Plastic? Unattainium? We haven’t quite decided yet. DURING WORLD WAR II the British adopted the term “boffin” for scientists or engineers secretly developing novel weapons, inventing radar, breaking codes and so on. Frank Whittle, one of the creators of the jet engine, was a notable boffin. Another, less well known
Fixed is the new retractable. “Landing gears are made retractable in all modern high-speed airplanes. The drag of fixed ‘under-carriages’ used in old-type, and still in small and slow airplanes, is avoided in this manner.” Thus wrote Sighard Hoerner, the great compiler of drag data, in 1951. ONE OF THE
Things aren’t always what they seem. One of the pleasures of this job is hearing from readers. Some write to correct my errors or to note my omissions. Some are hostile, though the population recommending my immediate consignment to the infernal fires has for some reason dwindled in recent years.
You may have noticed, if you follow the adverts in American aviation magazines, a sudden multiplication of the number and variety of angle of attack (AoA) indicators on offer for smaller general aviation aircraft. THIS BURST OF ACTIVITY was triggered by a new FAA policy allowing AoA instrumentation to be