• Tilt-Rotor flyby!

    From Mike Luther@1:117/3001 to Ward Dossche on Wed Sep 5 21:19:28 2007
    Hi Ward!

    Like you said, it pays to have a camera handy. But even when you do it sometimes isn't fast enough to capture the moment, sigh.

    For the first time in my life today I actually got to see the Tilt-Rotor in flight! Over the same family home here in College Station, Texas, at Texas A&M University where I actually got so see a B-36 about 500 feet over us fly in to open up the Texas Aggie vs. Texas University football game Thanksgiving day the first year after it flew officially!

    Fred Weik, the A&M Aero Engineer here who was the creator of the Ercoupe, used to fly his prototype from his private airstrip just South of our home here in the late 40's to work on VFR days at Easterwood Airport here. As part of the B-36 design team, they actually let him fly it over his homesite and over the stadium that game day and I got to stand under it as it went over .. Anyway ...

    Today I hear this HUGE thrashing of props like a chopper, but strangely different, as I was doing programming work in the home. Around and around the neighborhood it was going so I rushed to the window and looked out and up.

    A Tilt-Rotor of all things! I'd never seen it in flight. It was hovering around and around with the wings and the props tilted up in the vertical mode. So I grabbed my Nikon and ran to get a shot of it. Too late, gone, sigh. This is first week or so of school at Texas A&M and likely a promo deal for the aero department or the corp student crew. Dunno at this point.

    You might be interested to know that the original design work and proof work for the props on the project was done here at Texas A&M out at the old Bryan Air Force Base which in the 1967-68 era had been converted for the A&M Research operations. Joe Brusse, a VERY good family older friend of mine was the operations boss of the test rig, With the research prop tied to a big tower inside one of the old hangers at the base, it was powered with a big gear and shaft engine driven setup with all the test instrumentation and so on.

    You might be interested to know that, as far as I know, the 'accident' game with this thing actually started even back then with the prop research project! Somehow, there was a driveshaft and test rig oscillation that erupted between the reasonance issues there and the vibration mode of the test prop one day. In the huge escallation of that shudder mess, the test prop sheared off the tower in the bearing and hub failure that followed!

    The prop went sailing straight up off the tower right through the metal roof of the hanger, HUNDREDS of feet up and over things. It eventually came sailing down through one of the other buildings at the base! No injuries, just lots of interesting details, grin.

    I wasn't there at that time, I was working as a tech in another building at the Research facilities there in the Gas Dynamics Lab paying my way through my MBA at Texas A&M University. I did the instrumentation, electric charge system and firing system construction and much of that design work for the original Mach 40 wind tunnel there where the re-entry aerodynamic research was done for the original Mariner Probe to Mars. This was a 20KV DEW line radar power supply that charged a 20 by 20 foot room full of oil filled power line phase correction capacitors for a couple of hours. And then all of them were discharged through a hydrogen bomb trigger switch into a huge steel ingot, blowing a half inch thick scored steel plate out to let the Mach 40 wave go down a 13" diameter polished aluminum tube past the Mariner model to study the re-entry air flow in the possible chemical atmosphere of Mars.

    Between class schedules, changes in locale and so on, I didn't even know about the run-away prop deal to even get to see the hole in the roof and so on. But I do know that the interesting accident issues surrounding the whole Tilt-rotor project sure started early on for this thing.

    And .. even with a camera handy, I wasn't even fast enough to get to take a picture of it the first time I ever saw it flying in 2007, what 40 years after the run-away prop deal?

    Grin! Sigh ..

    Sleep well; OS/2's still awake! ;)

    Mike @ 1:117/3001

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