Friday, February 10, 2012

Video Del Fuego, Part LII

I used to love building model airplanes, right up to the point when I didn't. I'm not exactly sure how that happened. Mostly, I think I just lost the patience for detail work and painting. So basically, I was out of the modelling hobby before I discovered the various kinds of radio-controlled flying models.

That's probably for the best. If I'd discovered that this sort of thing was available, I'd have never gotten any productive work done. Ever.

The ingenuity of the truly dedicated hobbyist is astounding. It's hard to believe some of the things they've come up with. There are flyable models of just about every aircraft you've ever heard of. They can get pretty big. Especially since there's no way to make a small flyable model of a B-36:

And while you can make a smaller flying model of a Spitfire, some things are easier when you go big:

But you haven't seen anything yet ... Back in the day, they used to sell radio-controlled models of "jets", which were models that kind of looked like jets, with propellers on the front. Not very interesting. So naturally, someone figured out how to make a really small jet engine. And behold:

Actually that one sounds like a ducted fan, as opposed to a real jet. But never fear, those do exist.

The problem with real jet engines? When things go wrong, they can get really explodey, really fast. Which is why just about everyone carries a fire extinguisher:

But what if that's not enough to slake your need for speed? Scale modelers like Steve Eves take it to the next level, with a flying 1/10 scale model of a Saturn V. (Yes, that Saturn V.)

Which leads us to these guys, who built a rocket of their own design, and punched it up to 121,000 feet.

Which just about defies description. Bear in mind, this is what our hobbyists do. On their own time. For fun. Now, imagine what our professionals could do, given clear direction...

National Engineers Week is February 19th through the 25th. Remember, if you can read this, thank a teacher; but if you're reading this on a computer, thank an engineer.

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