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Old Sep 3, 2012, 5:26 PM   #1
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Default "I may be retired now"

"But I'm the best of the Space Shuttles."



Discovery flew 39 missions - more than any other spacecraft- and spent 365 full days in space. Her maiden flight was on August 30, 1984, and her final landing was on March 9, 2011. Among other achievements she put the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit.



I've wanted to get over to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center ever since the Discovery arrived. There was something of a dispute between Smithsonian folks (who are historians) and NASA folks (who are engineers proud of their baby). The NASA folks wanted the Smithsonian to clean her and spiff her up. The Smithsonian folks looked at the orbiter, with her weathered skin and tiles the way they were when she made her last landing, and decided she's going on display looking like she just landed.



The Smithsonian folks were right. She makes space flight very real.



The only question she has for us is, "Why did they name me after a British ship? Why?"
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Old Sep 3, 2012, 5:38 PM   #2
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Default More from Udvar-Hazy

Photography at the Udvar-Hazy Center is by far the most difficult I have ever experienced. They want to get everything they have on display so there's very little room between the aircraft. And the building, shaped like the hangar it is, has very low light levels (generally eV=7 or so).



The #2 attraction there is Mr. Badass - a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, the fastest aircraft ever flown (that we know about...)



Between the Discovery and the Blackbird is this mind-warp:



It's a Loon missle - a copy of the Nazi V-1, built by the US to be used in the WWII planned invasion of Japan.

The X-35 Joint Strike Force Fighter. This was the prototype that Lockheed Martin built to win the competition against Boeing. It is supposed to become both the Air Force's and the Navy's fighter.



I am skeptical that Navy pilots will be happy with a single-engine aircraft, having always used the motto "One if by land, two if by sea" to refer to the required number of engines in an aircraft that has very few emergency landing options.

A MIG 21, the supersonic fighter that had the longest production run of any combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all variants). This one is a MIG 21F.



A Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the first commercial transport aircraft with a pressurized cabin. It was based on the design of the B-17 bomber and produced just before the US entered WWII. It was used by PanAm, TWA, and the US military.



A Boeing-Stearman biplane trainer. The civilian version was called the Kaydet, the military version was the PT-13D. This PT-13D was used to train the Tuskegee Airmen and was named the Spirit of Tuskegee.



A Boeing FB-5, the Navy version of the Boeing Model 15. It was the first carrier-based fighter in the US Navy, and started service in January, 1927.



A Caudron G.4, a French biplane with twin engines that was widely used during WWI as a bomber aircraft. This particular airplane is the only multi-engine WWI combat airplane still in existence.



Knowing that Steven is a high-performance kind of guy, I throw in this plane for him. A Cessna 0-1A Bird Dog, a reconnaissance airplane widely used as an airborne Forward Air Controller (FAC) for jet fighters in the Vietnam War.



And this one's for Gary. The Double Eagle II was the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it landed August 17, 1978 in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours 6 minutes after leaving Presque Isle, Maine. It was piloted by Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, all three of whom spent those 137 hours in this open gondola.



(The Smithsonian has an acrylic sheet protecting it now.) There were 13 unsuccessful attempts by various people, some of whom were never found, before this successful one. Yes, Gary, they crossed the north Atlantic in this.
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Old Sep 3, 2012, 6:22 PM   #3
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What a terrific series, Ted! My favorite is the SR-71. I think it's the most beautiful aircraft the US has ever designed. I love the lines on her.

I vaguely recall (through a drug-induced, alcohol fog) this event. As many drugs as I was doing at the time I may have been higher than they ever could have gone.

This is another place on my ever-growing bucket list. If I have time, I may make a detour south on my return drive from Vermont later this month. Another place I want to visit is the Air Force museum in Dayton.
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Old Sep 3, 2012, 6:54 PM   #4
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What a terrific series, Ted! My favorite is the SR-71. I think it's the most beautiful aircraft the US has ever designed. I love the lines on her.

I vaguely recall (through a drug-induced, alcohol fog) this event. As many drugs as I was doing at the time I may have been higher than they ever could have gone.

This is another place on my ever-growing bucket list. If I have time, I may make a detour south on my return drive from Vermont later this month. Another place I want to visit is the Air Force museum in Dayton.
Thanks, Gary! I was switching between three lenses for almost every shot.

Funny you should mention the Air Force museum in Dayton - that's high up on my list as well.
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Old Sep 3, 2012, 7:57 PM   #5
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What a great series, Ted. Thanks for posting these. As an aircraft buff, they are all very interesting, and you really did a good job in your captures. Excellent detail there!

I wish the shuttles were still flying.

The SR-71 is a truly amazing plane, another example of the genius of Kelly Johnson.

And I agree with you about the joint strike fighter, I can't believe the Navy will be happy with a single engine fighter for carrier ocean operations.

(And yes, thanks for the Bird Dog photo; I remember those. )
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Old Sep 3, 2012, 11:22 PM   #6
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I misread the title there for a moment. I thought it said "I may be retarded now"
I was just going to pleasantly agree with you............

Fantastic shots Ted. I know how much work went into them. I saw the SR 71 in the Boeing Museum of flight when I took my grandson last month. He even got to sit in the cockpit. Well the cockpit was a realistic mockup complete with all the gauges.

I even showed him the plane that I helped rebuild that's on display there.

Looks like I can see a part of the Concord there? Imagine building that in the days before computers?
Built by the people who built the Discovery. By the way.

The only question she has for us is, "Why did they name me after a British ship? Why?"

They know what fantastic work the original Discovery did in the 1700's. In fact some of the charts of the islands and reefs that Cook plotted while aboard her are still as acurate as gps today. "Where no man had gone before" The name is an Honour..!
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Old Sep 4, 2012, 2:45 AM   #7
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Hi Ted

Possibly the best set of plane pics I've seen on any of the Oly forums...or any where else..

Good to see the 7-14 in use, I thought it was the 14-35 at first .. the pics look tack sharp .
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Old Sep 4, 2012, 6:04 AM   #8
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What a great series, Ted.

(And yes, thanks for the Bird Dog photo; I remember those. )
Thanks, Steven.

I wish there was a way I could have shown you the Bird Dog in its setting there. It's hanging above their Cold War supersonic fighters, like the F-105 and the MIG 21. It's so incongruous, I knew you would have laughed if you had seen it.
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Old Sep 4, 2012, 6:15 AM   #9
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Fantastic shots Ted.

I even showed him the plane that I helped rebuild that's on display there.
Thanks. What plane did you help rebuild?

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Looks like I can see a part of the Concord there? Imagine building that in the days before computers?
Yes, when they retired the fleet they donated one to the Smithsonian (they probably remembered the Smithsonian was founded by a Brit). There's no good place from which to photograph it but unlike most of the planes they have, you can walk around and beneath it. It's the opposite of the Shuttle, in the sense that it's much smaller than you would have expected.

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Built by the people who built the Discovery. By the way.
Huh?

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The only question she has for us is, "Why did they name me after a British ship? Why?"

They know what fantastic work the original Discovery did in the 1700's. In fact some of the charts of the islands and reefs that Cook plotted while aboard her are still as acurate as gps today. "Where no man had gone before" The name is an Honour..!
I know. I was just seeing if you were paying attention. NASA has always had an international viewpoint, that their work was intended to be inclusive of other countries. Look at the composition of the Shuttle crews over the years.
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Old Sep 4, 2012, 6:34 AM   #10
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Hi Ted

Possibly the best set of plane pics I've seen on any of the Oly forums...or any where else..

Good to see the 7-14 in use, I thought it was the 14-35 at first .. the pics look tack sharp .
Thank you, Harj.

This is not a place for kit lenses. I had tried photography there once before, and it turned out I had brought a knife to a gunfight. So this time it was the E5 at ISO 1250 and fast glass wide open. (They don't allow monopods or tripods.)

You were not mistaken - I used the 7-14, 14-35, and Vario-Elmar 14-150. Most of the keepers were with the 7-14, largely because the planes are so close to each other that you really need that ultra-wide field of view. The first photo of the Shuttle, MIG, Bird Dog, and side view of the Blackbird were done with the 14-35. The second photo of the Shuttle was taken with the Leica (from the same location as the first photo). I used the Leica on a number of the planes hanging from the ceiling, which don't have the same impact because of the lighting, background, and subject matter (they're not as sexy as the ones on the floor). I'll post those when I get a chance.
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