Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Lking

You can say 'Think You'

Recommended Posts

Ah, viewpoints. What a surprise that the lion's share of successful developments seem to come from the privately-funded initiatives while the costly budget over-run items that kill people result from the formal forward-looking process. Say A-4 Skyhawk in the one corner and F-102B/F-106 Delta Dart in the other. Yeah, they both made it in the end but what a difference in work-up time, development cycle and bang per buck. Exceptions, pushing the boundaries way out - yeah, say the SR-71/YF-12A Blackbird. Maybe the number of people involved in drawing up the specs and those interpreting them is a critical factor? The Blackbird not being subject to the distractions of cavilling bureaucrats.

Arthur C Clarke? One of my favourite humans (Requiscat in Pace). He also predicted HAL 9000, to be operational on ... erm ... 12 January 1992 (not to mention a moonbase well before then, human exploration of the outer solar system before this, few things he pushed into the middling far future, talking to dolphins maybe?). Okay, not fair mixing fictional and serious projections but I seem to recall few enough of those came to be within the timeframes he set and revised in his consecutive works of prediction for them to be a viable basis of real-world specs. And he was the first to admit he was a rotten prognosticator, even though aware the chief mistake in prediction is "the failure of imagination". Except with the coms satellites.

But the limitations on development and implementation are mostly political, aren't they? That's why 'the skunk works' developing the SR-71 could be so successful. They were not subject to the usual ...

Sheesh - what was the topic again?

Ah yes, my little spam-run only amounted to a few dozen/30 misdirected bounces lasting less than/about one day. Have to think the ISP might have had a hand in some severe throttling of the 'real' volume. They hate spam - their network has been hammered and PigPong, bandwidth supplier, actually shut them down, briefly, not that long ago.

And they (our ISP) darn near closed *us* down. Unrelated - spam complaints - also SCbl listings over 2 weeks for spamtrap hits - still on - but they probably weren't aware of those. Like the Battle of Waterloo, a "close-run thing". Lucky I was insistent with our tech contractor. As near as I can make out, it must have been an SMTP Auth hack. The reason patches weren't applied before this isn't completely clear, something to do with not being specifically advised for Exchange Server. But now they are applied and something's been done with the authority levels which would prevent such relaying even if the patch wasn't in place. Whatever. He's not pressing his luck by going for express delisting.

Darn ... off topic again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe the number of people involved in drawing up the specs and those interpreting them is a critical factor?

And not all of those folks being educated in the actual items involved. For example, the lawyers involved doing their interpretaion of the contents of the specifications and the contract for work itself. I recall one program in which a Contract Data Requirements Item Listing included a sentence ,,, the Government's intent .. if the contractor didn't know what a particular Government form looked like, a sample would be made available, such that the contractor could copy it for their future Data submittals. That contractor's lawyers decided to interpret that sentence as meaning that the Governemnt would provide all the blank forms for all of those Data submittals. End result, that program started out being undefunded by something like $300,000 U.S. Which of course, had serious impacts elsewhere.

Exceptions, pushing the boundaries way out - yeah, say the SR-71/YF-12A Blackbird. The Blackbird not being subject to the distractions of cavilling bureaucrats.

But the limitations on development and implementation are mostly political, aren't they? That's why 'the skunk works' developing the SR-71 could be so successful. They were not subject to the usual ...

A lot of that I have attributed to the lack of (U.S.) Congressional overight. Many "black" projects have made it out into the world, just as you example by the amazing genuis involved behind the SR-71 (and the U-2 that preceeded it)

There was once another aircraft that was initially contracted for (and funded by Congress) something like 300 birds to be delived over the next 15 years. With that deal signed, the contractor built a new manufacturing facility, bought materials, hired the necessary staff, and started work. It was a cost-plus contract, basically meaning that whatever the contractor had to spend would be reimbursed with the additional 'profit' figure added on .... that 'profit' figure being based on a proportion being applied to each aircraft. Along came the Congressional plan a year or so later that had determined that there was now no longer a need for all these aircraft, so they decided to change the (funded) production numbers to something like 20 aircraft to be delivered over the next 5 years ... drop all the rest of then.

Gee whiz .. imagine that the next complaint from Congress was about the "per unit" cost of those resulting fewer numbers ... not caring a bit about the fact that it was their change in the whole plan and the contract type, in addition to their poor timing, that caused the cost of each delivered aircraft to be over 100 times the original cost. (Remember, the contractor had already spent money on facilities, materials, and staffing for 300 airplanes, so all those costs were passed onto the actual remaining 20 aircraft (plus the profit figure)

[Numbers basically pulled out of the air, as I've been out of that arena for too many years. The aircraft involved was the B-2]

BTW: did you check out the (partially) declassified checklist for the SR-71? I'm sure I posted that ages ago in the Lounge ... I was impressed at that 'new' site in that he even had data and pictures of the starting power-plants, something I'd never really seen documented elsewhere. It was always amazing to hear those double big-block V-8's doing their straining bit to get the engines to actually spool up ... only surpassed by then watching the take-off itself <g> Of course, then there were the hopped-up Camaro's used by U-2 pilots to assist flying U-2 pilots in bringing those in for a landing, but of course, that's another whole story <g>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...BTW: did you check out the (partially) declassified checklist for the SR-71? I'm sure I posted that ages ago in the Lounge ... I was impressed at that 'new' site in that he even had data and pictures of the starting power-plants, something I'd never really seen documented elsewhere. It was always amazing to hear those double big-block V-8's doing their straining bit to get the engines to actually spool up ... only surpassed by then watching the take-off itself <g> Of course, then there were the hopped-up Camaro's used by U-2 pilots to assist flying U-2 pilots in bringing those in for a landing, but of course, that's another whole story <g>
No, I must have missed that one. Just the other day I got a link from a former RAAF member to this story but it was at another site, one for guys who had worked on the aircraft, had a bit of a browse through the rest of the site - some interesting but not highly technical stuff, lots of pictures and 'behind the scenes' details/coloration. Wish I'd kept that link, didn't realize at the time it doesn't Google. Fantastic machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×