Luftschiffe (was:ebay - Minivac 601, 1st pers. digital computer 1960s)

From: Ward Donald Griffiths III <>
Date: Thu Dec 17 22:22:09 1998

Max Eskin wrote:
> >Yes, this is pretty much off topic, but as I said before,
> >airships were the immediate cause of my getting involved with
> >computers back in the late 70s when I was fresh out of the
> >USAF and sick and tired of heavier-than-air equipment.
> With the exception of certain bloated operating systems that indeed float on
> vapour, most computers are heavier-than-air equipment :)
> Why _were_ you sick of airplanes?

Four years of being an avionics instrument technician. Seemed nice
clean work when I enlisted, electronics and those nice glass-fronted
items in the cockpit. Well, a lot of those nice clean instruments
that say what the engines are doing have corresponding detectors out
in the engines in a muck of grease, hydraulic fluid and half-burned
fuel. Guess which parts malfunction and need to be replaced more
often due to conditions like heat and vibration. Changing the fuel
flow transmitter on a C-141 engine cannot be done without taking a
shower in about 10 litres of kerosene, which not only smells bad and
causes headaches, it's damned cold when the procedure is being
performed in a howling blizzard and the fuel starts evaporating from
your clothing -- it also delays your next cigarette break for quite
a while.

Plus, heavier-than-air means something -- if something important
breaks in an airplane, it falls out of the sky, as gravity isn't
famous for its forgiving nature outside of cartoons. If an engine
fails on a lighter-than-air craft, you float along while you fix it
or you proceed at reduced speed from the other engines to a repair
facility. Even if you get a gas leak, you're not going to crash --
a large airship doesn't have one gasbag, it has a half-dozen or more
ballonets inside the structure separately sealed apart from each

Oh, for those unfamiliar with the magnitude of a full-size airship
hangar like the one at Moffett Field, take a quick look inside one
at <>.
The Cardington hangar is smaller than the one at Moffett, the R-100
wasn't nearly the size of the Akron and Macon. The thing in the
background that looks like a stack of crates is an eight story
Ward Griffiths <> <>
WARNING:  The Attorney General has determined that Alcohol, Tobacco,
and Firearms can be hazardous to your health -- and get away with it.
Received on Thu Dec 17 1998 - 22:22:09 GMT

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