The impact of COVID is receding and so for the last weekend in October off we jolly well went to Freudenberg am Main, our towns Twin in Germany, life slowly getting back to normal.
We were taken on Saturday to visit the museum in Sinsheim, about an hour south of Francfort, and what a wonderful museum this turned out to be.
The only place in the world where you can visit and climb into both the Concorde and the TU144 and compare them.
The Tu144 has a larger diameter fuselage and what a difference that makes!
Cold War story: the TU144 flew faster than the Concorde MAC 2.6 (requiring extensive use of Titanium due to kinetic heating), but 95% of the worlds Titanium was to be found in USSR and 4% in South Africa which may partially explain the MAC 2.2 limit on the Concorde.
We also saw Hitler’s Panzerwagen, get a look at those 6cm thick windscreens shown on the floor.
The Mercedes 770 had an 8 cylinder 7.6 liter engine delivering 230 hp.
Then there was the Widow Maker: remember the story? I do from Germany during the Cold War. What is the cheapest and quickest way of getting a Lockheed star fighter? Answer: Rent a field in Germany and wait….
And here we have the first Engine I ever worked on (before it went into service!), the Olympus 593, anyone out there remember the Vulcan bomber flying testbed? I visited it way back then as an apprentice.
We also saw a few Americans, here a 1958 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
And here a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
A wonderful time was had by all, Maultaschen for lunch!
Here are a few examples of the 100 or so exhibits and explanations from this excellent museum
The Saunders-Roe Skeeter was the first Helicopter to enter service in the AAC (Army Air Corps) from 1956, a very good year.
It was still then powered by a piston engine, the heavy De Haviland Gypsy Major 215, underpowered and with fabric-covered wooden main rotorblades.
More basic than this 1961 helicopter is difficult to imagine, cabin, fuel tank, tail boom and then Engine, gear box, rotor, tail shaft and tail rotor.
The Alouette 1 thanks to Szydlowski’s turbo shaft engine was the first of this new type of helicopter to enter into series production.
The Alouette 2 pictured here was powered by the Astazou engine.
The main rotor shaft is easily visible walking around the helicopter.
Talking of main rotor shafts, the museum has a moving cut-away gearbox and rotor shaft, shown here, and descriptions shown behind, helping to understand how the rotors are turned slower than the engine.
The Mil 8 shown in the museum was used in the Marvel Movie “Black Widow”, flying once again with some help from giant green screen technology.
I won’t show too many more of the helicopters in the museum, but this half of the Mil M-24D Hind is worth a mention, this was the most heavily armed attack helicopter of the Cold War.
The Hind was powered by Two 2200shp Klimov TV3-117 turboshaft engines, that is 20 times more power than the Alouette!
So if you’re looking for a technical museum in the south west of England, this museum has a large number of varied exhibits and explanations as well as a tea room and some out doors stuff. Well worth a few hours!