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Entries in airplanes (15)

Saturday
Jul252009

Nuclear-Powered Aircraft (1960)

The Winter, 1960 edition of Air Progress magazine featured two nuclear-powered aircaft on its cover. Much like the nuclear-powered car, which was a popular idea among forward-thinking automobile designers of the 1950s, this idea never really took off. (Get it? Took off! TOOK OFF! Nevermind.)


Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Nov252008

Airplanes of Future Will Travel 1,000 MPH (1939)

The January 29, 1939 Hammond Times (Hammond, IN) ran this piece about the super-fast airplanes of the future. The article quickly devolves into a debate about how trustworthy air speed indicators are.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 -- Airplanes capable of flying nearly 1,000 miles an hour - 300 miles an hour faster than the speed of sound - will be developed "within a generation," federal aviation engineers confidently predicted today.

 

This prediction, carrying with it tremendous military and commercial implications, was made while the same engineers were expressing "some doubt" that the plane flown in a test dive last Monday at Buffalo, N.Y., actually reached the reported speed of 575 miles an hour.

A spokesman for the national advisory committee for aeronautics, which conducts government aviation research at its vast Langley Field, Va., laboratories, said that while NACA tests thus far have not developed speeds on assembled models of above 500 miles an hour, there is no incontrovertible reason to believe that a modern airplane can not attain a 575-mile-an-hour clip.

"The basis on which we entertain doubt regarding the 575-mile-an-hour speed at Buffalo is simply this: The air speed indicator in the planes showed 575 miles an hour, but it has been established that air speed indicators cannot be trusted too far," he explained. "In order to have been accurate, the indicator in the plane flown at Buffalo should have been adjusted at different levels on the way down during the dive. That, of course, was impossible."


Read more:
600 Miles An Hour (1901)
The Family Plane of 2030 A.D. (1930)
Cyclonic Rocket (circa 1930)
Aerial Navigation Will Never Be Popular (1906)

 

Thursday
May222008

Luggage Blowers (1961)


Given the recent American Airlines decision to charge for your first checked bag, it seemed appropriate to look at this Closer Than We Think strip from the February 12, 1961 Chicago Tribune.

I fly out on US Airways tomorrow morning and would much rather be paying the extra 15 bucks.

Luggage Blowers

 

As our airliners increase their speeds, a greater proportion of total travel time is required for getting luggage off planes and into the hands of passengers. This problem is being intensively studied, and new methods of speedier handling are being researched.

One suggestion involves the use of aluminum containers floated on air cushions created by low-pressure jets. The next logical step would be the elimination of the containers themselves. Then just the luggage would be floated along ramps - faster than incoming passengers could walk to the baggage claim section.

Next week: Space Traffic Cop


See also:
Closer Than We Think! Throw-Away Clothes (1959)
Airport of the Future (1967)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
Passenger Air Travel (1945)

 

Wednesday
Apr302008

Passenger Air Travel (1945)


The cover of the March, 1945 issue of Popular Science shows a streamlined bubble-top bus onto which passengers deplane. If we notice the less fantastic predictions of this illustration, (specifically, widespread passenger air travel), we find that this vision was largely realized.

See also:
Airport of the Future (1967)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)

Thursday
Apr242008

Zipper-Bag Airplane (1958)


The camping trips of tomorrow will not only include throw-away clothes, but apparently stow-away airplanes. This edition of Closer Than We Think appeared in the October 19, 1958 Chicago Tribune.

Airplanes that can be stowed away between trips, like camping equipment, may be a common sight in the world of tomorrow. They could be folded up like tents, then spread out and inflated to shape.

 

The secret lies in a new kind of fabric being developed by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation. This material has a network of internal threads connecting the outside surfaces - the longer the threads, the greater the distances between those surfaces. Varying thread lengths could thus make possible any kind of shape, strong enough to be flown when inflated. Rubberizing makes the fabric airtight.

Flying machines constructed of this "cloth" have already been successfully test.

Next week: "Highway Space Wagons"


See also:
Closer Than We Think! Throw-Away Clothes (1959)

 

Monday
Jan282008

How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)


The December 27, 1950 Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) ran an Associated Press article titled, "How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D." The article covered the future of movies, commercial flight, space travel, medicine and women, among many other topics. Can you believe that by the year 2000 a woman may be president of the United States? Apparently not.

Some highlighted predictions of the piece appear below. A transcribed version of the article in its entirety can be found on my other blog, Older Than Me.

- Third dimensional color television will be so commonplace and so simplified at the dawn of the 21st century that a small device will project pictures on the living room wall so realistic they will seem to be alive. The room will automatically be filled with the aroma of the flower garden being shown on the screen.

- The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver. She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.

- Wireless transmission of electric power, long a dream of the engineer, will have come into being. There will be no more power lines to break in storms. A simple small antenna on the roof will pick up the current for lighting a house.

- The Third World War - barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds - will grow out of Russia's exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force.

- The telephone will be transformed from wire to radio and will be equipped with the visuality of television. Who’s on the other end of the line will seldom be a mystery. Evey pedestrian will have his own walking telephone – an apparatus by a combination of the X-ray and television. Electronic appendectomies will be performed with an X-ray-TV camera, projection screen and electric “knives” – the latter actually being electrodes functioning without puncturing the skin.

- In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.

- The nation's industrial and agricultural plant will be able to support 300 million persons 50 years from now - twice the present population. Land now unproductive will be made to yield. Science will steadily increase crop production per acre. Technological, industrial and economic advances will give the American people living standards eight times as high as now.

- Public health will improve, especially the knowledge of how air carries infections, like the common cold, from person to person. Before 2000, the air probably will be made as safe from disease-spreading as water and food were during the first half of this century.

- Space platforms, sent out from earth, will end mid-century’s “iron curtain” era by bringing the entire globe under constant surveillance.

- Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected.

- People will live in houses so automatic that push-buttons will be replaced by fingertip and even voice controls. Some people today can push a button to close a window – another to start coffee in the kitchen. Tomorrow such chores will be done by the warmth of your fingertip, as elevators are summoned now in some of the newest office buildings – or by a mere whisper in the intercom phone.

- Radio broadcasting will have disappeared, for no one will tune in a program that cannot be seen. Radio will long since have reverted to a strictly communications medium, using devices now unheard of and unthought of.

- Some movie theaters of A.D. 2000 may be dome-shaped, with ceiling and walls arching together like the sky. These surfaces would be the “screen.” Most action would still be in front of you, as now. But some could be overhead, some at the sides, and some even on the wall behind. A little girl steps into a street in the action before you – and you turn around and look behind you to see if an auto is coming.

- Through the extended use of better plants and animals, improved fertilizers, new growth regulators and more efficient machinery, it should be possible, leaders say, for farmers to produce future crop needs on much less land than today.

- Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come.

- So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.


The piece was written by the following specialists of The Associated Press: J.M. Roberts, Jr., foreign affairs; Howard W. Blakeslee, science; Sam Dawson, economics; Dorothy Roe, women; Alexander George, population; James J. Strebig, aviation; David G. Bareuther, construction; C.E. Butterfield, television; Gene Handsaker, movies; Ovid A. Martin, agriculture; Ed Creagh, politics; Norman Walker, labor; David Taylor Marke, education.

 

See also:
After the War (1944)
Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)
Taller Women by Year 2000 (1949)
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Future is Now (1955)
Closer Than We Think: Headphone TV (1960)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
I want an oil-cream cone! (1954)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)

Tuesday
Aug212007

Airport of the Future (1967)

Since I was stuck at Chicago's O'Hare Airport all day, here's an article from the December 1, 1967 European edition of Stars and Stripes, which describes the airport of the future.


An architect says he has an answer to the complaint that the longest and hardest part of a trip often is getting from home to the airport.

Martin Schaffer, chairman of the board of an airplane architectural firm, envisions "containerized" passengers transported from near their homes to the plane and then to their destinations without leaving the seats in which they started.

Schaffer, who served as project coordinator on construction of O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, says new airport facilities will be obsolete before they leave the drawing board unless some drastic changes are made.

"Airlines already have enough equipment in the air and on order to swamp every airport in the country by 1970," he said.

"Getting through traffic to the airport, and the handling of passengers and their baggage becomes more of a problem daily," Schaffer said, "but with plans for 500 and 750-passenger planes to go into service in the next few years our airports will become chaotic."

Schaffer emphasized that bigger airports with more buildings are not the answer.

Shaffer's airport of the future has no large terminal buildings but consists mainly of runways for jets and circular landing pads for vertical takeoff planes. These planes are in the design stage, Shaffer said, and resemble helicopters except that they go faster and are propelled by rotating engines instead of blades.

Shaffer said long, tiring drives to the airport followed by parking problems, long ticket lines, baggage check-in lines and then the long walk to the boarding area would be eliminated by his new transport system.

Shaffer foresees passengers with their baggage boarding a "pod" from gathering points in the area serviced by the airport, Shaffer explained that the pods would be car-like compartments running on monorails through tunnels like an underground system or on an air cushion.

Several pods, carrying about 75 passengers each, would be scheduled for a specific flight, Shaffer said, and after picking up the passengers at designated stops, would go directly to the field.

Instead of seats for passengers, planes would consist of a large frame in which the pods would be inserted, the way baggage compartments are insterted into a frame now, Shaffer said.

The pods could be detached from the air frame upon landing and could carry the passengers to different points at their destination, he said.

"We've got the technology to build this type of system within the next 15 years," Shaffer said.

See also:
Commuter Helicopter (1947)