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About KevinK

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  • Birthday 28/02/52

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    Washington State

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  1. Agreed, it is. I sat in the cockpit of the S.6 in Southampton some years ago - there really isn't much more in there, and in any case, if there were, you couldn't see it from the outside if the pilot were in place. Once the hinged windscreen is down, there's little more than a hole in the fuselage just big enough for the pilot's head. Kevin
  2. American "prejudice"

    This is another oft-repeated half-truth which misses the real cause of the accidents. There were several very significant contributions to the crashes, including pressurising the cabin to sea-level while climbing to/cruising at 35 000 ft which increased stresses much more than necessary. The 'square window' where the failure occurred was the ADF window, not a passenger window, and was as a result of fatigue from repeated 'ballooning' of the aircraft's skin in that region after a local Redux bond line failure. This root cause was only discovered after the public inquiry had closed, and was never widely known, as it would probably have destroyed de Havillands while doing no real good. DH undertook to fix the bonding issue, which as far as I recall was the result of contamination in the bonding process. Remember, DH had, in less than ten years, produced the Hornet, Vampire and many others using wood/metal and metal/metal bonding which no-one else could match: it was their primary method of construction by this time. A huge amount was learned by DH and the RAE, which was fed back into the manufacturing process. It resulted not only in the improved Comet, but to everything built by DH/HSA and Airbus since then.
  3. I would just like to put in a word of praise for Mikro-Mir's customer service. I found a small transparency missing from one of my Beverley kits. I e-mailed Mikro-Mir on 5th June, got a response on the 11th that the part was sent, and it was in my mailbox today: the complete sprue, bubble-wrapped and in a small double-walled card box. Undoubtedly the best customer service I've had from a kit manufacturer in recent years.
  4. Horrible War Movies

    I saw this film on its first run in the cinema, with two other pilots - both test pilots at the time. During one of the "F-14 vs Zero" sequences, we all had an audible sharp intake of breath as one of the F-14s clearly ran out of airspeed trying to roll in pursuit of a "Zero": he lost about 500' and recovered with full afterburner after dishing-out. Very nearly 'splash one Tomcat' on 70mm technicolor. Seriously though, the Grumman pilots did an outstanding job of making it look good to the audience. Kevin
  5. Modern Tech

    I had one of these for a few years - lovely to drive and its low c.g. makes it a better basis for a fun performance car than the MGB IMHO. One thing to watch with the 1275 engine, though: use the best-quality head gasket you can find, as they have a definite tendency to fail between 2 & 3 cylinders. That basic engine block was bored out over several decades, from 998-1098-1275, leaving very little material between those two.
  6. Your first aircraft model ?

    Eagle Spitfire, 1/96th scale, made in September 1960 on board a Bristol Britannia of BUA, en-route from Singapore to Stansted.
  7. Hinchcliffe 10 Naval Squadron Camel, blue guns?

    Not the barrel, Alan - the jacket. The aircraft-application Vickers gun retained the water-cooled jacket of the original land-use gun, but without the water and with ventilation slots usually added. It would be possible to retain paint as it wouldn't get more than warm, Kevin
  8. Modern Tech

    And the same goes for my 2008 SAAB: a well-designed, well-thought out piece of Swedish engineering. On the other hand, my wife's 2007 VW Eos has had one damned thing after another go wrong. To be honest, it's over-engineered and badly built - I notice that most of the cars referred to in this thread are German. One further observation - my 1979 MGB (owned since 1983) runs reliably as a daily driver. Once the troublesome original electronic ignition was replaced, it has just been normal maintenance & repair which I can do myself - all parts are easily available and easy to fit. Except the heater: legend has it that the car was in fact assembled around the heater. Kevin
  9. The WNW Camel is coming!

    My copy of the book arrived at the weekend, direct from NZ so you're likely to get it soon.
  10. One possible use for the extra figures: Of course, there is extra rigging involved.
  11. Time to get evangelical?

    Wrong scale - all the demand out there is for a 1/24th Brabazon.
  12. Share your bizarre facts

    How can I say this - but, sorry, Mercury DID have an escape tower. I think you meant Gemini again!! OK, here's a bizarre spacecraft fact. When I was on the Shuttle program, one of the unusual things about the External Tank (ET) was just how light it was for its volume. The thing weighed about 60 000 lb empty, but could hold 20 000 cu ft of LOX and 50 000 cu ft of LH2 and acted as the structural backbone of the Shuttle stack during the ascent. If a Coke can were to be enlarged to the volume of the ET, it would weigh six times the weight of the ET.
  13. RAF Transport Markings

    No, Adrian is correct - Support Command was initially maintenance, then absorbed Training Command, etc. Air Support Command and its predecessor, Transport Command, contained a rather special large unit, No 38 Group, which was in a sense a self-contained tactical air force, with fighter-bombers (Hunters to Jaguars in that 60s to 70s period) and tactical transports (Beverleys to Herks). It made sense to combine this combat unit with Fighter & Bomber Commands into Strike Command. The 'shiny fleet' (VC-10s, Comets, Britannias, Belfasts) came along as well. Of course, since this time the RAF has contracted to such an extent that the Commands have more or less disappeared and the Groups of today may not 'map' well to their history - today's 38 Group is a support organisation rather than a tactical air force. Kevin
  14. Share your bizarre facts

    No, they didn't, but the Russian Vostok capsules did, as you state. The later American Gemini was fitted with ejection seats, but they were there for launch abort instead of an escape tower. The reason was that the Titan launch vehicle used N2O4/Hydrazine propellants which (in the event of a catastrophe) give a less-rapid fireball growth than LOX/Kerosene: technically, it's a subsonic deflagration wave rather than a sonic detonation. Ejection seats could keep the astronaut ahead of the fireball. Probably. For the early one-person capsules, the difference was Mercury's water recovery, using an airbag between the spacecraft and the heatshield to cushion the impact. The Russians, recovering on land, had a harder impact. The cosmonauts had the option to use the ejection seat and Gagarin used it.
  15. So why the lack of Harvards?

    I've not flown the Harvard, but I did an hour of general handling on a two-stick Spitfire IX. At the time, I had about 400 hr P.1 and was current on the Chipmunk with a lot of aerobatics; I had some Tiger P.1 as well. My honest self-assessment at the time was that I would have needed something like 5 hr on an intermediate type to do a proper conversion and be properly safe on the more powerful aircraft. Of course, at the time there wasn't a serious prospect of doing a type conversion - it was done for the experience of flying a aircraft (PT462) which my Dad had flown operationally on 253 Sqn. The Spit (while I wouldn't want to give the wrong impression) was in some handling respects like a great big Chipmunk but with ten times the power and a lot of torque. An intermediate aircraft would have been useful, but not entirely essential: a direct conversion would be doable, but for a low-time pilot it would doubtless be easier, cheaper and safer to go the Harvard route. I would encourage you to do as you suggest and try the PT-17 (or a Chippie - I've heard there are a few in Canada!) as a 'lead-in' to the Harvard. The J-3's not ideal. Kevin