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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: North American P-51C, &quotExcalibur III&quot, with tails of Concorde &amp Boeing 707 in background

Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | North American P-51C, &quotExcalibur III&quot:

On May possibly 29, 1951, Capt. Charles F. Blair flew Excalibur III from Norway across the North Pole to Alaska in a record-setting 10½ hours. Employing a system of very carefully plotted &quotsun lines&quot he created, Blair was in a position to navigate with precision exactly where conventional magnetic compasses often failed. 4 months earlier, he had flown Excalibur III from New York to London in significantly less than eight hours, breaking the existing mark by more than an hour.

Excalibur III initial belonged to famed aviator A. Paul Mantz, who added additional fuel tanks for long-distance racing to this standard P-51C fighter. With it Mantz won the 1946 and 1947 Bendix air race and set a transcontinental speed record in 1947 when the airplane was named Blaze of Noon. Blair bought it from Mantz in 1949 and renamed it Excalibur III, soon after the Sikorsky VS-44 flying boat he flew for American Export Airlines.

Gift of Pan American Planet Airways

North American Aircraft Company


Country of Origin:
United States of America

Wingspan: 11.3 m (37 ft)
Length: 9.8 m (32 ft 3 in)
Height: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
Weight, empty: 4,445 kg (9,800 lb)
Weight, gross: five,052 kg (11,800 lb)
Best speed: 700 km/h (435 mph)

Overall: Aluminum

Physical Description:
Single seat, single engine, low wing monoplane, Planet War II fighter modified for racing.

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Boeing 367-80 Jet Transport:

On July 15, 1954, a graceful, swept-winged aircraft, bedecked in brown and yellow paint and powered by four revolutionary new engines very first took to the sky above Seattle. Built by the Boeing Aircraft Firm, the 367-80, better recognized as the Dash 80, would come to revolutionize commercial air transportation when its developed version entered service as the well-known Boeing 707, America’s very first jet airliner.

In the early 1950s, Boeing had begun to study the possibility of creating a jet-powered military transport and tanker to complement the new generation of Boeing jet bombers entering service with the U.S. Air Force. When the Air Force showed no interest, Boeing invested million of its personal capital to build a prototype jet transport in a daring gamble that the airlines and the Air Force would acquire it once the aircraft had flown and established itself. As Boeing had done with the B-17, it risked the business on a single roll of the dice and won.

Boeing engineers had initially based the jet transport on research of enhanced styles of the Model 367, greater identified to the public as the C-97 piston-engined transport and aerial tanker. By the time Boeing progressed to the 80th iteration, the design and style bore no resemblance to the C-97 but, for safety reasons, Boeing decided to let the jet project be recognized as the 367-80.

Function proceeded speedily soon after the formal commence of the project on Could 20, 1952. The 367-80 mated a large cabin primarily based on the dimensions of the C-97 with the 35-degree swept-wing design based on the wings of the B-47 and B-52 but considerably stiffer and incorporating a pronounced dihedral. The wings had been mounted low on the fuselage and incorporated higher-speed and low-speed ailerons as nicely as a sophisticated flap and spoiler technique. Four Pratt &amp Whitney JT3 turbojet engines, each making ten,000 pounds of thrust, have been mounted on struts beneath the wings.

Upon the Dash 80’s first flight on July 15, 1954, (the 34th anniversary of the founding of the Boeing Company) Boeing clearly had a winner. Flying one hundred miles per hour quicker than the de Havilland Comet and considerably larger, the new Boeing had a maximum variety of far more than 3,500 miles. As hoped, the Air Force bought 29 examples of the style as a tanker/transport soon after they convinced Boeing to widen the design and style by 12 inches. Satisfied, the Air Force designated it the KC-135A. A total of 732 KC-135s were built.

Quickly Boeing turned its focus to selling the airline market on this new jet transport. Clearly the market was impressed with the capabilities of the prototype 707 but in no way far more so than at the Gold Cup hydroplane races held on Lake Washington in Seattle, in August 1955. During the festivities surrounding this event, Boeing had gathered numerous airline representatives to enjoy the competition and witness a fly previous of the new Dash 80. To the audience’s intense delight and Boeing’s profound shock, test pilot Alvin &quotTex&quot Johnston barrel-rolled the Dash 80 more than the lake in full view of thousands of astonished spectators. Johnston vividly displayed the superior strength and efficiency of this new jet, readily convincing the airline business to get this new airliner.

In looking for a market place, Boeing discovered a prepared customer in Pan American Airway’s president Juan Trippe. Trippe had been spending significantly of his time searching for a appropriate jet airliner to allow his pioneering company to preserve its leadership in international air travel. Operating with Boeing, Trippe overcame Boeing’s resistance to widening the Dash-80 design and style, now recognized as the 707, to seat six passengers in each and every seat row rather than five. Trippe did so by putting an order with Boeing for 20 707s but also ordering 25 of Douglas’s competing DC-8, which had however to fly but could accommodate six-abreast seating. At Pan Am’s insistence, the 707 was produced 4 inches wider than the Dash 80 so that it could carry 160 passengers six-abreast. The wider fuselage developed for the 707 became the standard design for all of Boeing’s subsequent narrow-physique airliners.

Despite the fact that the British de Havilland D.H. 106 Comet and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-104 entered service earlier, the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 have been bigger, quicker, had higher range, and were much more profitable to fly. In October 1958 Pan American ushered the jet age into the United States when it opened international service with the Boeing 707 in October 1958. National Airlines inaugurated domestic jet service two months later employing a 707-120 borrowed from Pan Am. American Airlines flew the initial domestic 707 jet service with its personal aircraft in January 1959. American set a new speed mark when it opened the very first routinely-scheduled transcontinental jet service in 1959. Subsequent nonstop flights amongst New York and San Francisco took only five hours – 3 hours significantly less than by the piston-engine DC-7. The one-way fare, such as a surcharge for jet service, was five.50, or 1 round trip. The flight was almost 40 % more rapidly and virtually 25 % more affordable than flying by piston-engine airliners. The consequent surge of targeted traffic demand was substantial.

The 707 was originally developed for transcontinental or a single-stop transatlantic range. But modified with further fuel tanks and a lot more effective turbofan engines, the 707-300 Intercontinental series aircraft could fly nonstop across the Atlantic with complete payload beneath any conditions. Boeing built 855 707s, of which 725 have been bought by airlines worldwide.

Having launched the Boeing Organization into the commercial jet age, the Dash 80 soldiered on as a highly successful experimental aircraft. Until its retirement in 1972, the Dash 80 tested several sophisticated systems, a lot of of which were incorporated into later generations of jet transports. At a single point, the Dash 80 carried 3 various engine varieties in its 4 nacelles. Serving as a test bed for the new 727, the Dash 80 was briefly equipped with a fifth engine mounted on the rear fuselage. Engineers also modified the wing in planform and contour to study the effects of various airfoil shapes. Several flap configurations were also fitted including a highly sophisticated method of &quotblown&quot flaps which redirected engine exhaust more than the flaps to improve lift at low speeds. Fin height and horizontal stabilizer width was later increased and at one point, a special numerous wheel low pressure landing gear was fitted to test the feasibility of operating future heavy military transports from unprepared landing fields.

After a lengthy and distinguished career, the Boeing 367-80 was lastly retired and donated to the Smithsonian in 1972. At present, the aircraft is installated at the National Air and Space Museum’s new facility at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Gift of the Boeing Business

Boeing Aircraft Co.


Nation of Origin:
United States of America

Height 19′ 2&quot: Length 73′ ten&quot: Wing Span 129′ 8&quot: Weight 33,279 lbs.

Physical Description:
Prototype Boeing 707 yellow and brown.

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Concorde, Fox Alpha, Air France:

The very first supersonic airliner to enter service, the Concorde flew thousands of passengers across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound for over 25 years. Designed and built by Aérospatiale of France and the British Aviation Corporation, the graceful Concorde was a beautiful technological achievement that could not overcome significant economic problems.

In 1976 Air France and British Airways jointly inaugurated Concorde service to destinations around the globe. Carrying up to one hundred passengers in fantastic comfort, the Concorde catered to initial class passengers for whom speed was critical. It could cross the Atlantic in fewer than 4 hours – half the time of a standard jet airliner. However its high operating costs resulted in extremely higher fares that restricted the number of passengers who could afford to fly it. These issues and a shrinking market at some point forced the reduction of service until all Concordes have been retired in 2003.

In 1989, Air France signed a letter of agreement to donate a Concorde to the National Air and Space Museum upon the aircraft’s retirement. On June 12, 2003, Air France honored that agreement, donating Concorde F-BVFA to the Museum upon the completion of its last flight. This aircraft was the very first Air France Concorde to open service to Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and New York and had flown 17,824 hours.

Gift of Air France.

Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale
British Aircraft Corporation

Wingspan: 25.56 m (83 ft ten in)
Length: 61.66 m (202 ft 3 in)
Height: 11.three m (37 ft 1 in)
Weight, empty: 79,265 kg (174,750 lb)
Weight, gross: 181,435 kg (400,000 lb)
Top speed: two,179 km/h (1350 mph)
Engine: 4 Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 602, 17,259 kg (38,050 lb) thrust every
Manufacturer: Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale, Paris, France, and British Aircraft Corporation, London, United Kingdom

Physical Description:
Aircaft Serial Number: 205. Like 4 (four) engines, bearing respectively the serial number: CBE066, CBE062, CBE086 and CBE085.
Also included, aircraft plaque: &quotAIR FRANCE Lorsque viendra le jour d’exposer Concorde dans un musee, la Smithsonian Institution a dores et deja choisi, pour le Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace de Washington, un appariel portant le couleurs d’Air France.&quot