Badass of the Week.

-- The Lockheed Vega --

I really loved the Amelia Earhart posting on your Bad ass of the Week.

BUT

being a long time aircraft enthusiast and Federally-licensed Airframes and Powerplants mechanic I was upset when you described the "Lockheed Vega" as "a crappy Lockheed Vega" [Note: I have since alteredthe description somewhat to appease all of the Lockheed enthusiasts that populate the Internet -Ben.]

YES... it's strange to see a 450 horsepower radial (9-cylinder) engine these days, but believe me,

those engines are COOL.

Imagine the 36-cylinder engines on the WWII Bombers!
They had 2-speed BLOWERS.

But,, I digress.

Below you will see a more thorough description of what, for the years just out of the aviation "dark ages", was one of the BEST airplanes made.

http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aerojava/LOCKVEGA.htm

Keep up the good work. I still LOVE your blog.

Just try not to insult cool planes (or cool cars), ok?

Take care,

another fan,

Ken






Sir,

Being a regular reader of Badass, it surprises me that you did not post a bio on Amelia Erhart sooner. Given that her career was made during an era when air travel was the least safe form of transportation (as opposed to today, barring the film Airplane!), a lot of what she managed to accomplish was pretty badass in-and-of itself, and much of her credit is due to her succeeding where many had failed before. So not only did she have balls of 28 guage steel, she was smart enough to learn from the mistakes and lessons of others to boot. Her exploits were enough to outshine other pilots of the period like Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindberg (barring his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic) and Wiley Post, and those three were damn badass.

Unfortunately, I have to take issue with your apprasial of the Lockheed Vega, which included a picture of one of the better models of the series, which was well recieved in many respects, sans the visiblity issues, by many pilots. Additionally, it was one of the first planes to help the then fledgling Lockheed company get off the ground. True, it was not without its faults. The small windscreen for instance, and the engine in front of it, which, even in models without the NACA cowling (the engine's cover), was still nine cylanders of vision obsctructing goodness. All of which made for bad (forward) visibilty even in level flight. The narrow track landing gear probably did not help ground handling too much either. But it was simple to maintain, could fly anywhere with an atmosphere and could haul six passnegers and their luggage at speeds unheard of in the 1930's for a passenger plane (like 165mph unheard of). Imagine if an AK-47 and a mini-van had some illigitimate offspring. It was also engineered to be one of the safest planes of the day, since the monocurque fuselage could bear its own weight as well as the passengers and cargo had no skeleton of welded tubes to suffer structural failures, so to break the plane one literally had to break the plane. The wing, which looks as thought is should fall off, is of the cantilevier design, which means it does not need drag enducing braces to remaind attached to said airplane. It could carry ample fuel and was the test bed for many of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics's developments in aerodynamics during the 1930's. It was favored by many for pretty much all of the above, and the design lent itself to a number of derivities and off-shoot planes.

The article was none-the-less entertaining as always, and of course, badass.

With do respect,
Andrew

Sources:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/lockheed-vega.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Vega






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