Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Prep for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Save 95% on the CompTIA IT Certification Bundle ×

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 1) 345

All I did was point out that the two aircraft were designed for completely different missions and how SR 71 design factoring included what the replying idiot thought was leaks.

They're still supersonic aircraft, and it is still very interesting to compare the compromises made and the reasons for them. However, what's really, really sad here is we're talking about planes that are at least fifty and almost sixty years old.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 1) 345

Depends on the circumstances. It's plausible. The Blackbird couldn't fly at above mach 3 all the time because of the risk and fuel consumption (everyone focuses on that mach 3 number), and even at mach 2 at 60000 feet you're still at very little risk from being shot down by anything.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 1) 345

They tried to catch it with F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mirage and F104 Starfighter, and failed on all counts. They succeeded with a Lightning.

I've certainly heard stories of this but nothing terribly official. I suppose it wouldn't be. However, using Concorde as a template for Soviet supersonic bombers seems sensible. I have heard of an alleged speed of mach 2.6 but no one knows. Concorde's top speed was fixed for safety reasons, obviously.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 2) 345

First of all, you are wrong.

Oh right.

The SR-71 would start on a low tank of fuel because of weight considerations...

Yes, that's why you do it...

....for the brakes and in the event of an emergency during or immediately after takeoff.

You don't compromise the entire operation of an aircraft for the sake of brake issues. That's a technology issue to be solved. Two things dictate take off weight - thrust and lift. Mostly lift. Can I get into the air with this airframe carrying this weight? In the case of Blackbird the answer is no. It would never generate the required amount of lift to get off the ground fully fuelled, and its airframe wouldn't let it either as it would leak so much as to be completely impractical. They could have added canards etc. but that would have added a terrible amount of drag. The key to that with Concorde was the wing and no one else got that right in supersonic flight.

This is not a design decision to be taken lightly. The Blackbird from the time it took off until the time it refuelled in the air and got up to an operational altitude was a complete sitting duck. You don't do that because of brake and tyre issues.

Secondly it is not fair to compare the SR-71 and the Concorde at all.

I don't think so in many ways. You look at supersonic aircraft of the time and look at what they were able to do and their aerodynamic thinking - purely from that point of view and what was achieved in those limitations. Carrying passengers, no pressure suits, longevity and reliability of the airframe, lift/drag, no exotic fuel required - the list goes on. Concorde is just infinitely more impressive as an achievement and did it on a daily basis. Most military aircraft can only achieve those speeds and altitudes for short periods of time.

The SR-71 didn't leak because the designers were too stupid to build an airplane that didn't leak. If you flew the Concorde at the speeds that you flew an SR-71 it would melt into a pile of scrap or the fuel would explode.

Concorde expanded hugely by over a foot in flight and at altitude, but it didn't leak nor did it need refuelled in mid-air. There were more exotic alloys that BAC could have used to fly even faster with safety in mind, but, they had to balance that against the cost of the airframe (not a problem at all for the SR-71, obviously), the fact that the plane carried passengers in a pressurised cabin with no pressure suits and also range and therefore speed. Slight difference, and considering the extreme limitations more impressive.

The SR-71 leaked fuel because the airframe got so hot at mach 3+ that the airframe expanded drastically. The SR-71 did not leak fuel once it warmed up.

Unfortunately it compromised it hugely as a reusable supersonic aircraft or an aircraft you could fly on a regular basis. You couldn't use the Blackbird as a basis for further supersonic aircraft and there was nowhere you could go from its initial design limitations. Those limitations were for good reasons but they were still heavy limitations. It needed teams of engineers to count fuel drop leakage and those are the extremes we're talking about.

It also traveled at over 3 times the speed of the Concorde.

Errrr, no it didn't. Unfortunately people look at headline mach 3 figures and don't see the technical overall achievement. Nobody actually knows the top speed of Concorde because it was largely fixed by safety, obviously, and no one tested its structural limitations as far as I'm aware but pushing the boundaries would probably have been mach 2.5. One of the French development aircraft reached 68,000 feet. The Blackbird could also only fly at mach 3 and beyond for limited periods in a mission as there were recorded instances of it simply coming apart.

Slightly off-track, the point I'm making here though is that as a passenger I'm disappointed that nothing has really improved in thirty or forty years. No one has really pushed any boundaries and the world just hasn't got any smaller in that time. The fact that we're having to compare two very different aircraft from decades ago, but supersonic aircraft nonetheless, kind of says it all.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 0) 345

the SR 71 flew two brave people around to take spy photos that helped save the world.

Freedom! Yer, I'll wave at you out of my pressurised cabin sipping my champagne. I do remember a funny story of a SR-71 being told to get out of the way of a Concorde as it flew past.

This hilarious AC comment perfectly exemplifies the jealousy and uncomfortable shuffling that Concorde generated at the time. Alas, it merely just proves my point.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 3) 345

Only if you ignore the astronomical sunken costs that had already been shouldered by British and French taxpayers.

How many trillions of US taxpayer dollars have been sunk into US aviation over the decades......and how far have we actually come? You don't honestly think Boeing isn't subsidised, do you?! I, but I forget, freedom and all that.

The US experience with the XB-70 led us to realize that extreme supersonic speeds don't make economic sense even for waging thermonuclear war. So we wisely avoided this supersonic transport boondoggle.

Flying higher and faster was always the right thing to be doing. They just realised they couldn't make it work in the way required.

Comment Re:Upstart? Scarebus? Comparison to Concorde? (Score 5, Insightful) 345

Then what was that Concorde-looking plane that landed at my (US) city's international airport back around 1975, belching soot and making a thunderous noise?

Possibly a Boeing 707 if you weren't looking. The 747 wasn't exactly quiet with its four engines. They were horrifically loud belchers and their engines simple couldn't compare with Rolls Royce or any of the British based Bristol stuff from that era. Still can't quite frankly.

The sonic boom and noise stuff was a convenient excuse. It was a source of great embarrassment at the time that US aviation didn't have the aerodynamic expertise to build a supersonic passenger plane. The Soviets undertook a pretty extensive espionage programme at the time which culminated in the Tu-144, but they could never get the delta wing right to the point where the plane just could not generate the required lift. This resulted in the awkward canards you eventually saw on it and the same thinking on the canned XB-70 bomber from that time. Huge numbers of compromises and they just couldn't make it aerodynamically stable. The SR-71 was a flying, leaking fuel tank that couldn't even take off on a full tank, requiring a mid-air refuel shortly after before getting very quickly to its operating altitude. Concorde really was a long, long, long, long, long, long way ahead in what was achieved.

If Concorde could have got on a larger number of routes then it would have been easily economically viable. Even towards the end of its career it made money and for a lot of people in the world time really is money, and in some cases worth more than the cost. With that more investment would have come, planes would have got larger, cost would have come down and the world would be a very different place.

Comment Re:Ouch? (Score 1) 301

I hope none. The database can't be trusted, and I can verify this because my email address is in their database despite the fact that I had never heard of Ashley Madison or Avid Life Media until the hack happened. You do not need an email verification to make an account there - again, I know this because whoever signed up my address was able to do so without access to my email account.

Yer, the data is junk and goodness knows where a lot of those addresses have been harvested from - especially generic Hot mail or Gmail ones. They never verified addresses so that's a big part of the reason why they had so many 'users'. The geo location data is also highly likely to be bogus since people will give false zip codes so anyone expecting to use this for blackmail or other purposes is likely to be disappointed. Unless you can match names and addresses it's a 10 gig dump of crap, apart from the credit card information. If they accepted payments through Paypal then I haven't seen that data anywhere.

Biderman's e-mails look far more interesting though.............

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 3, Interesting) 732

Similarly, while it was mentioned that the F18 could drop external fuel tanks in combat, no mention was made of the fact that the F35 could drop (or fire) external munitions in a similar situation.

The F-35 can carry less payload. It's as simple as that.

I should clarify this and say that if the F-35 carries external munitions it completely loses any stealth advantage it has. So, you have an inferior aircraft that has lost its supposed primary advantage that it almost solely relies on. Not great.

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 4, Interesting) 732

The whole anti-F35 argument rests on the report that one (1) F117 was shot down by Serbian forces using VHF technology. Otherwise, they are only talking about the possibility of long range tracking... not fire control radar. And in the case of that F117, there was no mention of the effective RCS.

I'm afraid what happened in Serbia is only one example, and it is something that really should never have happened. The radar used there was not particularly sophisticated. If anyone knows they can track a F-35 or F-22 right now then they are going to keep their cards close to their chest.

It gets worse for stealth though. In any major conflict radar and detection systems regularly get updated. The only way to respond to that with an aircraft that relies on stealth features is to take it out of service and change its shape and materials. That just isn't acceptable.

The arguments about dependency on forward bases is destroyed by VTOL capability, a fact that was not even touched on in the discussion.

Because it is totally irrelevant. VTOL in the F-35 is an even bigger joke because it had made an already ineffectual plane a sitting duck by making it even bulkier, less aerodynamic and heavier.

Similarly, while it was mentioned that the F18 could drop external fuel tanks in combat, no mention was made of the fact that the F35 could drop (or fire) external munitions in a similar situation.

The F-35 can carry less payload. It's as simple as that.

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

I disagree that dogfighting is relevant in modern warfare, at least with USA as one side.

Dogfighting being obsolete has been said for decades. The problem is when you are in a war your enemy tends to improve, you improve and things equalise out. When that happens you have to get close and then you have dogfighting. This is incredible stupid and misguided.

Comment Re:I dern't believe it! (Score 3, Insightful) 732

Actually they do. It was called the F-22. It was killed in favor of the (supposedly cheaper and as effective) F-35.

The F-22 has all the same problems unfortunately and a totally misguided idea that stealth will solve everything. It's certainly not been used in any conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq and to be honest they can't keep the thing maintained so that it can spend any reasonable time in the air.

The only thing that Lockheed had was to create a myth around the F-22 and F-35 and hope that the planes never got seriously tested either in conflict or even in training. If the planes did get found out then the standard response is to say that the plane does not have all of its operational equipment and claim that the planes don't need to dogfight because the enemy will always be destroyed over a hundred miles away.

Comment Re: Oracle's monopoly? (Score 1) 457

No, that's not true lol. Try using a Java Point class, for example.

Just because Google's API doesn't implement it, or indeed implement anything in the same way, has no relevance. There are countless C compilers with a long list of exceptions they don't implement. You're trying to split technical hairs from a legal perspective I'm afraid and this is where Oracle is coming unstuck very badly. These arguments have been made before about APIs that 'look' like others many times in the past. This isn't a trademark issue in the case of J++ where Microsoft licensed to be Java compatible. That's where Oracle falls foul here because they think they can frame it in those terms.

Anyway, the case is currently back in court, waiting for Google to come up with a fair use defense.

I don't know where you get that idea. Google already have a nailed on fair use argument, and as I've explained you can't miss, and Oracle are now desperately trying to get around it by claiming damage by the defendant, Google, on the value of their work (Java). To call that flimsy doesn't really do it justice and frankly, their claims are outright laughable on that front as that's their position on why this isn't fair. However, as I've explained, arguing contrary to interoperability can't even be done. This isn't a Visual J++ trademark case. Oracle wants it to be black or white and that just isn't possible.

Why don't you offer your professional services to Google? I'm sure they'll be happy to hear that the case should be thrown out.

That is incredibly nice of you but they really don't need my help. In fact, Oracle and the technical knowledge of their lawyers are doing most of the work for them. It's been amusing to see them celebrate over the concept of copyrighted APIs getting reversed, slip in the fair use doctrine to try and get around the very, very obvious problems that causes for software in general and then see them fail to argue a contrary position or argue how much of something isn't fair use. Just where is that line?

Litigation is all Oracle has as a business, and they are dying.

You might have mail.