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bmw adaptive cruise control uk Post Review

@BMW today premiered the next generation of its adaptive cruise control system, which will be able to detect & automatically stop at red lights. @BMWGroup @technology @ForbesTech @BMW_SA @BMW_UK @BMWUSA #BMWInternationalOpen #BMWGroup #cars #Automotive #TechTuesday #TechNews

Lovely fresh morning @SnettertonMSV after the first ever long drive in our #BMW3Series #F31 touring for a weekend of #BTCC touring car racingThe bimmer made the A14 a pleasure drive with Active stop / go tracking cruise control, adaptive M chassis & 8 speed sport auto box #BMW

The new #BMW 1 Series is designed to fit seamlessly into your life. With many options available, we’re confident that we can configure a car that suits you. Find #The1 for you.

The #BMW X range will be leading the official @Snowbombing Road Trip from the UK to Mayrhofen. For a chance to win a spot, and VIP passes to the festival, respond below with an image and tell us your best road trip story. T’s and C’s apply: https://bit.ly/2T63bFM

What is that black thing on the front bumper looking like a camera?

It's a Radar sensor which works as the aid of the Adaptive Cruise control

A massive touch screen sits centre of the dashboard at 12.3 inches and complimented by BMW's 12.3 inche digital cockpit and a plethora of lighting options if you want the cabin customised to light up however you may desire it.

That infotainment system also packs all the safety features you could want with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, reversing assistant and parking assistant to name but a few (but watch the video to see the full run-down of the infotainment system).

Hope you can configure better than a 2 series. Can't have adaptive cruise control with park assist and/or reversing camera. Pathetic!

Whats more stupid: carmakers selling you hardware that you have to pay for to start working or people accepting this and still buying those cars?

bmw adaptive cruise control uk Q&A Review

What is so unique about Tesla Model 3?

The most impressive electric car this side of a Porsche Taycan. Fresh design, a sense of humor, and backed up by Superchargers Overview What is it? The Tesla Model 3 is an American four-door saloon car with rear- or -four-wheel drive, seating for five people at a pinch, and a touchscreen inside. Sure, it’s all-electric, but it hardly sounds like A Verified Big Deal, does it? But the Tesla Model 3 is one of the most important big deals of the 21st Century so far. This is Tesla’s long-awaited affordable entry-level car, designed to take on the best-selling likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes C-Class, not to mention their slow-off-the-mark electric cousins. And thanks to Tesla’s viral, household name status and the ambition of the car’s features, the Model 3 has become a phenomenon. It sits below the Model S saloon in the range, and in Standard Range Plus guise, is priced from £40,490. That gets you rear-wheel drive, and a claimed 278 miles of range between visits to a public Supercharger, or your home wall box. Above that in the ‘3’ pecking order lie two all-wheel-drive versions: the Long Range (good for up to 360 miles), and the Performance, which sacrifices a few miles of range but will outrun a Lamborghini Huracán up to the national speed limit. Something for everyone, then… These model lines are correct at the time of writing (January 2021) but Tesla has a habit of creating and killing off trim levels willy-nilly – here today, gone tomorrow. And the price has long since crept away from the mid-£30k target once-vaunted. Not that it stopped the Model 3 from becoming Britain’s best-selling electric car in 2020. As per all Teslas – and most electric cars – the Model 3 is powered by a slab of lithium-ion batteries mounted on the car’s floor, where they’re best protected from a crash and helpfully low to keep the center of gravity in check. That means you get a second boot (frunk or froot, choose your front-biased cargo bay term) in the nose, which is handy for stowing mucky charging cables. Chances are you’ll have heard fragments of what makes Teslas so interesting floating around the internet. Giant touchscreens, funny Easter egg content like games and built-in Netflix, and something about them being able to drive themselves while you take a nap or watch ,Tiger King,. Let’s get on with saluting Tesla for the truth in that, and dispelling the myths the Californian brand’s cult-like following would have you believe. Driving What is it like on the road? Yes, you do have to do this bit yourself. All UK-spec Model 3s come with ‘Autopilot’ built-in as standard, declares Tesla’s website, and you’ll have visions of setting the nav for Saint-Tropez, bedding down for the night, and waking up on the riviera. Not yet, by a long stretch. Autopilot is merely an umbrella term for adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-following assistant, and pedestrian-avoidance steering. All terribly useful and well-integrated, but nothing you can’t find in a BMW 3 Series and co. To get the full suite of Tesla cleverness, you’ll need to spend £6,800 on the Full Self-Driving Package, which purports to control the car entirely on the motorway (though no longer without your hands on the steering wheel) to automatically find and enter or exit parking spaces, and even summon the car to your location if, say, you want to avoid getting caught in the rain when leaving the shops. Welcome to The Future. Splendid idea, but in execution, not quite there. The Model 3’s automatic lane-changes on the motorway vary from hesitant and haphazard, causing other drivers to be wary of the Tesla rather drunkenly dawdling nearby. Similarly, the Summon feature is a great party trick but better suited to sprawling American parking lots than your average provincial high street. We’ll bet you end up just taking over and doing it the old-fashioned way, using the supercomputer between your ears. Having saved you a few quid on the tech, next, let’s do the same with speed. Trust us, you really don’t need the 450bhp-strong Performance. The £56,490 dual-motor range-topper is supercar fast and that’s one heck of a punchline, but the acceleration is so vivid it’s verging on uncomfortable for passengers. We’ve got into the habit of turning down the acceleration from ‘Sport’ to ‘Chill’ mode, which sort of defeats the point. Imagine how rapid it feels to make us lot at Top Gear say we’d make do with the slower one. Aspirin, anyone? Even the entry-level Standard Range Plus will go from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds, silkily speeding away in silence from the Porsche Cayman who’s still changing gear and building up his revs. It’s effortlessly, instantly rapid. The other reason you might not want quite so much poke is that, despite Tesla’s best efforts, this isn’t a true sports saloon. Sure, the CoG is snake-low and there’s plenty of grips, but the remote, synthetic steering feels like it’s come off an early Xbox rig and the brakes are mushy. The Performance can be coaxed into powerslides, but you can sense the sheer mass heaving around in direction changes and the Model 3 feels out of sorts when pushed as hard as the Crème aus Cremes of German performance metal. As a seven-tenths car with effortless pace though, it’s sensational. Shall we talk range? Teslas tend to excel here, and the Model 3 keeps up the tradition. In a recent winter test of the 2021-spec Model 3 Standard range, we were headed for 210 miles on a charge, with a power consumption of 4.7 miles per kWh knocking the VW ID3 and Nissan Leaf’s 2.7 mpkWh into a cocked hat. Teslas are pretty range-anxiety proof, due to the proliferation of the Supercharger network, its speed of charging, and how efficiently the car uses its battery reserves. A new heat pump from the Model Y has eaten into front boot space in the latest models, but it means even less guilt from cranking up the heater in cold weather. Of course, you can save yourself the bother by pre-conditioning the car via the touchscreen calendar, or your smartphone, which can also act as the car’s key. The low-speed ride is leagues better than it used to be in, say, an early Model S, and the rolling refinement is predictably serene. But handling and speed – that’s all a bit 20th Century, compared to Tesla’s true forte: the interior tech. On the inside Layout, finish, and space Staying true to the Model S’s maxi-minimalist interior design, the Model 3 is just as stark. The dash is nothing but a slab of wood, a full-width air vent, and a 15.4-inch touchscreen, landscape orientated, rather than the larger portrait screen in the S. From where you sit, on a slightly narrow but otherwise comfortable chair, the screen appears to hover in mid-air. Scour the cabin and the only physical buttons you’ll find are two unmarked scroll wheels on the steering wheel (left blank so Tesla can change their functions if needs be via software updates), regular for the electric windows, a button for the hazard lights above your head and a button on the grab handle to open each door, although there’s a physical lever below that in case the electrics catch a cold. Space in the back seats is fine for anyone up to six-foot-tall, a bit cramped beyond that, but it’s worth it for the endless view out through the full-length sunroof that wraps right around and behind your head. It’s because of that infinity roof that the 3 isn’t a hatchback, so you have to make do with a notchback boot, although split-folding rear seats mean you can fit longer objects in, too. Fallen on hard times? Drop the back seats and double blow-up mattress slots in perfectly – some companies make bespoke ones that pack up neatly in the boot. Overall, the build quality and materials are a step behind the established premium European players, but by keeping things super-simple, it’s never really an issue. Acres of plastic switchgear and multiple screens and sockets would have only highlighted Tesla's shortcomings. Multiple test cars we’ve tried have suffered from bugbears like sticking windows and misaligned trim, so check a Model 3 carefully before you accept delivery. As it is, everything is dominated by that central screen. Seriously – you even have to find a sub-sub menu to adjust the steering column reach and rake. The general idea is that the quarter closest to the driver is dedicated to information and controls you might need while driving, including a visual representation of your autopilot situation and shortcuts to the trip computer, charge status, etc. Oh, and your current speed. The Model 3 would do well to include a head-up display for such vitals. The rest is dominated by a map or whatever you want to overlay, such as your radio or music streaming, climate control settings, and phone status. Alternatively, you can dive into the settings menu (best to do this when stationary) and have fun tweaking your steering weight, how much re-gen braking you want, and if you’d like the turn signal to make a fart sound. Really. Although the basic driving controls couldn’t be simpler, this isn’t a car you fully understand in the first five minutes. Like a new smartphone, you need to commit some time to learn the shortcuts, locating the settings you might need, and engraining them in your brain. That said, the touchscreen operation itself is fabulous. The graphics are industry-leading for sharpness, the reaction times are iPad-like and the menus aren’t complicated stacks of multi-layered mayhem. Got everything set just so? Good. Now you can have fun exploring some of Tesla’s ‘Easter eggs’ – modes that are there for no reason other than to make you and your passengers laugh. Modes like the Mars button that turns the map into the surface of the Red Planet, or the Santa setting (only available with Autopilot engaged) which turns your car into a sleigh, the road into a rainbow and other road users into reindeer, or the vast array of old arcade games you can play with the steering wheel scroll buttons in gridlock. You will either find this stuff fun or excruciatingly annoying. Especially when you discover the racing games, which employ the car’s actual steering wheel and pedals, will do your tires no good whatsoever as they’re dry-steered about while you aim for a new high-score. Still, when was the last time you played in-built Mario Kart in an Audi? Exactly. Welcome to a new way to do interiors, where how you have fun when you’re waiting for a charge is just as important as the boring old business of regular transport. Owning Running costs and reliability If you’re happy just to lease it, the cheapest Model 3’s payments dip to £450 a month, from around £600 on a PCP. This is the iPhone of cars after all. In 2024 you’ll be due an upgrade. And in the meantime, Tesla is at pains to point out you’ll save tens of pounds per mile in tax, fuel, and maintenance versus a conventional petrol-powered rival, though that case will weaken as more EV contenders come on stream, with the likes of the BMW i4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E due on the scene imminently. The latter is more of a crossover of course, but if you need more space in your Tesla, there’s the higher Model Y now joining the family. Whereas Superchargers used to be free with the Model S and Model X, you have to pay as you go with the 3, although there’s an allowance of around five to six free Supercharges per year. You’ll spot the red and white charging stations at most motorway services now: as of March 2020, Tesla has created 16,100 Superchargers at over 1,800 locations worldwide. These include 908 stations in the U.S, 98 in Canada, 16 in Mexico, 520 in Europe, and 400 in Asia, with more promised to link in the gaps between major highways and byways. Plug the car into your three-pin wall socket at home and the juice crawls along, adding about five miles of range for every hour. Get a home wall box and you could charge at up to 16.5kW depending on your home connection – that’s 51 miles for every hour plugged in. More realistic for most UK homes is around 7kW, or 22 miles per hour of charging. Beware upgrading to 19-inch rims – they’ll pinch range due to added rolling resistance – and we’d shun the white interior scheme. Even if you’re only keeping your Tesla for a handful of years, the upholstery will be looking tired if you have children, pets, or wear denim. As standard, there are a plethora of features, from heated electric seats to built-in karaoke internet browsing with Netflix and YouTube apps, a tinted glass roof, electric folding, and adjustable door mirrors, and for 2021, wireless phone charging. Pity that Tesla chose to angle the charging bays directly at the driver, where they’re most distracting – but by the look of that touchscreen, Tesla’s hardly worried about screens being overbearing, is it? Happily, the waiting list is now down from over a year to less than a month. That’s the boon of only offering a handful of colors and only two cabin color schemes. The Model 3 doesn’t need a wild spec to stand out, yet. Verdict Final thoughts and pick of the range Everything Tesla has done up to this point has built towards the Model 3... and it's been worth it Posed against po-faced competitors, Teslas are invariably the quick ones, the efficient ones, the fun ones with Fart Mode, and the lucky ones least dependent on a haphazard charging ecosystem. Even a basic version with a single rearward motor and only Chill/Sport acceleration settings develops 235bhp and punches to 60mph faster than a £55k Jaguar F-Type. While the angry frog styling won’t be to all tastes, the interior is a real love/hate arrangement and the driving dynamics aren’t all that memorable once you’ve stopped swallowing your tongue every time you nail the throttle, it’s easy to see why the Model 3 has become a global standard-setter for EVs. This is the future we were promised – a car with sentience, a sense of humor, and a fresh take on the old norms. After trying this, your old repmobile will feel positively Brunellian. The Model 3 was Top Gear’s 2019 saloon of the year, beating the old guard and maintaining its lead of the new EV pretenders. It’s been in production since mid-2017, but even heading into middle age, nothing on the market has yet managed to beat the Model 3 on all fronts. While not without flaws, it is quite simply one of the most interesting, compelling cars in the world right now.

ME262 vs Gloster Meteor, I read these two WW2 jets never really got a chance to battle it out in the skies over Germany or the UK, but has there ever been any data or test at how they might fair in a dogfight with expert pilots flying them?

I have previously made the comparison between Meteor and Me262 with all the statistics one could wish for. Here follows the most in depth comparison between the two you may ever read: “,Frank Whittle ,(jet engine inventor, first to patent 1929) and ,George Carter, (Gloster Meteor designer) both ensured the outperformance of their German rivals was made accountable to 29 measures of aeronautical excellence: Meteor had ,greater armament,. A larger wing carried a staggering 24 rockets to Me262 sixteen (see Meteor ‘Reaper’ below) and a (one off) 57mm cannon anti–tank version. Meteor could also carry more bombs (see official load capacity below). Whilst both aircraft’s four cannon layout was numerically equal, Meteor used Hispano (arguably the war’s best 20mm) whilst 262 used Mk108, a questionable choice due to its short barrel, low velocity (540 mps) and high trajectory curve inaccuracy. It is clear which aircraft had an often bigger and always more accurate punch Meteor, having dive brakes, was a more ,stable, ,gun platform,. 262, having none, had uncontrollable dive speeds resulting in a reduced window of two seconds to fire cannon at optimum range (official post war RAF report below). It is clear which aircraft’s more accurate munitions were fired for more sustained periods Meteor’s ,engines were, ,reliable,. ,Me262 Junkers Jumo 004, ,jet engine (lacking specialist alloys due to British blockade), lasted 10 hours before requiring replacement. Meteor’s engines lasted 150 hours. Poor heat management caused Jumo to flame as temperatures rose (over 200 Luftwaffe pilots were killed by their own exploding engines). It is clear which aircraft remained airborne longer Unlike 262, Meteor ,did not stall, when power was applied quickly (or decreased not slowly enough). It was difficult for 262 to dogfight or to take off quickly to intercept with such acceleration hindrances. 262 was destroyed in large numbers when returning to land —slow deceleration to landing speed (avoiding said stalls) enabled Allied piston engined fighters (notably DeHavilland Mosquito) to destroy 262 in industrial numbers. It is clear which aircraft had an all too exploitable and fatal Achilles heel Meteor clipped short wings ensured ,excellent, ,turn rate,, whereas 262 substandard turn radius was significantly wider than Allied piston engine fighters. Mustang downed dozens of 262s at height, over 100 were downed by piston–engined fighters in total and Britain’s Hawker Tempest (WWII’s fastest single engined piston fighter) was its nemesis at low altitude. Spitfire, Thunderbolt and Mosquito also scored kills and it is clear 262 was no dogfighter Meteor was ,more rugged,. ,Its short and sturdy undercarriage enabled take–off from the quickly prepared forward position grass strips necessary for efficient tactical close air. 262 had delicate undercarriage (lengthened to clear low hanging under–slung jets) and resulting build was delicate. Once Luftwaffe tarmac strips were destroyed, 262 utilised awkwardly located autobahns as runways. It is clear which aircraft was not robust enough for the all–foreseeable practicalities of war Meteor was ,more powerful,. Where Me262 Jumo delivered 1,900 lbf thrust, Meteor‘s Rolls Royce Derwent Mk.I entered production with 2,000 lbf. Mk.II, III and IV followed, peaking at 2,400 lbf. By war’s end Rolls Royce had the Nene, the world’s most powerful jet engine, with an astounding 5,000 lbs. It is clear which aircraft, powered by the world’s foremost power plant manufacturer, had the thrust required for interception Meteor had a ,greater load capacity,. With a 11,220 lb gross weight and 14,550 lb max takeoff weight, Meteor carried 3,300 lb. 262 had a 14,271 lb gross weight and 15,719 lb max takeoff weight to carry 1,448 lb. It is clear which aircraft was a more capable workhorse with twice the load capacity Meteor proved ,more adaptable ,flying in ground attack, close air support, bomber escort, V1 interception, bomber interception, armed reconnaissance, photo reconnaissance, intruder, night–fighter, twin seat trainer, ejector–seat testbed, air to air refuel testbed, axial flow jet engine testbed, centrifugal jet engine testbed, prone pilot position testbed, carrier landings testbed, carrier fleet folding wing version, engine re–heat testbed, vector thrust testbed, target drone, turboprop and civilian configurations. 262 on the other hand was discontinued just 3 months after its operational debut and it is clear which aircraft was more useful Meteor had a ,higher kill ratio ,(technically). Despite (or perhaps because of) Meteor’s ban from flying over German airspace (lest its jet technology be discovered by advancing Russia), it has the highest kill ratio of the entire war among all aircraft types (technically). Over 50 V1 rockets and 46 enemy aircraft (on the ground) for no combat losses (one accidental air collision to fog). A rare clean sheet. 262 had over 200 fatalities to engine troubles alone and, with 1,450 produced for 520 Allied aircraft shot down, it took three 262s to down each single Allied bomber. 262 stats are a procurement disaster. With Meteor, more could have been achieved but 616 Squadron, positioned close to the front in Belgium and with restrictions imposed, was hand–cuffed. 262 was of little threat to Britain who felt no requirement to fully field her best player. The stats are unfair and victors write history but such is the preserve of winning teams. It is clear which aircraft holds the distinguished records Meteor, with jets built into wing, was ,aerodynamically superior ,where it mattered., ,262 under–slung jets caused unnecessary drag and required longer (less stable) under–carriage and (yet more) weight. Its jet engines were so unreliable it was deemed necessary to locate them where they could easily be accessed. No fighter ever had underslung jets again. Furthermore, Me262 18.5° swept wing configuration was to position unexpected Jumo engine weight rearward for balance and swept wings were of no performance benefit (262 was not fast enough to approach the sound barrier in straight flight). Swept wings, usually purposed to counter transitional shockwaves in the push to Mach 1, were more a measure of damage mitigation than aerodynamic foresight. Sleek as it was, it is clear 262 aerodynamics were not advanced where it mattered Meteor’s short and strong landing gear made it adept at ,jet–on–carrier landing,. (HMS Pretoria Castle, July 1946. Two years before any other nation). 262 lengthy undercarriage, too delicate for fleet operations, made clear which aircraft offered international strategic strike, intruder and force projection options. As well as this, Meteor had potential for maritime roles of amphibious beach assault air cover, fleet defence, anti–shipping and submarine hunter If required. It is clear 262 was purely a local and tactical aircraft only Meteor pilots flew ,trusted engineering,. 262, fabricated begrudgingly by forced labour, had assembly errors purposefully placed within (official build quality report below). Such traps were found by German ground crew and Luftwaffe pilots admitted doubting their own aircraft with many refusing to perform high G manoeuvres (see 262 chief test pilot report below). War weapons are judged upon manufacturing quality and performance not blueprint potential and dreams and it is clear which aircraft was built and flown with confidence Meteor had a ,solid, ,supply stream., Like Spitfire, Meteor was prudently built in modular sections in dispersed ‘shadow’ factories thus securing continuous supply through mitigating risks of build interruption caused by German aerial bombing. Conversely, 262 was naively fabricated in large centralised factories more easily disrupted through Allied bombing and was eventually assembled in damp caves which was not ideal. It is clear which aircraft had a sustainable supply stream with potential to be built in higher volumes if war requirement necessitated Meteor ,cost less, ,to manufacture. Where 262 cost 87,000 Reich Mark, Meteor cost £27,000 (RM 67,230). Again, it is is clear which aircraft could be produced in greater volumes subject to war requirement Meteor utilised a ,pressurised cockpit, (post war) and flew to 43,000 ft in heated comfort. 262 had no such capability and it is not clear there was space in Willy Messerschmitt’s Me109–sized cockpit for such development (Messerschmitt was a originally a glider designer and made designs small and light). It is clear which aircraft’s comfort enabled pilots to focus on more important tactical matters Although neither aircraft used ejector seats during the war, 80 years after being first deployed, Meteor remains platform of choice for Martin Baker subsonic ejector seat ,safety trials,. 262, with Me109–sized cockpit and failing engines, would have been ill–suited as a barometer of safety. It is clear which aircraft was so safe it is still used today for safety research and development Meteor, achieved its goals, whereas 262 production was cancelled just 3 months after operational debut and well before war’s end – 3 July 1944, ‘Fighter Emergency Program’ or ,Jägernot,, was Germany’s switch to produce cheaper jet fighters, more quickly in larger numbers. The announcement was a public admission 262 had failed to arrest the Allied bomber stream. Conversely Meteor’s decade long production ensured it remained on active duty with 21 world airforces for over 30 years. It is clear which aircraft failed In reaching its objective Meteor cockpit, positioned forward of the wings, gave good ,pilot visibility. ,262 cockpit was positioned over the wings and visibility downward for ground attack was poor, it also had a long nose making forward visibility poor. The Meteor cockpit location, forward of the jet engines, also resulted in a remarkably quiet ride which, again, was an improvement on 262. Indeed, it can be said that, of the two aircraft, only Meteor’s airframe was purposed specifically for jets with even the tail wings positioned high to avoid jet wash —by comparison early 262 had a tail wheel layout resulting in scorched and ruined runways from jet flame. The tail wheel also pointed the aircraft skyward on the runway causing (apart from terrible visibility) the aircraft to simply not take off (pilots had to touch the breaks at 180km/ph to raise the tail to create lift over the wing to take off). It is clear Me262 layout was simply that of the old piston engine fighter style with jets underslung. Meteor airframe layout was useful for post war ,jet fighter development,. ,Where the Allies may have pawed over German rocket technology, not a single 262 jet design protocol was adopted, by any nation post war. Britain’s post–war aeronautical advancements were home grown (see Miles 52 secret supersonic WWII programme, Appendices 1) and British aircraft housed engines into wing, fuselage or both (Canberra, an evolution of Meteor was purchased by the USA, flew with impunity high over the Soviet Union during the Cold War and, unlike U2, proved untouchable). It is clear which aircraft supplied foundations for global jet fuselage development Meteor jet engines were used for post war ,jet power plant development,. Rolls Royce Derwent (and successor, Nene) jet engines, were relied upon by both USSR and USA until achieving their own independent home jet capabilities. Whilst Jumo lay dead in the water (France attempted its manufacture with false promise), it is clear which aircraft’s engines laid the foundations for global jet power development Meteor, first jet to refuel inflight (from Lancaster), successfully flew 12 hour ,endurance missions,. 262, with engines requiring replacement after 10 hours, could never have done the same. It is clear which aircraft proved to the world jet engines had flight endurance Meteor, jets positioned high in the wing, was the world’s first ,turboprop,. 262, with under–slung jets could never achieve the same without its propellors hitting tarmac. It is clear which aircraft was endlessly adaptable Being both reliable and safe, 1946 Meteor F4 ,G-AIDC, became the world’s ,first civilian registered, ,jet,., Although the Me262 Avia factory remained in tact post war with production continuing for the Czech airforce no national civil aviation authority considered operating 262 with its temperamental and dangerous power source. It is clear which aircraft had commercial options Meteor performed a stunt even today’s US Lockheed Martin F22 Raptor can’t equal using its much vaunted vector thrust —the ,Zurabatic Cartwheel,. ,Engines were distanced apart enough to throttle back and forward achieving a stationary cartwheel. No aircraft has completed the manoeuvre since. It is clear, albeit not in the traditional sense, which aircraft was the first to hover Meteor was the world’s first aircraft to use ,vector thrust, (detailed below). Rolls Royce ,Nene, was given thrust deflector shields located in the jet nacelle to facilitate short take–off and landings. Jumo, lacking access to heat resistant alloys suitable for such, could not have achieved the same and, despite this, vectored thrust might not have been so useful for 262 with such hindered thrust control. It is clear which aircraft proved vector thrust viability to the world In 1943 Meteor serial number ,EE215, successfully trialed ,afterburners, (reheat as it was then called) —three years before any nation (America’s Nathan Price followed with his commercial version post war). Again, it is clear which aircraft pioneered jet power development Meteor’s ability to quickly and reliably power down single engines mid flight made it ideal for ,asymmetric flight ,training (simulated loss of power to one engine is vital for pilots training on twin engined aircraft). To power down Jumo mid–flight would have been a prolonged, uncertain and potentially hazardous operation —nobody would wish to rely on one Jumo. It is clear which aircraft could carry out perfunctory tests Lastly, 262 was responsible for the ugly birth of, ,inefficient air travel,. Like Meteor, Britain’s Canberra, Comet, Vulcan, Victor, Valiant, Hunter and VC10 all elegantly incorporated jets to both wing or fuselage and were the most aerodynamically refined large jet aircraft of their day (with resulting speed, range, fuel, manoeuvre and stealth advantages). However, USA won the global civil aviation race with its lowest common denominator design approach (Boeing’s cumbersome and aerodynamically compromised underslung jet airliners were cheap for mass production, easy for engine maintenance and suited to mass markets). Britain’s nuanced and elegant VC10 on the other hand (with engines incorporated to fuselage tail), were preferred by passengers (beautifully quiet with engines rearward), preferred by airports (required inexpensive short runways), preferred by pilots (climbed and turned nimbly) and preferred by airlines (flew further, faster on less fuel). However, the American homogenised basics of volume, cost and ease won over quality, speed, performance and beauty and today’s aerodynamically inefficient civil airline industry is one of the world’s most polluting —all so Boeing mechanics can easily access engines. Whilst Meteor ambitiously incorporated jets to wing, it is clear the aerodynamic abomination of 262 underslung jets popularly proved pigs could fly In the main Meteor made 262 look like a drunk and injured fruit fly in every category of avionic excellence bar top speed where 262 was, for three months only, 7mph faster. Me262 Vs Meteor was never anything but a one horse race and Me262 superiority in the biggest fanboy myth of WWII. World records On 7 Nov 1945 (two months after war’s end) the Gloster Meteor smashed the world air speed record at 606 mph (70 mph faster than 262) and six months later Meteor MkIV, finding an extra 171 mph to its MkI forebear, broke the record again at 616 mph. Meteor, being the world’s first aircraft to master operational in–flight refuelling (with AVRO Lancaster), then broke the world record for flight endurance. Meteor then broke the world record for distance. Meteor then broke the world record for climb rate —twice. Meteor then broke the world record for altitude. Meteor then achieved a global avionic international procurement record for fighter sales. Meteor, still operational today, has now achieved the world record for longest serving jet-fighter, longest serving jet (all categories), longest serving fighter (all categories), longest serving military aircraft (all categories) and only frontline aircraft of the war to take no losses to enemy action. I lose count of the accolades given to Britain’s most modestly ‘mediocre’ Meteor. [,Author’s note,: Readers have commented 1). that comparisons between wartime 262 and Meteor two months after the war are invalid and 2). that postwar sales comparisons are unfair because 262 production had been destroyed. Here follows a two point addendum addressing both concerns:] 1). ,‘,Wartime’ and ‘two months postwar’ comparisons: ,By war’s end 262 had reached its manufacturing zenith as naval blockade became resolute further restricting German access to rare alloys and metallurgy —262 power output was dead in the water and could never evolve. For this reason I have detailed speeds achieved on Meteor’s operational debut, at war’s end and 2 months after war’s culmination as evidence the gap between Meteor and 262 was only ever to widen (even if the war had continued longer). Where 262 performance peaked leaving the factory, Meteor increased its speed by 171 mph within 6 months of release by almost doubling power output. Comparisons between ‘wartime’ and ‘2 months post–war’ are therefore relevant showing Meteor development capabilities Vs 262 limits. 2). Postwar 262 production capability: ,262 production capability was not ‘smashed‘ as readers have claimed — the post war Czech Avia Me262 fuselage factory, assembly plant, spare parts, Jumo engines, blueprints and active operational squadrons remained in tact.. Postwar 262 (Avia S-92 Turbina) was manufactured in Czechoslovakia and their airforce briefly flew the aircraft in the Cold War. However, performance stagnated and engines could only be modified to last 50 hours (a modest improvement on 10 hours) whilst top speed never improved. More powerful BMW 003 series engines were unsuccessfully introduced (the same Czech factory did however manufacture postwar Me109 for the Spanish airforce so there was nothing wrong with its sales team). Avia’s opportunity to roll out a postwar 262 was there for the taking but nobody was buying. The seed of inspiration for Russia’s Mig 15 and USA’s Sabre lay in Focke-Wulf TA-183 (not 262) whilst both their respective power plants came from Rolls Royce — nobody was interested in Me262, its theory, its blueprints, its terrible engines or its remaining squadrons of intact aircraft (apart from the poor souls of the Czech airforce who couldn’t afford to fly anything safer). It should be noted Czech Avia S-92 Turbina crashed on operational debut August 27th, 1946. It should also be noted the French tried to develop and manufacture the Jumo engine but failed. Top speed Although the July 1944 Meteor MkI was over 100mph slower than 262 (416mph Vs 520mph), three months after deployment and six months before war’s end, another 111mph was found by extending jet nacelles forward (improving wing leading edge aerodynamics), introducing Rolls Royce Derwent engines (increasing power per engine from 2,000lbs to 3,500lbs) and by clipping wings short (reducing drag to increase speed and roll rate). Meteor’s final wartime speed was 7mph slower than 262. Three months after war’s end an additional 80mph was found for Meteor’s 606mph world speed record. Within 6 months of deployment Meteor had achieved a speed improvement of 210mph —an astounding development and unheard of achievement. However, high speed on the flat is not a fighter’s greatest attribute. Indeed some say speed in a straight line is for school playground Top Trumps and post–war RAF tests certainly believed so: analysis found 262 speed (and lack of air brakes) its nemesis as a bomber destroyer, the very job it was designed for (official RAF report below). Meteor’s tighter turn causes high pressure condensation over the wing Jets housed within the Meteor wing caused less drag than 262’s primitive under–slung jet layout Meteor wings were clipped short ensuring it had a an excellent role rate by greatly reduced drag and increasing top speed and acceleration International sales Meteor’s heated and (post war) pressurised cockpit enabled her to fly above 43,000 ft in comfort and its world record climb rate, world record altitude, world record speed, more controlled dive, tighter turn, more rugged ability, adaptability, simpler construction, more reliable and less expensive build, superior power, heavier armament, heavier load capacity and reduced cost all ensured Meteor was successfully used as an attack interceptor by 20 foreign air forces. Meteor flew with Israel for 15 years and was also flown by Algeria, Australia, Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Biafra, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Syria, United States and, ironically, West Germany. The only people in the world to take 262 seriously postwar were Airfix. Meteor was a procurement success because, as an interceptor, it climbed at record–breaking speeds to meet incoming enemy aircraft at record–breaking height – the earlier an intercept, the increased number of tactical options available to defending pilots with extended time over target. Until Soviet Mig15 and US Sabre arrived 5 years later in the Korean war, Meteor was irrefutable global top–dog interceptor by a comfortable margin. Few fighters have held such global dominance for such duration and no other fighter has ever been sold to 21 airforces. How it all, ,came to be In 1929, Frank Whittle, an English fighter pilot, engineer and private inventor (without government backing), patented the jet engine from his garage (correctly named the ,Whittle, engine), Britain’s Rolls Royce then successfully manufactured the engine without Germany’s compromised access to rare metals (German blockade of Britain failed), Britain’s Gloster Aviation then successfully designed and built the airframe in a single year (to 262’s protracted four caused by the interfering Corporal) and finally Britain’s RAF successfully deployed the weapons platform on hundreds of WWII operational sorties with only one accidental loss to bad weather (over 200 Me262 were lost to engine explosions alone). So, please, let’s put to bed this childish comic–book myth of German science superiority at the dawn of the jet age —a fiction peddled by Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda machine to give desperate German populations misguided hope of victory. In truth no German ‘wonder weapon’ ever offered strategic advantage. Keeping it simple Britain had simply got on with the same job, more capably, with less fuss and with better results because the decision had wisely been made to ‘keep it simple’ and to work within the then limitations and hindering bounds of world science. Meteor, positioned closer to the action on the rough grass air strips of forward bases in Belgium, travelled less far to its target. 262 however, as an interceptor and reliant on far–away autobahns, failed even to match Battle of Britain interception speeds. Spitfire MkI, with pilots on standby and airborne in less than 2 minutes, operating from fields close to the coast and within the reaction time efficiencies of Britain’s Dowding System, intercepted at 30,000ft more quickly than 262 whose pilots often waited vital minutes to warm engines before attaining safe Jumo power output for takeoff. It is naive to think intercepting bombers is about anything other than getting cannons to height quickly and, here, Meteor did this efficiently. Active operations with 616 Squadron in Belgium: climbing more quickly, to intercept at heights more elevated, staying in the fight for longer, firing superior cannon, in the dive engaging for longer and all on a more stable platform. Frontline Meteor was painted pure white so as not to be mistaken with Me262 —she was most graceful Meteor F8 ‘Reaper’. Extended range via wingtip drop tanks and more rocket fire power than a 1955 US Sabre. Reaper carried 24 x 126mm 60 lb rockets (more than twice Thunderbolt, Typhoon or Mosquito). It was the world’s most heavily armed close–air ground–attack fighter Nose and cockpit configuration are identical to today’s Fairchild A10 Thunderbolt ‘Warthog’ tank buster —bubble canopy high up and far forward for good visibility. Note the low ground clearance. 262’s first used a tail wheel and taxiing pilots (with noses pointing skyward on long delicate undercarriage) suffered many taxiing and landing accidents Dive was controlled using dive brakes (deployed here, located above and below wings between fuselage and engines) slowing Meteor to give 3 to 4 seconds of extended fire at optimum range. Me262 had no airbrakes and was less effective at diving on bombers having only 2 seconds of fire (as tested by the RAF, report below) Meteor’s more controlled dive made it a superior weapons platform for ground attack Meteor goes vertical. Post war record breaking climb made Meteor the world’s fastest, ,interceptor by a comfortable margin The world’s first jet inflight refuelling. Meteor re-fuelled 10 times and remained airborne for 12 hours 3 minutes and flew 3,600 miles (262 engines lasted 10 hours and would have seized). Both distance and endurance world records were broken Testing the prone pilot cockpit position for the world’s first supersonic flight —a speed Britain’s secret WWII Miles M.52 unmanned jet achieved whilst Chuck Yeager was still dusting crops Shortened wing tips, extended jet nacelles and Rolls Royce Derwent engines increased top speed by 111 mph. A bonus in shortening the wings was an excellent roll rate and sturdier wing for adding wing tip drop tanks British compromise With Meteor, astute British scientists realised a practical engineering compromise: that of the centrifugal compressor, a then more reliable jet type which was more easily tooled with a single piece of aluminium. The Germans, rarely ones to use ‘practical engineering’ compromise due to a then socially and politically instilled mindset of engineering superiority, often made impractical war–fighting choices and, in this instance, chose a more complicated jet configuration beyond their technical capability. The ‘Tiger’ class tank ‘killers’, the Bismarck class battleship ‘raiders’, the V1 ‘cruise’ rockets and the V2 ‘ballistic’ missiles were all inappropriate to national military requirement, tactically disappointing and lacking strategic gain. V2 cost as much as The Manhatten Project and each rocket carried less explosive than a single Lancaster bomb load. 262 is simply another item in Germany’s long procurement list of warmaking red herrings. Germany’s ill fated option With 262 Germany chose to develop the yet unproven (albeit to become superior post–war) axial compressor jet engine. It was a more aerodynamic configuration (with a smaller frontal area than Britain’s centrifugal compressor) but was complicated and prone to stalls, fires and failures. More practically minded British engineers believed this technology unready for battlefield deployment —a rather stoic decision nevertheless to prove correct. It is a misconception however that Britain chose this path because her science was less capable. Britain, ,also had the axial compressor — Dr. A Griffith and Hayne Constant ran a parallel axial programme even before WWII began and their Metrovick F2 Freda flew in Meteor in November 1943 and produced more thrust than both Whittle’s centrifugal engine and Germany’s axial Jumo. However, like the Germans found, the development path was harder with overheating and burning turbine blades. By 1943 they solved the overheating issues with F2/3 (running at 2700lb thrust (30% more powerful than Germany’s Jumo) and the engine flew successfully in Lancaster and then in Meteor in 1944. They then built a more powerful engine (F2/4 Beryl) which produced 4,000lb thrust. By comparison 262 Jumo produced less than half the power (1,984lbs). It is clear the British ran a more capable axial flow jet before Germany and before the war was out, however, all things considered, they backed the right horse. When people dismiss Meteor for being basic they often ignore context. Meteor was basic where it was advantageous to be so and its reliance upon such simplicity purposed Meteor as a cutting edge testbed in many futuristic areas (listed in the 27 advantages of Meteor: eg. vectored thrust, air to air refuel, prone pilot position, jet-carrier landings). People forget Meteor was only really designed to trial the feasibility of the jet principle generally —there was no real operational requirement for Meteor as Spitfire IX was still dominant. Vectored thrust A good example of Meteor’s cutting edge capabilities occurred in 1954 where Rolls Royce Nene engines with thrust deflectors on the bottom of the jet exhausts were fitted to reduce takeoff length and lower landing speed (possibly to improve its capability with carrier landing or the mountainous Korean theatre). Deployment was a success and results promising but the scheme was regarded as complicated to roll out more widely. ‘Vectored thrust’ would wait decades to become mainstream. Nonetheless Meteor, the world’s first aircraft to use vectored thrust, predated F22 Raptor by 70 years. After–burn All the while in 1943 Meteor serial number ,EE215, was used to trial reheat (or ‘afterburners’ as they became known) — again, three years before any nation. Raw power Whilst we are debunking the German ‘superior science’ myth: it should be noted Britain also produced the war’s most powerful jet engine. Stanley Hooker, of Rolls-Royce, initiated a fast-track project to build a more powerful centrifugal-flow engine. The result was the RB.41 Nene —first bench-tested in October 1944 providing 5,000lb thrust (German Jumo was producing a mere 1,900lb). Nene was the world's most powerful engine and was simple, cheap and reliable. It was manufactured in large numbers with versions made in Canada, Australia, France, USA and USSR. Mig15 flew so beautifully partly because she was powered by a reverse engineered Rolls Royce. The Nene was so powerful Rolls-Royce built a scaled-down version, designated the ‘Derwent 5’ which was bench-tested in June 1945, providing 2,650lb thrust. This ‘scaled down’ mini version was more powerful than Germany’s most powerful jet. Rocket development aside, German science superiority is a fabled fictional fantasy. Messerschmitt’s dead end Willy Messerschmitt had pedantically fussed over the frontal cross section of differing jet types (for aerodynamic efficiency) to then simplistically sling the engines under the wings (appropriate for a Boeing airliner but not so for a fighter). Again, as with the sloped wings, the jets under–slung positions were a design of damage mitigation to allow for easy access to German engines which only lasted two or three missions. No jet fighter ever again adopted this aerodynamically inefficient positioning of its power units — 262 aerodynamic genetics were a Darwinian evolutionary dead end. British scientists were never interested in overly complicated and desperate National Socialist aeronautical cockfights for world stage Sportplatz goose–stepping flybys. British scientists were, on the other hand, interested in answering sensible procurement briefs based upon sound tactical requirements. The latter is less exciting for teenage 262 fetishists and although Meteor will forever remain under–sung it would hardly be British if it wasn’t understated. Keeping it simple Meteor was simply a more pragmatic realisation of attainable science thus ‘keeping it simple’ because war is always complicated. Germany, driven by the military despairs of 1944, was forced to gamble and choose otherwise thus further defining Germany’s unnecessary and extreme engineering design protocols. As was often the case in WWII with Allied engineering, Meteor was the technical antithesis to its German equivalent. Spitfire was so to Bf109, Mosquito to Junkers 88, Lancaster to Grief, E Boat to MTB, Chain Home to Freya and Bren to Spandau. By war’s end Germany’s war material design and manufacturing protocols, had become a reflection of the desperation of its leaders. [Britain had already proven adept in applying technology more astutely with radar in 1939, creating the Dowding System, the world’s first integrated national air defence structure. With such application Britain had foreseen the requirements for national air defence the world over for the next 100 years and it is no wonder global aviation comms are now universally conducted in English. Ironically wartime Germany was generally ahead of Britain with regards to radar but failed to apply the science in an integrated and practical manner for strategic betterment. No German ‘superior science wonder weapon’ played a role on the battlefield as decisively as radar. Indeed the only four ‘wonder weapons’ of the war were Radar, Sonar, Bletchley Park, Colossus and the Atom bomb — none of which were German. The Reich spent the same amount on German V1 and V2 rocket development, an inaccurate missile with a smaller payload than a single Lancaster, as the Allies did on the Manhattan Project, a war ending weapon. German engineering strategy was too easily directed by posturing and ultimately flawed. Hitler’s meddling Britain’s jet engine technology developed steadily over a 14 year period and Meteor, ,was the fruit of this methodical inter–war development programme. By comparison, 262 was knocked up in frenzied afternoon — project ‘Vulcan’ (as 262 production was called) was prioritised above all else and its structural design, compromised in rushed development, was further hindered by German metallurgy shortages in cadmium, nickel and cobalt necessary for the heat resistant alloys required for the ill–chosen axial compressor engine. Prone to fires, failures and stalls and prone to melt in flight. Furthermore, 262 tactical purpose was changed by Hitler’s meddling plans for a Blitzkrieg dive–bomber as replacement to his beloved Stuka. With his dwindling and surrounded Reich, Hitler hung to short term and past tactical results of Blitzkrieg and, with regards to 262, the doctored dive bomber became overly complicated to manufacture. Shoddy build At 13.45 hours, 30th of March 1945 at Rhein airdrome, Germany (occupied by US forces) a strange propeller-less aircraft slowly circled the airfield with its undercarriage down before landing on the cratered runway. It was Hans Fay, 262’s most experienced test pilot and technical inspector and Germany’s first 262 defector. Fay handed the Allies their first German jet and submitted a capability debrief. The following is an RAF analysis of Fay’s report with specific regards to build quality: ”Structural Workmanship: The structural integrity of Me262 Is not as good as that of the Me109. When testing Me262 it was not infrequent for parts to be stripped off in fast dives and Fay has lost cockpit covers, bomb racks and needle racks of the tailpipe during dives. In fact, because of these uncertainties, the pilots rarely roll or employ similar manoeuvres” That is the official opinion of its German chief test pilot and technical inspector as recorded in official Allied debrief. Slave labour weaknesses and faults ensured pilots refused to employ everyday manoeuvres such as the roll. Failed objective Lastly, and perhaps most critically, post war RAF testing revealed 262 to be conceptually flawed for the very role it was designed —that of the ‘bomber destroyer’. Lack of air brakes ensured its dive to meet bomber streams (Luftwaffe adopted B17 engagement tactic for 262) was of such a high speed there was only time enough for two seconds of cannon fire at optimum range. One second to fire for effect (usually off target), one second to track, range and adjust and one second to… overshoot the entire bomber stream to be met by gun slinging P51 Mustangs at height and marauding British Typhoons on the deck. 262’s dive in the ground attack role suffered the same speed and accuracy limitations. 262 was therefore proven unfit for purpose because Germany’s misguided mindset of engineering superiority and Hitler’s belligerent marriage to Blitzkrieg had led them to plough with a racehorse. Meteor Vs 262 Summary Would Meteor have been less susceptible to asymmetric flight foibles had the jets been closer to the fuselage? Probably but in the grand scheme, Meteor was sound. Did German jet ace Heinrich Bar score 16 kills in his Me262 alone? Yes, in the hands of the few lucky enough to evade 262’s Jumo dangers, skilful enough to work around 262’s weaknesses and confident enough to use its decisive speed, 262 was deadly. But, the bigger picture painted a technicolour story of overall British dominance. America misses the boat One of the war’s greatest ironies in the history of early jet development however is USA’s Lockheed L133 —without question the most advanced jet-fighter design of the war and, after Concorde, the most beautiful jet design of the last century. Designed in 1942, it utilised canard wing form and afterburner technologies not to appear until the 1950s. L133 amalgamated fuselage with wing in a seemingly utopian and futuristic aerodynamic form 50 years ahead of its time and, if she flew today, L133 would still look modern with its minimal radar signature airframe. Style never goes out of fashion — America’s Lockheed L133,. ,Futuristic ,even ,by today’s standards and a slipstream mastery of aerodynamic elegance Unfortunately both Kelly Johnson, ,(laminar flow wing) and Nathan Price (world’s first mass production afterburner) worked alongside dogged USAF strategists with limited foresight and imagination. The graceful plane never flew and USA, ,fell behind Germany and Britain in the jet race —a position, in theory and on blueprint, USA, ,held supreme. L133 utilised the same technology and personnel upon which Skunk Works, ,was later founded. Instead USA produced the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star and two were sent to Britain for testing and two saw service in Italy to track the German Arado Blitz reconnaissance jet–bomber. As with the P51 Mustang, the Shooting Star required power from a Rolls Royce but it was, in many eyes, a beautiful aircraft and is popularly flown to this day. It saw action in Korea but was demoted to ground attack as Mig 15 was a superior air superiority fighter. It was successfully exported to Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia and can be seen as far more successful than Me262. US reconnaissance Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. Its Allison jet engine a generous technical donation from Britain (Rolls Royce Goblin) When senior level American administration figures had come to Britain to cement Operation Tizard, receive blueprints for the Atom Bomb, Sonar, Radar, the proximity fuse and be shown Bletchley Park capability with Colossus (commonly seen as the beginning of the ‘special relationship’), delegates asked to discuss the growing popular theory of jet propulsion. To their astonishment the British answered ‘Come and see, we’ve got one flying’ and they were shown the Gloster E. 28/39 (Meteor’s predecessor) in May, 1941. Isolationist America was clearly out of the loop regarding avionic development. When Chuck Yeager later broke the sound barrier it was with appropriated Miles M.52 British designs including two critical components for stable transonic flight —the British invented all-flying-tail (or stabilator) and the nose shock cone. With L133, USA could have been flying a strike–fighter from Thunderbirds, ,in 1941 and the Allies were poorer for USA missing her moment. Had the Shooting Star seen action in WWII, and judging by its latter successful track record in Korea as a ground attack aircraft, it would be seen as superior to Me262. However, that dis not transpire and it was Britain who ruled the advent of the jet age, a twitchy and unreliable Germany second and USA, sadly, the wooden spoon. Unfit for purpose In short, the answer to ‘Why was Me 262 retired in 1945 when it was the most advanced fighter in the world?’ is because it’s jet technology was not fit for war-time practical purpose and her elegant aerodynamics had no real benefit. Willy Messerschmitt had, again, produced an overly complicated, expensive and unreliable design when Britain was producing more practical solutions, unspoilt by political interference and more suited to the harsh rigours of war. Thwarted, ,by the Royal Navy Or, perhaps a more magnanimous answer to the question is ,because, it was so advanced. Too advanced even for some of the world’s foremost and capable scientists and metallurgy specialists who were all thwarted by British naval blockade. Whilst Me262 looks wonderful in a museum, Meteor was greater on the battlefield and beyond, Meteor’s current ‘operational’ role as a trusted testbed for ejector seats in 2019, makes her the world’s oldest flying first generation jet of any type. Messerschmitt sidelined All the while, Willy Messerschmitt travelled to Argentina in exile after the war to advance another fascist dictator’s air force. Willy had been a huge fan of the Nazi Party and one of its more proficient and squabbling sycophant in–fighter members obsequiously vying for the Corporal’s favour. Sadly for Willy, the Argentinian air force wisely chose to purchase his nemesis —Frank Whittle’s Gloster Meteor— which fortuitously flew over the exiled fascist’s finca for decades. Let the world’s 262 fanboys not forget Willy’s blind eye to slavery. Large underground slave labour factories were constructed to take up 262 production: the partly-buried Weingut I complex for the Jumo 004 jet, wings were produced in Germany's oldest motorway tunnel at Engelberg, a disused mine under the Walpersberg mountain for production of complete aircraft, and at ,B8 Bergkristall-Esche II, at St. Georgen / Gusen, Austria, slave labourers of concentration camp Gusen II produced fuselages. Gusen II was known as one of the harshest concentration camps and typical life expectancy was six months – an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people died on the forced labour details for Me 262 and its designer was complicit. Willy had lain himself expectantly supine for post–war avionic design adulation but, having blotted his jotter, there was a distinct lack of any such interest and he launched his three wheel one man supercar trade–war with Enzo Ferrari. Like his 262, the car never took off and Willy spent the rest of his design career manufacturing sewing machines. Go Willy go! Both swan song and sunset of Nazi German jet avionic ,‘,superiority,’, and a teutonic vision for the future of travel. Only requiring a roof spike, it resembles the Kaiser’s helmet The Bell Messerschmitt Magnematic Meanwhile Frank Whittle’s designs broke the sound barrier. Of course America will claim they did the same via Chuck Yeager’s Bell X–1 but what many aren’t so quick to realise is his X–1 was an appropriated design from the British 1945 sound barrier breaking Miles M.52 (postscript below). Happily ever after And so it ended happily for all. Whittle’s designs broke the sound barrier, America was allowed to believe she was made of the ‘Right Stuff’ and, for Willy, a prominent Nazi in hiding, the war was never really over, so he made sewing machines as distraction from the sound of his nemesis Gloster Meteor buzzing overhead. –––––––––––––––––––––– Postscript 1,: for our American friends who think Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 firework was either advanced or American: Chuck Yeager’s Stolen Bell X1 Aircraft Below is a photo of the unmanned Miles M52, Britain’s fastest WWII jet. Designed in 1942, and fabricated during the war, it went supersonic in 1947. Where Meteor beat 262 with the beauty of simplicity, M52 smashed it with advanced aerodynamic design of which Germany could only dream. Britain’s 1942 Miles M.52. The only jet of the war with aerodynamics and controls to go supersonic In level flight Although war time Germany’s rocket technology was far in advance of Britain, no German jet technology was taken seriously or put forward for post war use. The aerodynamics of the 1942 British Miles M.52, on the other hand, were based upon the only man made item to successfully beat the sound barrier at the time —the high velocity bullet. M52 also utilised three home invented components which subsequently became prerequisites for stable supersonic flight worldwide: the ,jet engine ,(first patented in Britain in 1929) the nose ,shock cone ,aerodynamic air intake the all movable rear tail ,stabilator, (now seen on most supersonic fighters) All three technologies listed above were either given to (Operation Tizard), or stolen by the USA (Bell Avionics) so Chuck Yeager could ride bronco on his Bell X-1 rocket–fuelled household firework convincing the world USA was first to break the sound barrier. Although a decade apart, the US Bell X–1 and the British M.52 are virtually identical. M52 designs were given to Bell Aviation after the war in an agreed exchange of technologies. It is noteworthy here to point out America had already been given the (Allison) jet engine by Britain to ensure America did not fall even further behind in the war. However, USA, having seen the blueprints, announced it had no advanced technology to exchange and the deal was cancelled. Within weeks the Bell X-1 was using the above three technologies. They had already been given the atom bomb, the jet engine, the proximity fuse, radar, the computer, sonar… In emergency the detachable nose cone ‘ejected’ in flight to parachute to earth Britain’s 1942 Miles M.52. An aerodynamic piece of mastery USA’s frighteningly similar Bell X–1. Beautifully designed by the British, adeptly appropriated by Bell Aviation. Miles M.52 successfully utilised a jet but America, ten years later, still wasn’t up to it and utilised a large, ,liquid fuelled rocket burner, ,firework,. ,Apart from the American input of their typical barn door tail she is a beauty Launching Britain’s M.52 from Mosquito (Circa. 1942–1945) Launching USA’s Bell X-1 from B29. (Circa. sometime shortly after copying Britain’s blueprints) 1955 The British 1942 Miles M.52 with its three home invented prerequisites for controlled supersonic flight. The Jet, the nose Shock Cone and the Stabilator all moving tailplane. The pilot lay prone to endure and minimise G Force (as with Meteor cockpit configuration testing illustrated in Me262 article above) The Miles M.52 programme, starting in 1942, illustrates Britain access to jet technologies and stable supersonic flight control far in advance of any fabled fiction from Germany. However, with total aerial dominance over the continent by early 1944, such technology had no immediate practical wartime use. The British, taking the restoration of world freedom rather seriously, had no time for engineering cockfights —this they left to the Germans and their strategically questionable V weapons. Germany had no airfields remaining and few factories with which to fabricate fighter fuselages and accordingly German jet propulsion was of little threat to the British. Had 262 been better, earlier or in larger numbers Britain would have accelerated her jet programmes generally and the Miles M.52 specifically and likewise America the Lockheed L133 as both designs were born as early as 1942. It is beyond any doubt the Allies had aces up their sleeves to far outclass anything German jet engineers offered Both Germany’s jet engine and aerodynamic ‘superiority’ and America’s sound barrier technology ‘advancement’ are two of aviation’s greatest myths. –––––––––––––––––––––––– Postscript 2: regarding readers’ comments referencing this answer’s ‘offensive’ stance on ‘peacocking’ German scientists: The Misguided Search for Teutonic Engineering Perfection The notion that wartime Germany employed a misplaced requirement for unnecessary engineering perfection has much historical credence, as substantiated by historians who assert an underlying sense of superiority in German 1940s manufacturing was fuelled by deep–rooted social engineering and extreme politicisation of civic life, education, military recruitment and war–manufacturing. Said cultural attitude blinkered German war production and this is well documented (John Keagan, The Second World War and The Luftwaffe, a History by John Killen and many more). History shows Germany was blinkered by dreams of Teutonic perfection. The Nazi system instilled an ill–founded sense of engineering superiority top to bottom, from Führer to designer to welder. Every German was ‘best’ at their work station and this very culture is vaunted as a reason for Germany’s propensity for over–engineering blindness and the choosing of unrealistic options. There are many examples which illustrate the point. The welding on a Tiger 1 took three times as long that of a T34 —the finish on Tiger looks beautiful and T34 looks agricultural— but T34 dominated the battlefield because, being built at three times the speed, it had superiority in numbers. If one lifts the cowling on an Me110 and a Mosquito the same is true — the 110 is a labyrinth of extremely advanced and compact technologies with not an inch to spare whereas Mosquito is a design antithesis and one can put one’s wrist through gaps and dead space. Allied ‘fit for function’ went head to head against German self–congratulatory posturing —‘just good enough’ was the Allied war–manufacturing creed because nothing should be more complicated than necessary. Knee–jerk reaction technologies, designed to mitigate Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine lack of strategic foresight pleased only the Reich’s under–qualified landlubber leader —a junior trench corporal, street agitator, beer hall brawler, convicted criminal, jail–released and substance–abusing junior infantryman foot soldier. If it didn’t have wheels, the under–qualified Corporal was not interested and he should not have been the strategic mind behind German war strategy. I have introduced Meteor as nothing more than design understatement over engineering ego and, where 262 was sleek looking, Meteor was the modest application of achievable science necessary to win wars. The socio–political narrative causing such design protocol differences between nations is most fascinating, part of history and should not be seen as offensive. As is often the way, the spearhead of military design is often a reflection of political and social belief.” Taken from my previous answer: ,James Dewar's answer to Why was the Me-262 retired in 1945 when it was the most advanced fighter in the world?

What are the miracles of power system engineering?

"THREE GORGES DAM" Situated in China, the Three Gorges Dam on River Yangtze is used for power generation, power control and navigation purposes. Opened in 2008, this hydroelectric dam is the World's largest power station in terms of its installed capacity - 22,500 MW (mega-watts). It became fully functional on July 4, 2012, except for the ship lift which was expected to be operational by 2015. The ship lift is a kind of elevator for vessels weighing up to 3,000 tons.Three Gorges Dam is also the second largest hydroelectric facility in annual energy generation. It is an example of historical engineering with state-of-the-art large turbines. Each main water turbine has a capacity of 700 MW and weigh about 6,000 tonnes each. The dam uses 4,63,000 tonnes of steel (enough to build as many as 63 Eiffel Towers).Did you know that upon completion, the Three Gorges Dam changed the speed of rotation of the Earth? It holds about 39 trillion kilograms of water 175 meters above sea level. NASA calculated that since the dam has been built, each day is 0.6 microseconds slower than before. It might not make much difference to us but it is still a mind-boggling fact.s Electrical engineers have not stopped planning bigger miracles in the field of Power Systems Engineering. The proposed Grand Inga Dam in Congo is expected to have a capacity of 39,000 MW (about twice the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam). Penzhin Tidal Power Plant in Russia is another proposal with an installed capacity of 87 GW. "AVATAR" AVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for Transatmospheric Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation) is manned single-stage reusable spaceplane (or hyperplane) which will be able to make horizontal takeoff and landing. It is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and is expected to be a model for low-cost military and commercial satellite space launches, and space tourism.The first phase of scaled-down tests for AVATAR is planned for 2015 while the first manned AVATAR flight is planned for 2025. The challenge for electrical engineers working on a space shuttle is to make sure that all its electrical systems keep operating for about two decades without any maintenance in the hostile environment of space.Key electrical engineering systems on board a satellite include power supply (based on solar energy), its intelligence (located in its processor and memory systems), complex control system (that includes sensors and actuators), telecommunication system (to exchange commands and signals with the ground), and a navigation system.AVATAR is expected to be a ground-breaking piece of work for electrical engineers. "ELECTRIC CARS" An electric car is a light-weight urban car which runs using one or more electric motors, which uses electrical energy stored in batteries. It gives instant torque and smooth acceleration.BMW i3, launched in 2014, has been certified by the EPA as the most fuel-efficient vehicle. Thei3 REx has a combined fuel economy of 29 kW-hrs per 100 miles. BMWi3 is the first zero-emission mass-produced vehicle which uses electric power train. It has won 2 World Car of the Year Awards this year, which include 2014 World Green Car of the Year, and 2014 World Car Design of the Year. It also won an iF Product Design Gold Award and 2 of the first UK Car of the Year Awards, which include UK Car of the Year 2014, and Best Super-mini of 2014. "WORLD'S SMALLEST MICROCHIP THAT YOU CAN SWALLOW" Kinetis KI02 is the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip – a Microelectronics wonder. Manufactured by Freescale Semiconductors, it measures just 2 x 2 x 0.5 millimeters (about as large as two ants side-by-side). This microchip is a full microcontroller unit in itself with a 4 KB RAM, 32 KB flash memory, a 32-bit 48 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, a low-power UART and a 12-bit analog to digital converter. A complete tiny computer that can be swallowed! This microchip is a breakthrough in itself – especially for modern medicine.There are several other uses proposed for Kinetis KI02. MCU in shoes can let you know how many steps you have walked a day while plumbing MCU can let you know instantly about a leaking pipe – all through a watch or may be an iPhone app (just like the Tile tracker for your car keys and other important items that you frequently misplace). "ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL" Cars equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC) technology are intelligent enough to slow down and speed up automatically to keep up with the car in front of you – preventing collisions. ACC allows drivers to set a maximum speed. A radar sensor watches the traffic ahead of the car, locks on to the car ahead in the lane, and drivers can set the car to stay behind by a particular period of time (2,3 or 4 seconds) or particular distance. Often, adaptive cruise control is paired with a pre-crash system that issues alerts and starts braking whenever it senses danger ahead.Ideal for stop-and-go traffic and rush-hour commuting, the ACC systems are available from $2,500 to as low as just $500. They typically use radars at a frequency band different than police radars (to avoid triggering radar detectors). Full-range Adaptive Cruise Control systems use two radars – one that sees up to 100 feet and other that sees up to 600 feet. However, newer ones are able to use a single radar system.A much-coveted safe driving feature, cars with autonomous cruise control are ideal for long trips. Premium car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Ford, Honda and Hyundai are selling cars with ACC systems.Till now, ACC systems do not use satellite support, roadside infrastructure or cooperative support from other vehicles. It is mostly based on on-board sensors only - an example of Control Engineering at its best. "CUBOX-I" CuBox-i, the world’s smallest computer is one of the most powerful mini-computer that can replace a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop, and possibly even streaming devices like an Apple TV or Roku. Made by SolidRun, these energy-efficient low-cost tiny computers are sleek and elegant. It has jam-packet ports panel, a subtle logo and is just 2-inch long, thick and high.Offering industry’s Price Power Performance Ratio (P3R), CuBox-i price starts at just $45. CuBox-i has solo, dual or quad i.MX6 Cortex A9 ARM processors (up to 1.2GHz each), up to 2 GB DDR-3 RAM, ARMv7 instruction set including NEON extension support, HDMI 1080p output, Infra-red receiver and transmitter, microSD for operating system storage etc.Epitome of simplicity, CuBox-i devices are made of highest quality materials and use an open source software platform. "3-D MEMORY" Chip makers such as Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix readily lapped up the 3D revolution. 3D memories are of two types – NAND flash memory type which is non-volatile and holds on to information even when it is powered down, and Hybrid Memory Cube which stacks DRAM and adds layer of logic to boost speed.In NAND, memory designers layer cells straight to alleviate scaling issues and boost density. It is made with a 30- to 40-nanometer process, has bigger cells and more electrons.In HMC, focus is not on storage of memory but in dynamic RAM. It is faster than the ordinary DRAM chip and off-loads most of the processing responsibility to the high-speed logic chip stack atop DRAM, connected using thousands of copper wires called through-silicon vias (TSVs). "IVANPAH SOLAR THERMAL POWER PLANT" Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System situated in the Mojave Desert in California is the World’s largest solar power plant. An engineering marvel in itself, Ivanpah uses over 3,00,000 mirrors (heliostats) to reflect heat and light from the Sun onto boilers atop three of the towers here. Each of these towers is 150 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.As water in the towers gets heated, steam is created and moves turbines. This produces enough clean and green electricity to power up 1,40,000 homes (about 392 megawatts).From a distance, mirrors look like a lake in the middle of a desert which is about four times larger than the Central Park in the New York City. It can be seen from the International Space Station.Solar thermal projects like Ivanpah are said to be more suited for India as we have plentiful of land and Sun while natural gas is as abundant as in the United States. "OPTICAL LINK" Electronic Engineering Professor Jelena Vuckovic of Stanford University has recently led a research in which a team of engineers designed and built a prism-like device that can split a beam of light into different colours and bend it to right angles.Described as 'Optical Link', this tiny silicon slice has a bar code like pattern etched on it. When a beam of light shines at the link, light of two different wavelengths (colours) split off at right angles forming a T-shape. Eventually, this could be a big step towards developing computer systems that use Optics (Light) rather than Electricity (Wires) to carry data.Professor Vuckovic claims that light can carry more data than a wire and it takes less energy to transmit photons than electrons. "SPACECRAFT RADAR MAPPERS" Magellan - the Venus Radar Mapper and Cassini - the Titan Radar Mapper are some of the shining examples of Electrical Engineering marvels.Though an aging man-made satellite, Magellan spacecraft again made new when it was pulled from the elliptical orbit 5,285 miles above the Venus to just 105 miles above Venus with the help of controllers. The Cassini Titan Radar Mapper is another high-tech Imaging achievement that can fire up several Electrical Engineers for a long time to come. Synthetic Aperture Radar images of Titan's surface obtained with the help of Cassini is of great interest to planetary geological processes. But to engineers, it is the radar mapper itself which is of major interest.Magellan has two broad square solar panels, each measuring 2.5 meters across. They degraded gradually during the mission due to extreme and frequent temperature changes. The spacecraft was equipped with twin 30 amp-hour, 26-cell, nickel-cadmium batteries that got recharged whenever they received direct sunlight.Cassini is the largest and most complex interplanetary spacecraft which is unmanned (include an orbiter and a probe). It was powered by 32.7 kg plutonium-238 batteries whose radioactivity produced electricity. Its instruments included a synthetic aperture radar mapper, an infrared mapping spectrometer, a charge-coupled device imaging system, a plasma spectrometer, a magnetometer and several other sophisticated devices.

What are the pros and cons of the Tesla Model S P90D vs the BMW i8?

I’m in the middle of considering a move away from traditional engined cars, and have tried both. I had a lengthy test drive of a P90D, and on mentioning this to my local BMW dealership, was offered (and accepted) a 48 hr test drive of the i8. My current car is a BMW 750li, so any comparisons will be based on that as my definition of ‘normal’. P90D: Pros - fast. Very fast. Even without Ludicrous mode, this is a fast car. And not like any ICE you have ever driven, where you have to wait for some revs to get the power, it comes on like a light switch - bang, all the torque at once. That is an addictive way to drive. It may not be the fastest once you get up in towards 100, but realistically, for normal street driving, it’s first of the line that counts. It’s also the future. Electric cars were until recently laughable. This is a serious contender for the way all cars should be. It has something around 42 moving parts. When I got back into my 75o and thought of all the components under the bonnet, simply to tame and maximise the output of some burning fuel, it did seem a very antiquated method of powering a vehicle. That huge screen is awesome as well, along with the digital dash. Cons - It gets very expensive very quickly when you add the options you want. Accelerating like that all the time kills the range. I would find it very difficult to drive for range knowing I had to give up acceleration. It also suffers from American build quality (sorry, American pals, but you really can’t build a great quality car). Remember my 750? Years ahead in quality, but as a flagship model of a luxury car maker, you would expect that. Also, great toys, but not all the toys. I’d really miss my BMW HUD - it is an awesome tool. And night vision, but that’s more of a gimmick as yet. Autopilot is great, but once the novelty wears off, it’s just a next gen adaptive cruise control. And with the road quality here in Scotland, I think it would really struggle to find a white line on many of our roads. One of my main reasons for looking at Tesla is that I can put it through my company much more tax efficiently than a petrol car, but that advantage is being reduced in future years - not Tesla’s fault, but cheers UK Government. I8: Pros - it’s a very pretty car, stunning in fact, and built like a BMW, not a flimsy plastic supercar. It gets 30 MPG when I drive it (750 gets 13). I know it claims 120 or so, but then that would be by driving it super-economically, and as per the P90, why would you want to? It’s also a good way for buying a £100,000 supercar through your company tax efficiently - for now. Cons - no luggage space, rear seats for legless midgets only, I got 5 miles on electric - although it does charge very quickly when in sport mode and you are gunning it, but I guess that’s a more expensive way to charge than plugging it in. It also has a very wide and very high sill, higher than the seat base, in fact. It takes some time to learn how to exit gracefully. Especially at 53 years old and many pies too many heavy. One effect that I hadn’t expected - you get your picture taken every time you stop at a set of lights. These are rare cars, and as such photographed a lot. It’s also impossible to go anywhere discretely. I was tagged on Facebook several times by people whop had simply passed me in the street or on the motorway. It’s also hugely complicated. I’d love to have been in the design meeting, which I can only imagine went something like this: BMW Boss - we need an electric car, it’s the future. Designer - yep, can do. But the research will be expensive Boss - No problem, we’ll make it fast and pretty, sell it at a premium Designer - wont the range be a problem? Boss - Stick a small engine in it to charge it Designer - but that won’t be powerful enough to suit your sports car looks Boss, then turbo, no two turbos. Designer - That will be laggy Boss, then add another electric motor to fill the lag of the turbos and boost the engine…. It’s very complex, and I don’t fancy finding a dealer that can sort it when it goes wrong. It also looks like the interior of any BMW, like my wifes 320. But it does have a heads up display, and a very very good one.

What separates German cars such as BMW and Mercedes from other luxury cars?

Prologue, I would like to first apologize for the enormity of my response. Even so, my answer barely touches upon what is so special about German luxury automakers and what makes their cars so extraordinary. So feel free to skip through, glance at the photos and maybe absorb a snippet here and there because I have properly dished out way too large a serving for one meal. Before I start deluging you with details and life experiences, I should point out that the major high-end German car brands have been synonymous with quality luxury for more than 50 years. In fact, they have been so dominant in their markets that they have long been used as benchmarks against which other car makers would compare their newest offerings. Some (maybe too much?) history I drove and did minor mechanical work on my two Mercedes E-classes for a stretch of about 10 years ending in about 2013, so I know a little bit about Mercedes luxury and quality. In my opinion, no other luxury car maker has combined luxury, sportiness and build quality consistently over a lengthy time period quite as well as Mercedes. Others may be sportier (see Porsche or Ferrari) or more luxurious (see Bentley and Rolls Royce), but none really executed the whole package as well as Mercedes did at their price points in my opinion. Probably the closet non-German comparable would be Jaguar in the UK, but Jaguar could never match the build quality of the German brands, although they may be getting closer over time. How I know what I know I learned a lot from a good friend of mine whose brother was a local Mercedes mechanic. It was my friend’s brother who convinced him to ditch his Binmer and switch to the three pointed star. My friend gifted me a huge 1986–1995 Mercedes E-Class Owners Bible which goes into extensive detail about the design and key features of all E-classes built over that time period. This thing is a monstrous 343 pages (8-1/2 by 11 inch) pages of Mercedes heaven. My friend is also a huge Mercedes enthusiast — he still owns and drives two Benz’s right now — an E430 4MATIC and a classic 380SL— and he has had two Mercedes E-classes and a BMW 7 series prior to that. He has done all his maintenance on all his Benz’s himself, including brakes, suspension and drive train. Love at first ride It is this friend who initially set me on my Mercedes journey about 15 years ago. I wanted a BMW M3 badly, so badly that it hurt. I thought Benz’s were old, slow and stodgy and only driven by people with a high level of pretentiousness. My opinion drastically changed when my friend bought a loaded 1992 300E that had been owned and extremely well maintained by a member of a local family which made its fortune in the oil business. He picked me up and began bombing around a few side streets near my home, tossing the brutish Benz around corners like it was a dog’s chew toy. Then he opened up its torquey, silky smooth inline six cylinder on the highway, leaving me swearing that it must have had a V8 under its hood. At that point I was smitten for good. My friend lost that sweet gas powered 300E when he opted to keep his 1987 Mercedes E300 diesel instead when he and his wife split up, opting for economy over performance. The diesel could achieve 35 mpg, and diesel was cheap at the time which made it a more affordable option then the not as frugal 300E which had to be fed premium fuel. The indelible journey! I started looking at similar used gas and diesel models and ended up buying the model pictured below. It was really love at first sight. The relatively rare combo of two tone grey-silver over top of a deep blue interior was absolutely stunning and was exactly what I was looking for. I don’t think I will ever love a car as much as this one in my lifetime, and I have owned a lot of cars in my time. Here is a picture of me (below) in my first Mercedes. It is a 1993 300E 4MATIC. It was bone stock other than the sport grill, euro headlights and chrome fender trim I installed and as well as a Pioneer NAV/stereo/DVD player inside. I loved that car and still do. I hope maybe one day to get another. This Benz was one of Mercedes’ W124 chassis models that it built from 1986–1995, most of them with its famed 3.0 litre inline six cylinder and eventually upgraded to 3.2 litres in the ‘93 (non-4MATIC) to ‘95 models. My 1993 model benefitted from minor exterior upgrades that set it apart from the ‘80’s E Classes and also came with interior upgrades, thick padded seats with a more eye pleasing design which were incredibly comfortable compared to the ribbed leather (Tex-Mex?) seats in the earlier models. These cars were absolute tanks and were the last of the really solidly built Mercedes. Here is a picture of my second Benz (below) shortly after I purchased it. A pretty much loaded 2000 E320 4MATIC with bi-Xenon, headlight washers and even a powered rear sun shade. I loved the interior and exterior esthetics of this model, but the overall build quality was not even close to that of the 1993 model. Then seats weren’t great and the doors had a tinny sound when they closed instead of a solid thud. But all criticism aside, this was a quintessential Mercedes sleeper car. It was deceptively quick for a heavy sedan powered by just a 3.2 litre V6 engine. It punched out a healthy 221 hp and 232 ft/lbs or torque to all four wheels via a five-speed adaptive transmission. Due to its aerodynamics and smart tranny, this car also had phenomenon gas mileage if driven easily, but would redline every shift at a blistering pace when the tranny was reset for more aggressive driving. The AWD drive and stability control always kept the car planted and heading in the right direction. In fact, these systems were so good that I couldn’t get it sideways even in wet, slippery snow no matter how hard I tried! Here is a 733i like the one my friend owned, his first German luxury car. The one below is a year newer than his but pretty much identical to the Bimmer he had, aside from the colour. It was quite a big beast. Not too flashy or sexy, but had a great inline six cylinder engine and amazing handling for a large, heavy beast. Take a peek underneath and you would see impossibly huge anti-sway bars for a large luxury sedan. This 380SL (below) is pretty much identical to my friends, right down to the colour of the paint and soft top: That car is built like a tank but drives and handles like a dream, in large part due to its long wheelbase and low centre of gravity. My friend says when this model was initially released and put through its paces, it was found that it could pull similars G’s on the skid pad as a Porsche 911. I haven’t verified this but my friend has told me this on a number of occasions. And this is my friend’s daily driver. A jet black E430 4MATIC. Mercedes builds smooth, torque-laden engines and this one is a prime example. It pumps out 275 hp and 295 ft/lbs of torque at just 3,000 RPM’s. It is an ultimate sleeper car! The first time my friend let me take this Benz for a spin, I got nauseous from the torque if I punched the gas pedal a little too enthusiastically. Albeit I had just returned from Disney and MGM so my stomach still wasn’t settled from all the wild coaster rides. This one is about as close to an E55 AMG as you can get without coughing up the wads of cash for the extra three letters on the right side of your trunk lid. These are the Bimmers I know, I know I had a friend who had a BMW Z3 for a few years. I got to wind it up one day on a clear side road and it was whisper quiet and perfectly planted at speed, even with the top down. As well, two of my wife’s relatives own newer BMW’s, one a hardtop convertible 3 series and the other a Z4. I have drive both of them. But what about Porsche? I haven’t had any seat time in a Porsche, but I knew a high school friend of my wife that had a relatively new Porsche 911 about 15 years ago. Loved the car but found even the short city drive to his office was punishing to his back. And my current mechanic switched from Mercedes to BMW and then to Porsche — he doesn’t envision ever returning to BMW or Mercedes. I did a little research for my wife’s aunt who wanted to buy a Boxster a few years ago. I went as far as speaking to Bruce, the new Mercedes mechanic who I knew from high school and had taken over from my friend‘s brother. I thought the Porsche might be expensive to maintain, but Bruce said the design made them fairly easy to maintain. In fact, he said Porsche’s were no more difficult to work on than Mercedes or BMW’s. It is important to note that Mercedes and BMW are quite different in their driving vision and target market and Porsche stands out from the other two makers even more based on its sports pedigree. So I think is important to look at the major players in the German kind of as a continuum from the cars more focused on luxury to those focused on sportiness. So I would put the four major German brands, based on the aforementioned continuum, in this order: Mercedes (heavily skewed towards luxury) Audi (good balance between sport and luxury) BMW (more sports than luxury) Porsche (sportiest but with some luxury) So if there is one common denominator that separates these German brands from other high-end luxury/sports cars, it is by and large their engineering. Some would suggest these earlier models were actually over engineered and I would find it hard to disagree. All these companies employ a laser-like focus on where they want to dominate in the market and then produce a car that is a close as possible to perfection for that market segment. As another poster mentioned, these cars are all engineered to be extremely stable at high speeds. And how do they accomplish this? A combination of complex suspension, good weight distribution and aerodynamics. How serious do these manufacturers take these vehicle characteristics? Well, for example, Mercedes not only makes the body of its cars aerodynamic, but the undercarriage of its vehicles as well. BMW, in its top selling 3 series models, would always strive for a perfect 50/50 weight balance for superior handling. Mercedes tried out 70 (yes, seventy!) different, highly sophisticated versions of rear suspension before deciding upon a final version for its 1986–1995 E-class models. Porsche took handling to the extreme with its air-cooled rear engine 911’s to capture a loyal following of enthusiasts. Audi dominated with its four-cylinder turbo engines and all-wheel drive long before turbos and AWD suddenly became cool in sports cars. So the five points above kind of lay out where each brand delineated over the previous four decades. Now, for some neat facts about Mercedes and BMW that my friend and I gleaned over the years: My friend’s first German car was a 1983 BMW 733i which had been accidented. He bought for $1,000 and replaced on front fender with an aftermarket fender and repaired other front end damage and repainted it. The car was close to 20 years old when he scrapped it and didn’t have a touch of rust on it except on the aftermarket fender he installed! The first time my friend took me out in his 733i, he was tossing it around corners like it was a go cart. He said that heavy beast of a car handled every bit as good as his 1976 Corvette! My friend recently replaced the engine in his 380SL, after damaging some internals while try to replace the timing change. Not ONE bolt was seized, not even the bolts on the exhaust manifolds! In fact, after breaking each bolt lose, he was able to turn them by hand to remove them. Turns out that Mercedes puts thread sealer on all its bolts so they don’t seize in place! You could check the oil in my 2000 E320 (W210 chassis) from the driver’s seat as long as the car was parked level. If the car wasn’t level enough when you tried this, you would get a dashboard warning indicating the action was not possible because the car was on an incline! Both my E Classes had a neat little trick which allowed you to open the hood 90 degrees instead of the customary 45 degree angle. Really handy for getting in tight spots and avoid head banging on the hood-mounted grill! Both my E Classes had power retractable rear head rests. Very handy if you needed a little extra vision while backing out of a parking spot. My 2000 E Class had a power rear sun shade which could be operated via a switch on the centre console. Great for blocking direct sunlight but I used it mostly to signal drivers to back off if they were right on my bumper while driving at night. It worked like a charm! The W124 chassis E Classes had the battery and other electronics wedged into a corner under the hood against the passenger side firewall for better weight distribution. They are under the back seat in the W210 E Classes and in the trunk of the late ‘70s to early ‘80s SL’s, also for better weight distribution. I drove my first E Class for around 7 years and never had to change the brake pads. I drove my 2000 E Class for three years and never had to touch the brakes on it either. My ‘93 Benz’s oil filter was at the top of the engine, not at the bottom where it is placed on most cars. One theory is it was designed that way to allow quick oil flow to the top of the engine during start ups. Epilogue I once again apologize for the length of this response. It really wasn’t expecting it to devolve I to a tale of epic proportions. Pretty much all the information herein came from the top of my head, with the occasional online search and peeks in the Mercedes bible to verify some fact and figures. All of the aforementioned German manufacturers over the past decade or so have begun producing vehicles outside of their niche product to compete with the niche products of other manufacturers. For the longest time, build quality, cutting-edge engineering and safety features were what separated Mercedes and BMW from other auto makers. Since the mid-90’s, however, both car companies really invested heavily in new technology and the build quality of their cars started to slide. For a long time, the only way you could get cutting edge safety like ABS, traction control and convenience features like headlight washers and distronic (adaptive) cruise control was by buying a German luxury car. But the edge that Germans once held is diminishing with the rapid progression of technology which is making cars smarter and smarter every generation. Advanced automotive technology is becoming ubiquitous. Other car makers are adopting cutting-edge technology more rapidly than they had in latter part of the last millennium. This means that 20 year cushion the Germans had before their new tech was adopted by other automakers has shrunk quite rapidly in recent years. There isn’t a whole lot of daylight left and with electric vehicles increasing in popularity it remains to be seen if the Teutonic masters can retain their edge into auto engineering or they will become relics of the past, much like the horse and carriage at the turn of the 20th century. I hope you have found this at least somewhat informative, if not mildly entertaining and happy motoring to you all! EDIT: I have fixed numerous typos and grammatical errors that were in my original response. I will never type this long of a Quora response on an iPhone again! My sincere apologies to those who had to stumble through the original.

What are the greatest electrical engineering marvels?

Three Gorges Dam Three Gorges DamSituated in China, the Three Gorges Dam on River Yangtze is used for power generation, power control and navigation purposes. Opened in 2008, this hydroelectric dam is the World's largest power station in terms of its installed capacity - 22,500 MW (mega-watts). It became fully functional on July 4, 2012, except for the ship lift which was expected to be operational by 2015. The ship lift is a kind of elevator for vessels weighing up to 3,000 tons. Three Gorges Dam is also the second largest hydroelectric facility in annual energy generation. It is an example of historical engineering with state-of-the-art large turbines. Each main water turbine has a capacity of 700 MW and weigh about 6,000 tonnes each. The dam uses 4,63,000 tonnes of steel (enough to build as many as 63 Eiffel Towers). Did you know that upon completion, the Three Gorges Dam changed the speed of rotation of the Earth? It holds about 39 trillion kilograms of water 175 metres above sea level. NASA calculated that since the dam has been built, each day is 0.6 microseconds slower than before. It might not make much difference to us but it is still a mind-boggling fact.s Electrical engineers have not stopped planning bigger miracles in the field of Power Systems Engineering. The proposed Grand Inga Dam in Congo is expected to have a capacity of 39,000 MW (about twice the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam). Penzhin Tidal Power Plant in Russia is another proposal with an installed capacity of 87 GW. AVATAR AVATARAVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for Transatmospheric Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation) is manned single-stage reusable spaceplane (or hyperplane) which will be able to make horizontal takeoff and landing. It is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and is expected to be a model for low-cost military and commercial satellite space launches, and space tourism. The first phase of scaled-down tests for AVATAR is planned for 2015 while the first manned AVATAR flight is planned for 2025. The challenge for electrical engineers working on a space shuttle is to make sure that all its electrical systems keep operating for about two decades without any maintenance in the hostile environment of space. Key electrical engineering systems on board a satellite include power supply (based on solar energy), its intelligence (located in its processor and memory systems), complex control system (that includes sensors and actuators), telecommunication system (to exchange commands and signals with the ground), and a navigation system. AVATAR is expected to be a ground-breaking piece of work for electrical engineers. Electric Cars Electric CarsAn electric car is a light-weight urban car which runs using one or more electric motors, which uses electrical energy stored in batteries. It gives instant torque and smooth acceleration. BMW i3, launched in 2014, has been certified by the EPA as the most fuel-efficient vehicle. The i3 REx has a combined fuel economy of 29 kW-hrs per 100 miles. BMW i3 is the first zero-emission mass-produced vehicle which uses electric powertrain. It has won 2 World Car of the Year Awards this year, which include 2014 World Green Car of the Year, and 2014 World Car Design of the Year. It also won an iF Product Design Gold Award and 2 of the first UK Car of the Year Awards, which include UK Car of the Year 2014, and Best Super-mini of 2014. World’s Smallest Microchip that You Can Swallow World’s Smallest Microchip that You Can SwallowKinetis KI02 is the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip – a Microelectronics wonder. Manufactured by Freescale Semiconductors, it measures just 2 x 2 x 0.5 millimeters (about as large as two ants side-by-side). This microchip is a full microcontroller unit in itself with a 4KB RAM, 32KB flash memory, a 32-bit 48 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, a low-power UART and a 12-bit analog to digital converter. A complete tiny computer that can be swallowed! This microchip is a breakthrough in itself – especially for modern medicine. There are several other uses proposed for Kinetis KI02. MCU in shoes can let you know how many steps you have walked a day while plumbing MCU can let you know instantly about a leaking pipe – all through a watch or may be an iPhone app (just like the Tile tracker for your car keys and other important items that you frequently misplace). Adaptive Cruise Control Adaptive Cruise ControlCars equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC) technology are intelligent enough to slow down and speed up automatically to keep up with the car in front of you – preventing collisions. ACC allows drivers to set a maximum speed. A radar sensor watches the traffic ahead of the car, locks on to the car ahead in the lane, and drivers can set the car to stay behind by a particular period of time (2,3 or 4 seconds) or particular distance. Often, adaptive cruise control is paired with a pre-crash system that issues alerts and starts braking whenever it senses danger ahead. Ideal for stop-and-go traffic and rush-hour commuting, the ACC systems are available from $2,500 to as low as just $500. They typically use radars at a frequency band different than police radars (to avoid triggering radar detectors). Full-range Adaptive Cruise Control systems use two radars – one that sees up to 100 feet and other that sees up to 600 feet. However, newer ones are able to use a single radar system. A much-coveted safe driving feature, cars with autonomous cruise control are ideal for long trips. Premium car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Ford, Honda and Hyundai are selling cars with ACC systems. Till now, ACC systems do not use satellite support, roadside infrastructure or cooperative support from other vehicles. It is mostly based on on-board sensors only - an example of Control Engineering at its best. CuBox-i CuBox-iCuBox-i, the world’s smallest computer is one of the most powerful mini-computer that can replace a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop, and possibly even streaming devices like an Apple TV or Roku. Made by SolidRun, these energy-efficient low-cost tiny computers are sleek and elegant. It has jam-packet ports panel, a subtle logo and is just 2-inch long, thick and high. Offering industry’s Price Power Performance Ratio (P3R), CuBox-i price starts at just $45. CuBox-i has solo, dual or quad i.MX6 Cortex A9 ARM processors (up to 1.2GHz each), up to 2 GB DDR-3 RAM, ARM v7 instruction set including NEON extension support, HDMI 1080p output, Infra-red receiver and transmitter, microSD for operating system storage etc. Epitome of simplicity, CuBox-i devices are made of highest quality materials and use an open source software platform. 3-D Memory 3-D MemoryChipmakers such as Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix readily lapped up the 3D revolution. 3D memories are of two types – NAND flash memory type which is non-volatile and holds on to information even when it is powered down, and Hybrid Memory Cube which stacks DRAM and adds layer of logic to boost speed. In NAND, memory designers layer cells straight to alleviate scaling issues and boost density. It is made with a 30- to 40-nanometer process, has bigger cells and more electrons. In HMC, focus is not on storage of memory but in dynamic RAM. It is faster than the ordinary DRAM chip and off-loads most of the processing responsibility to the high-speed logic chip stack atop DRAM, connected using thousands of copper wires called through-silicon vias (TSVs). Ivanpah Solar Thermal Power Plant Ivanpah Solar Thermal Power PlantIvanpah Solar Electric Generating System situated in the Mojave Desert in California is the World’s largest solar power plant. An engineering marvel in itself, Ivanpah uses over 3,00,000 mirrors (heliostats) to reflect heat and light from the Sun onto boilers atop three of the towers here. Each of these towers is 150 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. As water in the towers gets heated, steam is created and moves turbines. This produces enough clean and green electricity to power up 1,40,000 homes (about 392 megawatts). From a distance, mirrors look like a lake in the middle of a desert which is about four times larger than the Central Park in the New York City. It can be seen from the International Space Station. Solar thermal projects like Ivanpah are said to be more suited for India as we have plentiful of land and Sun while natural gas is as abundant as in the United States. Optical Link Electronic Engineering Professor Jelena Vuckovic of Stanford University has recently led a research in which a team of engineers designed and built a prism-like device that can split a beam of light into different colours and bend it to right angles. Described as 'Optical Link', this tiny silicon slice has a bar code like pattern etched on it. When a beam of light shines at the link, light of two different wavelengths (colours) split off at right angles forming a T-shape. Eventually, this could be a big step towards developing computer systems that use Optics (Light) rather than Electricity (Wires) to carry data. Professor Vuckovic claims that light can carry more data than a wire and it takes less energy to transmit photons than electrons. Spacecraft Radar Mappers Spacecraft Radar MappersMagellan - the Venus Radar Mapper and Cassini - the Titan Radar Mapper are some of the shining examples of Electrical Engineering marvels. Though an aging man-made satellite, Magellan spacecraft again made new when it was pulled from the elliptical orbit 5,285 miles above the Venus to just 105 miles above Venus with the help of controllers. The Cassini Titan Radar Mapper is another high-tech Imaging achievement that can fire up several Electrical Engineers for a long time to come. Synthetic Aperture Radar images of Titan's surface obtained with the help of Cassini is of great interest to planetary geological processes. But to engineers, it is the radar mapper itself which is of major interest. Magellan has two broad square solar panels, each measuring 2.5 meters across. They degraded gradually during the mission due to extreme and frequent temperature changes. The spacecraft was equipped with twin 30 amp-hour, 26-cell, nickel-cadmium batteries that got recharged whenever they received direct sunlight.Cassini is the largest and most complex interplanetary spacecraft which is unmanned (include an orbiter and a probe). It was powered by 32.7 kg plutonium-238 batteries whose radioactivity produced electricity. Its instruments included a synthetic aperture radar mapper, an infrared mapping spectrometer, a charge-coupled device imaging system, a plasma spectrometer, a magnetometer and several other sophisticated devices.

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