10 YEARS AGO SEPTEMBER, 1999
Fuse box reduces risk of vehicle fires: A pyrotechnic fuse box, from TRW Inc., Cleveland, disconnects itself during a vehicle crash to cut the risk of electrical fires. In a crash, a signal from the air-bag electronic- control unit causes propellant in the fuse box to expand. The expansion forces a sharp-edged piston to cut select high-current connections such as the fuel pump, starter, alternator, and cooling system fan A fail-safe emergency power circuit handles safety-related features such as the air-bag control unit, cellular phone, and hazard lights.
30 YEARS AGO SEPTEMBER 6, 1979
Guided bomb scores direct hit: A GBU-15 Cruciform Wing Weapon (CWW), circled, heads toward, and scores a direct hit on its target — a decommissioned warship. The weapon was launched from an F-111 aircraft traveling at 980 mph at an altitude of 22,500 ft. The weapon has a television sensor and data-link guidance system that lets the weapon’s operator in the launching aircraft observe the target and guide the weapon to impact.
50 YEARS AGO SEPTEMBER 3, 1959
Hybrid VTOL goes into production: Part helicopter and part autogyro, the Umbaugh 18 is a “suburban” aircraft that will be produced by a major aircraft builder. The craft takes off like a helicopter — rotor is clutched into the motor until it spins, with blades flat, at 300 rpm. Blade pitch changes to bite the air, automatically disengaging the clutch. The craft can “jump” about 15 ft straight up and forward speed from the pusher propeller maintains a steep climb (1,050 fpm). Powered by a 180-hp Lycoming engine, the VTOL cruises at 100 mph, has a service ceiling of 15,000 ft, and lands at 0 to 10 mph in any space large enough for its 33-ft rotor. Designed by Umbaugh Aircraft Corp., Ocala, Fla., the craft will be produced by Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corp.