Australian Opal and others

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Aircar, Jul 1, 2011.

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  1. Jul 7, 2011 #21

    Aircar

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    I looked up the Mini Sniffer and got heaps of hits --including several which showed photos of the initial canard version which was then converted to a rear tail with twin booms and many mention the hydrazine engined version and the adaptation for the projected Marsplane (using solar power or the hydrazine engine --I'll send a couple of links --also looked up Fred Jiran and find he is now in Texas still doing composite work . He also has a list of the contract work done for NASA Dryden (Edwards AFB) including the mini sniffer the F 15 models and lots more . The super snooper name was apparently dropped very early on which is strange (it was used for several later covert surveillance drones and other military projects it seems )

    This link refers to the designer of the Canard mini sniffer and, long before the X prize and Burt Rutan's winning Spaceship one --the use of a flip up tail for re entry -- www.nytimes.com/1983/09/27science/t...ons-of-the-future-flight-html?pageswanted=all. Not to take anything away from Burt Rutan's utilization of the glass construction techniques and the configurations which he successfully adopted and refined but I think the inventive step has to be conceded to this designer in the first instance (and he freely admits himself adopting the ideas of others and combining them in novel ways in this article --that is what progress consists of to a large extent . Burt used the Vari Viggen name itself to crdit the SAAB Viggen as inspiration for his first flown design (canard /delta)
     
  2. Jul 7, 2011 #22

    Aircar

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    That link misfires it seems;-- Googling " the playful inventor visions of future flight" might work --it refers to Dale Reed a NASA Dryden engineer who should get the real credit . I had carried out the cockpit access hatch modification to the first Australian built Vari Eze and then got asked to repaint it by the owner and after that did a couple of flights with him (rear seat only) so I had a fair idea of how it would behave apart from some Re No. differences and the thrust moment (which the Vari viggen also had ) let me know please if you can access the link or if you can post a proper link to it here --I am unsure of what address to send anything to on these forums or to cut and paste ..
     
  3. Jul 7, 2011 #23

    fly2kads

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  4. Jul 7, 2011 #24

    bmcj

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    Fun job indeed, but I suspect Mr Reed is no longer doing that job. The article is dated 1983 and gave his age as 53. No doubt born around 1930.
     
  5. Jul 7, 2011 #25

    henryk

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  6. Jul 11, 2011 #26

    flyoz

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    Mini Sniffer photo - amazing

    Flyoz
     

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  7. Jul 13, 2011 #27

    Aircar

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    Since first looking up Dale Reed's career I have just become aware that he was also responsible for the lifting body program at NASA Edwards that led on the the Space Shuttle (currently on it's very last flight ) -- when I was about 12 I wrote to NASA and got a very nice brochure with photos of many of the research aircraft including the lifting bodies (this was about 1965 )and I built a little model of the M2F2 which I took to school in my lunch box and would 'launch' it across the gymnasium or outside .

    It wobbled slightly but glided remarkably well considering the lack of wings ! (it was obviously a 'speed bleed' glide but the thing was very light also being a 1/32" thick balsa shell --very robust too, just the right size to fit between thumb and fingers to throw ) I built a larger version with stringers and bulkheads and fabric covered and 'launched it from the sock tower at the gliding field only to watch it arc over into a vertical dive and nice pile of splinters --something about minimum speed and the square cube law learnt that day...

    Looking back it was really nice of NASA to send a kid in Australia such information -- it looks like Mr Reed's work has intersected with my efforts more than once by a very unlikely chance (he also developed the remote pilot 'flying' of UAVs that is now routine for flying Predators drones and other UAVs --I sat in the 'stimulator' at Edwards in 1975 while they replayed the F15 Spin test model flight where the recovery chute failed and it had to be dead sticked (with about twice the real F 15s wing loading !) I suggested to CAFE and NASA that this remote piloting system would be the best way to test unusual new aircraft configurations for the original NASA flying car competition (described elsewhere on this forum before) --without realizing the link to the mini sniffer or Mr Reed . His work on the upturned tail for re entry stabilizing parallels but precedes Burt Rutan's on the Spaceship one and likely followed his work on the lifting bodies as re entry vehicles and flight from orbit (the USAF project "Dyna soar" also) -- Paul Bikle was in charge of the Edwards X 15 hypersonic flight program and a well known glider pilot who applied his flight test know how to do sailplane performance testing that is still the benchmark -- by chance he stayed with my family in 1971 en route to fly a HP 14 in the Australian nationals at Waikerie (he flew with our club before the practice period) and I ended up flying a club ES 60 Boomerang after the nominated pilot got heatstroke -- Paul was lucky to be alive after the ship he was share flying fell apart on the only high altitude day as a result of flutter .--the other pilot bailed out --the glider had had the aileron mass balances removed a to increase the span....

    Anyway Paul Bikle enlisted nearby Glider designer Gus Brieglib to build a plywood version of the lifting body using "saved" building maintenance funds from the NASA budget --they towed it first with an old Buick like auto towing a glider then with an old DC3 --that success led to the approval of a budget to build the full size metal aircraft using salvaged X 15 motors retrieved from museums ! --the space shuttle program can be traced to this start . (and Dale Reed....)
     
  8. Jul 13, 2011 #28

    Aircar

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    PS I haven't ignored the vortex oscillation thread --it's just getting too late for now (12.30 AM ) --thanks for the links both to that and on Dale Reed to both flyoz, fly2kads and henryk.

    If nothing else, wandering through these threads shows the real significance of chance encounters and little bits of information -- if Fred Jiran had not set up at Mojave, had not been asked to build the Mini Sniffer, had the model aircraft hot wire technique and European glider building know how , etc etc when Burt Rutan arrived back at Mojave we might never have had a Vari Eze and all the way up to the Spaceship One/ Whiteknight, Virgin Galactic etc--a chain of coincidences...
     
  9. Jul 16, 2012 #29

    BBerson

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    Did the Australian Opal pictured in post #1 ever fly?
     

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