The End Of The Concorde



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The crash of Air France Concorde Flight 4590 in 2000 was the beginning of the end for supersonic passenger flights across the ocean on a truly wonderful luxury aircraft. The Concorde was first built in 1967, and started passenger flights in 1969, when the thought of supersonic flight for paying customers was groundbreaking. And while the first flights consisted of the rich and the famous, it was soon affordable for the average person. There were 20 of these high speed birds built with 7 going to Air France, and 7 going to British Airways in a joint venture. The other 6 were used in a non-airline designation. Russia countered with its own version called the Tupolev Tu-144, and in 1970, Boeing built their version, the 2707, but cancelled any further production because it could not be made profitable.

The aircraft was of a sleek design which gave it the ability to fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet, and zip along at a cruising speed of 1,334 mph. While it takes conventional aircraft 8 hours to get from New York to Paris, it took 3 hours on a Concorde. On that fateful day, July 25, 2000, Flight 4590 was approaching take-off speed, at Charles de Gaulle airport when it ran over a 2 by 1 ft piece of metal that had fallen off a jetliner that took-off ahead of it. That metal punctured a tire that threw debris which punctured a fuel tank next to the engine and started a fire. The control tower radioed the pilot and told him that his plane was on fire, and the pilot, who had just lifted off the runway radioed back that it was too late.

That crashed took the lives of all 109 on board, and 4 on the ground, with most of the passengers on the plane being German, and were headed for a cruise in the Caribbean. While the crash was not a main reason, it was a combination of that and a loss of profits that led to the end of Concorde flights with the last one touching down on October 24, 2003. Some of the planes are on display at museums, and others are mothballed, but for a while, we were privileged to be able to travel faster than the speed of sound.

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Photo courtesy of you tube.com

 



Comming To The Military, Head To Toe Body Armor

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Body armor, that piece of metal that’s between you and certain death when in battle, has been used as far back as Roman times. At that time it protected the Gladiators from the sharp point of a sword, and with shield in hand, he could also protect himself from being slashed if he was quick enough. And then comes those who jousted on horseback, and unlike the Gladiator who was only moderately protected, these Knights of honor were fitted from head to toe with armor. The horses they rode were fitted with an armor breastplate because when you are racing at one another with each having a long spear, the last thing you need is for your mount to be killed leaving you having to defend yourself of foot in a armor suit that outweighs you by a 100 pounds. Certain death indeed.

Over the years, we had to abandon the suit of armor because it’s weight made it impracticle since you needed to be able to move quick to dodge the new weapon of battle……guns. And though the invention of the lightweight material used in bulletproof vest  made it revolutionary in saving lives, it still left a portion of your body exposed, and your chance of being killed was 50/50 at best. When Robocop hit the movie screens, he was virtually indestructible because he was 98% covered in a bulletproof shell. But we noticed also that his movements were somewhat slowed because his suit was powered and controlled by a combination of brainwaves assimilated to a computer. Next up is Iron Man, who’s suit is far more powerful than Robocop’s, and it covers Tony Stark from head to toe. He can control the suit from the inside without being integrated through the real process of thought control. Yes, that technology does exist today, and while not far spread, it soon will be.  As for having your suit be able to take flight, well, that’s a little ambitious but then again, who knows.

In June of this year, the U.S. military showed a prototype of a bulletproof, full body armored suit destined to be used by certain high risk teams. The material in these “suits of armor” will make them lightweight, and will not compromise mobility. They will be bulletproof from head to toe, and will also monitor the wearers vital statistics by reading brain waves picked up through the suits helmet and will be displayed on a digital screen in the visor. It seems this new technology of a computer reading your thoughts and taking action is going to make it’s way to the forefront faster than we thought. If you want to see a good example of this technology at work, watch the movie “Fire Fox”, starring Clint Eastwood. It may take a while to find it, but it clearly shows that someone saw the future of war coming around the corner.

 

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Photo courtesy of first showing .net

Area 51; Declassified, Yet Still Mysterious

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In 1947, just outside the town of Roswell, New Mexico, a little after sunset, residents claim to have saw a flash of light zooming across the sky in an unfamiliar pattern. As it went over the horizon, a big boom was heard, and then an explosion that lit up the night sky. As a group of curiosity seekers made their way to the site of the explosion, they were stopped by a platoon of military vehicles. They were told to turn around and leave the area which they did without question. Hours later when they were able to get to the site, they discovered only a spot that had burnt grass and nothing else. There was talk that a military convoy with a big flatbed truck had left the area with something on it that was covered in a tarp, and had made its way to a military outpost that sits 100 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. That area, in present day, has now come to be known as “Area 51”.

For years the government had denied that such a place even existed until last year when the Freedom Of Information Act made the activity of the outpost available and it was declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency, “CIA”, and released to the public. According to the released documents, Area 51 was created during the “Cold War” so the military could test cutting edge projects like the U-2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the F-117 Nighthawk without being discovered. Before the release of the information, the outpost had a secretive and overt disposition that turned into books, fabels and numerous editorials that kept conspiracy theorists tossing in their sleep for years. There were many stories of hidden spaceships with the bodies of alien beings being studied after they were pulled out of their crashed ship. There was even one story that claimed the moon landing was staged there, and that we never really went to the moon…..curious.

The documents that were released say that Area 51 was the home of the famous “Skunk Works” whose sole mission was to create spy aircraft to gain information on the Soviet Union’s strongholds. The first aircraft produced for this spy project was the U-2 spy plane. It was suppose to be able to fly high enough to take pictures of Russia and not be shot down. That theory was squashed when Francis Powers was shot down and held by the Soviet Union for spying. Realizing that they had to do better the Skunk Works developed the SR-71 Blackbird. It was, and is the fastest aircraft ever made. It started flying reconnaissance missions in 1966, and holds the New York to London record of 1 hour and 54 minutes, It can fly at an altitude of 85,000 feet and at a speed of Mach 3.

Well now that the information is out about Area 51, a lot of people are satisfied with the disclosure, but there are quite a few people who still believe that the government is holding aliens and their spacecraft. They feel that if the government let it be known that they have people from space, the population would go berserk with fear, and you know what, they’re probably right.

 

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Image courtesy of wikimediacommons.com