Friday, April 28, 2017

Le Bourget - Uboat Gyrocopter

Almost hidden in the rotary wing section of the museum was this 1 man gyrocopter. It was carried by German U Boats and used to get a lookout to a higher elevation. I wonder how effective it was and what the captain would do if he had to make a crash dive. I suspect the lookout would go swimming. Only 12 of these exist in museums around the world (2 in the US) and this museum is lucky to have one.

Le Bourget - Prototypes

There is a hall where they display prototype aircraft from the 50s and 60s. Included in there is the VTOL version of a Mirage. Here are some pictures. The descriptions were all in French so my understanding of them is somewhat weak.

This thing is truly like strapping on a jet engine.

Early personal rocket
Another personal jet pac

A mini jet

Don't know what this is except an idea to strap a jet onto something.

The plane in the center set some sort of speed record.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Le Bourget

This is a teaser for aviation pron that's coming.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Paris Shooting Thoughts

My wife and I were having dinner in the 5th Arrondisment when we heard about the shooting on the Champs. We started getting texts from our family asking if we were OK. That's funny because they never ask us how we are when there is a shooting in New Orleans, which is a daily occurrence. Here are some observations.

The police here patrol in groups of three. They always used to do that but now they all wear vests and one of them carries an assault rifle. Trying to take them on in a gun fight would be suicidal. The gunman would have caused more terror had he just started shooting randomly at the cars on the Champs.

Key sites such as transportation hubs and tourist areas are patrolled by the army. They are usually in a single fire team of 4 guys, all with assault rifles.

We were in Paris shortly after the mass shooting at Bataclan. The security then was high but we have noticed some changes as a result of this shooting. The police being up-armed is one. (I suspect that they had to make an emergency purchase of all those assault rifles) Another is that there were checks at several pedestrian choke points today. We were stopped at the exit of the Metro in what looked like a routine ticket check. My wife noticed a couple of policemen off to the side who were obviously looking for somebody. (This was at Cite which exits out at the Palace of Justice and the police headquarters) Also, when we walked through the doors into the large underground forum at Les Halles, there were security guys checking backpacks and wanding people down.

The base of the Eiffel Tower is now fenced off. If you want to enter the area under the tower you have to go through security. It is really an ugly scar that takes the fun out of a visit there.

The French presidential election on Sunday should be interesting.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Canal St. Martin

Canal St. Martin was ordered by Napoleon I and construction started in 1802. It was completed in 1825. It was designed to short cut the bends in the Seine and gain access to the Ourcq River to the north. It runs underground in the last few kilometers on its southern end. Total drop is about 24 meters.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Paris Street Iron

Below is probably what is one of the recent copies of the Studebaker Avanti. The manufacturing rights passed through several hands after Studebaker stopped production in 1963. The last ones were built in 2006 in Cancun using Ford components.

I take no responsibility for the tacky wheels, mismatched white walls and crappy racing stripes. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017


The "Argonaute" is a French diesel electric submarine that was commissioned in 1958. It's relatively small at only 50 meters long. It was designed as an attack sub. It carried only 8 torpedoes with a crew of 40. It is currently at the City of Science and Industry in Paris.

My visit to her was a bit of a fail. The park complex is huge and I had to walk about 1 mile from the Mtero to get to her. I waited in line about 20 minutes before I realized that I could not buy tickets at the entrance. To leave and then get back inline would have taken another hour, so I decided that I didn't need to see the interior of a 60 year old submarine. But here are some outside pictures.