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Charles Lindbergh: Neil Armstrong:

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Charles Lindbergh: Neil Armstrong:

Old 22nd May 2002, 04:17
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Charles Kingsford-Smith

I suggest that Smithy's crossing of the Pacific was a more significant event than any Atlantic crossing.
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Old 22nd May 2002, 06:43
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Capt. Crosswind:

What you say may be big time to Australia but it is small time to the world. For instance: The mulitple pioneering flights of Jean Mermoz across the Southern Atlantic easily eclipse what Charles Kingsford Smith managed to do. Ask any French aviator when Jean Mermoz lost his life and not only will you be told the date but you will be told where in the Atlantic it occurred. Nothing personal CC just making a point.

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Old 22nd May 2002, 16:05
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The Atlantic crossing was third actually if you count the R-34.

MAybe the "significance" of an aviation/aerospace event is a function of technical difficulty/significance + economic ramifications + public attention over time = significance

In that case:

Alcock and Brown : Operationally difficult, technologically trivial (an army surplus a/c) + economicly trivial over short term, over long term showed the way for commercial translant but technology wasn't available + public attention very significant at the time, fell off to attention by specialists mainly. Significance?

Lindberg: technical advance in engine technology, state of art airframe but not greatly advanced + economicly trivial over short term, over longterm reinforce possibility of commerical traffic...DC-2, B-207, Electra in development if near future + media went nuts worldwide, caught the public imagination big time, maintained interest due to other activities. Significance?

R-34: Technically advanced design of a dead end technology (advanced buggy whips) + none to speak of because there was no economical airship operations + public attention significant at the time over a realtively small area (UK, Canada, north east US) and then by specialists Little staying power in the public eye. Significance?

Do you agree with the equation?
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Old 23rd May 2002, 00:16
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There were several more Atlantic crossings before Lindbergh than just the R-34 - involving some multi-stop journeys but at least one non-stop in the airship ZR-3. There is a book called "91 before Lindbergh" which details these various flights. Can't lay my hands on it at this very moment.

I'm not sure Alcock and Brown's flight was technologically or economically trivial. It represented the huge advance in aviation technology that had occurred during WW1, which I consider to be at least equal if not greater than the technology jump in WW2. In 5 years aviation went from being a quirky, dangerous and unreliable thing for a showman to display at the county fair - to being something capable of hauling a useful load over the Atlantic. Alcock and Brown demonstrated this technology advance in a very public fashion, and helped stimulate the beginnings of the commercial aviation industry. Not a coincidence that the first scheduled airline service began in 1919 also.

R-34 was relatively insignificant in the long term, but still a great achievement for 1919, especially making it both ways.

Lindbergh's significance was greater, no question. I would suggest not for technological reasons, but certainly for economic. Because of what he did before and after his flight Lindbergh was an enormous hero figure, a massively popular role model and advocate for aviation. Crucially he was an American hero. He was a very significant catalyst in turning American consciousness, finance and industry towards aviation. After the frontier of the West had been conquered, he showed a new frontier that America could attack - with all the nation's recently-found wealth and technology. America was a nation perfectly ready for aviation: economically, geographically - and here's where Lindy really made a difference - socially. There was a huge explosion in airplane and airport building after 1927, a general embracing of aviation. Read the memoirs of the "greats" who followed - designers, manufacturers, WW2 aces etc etc and see how many times Lindbergh is cited as their inspiration.

So I think this is why the British achievements were less significant. Not because the achievement was any less magnificent or dangerous, but because the effects were less significant.

Anyway, thank you for giving me the opportunity to wax lyrical about one of my favourite topics!
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Old 23rd May 2002, 01:07
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Behind the scenes at NASA

To: Prince of Dzun

I read ( or someone told me) that the lunar module had only one ignition system and the fuel plumbing etc was not duplicated. If this is the case and there were no backups for the major components then either NASA had 100% faith in their engineering or it was a case of take a chance.
I can only speak to the Saturn IV B Lunar insertion stage and the Skylab and to my recollection the only redundancy in the propulsion system was the fuel control valves which were on the attitude control motors. This redundancy was mainly to prevent leakage of the hypergolic fuel into the combustion chambers. None of the other propulsion systems were redundant.

The faith NASA placed on everything working correctly was the extensive testing performed by Douglas and I assume the other two stage contractors (Boeing and North American). If an element (module) failed any part of the test the test would have to be repeated from the beginning until the module passed. After all of the modules passed their test they were installed on the battleship tank and plumbed up just like the stage. The J-2 engine and all of the other mechanical elements were operated in a normal atmosphere and the systems and plumbing were fine-tuned. Then the systems were installed on another battleship tank at The Tullahoma Arnold Space Development Center and the stage was operated at a simulated altitude of 400,000 feet or outer space. Even with all of the testing Douglas never had more than a 70% confidence level that everything would work as designed. 100% confidence was a fantasy. NASA spent millions to duplicate the Douglas and Tullahoma battleship stages and millions more for testing. However none of the data recorded in the NASA tests were valid because the plumbing in no way reflected the stage resulting from different pressure drops and fluid flows not being representative of the actual systems. But that didnít stop them.

As far as the gravity on the moon I would assume that it was calculated by the same people that calculated the weight of a one cubic inch block of steel at the center of the sun.

Here are three little known facts about the Apollo and Skylab programs:

1) At the university of Dayton (Ohio) there was a female PHD candidate in Human Factors that measured the flacid length of over 200 male pen!ses to determine the average length. This was to develop a common device that would fit all Astronauts enabling them to urinate inside their flight suits. There was such a variation in the Astronaut community that each one had his own device created. At that point there were no secrets at the manufacturer of the space suits.


2) In order to determine if any of the Skylab Astronauts had suffered bone loss each of them had to take a charcoal pill with their food. The charcoal would be absorbed into their bones and any not absorbed would be past out with the excrement. When it was publicly stated that the Astronauts returned with personal items some of those items were recovered feces which were measured for carbon content. This way they could determine if there was any bone loss and how much.


3) There was a PHD at MSFC in Alabama that created a machine that would masticate food products form them into a tube and extrude the material though a controllable orifice which would size the extruded material to be representative of human feces. He would then take a representative sample (various sizes) and expose them to a hard vacuum and measuring the out-gassing of the sublimating samples. This included simulated urine. In outer space this out-gassing would impart a propulsive force causing the Skylab to perturb causing misalignment of antennae and solar panels. To correct for this misalignment the attitude control motors would have to fire to restore the orbital attitude of the Skylab. The end effect of this testing was to ensure an adequate fuel supply in each of the two attitude control modules.


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Old 23rd May 2002, 01:10
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Lunar Module engine

The LEM ascent engine was well tested before Apollo 9, obviously with many ground tests but also on 2 previous flights. On Apollo 9 the LEM was flown 182km from the Command Module before seperation and return of the ascent stage. On Apollo 10 they flew down to 14 km from the surface before seperation and return of the ascent stage, although they did have stability problems after seperation.
Although the Lunar Orbital Rondezvous technique used by Apollo was successful, there were advantages to the original Lunar Surface Rondezvous proposal as extra supplies could be delivered if the engine had failed to work on take off.
There was actually no fuel pump and no ignition system as the propellant tanks (50/50 mixture of hydazine and UDMH as fuel and nitrogen tetroxide oxidiser) were pressurised with helium and the propellants were hypogolic, igniting on contact.
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Old 23rd May 2002, 19:42
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http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/21/sc...al/21LIND.html

This is the best site I have ever seen concerning Lindbergh and his life.

Lindbergh did his best to educate the American public about what was going on in Europe, and the efforts of many to drag the USA into another European war.

Henry Ford did the same thing prior to WWI.

They were VERY popular with the majority of Americans then.

I can remember as a child, in NYC, where not everybody had a radio (circa 1935), crowds gathering in front of the local grocery store to listen to the loudspeakers broadcast speeches by Lindbergh and Father Coughlin. They were cheered loudly, and the broadcasts ended with Kate Smith singing "God Bless America." (The origin of the term "It ain't over until the fat lady sings, BTW.) FDR threatened to have Fr. Coughlin thrown in jail if he made one more speech. I seem to recall he went to canada after than and continued as "The Priest of the Airways."

Similarly, there were cheers from everybody in the streets when The Hindenberg passed majestically overhead on her way to NAS Lakehurst.
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Old 23rd May 2002, 22:56
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I. M. Esperto

So, do you think it was a good thing that America did eventually get dragged into "another European war"?
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Old 23rd May 2002, 23:40
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IHC - I think the reason the British efforts do not get the recognition they deserve is precicely that, they were NOT American, I always find it frustrating that if you ask who first flew the Atlantic non stop, any American (and a disturbing amount of others), will say Lindberg, forgetting both the Airship and Alcock & Brown.
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Old 24th May 2002, 06:40
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Foxmoth, you are not totally correct sir. Most Americans are aware that Lindbergh was the first to fly solo solo across the Atlantic. Is this not accurate?

Cheers,

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Old 24th May 2002, 10:57
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Yes this is correct, but my point was if you ask most Americans MY ? (who was first across, not asking who was first SOLO), they STILL answer Lindberg and most know NOTHING about the previous crossings.
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Old 24th May 2002, 11:27
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IHC.

Were the Americans "dragged into another European war."? I don't think so. The attack on Pearl Harbour instigated their actions. But while it pleased Winston Churchill that they entered the war, it was inevitable that they would fight on two fronts, just as we did. It was after all, a global war as soon as Japan made the attack.

I hope you don't mind me pointing that out.

It's a bit off topic too. So back to the main thread.
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Old 24th May 2002, 12:17
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Camelpilot, a great book that tells "the rest of the story," not exactly what we learned in American history classes, is The Man they called Intrepid.

President Roosevelt wanted to declare war on Germany long before 1941, but our Congress, and public opinion did not support him.

So instead, he helped the UK through PM Churchill via clandestine means, using Mr. William Stephenson (Intrepid) as a middle man. Pres. Roosevelt felt strongly that he was going to be impeached because of his actions in supporting the U.K. prior to December 1941 (Pearl Harbour).

I hope Stephenson is a hero in the U.K. because in my eyes he was a great man. Sorry, another issue here.

Cheers,



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Old 24th May 2002, 12:47
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Neil Armstrong, had a halfway decent aviation series on Discovery a couple of years back, he flew and described most of the classic warbirds, fighters from the fifties and sixties, I wonder why they have not been repeated, discovery tends to repeat stuff to death.
He always struck me as a very modest unasuming man, and he seems to have deliberatly kept himself out of the media spotlight, that makes him a hero twice over in my book.
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Old 24th May 2002, 12:58
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I.M. Esperto:
I enjoyed reading the article you put up and found it interesting to learn that the " Spirit of St. Louis " had two compasses. Good thinking as the compass was without a doubt the most important instrument Charles Lindbergh had. Also in that article there is reference to the Bell X-1 ( in the Smithsonian) that says quote:
" in which Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier " unquote. In the interest of truth I hope this is not implying that he was the first to do so because as far as I understand it he was 24 hours too late.

tony draper:
My sentiments also, it looks as the applause at the dinner was perhaps misdirected.

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Old 24th May 2002, 14:13
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I Have Control - I have no idea why Wilson entered the USA into WWI. I think it was unjustified, and a mistake.

Had we not sided with Britain? Who knows. Think tanks have wrestled over this one ever since.

It is quite possible that without our entry, the Allies and Central Powers would have come to a truce, and there would have been no obscene Treaty of Versailles, which was the root cause of WWII, IMO.

(Standing by to exchange broadsides.)
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Old 24th May 2002, 15:30
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Believe it is correct that most Americans would not name Alcock and Brown (or is it Brown and Alcock?) as first across the Atlantic (if you call Ireland really across), or even know that they existed but that is beside the point.
May have not had proper appreciation for the technical/operational demonstration by these two gentlemen, but got the impression that it was a fairly plain vanilla Vickers Vimy with all the extra gas that could be included. Good point about demonstrating the range and operational capability of airplanes in the real and very demanding world over the N. Atlantic. It did start, or at least give a wopping good kick in the pants, to commercial ambitions.

When did scheduled commercial service start across the N. Atlantic and who did it? First passenger across was a New Yorker not long (a month or so?) after Lindberg.

Believe most of these "Who was (first, best, biggest,etc fill in the blank), Mr. X or Mr. Y? " questions are not going to resolve to an answer really. What they do is result in lots of conversation, flush out some facts you didn't know, flush out a lot more opinions, many of which should be flushed, and all in all result in a jolly conversation. Which, IMHO, is what boards like these are for.
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Old 24th May 2002, 17:27
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The Hindenburg offered real trans Atlantic service on a practical scale.
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Old 25th May 2002, 00:13
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This thread started as a relativly simple question on whether Lindbergh or Armstrong was the most deserving of recognition.We are now considering why the USA was "dragged" into the two world wars and who was really first across the Atlantic, among other things. With that in mind I feel able to ask Prince and others who was really first to break the sound barrier.
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Old 25th May 2002, 02:18
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Who was the first?

To: Bonzaman

You allude to the fact that Chuck Yeager was not the first to break the sound barrier. The following was taken off of an Internet site dealing with the breaking of the sound barrier. It is the introduction to a detailed description of the X-1 program and the development of the aircraft.

THE BELL X-1
Fifty years ago, in 1947, it was common knowledge that there was a "Wall of Air" at the speed of sound. As an airplane neared this critical point, shock waves would buffet its wings and tail. The pilot would lose control; a condition then called "compressibility." Often, the airplane would shatter into pieces.
Dozens had lost their life trying to break through this "sound barrier."

By early 1947, the British had thrown in the towel when their plane, a unique tailless design called "The Swallow," self-destructed at 0.94 Mach. The pilot, Geoffrey De Havilland, Jr., was killed instantly.

This left the field to the Americans.


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