* Posts by Dirk Koopman

21 posts • joined 16 Jul 2009

James Bond's autogyro revived by Brit spec-ops pilots

Dirk Koopman
Black Helicopters

Re: Look at the movie poster! → #

You can fly them completely hands and feet off.

This is one of Ken Wallis's favourite party tricks when he does demos. And it he does it at 100' at 40mph close to the crowd line, just so all the pilots amongst the spectators get the point.

Dirk Koopman

Re: I hope they are not serious..

The rotor "teeters" or wobbles, if you will, as it goes round. This is how it manages to deal with the advancing/retreating blade asymmetric lift issues that helicopters have, that are dealt with by swash plates and linkages and such that change that angle of attack of each blade depending on its position as it goes around the circle.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOVl-9R0UcI at about 04:10 to see the mechanism. It isn't offset from the control pivot, so it won't be as stable as he would like, but that's a different problem.

Dirk Koopman

Ken Wallis demonstrating


Note the length of the takeoff run :-) Just as well, 'cos his field is not *that* big.

Dirk Koopman
Thumb Up

Did you talk to Ken?

As he would have told you that he went a long way down this track, only have the MOD remind him that one of his autogyros crashed spectacularly - at Farnborough - in front of everyone when he and Vintons nearly went into production. They carefully gloss over the fact that the *helicopter* pilot had very few hours on type and did a manoeuvre that Ken had specifically (and repeatedly) told him not to do. Coupled with this, the various (non Ken) homebuilts, and even some of the upcoming commercial examples, have a frankly bad safety record. A lot of pilot error and some technical problems seeming to be the cause. Even the chap that taught me to fly one (in Cornwall) died because some idiot "borrowed" the single nut that held the rotor on and he didn't notice until the rotor came off when the autogyro glider was several feet in the air, with a student on board. Yes, that was the machine that I learned on, and not many months afterwards...

Autogyros have always suffered since.

Doesn't stop me wanting one though.

Maybe now that we have CAA Part G, a lot more "official" research and generally better understanding how these amazing machines work things will change. I do hope so.

Let’s hear it for service centricity

Dirk Koopman

It's not just a turtle

The scientist was right. Obviously a flat disc would topple off the tortoise/turtle (some ambiguity there) so you need some kind of filler between the chelonian and the disc.

I know - let's use four elephants. Scaled up to be in proportion to the turtle, they will be big enough and they will absorb the motion of the turtle manoeuvring around the hazards of space etc.

Er.. hang on, hasn't this been thought of before? And more than once?

Apple slapped with lawsuit over 'iAds' monicker

Dirk Koopman


Er.. Isn't there an even larger company that has been using "ios" as an "operating system" for decades now? Is Apple 'ard enough to take on Cisco. Could be interesting.

Giddens, Lawson argue quite sensibly on climate change

Dirk Koopman

Cut to the chase

The bit that everyone seems to skate around is: carbon based energy is going to get inexorably more expensive, either because it comes out of the ground or from stuff that grows on the ground. In either case there is limited availability and what there is will diminish.

Therefore energy has to be obtained from other sources and the devices that use said energy will have to modified or replaced by things that can utilise its replacement (basically electricity). Several things flow from this:

1) Wind is not much use unless there is a significant storage system associated with it.

2) Solar is better but does not work at night so you need still storage and also large area electricity distribution (both to cope with nights and placing PV cells in places with lots of sun).

3) Tidal is yields regular but constantly moving periods of max generation. These periods will not coincide with energy need precisely very often. More storage and/or wide area transport required.

None of the above are realistically capable of any more than a fraction of the UK's base load requirements so what is there to replace carbon based energy production? That actually exists today?

Well, there is nuclear. Pity it is old fashioned and inefficient U235 but it exists and it works. Thorium based reactors show much better potential both for efficiency and lack of by products - but don't really exist commercially. So we are stuck with French designs.

Er.. that's it. There is nothing else. Other than, at last noting what is mentioned in points 1-3 and maybe doing something about storage and wide area distribution. Both eminently doable, but need development.

Dunno what we are going to use to go and see the family in Oz though.. Back to tea clippers?

Google Caffeine jolts worldwide search machine

Dirk Koopman
Thumb Down

er.. one of these assertions must be false...

"At the moment, the index takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one (distributed) database, and new information is added at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes each day."

Which, on the face of it, means that in the next fortnight or so the index will have doubled in size. I wonder what Google has been doing all these years?

Germans plan to make 'synthetic natural' gas from CO2

Dirk Koopman

re: Some additional facts

Because there isn't enough room in the UK for all the windmills that one would need to supply all the electrical power that we will need to replace the oil and coal that we are trying to avoid using. People tend to conveniently forget that bit.

Having said that, windmill -> methane is much more useful and utilitarian power system than pumped storage or batteries.

Germany is a much bigger country, but actually it has less wind/sq km than the UK and also, the Germans are assuming that their population will let the power companies cover the countryside with windmills. Don't think that will happen much more easily than it will here. I am sorry but I don't believe they can a) achieve the numbers of windmills b) the efficiencies (far higher than currently achievable) and c) the population buyin.

Personally, I like the RIGHT SORT of nuclear power. I am talking thorium and other low enriched uranium reactors that actually consume 99% of their fuel instead of 5% and leave horrible dirty mess for someone else to clean up. But then that will require some vested interests to be ignored... I'd happily have a 200Kw thorium reactor buried in my garden.


Dirk Koopman

you don't mean diesel..

You mean petrol engines.

Unless you count lowering the compression ratio of the head, then helicoiling the injector holes for spark plugs, oh and coping with the increased rev range a petrol^HLNG engine has as "simple".

Obama may get personal V-22 Osprey tiltrotor

Dirk Koopman

Re: CH53

I suppose, ultimately, this is down to a turf war between the various branches of the US military. I imagine (not being from the US) that it is somehow important that it is seen to be a Marines' piece of hardware, as the 747s already belong to the USAF.

The Army, with its puny CH-47 Chinooks, for some reason don't seem to get a look in. Possibly because they are "Army" and therefore don't "get" flying. But then I thought that the USMC were happiest using boats...

Dirk Koopman
Black Helicopters

Er.. a Chinook?

If one can get an Osprey in, what's wrong with a Chinook? It has the lifting capacity, it even has the room inside, both for the electronics as well as the Pres + several SS men.

And it won't burn the precious White House turf.

'Gossips' say Apple will acquire ARM

Dirk Koopman

no kneecapping in the EU

If the EU managed to bring itself to take a loooong look at the anti competitive aspects of Oracle acquiring control of some "free" software. I can't see the Nokia waiting very long to StrongArm the EU, never mind the DTI, into forcing Jobs into providing some pretty cast iron guarantees, before being allowed to buy ARM.

In fact is Nokia going sit idly by should ARM come on the market? Then there are the other moby [is that still allowed?] manufacturers. What about Google? Even Microsoft might get in there now that is has seen some light with regard to the power/capability ratio of ARM hardware.

Jobs will have the mother of all fights on its hands.

Nuclear synthi-jetfuel plants wanted for US Afghan bases

Dirk Koopman

Carbon? Methane?

Call me stupid (and people often do) but could someone please explain how and why methane should be produced as a by product?

Bearing in mind that JP-8 is essentially kerosene with various additives and kerosene consists of molecules that are basically 6->16 (average 12) methane groups chained together, how come methane is willingly given off as a by product? Surely it would, at the very least, be recycled back into the synthesis process?

In the unlikely event that methane really is given off as waste, one could either burn it to get back some CO2 for input or more usefully, pump it into the gas grid and let someone else (with more clue) get some use out of it. After all methane is the principle component of "natural" gas.

Are you a 'supertasker'? Probably not

Dirk Koopman

talking whilst flying?

Er.. flying straight and level is not something that requires the sort of concentration that driving down the high street does (unless you happen to be flying at 250' whilst admiring the seals basking on Blakeney Point) . As well you know, there is a degree of compulsory muttering that has to be done in and around yer average airfield which is not going to go away.

A more serious point is that there is a BIIIIIG difference between having a headset attached to your head doing short simplex comms, in one's best CAP413 manner, and having a intimate (and duplex) conversation with one's significant other with the car in one hand (as it were) and one's Jesus phone glued to an ear with the other. Which is confirmed by other research which is hard to find and therefore never mentioned.

Gov confirms plans for Sky box in charge of your house

Dirk Koopman

and it will save an average of £28 / year..

That is of course after one has:

* paid for the meter (because big Electro ain't going to) cost: £340 + installation (say £200)

* paid for an interface brick (say £50) for every movable appliance

* or just replaced them all (who knows how much, other than £1000s)

* paid for an electrician + interface hardware for the hard wired stuff like immersion heaters, gas boilers etc (say £200 a pop + callout charge)(or replaced it q.v. :-)

* signed a form indemnifying big Electro for any consequences of them switching off stuff and it hurting you or yours.

Maybe this the Government's way of "subsidising" solar panels or other micro generation?

In the meantime, big Electro shareholders will rub their hands in glee as the divis roll in after sacking all the existing metering personnel and the charges have gone up by another 100% to cover this and "other investment".

And we will have yet another government supported monopoly private company that will need to charge huge sums per annum to cover their <del>empire building</del>investment with complete impunity.

"average saving", my a*se!


London's stock exchange crashes again

Dirk Koopman
Paris Hilton


I thought the LSE had bought a linux system + the Indian software house that wrote it? And that it was fast and super and wonderful and would never crash again?

VTOL gyro-copter flying car mates with killer robot

Dirk Koopman
Thumb Down

and none of this is very new

I have flown a rather ancient autogyro that could do jump takeoffs, that was 20 years ago and it was old and decrepit then. Even Cierva had the capability before WWII. None of them "took off" commercially because they all suffer from the considerable expense of variable pitch blades and control hardware (instead of a simple teetering head as on a Wallis or modern light autogyro).

Not only the extra expense of the hardware, but also the maintenance of having half a helicopter but with about an 1/8th of the capability. Oh and then there is all the potential vortex management (at 50' altitude) and so it goes on.

Ken Wallis has shown that it is perfectly possible to make a small, fast, simple to fly autogyro that takes off in 100' (nil wind) and lands vertically (if you want). Why do the military not talk to him?

US forces developing 'miniature weapons' for killer robots

Dirk Koopman

knife missiles

Read Iain Banks for more info...

Google not normal for Norfolk

Dirk Koopman


Obviously those doctors have never been to Norfolk. I wonder what it is about "class" or whatever it is that causes (mainly southern) people to assume that some kind of accent implies that the speaker is mentally deficient? And let's face it people that "talk Narfuk" have a real humdinger. But, trust me on this: they hent thick! Especially where money is involved.

India plots 1.2bn user biometric ID cards project

Dirk Koopman

As it's India, it might even work

Surprising, I know, but probably true. At least for a reasonable definition of "work".

They have a really strong and independent Electoral Commission which manages to run an election with vanishingly small amounts of fraud (compared to the size of the electorate), using home designed and built hardware.

Remember, they aren't making the same mistakes as the Home Office. They aren't trying to track people, "merely" trying to ID them. I strongly suspect that, had the HO simply put together a card to use instead / as well as a passport to ICAO standards (and no more), there would have far fewer complaints and much less cost.

The Indians have a track record now for (eventually) solving huge scale problems of this sort, using indigenous resources. I, for one, would not bet against them achieving a pretty reasonable system. Probably before the HO manage it here.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021