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Mars-Bound Hokie

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  1. While I was showcasing my Grimes Flying Laboratory replica, I was still a bit disappointed that it was just a means to show off new aircraft lighting rather than it being an actual laboratory with experiments and everything. I have seen many (and built a few) mobile bases with laboratories on them, and I remember Marcus House making a super trainer that can also double as a passenger transport years ago, but so far the only plane or SSTO I've seen with an onboard laboratory is Matt Lowne's flying Laythe base. So, I decided to build my own and started a thread where everyone else can show theirs off too. Maybe even get a little competitive with them along the way. Here are the rules on how your craft can qualify. First and foremost, it has to have at least one (1) MOBILE PROCESSING LAB. After all, it's not a flying laboratory without a lab. EXCEPTION: If you're using a balloon or dirigible mod that includes a part that can generate science points, that is allowed. Be sure to mention that, though. It has to have the following scientific instruments mounted: REQUIRED: Thermometer Barometer Seismometer Gravioli detector Atmospheric GCMS OPTIONAL (not required, but recommended): Materials Mystery Goo It has to be capable of flight in its final form, as in after all preceding stages (if applicable) are spent. You can use delivery rockets to get the flying lab to its destination (e.g. Laythe, Duna, Eve), but the lab has to fly on its own once it arrives. You are also allowed to make it capable of traveling on land and/or water, but it has to be able to fly. Craft has to be able to land and takeoff in its final form; where specifically doesn't matter. Otherwise, it's just a miniature space station or interplanetary transport vehicle. Crew must be able to get in and out of the craft. It doesn't matter if the final form can only fly on Kerbin, in space, and/or on other planets. The specifics on its performance capabilities will determine division placement and awards. More on those later. ISRU and/or docking capabilities for the end-stage okay, regardless of whether or not it leaves Kerbin's atmosphere. Though I suppose you wouldn't really need docking capabilities if your craft can't even get past a suborbital trajectory over Kerbin. Stock and/or DLC parts only. Autopilot/navigation/gauge mods okay. Generally, no mods outside of DLCs that come with additional parts. EXCEPTION: mods that come with balloon or dirigible-related parts are permitted, but those craft go in a separate division. If you want to allow a specific mod that conforms to the other rules, let me know and I'll take a look at it before deciding if it shall be allowed. Pictures and/or video of the craft in action are required. You can test it in Sandbox mode. If it can perform up to regulations there, it can do just fine in Career. Multiple entries per person allowed. In fact, it is encouraged if you want different awards under your belt. Qualifying entries and their respective awards will be shown in the Wall of Fame. Here are the divisions and division-specific awards for when your craft qualifies. Depending on the entry's capabilities, it might even qualify for more than one division award at once. ALL Divisions - awards that can be awarded to qualifying entries of ANY division. Agena Award - is docking-capable. It may not be practical for a Kerbin-only entry, but it can be for spaceplanes and body-specific landing craft. Alicorn Award - can submerge itself in water as well as fly in the air. The final form cannot detach anything, though. It has to be able to swim underwater and fly in one piece. This award applies for other planets with liquid on the surface (e.g. Eve and Laythe). Daffy Duck Award - can take off and land on water safely as well as land. This award applies for other planets with liquid on the surface (e.g. Eve and Laythe). If it can fully submerge itself underwater, then it qualifies for the Alicorn Award instead. Greenie Award - goes all-electric; no Lf or Ox required (except for balancing only). Huey Award - is capable of vertical takeoffs and landings. And yes, helicopters can qualify for this. Landers for Duna and celestial bodies without atmospheres do not count, unfortunately. Jetpacker Award - can serve as a land vehicle as well as an aircraft. E.g. flying cars. Office Award - has a total capacity of 19 or more people. Pilot + 2 scientists + 16 miscellaneous. You don't have to load your craft with that many people to qualify, just prove that it can carry that many. Olde Tyme Award - uses propeller engines that require Lf and air intakes. Jet engines cannot be the primary source of propulsion. More likely to find these on Kerbin, but you could maybe try this on Laythe too. Eve and Duna are not good places to win this award, since their atmospheres are not suitable for air intakes. SEAL Award - final form can do well as a sea and a land vehicle as well as an aircraft. Again, no detaching anything in its final form. Self-Sustainer Award - can refuel itself using ISRU. Electric planes do not qualify for this since a competent engineer would install some means for the plane to recharge itself, whether it be via solar panels, RTGs, or both. Supersonic Award - can cruise faster than 343 m/s. If it can do a suborbital trajectory around Kerbin, then it qualifies for the Kermit Award instead. Homesick Division - vehicles that cannot go past a suborbital trajectory of Kerbin. Kermit Award - can go in a suborbital trajectory (and not a full orbit) over Kerbin. Cannot substitute for the World Traveler Award or the Verne Award. Verne Award - can circumnavigate all of Kerbin without stopping to refuel. Has to stay within the atmosphere at all times. Electric planes that can do this can qualify, but it is recommended that you fly west with the sun at a velocity of approximately 175 m/s. World Traveler Award - has a range of between 1,885 and 3,770 km without stopping to refuel. Has to stay within the atmosphere at all times. If your craft can fly that far, it can go anywhere on Kerbin. If your craft can do a full circumnavigation around Kerbin, then it qualifies for the Verne Award instead. Diamandis Division - for spaceplanes and other SSTOs. Has to do a full orbit around Kerbin to qualify, and plans must be in place to return it to Kerbin. Armstrong Award - can land on the Mun before returning to Kerbin. If it can do that, then it can certainly do the same thing on Minmus. Will add the Apollo Commendation if it can do that without having to refuel itself in the middle. Which will then be substituted for the Double Commendation if it can land on the Mun AND Minmus before returning - AND without refueling before leaving the Mun (which means refueling on or around Minmus okay). Which will then be substituted for the Twin Gods Commendation if it can do all that without refueling at any point. Dirtblood Award - can get itself to Duna before returning to Kerbin. Refueling stops in the middle allowed. Will add the Watney Commendation if it does not need to refuel itself at any point. Jupiter Award - flying lab can do the Jool-5 before returning to Kerbin. Yes, that means that your kerbals have to walk on the surface of Tylo. Refueling stops in the middle allowed. Will add the Totally Insane Commendation if it does not need to refuel itself at any point. Lazybird Award - build a spaceplane to carry your lab-equipped spaceplane. For a concept demonstration, check this out. New Home Award - can get itself to Laythe and back. Refueling stops in the middle allowed. Will be substituted for the Jool-5 Award if the craft is capable of completing its namesake challenge. Will add the Iceberger Commendation if it does not need to refuel itself at any point in its mission. Snowball Award - can get itself to Eeloo before returning to Kerbin. If it can do that, it can certainly do Dres. Refueling stops in the middle allowed. Will add Halley's Commendation if it does not need to refuel itself at any point in its mission. Labazon Division - for planes, landers, or other landing-capable flying laboratories that are not designed to return to Kerbin. Detachable delivery rockets allowed. Awards listed in order of proximity to Kerbol as opposed to alphabetically. Hermes Award - for craft that will stay at Moho. Aphrodite Award - for craft that will stay on Eve. Will add the Scorcher Commendation if it can circumnavigate Eve on one tank of gas OR one full charge of batteries (day or night). Will add the Icarus Commendation if the craft can do a suborbital trajectory around Eve before landing safely in one piece. With how large Eve is and how thick its atmosphere is, it does not seem possible to do a full orbit and land safely in one piece. You're welcome to prove me wrong, though. Mun Hopper Award - for craft that will stay on the Mun or Minmus. Will add the Aldrin Commendation for craft that are designed to work on both moons, as in they are intended for inter-moon travel. Ares Award - for craft that will stay on Duna. Will add the Braun Commendation if the craft can do a suborbital trajectory around Duna before landing safely in one piece. Which will then be substituted for the Paperclip Commendation if it can do a full orbit around Duna before re-entering and landing safely in one piece. Which will then be substituted for the Whole Enchilada Commendation if it can operate in Duna's atmosphere and at least land on Ike before going back. Anaerobic Award - for craft that will stay on one of the following celestial bodies: Dres Pol Bop Vall Eeloo Harland Award - for craft that will stay within Laythe's atmosphere. Will add the Olympic Commendation if it can circumnavigate Laythe on one tank of gas OR one full charge of batteries (day or night). Will add the Frederick Fleet Commendation if the craft can do a suborbital trajectory around Laythe before landing safely in one piece. Which will then be substituted for the Starline Commendation if it can do a full orbit around Laythe before re-entering and landing safely in one piece. Dead Kerbin Award - for craft that can get on and off Tylo safely. Heisenberg Division - specifically for balloons, blimps, zeppelins, et cetera. Detachable delivery rockets allowed for entries that leave Kerbin's SOI. Cluster Bomb Award - for Eve entries. Graf Zeppelin Award - for Duna entries. Resurgence Award - for entries that do not leave Kerbin. Skytanic Award - for Laythe entries. Man, that was a long list. Now that it's out of the way, I eagerly await what you all come up with. The spoiler below shows my entry, which qualifies for the Homesick Division: Old Tyme Award, the Fliegendlabor. WALL OF FAME @Mars-Bound Hokie (ORIGINAL POST) Homesick Division: Olde Tyme Award with the Fliegendlabor
  2. "A powerful boat, a powerful gun, powerful ammunition. Add to that lots of people and a precise aim! Then sprinkle death all over it, and the formula is complete!" Those were the closing words of the manifesto tape of Torres Kerman, an extremist who was once a captain of Marx's navy before his dishonorable discharge. He knew for years that Marx's government would not attack Squaddon first, despite being the capital of their geopolitical rival on Kerbin. So, Torres secretly funded the (now-defunct) shipbuilding company Changzheng to construct a one-man ballistic submarine called the S.M.G. Salvation. Some time after his discharge, his hidden funds were running dry and he heard from one of his old navy buddies that the Marxan police were on to his operation. Refusing to be stopped, he forced his way to the incomplete prototype and set sail. Though the submarine could navigate its way through the seas with excellence, its defense and missile launch systems were not ready yet - and the engineers had not yet labeled the buttons. Fearing a retaliatory strike in case Torres' plan succeeded, Marx's government warned Kerbin's air force about him and told them where to expect him. After Torres had surfaced, he noticed dozens of fighters - Marxan Fishbeds among them - approaching him. The Salvation carried surface-to-air missiles, so he had expected to hold off the attackers long enough to fire without a hitch. However, since the engineers at Changzheng had not yet separated the weapons controls from the navigation systems, Torres lost his primary target every time he aimed to take out a plane. He then saw the big red encased button in the middle of the sub and punched it, hoping to prepare the missile for launch. What he did not know was that it was the button to activate Salvation's self-destruct sequence. Although Torres did request that feature in order to avoid capture, that button had not yet been labeled and he did not know what it would look like. Many called it doubly ironic that Salvation, though meant to end millions of lives, ended up saving them instead by killing its captain and sole crewmember. Wurmheller Kerman will be killed by a tesla weapon.
  3. Have you ever wondered how aircraft exterior lighting became mainstream, or who revolutionized it? The answer lies with Warren G. Grimes, who is known as the "Father of the Aircraft Lighting Industry," from Urbana, OH. One of his company's most famous methods of testing their lights was to mount them on their flying laboratory, which was a Beech Model 18 modified specifically for that purpose, and observe how well they did mid-flight under various conditions. KerbalX craft file: https://kerbalx.com/Mars-Bound_Hokie/Grimes-Flying-Laboratory Stock + Breaking Ground DLC Contrary to what you may believe, it is not capable of collecting scientific data apart from crew reports and it does not have a laboratory module. Just like the real-life Grimes Flying Laboratory, it is used to demonstrate how well exterior lights would perform. The Grimes Flying Laboratory flying over some mountains after crossing Kerbin’s northern polar ice cap. l didn’t know how long this would take, and I wanted a more accurate range reading. If I went along the equator, I would have to account for the planet’s own rotation about its axis. Of course, flying north from the KSC would not guarantee that I would be over land when it was time to come down. That’s why I used the infinite fuel cheat when I was close to depletion radioed an aerial refueling tanker at a nearby airbase ahead of time to fly with me and give me enough to land safely if the time comes. The plane on display in the SPH. I started with my old Beachcraft since the airframe and general structure are similar to the real-life Beechcraft Model 18. Keeping the tailwheel was a nice touch. I then removed the wings since I didn’t want the tips to get too pointy to hold the fuel tanks which would mimic the real aircraft’s cylindrical light pods. The replacement wings did a great job at accomplishing that task, and they were pitched up 5 degrees for added efficiency. Like my de Havilland Mosquito replica, I reduced the motor size and output to 25% but left the torque limit alone. The idea was to balance aircraft performance and fuel efficiency. In the end, while I didn’t get near my WinterOwl Beachcraft’s top speed or cruising altitude, I crushed its range. Having two blades per engine instead of six might have something to do with it. Unlike most of my projects, decorating and lighting were the hardest parts. I started with the wingtip nav lights, then the tail nav lights, then the blinking beacon lights, and then finished with whatever would make the plane look bright. The paint job was difficult to copy with the limited selection of flags that I had. Unknown kerbal admiring the Grimes Flying Laboratory with all its lights on. The plane took off at night to demonstrate how effective the lights were, both on the ground and in the air. The Grimes Flying Laboratory flying above Kerbin while most people are asleep. Just like in real life, this plane was often mistaken for an alien spacecraft. Of course, that was before navigation lights became required for all aircraft. This photograph was in line for being the thumbnail for this craft, but I realized the plane itself was hard to see in the dark. So, I went with one with a little more (sun)light. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 7.3 km (~24.0k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Velocity: 172 m/s (~385 mph) Will increase gradually over time. Blade Deployment Angle: 35 degrees Recommended Throttle: 1/3 (33%) Expected Range: 1,800 km The aircraft all lit up after what might be just the most humiliating perfect landing ever. The pilot had to rely on Alt+F12 a tanker for a last-minute fuel boost before he could land since he was over an ocean where he ran would have run out of fuel too far away to glide to safety. I'm surprised nobody else built this piece of history. Sure, there have been many KSP replicas of the Beech Model 18, but none of the Grimes Flying Laboratory itself. I guess it's one of those things you actually have to see up close and personal and/or research specifically to appreciate its true significance. Also, it's another "first of its kind" KSP replica I made - just like the Link Trainer, the Kettering Bug, the Waco GC-4, and my Martin NBS-1 biplane from my Air Force Museum replica showcase. Happy flying, and remember what Grandpa said, "Nav lights save lives."
  4. Nice shot of the eclipse, and an even better job of building the helicopter. Hate to be in the crosshairs of that thing.
  5. Having trouble sending orders to your battle groups? They're probably having communication trouble, under or at high risk of surveillance, or their commander is outright ghosting you. No matter, for only 26,941, you can deliver your Air Tasking Orders with the C-21. No excuses for them this time, as long as they're within 750 km from you. Fuel for the trip back not included. Act now, and you can get the litter patient package free. The C-21 on display in the SPH. I included the aka in the craft name so people who know this plane under its civil designation can find it. At first, I used two Mk1 crew cabins in order to make the plane look like its real-life namesake. However, that (and the landing gear setup then) resulted in the plane being too nose-heavy for takeoff. I then clipped two more Juno engines to add more thrust; while that helped, the plane was still nose-heavy after liftoff. So, I removed one of the crew cabins and drained the rear NCS Adapter. I still got a wobbly takeoff, but at least it could fly smoothly if it got off the ground (in one piece, that is). The real-life Learjet 35 was nearly as long as a North American Sabreliner anyway. I remember that my T-39 Sabreliner and my Jetstar replica performed terribly with just two Juno engines, so that was another reason to clip two more. The landing gear was tricky to add at first, since the wings were positioned abnormally. Even with the plane’s nose-heavy problem addressed, it still got slip-and-slides for takeoff runs. To make the landing gear straight for sure, I added them to the bottom of the fuselage and moved them out as far as I could - but that wasn’t enough. So, I added 1x1 Structural Panels to the bottom, attached the landing gear to the far ends, hid the panels in the wings, and moved them out. It was then smooth takeoffs from there. The real-life Learjet 35 had a drag chute, so I installed one in the back. Since this was a business jet as well as a small cargo or patient transport - and was assigned to theater commanders outside the continental United States - I included nav lights. You’ll have to use the AG3 button for them since they’re not linked to the regular light switch. After the final (major) design changes were made, the C-21 took off from the KSC without any problems and headed north. The only changes made afterwards were to the cargo (as in what went in it), the wing paint job, and the antenna on the top of the fuselage. Despite having four Juno engines for thrust, I didn’t want to take the chance that it would be unable to climb Alt Test Mountains - or run out of fuel in the middle of the ocean. So, I had the plane fly north for this test cruise. The C-21 flying along the countryside. The cruise did experience some fluctuation in altitude with MJ aircraft autopilot on, but it stayed within 30 meters of the selected cruise altitude once settled. Although the C-21 had reached a sufficient altitude to have flown over Alt Test Mountains, it had already spent a few minutes flying north and there was still no guarantee it would be over or within gliding distance of dry land when it ran out of fuel. So, it continued to fly north. If it can go over Alt Test Mountains, it can certainly go over that mountain range to the north without any problems. I haven’t decided on a name for that mountain range yet, and Alt Test Mountains Two (or Junior) sounds too cheesy. 750 km away, 55 minutes since takeoff, and 10 fuel units left. It was time for the C-21 to begin its final descent. It’s a good thing the plane could glide all the way to the edge of the ice cap, or the pilot would have been in big trouble. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 7 km (~23.0k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Velocity: 230 m/s (~514.5 mph) Expected Range: 750 km This plane glided for almost 35 km afterwards before touchdown in the latest test flight. Unnamed pilot on Kerbin’s northern polar ice cap after a smooth landing. Now he can collect his ice samples for his research - and then wait for a fuel truck to fill up his plane since his tanks are nearly empty. Drag chute test at the Kerbal Space Center. Just like the real-life Learjet 35, this aircraft came with a drag chute to reduce the landing distance. Works best when landing gear brakes are on as well. I thought building this plane would be easy, but I was wrong. Remembering how badly my T-39 and VC-140 replicas did a year and a half ago IRL, I was determined not to let this one flop (and not just literally, which goes without saying). I don't know why this plane was put in the Global Reach Gallery to begin with. The C-21 can only carry up to eight passengers and 3,153 pounds (1,433 kilograms) of cargo, or one litter patient or five ambulatory patients, for a maximum range of 2,306 miles (3,690 km); that's only a little less than 1/10th of the Earth's circumference. Including the larger planes make sense since they can carry a lot more than that. As for the specific C-21 at the museum, although it was deployed to Southwest Asia, it was last assigned to the North Dakota Air National Guard before being flown to the museum in 2013. To sum it up, the C-21 was not that impressive to begin with. How exactly did it end up in the Global Reach Gallery? Was there not enough space in the Cold War Gallery or something? Replicas Remaining: 194
  6. Why do you need to Naruto run to Area 51 to uncover flying saucers? You could just waltz into the National Museum of the United States Air Force and check out the VZ-9 Avrocar already on display for that. The VZ-9 Avrocar on display in the SPH. I started by looking inside LeRossignol’s Avrocar to see how he did his, then I started with an OKTO2 probe core facing upward. I forgot which order I did the fairings in, but they were both a pain. I wanted to do those first before everything else, otherwise the fairings would not close due to obstructions. For the landing gear, just like LeRossignol’s model I used four LT-05 micro landing struts. However, they proved problematic in test landings; they sprung back too much to protect the fragile Juno engines. My only intact landing with the LT-05s was due to sheer luck - I was almost out of fuel then - and I did not want to rely on such luck again. So, besides adding more fuel inside the fairing, I replaced the legs with the larger LT-2 landing struts. A 12 m/s impact tolerance for the LT-2s won’t look like much, but at least they should remain extended enough to save the engines. To increase turning speed, three small inline reaction wheels are installed on the fuel tanks. Since the pilot enters the port side cockpit by default, I removed the symmetry and set the AG2 button to switch the aircraft’s control point to the cockpit view. If you want to switch back to the probe core (and treat it like a lander), simply hit the AG3 button. For decoration and charging the aircraft’s small power supply while resting during the day, I installed solar panels behind the cockpit windows. Historic photograph of an unnamed pilot taking off from the KSC runway in a prototype Avrocar. Yes, the KSC had a runway in its early days. How are the C-119 Flying Boxcars of the Satellite Recovery Unit expected to take off and land otherwise? Some of the more pessimistic engineers thought that the Avrocar wouldn’t get past three meters altitude without losing control, but the pilot proved them wrong. Now he just needed to fly it and then land safely. The Avrocar flying over the KSC during its test flight. Little did the pilot know that it would cause hysteria down below. It is a well-documented story that a KSC employee who was not involved in the Avrocar program first saw it in flight while outside on a smoke break. Since flying saucers were a popular design for alien spacecraft in the era’s science-fiction books and movies, he thought aliens had come to Kerbin. Dropping his cigarette, he ran back inside to warn everyone of this extra-terrestrial visitor. Most of the employees in the section he ran into didn’t believe him, but he directed them to the closest east-facing window and pointed at the flying saucer. Everyone soon acknowledged that aliens had arrived. Most began phoning other sections of the facility, calling their families or the press, and/or scrambling to evacuate. A few questioned why it was heading away from the KSC and in the direction of the Island Airfield. The Avrocar low on fuel while approaching the Island Airfield. And by low on fuel, I mean one wrong move during landing and the tanks are empty before touchdown. A TEST CRUISE WAS NOT PERFORMED BECAUSE THIS PARTICULAR AIRCRAFT WAS DESIGNED AS A CONCEPT DEMONSTRATOR AND NOT INTENDED FOR ANYTHING SERIOUS After several crashes and reversions to quicksave, the Avrocar managed to land in one piece despite the small landing gear and being one second away from fuel depletion. That was when I decided to get better landing struts and some more fuel. I then tried another test flight to the Island Airfield with the upgrades, and I landed with a lot more fuel to spare (despite having to go up and down a lot more) and no damage. The Avrocar with the new landing struts on the helipad of the VAB. After the administration got word of the panic that swept the facility, they had to announce a surprise all-hands meeting of whatever employees that hadn’t already left. Of course, that prompted several more to evacuate since they thought that hostile aliens had either spoofed or took control of their bosses and was luring them to their doom. Embarrassed, the higher-ups had to explain that the flying saucer the employees saw was actually an experimental prototype VTOL aircraft that a group of KSC engineers had been working on for years. Any employees that still wanted proof were welcome to watch another test flight of the Avrocar the next day. They soon their accepted their bosses’ offer to see the prototype in action. The next day, despite mass panic in the media about a possible alien invasion, the designated test pilot flew the Avrocar and landed on the roof of the VAB. A news helicopter took footage of the test flight and then aired it in an attempt to calm everyone down. While mostly successful, it spawned many conspiracy theories - the most notable among them being that Kerbin’s young central government was planning a false flag attack using flying saucers and blaming it on extra-terrestrial forces. DON'T FORGET TO SWITCH POV WITH THE AG2 BUTTON BEFORE TAKEOFF. (Trust me, it saves a lot of headache during flight) I'm so glad I "practiced" for the test flight by piloting helicopters in enduring confrontation battles in War Thunder. Too bad the Avrocar doesn't come with a hover button, then landing would be way easier - unless you're seconds away from fuel depletion. On a related note, imagine how much different America's military vehicles would be if the real-life Avrocar was a success. While the Army wanted a subsonic, all-terrain troop transport and reconnaissance craft, the Air Force wanted a VTOL aircraft that could hover below enemy radar and then accelerate to supersonic speed. Avrocar or no Avrocar, the Army has plenty of helicopters for its all-terrain troop transports. If the Army really wanted a reconnaissance aircraft, what was wrong with asking the Air Force for help? What exactly was the Air Force hoping the Avrocar would do once it reached its target while flying below radar, drop a few bombs then run away at supersonic speeds. Honestly, it would make more sense to send a regular plane to do the job. Sure, it would most likely get spotted by enemy radar, but it can carry way more ordinance and fly faster and higher. If the U.S. military really wanted a bomber designed for stealth, all it had to do was wait nearly 20 years for the F-117 Nighthawk. So, yes, the American government DOES have flying saucers in their possession; one in Ohio, the other in Virginia. Replicas Remaining: 195
  7. In this incredible feat of precision flying, I shall use a C-119 Flying Boxcar to catch a falling satellite BEFORE it hits the ground. Historic photograph of the Kerbal Space Center in its early days. Back when the program started, satellites were retrieved via mid-air recovery operations. The plane seen here, a C-119 Flying Boxcar, was derived from an old Allied cargo plane from the later years of the Second Imperial Wars. Many candidates for primary aircraft were submitted for the KSP’s Satellite Recovery Unit, but most of them never made it past the drawing board. There was one proposal that featured a jet-powered cargo plane with robotic arms on both sides that was submitted for final consideration. It would have flown faster than the C-119 and not require as precise an approach to the falling satellite, but the C-119 was cheaper in terms of sale, fuel, and maintenance costs. The C-119 also didn’t need as many people to operate it, hence reducing total wage costs - even if the pilot was more expensive than that for the robotic arm plane. As photographic and data transmission became more advanced, the Satellite Recovery Unit was shrunk and eventually disbanded. Any Flying Boxcars that weren’t on display or put in reserve were sold. The C-119 Flying Boxcar on display in the SPH. I started with @HB Stratos's MK3 Custom Cockpit since the real-life plane’s nose looked too fat to match the regular Mk3 cockpit. Of course, using that cockpit would mean a new set of problems later. To maintain balance, I had to keep the plane’s fuel tanks less than half full. That’s what having a long boom-mounted tail will do. I used the regular fuel tanks instead of structural fuselages in case there was an opportunity and/or need for more fuel near the back of the plane. I tried to add alligator hinges and telescopic cylinders on the door of the cargo ramp to mimic the real Flying Boxcar’s satellite-catching mechanism. However, when I closed the door after assembling it, the mechanism was still floating in place where it was. So, I aborted that plan altogether. For the plane’s engines, I reduced the motor size and output to 66% and set the main throttle torque limit to 1%; I left the RPM limit at the maximum of 460. That way, I wouldn’t have to cruise at such a low throttle setting. Then again, I don’t know if that really maximized efficiency since I was dealing with two engines carrying a Mk3 fuselage. At first, I installed the front landing gear directly on the custom cockpit. However, that backfired since it would not deploy while stowed. So, just like my VC-54C Sacred Cow replica, I put a long I-beam on the cargo bay right behind the cockpit and then a medium landing gear at the forwardmost end of it. Perhaps that should be the standard procedure for whenever I use a custom cockpit for a plane with a front wheel. I managed to click on the command pod inside the cockpit, which would allow me to transfer crewmembers to the Mk1 lander cans. However, that proved useless as all the lander can hatches were obstructed - rendering my ladders useless. So, I removed the ladders and installed a third lander can in the cargo bay so kerbals can EVA in and out of the plane. Since the Flying Boxcar was used to catch satellites, the cargo bay is full of EVA repair kits - and some scientific study kits (kickbacks are suspected to be the reason). The Flying Boxcar on a test cruise. Another picture of the Flying Boxcar on a test cruise. At first, it was flying at 5 km altitude with the throttle at 86% power. It was near the end of that test cruise that I realized that I could have just cruised at 70% throttle, but it was too late to change anything by that point. I then decided to try again - and add a tiny bit more fuel to increase the range a bit more. Unnamed crewmember checking the cargo storage units behind the cockpit. Since the lander can hatches on the side of the cockpit were obstructed - which means that they’re just decorations - a third lander can was placed inside the cargo bay so kerbals can have a means to get in and out. The C-119 low on fuel while flying over Kerbin’s northern polar ice cap. This picture was taken from the latest test cruise, where the 70% cruise throttle rule was implemented from the start. And when the landing gear problem was solved. The previous flight didn’t make it this far. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 5.5 km (~18k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Average Velocity: 157.5 m/s (~352 mph) Started at 165 m/s once settled, then ended at 150 m/s. Blade Deployment Angle: 40 degrees Recommended Throttle: Ascent to altitude: 86% Cruise: 70% Expected Range: 840 km This plane glided for almost 25 km afterwards before touchdown in the latest test flight. The C-119 Flying Boxcar, landed safe and sound. In the last test cruise, the front landing gear would not deploy. That problem was fixed when it was mounted on an I-beam which was mounted under the cargo bay behind the cockpit. Here's a blooper photo from the next-to-last test run, before the landing gear and cruise throttle problems were properly addressed. Bet you all didn't expect a prop in the Space Gallery, did you? Including this plane does makes sense, though, as transmitting spy satellite photographs was unreliable (if not impossible) back in the early days of the Space Race. If we had no way to retrieve them before enemy agents did and not expose ourselves in the process, then what would be the point of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to send it into orbit? The 1960 U-2 Incident had proven that high-altitude recon flights were still vulnerable to Soviet counterattacks, so mid-air retrieval after de-orbit was the best bet. Sorry I couldn't include the extendable net in this replica; that would have been awesome. Overall, I'm still impressed with how it turned out. Replicas Remaining: 196
  8. May 21st, 1927 - Charles Lindbergh completes his 33.5-hour flight from New York to Paris in his plane, Spirit of St. Louis. This marked the completion of the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. Photograph of the Spirit of St. Louis right after landing in Paris. Source: https://www.mnhs.org/lindbergh/learn/aviation/famous-flight FIVE YEARS LATER May 21st, 1932 - Amelia Earhart completes her solo, nonstop transatlantic flight in her Lockheed Vega. Not only was she the first woman to do so, she was the only person to do so after Charles Lindbergh did his in 1927. Amelia Earhart arriving in Northern Ireland after completing her flight. Her flight took 15 hours, while Lindbergh's took over twice that. Source: https://pioneersofflight.si.edu/content/amelia-earhart-solos-atlantic
  9. Harland & Wolff built a ship that many believed to be unsinkable, but then it hit an iceberg. 45 years later, Lockheed built a spy plane that many believed Soviet anti-air defenses couldn't reach, but then it got shot down (and its pilot was captured). The plane in question was the U-2. The Lockheed U-2 "Dragon Lady" on display in the SPH. I had considered adding Dragon Lady to the craft name, but then I found out that it did not have an official name after the designation (on account of starting out as a secret project). So, I left it as just Lockheed U-2, although I included dragon as a tag in case someone comes looking for it and doesn’t want to attract half the Sukhois on KerbalX. I had originally used two clipped-together Wheesley engines like in my A-7 Corsair II replica, but the test cruise that followed resulted in the plane flying at a low altitude of 9 km. This is a high-altitude spy plane I mean a research aircraft, not your average everyday sightseeing glider with an engine strapped on to it. So, I went with a single Whiplash engine since that has proven to be more reliable (so far) than a Panther engine and I can still attach stabilizers and gear to it. While it did make the plane go high, it also ended up making it supersonic. At first, I wanted to simulate how the real U-2 took off by adding detachable landing gear to the wings. That meant that I would be relying on poorly-balanced landing gear along the fuselage to land (also like the real U-2), although that would mean I would most likely destroy my wings in the process. So, for the user’s sanity’s sake, I just left the wing gear permanently. Shortly after uploading this craft on KerbalX, I updated it with a version that included scientific instruments. The AG4 button was set to collect scientific data (crew report, atmospheric GCMS, temperature, pressure, gravity, seismic). The AG5 button was set for the probe core to gather and store the scientific data obtained. Here's some crucial information on taking off and landing this thing: Taking off will be a challenge; you will tip side to side. Additionally, if you do manage to keep the plane pointed straight the whole time and not lose speed, you will need to go quite fast before you can get airborne. In other words, expect to use the entire runway for takeoff. On the other hand, if you manage to get all of your wheels off the ground during the bouncy takeoff, pitch up while you can. Landing will also be hazardous, as the front landing gear will be further back along the fuselage than usual. You will have to keep your nose pointed upward the second your plane touches the ground or else you’ll destroy it and kill the pilot. After most of your wheels are on the ground, expect more sliding so cut the throttle and apply your brakes. POV: you’re flying high enough to see the curvature of the planet. Just like in real life, U-2 pilots wore pressure suits because they were cruising so high. They started out as original designs, but eventually an incident in which a pilot forgot how to fly due to a lack of oxygen forced Kerbin’s air force to reconsider their pressurization plan. In the end, they decided to use the same EVA suit model as the ones issued to the Kerbal Space Program. The U-2 getting settled (somewhat) at an altitude of 19.7 km. Despite flying at a velocity of 1000 m/s, the flames weren’t nearly as bad as expected - probably because there’s not as much oxygen to feed into said flames that high. This plane went as high as 24 km, but it would not stay there when MJ aircraft autopilot was on. With all the bouncing and altitude-dropping, I had to settle for 19.7 km. Although there was still some bouncing that came, it was still somewhat stable and the altitude was centered around that mark. In nearly an hour, the U-2 cruised to the dark side of the planet. Less than 80 minutes after takeoff, the U-2 was flying past the Kerbal Space Center. If you look at the center of the green circle, you can see tiny specks which are the lights. Since this plane still had plenty of fuel left after passing the KSC, it can be safely said that it pefrormed better than Plane Prime V5. On the other hand, Plane Prime was designed as a luxury supersonic transport while the U-2 was a high-altitude surveillance photographic aircraft - which means comfort would not be a high priority. The U-2 returning to the sunny side of the planet after completing the dark half. This plane had already gone one full flight along Kerbin’s equator (as in passed the KSC) when this shot was taken. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 19.7 km (~64.6k ft; Class Echo airspace) Will fluctuate for the first and middle part of the cruise, but on average expect the plane to cruise well at this altitude. Velocity: 1000 m/s (~2,237 mph) Expected Range: 4,850 km This is a conservative estimate, since I took a nap near the end of the first test cruise (since the fuel was draining slowly). By the time I got up, the plane had already crashed, so I had to try again. For the second test cruise, I pointed the plane north and waited for it to settle at cruising altitude and velocity (a little bit). Then, using MathPapa’s equation solver for the distance from the KSP and Symbolab for the range given fuel consumption and velocity (and distance from when data was taken, which was calculated in MathPapa), I got a good feel of how far I can expect this plane to fly before it would need to land. Even if the math is all wrong, at the very least it can cover Kerbin’s circumference with plenty to spare. U-2 pilot Francis G Kerman running away from his plane after landing in Marxan territory. In the early days of Kerbin’s central government, which was formed after the end of the Second Imperial Wars, Marx and a few allied regions wanted control of the planet for itself. Albeit, it was not willing to start a hot war to get it - yet. To assess Marx’s ICBM capabilities, Prime Minister Haparnold Kerman authorized a reconnaissance flight over the rumored missile sites. The U-2 was chosen for this task since it was the air force’s best surveillance aircraft of the time. After getting to cruising altitude, Francis G took a nap before reaching his mark. When he woke up, however, he noticed that he was on the opposite side of the planet from where he was supposed to be. Since the U-2 had such an immense range, and since secrecy was essential to mission success, he decided to go around and try again instead of landing to refuel. The Marxans had detected Francis G flying over the first time, but they could not scramble their fighters and SAMs soon enough before he left their airspace. When he came back for the second time, they were ready. A SAM detonated underneath his plane, causing fuel to leak out. As a result, he was forced to land within Marxan borders. He was soon captured, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to life of torturous labor. Ten years later, however, he was released in exchange for a Marxan agent convicted of extortion by Kerbin’s central government. When comparing this replica's stats with the real-life counterpart's, I am confident in announcing that I have crushed the real U-2's speed - although I'm not 100% sure I beat the range (80% tops). As for the altitude, I managed to surpass that but I couldn't hold it for long. As long as it looked like the plane it was trying to copy and could actually work, it was acceptable for the showcase. Honestly, if range was no problem, I'd still use a SR-71 Blackbird as my go-to surveillance craft. Then again, it was able to cover most of the planet before landing, so it's still useful for the most part. Maybe I should upgrade it and/or log some cruise stats. Regardless, I hope the 1960 U-2 Incident serves as a reminder to all engineers not to dismiss the possibility of something going wrong - especially the very thing you designed your product to avoid happening. At least Francis Gary Powers prepared for capture beforehand, which explains how he survived the ordeal. Oh, and @AtomicTech, months ago you mentioned that the U-2 had recently become a favorite of yours, and then I said that I tried to make a U-2 some time ago but failed. Well, I tried again and succeeded this time. How do you like it? Replicas Remaining: 197
  10. On the off-chance that there's another Ghostbusters sequel, their main antagonist should utilize a gunship whose model name (and other variants) literally means "ghost." What better way for an evil spirit to challenge our heroes than with an AC-130 Spectre? The AC-130 Spectre on display in the SPH. I included the aka in the craft name so people who know the AC-130 under one of its other names can find it. I chose Spectre as the primary name - and the reason why the engines have four blades each - since that was the model that ended up in the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH. However, as of April 2024, only the Ghostrider is still in service. To mimic and make use of the real-life AC-130’s long nose, I included a probe core with Kerbnet access and a fuel tank on the cockpit nose. For the guns, I started with just simple I-beams mounted on the left side pointed down. However, I later decided to add some fireworks at the ends to include a little functionality. YOU ONLY GET EIGHT SHOTS. At the end of the first test cruise, the rear landing gear would not deploy since it was stowed. Though I was able to make a soft landing, how the interior and part of the exterior turned out suggests that I not try that again. So, I removed one of the rear landing gear sets and moved the other set further outward so that it doesn’t rest inside the cargo bay. The next few takeoff tests proved that move to be successful. At first, I took the engines from AceGecko’s C-130 replica and replacing the blades with ducted ones and modifying the engines for more power. I could not make the blades go as far away from the engine mounting points as s/he did, so I tried simply borrowing his/her engines instead. However, they were shaky and blades were flying everywhere while they were running. So, I used my own design; the NCS adapter mounted on the front of the engine, the small nose cone on the front of the adapter, and the ducted blades mounted on all four sides of the nose cone. That arrangement did not eliminate the shaking completely, but it helped a lot. For this large plane’s engines, I kept the motor size and output at 100% BUT I set the main throttle torque limit to 1%. I left the RPM limit at the maximum of 460. I keep mentioning the engine setup in case someone reading this has a better idea on how to optimize aircraft performance as well as fuel efficiency. Interior of the AC-130, taken from the cockpit entrance. Here you see two gunner seats - one near the front, and the other near the back - and the other two seats manning the sensors and targeting systems. Behind the desk light is a SEQ-3C conformal storage unit for extra cargo. The AC-130 Spectre flying around the KSC, performing a nighttime urban warfare drill. More specifically, its task is to destroy a target - in this case, an armored car - converging on the VAB while leaving everything else alone. Such precise targeting is crucial when attempting to minimize (if not negate) collateral damage. Below are the operating instructions for the AC-130. If you want the best cruise experience, PAY ATTENTION. The AC-130 flying over Kerbin after settling at a cruising altitude. Another picture of the AC-130 on a test cruise. It is not intended for high-altitude operations, as being closer to the target to increase gunner accuracy would require flying lower. However, being able to go over mountains doesn’t hurt - especially if they’re on the path to the battlefield. An AC-130 low on fuel flying over Kerbin’s north polar region. While the AC-130 is making its landing over the north pole, it fired some rounds. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 8 km (~26.2k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Velocity: 205 m/s (~459 mph) Will fluctuate between 205 and 210 m/s over time. Blade Deployment Angle: 40 degrees Recommended Throttle: Ascent to altitude: 2/3 (66%) Cruise: 30% Expected Range: 820 km This plane glided for almost 40 km afterwards before touchdown in the latest test flight. The rear landing gear was stuck, but the front gear could extend fine and the plane was gliding rather slowly. So, while the pilot was forced to make a (mostly) belly landing, minimal damage was expected to both the outside of the aircraft and the inside. After the plane came to a complete stop, the in-flight mechanic noted that nobody sustained any obvious injuries and began assessing the damage to the interior. The cargo racks came loose and parts of the right-side rear landing gear flew inside during the crash-landing. Post-crash assessment of the exterior. The starboard (right) side of the plane sustained the most damage, with the most obvious sign being that the right-side landing gear is completely detached. After the aircraft and crew were recovered, the design was edited to bring the landing gear further outward so that it wouldn’t be stowed. In other words, this problem should not happen again. @TheKspEngineer, thank you for your F-111 Aardvark replica. That thing may not do so well in air-to-air combat (at least from my experience in War Thunder), but it can carry enough bombs to destroy three bases in Air RB and still fly with the wings fully swept while loaded. If my fighter escort is good enough - or if the enemy's not paying attention, I could do some serious damage to their ground forces before returning to the airfield to reload and do it again. Since both your entries so far came from Hangar Two, if you want to earn the All Four Hangars Badge (see OP), you just need at least one entry from each of the other three hangars to complete it. If you decide to go for it, then good luck. Hangars Three and Four should be easy picking, but Hangar One will be tricky since the available planes there are all props. Replicas Remaining: 198
  11. After my new friends and I checked out the Memphis Belle II at the Air Force Museum two weekends ago, I suggested that we stop by the WWII Gallery to admire the original namesake. The museum was only a few minutes away from closing, so we had to move fast; if we could, we would have ran the whole way. And now, ladies and gentlemen, here comes a war hero straight out of Memphis. The most iconic heavy bomber of WWII, get your tailguns ready for the B-17 Flying Fortress. Historic photograph from the later years of the Second Imperial Wars. Here we see one of many B-17s on its way to destroy a Heinkelian industrial complex. Before we continue with the demonstration flight, here are some more details on what the B-17 was used for. Man, that was long. Anyway, on to the test cruise. The B-17 Flying Fortress on display in the SPH. I began with modifying the 2.5-m Cockpit to have a longer, wider nose. To mimic the gunner/bombardier window, I added another small fairing and made them orange since they were the closest to in-game window colors. Although the main control module is a Mk1-3 Command Pod encased inside the cockpit piece (along with a RC-001S Remote Guidance Unit, which was added later), I added a Mk2 Lander Can in rover mode on the top for decoration. During the test cruise, after I tried getting a cockpit shot (even with MJ autopilot on), the plane lost control and started nosediving. To correct this, I set the control point to Forward. The plane shouldn’t take the lander can as the master control module, but it shouldn’t be a big deal if it does. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a 2.5-m cargo bay long enough to serve as a bomb bay. The stock service bay wouldn’t suffice since both ends opened up. So, I took the elevator bay from my C-54 Skymaster replica, removed the elevator itself, copied the bay itself, and put it in the middle of the fuselage. On @swjr-swis‘s advice, I raised the wings’ angle of incidence by 5 degrees. This helped me out a lot when it came to the plane’s range. For this large plane’s engines, I kept the motor size and output at 100% BUT I set the main throttle torque limit to 1%. The cargo bay has a lot of parachutes, repair kits, and lights. More than enough to evacuate the plane’s crew in a worst-case scenario and, if possible, get the plane fixed while setting up camp. Not that such an event happened often. This plane has (mock) turrets set up at: the nose the top, right behind the Mk2 Lander Can hatch the belly, right behind the wings both sides of the fuselage, near the back the tip of the tail Picture of the B-17F known as the Memphis Belle on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH. This particular plane, which was on loan from the Air Force to the city of Memphis, TN, was relocated to the Museum in 2005. Years of restoration later, it was put on public display in May 2018. Photograph taken by me 4/9/2022. Below are the operating instructions for the B-17 replica. I jotted them down after I tried a consistent procedure on how to get to a good cruising altitude since my last few tests were all over the place. If you want the best cruise experience, PAY ATTENTION. Cockpit shot from the lander can during the test cruise. At first, just one second viewing out the window and the MJ aircraft autopilot would mess up and cause the plane to point downward and lose altitude. It took a while to get it back to cruise, which cost quite a bit of fuel - and, by extension, kilometers of range. I then turned off the autopilot for a few seconds to get this shot. I still lost a bit of altitude, albeit not nearly as much as I would have if it was on. After that cruise, I set the control point of the lander can to Forward. Photo of the Baikerbanur Bombshell, which had recently been restored to airworthiness, flying over some mountains. Another beautiful color shot of the B-17 flying. The skies over Kerbin yesterday were peaceful and quiet during this test cruise, but it would not last. At least in my mind, I was over Germany in 1945 with enemies from all directions shooting at me. It had been over half a year since Joe, our squadron's in-flight mechanic, died over the beaches of Normandy. Tom, Frank, and I had to be extra careful as we pushed further into Europe since we didn't have him to repair our planes anymore. We had already liberated Paris and foiled the German counteroffensive at the Ardennes, but we knew better than to get overconfident. With him around, we could be on fire and one stray bullet away from going down and he'd fix us up good as new in seconds. That's how good he was. This particular mission was a surprise for us. We were used to escorting bombers in our own fighters, and now all three of us were crammed in one bomber. Along with dozens of other B-17s, our task was to bomb German factories and supply lines along the Ruhr Valley. I don't know why our squadron wasn't assigned to the fighter escort since we had already proven ourselves more than capable of that many times, but I'm guessing that the higher-ups needed as many available airmen as possible to man the bombers and we got selected to fill that quota. Another surprise was the inconsistency on who was piloting our bomber. More specifically, Tom took the stick while between factories while I was in charge when we were bombing them. At least Frank was consistent and stayed at (one of) the turrets the entire time. While Tom was flying, German fighters were surrounding us from all sides. I had to switch turrets depending on who was chewing up our plane that second. I remember getting more kills from the belly and tail turrets than I did the top one, and I barely got anyone at the nose. Occasionally, Frank would complain that I stole his kill. I didn't really care at all, since our job was to keep the bomber safe long enough to blow up Germany's factories; tracking which gunner got how many kills did not matter. While I was flying, the B-17 had lousy maneuverability and such a low speed - and it didn't help that we were getting shot at by AA guns and artillery. Fortunately: their aim was so bad they make Imperial stormtroopers from Star Wars look like crack shots. each of the three industrial complexes we destroyed had their buildings arranged in such a way that we didn't have to do any tight turns to bomb our important targets. the B-17 was designed to take a lot of punishment. Of course, that was only if Frank and I did our jobs when the German fighters attacked. Over and over again, Tom told me, "Stay the course - it's the only chance we have of making it back." I understood he meant that we need to focus on the red targets or else we would have to turn around and go again - hence draining fuel (which was probably leaking thanks to enemy rounds in our fuel tank) and reducing our chances of returning to base. However, with the dozens of so other bombers with us, I'm sure anything we missed would have been leveled anyway. When we eventually reached Berlin, our bombers were dropping like flies and it was up to Tom, Frank, and I to save their tails - as usual. I swear, where did the Allies get their gunners? If we were manning one of those B-17s like we did in our last mission, we could have shot down most, if not all of, the German props sent after us. I wouldn't get my hopes up on fighting off the jets, though. Now that the childhood Blazing Angels story is over, back to the flak-free test cruise. The B-17 had barely made it over Kerbin’s north pole when had 30 fuel units left. That was when the pilot shut off the engines and began its slow final descent. It managed to glide almost 40 kilometers before touching down smoothly. This is quite a beautiful picture, actually. If I were more artistically inclined, I might actually make a painting out of this. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats, provided the ascent procedure was followed beforehand, were as follows: Altitude: 7.5 km (~24.6k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Velocity: 140 m/s (~313 mph) Will increase gradually over time, but then start to drop near the end. For now, this is a good start - and eventual finish. Blade Deployment Angle: 40 degrees Recommended Throttle: Ascent to altitude: 2/3 (66%) Cruise: 30% Expected Range: 1,000 km This plane glided for almost 40 km afterwards before touchdown in the latest test flight. A historic photograph of a B-17 stuck in the snow. This one was damaged in combat from a Heinkelian fighter’s bullets puncturing the fuel tanks. While that fighter was soon forced to break off the attack, the bomber however was unable to return to base after its bombing run. So, the pilot performed a smooth landing over Marxan territory and the crew set up camp during a snowstorm. They were eventually found by Marxan soldiers and, after a longer than usual waiting period, repatriated to Allied forces. Kerbal lore stories and Blazing Angels flashbacks in one post. This sure took forever to write. Anyway, thank you all for taking the time to read those. I'm sure they were quite interesting. If you have any such stories involving B-17s, either in videogames or IRL, I'd be glad to read about them. Replicas Remaining: 200 REST IN PEACE, JOE
  12. Thank you for reminding me of that. I had completely forgotten how well raising my wings' AoI (angle of incidence) by 5 degrees worked out for me on a few of my planes here. I'll be sure to implement that in my (SEE SPOILER) replica, which is coming next. Imgur is still working fine for me. It's KerbalX that's giving me trouble now, since it's been at least a day now and still getting a stupid Application Error message. EDIT: As of 1150 Hours EDT, KerbalX has been fixed.
  13. While I continue on the long grind for the F-14B, I am having an attack aircraft with a talisman (that I got by pure chance) take its place to save backups in Air Arcade matches, speed up the tech tree research, and also gather crew points for when I finally get the F-14B. Also, last weekend, some new friends I made at the Air Force Museum wanted to check out the Memphis Belle II. It felt right that I make a replica of that plane next. And so, without further ado, here's the F-105 Thunderchief. The F-105 Thunderchief on display in the SPH. I included the aka in the craft name since it was a popular nickname for the plane and so plane enthusiasts who know it can find it. I tried to add the airbrakes in the back. According to War Thunder and pictures I found on the internet, the real Thunderchief’s afterburner could open up and function as an airbrake. However, I decided to scrap that idea since my attempts to add them proved useless. At least I included a drag chute (but I didn’t really test that part). The air intakes were a rather interesting challenge. They were not only positioned right where the wings were attached to the fuselage, but they were angled to go outward. To maintain aesthetic, I chose a Panther engine for this craft. However, part of me wanted to go with a Whiplash for performance since most of my other replicas that used Panthers did not do so well. The Thunderchief ascending to cruising altitude at quite a steep angle. It was approaching Mach 1 when the pilot decided to speed up his ascent. The sad part is that, unlike its real-life counterpart, this plane never made it past Mach 1. Settling at a cruising altitude after the initial ascent. Historic footage of the famous F-105 named the Baikerbanur Bombshell II cruising over Kerbin’s desert. It is currently on display in the Super-Cool Aircraft Museum. The original Baikerbanur Bombshell was a B-17 Flying Fortress that participated in the Second Imperial Wars - and is also on display in the Super-Cool Aircraft Museum. However, the F-105 did not get nearly as much fame as the B-17. Just like in real life, the Baikerbanur Bomshell II could carry more bombs than its namesake predecessor from the Second Imperial Wars. The Thunderchief ending its test cruise after approximately 43 minutes of flying at full throttle and only 30 fuel units left. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 10.9 km (~35.8k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Starting Velocity: 290 m/s (~649 mph) The cruise ended at 320 m/s (~716 mph) Recommended Throttle: 100% Flight Time: ~43 minutes Expected Range: 760 km Old photograph of an unknown pilot walking out of his F-105 after landing. I've noticed a pattern in my planes' performance when it came to the Panther engine. Specifically, even when it was in wet mode, the plane did not fly supersonic to start. If it did go fast, it would be within the last five minutes of powered flight before landing. Any ideas why that's the case? Anyway, until I get that issue resolved, I might want to stick with the Whiplash for supersonic planes. Replicas Remaining: 201
  14. Everybody knows about the famous Corsair Skipper Riley and his role in WWII (or lack thereof) - and how he trained the fastest crop duster in the world. However, nobody seems to recall that he had a son who fought in Vietnam, an A-7 Corsair II. And unlike his dad, he kept flying into danger despite setbacks. The A-7 Corsair II on display in the SPH. To increase thrust and speed, I used two Wheesley engines clipped together (by using two crossfeed-enabled small hardpoints and small Oscar-B fuel tanks to attach them to the aircraft) and stashed them in a structural fuselage. However, the plane has one air intake - which has led to a few flaming outs in the very beginning and the end of the flight. To address the flaming out, I used two air intakes clipped together. However, for some reason, that resulted in a worse cruise performance. So now, the replica has one air intake. You’ll get some flameouts in the beginning, but the engine/s will get back online soon and your plane will run better. To repeat, DO NOT add another air intake. The real-life A-7 had an airbrake under the fuselage, so I included one in this replica. To make sure it didn’t activate along with the gear brakes, which would result in the plane losing balance and/or crashing while landing, I removed the airbrake from the brake action group and set it to be toggled by the AG5 button. The wing connectors on the side of the fuselage are just for aesthetic purposes. The A-7 firing decoys a minute after takeoff. It only has eight, so use them wisely. Better yet, don’t get locked on by enemy missiles in the first place. Historic photograph of an A-7 Corsair II flying over Kerbin’s oceans 15 minutes after taking off from a carrier. This plane was intended for close air support (CAS) against enemy ground units. It should therefore come as no surprise that this plane was nominated to be transported to Laythe when Kerbin established a military presence there many decades later. The A-10 Warthog was also a good choice, but it was not designed for use on carriers. Either way, it got turned down for faster and more modern carrier-borne aircraft. After a little less than 45 minutes, the plane could fly at cruising speed and gradually ease up on the throttle. Of course, the pilot would be in for a very long flight if he didn’t have any missions to complete. #planareclipse Sometimes, daring aerial photographers would fly directly underneath aircraft and line it up with the sun so that it looks like a plane-shaped eclipse. A front view shot of the A-7 Corsair II flying over Kerbin. Four hours and almost 3,000 kilometers later, and the plane had 20 fuel units left. Just like with my C-141 Starlifter replica, I had to turn south to avoid running out of fuel while too far into water. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Status: UNARMED; MINIMAL COUNTERMEASURES 8 x Flares 8 x Chaffs ONE LAUNCH: (1 x Flare) and (1 x Chaff) Altitude: 7.4 km (~24.3k ft; Class Alpha airspace) Velocity: 220 m/s (~492 mph) Flight time: 4 hours Expected Range: 3,000 km WARNING: the plane will get bouncy and will experience a few flameouts while landing, but if you know what you’re doing you could put the plane down in one piece. Also, make sure your airbrake is retracted before touchdown. A navy pilot stepping out of the A-7 after putting the plane down on dry land. Airbrake test over the KSP. Don’t worry about it tipping your plane up and throwing it off-balance before takeoff and during landing - unless you hit the AG5 button by mistake. The brake action group will not work on the airbrake. That's another plane down that I also have in my "Maximum USAF" aircraft lineup in War Thunder. I've already copied the A-10 Warthog and the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and @TheKspEngineer recently did the F-4 Phantom II. All that's left is: Already have in War Thunder, in museum: F-111A Aardvark Don't have in War Thunder yet, in museum: F-15A Eagle Don't have in War Thunder yet, NOT in museum: F-14B Tomcat I sure got a long grind to go, both in War Thunder and in this KSP thread. Thank you all for taking the time to check it out. Replicas Remaining: 202
  15. Hear a plane being described as "a missile with a man in it," and you might think about the Japanese Okha and/or the German Komet (or its Japanese variant) from WWII. While both certainly qualify for such titles, it was actually used to market the American F-104 Starfighter from the early Cold War. The F-104 Starfighter on display in the SPH. After the nose, I went straight to the engine and the tailfin. When choosing the engine, I was stuck between the Panther and the Whiplash. I then chose the panther since it was shorter in length, could switch between supersonic and regular mode, and had a higher vectoring range than the Whiplash. As for the tailfin, I had to move it back as much as possible just for the tip of the rudder to be placed further back than the engine tip - just like the real Starfighter. After that was completed, I added a battery and a drag chute. The real-life Starfighter’s fuselage was long, but I didn’t want to make the replica’s fuselage took long or else it would look ridiculous and flimsy later. So, I worked on the engines and had their tanks end where the tailfin began. I then placed the engines on the tanks, moved them closer to the fuselage, and bent them downward. To extend the plane’s range - and since a lot of pictures of the F-104 I saw had wingtip fuel tanks - I added those to the craft. After the test cruise, I configured the fuel flow priority so that the external tanks will drain first. The AG5 (Action Group 5) button will toggle the crossfeed and switch the fuel flow from the external tanks to the main fuselage. Hitting it again will switch it back to the external tanks, and so on. If you’re unsure about which tanks are draining now, right-click on a fuselage or external tank and see which one of them is draining. The AG0 (Action Group 0) button will detach the external tanks from the plane. I set that button farther away from AG5 to reduce the risk of accidental detachments. This plane starts with 1120 fuel units total (out of 2010), and the external tanks hold 300 of them. Assuming you don’t touch the AG5 button at all, you can lose the tanks once you hit 820 fuel units left to shed some dead weight - and extend your range. Someone in the manufacturing plant screwed up the cockpit button labels and put the "ENGINE ON/OFF" label on the button that actually detaches the fuel tanks. The KAA investigators thought Jeb was being dumb, but the owner’s manual was found to have not matched what was displayed inside the cockpit. Further testing of the aircraft’s controls later proved that Jeb was telling the truth about the buttons being mislabeled. In other words, anyone could have gotten it wrong. Less than five minutes down, and the Starfighter has already cleared Alt Test Mountains. Flying over the ocean at 9.975 km altitude. At the 33-minute mark, the plane on autopilot was picking up speed. When this picture was taken, the Starfighter was flying at 800 m/s at an altitude of 10.1 km. This phenomenon reminded me of my F-16 replica from a year ago. It started out slow at full throttle in wet (supersonic) mode and the altitude locked, but in the end it was flying just fast enough to catch fire. With such an inconsistent performance, I don’t know if I could even log recommended cruise stats since they rely on consistency. At least I can jot down how the flight began vs how it ended. 50 units of fuel left, and the Starfighter is flying at 814 m/s. Jeb cut off the engines and looked for a nice flat spot to land his jet, and there were plenty of them here. I’m sure the plane could go farther if the empty tanks were detached earlier, but I didn’t set the fuel flow priority until after this flight. You can expect a better performance this time. TEST CRUISE STATISTICS COULD NOT BE LOGGED BECAUSE THE PLANE’S FLIGHT PERFORMANCE WAS FAR TOO INCONSISTENT TO QUALIFY The KSP replica's test flight performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 9.975 km (32,726 ft) Starting Velocity: 295 m/s (659.9 mph) Ending Velocity: 814 m/s (1,821 mph) Throttle: 100% Range: 820 km (509.5 miles) External Tank Status: Attached the entire time Jeb doing a smooth landing with the F-104 Starfighter, and with the aid of its drag chute. Both tanks were recovered without a scratch, although KSP personnel have argued that Jeb should have ditched them and increased his range. At the same time, the tank’s design engineers were rumored to have contemplated installing parachutes that would deploy upon detachment from the plane. Perhaps that can be done in the next upgrade. Sorry I've been gone from this thread for so long. Besides a marathon, work, road trips, and watching the eclipse, I've been grinding the U.S. Air tech tree in War Thunder lately. I still have a long way to go before I get the F-15A Eagle and the F-14B Tomcat (in that order), and then my "Maximum USAF" collection is complete. Any and all help to add to this showcase thread is greatly appreciated. UPDATE: I changed my craft file with the following: Finally updated my game to 1.12.5 this afternoon; was previously 1.12.4. Installed drag chutes on backs of external tanks and set them to deploy upon detachment. Replaced the front nose cone with a fly-by-wire for aesthetic and so non-pilots can use it. Put a USAF symbol on the top of the left wing. Replicas Remaining: 203
  16. Great job with the F-4 Phantom, @TheKspEngineer. I play War Thunder as well; U.S. air's my favorite (though U.S. naval isn't bad either). Interestingly enough, the F-4S Phantom II I bought at the 2023 Christmas sale is my most reliable plane so far. If you look at my checklist for this thread, you'll recognize a lot of these planes from their respective countries' tech trees. Replicas Remaining: 204
  17. I'd love to see the timelapse when it's completed, please. Was it a looooong drive arriving to your watch spot as well? My family and I agree that April 8th, 2024 might have been the most profitable day of that farmer's life. With cars from 25 different states (plus at least one car from Ontario) pouring in for the eclipse at a high-demand spot, why wouldn't he take advantage of that opportunity? Even on the off-chance he charges for parking on his field for Fourth of July celebrations, the total sales for one of them would still be nowhere near what he made this Monday. I'd also like to see your timelapse when it's completed, please. That would make a fun KSP challenge. Waiting for the right time for an eclipse. Will need outside help in determining the dates and times. Getting in position for said eclipse. Will also need outside help in determining the location and the path of totality. Flying at the same speed of said eclipse when it happens. I may not know where and where said eclipses will happen on Kerbin, but I got a lot of supersonic planes on my KerbalX ready to go.
  18. PLOT TWIST: that was no moon. Dang it, I was so close. We parked less than 100 feet from the corn field entrance.
  19. That's awesome, although if we did then neither of us would have recognized the other. By the way, my family also found cars from 25 states (and one Canadian province) in the field next to the museum grounds (and the nearby Lowe's).
  20. My family came to visit me in Ohio (and they brought the dog, too) a few days ago for the eclipse. We left early this morning for the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, and it's a good thing we did. The line to the museum parking lot was long, but we found an empty field next to the grounds that charged $40 for parking; totally worth being so close to the exit and having grass for the dog to lie on. The next several hours included having breakfast at Bob Evans, walking around, playing card games and mini cornhole, texting friends, drinking water, my mother messing with her camera's new eclipse filter, and also getting pictures in our "Twice in a Lifetime" t-shirts. When the partial eclipse began, we would frequently look up with our eclipse glasses on and see the sun turning from an orange circle into Pac-Man, then a crescent moon, and then a tiny sliver. While waiting for totality, I used the phone camera filter Mom gave me and took some partial eclipse photos. Below is my best shot from my phone. Taken 1434 EDT When totality was getting closer, it got dark in Wapakoneta fast. More specifically, it looked like a storm was coming while all the lights were turning on. It reminded us of when we watched the eclipse of 2017, only there were no farm animals making noise this time while the sun was getting blocked. Finally, when totality hit at 1509 EDT, we saw an amazing thin ring of fire. That was also when Dad bunched us all together to take a group selfie with the total eclipse in the background. Taken 1511 EDT My best shot from my phone, although I think Mom got clearer images with her fancy digital camera. We noticed a small orange spot at the bottom of the ring, but we don't know what it is. Taken 1511 EDT At first glance, you would think it was sunset at Wapakoneta. But it was actually early-mid afternoon, and the sun was blocked thanks to the moon. Taken 1512 EDT I changed my phone's orientation to include the eclipse. If you look closely enough, you can see the center of the ring. And you can see Venus in the sky too. After totality ended, we rushed back into our car and left town immediately. Getting out of Wapakoneta had almost zero traffic; we were so close to the field exit and we had packed everything in the car, including the dog, at least 20 minutes before totality even began. However, when we hit Dayton, that was when the major traffic jams began. Long story short, we returned to my apartment in plenty of time for dinner. And that's my eclipse story. Really? Where specifically?
  21. Thank you very much. Any requests from the checklist you would like to see in action? And out of curiosity, have you ever played Blazing Angels yourself?
  22. For War Thunder's new update plane, I would like to nominate the Martin NBS-1 for an American Rank I bomber. The Martin NBS-1 on display in the SPH. Although few people are likely to know about this, I included MB-2 designation in the craft name in case someone tries looking for the plane with that tag. I started with my Caproni Ca.3 replica and modified the rear so that it only has one fuselage instead of two. As for the engines, I reduced the motor size to 10% and kept the main torque limit at 20%. I noticed in my last several test flights involving props that the recommended throttle for cruise was way less than half (sometimes even a third), and I recall when I first started using props that I was advised to have a reduced motor size. So, in hopes of increasing fuel efficiency and leaving a recommended cruise throttle that made sense, I configured the engines as I had mentioned earlier. While this did work wonders for the plane’s range, it did not help my sleep schedule. I switched the regular prop blades with ducted blades to improve performance, especially speed. If I ever do prop planes again, I’ll either use ducted blades since they work the best or the large regular prop blades (like the ones on larger aircraft like the Commando or the Peacemaker). Since the real-life NBS-1 had wings that folded, I started with taking the outer halves of the wings off and adding hinges to the middle before re-attaching them. Just like with my XF-85 Goblin replica, I removed the symmetry and did not autostrut them so that I don’t end up with freezing hinges again. Behind the front gunner, I installed a solar panel to mimic a seat and to give the plane a power source if it’s just sitting there in the sun. For the finishing touch, I added a couple of monoprop tanks with tailfins to copy bombs. Just like the Martin B-10, this plane never saw action for the U.S.. However, you have to admit this plane looks pretty cool for a biplane bomber. And if you think the aesthetic is impressive, you should see its performance - even with a couple of bombs near the nose. Photograph of a Martin NBS-1 replica with its wings folded on the runway. This makes storage easier when the plane was not in use - at least when actual Martin NBS-1s were flown. However, just like in real life, this plane was soon replaced with metal monoplane bombers such as the Martin B-10. This particular replica was built for showcasing purposes in Woomerang and put on static display when not in use. Jeb didn’t need to touch the controls (except for throttle and turning SAS on) to get off the ground at only 30 m/s. The Martin NBS-1 flying north through the countryside. This replica, which was completed around the time Bill, Jeb, and Val graduated high school, came equipped with a probe core. Old historical records buried deep in (what used to be) Martin Aerospace Incorporated’s archives point towards the NBS-1 having an incredible range for a bomber of its time. However, there were also complaints of pilot fatigue and some crashes resulting from said fatigue documented as well. To prevent such tragedies from happening again with this replica, the man who commissioned this expressly mentioned that it should come with an autopilot and a means to control it remotely from the ground. For once, Jeb was grateful that this plane had an autopilot. From what he was told before testing this replica, he and Bill were in for a long and agonizingly slow flight. With the autopilot on, the two of them could sleep while the plane was cruising. While flying north, Jeb had to fly around some mountains. Good thing Bill was there to wake him up, or they would be dead. Jeb and Bill flying over Kerbin’s north pole with the moon shining behind them. Minutes after this photo was taken, they passed out from the cold. Apparently, you need helmets if you’re flying in an open cockpit in the polar regions. Good thing that the plane had a probe core connected to ground control, who also received vital readings from the two men's suits. Otherwise, they would be toast when the plane ran out of fuel. After clearing the north pole, the NBS-1 is seen flying towards some islands with ground control looking for a place to land it. Emergency rescue crews in the area were alerted and dispatched to the area. Here's how I calculated the range for this replica: Below is the KSP replica's cruise performance stats compared side-by-side with the real-life NBS-1's. I'm displaying them in this format to showcase how superior the replica is. REAL LIFE KSP REPLICA - ARMED (WINNER) U.S. Metric U.S. Metric Altitude 7,700 feet 2.35 km 13,944 ft 4.25 km Velocity 99 mph 44.3 m/s 168 mph 75 m/s Range 400 miles 650 km 759.3 miles 1222 km As for other performance stats for this replica: Best Vertical Speed to Altitude: <10 m/s Flight Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes A (not-so) perfect landing. If both occupants didn’t need to be rushed to the hospital after collection, it would have been perfect. This plane was armed the whole time. If it wasn’t, it might have better performance stats - but this should at least serve as a minimum expectation. After Jeb recovered, he told his friends he learned why Marxan pilots - which were located around Kerbin’s south pole - always wore closed helmets while flying open-cockpit planes in their home turf. And here's a picture of the bombing test. While Jeb and Bill were in the hospital, the NBS-1 replica was transported back to Krakopolis and two more pilots volunteered to do a fake bombing run. Seriously, this plane would make a great addition to anyone's War Thunder collection. This bomber would also serve well for rookies or those that feel like going old school. Gaijin could replace the PBY-5 Catalina - the multi-engine amphibious bomber variant that DOES NOT have wheels (and hence can't reliably land on the ground) - with the Martin NBS-1, giving it the chance to defend the Stars and Stripes once more. The PBY-5A has wheels and is on display in the Air Force Museum. Another plane I built that was the first of its kind on KerbalX, and I did (in my opinion) all the good stuff in the Early Years Gallery. Perhaps you all can help me with it while I return to building jets. Thank you all very much. Replicas Remaining: 205
  23. Bomb Austria for the Italy. Show no mercy, slaughter them like sheep. Oh, no, they're fighting back. Oh, this is bad. My pants are soaked in pee. Caproni, oh please help me now. Send me some Ca.3s. Historic photograph from the First Imperial Wars. Here we see a Gondolan Caproni Ca.3 bomber flying southwest to reach Krakopolis after Heinkel landed troops on the mainland. Those of you who followed this showcase thread may remember the story of how the Green Baron and the Heinkelians took over what would become the Island Airfield during the First Imperial Wars, how they used it for their attack on Krakoplis. What happened after that is the subject of today's story. The Caproni Ca.3 on display in the SPH. When you launch the plane, expect it to rest on the tailwheels instead of the front. Don’t freak out about historical inaccuracy, as the real-life counterparts often had their rear gear on the ground with the front wheel in the air while resting. In fact, the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH has supports holding the plane up at the rear gear. The front gear (both in-game and IRL) is for the pilots to land easier. I started with the cockpit from by triplane replica so I can keep an open cockpit aesthetic. At the same time, since two pilots were in that cockpit, I installed two command seats - and one ladder for pilots to board and disembark. However, that still left the issue of the long nose for the gunner and a central point of command (due to two seats), so I stuck with a probe core and a fuel tank. With the probe core coming with MechJeb, this made the test cruise way easier and performance more efficient. For aesthetic accuracy, I used Propeller Blade Type Bs with blade angles fixed at 16 degrees. However, this meant that the plane’s thrust would be weaker than if I used ducted blades. So, for the two front engines, I kept the motor size and output at 100% BUT I left the main throttle torque limit at 20%. As for the third pusher engine in the back, although I had two other engines in the front for thrust, I didn’t want to deal with that annoying roll. So, I reduced the rear engine’s motor size and output to 20% while leaving its main throttle torque limit alone. This engine will not be as powerful as the other two, but it should keep rolling down to a minimum (without the use of MJ aircraft autopilot). The rear tailwheels had to be moved further forward and lower than expected, otherwise the blades in the rear engines would hit the ground. In addition, the rear blades had to be moved further into the engine itself. AGAIN, ANY HELP IN TAKING CARE OF THAT ROLL FOR SINGLE-ENGINE PROP PLANES IS GREATLY APPRECIATED. Jeb being an idiot (again) and flying low enough over the SPH to touch the roof with the landing gear. Fortunately, no damage was sustained to either the aircraft or the building - at least none that could be attributed to pilot stupidity. And good thing too, because this was the only airworthy Caproni Ca.3 in existence - and it’s a replica on loan from Gondola. Historic photograph of a Caproni Ca.3 cruising over the Gondolan countryside. After the First Imperial Wars, many of the remaining bombers were converted and sold for civil use. Such purposes included transporting mail, sick or injured patients, and even paying passengers. Back in the present day, Jeb and an unnamed Gondolan flight engineer are flying along the coastline away from the KSC. To make the test cruise easier, the replica was equipped with MJ aircraft autopilot. The KSP replica's cruise performance stats were as follows: Altitude: 750 m (2,460 ft) Best Vertical Speed to Altitude: 2 m/s Velocity: 50 m/s (~112 mph) Recommended Throttle: 10% Expected Range: 100 km The Caproni Ca.3 replica safely on the ground, and with only 2 fuel units left. Not a (new) scratch on it. If I thought getting this plane to look like its namesake was hard, I was in for a surprise keeping it off the ground. Maybe I should stick with using ducted blades for props that aren't large, fixed-angle or not, then I'd get better performance stats. On a positive note, it's not every day you see an Italian warbird. Usually, it's the major players (Great Britain, U.S., Germany, Japan, USSR) whose military planes get the most recognition. @Sebastiaz made the best-looking Caproni Ca.3 replica on KerbalX - I would like some numbers on cruising altitude and range, though I suspect they're better than mine - but at least I used only Stock + DLC parts. Replicas Remaining: 206
  24. My OV-10 Bronco replica got flagged as a modded craft, even though I've only used Stock + DLC parts; I've never downloaded SSTO Project in my life. When I looked at the parts list for the Bronco, I noticed that my "rotor.02s" - the small electric rotor - was marked as the modded part. However, my Kettering Bug replica which also has that same motor was not flagged as modded. Parts Lists OV-10 Bronco parts list (at least up to the modded (highlighted) part) Full Kettering Bug parts list I asked around what could have caused this problem, and @shibusu mentioned that someone tagged the rotor.02s part as modded by mistake. Is that it? Whatever the problem is, can you please fix it? Thank you.
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