Category Archives: Aircraft

Is it a P-51 ? No, it’s a Porsche !

Craziest paint scheme I can remember in a racing Porsche, don’t you think ? It was found a few weeks ago at Austin, Texas. Of course.

I hope Stef Schader from Jalopnik doesn’t mind from grabbing her photo…

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The father of all Bentleys.

Since the 70’s I had some fascination with RR Merlin powered cars, probably due to a intensive diet of Battle of Britain comics during my more impressionable years !

The first one that I came across was this, built by Paul Jameson and John Dodd, appropriately called “The Beast“. Over the years it metamorphosed into the longish station wagon that you can see in the linked page. Also, others have come and gone, but I digress…

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My favourite of all is clearly this one, recently bought by Jay Leno. Built in the style and guise of a 20’s Blower Bentley, it started in fact as the frame of a RR Phantom II. The engine is not really a Merlin, but a less powerful variant, the Meteor, although still good for about 650bhp !

Fuel injection was added, along with disk brakes, electric power steering and numerous other improvements. The quality and attention to detail, as can be seen from the video, is astonishing. The noise is delicious… check it.

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Joy sticks.

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XT-W !

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March 20, 2013 · 6:14 am

Unstable is good !

What does a Porsche 911 and a F-16 fighter jet have in common ?

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The F-16 was the first production fighter aircraft intentionally designed to be slightly aerodynamically unstable, also known as “relaxed static stability“, to improve maneuverability.

Most aircraft are designed with positive static stability, which induces aircraft to return to straight and level flight attitude if the pilot releases the controls. This reduces maneuverability as the aircraft must overcome its inherent stability in order to maneuver. Aircraft with negative stability are designed to deviate from controlled flight and thus be more maneuverable.

However, to make it flyable by the average human — and avoid the need for constant inputs by the pilot, the F-16 has a fly-by-wire flight control system . The flight control computer accepts pilot inputs and manipulates the control surfaces in such a way as to produce the desired result without inducing control loss.

So what about the 911 ?

Not intentionally, but 911’s have always been inherently unstable, the huge engine mass at the very back-end making for a potentially lethal pendulum. Over the years, and 7 iterations, Porsche has tried to deflect physics through mechanical and electronic expedients, and has mostly succeeded. However, the basic inbalance is there, and still can be used advantageously by a skilled driver.

Porsche 911 Carrera S (991)

Like in an F-16, not much input / provocation is needed to make it change direction (ok, nowadays you have to switch off the nannies). That’s what always made them such an effective tool on road / track / gravel. But, for a hands on demonstration of “Relaxed Stability” check the next video by the great Chris Harris.

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A few world records…

While watching a video on the Koenigsegg Agera R powerplant, I noticed the following sign near one of the engines. It seems the Agera engine broke a few world records, but to my surprise most of them previously belonged to the Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

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I really admire Koenigsegg for what they have achieved with a fraction of the budget and manpower of the “big ones”. Even the ECU is their own design ! Also, kudos for the 8 part series on Koenigsegg made by the Drive channel. Addictive !

http://youtu.be/NzVc13UF2s8

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603 Squadron, RAF Hornchurch

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