Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., I present to you the Lockheed XP-80 Lulu-Belle:
If your memory is good, this bird may look a bit familiar to you. Lulu-Belle was the prototype for the P-80 Shooting Star, the first operational U.S. turbojet fighter to see full production. Designed and built in an amazing 143 days, the airplane first flew on January 8, 1944. It became the first U.S. aircraft to exceed 800 kilometers (500 miles) per hour in level flight, and its P-80 and F-80 descendants barely missed active service in World War II. Continue reading →
I talked a bit about the Me 163 some time back — but a recent trip to Washington D.C. left me with a bit of time for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, which meant I was able to get some shots of their copy of the “Komet:”
This is a B1 model of the craft — so, in the middle of its development history, and the only variant to see operational (if ineffective) use.
Brought to you from the scenic town of Pula, Croatia — it’s an ancient Roman amphitheater, best known as the Pula Arena:
But this is no mere antiquity. The Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers entirely preserved, and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World. Its construction started during the reign of Augustus (31 BC – 14 AD), and it was enlarged and revised until 96 AD. It was used for gladiatorial shows until the 5th century, then fell into disuse until restoration began around 1800. It’s now used for concerts, theater presentations, and other public events — it can seat some 5,000 people.
Sure, the sinking of the Titanic gets all the press — but the engineering that went into her and her sister ships in the Olympic-class was impressive for their time, and still is today. Bill (“Engineer Guy”) Hammack explains all:
Some years ago, I told you about the (very inaccurately named) Montezuma’s Castle structure in Arizona. Today, you get to see the remains of a pithouse down the road from it, just uphill from the (similarly inaccurately named) Montezuma Well:
A pithouse is a structure built partially underground, and partially above ground. Most pithouses found in the southwest were family residences — this one is large enough that it is thought to have been home to several families, or more likely, a community structure used by them. One of four pithouses in the area, this structure dates to about 1050 AD, and resembles similar structures from the same period built by the Hohokam culture near modern Phoenix. Continue reading →