Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thematic Photographic 69: "Transition" v.2.0 - VTOL

"AV-8 Harrier II"
Winston Salem, NC - September 2009 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus (Normally) Hosted by Written Inc.

Note: Please take a moment to stop by the Written, Inc. and visit . And pay your respects to TP's creator, Carmi, on the sudden loss of his father. Best thoughts for you and your family Carmi.

Aviation in general is a series of transitions. Even in its most elementary forms, there's a transition where lift overpowers gravity and flight becomes... well, actual flight as opposed to just moving really fast. And there's probably no better example of the transitional properties of flight than the Bristol Siddeley (or Hawker Siddeley, those British corporations get so incestuous) Harrier "jump jet" (designated the AV-8 Harrier II in the US). Powered by the Rolls Royce "Pegasus" jet engine, the Harrier uses rotating nozzles to vector thrust straight down enabling it to get airborne without the takeoff roll required by most fixed-wing aircraft. Once airborne, the nozzles transition to a horizontal attitude and the Pegasus operates like any other jet engine.

Designed in 1957 with production beginning ten years later, The Harrier isn't alone in the world of VTOL (Vertical TakeOff and Landing) aircraft, but it is one of the first production aircraft with this unique capability. Others include Bell Helicopter's oft-maligned V-22 Osprey already fielded by the US Marine Corps and Air Force as a medium lift, multi-mission hauler, the French-built Dassault Mirage IIIV (three-vee) which in addition to having vertical takeoff capability is also capable of supersonic speeds in level flight, and the not-quite-here-yet replacement for the Harrier (as well as other aircraft) the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II.

Your Turn: Got a photo to support the "Transition" theme? Feel free to share a link in the comments. If you're new to Thematic Photographic or just wondering how this works, you can find out all about it here or better yet, at TP's usual home. Tune in tomorrow for another installment in the Transition theme. Until then, peace yo!

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