Thursday, August 30, 2007

Groovy Hawaii Five-O Car Chases

Here's a hilarious bit of nostalgia for you. Someone has knitted together a compilation of car chases from the old Hawaii Five-O TV series.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Ekranoplan - AKA Caspian Sea Monster AKA кранопла́н AKA KM

The CIA dubbed them the "Caspian Sea Monsters" (one might think because US government spy satellites and overflights spotted these gargantuan beasts skimming across the Caspian Sea but more likely the name came from intelligence "agents" who witnessed the things in what amounts to full flight). The Soviets called them KM. Known as ekranoplan (Russian экранопла́н "screen plane"), these ground effect craft (GEV- ground effect vehicle) were designed to exploit two advantages of low-level flight - the low-propulsion requirements of ground effect flight (WIG - Wing in Ground effect), and the ability to fly below radar coverage.

The Soviets designed, developed and built a range of these huge GEV. They built troop carriers, military transports and they even built versions that operated as (extremely) mobile missile launch platforms. The largest, the KM, weighed some 540 tonnes fully-loaded and could carry over 100 tonnes of cargo (that's as much as a Boeing 757!.

These were some big, bad, battle-cruisers. The only thing they lacked were those cool, robotically-controlled laser guns you see in the movies. Oh, and the ability to jump to warp speed. But no doubt the Soviets had that well in hand too. Damn you, Reagan. DAMN YOU!

Not to worry, the Chinese are on the case.

Not had enough? There is some cool Google Earth-related stuff here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Russia's Mi-26 Is a GINORMOUS Helicopter

No really. It is gigantic. Have you ever seen a Very Big Helicopter? You know, the Boeing CH-47 Chinook? You must have seen one of those big beasties on TV. They've been a feature of TV and movies since Vietnam and are regularly dropping out of the sky, slamming into mountain sides and otherwise getting into the news.

The Chinook is a BIG helicopter.

Well, the Mi-26 Halo has a takeoff weight more than double that of the Chinook. If the Chinook is considered a "heavy lift" helicopter, what does that make the Mi-26? In fact, the USA hired a Mi-26 to collect a Chinook that had been downed in Afghanistan.

You must have seen the Lockheed Hercules. The C-130 military variant is on TV at least as much as the Chinook. The Mi-26's cargo hold is almost as big as that of the Hercules. The Hercules needs a runway (albeit a short one, especially with JATO).

The Mi-26 goes STRAIGHT UP.

The Mi-26's main rotor carries eight blades and has a diameter of 32 metres!

The wimpy version of the Mi-26 has two engines generating almost 25,000 shaft horsepower between them. Updated versions are expected to have nearly fifty per cent more power.

However you cut it, this is some serious machinery.

The biggest problem is finding pictures that really convey the awesome scale of this beast. I've scoured the web so you don't have to.

You can get a full rundown on the Mil Mi-26's statistics here and good pictures are available here, here, here and here.

There's more information about the Mi-26 here and here and details of the awful shooting down of Russian Air Force Mi-26 at Khankala, Chechnya here. Details of Putin's measured response to the killing of 127 Russians are here.

And yes, they are for sale.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati Rock Bangkok 2005 Motorshow

You might want to don a pair of sunglasses before delving into this bunch of shiny, bright yellow Italian thoroughbreds. Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati appear to jostle for position in this seeming traffic jam of mouthwatering exotica.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Chevron B16 at Brands Hatch for the Ferrari Festival

I'm digging through my library. My lossy compression is your gain!

Check out a few photos of a gorgeous Chevron B16 at Brands Hatch. My memory is old and fuzzy but it's a few years ago at the Ferrari Festival.

The B16 is a beautiful little "mini-Lola T70", built for endurance sports racing at places like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Nurburgring in the late 1960s and early 1970s. You can read more about Chevron, and the B16, here and here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

1995 Honda Argento Vivo spider by Pininfarina

I normally try only to post photos I've shot myself but this car is too beautiful not to tell everybody about it. The 1995 Honda Argento Vivo spider was produced by Pininfarina. It's more than just a show car. Five examples were produced for the Sultan of Brunei. Some more pics on Flickr. Oh, and you could even have bought a used (read: classic) one here or here.

1995 Honda Argento Vivo spider by Pininfarina

I try to feature only photos I've shot myself but I just couldn't help it today. This is such a beautiful car, I'm amazed it has had so little coverage in the motoring press. Behold, the 1995 Honda Argento Vivo by Pininfarina.