Thursday, 11 August 2016

Nimrod reborn

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s the RAFs Nimrod was a common sight on TV and in the sky. It was based on the de Haviland Comet the world's first Jetliner, sometimes referred to as the pregnant comet. There were several attempts produce a different version of the aircraft. The last 2 the AEW3 and the MRA4 never entered service but did cost a lot of money, the cancellation of the projects very near to completion was controversial as was the capability gap left by the MRA4.

Remains of MRA4

A lot of the MRA4s problems were put down to trying to graft new wings onto an old fuselage, designed and built before the days of computer-controlled machining, basically, every airframe was different. The decision to do this part replacement was always controversial, BAe did not want to do it but HMG insisted, the logic was unclear but to me, it seems flawed and possibly the product of some accounts wizardry. Now 6 years later we are left buying Boeing patrol Maritime Aircraft and the intellectual property to build half of a new aircraft.
The RAF still has large capability gaps, which need filling, the MRA4 for all it fault had some impressive capability, most notably it's range of about 7000 miles, which exceeds the range of any of the V-bombers. With a bit of work and a few 100 million quid, you could build a new aircraft using all the new bits designed for the MRA4, wings, engine, flight avionics. Design a new fuselage and you have a decent airframe with potentially many uses. Let us call this the Large Combat Airframe(LCA), it not stealthy it's not at the bleeding edge of anything, but it is big, it has a bomb bay and it can carry a large combat crew.
I propose the following:

1st Production line

First, a new body is fuselage is designed, with a bulkhead between the cockpit and the main body. That cockpit is a self-contained 2 man unit, that the crew enter via a ladder up the landing gear, possibly it has ejector seats. The tail is a V tail because while this isn't a stealth aircraft there is no point in giving it a radar cross-section bigger than needed.  The rear section is as bare as possible, perhaps some cables hanging down from the roof, for use later.
There is a full defensive avionics fit, and the passenger section can be empty and unpressurised. The rear bulkhead has a door in it and some steps for self-loading, or if it can be done wide enough for parachuting from. There is at least 1 big cargo door, perhaps a full quarter section, through which modules/pallets can be loaded into the top floor pre confined for the specialised roles.
The only state of the art bits I'd consider is Fly by Light, as used by the Kawasaki P-1, which is fly by wire but using fibre optics rather than heavy wires and Power by Wire, partly used on the F-35, which eliminates all those heavy hydraulics and replaces them with light wires.
When it rolls off the production line underneath is a big hole filled with a stress-bearing structure to make the airframe flyable. It fully equipped with defence avionics it might even have wing hard points for general use but other than flying up to the enemy and waving it is useless.

2nd Production line

This is where the aircraft is specialised. 

Nimrod:Andraste Bomber standoff, bomb bus or patrol

If you want a bomber, you take out the lower blanking structure and bolt in a bomb bay, perhaps not the whole length of the aircraft. The front section is fitted with a designator pod, while the rear section has some extra intelligence gathering, extra fuel tanks go above in the unpressurised rear section so if it takes a small hit no problem.

Nimrod:Sulis Maritime Patrol

A bit smaller bomb bay, this time, the front underneath section if fitted with an observer post were the MK1 RAF eyeball can be put to best use. The rear module fitted with a module for dropping sonar buoys.

Nimrod:Toutatis Arsenal plane

Full-length bomb bay stuffed with all sort of effectors.

Nimrod: Coventina Forward refueller

With all the defence avionics you can put this a lot near the front line than a converted passenger jet, just put tanks everywhere.

Nimrod Belatucadros: Defended transport.

To haul personnel and machinery it to the hotter spots, perhaps drop them off view the back door. Use the bottom as a cargo bay.

Nimrod:Vinotonus Standoff Radar.

A bigger version of Raytheon Sentinel.

Nimrod:Visucius ELINT/SIGINT

Well it should be quiet with the Fly by Light

Nimrod:Alaisiagae Forward UAV/Drone control.

Pilots flying planes from Planes.


Other users

If you were France/Germany/Indian or even the US you could buy airframes of the 1st production line and then fit them out yourself. You would benefit from the reduced cost of the production line of the airframe and then tailor it to your own use.
The US has made good use of the C135 in a fair number of these roles, and it wasn't designed for such flexibility.


If the production of a dedicated version is a 2 stage process then perhaps the 2nd stage can be undone, allowing a fleet to be reconfigured perhaps not on the front line and not overnight, but an airframe that could go from a transport to full armed bomber in a month would make for a very flexible fleet. It would also allow for upgrades with far less downtime.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Needs to be Longer in Liverpool

As it is

Liverpool airport current runway is a modest 2,285m, while this is a reasonable length it prevents the biggest aircraft from taking off at their maximum takeoff weight, which limits either the payload(passengers) or the fuel load(range).

What is needed

In the images below the lengths of other airport's runways are marked. The pink is the current runway at Liverpool, while the red extension is the approach lighting system(ALS). The green line in the middle is Manchester airport's 3,050 m runway, the light bit again the ALS. Yellow is Heathrow's 3902-metre strip.

What is needed

Madeira Airport Runway by Richard Bartz
On Madeira the runway has been extended stilts, this does somewhat limit the load the runway can take.

Sydney Airport
Sydney was extended by building a cofferdam and infilling.

What it would look like

To get to the length of Manchester's runway, with a taxiway would need a strip 375m wide  and would require reclaiming a triangle 11.5 hectares
Manchester Length Runway
 to go to Heathrow's length would require an additional 854 meters oblong of 32.3 hectares

Heathrow Length Runway

How it could be done.

There are several methods of reclamation that could be used the simplest is building a cofferdam around the perimeter of the area and then filling it with dredgings from the river.While this would damage the river bed and remove some of the existing shore, the total length of shore would be greater when it was finished. The river would be made slightly narrower which would increase the flow rate and probably result in a change in the deep channel position. This happens anyway and requires the river to be regularly surveyed.
To build on columns there are numerous methods but one to consider would be building floating the extension sections, the float them into position before sinking them on to a prepared river bed, this would interfere with the flow of the river less. The columns would soon be covered in various forms of life but would quite likely soon silt up. Unless this could be done considerably cheaper than the perimeter dam, I doubt it would be worth considering.
One system for doing this is below.

and another here

Why extend it at all?

The world's largest aircraft in passenger service is the Airbus A380 at its Maximum Take of Weight it requires 2,950m  of runway, meaning it can just about operate from Manchester's runway, while the 777-200ER takes 3,380 m and several 747 variants cannot take off from Manchester at full load . So any growth in that aircraft which requires a long run, will not be capable of using Manchester and obviously it cannot use Liverpool now. So if an extension is built then it would seem sensible to at least reclaim sufficient land to build a Heathrow length runway.
Changes in aircraft propulsion system to say electric may require longer runways as the installed power would be less, leading to lower acceleration and a need for a longer run to get up to speed.
The Northern Space Consortium investigated using Liverpool as a Spaceport that would need a longer runway to operate something like Skylon, the increase runway speed and weight would require a very strong runway. The current runway is very strong due to the nature of the ground, any extension would need to match that strength.  Even for Suborbital Point to Point hops like the proposed Reaction Engine A2 or SpaceShip 3 the longer runway would be useful.
It is IMHO a project worth doing, I'm not sure of the cost though a lot less that Liverpool possibly in the region of £75,000,000 for a Manchester length & £200,000,000 for a Heathrow length but that is simply a guess, assuming land reclamation at about £5,000,000 per hectare ,runway at £7000 per linear metre of runway and £6000 per linear meter of taxiway see here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

What is the buzz.

These are pictures of a new art installation in Derby Square Liverpool.

For those people with even the most basic understanding of the National Grid will appreciate that the 50hz buzz, for the early years of Radio broadcast, was an annoyance that was solved by using batteries even in homes that had electricity installed, many still used Gas lighting.
The techniques for extracting it from recordings have been known since the early 19th century when Joseph Fourier invented Fourier analysis it been used for forensic analysis for more than 10 years but to describe it as "surveillance" is simply tin hat conspiracy theory click baiting. The only thing that HMG actually watches for this technique is the mains itself and it isn't just them people who specialise in forensic analysis for court use make their own recordings.
The signal in the UK has always been tightly regulated in part to allow synchronous clocks to work, there was a requirement for the number of cycles in a day to be a fixed number, so the national grid had to make adjustments to counter the natural variation. In conjunction with Radio Clocks and the time signal, this created a nationwide accurate time, which replaced railway time, which had replaced solar time.
It is just a pity that the entire thing has been hijacked by the word surveillance.
Oh and one other thing if you are an electronic engineer or a HiFi enthusiast who has spent years trying to get rid of the 50hz buzz or perhaps someone who likes to sit quietly in Derby Square and watch the world go by, it is too noisy. 
If anyone fancies playing with FFTW I have used this C library on several occasions FFTW    there is even a play one in Java for the amateur in JTransforms.  It is not limited to sounds but can also be applied to images see here.

The view

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Corbyn v Farage

There are a lot of similarities between Corbyn & Farage, in terms of their personality. Both are demagogues appealing to different people, the difference in terms of actually getting power is that Farage has a far more sympathetic and powerful right wing press behind him.Corbyn has some very badly behaved followers who constantly lead to sanction and investigation from the party by spouting rather unacceptable views. The Faragists and their views on sexuality related weather events and explicit racism are well known. Today as the press release of the Chakrabarti inquiry: Labour not overrun by anti-Semitism  some of Corbyn's supports could be controlled their mouths.
Despite his own person record of ignoring party policy, Corbyn is intent on making it easier to punish MPs who do not toe that party line. He only managed to follow party policy 7.5 out of 10 in the run-up to the referendum. This need for personal control is something both have.
The biggest similarity that they have is who bad they are at basic politics. One of the most important rules is to never leave you self-hostage to fortune, Farage did that with his 48% is unfinished business. Corbyn does it on regular occasions his 7.5 out of 10 was one.
Corbyn's supports say he just being honest and Farage's that he is just express the views everyone thinks. However there are ways of getting you message over without leaving yourself open to attack and neither of them is any good at it, while Corbyn seems to be able to survive the Guardian and Mirror pointing out his mistakes, the rightwing press does a far more thorough job, his supporters ignore these problems but the public do not.
In public every opportunity has to be taken to attack the opposition's arguments the political player cannot sit and wait till they are asked to do this but must turn every question about their policy into either something positive about their own policies or a criticism of their opponents. Corbyn is incapable of doing this, he is incapable of politics.

Corbyn v Foot

The similarities between Crobyn& Foots policies are very similar, however just about everything else is different, Michael Foot was a political player who had not shirked away from public office, and had held senior government posts, he also had a non-political job before he became a politician, though admittedly only as a journalist.  He was a generally a more intelligent and better-educated person than Corby.
Foot was the leader who produced The longest suicide note in history the Labour parties 1983 manifesto. the result of this election was a landslide victory for the opposition. It was a manifesto which still haunts the labour party. It was arguably responsible for the next 3 Tory victories as well, and over these years the population moved to the right, to such an extent that the Labour party had to move to the right to get elected and in order to keep in power has to stay to in the center ground rather than gradually move to the left. Where it did maintain it leftwing identity was in more intellectual areas of politics which have always chaffed with large sections of Labour's natural supporters. Who began to feel more and more left out, certain areas like child poverty did go down, but the dominance of big business and the growth in the pay gap between the rich and poor grew.
The 2008 financial crash brought back questions about the Labour government ability to run the economy and allowed the Tories into power in 2010 with and an austerity budget.The picking of Ed Milliband as Labour leader, what tipped the balance for Ed where the Trade unions, he was not the pick of the MPs. The Unions liked his more left-wing rhetoric but unfortunately, he was a political liability, prone to gaffs, and able lieutenant but not a leader.
Despite widespread unhappiness with the Tory government, the rise of the SNP and UKIP added to the woes of Labour, who despite a small increase in lost seats, in Scotland. This was on a platform that was more left leaning than Blair and Brown, and with a leader of greater ability, it would perhaps have lead to a Labour lead coalition with the SNP. Arguably the difference was the selection of Ed Milliband rather than his brother David,
The recriminations lead inevitably to the end of Ed's leadership, and because of changes to the way the leader was elected brought Corbyn to the role.
If Corbyn is allowed to go forward to the next election he will damn Labour not to defeat in just that but in several elections afterwards, as I suspect his manifesto will be an even longer suicide note. In order to get back into power Labour will have to shift back to the position of Blair et all or even further right, that is if it can get back into power at all. It place could well be usurped by a new 3rd party.
In order to do anything the party must be in power, the duty of the Labour party is to be elected on the most leftwing agenda it can, if this is not leftwing enough for some then they should leave and join a pressure group. A sustained period of Labour government with competent management of the economy and gradual drift to the left is the best and only way to ensure socialists ideals.
Corbyn is not a man who can deliver this.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit 3

If you cut it down to BoJo wanting to be PM and Gove wanted to be free Euro regulations so he could stage his libertarian/laissez faire experiment. Then it makes sense.
Farage was just used by them to bring along the racists xenophobes, to get the vote up.
However, the majority of disgruntled Labour voters think the UK is already too libertarian/laissez faire .
The next stage should be some massive distancing of themselves from Farage. 

The racists aren't going to get reduction in immigration as that will help keep wages down.
They hope the peasants will not notice they have been used for a while.
If all goes to plan we will be paying the same into the EU, with nothing coming back but BoJo & his backers will be using the UK as a sweat shop to trade the mainland.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Brexit 2

I had a look at article 50, I have reproduced it at the bottom, strange thing is that it doesn't require a referendum just that a government apply. Given the UK government's normal method of working you have to ask what is the referendum really for? It is scary that almost on a whim a government could decide to leave the EU with no electoral mandate.


The legal position is quite clear the government is required to do nothing. The legislation made this an advisory referendum, you and I, given advice should take the time to consider it but we are entitled to ignore it, we are also entitled to ask for a second opinion.
The EU itself can do nothing until it receives a Chapter 50 notification, in some way it is being irresponsible in making comments, the decision is still in the hand of the UK government. 
One learned professor of Law in Scotland claimed I was rather ill-informed on this but the problem is there is no case law, the nearest you can get is in commercial law, with things like cooling off periods and misselling. Everyone is ill informed on the subject of the legalisation until it goes to court. I have had legal advice which I have ignored before and be proved right to do so when the court took my side. I have also one a case representing myself when the organisation I was up against had got barristers advice and was trying to scare me with the idea of costs, I won.


The Sovereignty of the UK parliament was one of the big concerns of the #brexiteers, they wanted it preserved and maximised, by making the vote advisory, the UK government kept maintained that sovereignty. It would be hard for them to complain about sovereignty being used to thwart their ambitions.


The settled will of the people is hardly what we have at 48%-52%, even Farage said as much when claiming that 48%-52% or closer would be unfinished business, admittedly he was trying to legitimise a 2nd ref in his favour.
The government itself was voted in by less than 40% of the people and happily ignored the other 60% but according to a lot of people that is just the system we have and we have to put up with it. Well, the system we have put the word advisory in and kept Parliament sovereign, so the system we have does allow the choice.
UKIP amongst other have suggested recall votes and in one case UKIP has actually asked for one, the trigger point being a petition by 10% of the electorate, so what happened if the call for a second ref gets to 4,532,510, will the Kippers join in and request a 2nd vote.


Even before the vote, this was termed the beginning of post fact democracy, reflecting the sheer amount of lies told, it seems that lots of people had no real idea what they were voting about. They didn't read the average size print, just the headlines of their favourite tabloid. Admittedly the had the opportunity to become informed about the subject but didn't take it, but they still claim they didn't make an informed choice. If there was a larger margin then the decision would be clear


Omnishambles, no one comes out of this looking good, well at least no one in the UK. The legislation was a mess, the campaigns were a mess. the entire thing was a mess.
The other question is why aren't Boris and Co demanding the article 50 be enacted immediately? This referendum was not about getting a simple answer to a simple question, it is deeply bound up with political manoeuvrings in centre right politics

Where are we?

In a mess.
One thing is for sure the next time someone thinks of having a referendum they should think long and hard about the rules best out of 3 is not a bad idea, it would give more time for thought and reflection and in the end a more considered view.
It probably should be binding unless there is a very small margin.

Article 50

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

Friday, 24 June 2016


Of all the fuck witted and stupid things the UK voting public has done over the years, this is by far the most stupid. The arguments articulated by the leaders of the #Brexits campaign where grossly inaccurate and totally non-convincing, however, they are not why the people voted they way the did. They voted to punish David Cameron and the London elite, without a single thought of what the consequences might be.
It is not the first time the people of this island have done such a thing, when in the last general election, some of the Scots voters decided to punish Labour for sharing a platform with the Tories, that was up there as well. For that we got a more powerful Tory government, this vote of protest will let in some of the even nastier parts of the Tory party, it will drive Scotland away, ensuring decades of Tory majorities, who with their power base in the south of England will continue to pour cash into that area.
The EU for all its faults gave the money where it was most needed, this mob will not. Congratulate yourselves on giving David Cameron a bloody nose, all you had to do was rip off your own arm and smash him in the face with the soggy end and then punch him with the other hand till you got a contusion fracture. He will pop down to A&E and then spend some time at home convalescing with his millions, before a good long holiday and then making some more millions. You'll be trying to live on a shrinking amount of disability pay and perhaps scrounge of your equally impoverished kids.