10 YEARS AGO — 2000
IBM rolls out a “Web” computer: IBM’s NetVista line of computers claim to be the first designed from the ground up for fast, high-bandwidth Internet access. IBM heralds it as the most dramatic and significant roll out of desktop technology since its first PC almost 20 years ago. The computer will feature a seven-port universal serial bus, 256-bit encryption, a 15-in. flat display, and wireless LAN. Also included are CD/DVD and floppy drives, built-in speakers, two slots, and three bays. The computers will cost less than $2,000.
30 YEARS AGO — 1980
Tail fins may cut aircraft’s fuel use: Engineers are Lockheed-Georgia Co. estimate a newly designed twin fin for the C-130 Hercules transport will cut fuel consumption by at least 3% on long flights and 6% for low-altitude missions. Called an afterbody strake, the device consists of two 7-ft-long aluminum/fiberglass fins which are attached underneath the propjet’s tail section. The fins are designed to eliminate turbulence and reduce drag. While the strakes can achieve significant fuel savings, another option is to burn the same amount of fuel but boost the aircraft’s speed by 18 knots, from 300 to 318.
50 YEARS AGO — 1960
Nuclear punch for a lightweight fighter: Head of the line of mixed missiles that are carried by the Air Force’s F-102 is the GAR-11 Nuclear Falcon. The first air-to-air missile with nuclear capability, it is designed for use in head-on attacks on supersonic bombers. Hughes Aircraft Co. developed the weapon with a radar-guidance system, which can launch it without the pilot seeing the target, and guide it to ensure a “kill.” Described as small, considering its capabilities, the Falcon is 7-ft long and weighs 200 lb.