Tag Archives: engine

Watch “FRANK LIVES!!!” on YouTube

It’s taken 18 months of an hour here, an hour there, but finally Frank the Tank has blown the dust out of his figurative lungs and grumbled into life.

Me and a few friends pulled him apart primarily to fix a broken ring gear, but then additional tweaks were carried out. Purely functional ones, like the new manifold and stainless exhaust system, and new hand brake.

A little bit still to do (obviously!), but this was a great day!

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Thank … God?

Okay… there are a lot of links in this blog entry. They go some way to showing what is involved, and who is involved, in parts of the following tale…. It is quite a short write up, considering how deep I could take it… so please bear with me…

The Scene…

A lorry has a tyre blow out on a major busy road in a hilly area of the country.

The trailer slides across the Tarmac & hits a car.

The car is smashed off of the road and it ends up upside down at the roadside.

A little girl inside is seriously injured.

In seconds, the traffic has stopped & other road users are phoning in the accident. They use mobile phones that have been developed over time by countless thousands of engineers who can trace telephone technology back to people like Bell and Marconi – or in this case, Dr Martin Cooper of Motorola with the first mobile phone.

These engineers went to school, college & university to study. They were taught by countless more lecturers & teachers who spent their lives learning their vocational skills and also attending schools, colleges, universities etc to enable them to go on and educate others. The same is said of the people who trained these instructors and… well, it goes on and on. Thousands of people lead to the witnesses of the crash being able to phone emergency services.

Of course, the emergency services couldn’t be contacted if there was no telephone infrastructure in place, and also if there was no way to generate electricity to power the systems that allow for the phones to charge and for the entire grid of communications to operate.

Again we have engineers, scientists and the initial inventors to thank for harnessing the power of electricity, into making it possible to give all the houses & businesses the ability to power their equipment… and go in all of the cars, lorries, boats, aircraft and so on… that all need batteries to start/run their engines, motors & electrical systems. And again there are the instructors, lecturers etc that teach these skills to enable this resource to develop and operate safer & more reliably day after day…. and the people who taught the people to teach…

Thinking about it, those teachers need somewhere to teach… so we must remember architects, builders, plumbers (ooh, the Romans for their work on plumbing), electricians, carpenters, roofers etc… and all the people who taught them… and those that taught those that taught them… etc.

Oh Hell, mustn’t forget the workers (and those that died progressing their areas of employment, working to provide for our prior generations, and those to come) in foundries, mills, mines, quarries who supplied the materials to build the schools… And don’t forget the people who taught them…. and here we go again….

So far we have a witness calling for help over a mobile phone, and someone from the emergency services taking that call & passing it on the the relevant rescue services… and we have thousands and thousands of people who helped make that call take place…. So many people who are each owed something for what they brought to the table on this day, so to speak.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Rescue and emergency services head out to the crash site. The rescuers included countless Police to divert traffic & control the crash scene for starters. Then the ambulances & fire engines come along. Paramedics & firefighters to cut the victims from the wreck & give emergency aid to get them stable for the urgent ambulance helicopter flight to an airport so that the girl can be transferred to a faster aircraft to get to the hospital.

I've worked on this aircraft at GAMA - I'm part of this huge chain that helped.

Think of the technology, the training, the skills and dedication involved in all of this! Even down to the rescue services “Jaws of Life“… the hydraulic cutters used to remove the roofs off of cars to allow people to be removed from them safely…

Heck, we need to thank the ancient Greeks & Chinese for their initial work in hydraulics, and Blaise Pascal (1600’s) for his work in modern hydraulic principles, that eventually lead to generations of teachers training generations of engineers to eventually come up with, and make “The Jaws of Life”.

All of those emergency vehicles have engines that developed from steam engines to internal combustion engines… We owe Karl Benz for some of the first practical motor cars… Nikolaus Otto is to thank for coal/gas burning reciprocal engines.

Then there’s the gas turbine engine in the air ambulance helicopter… this goes back to Bernoulli and more practically, Sir Frank Whittle… Oh yeah, the helicopter goes back to Leonardo da Vinci… and the modem father is Igor Sikorsky.

The technology that went into making all of those car, lorry, helicopter systems etc… is owed to an impossible number of inventors, scientist, scholars, boffins…. teachers, foundry workers… and on and on….

Almost forgot Babbage & the calculating machine he created, or the first simple mechanical computer of Thomas Fowler in 1840! … or the many variations of the abacus… or the efforts at Bletchley Park with Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers… regarded as the fathers of modern computing… Without this line of thought & engineering, the computer reliant vehicles (ground and air) would not function… or be able to be designed…

Do I have to go into how many people have helped progress THIS side of technology! MILLIONS! Don’t forget all of those ancient mathematicians that developed theories, rules, formulas etc that allowed ANY engineering to take place… Archimedes, Aristotle, Pythagoras… some of maths many fathers…

So yeah… The little girl is cut from the car & her condition is stabilised. She is put in the helicopter & flown to the hospital (by trained pilots who have spent years training etc and so on… you know what I mean by now…).

She arrives at the trauma centre, which was an idea first established in the 1960’s by R Adams Cowley, and is rushed into surgery (developed from around the 1500’s by countless scientists and researchers in medicine)… and I think if you have half a brain cell, that you’ll know where this is heading….

Trained staff, technology, inventors, scientists, infrastructure, upper tier staff, lower tier staff, buildings, services…. allowing the paramedics, doctors, nurses & other specialists to save the little girls life, using equipment that has been developed over generations of medical and non medical research, by people whose names you can’t help but recognise, including the likes of Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Hannah Myrick, Louis Pasteur, Alexis Carrel and Henry Dakin, Joseph Lister…. the list is endless…. or at least it may as well be, because every branch of medicine or medical research was generated from a different branch, or developed into others…

Research has expanded and helped us… and with that expansion comes the need for more people to teach, to learn, to think, to progress…

Millions of people and their ancestors all helped

The above list doesn’t touch the surface of all of those that were involved in that one little girls life being saved, but as you can see, the human count in this pyramid that ends with that little girls life contains millions of unsung heroes. People who worked just to find answers. Some were imprisoned & forced to work. Some were slaves, some were kings & queens… All walks of life through the ages.

And then there’s the press who interview the parents after the girl has been saved…. and the parents… they turn to the camera and say into the microphone…

“Thank God our daughter survived…. We knew he was looking down on her all the time…”

No mention of the Doctors, the nurses, the pilots, the Police, the rescue and emergency services, the witnesses at the scene… let alone the millions in history that allowed it to all play out….

Even if you are religious, then sure, thank your God, but don’t forget the physical people who did all the hands on work.

If you do want to thank ‘God’….. Don’t forget one tiny little thing…

…Who do you think allowed the crash to happen in the first place?

Yes, you guessed it....

You live on the shoulders of millions who lived before you.

Don’t ever forget that.

Oh, and before you go and say “It’s all a test God has set us“… then please read THIS


Brooklands, Hill Climbs and the Banked Track

The F1 room

Alex gets very excited when he see’s cars that he really likes. He breaks into squeals and shouts of joy, but today’s trip out to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge was a real eye opener….

The first building we entered had F1 cars in it… as Alex stepped into the room he just stopped dead… not a sound… he was overwhelmed!!!

He then started naming the cars!

Now I’ve mentioned before about his car knowledge, but today he surpassed himself as we walked around the vintage motors. We walked into one room with some really old cars in, and straight away he was naming them… Vauxhalls, Morgans, MG’s…. and then in the corner we saw a really old car….. and over Alex went and happily told me it was a Bugatti!!!

In yet another room he told me about the red 1930’s Maserati and a very early 1900 and something Peugeot… one of those that look like an old stage coach! He said it was a Peugeot granny car….

In one showroom there was a staged room belonging to a car designer. It was full of small models on the window ledge… which Alex started naming… He’s less than a month from his 3rd Birthday, so hearing him name vintage race cars just seemed so odd! He’s very good at it!

 

Alex scares people by naming vintage race car models...

Alex scares people by naming vintage race car models...

Besides the cars there are lots of aircraft at the museum – mostly those with some link to Vickers or Brooklands. They have one of the retired Concorde airliners there – an awesome sight – but for me it was overshadowed by the little known TSR2 nose section. Don’t get me started on that one… politics, politics and more politics… Grrrrrrr

A lot of the exhibits were things that my Dad had been heavily involved in – so I felt a warm nostalgia as I recollected the tales people told me of what he had achieved. He used to work alongside famous test pilots and engineers – notable names such as Bill Bedford and Barnes Wallace (Bouncing Bomb fame).

TRS2 fwd fuselage under Concorde nose

Vickers Wellington bomber, Hawker Hurricane, Harriers and Kestrels… Bouncing bombs and Tall Boys… lots of history… All of which Alex really enjoyed…. but this is Brooklands, and the home of a motor racing circuit that is 102 years old… or what is left of it….

 

Alex under the huge nose of the Valiant V-Bomber in the Stratosphere Chamber

Alex under the huge nose of the Valiant V-Bomber in the Stratosphere Chamber - out of sight is the 100 ton chamber door!

The circuit saw the fastest cars of the day – record breakers and racers – and a lot of them are on display. The steeply banked track is close to impossible to walk up – and very scary to try and climb down again as it is near vertical at the top!

So happy I thought the corners of his smile would meet up at the back of his head...

I always wondered what it would be like to go around the banked track, and today I had to wonder no more… They had a range of vintage and vintage style cars … and a Corvette … taking passengers up the (crazily steep) Hill Climb and hard right onto a woodland surrounded dirt track that swooped down and joined onto some of the remaining original circuit… tha part with the steep banking….

As we swept down the woodland road onto the race track our driver gunned the engine and took us up the steeply banked track – I say steeply banked track, but I think “wall” is a better description!

Alex loved it so much (squealing and grinning with joy) that we had to go around twice! It really was fantastic! The photo’s don’t do the angles justice!

The Hill Climb - We rocketed up this!

 

Getting ready to climb the bank.... It did not feel natural to be going so fast at such an angel of sideways tilt!

Getting ready to climb the bank.... It did not feel natural to be going so fast at such an angle of sideways tilt!

A final mention goes to this old fire engine. I’ve just had my 36th birthday… but I don’t feel so old… until I see an engine that I used to drive as part of my job!!!

I used to be part of the Dan-Air (Lasham) airfield fire crew. We had old RAF and Airport fire vehicles, and this very engine was one that I used to drive! How old does it make you feel to see something you actually used sitting there in a museum!

 

VXN... the old engine I used to drive!

VXN... the old engine I used to drive!


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