: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-sabotage-most-common-factor-in-en-route-accidents-396830/ of the 46 jet airliner en-route fatal accidents, which I think puts this case into perspective in terms of numbers.

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SkippyBing

Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

'And formidable, victorious, courageous, and majestic.'

Not to mention Implacable and Audacious...

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Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

SkippyBing

Re: "Unless they are referring to the mafia version of 'protection'"

'Haven't we learned from bank bailouts, rate fixing and auto maker bailouts that free markets are a total joke'. At least two of those aren't examples of free markets. In a free market the banks would have been allowed to fail allowing the banks that weren't run by a colony of inept monkeys to take over their share of the market, ditto the auto makers. Unfortunately we don't have a free market because that wouldn't allow politicians to look like they're doing something.

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Frenchman eyes ocean domination with floating, mobile Bond villain lair

SkippyBing

Bit League Division 2

I mean any self respecting evil genius would have a heli-pad on their aquatic lair. Certainly I'm not stumping up 40 Million Euro unless they add one.

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SkippyBing

Re: Not ideal for supervillains

Yeah, but it's a big ass ocean to search.

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Fandroids get their very own PERVY SMUT browser

SkippyBing

'The most effective form of control is one that people do themselves.'

If I had self control it wouldn't be a problem!

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Ofcom says yes to sat broadband on PLANES (and trains and ships)

SkippyBing

I think there may be issues with atmospheric attenuation, there's a lot less air between a plane and a satellite than there is between two planes at any decent range. Plus on something like a trans-Atlantic flight you'd be out of line of sight of anything in vicinity of land for most of the time anyway, obviouly you could relay through multiple aircraft but that would probably require a level of cooperation between airlines that they're unlikely to go for.

I suspect it may be easier tracking a geostationary satellite than another aircraft as well, the latter is a lot less predictable.

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LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

SkippyBing

Masthead

I've just noticed what happens when you mouse over the mast head image. Very nice, more of this kind of thing!

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