Boydell Artillery Wheel


Boydell Artillery Carriage Wheel

Waiting for the boom crawler, James Boydell had patented in
England in 1846 a ‘to add to cart system to facilitate
movement1’, which was applied to the wheels of a steam tractor
built by Birmingham Bach’s Works and used between 1856 and
1858 for plowing in Thetford, England. This system of articulated
plates was called ‘Dreadnouht wheel’ or also ‘Pedrial wheel’. The
machine of 7 t travelled at 8 km / h on a good road. This system
could be found on the wheels of artillery during the Crimean
War (photo), but proved unreliable : the hinged plates slowed
the vehicle and broke on hard ground, cornering became more
Source, with due acknowledgement, and to whom the copyright of
this review belongs: Item 9

Patent entitled “apparatus to facilitate the draught of



Above: A schematic look at the Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology research vehicle,
including its dimensions.
Top right: As depicted in this chart, the Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology vehicle
had a sustained turning radius less than that of frontline fighters of its era.

that brought Rockwell and German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt-BolkowBlohm together for what became the X-31A
Enhanced Fighter Maneuverability program
that explored extreme high-alpha (highangle-of-attack) flight regimes during the
early 1990s. HiMAT’s exotic design, with
a 22.5-foot length and 15.6-foot wingspan
(6.9 meters and 4.8 meters, respectively),
was powered by a modified General ElecNASA photo

sons from this were later applied to the
NASA/Grumman X-29 Forward Swept
Wing program from 1984 to 1988, and from
2002 to 2005 on the NASA/Boeing F/A-18
Active Aeroelastic Wing program.
HiMAT’s maneuvering performance
was further enhanced with an airframe
configuration that was inherently unstable
and artificially stabilized with digital flyby-wire. This was one of the key data points

tric J-85-21 engine with afterburner, giving
the vehicle a top speed of Mach 1.6.
History was made on July 27, 1979,
as HiMAT was released from a NASA
NB-52B at 45,000 feet (13,700 meters)
over the Edwards Air Force Base range in
California. The pilot, in a ground-based
cockpit, used a throttle, stick and rudder
pedals, and received visual cues from a
nose-mounted camera on HiMAT. Pilot
commands were telemetered to an onboard
computer, then fed via the digital fly-bywire system to the control surfaces. To aid
the pilot in the first few flights, HiMAT
carried lead ballast to achieve a normal
center of gravity and to help familiarize
researchers with HiMAT’s handling.
The first flight lasted for 22 minutes.
The program eventually completed 26 successful test flights in the transonic and supersonic flight regimes. Programs of this
type are a stepping stone for further exploration, resulting in a compilation of data
and knowledge. HiMAT proved to be a
tremendous starting point in the realm of
high-speed unmanned flight.
Last month, Boeing Advanced Systems submitted its Unmanned Combat Air
System–Demonstrator (UCAS-D) proposal to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems
Command. A downselect is slated for July;
and in 2013 UCAS-D will demonstrate the
feasibility of autonomous aircraft carrier operations. Boeing’s X-45N will be offered, with a high level of sophistication in
manufacturing techniques and autonomous
mission flight time. The Boeing entry is further enhanced by the 64 mishap-free flights
of the X-45A demonstrator flight-test program, which concluded in 2005. n

The Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology research vehicle is shown attached to
a wing pylon on a NASA NB-52B during a
1980 test flight. The HiMAT used sharply
swept-back wings and a canard configuration to test possible technology for
advanced fighters.


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