Enough of boats and sail for a moment. I can see that James loves mucking around in boats and I like boats too but my particular passion is the air. I am an aviation man. 20 Years in the RAF and being around aircraft every day did not diminish my enthusiasm. I was not a pilot but did manage to rack up many hours in jet aircraft with a lot of experience in the beautiful, swift and agile Folland Gnat, along with fewer hours in Lightnings and the fabulous Buccaneer.
Now I have my computer and a good flight simulator. I will write about that another time. And I have You Tube, that window on everyone else’s world. And what a lot of aviation for the man in the street there is there too. So, let us look at one or two matters that affect us all and some that enable a growing few.
Technology has exploded in the aviation sphere. Largely developed in the west and largely for military use, the Chinese have had tremendous success in ‘stealing’ it and feeding it back to the western ‘man in the street’.
Whilst the militaries are busy building and deploying un-manned aircraft, the civilian is also creating a higher than previously imagined ‘hobby’. The days of rubber bands have long gone and modern model aircraft are equipped with jet engines and cameras ‘in the cockpit’.
Just where this will lead is anyone’s guess but already the days of the manned fighter aircraft are numbered and the current 5th generation machines on the drawing boards and production lines are likely to be the last ones we see.
The end of the manned fighter
Not content with military drones proliferating, ‘civil authorities’ are increasingly turning to sophisticated surveillance using very small multi-rotor helicopters. This is raising a number of issues, not the least of which is the ability of Police to ‘intrude’ on people going about their lawful occasions.
‘Civilian ‘authorities’ using drones.
But… the hobbist is where the fun action is. Every aircraft that comes into service is followed (and sometimes preceded) by a model, often produced in China, packed with high tech abilities.
The Breitling Air Force.
A swarm in Kentucky
Of course, it doesn’t always go to plan. Explosions are not confined to advancement.
But for sheer pleasure and creativity we need only to see the huge amount of ‘artistic work’ coming from the use of FPV. This is where a camera is in the drone (winged or rotored) that puts the operator on the ground ‘up there’. The ‘pilot’s’ consciousness is displaced from his sitting position on the beach or hilltop and into the drone. One wonders what effect this will have on human cognitive ability in the long run.
FPV from the ‘Black Sheep’.
And In Oz.
This is a superb overview of the tech issues and societal issues, rather than just the flying enjoyment issues.