Machine Design

Looking Back 05/07/09

10 YEARS AGO — APRI L 8, 1999
Next-generation seaplane: The Centaur seaplane, from the British company Warrior Ltd., should be flying by the end of 2002, according to its designer James Labouchere. The six-seat plane will use advanced composites to reduce weight and maintenance. Its streamlined hull, designed with the latest in yacht-racing technology, will create less drag in the water and air than conventional seaplanes. As a result, it will have a payload capacity 60% greater than other comparably sized seaplanes and a 400-mile range. The Centaur’s wings will fold, the better to access marina-berthing facilities. A 360°swiveling water jet mounted near the stern will let it maneuver into tight places. The water jet lets it quietly and safely reverse, rotate on the spot, and taxi at about 6 knots without the main propeller. (The company ran out of money and has yet to produce an aircraft.)

30 YEARS AGO — MAY 10, 1979
New underwater work vehicle launched: Recon-V, an advanced television-observation and work vehicle is now in the water, reports Perry Oceanographics Inc. The electrohydraulic computercontrolled craft has over 40 options that make it suitable for a variety of missions. And a diesel-hydraulic handling system solves major problems plaguing offshore launch and retrieval operations. The entire system is turntable mounted so that operators can track the umbilical as the vehicle moves.

50 YEARS AGO — MAY 14, 1959
Two tiny tools: An electric lamp the size of a pinhead and a radio transmitter slightly larger than a pencil eraser have been developed by Army’s Diamond Ordnance Fuze Laboratories, Washington. The lamp, top, measures 0.03 × 0.1 in. and uses 40-mA current at 1.5 V. It can be used as a probe-tip light, controlpanel dial light, or anywhere a near-point source of light is needed. The transmitter, bottom, is primarily intended for ballistic studies. Mounted in an artillery-shell head, it transmits temperature data when the shell is in flight.

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