News and History

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American WIGs?

The Lun Class Ekranoplan (Captioned) is one of several Russian WIG aircraft which came and went.

Boeing Pelican concept image (below)

The US Defense Establishment (such as it is) has been on search for an amphibious sea plane. The DARPA request for information on wing-in-ground effect aircraft created a buzz. The Boeing Pelican (above and below) may being dusted off for a closer look. The article linked goes into much greater detail.

During my Navy years, USGOV had an interest in developing a SEAL Delivery Aircraft that operated in the boundary layer over the ocean, deriving extra lift from a wing-in-ground effect configuration, but it never went anywhere.  Frankly, it was not stealthy enough for SEAL operators to even consider.



Carthage and Rome

A rostrum (warship ram) inscripted with a Nike and M(arcos) POPULICIO(s) L(ucii) F(ilios) Q(uaestores) P(robaverunt) C(aios) PAPERIO(s) TI(beri) F(ilios), before 249 BC.

Marcus Populicios was a quaestor (an Offical of the Roman Republic who became later Consul) around 250 BC, so this Rostrum may have been used at the Battle of Drepanum in 249 BC during the First Punic War near Drepana (modern Trapani) in western Sicily, a Carthaginian victory in which the Carthaginians captured 93 Roman ships.

This one could have come from one of these seized ships used by the Carthaginians against the Romans. We know from Polybius (Πολύβιος – a Greek historian who lived c. 200 – c. 118 BC)  that after the Battle of Drepanum the Carthaginians no longer expected the Romans to ever challenge them at sea again, and as a result, they neglected their fleet.

In the battle of the Aegadian Islands in 241 BC, their fleet was hastily equipped and probably consisted of older ships, including those they had previously captured from the Romans.



Health Advisory


President Trump

On Biden


The Arnold Backlash

Two weeks ago, the actor and bodybuilder joined CNN senior global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga and the rabidly partisan star of the first impeachment proceeding against then-President Donald Trump, retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, to promote Vindman’s new memoir.

No, screw your freedom,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities.”

As a result, Singerman, owner of REDCON1 wrote to Schwarzenegger:

For the last 15 years, I’ve been attending the Arnold Classic, and for at least a decade I’ve been a sponsor of the contest. I’ve loved Arnold for as long as I remember, and credit him for my initial interest in bodybuilding and fitness. I’ve looked at him as a role model. It’s with a heavy heart and some genuine sadness, that REDCON1 has decided to discontinue any and all support for the Arnold Classic and the other Arnold-related events around the world.

We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars being a top sponsor of the event, and this year the exclusive sponsor of the webcast, but we can’t in good conscience continue to support & be involved with someone who has such diametrically opposed beliefs.

Anyone who says ‘screw your freedoms’ is un-American, and REDCON1 is a patriotic pro-freedom brand. We support freedom of choice. We don’t want Arnold censored or canceled. We just can’t support his opinion with our dollars.

‘His Dad Was a Nazi’: After Schwarzenegger Says ‘Screw Your Freedom,’ Conservatives Remind Him About Past


International Space Station (ISS)

The current agreements to keep the ISS flying, functioning, and staffed expire in 2024 and there is some discussion underway as to whether USGOV and NASA will keep running the program.

Might SpaceX be tasked to manage a new and improved space station – possibly including modules for space tourism?

14 thoughts on “News and History

  1. Actors who are U.S. citizens should have the same amount of say as every other citizen, no more and no less. Why would I believe anybody about anything whose chosen profession is to deceive the audience and make them believe something else. Mr. Schwarzenegger has a long history of not believing in personal freedom except for him. Kudos to REDCON1, hopefully more sponsors will show their mettle the same way.

    WIG sound like a way to waste a couple of hundred billion so Lockmart and Boeing can continue to pay dividends to their shareholders. All you need is a high altitude drone that can surveil the approaches the WIG can use and it appears to be pretty darn vulnerable. Can’t go down, can’t go up and can’t turn sharply.

    Privatizing the space station makes a lot of sense to me whether it be SpaceX or somebody else. Cost plus contracts that NASA uses are never ever the way to get the best value for our tax dollars.

    1. WIG gain lift from the boundary layer over the ocean, or possibly a very large lake, and as you point out, they have limited value, as the Russians learned. They’re not particularly stealthy and if they’re three times the size of a 747, they’re ideal targets because of the logistics and soldiers they’re transporting.

  2. Resurrect The Spruce Goose instead of that butt-ugly Boeing design. There might well be a market for 1st Class air travel like the old Pan American Clippers. Splash (copy) the original and lay it up in composites, it would last forever.

    1. I love the idea of flying in a Pan Am Clipper a lot more than the cattle cars that the airlines fly now.

  3. Sigh… People don’t realize those things ARE limited by sea state… And they don’t understand how much turbulence there is down ‘on the water’…

    1. Until you’ve been down there, you don’t appreciate the limits imposed by the boundary layer, which limits cruise missiles as well.

  4. Many years ago, on my first cross country solo, I landed too close behind a 727.
    It was a vivid lesson on wake turbulence, as it took full aileron both right and left to keep the wingtips off the tarmac. I still remember the clunk as the yoke hit the stops. I wonder if ground effect was a friend that day.
    That Ekranoplan would be a superior yard ornament for some of you. Who needs a hollow volcano with that thing around?!

    1. My first experience was outside of Las Vegas at about 7K when an F-111 out of Nellis made a distant pass but I hit that jet wash in a Cessna 172. Not pretty, but I didn’t auger in (obviously). It was a good lesson.

      1. PS – If you’re an evil scientist you do need an extinct volcano to put your lair in. I think that it is in the evil scientist handbook somewhere.

  5. re — schwarzenegger
    During the recall of California governor Davis, in a radio advert, schwarzenegger strongly advocated FOR indin casinos as a form of compensation for all their troubles.
    Two minutes later, a glossy two-page full-color advert fell out of the Sacramento News&Review, the local BOLCHEVICS weekly.
    In that advert, schwarzenegger strongly advocated AGAINST legitimizing indin casinos because of ‘back-room politics’.
    Since before his first trip to America, schwarzenegger was ‘owned’ by certain hollywood players.
    For example, his relationship with the weider publishing empire earned hundreds of millions for each party.
    The schwarzenegger net-worth is estimated at 1.2 billion (with a ‘B’).
    A buffoon, schwarzenegger boasted about acquiring a $60mil business jet by paying for it in one-dollar bills.
    A script-reader but never an actor, I believe his ‘screw freedom’ threat was merely him reading another script handed to him along with his standard acting fee.
    For more about the hollywood cartel, I strongly recommend SUPERMOB by Russo.
    Can you imagine everything you know is wrong?

    1. Hollywood is a surreal place, and there is very little good to say except that historically they have put out entertaining films occasionally. The people who thrive there and Arnold did, seem to live in a bubble of their own design. Occasionally they make films like “The Muse” that look like entertainment but are documentaries.

  6. The pictured space station is a Sierra Nevada design. You can tell by the Dreamchaser space planes. Uses inflatable habitats like what Bigelow Aerospace was going to launch, not sure if SN bought out the Bigelow, my research skills haven’t uncovered it yet.

    All SpaceX has to do is launch a couple modified Starships and they’d have a Low Earth Orbit station. In fact, there’s rumors of a 12 meter, possibly an 18 meter version of Starship, which, well, if you’re not launching to return, lots of extra mass can be carried upstairs.

    Or, well, one hellava big inflatable module could be carried up on a cargo launch, considering that the Bigelow B330 (330 cubic meters of interior space) was designed to launch on either Delta Heavy or Falcon Heavy (FH rated at 70 tons to low earth orbit, Starship is pushing for 100+ tons to LEO, maybe more if flying a non-recoverable Starship and using the empty Starship as a tanker and a ‘space garage’ in the former cargo hold.)

    And as said above, ground effect aircraft are nice on the drawing board, but suck in real life.

    Done with Arnold. Got elected as a Republican, governed as a democrat, now has gone full national socialist (just like his dear old dad.)

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