Virtual wild blue yonder
February 6, 2004 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Pull up! Pull up! Several detailed Quicktime VR tours of aircraft and spacecraft cockpits, from the National Air & Space Museum. [QTVR plugin required, natch.]
posted by stonerose (6 comments total)
Very cool, but the sr-71 only has one pilot? I didn't know that.
posted by yangwar at 10:46 AM on February 6, 2004

I was entertained by how very low-tech the SR-71's cockpit was; looked like something that could have come out of any old jet.

I take it that the X35-B's holes either side of the seat are where some kind of secret stuff would normally be installed (or, given the 'X' in its name, it's a prototype and testing equipment would be installed there).
posted by lowlife at 11:16 AM on February 6, 2004

Speaking of Pull up Pull up Pull up! Check out this guy trashing an F16 after misjudging altitude.
posted by marvin at 11:23 AM on February 6, 2004

the sr-71 only has one pilot?

Only one pilot, but there's a backseat with a dude in it. The backseater runs the sensor systems since the pilot is too busy flying an airplane going stupidly fast -- apparently there's an awful lot of managing the engine intakes that goes on.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:42 AM on February 6, 2004

This is a very cool project. (More here.) I went to the new Air & Space Museum building with a group of schoolkids in December, a few days after it opened, and ended up hanging out at least half an hour with David Palermo, who did this QTVR, while he demonstrated them for passersby on a 20” Cinema display. The files he has in the museum are much more detailed than the ones on-line — you can see stuff the astronauts scribbled on the walls while in space. They're planning to set up a kiosk display in the museum, and also have a CD-ROM for sale sometime soon, so you can play with the bigger image files at home.

Palermo was a project manager for QTVR, and worked at Apple from 1992-1999. He started doing this sort of thing photographing cars in Detroit wth a Kodak DCS-1 about six years ago. then two years ago he did a project for the EAA. (The Air & Space QTVR was done, I think he said, with a Nikon D1X.)

the sr-71 only has one pilot? . . . Only one pilot, but there's a backseat with a dude in it.

Coincidentally, the kids and I had gone to the museum to meet up with Noel Widdifield, the man who sat in the back seat while the SR-71 on display there set a speed record in September 1974 — NY to London in less than two hours. A nice guy (as was Palermo). This account of that flight says that the ‘dude’ behind the pilot is called the ‘reconnaissance systems officer.’

The most interesting thing he told the kids, to me anyway, was that the Blackbird goes so fast, and gets so hot, that it expands 11 inches while in flight. (Other sources say four, six, or twelve.)
posted by LeLiLo at 2:49 PM on February 6, 2004

lelilo, thanks for the added flavor! can't wait to see the added detail in person, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for the cd-rom.
posted by stonerose at 5:10 PM on February 6, 2004

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