BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde

 

BAC Concorde
BAC Concorde

October 24, marks the anniversary of the last fight of  Concorde, the iconic retired turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, which made its last commercial flight on 24 October 2003. Concorde was jointly developed and produced by Aérospatiale and theBritish Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.Among other destinations, Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights fromLondon Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK andWashington Dulles and made the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time on 26 September 1973. It is one of only two Supersonic planes to have entered commercial service; the other being the Tupolev Tu-144. Concorde profitably flew these routes in less than half the time of other airliners. With only 20 aircraft built, the development of Concorde was a substantial economic loss; Air France and British Airways also received considerable government subsidies to purchase them.

Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the aviation industry after the type’s only crash in 2000, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and a decision by Airbus, the successor firm of Aérospatiale and BAC, to discontinue maintenance support. Concorde’s name reflects the development agreement between the United Kingdom and France. In the UK, any or all of the type—unusual for an aircraft—are known simply as “Concorde”, without an article. The aircraft is regarded by many people as an aviation icon and an engineering marvel.Scheduled flights began on 21 January 1976 on the London–Bahrain and Paris–Rio (viaDakar) routes, with BA flights using the “Speedbird Concorde” call sign to notify air traffic control of the aircraft’s unique abilities and restrictions, but the French using their normal callsigns. The Paris-Caracas route (via Azores) began on 10 April. The US Congress had just banned Concorde landings in the US, mainly due to citizen protest over sonic booms, preventing launch on the coveted North Atlantic routes. The US Secretary of Transportation,William Coleman, gave permission for Concorde service to Washington Dulles International Airport, and Air France and British Airways simultaneously began service to Dulles on 24 May 1976. When the US ban on JFK Concorde operations was lifted in February 1977, New York banned Concorde locally. The ban came to an end on 17 October 1977 when the Supreme Court of the United States declined to overturn a lower court’s ruling rejecting efforts by the Port Authority and a grass-roots campaign led by Carol Berman to continue the ban. In spite of complaints about noise, the noise report noted that Air Force One, at the time a Boeing VC-137, was louder than Concorde at subsonic speeds and during takeoff and landing. By its 30th flight anniversary on 2 March 1999 Concorde had clocked up 920,000 flight hours, with more than 600,000 supersonic, much more than all of the other supersonic aircraft.On its way to the Museum of Flight in November 2003, G-BOAG set a New York City-to-Seattle speed record of 3 hours, 55 minutes, and 12 seconds. Unfortunately The British government had lost money operating Concorde every year, and moves were afoot by 1981, to cancel the service entirely. In 1983, BA’s managing director, Sir John King, convinced the government to sell the aircraft to British Airways for £16.5 million plus profits And British Airways then ran Concorde at a profit, unlike their French counterpart. Between 1984 and 1991, British Airways flew a Concorde service between London and Miami, stopping at Washington Dulles International Airport and, Air France and British Airways continued to operate the New York services until 2003 and Concorde routinely flew to Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados and several UK and French tour operators operated charter flights to European destinations on a regular basis.

Sadly On 25 July 2000, Air France Flight 4590, registration F-BTSC, crashed in Gonesse, France after departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle en-route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, killing all 100 passengers and nine crew members on board the flight, and four people on the ground. It was the only fatal accident involving Concorde. According to the official investigation conducted by the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA), the crash was caused by a titanium strip that fell from a Continental Airlines DC-10 that had taken off minutes earlier. This metal fragment punctured a tyre on Concorde’s left main wheel bogie during takeoff. The tyre exploded, a piece of rubber hit the fuel tank, and while the fuel tank was not punctured, the impact caused a shock-wave which caused one of the fuel valves in the wing to burst open. This caused a major fuel leak from the tank, which then ignited due to sparking electrical landing gear wiring severed by another piece of the same tyre. The crew shut down engine number 2 in response to a fire warning, and with engine number 1 surging and producing little power, the aircraft was unable to gain height or speed. The aircraft entered a rapid pitch-up then a violent descent, rolling left and crashing tail-low into the Hôtelissimo Les Relais Bleus Hotel in Gonesse. On 6 December 2010, Continental Airlines and John Taylor, one of their mechanics, were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but on 30 November 2012 a French court overturned the conviction, saying mistakes by Continental and Taylor did not make them criminally responsible. Prior to the accident, Concorde had been arguably the safest operational passenger airliner in the world in terms of passenger deaths-per-kilometres travelled with zero, but had a rate of tyre damage some 30 times higher than subsonic airliners from 1995 to 2000. Safety improvements were made in the wake of the crash, including more secure electrical controls, Kevlar lining on the fuel tanks and specially developed burst-resistant tyres, although interestingly no modifications were made to the DC-10. The first flight after the modifications departed from London Heathrow on 17 July 2001, piloted by BA Chief Concorde Pilot Mike Bannister. During the 3-hour 20-minute flight over the mid-Atlantic towards Iceland, Bannister attained Mach 2.02 and 60,000 ft (18,000 m) before returning to RAF Brize Norton. The test flight, intended to resemble the London–New York route, was declared a success and was watched on live TV, and by crowds on the ground at both locations.

The first flight with passengers after the accident took place on 11 September 2001, landing shortly before the World Trade Center attacks in the United States. This was not a revenue flight, as all the passengers were BA employees.Normal commercial operations resumed on 7 November 2001 by BA and AF (aircraft G-BOAE and F-BTSD), with service to New York JFK, where passengers were welcomed by then mayor Rudy Giuliani.. This aircraft flew for 22,296 hours between its first flight in 1976 and its final flight in 2000. On 10 April 2003, Air France and British Airways simultaneously announced that they would retire Concorde later that year and Concorde made its last commercial flight on 24 October 2003. Citing low passenger numbers following the 25 July 2000 crash, the slump in air travel following 11 September 2001, and rising maintenance costs. Although Concorde was technologically advanced when introduced in the 1970s, 30 years later its analogue cockpit was dated. There had been little commercial pressure to upgrade Concorde due to a lack of competing aircraft, unlike other airliners of the same era such as the Boeing 747. By its retirement, it was the last aircraft in British Airways’ fleet that had a flight engineer; other aircraft, such as the modernised 747-400, had eliminated the role. On 11 April 2003, Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson announced that the company was interested in purchasing British Airways’ Concorde fleet for their nominal original price of £1 (US$1.57 in April 2003) each. British Airways dismissed the idea, prompting Virgin to increase their offer to £1 million each. Branson claimed that when BA was privatised, a clause in the agreement required them to allow another British airline to operate Concorde if BA ceased to do so, but the Government denied the existence of such a clause.In October 2003, Branson wrote in The Economist that his final offer was “over £5 million” and that he had intended to operate the fleet “for many years to come”.

The chances for keeping Concorde in service were stifled by Airbus’s lack of support for continued maintenance. It has also been suggested that Concorde was not withdrawn for the reasons usually given but that it became apparent during the grounding of Concorde that the airlines could make more profit carrying first class passengers subsonically it has been suggested that the Air France retirement of its Concorde fleet was the result of a conspiracy between Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta and Airbus CEO Noel Forgeard, and stemmed as much from a fear of being found criminally liable under French law for future Concorde accidents as from simple economics. In addition A lack of commitment to Concorde from Director of Engineering Alan MacDonald was cited as having undermined BA’s resolve to continue operating Concorde.

Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones)

Bill Wyman, former musician with Rock band The Rolling Stones was born October 24th 1936. The Rolling Stones were formed in London in 1962 When Keith Richards and Mick Jagger who were childhood friends and classmates, discovered that they shared a common intereest in the music of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. leading to the formation of a band with Dick Taylor (later of Pretty Things). Richards, Taylor, and Jagger found Brian Jones as he sat in playing slide guitar with Alexis Korner’s R&B band, Blues Incorporated,which also had two other future members of the Rolling Stones: Ian Stewart and Charlie WattsOn 12 July 1962 the band played their first gig at the Marquee Club billed as “The Rollin’ Stones”.The line-up was Jagger, Richards and Jones, along with Stewart on piano, and Taylor on bass. Bassist Bill Wyman joined in December 1962 and drummer Charlie Watts the following January 1963 to form the band’s long-standing rhythm section. Their first single, was a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” and their second single, was “I Wanna Be Your Man”, Their third single, Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”.

The band’s second UK LP – The Rolling Stones No. 2, yielded the singles “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No)Satisfaction” and “Get Off of My Cloud”. The third album “Aftermath” was released in 1966, contained the singles “Paint It Black”, the ballad “Lady Jane” “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” “Goin’ Home” and “Under My Thumb”. 1967 saw the release of “Between the Buttons”, which included the double A-side single “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday”, and the release of the Satanic Majesties Request LP. the next album, Beggars Banquet was an eclectic mix of country and blues-inspired tunes,featuring the singles “Street Fighting Man” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil. The Stones next album Let It Bleed featured the song “Gimmie Shelter”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” “Midnight Rambler” and “Love in Vain”. The next album Sticky Finger was released in 1971.and featured an elaborate cover design by Andy Warhol, and contains the hits, “Brown Sugar”, and “Wild Horses”. The Stones classic double album, Exile on Main St. was released in May 1972. their follow-up to Exile, Goats Head Soup, which featured the hit “Angie”. Their next album was 1974′s It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.

In 1978, the band released Some Girls, which included the hit single “Miss You”, the country ballad “Far Away Eyes”, “Beast of Burden”, and “Shattered”. the band released their next albums Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You in 1980 which featured the single “Start Me Up”. in 1982 the Rolling Stones toured Europe to commemorate their 20th anniversary and released their next album Undercover in late 1983. In 1986′s the album Dirty Work was released,which contained the song “Harlem Shuffle”.The next album “Steel Wheels” included the singles “Mixed Emotions”, “Rock and a Hard Place”, “Almost Hear You Sigh” and “Continental Drift”. their next studio album 1994′s Voodoo Lounge,went double platinum in the US. and went on to win the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.The Rolling Stones ended the 1990s with the album Bridges to Babylon which was released in 1997. In 2002, the band released Forty Licks, a greatest hits double album, to mark their forty years as a band.the Rolling Stones are one of the of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music and In early 1989, the Rolling Stones, including Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart (posthumously), were inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Q magazine also named them one of the “50 Bands To See Before You Die”, and popular consensus has accorded them the title of the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” Rolling Stone magazine ranked them 4th on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list. The band celebrate their 50th anniversary in the summer of 2012, and have released a book, entitled ’50′, to commemorate the occasion and the single “Doom & Gloom” from album “Grrrr” (which was released 12th November 2012) is on YouTube.

Boldly Going

Best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek, the American television screenwriter, producer and futurist”Gene” Roddenberry sadly passed away on 24 October 1991. Hewas born August 19th, 1921 in El Paso, Texas.He grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer. During World War II, His father flew 89 combat missions in the United States Army Air Forces and once he was demobbed he worked as a commercial pilot after the war and also as a Freelance Writer, writing scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun–Will Travel, and other series, before creating and producing his own television program, The Lieutenant.

In 1964 Roddenberry created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons before being canceled. Syndication of Star Trek led to increasing popularity, and Roddenberry continued to create, produce, and consult on Star Trek films and the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation until his death. Roddenberry received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame. Years after his death, Roddenberry was one of the first humans to have his ashes “buried” in outer space

The fictional Star Trek universe Roddenberry created has spanned over four decades, producing six television series, 725 episodes and many films – Including the Wrath of Kahn, The Search For Spock, The Voyage Home, Undiscovered Country, Insurrection, Star Trek Generations and After a gap It was recently revived by JJ Abrahams who directed Star Trek and Star Trek into Darkness, starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Simon Pegg as younger versions of the original 1960’s characters. Leonard Nimoy, who starred as Spock in the original series also makes a Cameo appearance as himself in one of the films, and Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a younger version of Kahn, who was originally portrayed by Ricardo Montalban. the popularity of the Star Trek universe and films also inspired the gentle parody/homage film Galaxy Quest (1999), as well as many books, video games and fan films set in the various “eras” of the Star Trek universe. Gene sadly passed away on October 24th, 1991 but the Star Trek universe he created has left a long lasting legacy, and continues to be very popular.

World Polio Day

October 24 has been designated World Polio Day By the World Heath Organisation. Poliomyelitis /poʊlioʊmaɪəlaɪtɪs/, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute, viral, infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route. The term derives from the Ancient Greek poliós (πολιός), meaning “grey”, myelós (µυελός “marrow”), referring to the grey matter of the spinal cord, and the suffix -itis, which denotes inflammation., i.e., inflammation of the spinal cord’s grey matter, although a severe infection can extend into the brainstem and even higher structures, resulting in polioencephalitis, producing apnea that requires mechanical assistance such as an iron lung.

Although approximately 90% of polio infections cause no symptoms at all, affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the virus enters the blood stream. In about 1% of cases, the virus enters the central nervous system, preferentially infecting and destroying motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis. Different types of paralysis may occur, depending on the nerves involved. Spinal polio is the most common form, characterized by asymmetric paralysis that most often involves the legs. Bulbar polio leads to weakness of muscles innervated by cranial nerves. Bulbospinal polio is a combination of bulbar and spinal paralysis.

Poliomyelitis was first recognized as a distinct condition by Jakob Heine in 1840. Its causative agent, poliovirus, was identified in 1908 by Karl Landsteiner. Polio had existed for thousands of years in certain areas, with depictions of the disease in ancient art. Major polio epidemics started to appear in the late 19th century in Europe and soon afterwards in the United States, and it became one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. The epidemics are attributed to better sanitation which reduced the prevalence of the disease among young children who were more likely to be asymptomatic. Survivors then develop immunity. By 1910, much of the world experienced a dramatic increase in polio cases and epidemics became regular events, primarily in cities during the summer months. These epidemics—which left thousands of children and adults paralyzed—provided the impetus for a “Great Race” towards the development of a vaccine.

Developed in the 1950s, polio vaccines have reduced the global number of polio cases per year from many hundreds of thousands to under a thousand today. Enhanced vaccination efforts led by Rotary International, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF should result in global eradication of the disease, although in 2013 there were reports by the World Health Organization of new cases in Syria. On 5 May 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, due to the renewed spread of polio – the outbreaks of the disease in Asia, Africa and the Middle East were considered “extraordinary”.The United States Center for Disease Control has recommended polio vaccination boosters for travellers and those who live in countries where the disease is occurring.

World Development Information Day/ World Nations Day

United Nations Day takes place annually on 24 October. It was created In 1947, by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, as which “shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for” its work. In 1971 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a further resolution (United Nations Resolution 2782) declaring that United Nations Day shall be an international holiday and recommended that it should be observed as a public holiday by all United Nations member states. United Nations Day is devoted to making known to peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations Organization. United Nations Day is part of United Nations Week, which runs from 20 to 26 October.

World Development Information Day takes place, and coincides with United Nations Day on October 24. It was implemented In 1972, by the United Nations General Assembly who created a day designed to draw attention to development problems and the need to strengthen international co-operation in order to solve them. The day was further recognized as the date on which the International Development Strategy for the Second Nations Development Decade was adopted in 1970. On May 17, 1972, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) proposed measures for information dissemination and for the mobilization of public opinion relative to trade and development problems. These became known as resolution 3038 (XXVII), which the UN General Assembly passed on December 19, 1972. This resolution called for introducing World Development Information Day to help draw the attention of people worldwide to development problems.

A further aim of the event is to explain to the general public why it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation to find ways to solve these problems. The assembly also decided that the day should coincide with United Nations Day to stress the central role of development in the UN’s work. World Development Information Day was first held on October 24, 1973, and has been held on this date each year since then. In recent years many events have interpreted the title of the day slightly differently. These have concentrated on the role that modern information-technologies, such as the Internet and mobile telephones free from digital divide can play in alerting people and finding solutions to problems of trade and development. One of the specific aims of World Development Information Day was to inform and motivate young people and this change may help to further this aim.

Blue Flame sets World Land Speed Record

imageOn 23 October 1970 Gary Gabelich set a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.The Blue Flame was the rocket-powered vehicle driven by Gary Gabelich that achieved the world land speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 23, 1970. The vehicle set the FIA world record for the flying mile at 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) and the flying kilometer at 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h). Blue Flame was constructed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Reaction Dynamics, a company formed by Pete Farnsworth, Ray Dausman and Dick Keller who had developed the first hydrogen peroxide rocket dragster,called the X-1 and driven by Chuck Suba.Blue Flame used a combination ofhigh-test peroxide and liquified natural gas (LNG), pressurized by helium gas. The effort was sponsored by The American Gas Association, with technical assistance from the Institute of Gas Technology of Des Plaines, IL. Reaction Dynamics” was formed in 1965 and started out as “DFK Enterprises”, for Dausman, Farnsworth and Keller. At that time Dick Keller worked part time as a research assistant into gas technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which was the research arm of the American Gas Association. Pete Farnsworth was a Top Fuel dragster racer.The engine of Blue Flame was designed by Reaction Dynamics, Inc. and some of the components were manufactured by Galaxy Manufacturing Co. ofTonawanda, New York. Galaxy Mfg. Co. was formed in 1966 by Donald J Magro and Gerald Muhs and was principally engaged in flow control systems, cavitating venturi, and precision machining fields.The Blue Flame engine is a regeneratively cooled, liquid-propellent engine of the variable thrust type. It can operate on either a single or dual-propellant basis. In operation, the engine permits natural gas use as a liquid or gas or both with a two-stage combustion start. The oxidizer flow is established first, then LNG enters a heat exchanger where it vaporizes and is brought to combustion temperature. The gas is then injected into the combustion chamber with the oxygen provided by the hydrogen peroxide. A stable flame front is established and the remaining LNG is injected to bring the engine to full power. Nominal design engine running time was 20 seconds at full thrust of 22,500 pounds-force (100,000 N) generating the equivalent of 58,000 horsepower (43,000 kilowatts).Dick Keller stated that the Goodyear Tire Company restricted their top speed to 700 mph (1,126.541 km/h). Reaction Dynamics subsequently modified the LNG flow in the 2-stage LNG injector system to almost halve the maximum thrust. The actual thrust during the record runs was between 13,000 pounds (5,900 kilograms) [equivalent of 35,000 horsepower (26,000 kilowatts) and 15,000 pounds (6,800 kilograms)

According to Dick Keller the kilometer timing traps were inside the mile. The Blue Flame record runs involved accelerating continuously to the mile mid-point, then coasting through the mile. The peak speed, of approximately 650 mph (1,046.074 km/h) was reached at that point and then the vehicle decelerated the rest of the way. The kilometer speed trap was biased towards one end of the mile, resulting in the 8 mph (12.875 km/h) higher speed. The frame of the Blue Flame is a semi-monocoque type aluminum, with welded tubular structure in the nose section and with an aluminum “skin.” The vehicle is 37 feet 4.6 inches (11.394 m) long, 8 feet 1.5 inches (2.477 m) high to the top of the tail fin , 7 feet 8 inches (2.34 m) wide and the wheelbase is 306 inches (7.8 m). It has an empty weight of 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms) and is approximately 6,600 pounds (3,000 kilograms) fully fueled and loaded.The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. designed 8:00-25 tires for the vehicle, with an outside diameter of 34.8 inches (880 mm) and smooth tire tread surface to help prevent heat buildup using Nitrogen gas at 350 pounds per square inch (24 bar] The Blue Flame is now on permanent exhibition at the Auto- and Technik Museum Sinsheim in Germany.

Gummo Marx

Being a big fan of the Marx Brothers I thought I would do a post about American vaudeville performer and theatrical agent Milton “Gummo” Marx, who was born October 21 or 23, 1892 or 1893. He was the fourth-born of the Marx Brothers. Born in New York City, he worked with his brothers on the vaudeville circuit, but left acting when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War I, years before his four brothers (Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, and Zeppo Marx) began their film career.Marx was born in New York City. His parents were Sam Marx (called “Frenchie” throughout his life), and his wife, Minnie Schoenberg Marx. Minnie’s brother was Al Schoenberg, who changed his name to Al Shean when he went into show business. He was half of Gallagher and Shean, a noted vaudeville act of the early 20th century. Marx’s family was Jewish. His mother was from Dornum in East Frisia; and his father was a native of Alsace, and worked as a tailor.

His military service began shortly before the Armistice, and he was therefore never sent overseas. After leaving the army, Gummo, who in an interview said he never liked being on stage, went into the raincoat business. Later he joined with his brother Zeppo Marx and operated a theatrical agency. After that collaboration ended, Gummo represented his brotherGroucho Marx and worked on the television show The Life of Riley, which he helped develop. He also represented other on-screen talent and a number of writers.Gummo was well respected as a businessman. He rarely had contracts with those he represented, his philosophy being that, if they liked his work, they would continue to use him, and if not, they would seek representation elsewhere.

Gummo was given his nickname because he had a tendency to be sneaky backstage, and creep up on others without them knowing (like a gumshoe). Another explanation cited by biographers and family members is that Milton, being the sickliest of the brothers, often worerubber overshoes, also called “gumshoes,” to protect himself from taking sick in inclement weather.He married Helen von Tilzer on March 16, 1929. Their son, Robert, was born in 1930.

Gummo died on April 21, 1977, at his home in Palm Springs, California from a cerebral hemorrhage following two strokes. His death was never reported to Groucho, who by that time had become so ill and weak that it was thought the news would be of further detriment to his health. Groucho died four months later.His grandsons are actors Gregg Marx, Chris Marx, and actor/producer Brett Marx, who as a child actor appeared as ‘Jimmy Feldman’ in 1976’s comedy film The Bad News Bears.When Richard J. Anobile asked Groucho in The Marx Bros. Scrapbook which brother to whom he was closest, Groucho replied. “Gummo. He’s a nice man, and that’s more than I can say for Zeppo.”