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Flashback: Flight of the Gossamer Condor

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Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 3105
Location: Springfield

4/6/17 7:47 AM

Flashback: Flight of the Gossamer Condor

The San Diego Air and Space Museum has digitized more than 3000 flight related titles. The ~30:00 documentary "The Flight of the Gossamer Condor" was #56.

The Flight of the Gossamer Condor

Its Oscar presentation

Johnnie Carson was the M.C., jump to the beginning of the second clip to be reminded how race relations have changed.

{ Disclaimer: I wrote "changed" without a qualifier. }

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Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16461
Location: Portland, OR

4/6/17 8:49 AM

Cool and cool..

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Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1931
Location: Glastonbury, Ct

4/7/17 9:50 AM


That's pretty neat. I'd never seen the film, but I've seen the real plane many times at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and I heard MacCready give a lecture there once. As the film points out, their key innovation was the construction method that allowed rapid repair/redesign. Other teams attempting to win the prize has spent months constructing a plane, then when it failed and broke, it was weeks or months before they could test a modified design. The GC team sometimes got 2 or 3 test flights in a day, with design modifications in between. They did literally hundreds more tests than anyone had been able to do before.

One of their design principles was to make things as light as possible, by making sure they were no stronger than necessary. Obviously they didn't want the plane to break in flight, but if it was strong enough to survive a crash, it was probably too heavy. So if they crashed and nothing broke, they'd make something lighter.

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