VVLJ revealed

Secret tests of a very, very light jet (VVLJ) by Brazilian pioneer Embraer came to a sudden halt when the right wing crumpled with a "sudden twang". Apparently developed to fill the gap below the Phenom 100, the all-paper VVLJ was to have been mass produced out of recycled Hairbrush A350 sales brochures.

Oh all right, so it's not a VVLJ at all, but actually the crucial moment of structural failure which prevented Danilo Flores Fuchs from taking to the air in a replica of Alberto Santos-Dumont's 14bis aeroplane in Paris on 5 November. The effort marked the centenary of the first European public display of a heavier than air apparatus in flight by the Brazilian adventurer in 1906, near the actual spot where his original pioneering effort took place on the Champs de Bagatelle. According to nephew Stephen Wolf, the "rear upper wooden spar of the right wing snapped, and the 14bis slowed to a halt with a twisted wing and shattered propeller, together with the bewildered, but unharmed, pilot". Well, here's to the next attempt in 2106 then!

© Stephen Wolf
 Bad Idea Society No.14? Actually no... a Santos-Dumont replica

Pentagon speak

According to the latest US Department of Defense contracts bulletin, John Deere Construction has won a $46.7 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for 300 Tractor, Rubber Tired, Articulated, Steering, Multi-Purpose (TRAM). So a tram, another name for a streetcar, it seems is actually an acronym. Does this mean that the following applies...

BUS - box, upright, with seats

CAR - carriage, automotive, reverses

TAXI - tatty automobile, xenophobe inside

Five letter word

Thanks to nephew Ian Horseman for suggesting the following possible five-letter codes for the new Magic Roundabout holding point at Heathrow (S&L, 28 November-4 December) . Feel free to add any more.....


Off down-under

Qantas's first jet, a short-bodied Boeing 707-138 (VH-XBA), has been restored to flying condition at Southend airport in the UK and is about to embark on the long flight home to Longreach in Queensland, Australia. Repainted by Air Livery in its original 1959 delivery colours, the Qantas Foundation Memorial-owned beauty is due to meet up with John Travolta and his ex-Qantas 707-138B at a ceremony in Seattle en route to Oz this month.

© Simon Murdoch 
Almost ready to go... VH-XBA at Southend


Source: Flight International