This picture and caption ran in papers back in October 1951. It's not clear why it was considered newsworthy. It also left unanswered the question of who the shortest man in the Air Force was, if Sgt. Perkins was the second shortest.
Developed by Goodyear in the 1950s, the Inflatoplane could fit in the trunk of a car, and then be inflated to full size in 10 minutes. The idea was that the air force could drop inflatoplanes to pilots stranded in enemy territory, allowing them to fly themselves to safety. But the project was eventually abandoned because of a series of accidents, and the military's concern that the plane could too easily be shot down. Link: bendbulletin.com
In the mid-1950s, Hiller constructed a series of innovative Flying Platforms for an Army-Navy program as a one-man flying vehicle that the pilot could control with minimal training. The pilot simply leaned in the desired direction and the platform would follow. The platforms, which utilized the aerodynamic advantages of the ducted fan, were incapable of tumbling, because if the pilot leaned over too far, the platform would pitch up and slow down.
Unfortunately, the flying platform was plagued by engineering problems. Otherwise, we'd probably all be floating around cities in these today. More info here
Sometimes even generals come to their senses. The notion of airborne nuclear reactors proved too worrisome even for the military, despite the brilliant failsafe plan of catastrophic ditching into water.
The story goes that, during the Battle of the Bulge, in the winter of 1944, Sgt. William Furia (shown) decorated his helmet with some lace curtains that he found in an abandoned home. He did it as a joke, but then he and his fellow soldiers realized the lace made excellent camouflage in the snow. So the practice of decorating helmets with lace curtains became widespread. And thus camouflaged, the Allied soldiers were able to beat back the German offensive. Which is how lace curtains became America's secret weapon that allowed it to win the war.
First up, apologies if this post contains more typos than usual, I'm sending it from my new ultra-small netbook and I'm still getting used to its itty-bitty keyboard. Which brings me nicely to my first story. That according to a survey for satellite channel SKY-HD, British consumers waste £52 billion a year on hi-tech features they don't use. For example, half of the people polled did not know their high definition television also required a hi-def signal source such as a blu-ray player or HD satellite receiver – like the ones sold by SKY-HD perhaps (Telegraph).
And it's not just the the British, military officials in Russia recently discovered 100 front-line battletanks parked and forgotten by the side of the road near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Locals say the tanks, which were unguarded and unlocked, have been there for several months and lack only ammunition and the all important starter keys (Reuters).
Someone who might have had a use for those tanks were guests at a wedding in New Delhi in India recently. The Hindu ceremony was somewhat marred when an elephant hired for the event went on a rampage after becoming aroused by the smell of a nearby female in heat. The amorous pachyderm then proceeded to crush 20 limousines, smash through a nearby mall and mount a truck before it could be tranquilised (Orange).
Also losing it this week was the man on the RyanAir flight who found he had won 10,000 euros on a scratchcard he bought on the budget flight from Poland to the UK. Furious that the airline had not seen fit to equip all their planes with the requisite amount of cash onboard, hence he could not be given his prize there and then as he demanded, the unnamed passenger ate the winning card rather than wait to claim it at his destination (BBC News).