I've often said that what separates aerospace engineers from normal engineers is that we come up with batshit crazy ideas and treat them as great ideas. My go to example of this is my jet propulsion professor discussing future propulsion, mentioning the use of scramjets for spaceflight. The basic idea would be to build a giant railgun that would fire a craft to supersonic speeds to activate the scramjet, which would then be used to propel the aircraft into space. Not a joke, an actual, legitimate idea that has been researched.
Anyways....I just found a new one. I was thinking about writing an article about the B-58 Hustler, and read this:
"Convair had already proposed in January, 1950, a small delta wing composite carrying 2 men, which would be transported into the target zone by a B-36. With one engine in the tail, two droppable jet engines under the wings, and one in the tail of the long, finned bomb pod (all without afterburners) the parasite would have a launch weight of 100,000 pounds, would cruise to the target at Mach 1.3 (increasing to Mach 1.6 over the target), and reach a maximum altitude of 48,500 feet before pod release. After the attack the "return component" would fly back to the B-36 with its single engine at Mach 0.9. "
This about summarizes my reaction upon reading this
This is insane. I mean, holy crap, dropable engines? I've heard of that suggested elsewhere, but using them as a bomb? And a parasitic supersonic bomber?! THAT'S GOD DAMNED BRILLIANT! The top left picture is the parasite.
I didn't know much about the B-58, mostly just the transonic aerodynamics of the thing (which are fascinating), turns out it's a really impressive airplane, with a crazy interesting development. If you compare bottom left to bottom middle, you'll see the result of area ruling. The engines were moved, fuselage reshaped. I couldn't do it justice to write an article about the plane, if you want to know more, here's a great article:
One of the interesting factoids is the ejection system. The B-58 had ejection pods! Fully enclosed capsules, the pilots could even close up the capsules and still control the ailerons and elevators before ejecting!
So, I think I'll skip an article about the B-58, but instead write one about transonic aerodynamics, namely the area rule. It's fascinating stuff, a topic that in school really confirmed that aerospace engineering was my 'thing'. I'll probably work on it tonight or tomorrow.