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Found 144 results

  1. I want to be able to put an orange tank (36t) into a 100-200km orbit, but so far all my designs fall short in some regard. My smaller planes have good balance fueled/dry, but as I go bigger and add more engines, it becomes harder to keep them stable during re-entry. Additionally, for the bigger planes I'm having trouble getting enough TWR to do my insertion burn when laden (I typically run out of LOX for the rapiers before I have a circular orbit but after my apoapsis is in space). My most successful designs so far (last one is my best small lifter/personnel shuttle): I've probably done a dozen or more iterations but none have worked to a satisfactory level, and I don't know what I'm missing. If there's an obvious flaw with my designs, I'd appreciate being appraised of it. Some extra miscellaneous questions: Are the "Tail Connector A/B" pieces appreciably more aerodynamic than the "Advanced Nose Cone A/B" and the Shock Cone? They're very pointy, but also kinda heavy so if anyone knows that'd be great. What do you guys reckon is the optimal mass/rapier? What is the optimal wing shape, and how much lifting area/t is recommended? Please rip my designs to shreds. I desperately need the more efficient price/t of a good heavy lifter SSTO so I can build my Duna mission in orbit.
  2. Nice MKseries Body Made by: Kerbal Battle Field & Icecovery Studio & Kerwis Team Our members: Models: @Kernowden Kerbin Textures: @Kernowden Kerbin @Icecovery @Johnny005611 IVA: @Kernowden Kerbin @thedawm Import: @Kernowden Kerbin @thedawm Configs: @Kernowden Kerbin @thedawm Technical Support: @Acea @ladeng @flywlyx @Icecovery @BF2_Pilot All members come from Kerwis team DOWNLOAD: SpaceDock Recommended: RPM BDArmory Continued AEST AARS V2.2 changelog: Add "F-14D" cockpit and new HUD Complete experience need: JSI ASET KBF Weapon (bomb bay model size measured by AIM-120 and AIM-9X in this mod) License: Nice MKseries Body was released under CC BY-SA 4.0.
  3. I have a plane with the following main body, from nose to aft: Mk1 cockpit Mk1 LF tank Three material bays 1.25m service bay Radially attached to this are two Mk0 tanks with an intake and a Juno each. Rounded nosecone The problem with this setup is that if the Mk1 fuel tank is at the rear, the CoM moves forward a lot as the fuel is used up, which makes parachute positioning tricky (aside from the fact that I never build a single plane without enough chutes to come back down safely, the plane has the starting landing gears and is already overweight as it is, so the gears explode instantly if I try to land normally). So I put the tank in the front which stabilized the CoM, but now I have a different problem: the CoM is so far ahead in the front that if I put the rear landing gear near enough to it for the plane to even take off (if so, it takes off at ~87 m/s), the plane becomes impossible to land with parachutes when the tanks are full because even though it noses down while hanging from the chutes, the moment the front wheel touches ground, the plane's rear whips down and tailstrikes hard enough to destroy the rearmost material bay. So then. Depending on where I put the wheels, either I can't even take off or I can take off but need to fly for at least an hour before I can parachute down without breaking anything. For visual reference, this is the plane in question: The CoM is in the Mk1 fuel tank just behind the cockpit, both when full and when empty; the rear landing gear is attached to the material bay immediately behind the fuel tank because, again, putting it any more backwards makes the plane unable to take off. Fuel transfers from the Mk0 tanks at the rear cause negligible CoM movement.
  4. Low Altitude Mountain Race. The challenge: Go to: 8 degrees, 9’ 12” S, 179 degrees, 6’ 14” W Fly the route outlined on the map below (and demonstrated in the video) at the altitudes indicated as fast as you possibly can. Scroll down for the rules and details. This is almost due west of the Desert Runway. Start anywhere behind the ridge shown in the video. The course runs in a sort of loop inwards into the mountains. You begin with an altitude restriction of 2700 meters. That gives you a bit of leeway at the start. That restriction continues until the 3600 marker on the map (shown on the video as well) where you have a ridge to cross. Keep at 3600 until you make a 90 degree right turn and then you can ascend to 3800. Stay at 3800 until you after you cross the penultimate ridge and need to make a nearly 180 degree turn. Fly over the last ridgeline and then fly back to your starting point by whatever route you wish. The altitude restriction changes all occur in level areas between ridgelines, so you can adjust anywhere between the ridgelines. I threw together this video which I hope clarifies the route. It is a combination of flights since I did not have the best camera perspective all the way through one flight. I also had a few crashes. If anything is not clear, please ask in the comments below and I will try to clarify anything you are unsure of. The Rules: Run this route in as fast as you possibly can, keeping below the altitude restrictions. 1. There will be two classes: Modded, and Stock Craft . Kerbal Engineer is fine for either class as of course are any mods that do not affect flight (environmental, etc.). 2. No VTOL, angled engines, reverse placed engines, reaction wheels or inline stabilizers (aside from what is already contained in the cockpits). Reverse thrust is fine (eg Wheesleys) as are any quantity of airbrakes. Drag chutes may be used for landing, as long as you are not actually landing vertically with a chute. The spirit of this is about good flying and good aerodynamic design. 3. Style points for flying the whole thing with stability off. 4. Even more style points for flying this whole route as low as you possible can. Except for the last ridge in the 2700 section, every ridge can be crossed at least 100 meters lower than the stated restrictions. 4. If you break an altitude restriction, add 15 seconds to your time. (this might need changing, it is an arbitrary number I came up with. I am open to suggestions). If you do break it, you must get down below as soon as possible. If you are above the restriction for more than 5 seconds, you are disqualified. There is no way to police this. Really, just do this in good faith. No taking a 15 second penalty and then just flying at 5000 meters the whole way. 5. You must begin the race landed at a complete stop, takeoff horizontally, and must land horizontally and come to a complete stop. 6. Time will be determined by subtracting your start time from your end time. Therefore, take a screenshot just before you power up and just after you have landed and come to a complete stop. 7. You may make as many attempts as you like. If you have the Mission Builder, you may launch from that and save yourself having to fly all the way. It is also not too far from the Desert Runway (due west). Once you have arrived, save the game, so you can quickly reset if need be. 8. If you do not have the Mission Builder and have to fly, you can bring drop tanks, carry your plane under a larger craft to save fuel, edit scripts or do any other background cheats to shorten the trip, whatever. This is about the race, not about how you got there. Infinite fuel is fine for either class as well. 9. If you can, post a video of your run. It would be fun to see some good flying. 10. This race works on the honor system. Fly fast and fair. 11. No prizes. Just do it for the glory. MORE PHOTOS under the hidden tab.
  5. I was inspired to make a Mig 15-like plane in my career mode. Here it is: It is called A-3 Buzzard. It is my third aircraft in the career and like the first 2, named after a bird. Top Level flight speed (at 11km): 434m/s Absolute Top Speed (diving): 523m/s Max flight altitude: 13 km Altitude record: 15.6 km This here is the long winged version, the A-3B Buzzard: In High atmosphere: It is slower than the short wing version but can fly 2km higher. It is a weapon to surpass Metal Gear. Craft File for Short Winged version: Craft file for Longboye: Required mods: Procedural parts, Procedural Wings B9, USI Life Support, Ven`s Stock Part Revamp (find the newest fork), Unmanned before Manned, SXT I seriously see no reason to download this but I included the craft files just in case. It does require some messing with mods so it is more work than it's worth.
  6. I'm pretty stoked that my Steerpike passenger jet has just achieved 100 downloads on KerbalX. I only started learning this game a year ago and posted the craft in May. Thanks @katateochi for creating such a great site.
  7. Greetings fellow kerbals! I know this challenge has been on the forum before, but there are no new threads about this topic, so here is a new fastest plane challenge! RULES: Plane has to be stock, no mods allowed in this challenge! (Except for visual mods, like scatterer.} Record has to be broken in kerbin's atmosphere, the max speed doesn't count unless it's in the atmosphere. You are allowed to use any type of engine. You can use a probe to control your plane No cheats allowed Plane has to fly! Your aircraft has to fly by itself, it cannot be dropped of a mother carrier plane, has to takeoff and reach the speed record by itself. Plane has to be built in ksp version 1.4.5 How to enter your plane: You have to upload a photo of your plane. This is how the layout should look like: PHOTO HERE: Name of plane (eg, jebs plane) Top speed (eg, 1573 mp/s ) Number of engines your plane has (eg, 15) Well done to all who participated, but here are the fastest designs in the challenge. 1: Klapaucius's Bolt: top speed: 3002 mp/s 2: Jeb-Head-Mug kerman's (ME!): SX 93+ Olympia II: top speed: 2193 mp/s 3: Triop's X Star: top speed: 1710 mp/s Well done to all!
  8. For those that struggle with finding that perfect part or put together that perfect fighter fuselage, this is the mod for you. Brought to you by SM Associates @XOC2008 and @TheKurgan (with some excellent modelling by @SpannerMonkey(smce)!), we bring you Versus! Versus was created with two things in mind, lower part count aircraft to utilize BDArmory and related mods more efficiently, and to put together head-to-head match-ups between aircraft of similar style and function. These fuselages are all-in-one, including cockpit, radar, engine, ammo, and fuel. (On some occasions, the fuselage will also have a weapon integrated such as with the F-15 in this initial release.) Versus contains the following parts: F-15 Fuselage with inegrated 20mm MiG-31 Fuselage Su-25 Fuselage 3 F-15 droptanks in varied sizes 2 Pilot Pitot parts for WM and AI function FAB-100, 250, 500, and 5000 bombs (assets from NKD, rescaled and edited for current BDAc compatibility.) You will of course also need to outfit the vessel with wings, landing gear, control surfaces, weapons, and whatever various odds and ends you'd like. To note: This mod is intended for "full size" aircraft. Tweakscale is not supported, as it can and will most likely alter the weight and flight characteristics with disastrous results. Thrust, velocity, and atmospheric curves have been toiled over to get the most realistic performance we can squeeze out of these aircraft. This mod was designed for and with Stock aero, as such FAR is not supported, but if this works in FAR then all the better for those users. Versus is CC BY-ND 4.0 I know, no pics no clicks! Download on Spacedock or Dropbox. Recommended (but not required) Mods: BDArmory Continued - Required for pilot pitot part to function SM Armory SMI Missiles and Launchers - Full of missiles, especially some perfect Russian ones to outfit your vodka fueled planes. KWS - Cold War BDArmory Extension Kerbal Foundries Procedural Wings
  9. R-3A Schwall: Unparrelled Air Dominance Delivered Developed under the Republic of Kerbalia Air Force Advanced Frontline Fighter program, Adler Defense Systems presents its 5th generation Air Superiority Fighter, the R-3A Schwall. A lethal package of stealth, speed, agility and next gen sensor fusion, the R-3A achieves unquestionable airspace dominance through unmatched overall performance. Stealth: Advanced radiation-absorbent materials and metasurfaces, along with internal weapons bays and sophisticated shapes all help ensure the survival and combat effectiveness of the R-3A in hostile airspace, giving allied forces decisive operational advantages. The vertical tailless design strengthens the R-3A's stealth to a greater degree. Speed: The lethality and high survivability of the R-3A is further enhanced by speed - capable of Mach 1.4 supercruise and prolonged Mach 2.3 afterburner dash at extreme altitude ensures rapid insertion and extraction over hostile airspace and air defenses. Agility: R-3A brings forth superior aerodynamics through an unconventional forward swept wing design, canards, and 3D vectoring. The R-3a possess great agility at subsonic speeds, its blazing acceleration and razor sharp turns leaves any competition behind in ashes. Sensor fusion: The R-3A's combat mainframe can autonomously collect data through hundreds of on board sensors and share it among all allied forces through secured data links, providing real time high-fidelity battlefield surveillance for commanders and coalition partners, ensuring joint operation effectiveness starting from zero hour. The R-3A features an enclosed cockpit system, favoring external cameras linked to the pilot's HMD and spherical monitors inside the cockpit, providing unobstructed views and augmented reality, enhancing pilot awareness and combat effectiveness. R-3A Schwall flying in formation with the R-5A Schnee of the Support Fighter Program currently under development. Specifications: General characteristics Crew: 1 Length: 21.1 m Wingspan: 15.1 m Height: 1.95 m Wing area: 85 m² Empty weight: 14,853 kg Loaded weight: 23,164 kg standard air superiority loadout* Max. takeoff weight: 30,120 kg(limited by landing gear safety load) Fuel capacity: 9,673 kg internally, or 12,993 kg with two external 1.66 kL fuel tanks Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-31FM turbofans with 15 degrees 3D thrust vectoring Dry thrust: 76.2 kN each Thrust with afterburner: 122.4 kN each *MTW-IR-100 x 2, AIM-120 x 6, 73% internal fuel Performance Maximum speed: At altitude: Mach 2.5 as limited by engine temperature limit Supercruise: >Mach 1.4* @ 8,000m Combat Range: >3,500 km on internal fuel, standard air superiority loadout Combat radius: >1,000 km(with ~800 km Mach 2.0~2.3* afterburner dash @ 15500 m ~ 17000 m, supersonic exit & subsonic return) Ferry range: >4,000 km Service ceiling: 18,000 m Thrust/weight: 1.08 Maximum design g-load: 11.0+ g *Would require a few minutes to accelerate to desired speed Armament Guns: 1× 20 mm M61A2 Vulcan 6-barrel rotary cannon in right LERX root, 650 rounds Air-to-air mission loadout: 4× AIM-120A AMRAAM, 6xAIM-120C AMRAAM compressed 2× MTW-IR-100 Air-to-ground mission loadout: 2× 1,000 lb (450 kg) JDAM or 8× 250 lb (110 kg) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs 3× AIM-120 AMRAAM 2× MTW-IR-100 Hardpoints: 2× under-wing pylon stations can be fitted to carry 1,660 L drop tanks or weapons. Non-fiction: 1.I basically made the plane by mashing many planes together, be it realistic or fiction. 2.Thrust vectoring is essential for maintaining artificial yaw stability for certain roll maneuvers, so I couldn't use the more powerful F119s. Hands up for "please add 117S or izdeliye 30 to AJE". 3.Stock SAS can't fly the plane at all, atmosphere autopilot is a must. 4.I tried fitting spin recovery chutes to it, only to find out it just doesn't work at low altitudes, so they are simply drogue chutes for landing now. If you're a good pilot you might be able to land it on a carrier deck without arresting gear. I'm not though.
  10. A fully operational carrier hull and bridge. As opposed to Eskandre's excellent Nimitz, this one has a ski-jump. It's not actually based on any real-world aircraft carrier, but it probably most resembles the Russian Navy's Admiral Kuznetsov. The lifts and hangar are fully operational. The mod is actually just a single part that comprises the hull, deck, lifts and bridge. It generates its own power, but it's meant to be used along with other ship mods for engines, radar, antennae, defence systems, etc. [MOD - Download link removed due to missing license - sumghai]
  11. Blind/Bored Aircraft Facilities is glad to open the Public Overhaul Workshop. Disclaimer: english isn't my native language (french is) be tolerant for error and weird phrasing of a sentence. I do my best. Also feel free to correct me. Our goal is to help others aircraft company by fine-tuning, repair, enhance,..., their craft. For now this thread only concern about atmospheric(KERBIN) flying vehicle excluding vtol, ssto*, flaps engine and rocket. Space shuttle and ssto are accepted but I'll only take a look at their atmospheric standalone performance, don't blame me if it loose deltaV. I prioritize submission for Kerbal Express Airlines Challenge. To be select your craft must be nearly finish in its general design, be submit in this KerbalX hangar (Public Overhaul Workshop - request) and have a post you've make on this thread that contain the information listed below. Available mod: Tweakscale, Airplane+ and KAX I work on latest version only; 1.4.3 Needed information (unit; km, m/s, m, G, kallons, metric tons(t)(1000Kg), kallons/s, funds or $): (Ignore this as long as you state clearly what you want and what I can or can not do) -General parameters with min/max/target value (if applicable); cost, mass, speed, part count(max 300 without strut, not strict), fuel, range(speed*fuel/fuel_burn_rate)(at cruise), cruise altitude, cruise speed, cruise efficiency liberty( | most_eff_fuelBR - actual_fuelBR | or | most_eff_range - actual_range | )(does it need to be the most efficient), passenger, cargo capacity(mass), take-off speed,and more. -Any other constraint like don't move wing or no clipping. Autostrut(Y/N). Mod you allow me to use from the list above. -(OR)Describe your problem and what you want me to do. -Some info about the craft, PICTURE please. (I need to know if its for Kerbal Express Airlines as passenger count change) -Make a small speech on why I should help. (That's optional; please and tank you is enough) You can see if I decide to work/am working on your craft here: Public Overhaul Workshop - WIP When job will be done I'll make a post here. You can also check here: Public Overhaul Workshop - Job done I would apprieciate to get feedback. If you post in an other thread a craft I worked on please give credit to who deserve it or for KEA challenge mention BAF POW thread. If I get enough participation I may recruit more engineers to help me. Otherwise don't usurp BAF name. I know there is no proof that I'm not a noob. Truth is, I've build a lot of aircraft I'm just too lazy to publish them all.
  12. KESTREL AEROSPACE KC-100 DESIGN NOTES The KC-100, designated 'Rhino' for its bulk, is a heavy-weight, medium-range airlifter with a maximum takeoff weight of 90 tonnes. It's capable of relatively short takeoffs with lighter payloads, and can also be landed in a short distance if its thrust reversers and flaps are employed. The Rhino was created primarily with rough-field landings in mind, and can thus deliver payloads to remote locations that would otherwise be inaccessible. SPECIFICATIONS: Length: 33.3m Wingspan: 35m Height: 8.2m Empty Weight: 32.92 tonnes Full Weight(1162LF): 38.74 tonnes excl. payload Stall Speed: 40m/s Maximum Static Thrust: 480KN (4x Wheesley powerplants) Maximum Return Range, with maximum payload: 650km Maximum Range of No Return, with maximum payload: 1300km OPERATION MANUAL: AG 1 - Switch engines on/off AG 2 - Toggle Thrust Reversers AG 3 - Toggle flaps AG 5 - Lower/Raise Cargo Ramp KERBALX LINK: Please enjoy!
  13. I'm sure this has been suggested before, but since I tried and ALMOST did it today, I thought I would put it out there. In celebration of the new 1.4.3 release, I decided to fly around the world via the poles from the new desert runway. (And it seemed like a fun thing to do while listening to Italian Language recordings). Being a fairly crap plane builder, I just took a stock Stearwing, modified it to hold lots of fuel and then stuck and extra pair of wings on it because it would not get off the ground otherwise. It's not going to win any beauty awards, but it did the job. I managed to get all the way around with over a third of a tank of fuel left. Total flight time was about 5:58:00. (I mostly flew with stability on and timewarp on as well, so I did not sit here for 6 hours) I'm not sure exactly; the clock reads 5:57:17 on the last screenshot I took on approach. I then crashed. Argh! So, the challenge: fly around the world on a polar route, non-stop, and post your best time and show off your craft. You can start from any runway since the distance will be the same, as long as you land on the one you started on. I suppose we should put a ceiling of 12,000 on this as well. It should be flying, not orbiting. Oh, if you land intact, that's a bonus!
  14. what delta v is needed to get to the poles (and preferably back)
  15. The RQ-200 Widow Maker High altitude technology demonstrator [Block-1A] Download latest model here The RQ-200 Widow maker is the first of a long line of kerbal-less technology demonstrators. Taking several prototypes before reaching a final airframe design. Now upgraded to Block-1A. Development of the RQ-200 will be carried on in the pursuit of perfection. Several variants are planned and are currently being developed for release along with upgrades to the original version. The main variants will include and extended-range model, a high-altitude model, a high-speed model and a cruising model. Update log: (please check as new block upgrades come every few days) •The Widow Maker is a high altitude blended wing body design designed for high lift under all circumstances capable of reaching speeds above 1200 m/s at heights in excess of 30 000m •Stall speed is tested and is around 25 to 30 m/s remaining largely controllable throughout the speed range although loss of control can be observed at speeds below 40 m/s. The current Block-1 suffers from pretentious handling issues, largely but not restricted to extreme yaw sensitivity due to the lack of significant rudder surfaces. As a result flat spins can be observed through incorrect flying. Rolling either side will cause a pitching movement in the opposite direction of travel. In order to turn and avoid flat spins, a combination pitch, roll and yaw should be used. As always, a joystick is recommended. However in level flight the airframe is stable although SAS should not be turned off, it stays stable throughout the fuel range, from max. fuel to min. fuel. •There are two take off profiles, one of which considerably safer and easier than the other. Due to the sheer amount of crashes during testing, 2 sepratrons are staged on the nose to help lift the nose off the ground. •There are no special profiles for landing and landing this aircraft is considerably safer and easier than taking off. Beware that the aircraft decelerates EXTREMELY quickly when the engine is producing no thrust. It is recommended to stay above 60 m/s during final approach, flare and landing should be executed at 55 m/s, but never below 40 m/s. Gallery: Update: With Block-1A now available, Blocks-1B and -1C will be testbeds for Block-2. Block-1B should bring a boost in take off performance, the aim being to get rid of the separations and will be available in a few days. The aircraft is based upon these concept images of the secret reconnaissance drone RQ-180. The bigger brother of the RQ-170 Sentinel of which less than a dozen of photos exist. chomp chomp -Raptor
  16. Conric005

    The SRB Jet

    I have somehow, through messing around, created a Jet using an SRB Base. It can fly pretty well, and can land safely.
  17. Hey, I've been playing KSP since March 2013 and I pretty much only build planes. After 500 hours and hundreds of different designs, I've finally decided to upload one. It isn't my favorite plane I've made so far but it's the only one that can consistently pull more than 200G's (Though I have a few others that come close). I figured I'd share it and see how people feel. Please leave feedback if you like the plane/want to see more, maybe even share some of your own high-G designs! Not entirely sure how to make the pictures appear here without having to click a link but you can see them all on KerbalX. Let me know if I should change anything!
  18. Kronus_Aerospace

    1:2 Scale AN-225 Replica

    This craft is a 1:2 scale replica of the Antonov AN-225 Mriya. A full scale version can be found here . This version being so much smaller allowed me to make it much more accurate and detailed than it’s larger brother. While starting out as a fun little side project, this craft ended up being just as much work as the original. Download: Full Scale Version Download: Part Count: 1095 Craft Mass: 151.43 Tonnes Flight Specs: -Rotation Speed: 60 m/s -Stall Speed: 35 m/s -Max Speed SL: 212.7 m/s -Maneuverability: Decent
  19. The Antonov AN-225 Mriya was a large cargo aircraft designed to carry cargo of up to 250 metric tonnes that was designed and developed by the Ukraine based company Antonov in the years 1984 to 1988. The Mriya was designed to carry large payloads both inside it's large cargo hold as well as on top of the aircraft. The Mriya was designed with launch vehicles such as the MAKS project in mind, this influenced numerous design elements including the twin vertical tail fins which left the aircraft's rear clear for rocket exhaust to pass through. However, said feature only saw service in transporting the Soviet space shuttle Buran. The Mriya holds the title as being the longest and having the widest wingspan of any aircraft in operation, as well as having the largest maximum take-off mass of any aircraft ever built at 640 metric tonnes. The name Mriya is Ukrainian for "Dream", which I think you can agree is a truly accurate name to this colossus of an aircraft. Part Count: 979 Length: 87.5m Wingspan: 88.3m Mass: 640.3 tons Craft file: Performance: -Rotation Speed: 60 m/s -Cruising Altitude: 7500m -Max Speed at CRZ ALT: 222.7 m/s (exactly the same as the real thing) -Stall Speed: 40 m/s -Maneuverability: Surprisingly okay For more images as well as additional information, please check out the KerbalX page!
  20. This craft was the result of me just messing around. I was attempting to make an aircraft that was as unconventional as possible, and instead what I created is by far the most maneuverable jet that I have yet produced. This craft can easily pull 30g maneuvers Download: Craft Mass: 14.63 tonnes Part Count: 69 Preformance: -Rotation Speed: 60 m/s -Max Speed SL: 271.6 m/s -Cruising Altitude: 4000m -Max Speed CRZ ALT: 274.4 m/s -Max Dive Speed: 348 m/s -Maneuverability: Extreme -Stall Speed: 20 m/s
  21. Flying planes in KSP is rather frustrating. But one of the things that I find most infuriating is that my plane always arrives about 10 feet above the runway, and proceeds to drop down onto it. Invariably, it then bounces on the totally inadequate wheels (I only have the stock basic landing gear at the moment) and explodes. Why does my plane always start so high? I've built it on the floor of the hanger, but it makes not the blindest bit of difference - launch 10 ft off the ground, drop and boom.
  22. rockets-don't-make-toast

    Slowest plane in ksp

    This is a challenge about having the slowest plane. Rules in the video. +stock, no cheats. post your scores in the comments (forum equivalent)
  23. From the whimsy department, presenting Long Umpire, the flying boat. It won't go to orbit, but then why would you want to go to orbit with a boat? It's fun to fly, is fully amphibious, ditches and takes off water easily, and has a handy ladder in case the pilot wants to take a dip and get back on-board, and a cargo bay with a ramp in case she wants to pack a lunch, or a rover, or something else that can be rolled on, or off. Passenger variants with Mk 3 passenger modules are also feasible, I tried. To ditch, slow down to 100 m/s at 50 m altitude, then hold wings and nose level until you notice that you've stopped. Completely no-drama and very forgiving, it doesn't mind if you plop it down a bit nose-first, or fly it down a bit fast; I've made touchdowns at well over 100 m/s without any issues whatsoever. To take off, hit full power, waggle your wings to get the floats out of the water, hold attitude horizontal until you're going at 50 m/s or so, then pull up. If somebody flies a practical mission for this, I'd be curious to know what it is. Craft: (Named after the most iconic flying boat of all, the Short Empire, although the looks are more Caspian Sea Monster.)
  24. The Chausiku Kibowen class of heavy lifter spaceplane is an attempt at squaring the circle: combining the simplicity of a rocket with the efficiency and recoverability of a spaceplane. While that may be impossible, the Chausiku Kibowen comes close. It takes off easily, flies to orbit easily, re-enters easily, and lands easily. Craft file: The payload fits in a wide 3.75 metre fairing between twin fuselages. There's room to flare out the fairing a fair bit. Because it's in the centre, it minimises CoM shift issues, and the fairing keeps it aerodynamically efficient. Most of the body is structural: it is not intended to fly with full fuel load. The supplied craft file has plenty to get into orbit with the payload. To fly up, lift off at about 100 m/s, and once you’re at about 200 m/s, point the nose up at just under 20 degrees. Then do nothing at all until the jets start to flare out: at this point you should be still climbing healthily at about 25 km altitude, going at around 1400 m/s. Then hit 2 to toggle mode and start the tail engine, and fly yourself to orbit. To return, hold attitude between 45 and 60 degrees until transition to normal flight. If you have any fuel left, it helps to pump it towards the nose, as in very balanced regimes it may want to get into a flat spin when you hit thick air. To get out of it, apply thrust. Approach and landing are extremely easy. It touches down below 40 m/s at a reasonable angle.