Archive for April 7th, 2009

07
Apr
09

first flight, the warp 2 X-plane

the last of the NF-104's

the last of the NF-104's

Yeager and Jeannie!!!!

Yeager and Jeannie!!!!

Oh my Jeannie!!

Oh my Jeannie!!

concept one

concept one

the blended body

the blended body

concept one piggyback launch

concept one piggyback launch

Mike Okuda's beautiful logo

Mike Okuda's beautiful logo

concept two

concept two

the lake bed sled track

the lake bed sled track

a couple of chrome domes

a couple of chrome domes

a plug for one of my favorite books by Steve Cox

a plug for one of my favorite books by Steve Cox

Episode 50, “First Flight”, This was probably my most favorite episode of Star trek Enterprise. The episode encompassed what was once the guiding force of the original Star trek and that was to explore, with a high mark of mans quest for going where no man has gone before.. I so wanted to be a pilot and astronaut as a kid and when I was old enough to actually pursue the dream I found out I was 4F due to color blindness. Not to many hard feelings though because I wanted to work in the movies as a VFX artist/model-maker just as much. working in the movies has let me fulfill those early dreams just in a fantasy kind of way. For First flight the script called for the First Warp 2 x-plane  to be tested and I immediately had thoughts of the test planes from Edwards AFB and especially the Nf-104A. This was a modified F-104 equipped with an eternal rocket booster attached at the base of the Tail stabilizer. The wing-tips were also extended to add more of a surface to help maneuver at it’s extremely high altitudes. Chuck Yeager  was one of the test pilots assigned to this highly experimental project, and if you remember the Movie “The Right Stuff” this flight is depicted towards the end of the film. Be sure to check out Chuck’s cameo’s in the bar scenes at Panchos. OK back to the flight, Yeager took this beautiful bare metaled baby up to 108,700 feet, thats about 21 miles. The aircraft went into a flat spin, and despite Chuck’s efforts the plane could not be pulled out of the spin. Yeager ejected at just over 8000 feet. He was badly burned but walked away to fly again. pictured here is the last of the NF-104s mounted at Edwards AFB next to the test pilots school. also is a picture of chuck and the ever lovely barbara {Jeannie) Eden, Next to the sunbeam bread girl and Little Debbie,  Jeannie was my biggest and longest crush!!! so with that there are two pictures of her and also a great book if your a jeannie fan.  Following is the first sketch of the Warp 3 ship hugely inspired by the previous story. I took a catamaran point of design wit a little bit of asymmetrical details. The first pass made it thru the early approval stages and a few variations of tis design were asked for,, non were as complete as this one so the go ahead to the next step was to figure out how it was to be launched. I didn’t think a space shuttle style launch would be appropriate. So i called my Friend Tony Moore out at Edwards to help with this launch sequence. Tony stated that a possible piggyback idea might be a good alternative to a rocket launch. Tony said that one of the future projects going on at the base was the blended wing aircraft.   I looked it up when I got home and this aircraft was Ideal for this idea. pictured next is the X-48B that was modified to be the mother-ship the following illustration shows the trek version of the blended body and the launch of concept one. The art department was all ablaze with this one Doug Drexler was designing the hanger and would eventually work out the specifics of the craft, Mike and Denise Okuda were hard at work creating the signage and the interior of the 602 club ( a pilots Bar in the vane of Panchos happy bottom riding club) Jim Van Over and Anthony Fredrickson were creating the graphics and set extras.and everyone else was drafting and designing away!!!. The bomb fell one afternoon that the ship was not what they were envisioning and that a new idea was needed, My boss Herman Zimmerman and I got together and decided to create a vessel around the Phoenix capsule. That way we could carry on a style of architecture from Trek past and construction would have an existing piece to work from and cut off a fortune off their limited budget. the following sketch shows the new Warp ship based on this new direction. For the launch sequence we went with a magnetic sled system that got the ship up to an extremely high rate of speed across Rogers dry lake bed to achieve orbit from a standard plane type of flight system with rocket boosters to get er up there fast/  BOOM!!! another bomb dropped and the Edwards idea turned into a forest test sight. The sled launch stayed but on a much shorter runway with a huge ramp at the end. The Eden VFX folks took over from here and the rest is TV history!!! I snuck in for a picture of the modified PHX capsule HAAA!!! Wheres my hair!!!

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