View Full Version : OT: Global Flyer

02-28-2005, 10:11 PM
For what it is worth, Global Flyer departed Salina, KS about 0130Z (7:30 CST) placing him in eastern Iowa at present time.

For those who don’t know about Global Flyer, it is an 80-hour non-stop, solo flight around the world.


02-28-2005, 10:28 PM
Do you have a good link for some more info?

02-28-2005, 11:00 PM
Do a Goolge search.

I work at an air traffic control center and I didn't know about the flight until he took off. I have a couple of tools that I can follow his progress. Working the mid-shift it doesn't take much to entertain us.



[This message has been edited by jaybird (edited 02-28-2005).]

[This message has been edited by jaybird (edited 03-01-2005).]

03-01-2005, 04:22 AM

now im going to follow this news, thanks.

Sprague M
03-03-2005, 09:55 AM
Willy Makit, Betty Doo, looks he may land today back at Salina, KS


03-03-2005, 10:19 AM
Even if it runs out of fuel I bet it makes a pretty good glider empty.

03-03-2005, 11:05 AM
According to the web site, at about 45,000 MSL and a glide ratio of 37:1, Steve can glide for about 200 to 300 miles depending on thermals and wind.

Shoot, most of the sail planes I fly don't have that high a glide ratio!


03-03-2005, 03:31 PM
he just landed, he made it.

very cool.

03-03-2005, 07:17 PM
What was the US spy plane that crashed in the USSR in the 60's, IIRC? I once heard that one lost it's engine over Tennessee and glided to Nevada or Arizona or ??? for a landing.

Don't know for sure about the truth of the statement but that's what I heard.

03-03-2005, 08:25 PM
pgmrdan I think that would be a U2.(don't know about the story otherwise)

a long range high flyer.

[This message has been edited by tattoomike68 (edited 03-03-2005).]

03-03-2005, 10:26 PM
Ya,just ask Gary Powers about SAM missles http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

U-2,started out as an F-104 if I remember right,saw one documentary were when it first lifted off they didn't mean for it to.It just went a short distance,less than a 100 yards and lifted off.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 03-03-2005).]

03-03-2005, 10:29 PM
Gary Powers was the pilot, ruski's got him with a missile during a overflight.
Kruschev was complaining about overflights,DDE vehemently denied them, then K produced Powers, and the wreckage.
He was later swapped back for a Russ spy we had.

Steve Steven
03-04-2005, 01:30 PM
On the history of the U2 - It started out as a British small bomber in 1947, I forget the name, the US got Martin to build an upgraded version as the B57, which Lockheed modified into the U2 at the SkunkWorks. About all that was left of the origional B57 was the center fuselage, all else was new. It did not start as a F104, even tho it looks like one somewhat.

03-04-2005, 02:13 PM
Sheesh. The U2 isn't based on anything. It was an original design by Kelly Johnson at the Lockheed skunk works. The first model was the U2A and flew in 1955. It doesn't closely resemble any other plane in any other service except of course the later models of the U2. They include the U2-R which is about 40% larger than the original. There is also the U2-RT which is a two seat trainer model. There are variations used by NATO and NASA as well.

The RB-57 was a modified Canberra bomber for recconaisance use before the U2 but was not the basis for the U2 design. The RB-57 Canberra and the U2 do have a superficial resemblance.

Flying the U2 at altitude is extremely difficult. At maximum cruising altitude (somewhere around 80,000 ft) the difference between cruising speed and stall speed is about 5 knots. The pilot has to maintain 100% concentration at all times.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-04-2005).]

03-04-2005, 02:15 PM
I think it was the british Canberra bomber that they started with.

03-04-2005, 02:17 PM
No they didn't. As I said, it is an original design. It also doesn't look anything like an F-104.

F-104 wingspan is 21' 9". U2 wingspan is 105 feet.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-04-2005).]

03-04-2005, 02:55 PM
Evan's right on this one. I've read Kelly Johnson's book. Or was it Ben Rich's? The U-2 was designed fron the wheels up as a spy plane. Like the YF-12/SR-71. Fascinating story...

Andy Pullen

03-04-2005, 03:04 PM
Evan's right. And at that altitude you didn't dare make a turn and have a possible disruption of the airflow to the turbines. Which means that the route had to be carefully thought out before hand.

03-04-2005, 03:36 PM
The U2 is also the only plane around with bicycle landing gear. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

Lew Hartswick
03-04-2005, 07:13 PM
Right on Evan. It's amazing how much BS is available
on the net. I wonder how long it'll be till there
isn't any correct answer to a question. It seems
that any field you care to take there are more incorrect
answers than right ones. As an example I quit reading
any posts that ask about electronics questions (I'm a retired
electronics engineer) due to the over abundance of
bad answers.
OH by the way aircraft includes sail planes of nearly ALL use bicycle gear. :-)

03-04-2005, 07:23 PM
I thought most or all sailplanes used unicycle gear. (not counting a tail wheel)

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-04-2005).]

03-04-2005, 10:24 PM
Uh,no,I did remember right,it DID start out as an F-104,see here-

* One of the unusual variants that would actually go someplace was the "CL-282", which was proposed by Lockheed in the mid-1950s as a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft based on the XF-104. The CL-282 was to feature very long glider-like wings and a P&W J57 engine, and it was to be stripped of everything that could be removed to reduce weight, including the ejection seat. The USAF didn't bite on the idea, but the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did and approved development.

However, as the design progressed, the machine changed to the point where it had very little parts commonality with the F-104, becoming essentially a completely different design with only a general reflection of its Starfighter origins. It would emerge as the famous "U-2" spyplane, in its own way as much a part of the Cold War as the Starfighter.

03-05-2005, 02:14 AM
Not quite. The CL-282 derived from the F-104 did not morph into the U2. It was abandoned and the U2 was designed from the ground up starting 29 Nov 1954.

The confusion arises because the general idea of a high altitude recconaisance aircraft was code named Project Aquatone/U-2. That name was assigned before the CL-282 variant was considered. The U2 may well owe some ideas to the F-104 based project but otherwise it isn't related.

03-05-2005, 10:05 AM
The fuselage is in fact borrowed from an F-104.The wheel wells and camera bays are the main modifications.
This sticks out in my memory because I have a customer in the aircraft spares business who several years ago was in a mad scramble to find 104 componets for a U-2 refit.I have also read this in several different sources over the years.

The fact that the project was dreamed up before there was a plane is normal.The Pentagon asks for things and the contractors try to deliver that's the normal way things work.
To say that the U-2 is a direct decendant isn't true,but niether is saying it's completely unique.The truth is somewhere in the middle.It's also a well know fact that Lockheed recycled designs and componets in that period.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 03-05-2005).]

03-05-2005, 10:26 AM
Interestingly enough, there is a large write up on the U-2 in the latest issue of Air & Space magazine.

They also seem to be convinced the U-2 was derived from the F-104. "(Kelly) Johnson was the chief engineer at Lockheed's Skunk Works in Burbank California, and his entry was basically a powered glider based on a modified F-104 Starfighter fuselage mated to very long wings and a centerline landing gear."

It goes on to say the CIA grabbed it and code named it Aquatone. It first flew in 1955, making design starting in Nov 1954 doubtful.

John Stevenson
03-05-2005, 10:58 AM
From the end of the war in 45 to this flying in 55 has got to be 10 of the most technological advanced years known.

A pity Hardley Dangerous took 80 years to manage the same http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
Mind you it did take 15 years to dry the flint out.

John S.

[This message has been edited by John Stevenson (edited 03-05-2005).]

J Tiers
03-05-2005, 11:23 AM
You better include a few more years and include the SR71 completed in the 60's. Everything about it had to be figured out new. There was no precedent at all for the speed and related problems, aside from the short-time flights of research aircraft.

The Skunkworks folks would happily steal any part or design possible to use as part of a new airframe. There is a resemblance between the 104 and the U2. I don't know how much structurally is similar.

But the entire premise of the two is different. One is a fast aircraft, with short wings, and the other a slow, long-wing highly efficient flyer.

Whether some existing structure was borrowed (wouldn't doubt it) I don't know. Whether that, if true, means that the U2 was "derived from", or "modified from" the other aircraft, is open to debate or question.

Does one weigh the parts and decide by the weight of those parts existing before, vs the new ones? I'd say the originality of the design is what makes the difference.

Is a small model motor that you design and make "modified from" existing things if you use a standard Martin Models flywheel casting?

No more than the skunkworks folks did if they borrowed an existing landing gear, cockpit setup, or whatever.

It's a useful plan to borrow from what exists as part of a new item if possible. Works in the shop too. Why NOT use a flywheel casting that exists if you can? Machining one out of solid is not fun and not particularly rewarding in larger sizes, unless you need a particular feature not available.

[This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 03-05-2005).]

03-05-2005, 12:22 PM
U-2 timeline.


Also look here. Basically they turned a 104 into the CL-282. Then they got rid of anything that looked or smelled like a 104. Jacked up the steering wheel and built a new plane under it.


[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-05-2005).]

John Stevenson
03-05-2005, 12:33 PM
# 3 Dec 1954
First design drawing completed and released to shop (EB)

# 5 Dec 1954
Shop completed first set of parts (EB)

Must have been a busy two days?

28 Jun 1957

2 U-2s crashed in separate incidents; #6699 near Del Rio, TX, USAF Pilot Ford E. Lowcock killed while buzzing his house;

Look Ma, no hands http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-05-2005, 12:47 PM
I can't belive how fast they worked then. We couln't get a freekin bolt designed in less than a month now, never mind make it.

03-05-2005, 09:35 PM
Yeah, they did work faster then. They had more oxygen in the air, and less pollution at the same time. The food they were eating wasn't hydrozmolized or laced with growth agents, but it probably did have lead and ddt in it. And they were all scared ****less of being overtaken by foreigners.
But anyway, back to the global flyer. Did anything significant come out of the flight?

03-05-2005, 10:59 PM
Actually we do more work than they did,just the work we do is mostly meaningless crap designed to amuse beurocrats.

Plus the guys at Lockheed didn't have to jump through paperwork hoops like now.

I know first hand the value of being able to go out in the shop and just build without having to stop and answer silly question or fill out reams of reports.

Norman Atkinson
03-06-2005, 06:52 PM
Well done! Per Ardua Asbestos.Whacko and all that sort twaddle.

I recall the U2 at Duxford but see no connection with Canberra which flew at Farnborough 1949 with Brabazon from Filton and Dear Old Shackleton which was designed to survive a mere 168 flying hours.
From that year, four aircraft survive from a s***** little airfield which hadn't a runway of more than 1024 yards. One, an Auster 7 went to the Antarctic. Two of the DH Devon C1's are also keeping her company in the RAF Museum bit at Cosford. The 4th has just finished flying as the "hack" with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Connection??? They're all my "babies" from RAF Hendon.

Your Old Dog
03-06-2005, 10:59 PM
I watched a program on Discovery Channel today and they credited the U2 with being the reason Area 51 was developed. And they interviewed the guy who coughed up the lake bed for area 51 for the company that built the U2. The company went to the government, told them what they were working on and got the go ahead to look for a suitable area to work in private. I believe the program also said the plane was designed from the ground up to be what it was, a spy plane.

The plane was integral part of the arms race between the Soviets and Uncle Sam.

John Stevenson
03-06-2005, 11:12 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Your Old Dog:
And they interviewed the guy who coughed up the lake bed for area 51 for the company that built the U2.


Some cough that, sure it wasn't IBEW's flu ?

Norman Atkinson
03-07-2005, 03:45 AM
Folks-thanks for the memory!

I was sitting with my my somewhat faded R.J.Mitchell mug- depicting his design of the Spitfire. After my little comments, perhaps I could comment on John's remarks.
I stood at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Champs Elyses in Paris. It was the 12th Sept 1999.Along each side of the broad avenue, representatives of the hundred years of flight were set out. Some- including a Corsair would actually take off next day. Looking at the take off problems, I simply didn't want to be around.

For the onlookers, it was as they said, 100 years of man's attempts to fly.

I got home, my phone rang. My mate was on the line. He had taken an even older member of our Squadron around the RAF Museum.

I reminded him,that it was 50 years since we, two boys had joined up together.

Today, I am writing the story of the RAF in the Antarctic. Tomorrow, I might be doing the bit when a heap of scrap metal landed on Hendon.It might have landed from the USS Missouri- but take off- you must be joking!
We surrounded this contraption- baby faced airmen and those who had flown and survived the most vicious battle in the air.

The bloody thing cranked itself up- spit smoke and snots-shook and took off! It would seem that something similar has been doing it ever since.I had entered the helicopter age.

03-07-2005, 10:44 AM
How many of you guys realize that the same fertile mind designed three of the most significant aircraft/spacecraft to fly in the last 15yrs.? Burt Rutan at least had a hand in, or was the main designer of the Global Flyer, Voyager(first non-refueled around the world flight), and the SpaceShipOne that won the X-prize last year. His Composite Aircraft company is a primer example of "getting the job done" - no huge corporate oversight hinders his brilliant, imaginative design genius. He also has some of the best & brightest of the homebuilt aircraft world working for/with him. Keep an eye on this guy - he may just be getting up to speed.

03-07-2005, 01:00 PM
This discussion on the origins of the U2 reminds me of the standard joke on the authenticity of a given vintage sports car.

"Yep it's the same car driven by [insert name of Famous Racer] back in The Day. Oh, it's had the tub replaced 3 times, and the drivetrain twice, but it's the car he drove."