Oct 16 2009


Today Ken Laundry called me to discuss the oil heat system.  He was questioning the flow of the oil and the external vernitherm valve.   After opening my own website and reviewing the piping layout I realized that I had piped pPod wrong….  Oops!    It was piped where the hottest oil would first flow through the cabin then the external cooler, instead of the external oil cooler and THEN the cabin.   This would result in much hotter cabin heater temperatures.   It would have worked fine as piped but the goal is to keep the cabin heater as constant and as cool a temperature as possible.

After verifying mistake in the shop, I commenced to re-pipe the oil outlet of the engine.   Fortunately, it only required some piping which I had on hand and most of my work day.    Since it was I who  messed up I would never charge my customer for the cost of the rework.     The  import thing is that the system is properly installed. 

I spent a hour or two glassing  the back side of the NACA duct.    Not a great day, but it was successful on all accounts…..

Oct 16 2009

Flying Saucers ..a slow news day..

I was amazed while watching the news last night about a little boy in a flying saucer shaped balloon.   What was flabbergasted me is how the United Sates military, news organizations and public were so easily duped by the absurd fantasy of the story.  A little boy craws into a flying saucer shaped balloon and is whisked away into space!  Heartbreaking!  Let’s call out the military.   Two hours of the national news spotlighted the tragic event.


 Within seconds of seeing the lead-in story on NBC it was easily apparent the “balloon” was way too small to support any significant weight let alone that of a six year old.  Nor did it have a rigid structure necessary to hold a saucer shape while supporting a payload (otherwise it would have folded up and looked like a balloon instead of a saucer shape).

 Here is a quick calculation.  An average six year old weighs 40-50 lbs.  Lift capacity of helium is 15.85 ft3 per lb.   The circular disk had an approximately 12 dia by 4 feet high (roughly the shape of the saucer on TV) has a volume of 452 ft3.  Lets assume it weighed 5 lbs for the Mylar envelope (no ridge structure).   Therefore the reserve lift capacity was at most: (452 ft3 / 15 lb/ft3) – 5 lb = 23 lbs

 Now understand, I am being VERY generous with the size of the helium envelope since I assumed a disk shape with no taper on the circumference like a real flying saucer nor a ridge structure.    I doubt the saucer balloon could have supported 10 lbs let alone the weight of a 40+ lb child.

 Was it a slow news day?  Did not someone realize the absurdity of the new story and decided put it on national TV as a joke?  Was the military so easily fooled that it sent a helicopter to follow the ballon and was preparing a rescue mission?

 One has to wonder…..