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Hats off to Peter Garrison. Thanks for another informative article about flying. (April 08, Technicalities, Knot Nuts.) An aircraft enthusiast I am, ever since operating a toy P-51 hung outside a car window--from my car seat--probably 45 years ago.
Peter, please demystify the ramifications and feasibility of my next comment. To introduce my idea, I begin with what a friend once told me about U.S. 155 mm field artillery. He said it could fire a battlefield nuke, but they were to run in the opposite direction when they did, and this: it destroyed the gun to do it.
With modern technology, why isnâ€™t the same principal applied to aircraft engines in life threatening situations?
Nitrous Oxide is often used in car engines to boost power dramatically. It is no stretch to guesstimate it will work the same in air cooled engines. From my limited understanding, it can more than double the power output when engineered and utilized to do so.
To put it in context, if I owned and operated a piston engine aircraft, Iâ€™d want a system installed that could make the engine produce 2 or even 3 times its normal output on demand. That way, in a life threatening situation, say a stall on final or take off, a box canyon, etc., I would have options. Iâ€™m sure any pilot would engage such a system at finding themselves entering an unrecoverable stall on final, even if it would be the last thing that engine did.
Now, such a system is easily within the grasp of current technology to incorporate into our airplanes. If ever â€œthe big red buttonâ€ was pushed, certain flags would go up. Mechanics and everyone else would know to ground the aircraft, if it indeed survived, until a replacement engine was installed. Perhaps the FAA will even sign off on only having said engine completely over hauled.
Next, JATO for survival! Why not? Certainly there are non-combustibles available that produce almost as much power as regular thrust bottles? And if not, an opportunity to escape crashing by being lifted up â€œBy the hand of God,â€ even if one had to hit â€œthe big blue buttonâ€ would still be better than dying.
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