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99

The biggest driver behind the use of the P-51 Mustang in naval operations was the need for B-29 escorts while bombing Japan. No naval fighter at the time had the range to accompany the B-29's so the P-51D was selected to determine if it could be a suitable carrier operator. The test project was named "Project Seahorse", and one aircraft was selected and ...


93

TL;dr - too heavy :-) It's just not a good energy source for something like an aircraft. Nuclear energy is superb for instances where you need continuous output over a long period of time, for example a satellite, which is going to be there for years without maintenance or refuelling. A very small amount of nuclear material in an RTG such as those on ...


90

The Gossamer Albatross is a human-powered plane with a top speed of 29 km/h (18mph). It was used to cross the English Channel and seems to meet the criteria of the question.


85

There are quite a few reasons for this- technically speaking, the primary one is that the system complexity has increased tremendously. More systems mean more interfaces, more redundancies, meaning more chances of failure and more troubleshooting. The modern combat aircraft is expected to perform a wide variety of missions, which would've been performed by ...


84

First of all, it took at least five years even back then, but your observation is absolutely correct. You would need to go back one more decade to find a frontline fighter that was designed within two years. The reasons are: Urgency: Back then, the Cold War arms race forced both sides to continuously improve. Together with the advances in weapons and ...


74

TACA Flight 110 made a deadstick landing on a grass levee. Engines got replaced and it took off using a nearby NASA facility. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TACA_Flight_110


72

To a large extent, it wasn't revived because the only realistic use case became obsolete. The USA and USSR were both interested in nuclear-powered long-range bombers. The plan was to have a fleet of bombers loitering in the Arctic so that, if nuclear armageddon was required, they'd already be half-way to their target. They'd also be very hard to destroy as ...


68

A couple of things come to mind that enable this: you don't become a fighter pilot if you are not intelligent and highly motivated you are not learning a new skill, just doing what you are already trained to do in an environment that just looks different (this would somewhat exclude Russian helicopters) the list of things to learn is really not that long, ...


63

Why did they stop building it? Because they built 32, and that was as many as was needed at the time. 32 spy planes was plenty for the USAF/CIA to use, so building more would have been a waste. By the time those airframes may have needed to be replaced after 30 years or so, the SR-71 had been withdrawn from service and there was no need to build any more. ...


62

The SR-71 Blackbird was equipped with specialized cameras. It would overfly the area of interest and take high-resolution pictures of the ground. Of particular interest is the Technical Objective Camera (TEOC). It could shoot pictures with a 6'' resolution from the operational altitude of the SR-71. This task was not simple as the aircraft would have moved ...


61

The Antonov AN-2 has no stall speed quoted in the operating manual and can fly under full control at about 30 mph. Thus if the headwind is sufficiently large the aircraft will move backwards with respect to the ground.


58

Yes I present to you, the Belphegor, a jet powered, crop-dusting, biplane. I think I need not say that this is a Soviet Bloc design, from Poland in particular. Note the braces between the wings acted as tanks for whatever chemical agent it would be dispensing over the kolkhozy. It was not very successful due to a host of disadvantages, including: Jet ...


57

No aircraft ever had more than two pilots (on duty at the same time). The additional flight crew members were flight engineer, navigator and radio operator. Dedicated radio operators were only needed in the early days when the radio was primitive and required some care and experience to tune properly. As it improved, operating radio was merged into ...


57

Interesting question! In the background, a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 can be seen. Therefore, I assume the airport is a Lufthansa destination. Since the 727 is not exactly a long range aircraft, but the 747 is, my first thought would be that the airport is in Germany. I couldn't really see what livery the 737-200 in front of the LH 747 was, but soon in the ...


54

It's possible, but it would be difficult under today's regulations. Restrictions (regulations): Avoid any controlled airspace that requires talking to ATC For the sake of argument I'll pretend we have no radio on board, so no class B, C, or D airspace. (You COULD call the controlling agency and coordinate with them, but let's just pretend we don't have a ...


53

Private business jets have a few requirements: Operational costs must be within budget. The concorde is pretty expensive to run as demonstrated by the high ticketprices you had to pay for a trip on one of them. Fuel is only part of that costs; maintenance is a pretty big part of that as well. Be able to land and take off close to where the CEO has his ...


52

Sure! An Ex-Interflug Ilyushin Il-62 was landed on the 900 m runway of Stölln/Rhinow airport (EDOR) in the German countryside in 1989 to be turned into a tourist attraction. Here is a short video of the event. As can be witnessed from the clouds of dirt, the pilot Heinz-Dieter Kallbach wasn't too concerned about using reverse thrust - the engines were not ...


49

Note: See Peter Kämpf's answer for specifically how the Fw 190 Achieved this Electronically This answer is specific to how this was achieved via mechanical means in earlier aircraft and not specific to the Fw 190. It's called a "Synchronization Gear" and it allows the gun to fire only when the blade is not in front of the barrel. Source: Kaiserliches ...


47

Wikipedia: The B-1 [variant] was also fitted with "Jericho trumpets", essentially propeller-driven sirens with a diameter of 0.7 m (2.3 ft) mounted on the wing's leading edge directly forward of the landing gear, or on the front edge of the fixed main gear fairing. This was used to weaken enemy morale and enhance the intimidation of dive-bombing. After ...


46

Extending wings The idea is to have a larger wing area at takeoff for more lift and a smaller wing area in flight for more efficiency. The NIAI RK and followup RK-I used two tandem wings that served as rails for an extendable panel that could be rolled out between them. The project failed because Stalin was so enthusiastic about it he had it use the most ...


45

The Harrier, Yak-38, Yak-141, XV-15, and V-22 are all fixed wing aircraft. All can hover in mid air, controlled. So they are in controlled flight at 0 velocity. At least the Harrier can even be in controlled flight flying backwards, so with negative velocity. The others may as well, I don't know.


45

The various Space Shuttle Orbiters did this all the time. They mostly got piggyback rides back to their launch facilities.


44

A military jet-powered biplane was the I-153DM Chaika, which was adapted by strapping a couple of ramjets underneath each wing. (DM = Dopolnityelnyi Motor – supplementary engine). picture source The I-153 was a development of the Polikarpov I-15, an advanced fighter when it debuted in 1933. The I-153 sought various improvements, including retractable ...


44

An Aerolineas Argentinas' Boeing 737-200 was hijacked by terrorists in 1975 and made to land in a farm. The government took 10 days to unstuck the aircraft from the mud and to move and install a makeshift aluminum runway (a mesh-like thing that was usually used for ice operations) and take-off at less than minimum weight. The first officer was a glider ...


43

Your description of a self-sealing fuel tank remaining on fire when lit is the exact situation of the sealing mechanism failing. As soon as the tank is punctured, regardless of a fire or not, the rubber in the middle layer will react with the fuel and swell until the hole is reasonably obstructed. This both extinguishes the fire and seals the leak. Consider ...


43

It's a Boeing 314 flying boat. From the late 30s (look at the two rectangular windows behind the cockpit). The last dedicated navigators on long range flights had started to disappear by the late 60s in the airline business.


43

I can't think of anything dropped from an aircraft larger than the US Space Shuttle when it was dropped from a specially modified 747 during the testing phases of development.


42

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia John Edward "Ed" Long, Jr John Edward "Ed" Long, Jr. (1915–July 18, 1999) was an American pilot who is in the Guinness Book of Records for the most flight time by a pilot: over 65,000 hours (more than seven years and four months) at the time of his death. He began in 1933 at the age of 17, when he took his first and ...


41

The first "practical" autopilot was invented by George DeBeeson (the patent can be found here, updated here) - This seems to be the most likely reason for the informal name "George" for the autopilot system on aircraft. Autopilots are also sometimes called "Otto" (as in Otto the Autopilot from Airplane!, and our very own chat bot, but this seems to be less ...


41

The fewer engines an aircraft has, the lower are its operating cost. Engines are the most maintenance-intensive part of an aircraft, and doing a hot section inspection on two large engines costs less than doing it on three somewhat smaller engines. When the tri-jets were developed, no sufficiently large and powerful engines were available. They were already ...


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