LA Science museum
...Has a rather high mileage re-usable spacecraft parked in it. The purchase order for it explicitly says it is not to be flown again.
News has reached Vulture Central of an opportunity to purchase an actual, honest-to-goodness Concorde engine, replete with afterburner. We're big fans of the retired supersonic airliner here at El Reg. It was first put into operation in 1976 and the Anglo-French effort but was eventually retired in 2003 and pensioned off to …
The look on the face of my three-year old
I remember when the first shuttle went up in 1982 (I was 17) - our maths teacher had organised a TV and arranged for us to all cram into her classroom to watch the launch live.
To say that we were impressed is an understatement. I think we all had visions of moving to space stations/the moon in our 20's.
My Dad worked at Bristol then Rolls Royce Aero but I don't think he worked on these engines at all. His claim to fame was doing a lot of the first-off inspection on components for the prototype RB211 including the turbine blades. Apparently they had no way of actually measuring these, it was more a case of checking the correct machining settings had been used.
Hmmmm .... So if I buy it, disassemble it and scan everything into the CAD/CAM computer via a 3D-XYZ high resolution laser scanner that goes to sub-micron-levels of accuracy, I could do some finite element analysis (FEA) on the all the parts including the turbine/compressor blades, some aerodynamic flow simulations and some final modifications and engine design improvements AND THEN I could then 3D-Print and/or CNC-machine out all-new-titanium parts and fitting to make that engine TWICE or even THREE TIMES as powerful than before AND CLEANER BURNING!
750 000 pounds you say? That's about $1 200 000 CAN ..... Hmmm... we just might be able to swing that from our Incidental Projects Fund ! I'll ask the heads on Monday to see if they want to bid on it!
Screw paper. Who here made gocarts out of scrap in their childhood before computer games came along and robbed youth or time misspent doing things you probably shouldn't have been doing?
All that's needed is some basic gocart style steering to add to that cart and that'd make an epic gocart if attached to fuel, oil and the requisite starting and throttle bits to light it off. It'd be interesting to see how long it took to get back to the office by road. Or um, by the direct route through every intervening obstacle.
Donner vehicle wont got very fast with me clinging on ordering a big one!
Donner vehicle seemed apt given Tesla semis, buying jet engines off ebay* and kebabs are all ideas that seem better when drunk.
But a jet truck or car has some advantages, like discouraging tail gating. Or with the addition of a generator, become a handy mobile, rapid response roadside supercharger. A jet engine in a static config would also help power truck stop charging.
*which reminds me, there was/is a fun site called Dovebid that auctioned off all sorts of fun looking kit.
When we were kids you could make go-cart from scrap. You could go to a hardware store and buy the bits to make a go-cart too. Recently i was trying to make something using some of my experience in go-cart building and discovered the only way to buy the bits to make a go-cart was to actually buy a go-cart.
Given one of the uses was to mount a Ram Jet kickstarted by a small motorbike engine on it I have looked into alternatives. And lego can fuck off - somewhere in out family is an old style box of lego you can make anything (non-thermal) with but now a kit makes one thing and one thing only. Largely because you cant afford anything else!
We called them "billy carts" and the wheels were round ball bearings from autos, pounded onto the trimmed ends of 2x4s. Two short 2x4s with bearings on for the axles, the front had a hole drilled and a long one for the chassis. Bolt through the hole onto the chassis and nail the rear one on the other end. Seat in the middle and a string through the front axle for steering. And a couple of friends to push, of course. Worked best on blacktop play areas.
Scraped elbows and knees were to be expected.
With a jet engine, though, you might want to skip the bearings and use buggy wheels. And maybe add more seating :-)
A plank with a rear axle from a pram which was held to the plank with simple wood staples.
The front axle was a cross-plank with a pram axle stapled in a similar way. This cross plank was pivot by a single loose bolt through the main plank. Steering was a piece of rope at either end of the cross front axle. Brake was a pivot lever made of wood that rubbed against he solid rear tyre, and would make smoke and a stinky rubber smell on a downhill.
Add a couple pulleys (one an idler on a pivot for speed control, kinda) and a horizontal shaft Briggs and you really had something back in the early '60s ... A vertical shaft engine (typical lawnmower) could used too, with a little more engineering.
And yes, a quick perusal of the local hardware store shows all of the necessary bits are still on the shelf. (A new 6.5HP HS engine from Harbor Freight is cheap at $120, if you can't find a used one at a garage sale.) Sadly, however, kids aren't allowed to do anything fun anymore. Gawd/ess forbid that they might possibly bruise themselves. Poor little bastards.
Yes, the really fancy ones did have brakes.
A short piece of wood, nailed to the side of the main chassis, close to hand. It pivoted on the nail (you want to use a thick, long one, because the nail pulling out would be unfortunate) and when you pulled up on one end, the other end dragged on the ground.
Not sure why ball bearings were used instead of buggy wheels, but they worked well, until the school forbade their use on the tennis courts. Apparently, they were leaving ruts in the surface...
and when you pulled up on one end, the other end dragged on the ground
One of my friends made one like this except for the pivot rubbing against the back wheel rather than the ground.
Made for some... interesting handling when applied.
 "Interesting" == "new underpants please".
This sounds like almost exactly the design I did on mine, except that my steering was pretty gucci; I made mine from a pram and attached the pram handles to each end of the cross axle, which came to about the right place for the steering to sit on your lap and be pushed from side to side.
Cornering wasn't great, and by brakes were wooden pivot levers that pushed the parking breaks on the pram into position. This had two serious problems. Firstly, while probably a bit better than yours, the brakes were crap and were only used in emergencies or on very shallow hills. Secondly, if single crewed on the gocart you you could only activate them by letting go of the steering.
We didn't dare use it on any serious hills, and never exceeded something like 20mph. Even at that young age, we took one look at the more serious hills available and went "uh, no". We never needed somebody to tell us not to do something very stupid, we just learned from the cuts and scrapes doing mildly stupid things and acquired the requisite sense of caution.
Now, imagine attaching a concorde engine to the back? :D
And um, yes. I'll let somebody else
fly drive it.
I am surprised because these days hardware stores sell a variety of bits of metal and wheels, and that and the other stuff you can easily buy on eBay.
Also, if you want to go whole hog, these days it's cheap to buy some epoxy and carbon fibre, make a simple mould out of papier-maché, and make a high tech body more easily than you could fabricate it out of wood.
Hardware stores?!?! What sort of gucci magic is this?
Our stuff came from intercepting things that were being disposed of in the local community before being binned, a couple of bits that came from the local dump and offcuts from building materials (some nice, though small bits of wood and board) begged from a local builder. Tools were borrowed from parents and adults occasionally looked and what we'd done and (retrospectively speaking, did us a life extending) favour by replacing nails with nuts and bolts they had kicking around.
Kids would never be able to do that these days; they'd have to talk to people. :/
Just checked the cash in my pocket and, equally unfortunately and unsurprisingly, it wouldn't buy that engine. It would hardly pay for the transport of that beast. But now I do know why I have a garage that is slightly oversized for cars: the Olympus easily fits in there and leaves more than enough space to work on it.
"a certificate of authenticity"
I'm trying to fully understand the implications of those 4 words. Like, can you buy cheap Concorde engine counterfeits from the back of a truck in a side alley? Guaranteed genuine by a shady looking character in a hood, cash-only, great discount if you also take the Saturn V booster just there?
How did the seller come into possession of the thing, and how much did THEY purchase it for? Seems like a museum piece, not something to be broken for being made into utter tat (because that's what all that "office memoribilia" and "furniture" is). The mere thought makes me want to scream.
67 Olympus 593 (mk 610) engines were produced for the production models of Concorde. Only 56 were ever fitted at any one time. The others were kept as (ready to fit) spares, or were being serviced.
So, while this particular engine may have been fitted to Concorde 214 (and possibly other Concorde's as well), it's not been removed from 214 after she was taken to Seattle. The Concorde in Seattle still has all 4 of her engines fitted.
Starting up a 1970s gas turbine with a 1970s FADEC or whatever they used then sounds fun. Switching on the reheat even more so. Just the fuel it would guzzle in a few seconds would be too cher pour moi.
On an Anglo-french beast such as Concorde you can have reheat or postcombustion but not afterburners.
(mental in more ways than one) of the BOFH getting his hands on this and using the afterburner as a creative way to get rid of evidence/beancounters/annoying users/the next boss, once he gets bored with windows.
Icon, because it is getting seriously close to beer o'clock here
Bearing in mind some Apollo engineers said they were astounded by the air intake alone for Concorde.
And it flew regularly with civilian passengers unlike the rather showy one-shot Apollo with it's highly trained crew.
Although I'd be happy if we all put our handbags down and celebrated great engineering of the 20th century, whilst simultaneously weeping for the lack of development since then.
These all round ->
What do you mean by lack of development?? After all we've got social media, the surveillance society, shiny iPhones and the Internet of Things! Who says there's no development these days??
(Excuse me while I go vomit.)
Don't forget bitcoin's contribution to the advancement of society as a whole. I mean, you've got like this number, and then it's secret, and...it's market cap is $150 billion...
Count me in if we're ponying up $s to buy this thing before some asshole turns this into collectable coffee table "art".
The reason that the Rockwell B-1B is generally subsonic, or at least not Mach 2 capable, is because the US couldn't get the original intake to work properly. They did ask for help from Ted Talbot who got the Concorde inlet to work, he said he thought that it would prove impossible because whereas a Concorde intake was only angled from top to bottom the B-1A intake was raked in 2 directions, top to bottom and side to side, making the control mechanism to keep the shockwave focused on the inlet lip too difficult for the computing power of the day.
Those intake ramps that shocked the supersonic airflow down to subsonic speed for the turbine, and it’s control computers, were one of the first things that were removed from the retired concordes. Such is still the secrecy about it.
I don’t know if it was Ted Talbot or another Concorde engineer, but a story I heard was that a chap was invited over to look at the B1A, have dinner, give a speech, etc.
Unfortunately in his after dinner speech he commented that the B1A clearly was having intake problems, wasn’t going to get to M2 properly, all because the inlets were on the wrong way round.
This was unfortunate because, although correct and astutely deduced merely from having had a brief tour of the development factory and seeing the prototype airframe, what he’d blurted out was classified Top Secret at the time. And now everyone, spouses included, knew it. Oops.
Made quite an impression though!
Concorde wasn't as fast as the SR71 / A12, but most people on board could drink champagne in shirt sleeves whilst moving at M2. SR71 pilots / RSOs didn't get to do that...
Bad intakes? Close but not quite.
Top speed of the B1-A prototypes were about 2.1 to 2.3 Mach at high altitude. B1-B, though, added the requirement of low level penetration and reduced RCS, as the USAF realized high speed / high altitude was useless against contemporary air defense systems. Hence the abandonment of the XB-70 (3+ Mach) bomber and the 2+ Mach B-58 Hustler, which was removed from service all the way back in 1970.
Why is the B1-B slower than -1A? For RCS reduction, the B1-B ended up with fixed vice variable intake ramps instead of the variable ramps of -1A and a serpentine duct that prevents any direct line of sight to the fan face. Limits speed to something like 1.2 Mach... But then, it can go 0.92 Mach on the deck, which is damned impressive. Above 1.2Mach, supposedly the intake serpentine can incur damage.
Basically, a nice, hot 3+ Mach aircraft at altitude is a hell of a missile sponge. And you're not outrunning any missiles. Survival involves terrain masking and RCS reduction, not peak speed.
Which was the bigger engineering challenge? Hard to say, they were both very different endeavours.
Where they are perhaps equal though is that both programmes brought in new ways of working. NASA did an awful lot of stuff around the art of Systems Engineering and engineering practises in general, changing the way in which things were done. The Concorde programme got the whole idea of geographically dispersed development and production off the ground, ultimately leading to Airbus and now also copied by Boeing and other industries. So amongst their more obvious, tangible achievements, both these programmes have changed how we do things for the better.
Beers owed, methinks.
Methinks the Museum of Flight in Seattle would like this to go along with their bird. However, someone has an inflated sense of value and thinks they should be able to retire independently wealthy on this eBay auction.
The fundamental problem with high-value collector items is you need a deep-pocket collector - and those are very hard to find.
In November of 2001, I was passing through Heathrow, and thanks to 911 (sounds like a Porsche thing) I was meant to be there three hours prior to boarding, but due to my limited finances I have taken the tube from Greenwich with a large suitcase that made my fellow tube-travellers give me some rather nasty looks, and taken somewhat longer the expected.
By the time I got there, check-in luggage time has passed, but the nice folk at the counter told me, I can take my suitcase as carry-on luggage past the gate, then they’ll put it in the hold. Now, this resulted in them confiscating a lovely three inch nail-file but due to lack of time, they stopped searching and let me keep my foot-long Philips, which I treasure to the present day.
By now, I was so late, that the plane has already pushed off from the terminal, and me and a few others were made to walk to the plane on the tarmac. It was only a few hundred metres, but on my right, there were three Concordes parked side by side, I was passing only a few meters away, they were sexy as expected and I could not keep my eyes off them, yet after personally holding Heathrow up, I did not have the nerve to ask if we could stop so I can take a few pictures. This was as close as I have ever got to the cute little buggers.
Growing up, Concorde made 2 ambassador flights to my local airport (Oostende).2nd time i was old enough to go see it on my own, The first thing of note was that it came with an Air France-liveried Renault R4 carrying a spare tire for the tail landing gear.
The crowd control barriers were only arms length from the undercarriage. When time came to depart, the ground crew pushed the barriers back to barely outside the intake line of the engines. I was standing under the left wingtip when the engines started spooling up. (Glorious days :-) Can't image that happening these days...)
I’ve seen a couple in museums over the years, one in Somerset, 2 in Le Bourget and the Air France gate guardian at CDG airport, but I was also lucky enough in 1999 to be working for a pharmaceutical supplier based on the Châteauroux airport complex and Concorde flew down to the maintenance centre there, and we got a free tour airside, with just some steel fencing around the landing gear. The noise the next morning when it blasted off the runway was bloody epic - even from inside the office buildings. We got used to hearing wide bodies come and go, but someone turned the volume up to 11 when that bird went. As I was inside I have to rate that one as a close second to the sound of the Vulcan and Typhoon displays over Herne Bay a couple of years ago.
On the other hand, you could purchase a Merlin engine ... which has the added advantage of easily being fitted to the road-going vehicle of your choice. For interesting values of easily, of course. Don't forget to beef up the suspension, and the drivetrain ... Maybe it'd be easier to put into your boat. (I'd include links, but I'm sure you can dig up video for yourself).
I've seen 'em sold for under $10,000 in running condition (not flyable!). Shipping and handling extra. Might want to make certain the .sig-other is off shopping and hide it in the garage when it's delivered. Check you local noise ordinances before firing it up ... and please, call me! Firing these things up never gets old. I'll bring the beer :-)
The Royal Navy must have owned hundreds of Olympus engines over the years and the training Oympus was I believe still operational in HMS Sultan until around 2009. They were used in at least the Type 21, 22. 42 and the Invincible class possibly others.
Probably all sold for the scrap value!!
I love the attitude. Typical old hardware engineer. “If it works, I’ll use it. If it’s dangerous, I’ll wear overalls and safety glasses, but I’ll use it”. Reminds me of an electronics engineer I used to share an office with. I’d frequently hear a small explosion (and sometimes not so small) only to see him appear from behind his latest project saying “well, that wasn’t supposed to happen”, but he was handy if and when we needed anything designing. Give him a spec, and an hour or so later, you’d have some device to,solve your problem,
That said, he frequently had dangerous stuff in his part of the office. I remember one day I picked up a large metal tube with what appeared to be a mains cable attached to one end. It was a rather large laser. I don’t know how or where he got it, but it was apparently large enough I would have needed to be licensed to use it.
Put them together with Guy Martin and an Olympus engine (not really fussed which one) and I'd watch. I'd probably even pay :)
Further Concorde/Olympus reading:
There probably wouldn't be any airworthiness worries either as, according to today's news, BunglingBoris's puppetmasters apparently want the UK out of EASA:
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