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Sky Yacht II
A vehicle everybody will want, but nobody will be able to afford.
The glamor of air travel may be gone, and gas prices may be rising steadily, but you (actually, somebody much richer than you) can still enjoy cruising the skies in style and comfort.
It's not a balloon. Sorry. No Blimps, Zeppelins or Airships here. The aircraft I want to see is a massive high-wing
powered glider. With the wingspan of a 747 and a high profile airfoil, the Sky Yacht II can stay aloft for days at a time. A single, powerful GE F110 afterburning engine carries the Yacht up to an altitude of 70,000 feet, well above the problems and troubles of the commoners below (and above controlled airspace). The people on board can look down through the large windows and see airliners passing below and the blue atmosphere curving around the earth in front.
Now the engine is cut off and the plane glides down to its destination, or just in a circle over the Bahamas if you want. Solar panels on the wings provide electrical power for the flight controls and luxurious cabin. No cramped seats here! The interior is more like an RV, with couches, a table, small kitchen, lav and bedroom.
If needed the engine can be restarted in flight to carry the aircraft farther, and the size of the wings allows for enough fuel to stay aloft for days by alternating powered flight and gliding. The high amount of lift created also lets the aircraft land on shorter paved runways than your average airliner, making leisurely travel to anywhere in the world possible.
I didn't say it had to be fuel efficient. [DIYMatt, Apr 26 2013]
[Kansan101, Apr 26 2013]
||Before you explain how a glider airframe can be built to
withstand 10,000 lbs of thrust whilst supporting 5,000 lbs
of infamously deafening jet engine and several thousand
pounds of fuel and peripheral gubbinz in addition to the
luxuriously appointed cabin and the luxurious people
lounging around in it and all of their luxurious luggage
below, please cite an example of a
J57-equipped aircraft that can fly over 56,000 ft (the
maximum cruise altitude, as near as I can determine, of
the F-8 Crusader high-altitude variant).
||Wikipedia tells me the J57 was used on the Lockheed U-2.
That oughta do it. In fact, this idea was somewhat inspired
by watching videos of the U-2 (which has a huge, high
profile wing) rocket off of the runway. The up-rated
versions also produce up to 13,750lbs of thrust.
||Everything else is easily explained by carbon fiber and
titanium. Cost is no option, after all.
||Thank you. My memory is suspect at best. I would like to
point out that the U2 featured a _pair_ of J57s and the
special seals created for low-pressure atmosphere pissed
copious streams of fuel and other fluids all over the runway
and tarmac as the plane taxied
out to take off, and continued to leak until about 30,000
ft. The U2 at Duxford has been steam cleaned who knows
how many times and it still _reeks_ of kerosene.
Even with two engines, the plane's payload consisted of
about 750 lbs of
cameras, a jockey-sized pilot, and a peanut butter
||And don't forget that titanium is light for its strength but
still heavier than it seems like it ought to be.
||"My memory is suspect at best. I would like to point out that the U2 featured a _pair_ of J57s and the special seals created for low-pressure atmosphere pissed copious streams of fuel and other fluids all over the runway and tarmac as the plane taxied out to take off, and continued to leak until about 30,000 ft. The U2 at Duxford has been steam cleaned who knows how many times and it still _reeks_ of kerosene."
||I believe you have merged your memories about the SR-71 and the U-2. Duxford does have both. U2 has one J57, SR-71 has two J58s. The SR-71 has the reputation for being leaky.
||After half a night's sleep and a brief reference to my travel
diaries, I believe you are correct sir. Have cookie. I still
contend that a single j-series would be incapable of
propelling a // a massive high-wing powered glider. With
the wingspan of a 747 and a high profile airfoil // and //
Solar panels on the wings ... couches, a table, small
kitchen, lav and bedroom // to a cruising altitude of
anything greater than 50,000 ft.
||-very well, engine type edited.-
||I find your replacement engine acceptable. Now let's
discuss how you plan to stop it rocketing right out through
the cockpit when this albatross tries to take off from a
||<on side topic> I remember watching, at Davis-
Monthan, summer of '66, a U-2 perform a "maximum
||It got going down the runway at a rate that seemed
a bit too fast for a taxi to the other end, but not
near fast enough to fly, when it suddenly did. It just
slowly started going up, in a spiral right over the
base, until it eventually disappeared from binocular
view - straight above the airbase.
||I was hoping that this would be about the Caproni Ca.60 or something like it.
||Link. The original climbed to 60 feet on its first flight and then nosedived and broke apart.
||I believe a modern reconstruction of the thing could fly with modern avionics and computer-driven stability.
||I appreciate its versatility. On a polar route it could hit an iceberg and then catch fire, whereas the Titanic and the Hindenburg could manage one each.