A few of you doubt me?!!


I have gotten a number of comments about the science of my stories. Since I spent most of my life in hard core R&D, science is my life and the way I talk. To read my stories, you have to be willing to either accept that the science behind it is fact or go look it up yourself. You will quickly find that there is damn little, if any fiction, in my stories. I take exception to people that say the science is wrong so I’m going to self analyze one of the stories that I have gotten the most questions about.


In the story about the accidental weapon discovery, I described a C-130 with a multi-bladed prop – See US Patent 4171183 – . Also see http://usmilnet.com/smf/index.php?topic=9941.15 and http://www.edwards.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123089573. As I said in the story the long and telescoping blade is still classified so there are no public pictures of it.


The ATL (airborne tactical laser) program being run out of the ACTD program by the DUSD(AS&C), an office within OSD. The ACTD program is where the original project was started in cooperation with the Naval Research Lab (NRL). The original objective was to improve the speed and range of long distance transport by aircraft. It followed some research that showed that if the variable pitch of prop were extended outward from the hub further, then the efficiency would improve.


Since a prop is a lifting wing that lifts horizontally, it must maintain a constant angle of attack (AoA) over the entire length of the blade. AoA is the angle between the camber line of the wing and the axis of the flow of air over the blade. Since the relative speed of the prop changes as a function of distance from the hub, the blade must twist or pitch more as you move further out the blade. This was the essential secret that the Wright Brothers discovered in 1902 and is the basic difference between a screw propeller and a wing propeller.

What was discovered in the development of vertical wind turbines is that blades as long as 50 feet but as thin as 5 inches could be made to be more efficient and with higher torque than conventional blades. In wind power, the added torque allows you to turn a larger generator but this is due to the wind passing over the blade making it spin. But in an aircraft the engines would be spinning the blade to make it take a bigger (more efficient) bite out of the air, this would mean being able to create more thrust or it might be able to operate at a higher altitude (in thinner air). Do a Google search for “Vertical Wind Turbine”. You’ll see designs like the WindSpire that is 30 feet tall with blades less than 8 inches wide that is so efficient that it produces 2000 kilowatts and can operate in 8 MPH winds and it can handle 100 MPH gusts.


The guys at NRL took that and reversed it into an efficient propeller design for the C-130 in the hopes that it would give a similar improved performance. The carbon-fiber telescoping blade was just a natural extension of that thinking.


As to the laser beam creating a wide range of frequencies, that is also easy to explain. The Doppler Effect says that an increase in wavelength is received when a source of electromagnetic radiation is moving away from the observer and a decrease in wavelength is received when a source of electromagnetic radiation is moving toward from the observer. This is the basis for the Red Shift (redshift) used by astronomers to examine the movement of starts. It is the reason that a train has a rising pitch whistle as it coming toward you and a decreasing pitch sound as it passes and goes away from you. This is basic high school physics.


As the laser beam was rotated, any observer in a lateral position to the aircraft would see one part of the rotating beam rotating toward them (for example, the part above the prop hub) and another part rotating away from them (in this example, the part below the prop hub). The bottom part would have a redshift to its visible light because it is moving away from the observer. The part of the prop that is moving the slowest, near the hub, would have the least redshift but as the observer looked at the light coming from the laser beam further out on the prop, the speed would increase and the redshift would be greater until the Doppler shift would be so great that the light would shift to a frequency below the visible light spectrum. This would move the light energy into the infrared area but as the light traveled faster and faster, it would shift lower and lower. Since the laser beam extended for miles and the beam was traveling at speeds from a few hundred MPH to thousands of mils per second, the red shift along the beam path constantly moved down the electromagnetic spectrum passed radar, TV, short wave radio and down into the ELF range.


That portion of the prop above the hub was doing the same thing but it was moving toward the observer in the lateral position and so it was giving a blue shift – toward higher frequencies. As the light frequencies compressed into the blue and ultraviolet range, it became invisible to the naked eye but it still was emitting energy at higher and higher frequencies – moving into X-rays and gamma rays at speeds toward the end of the beam.


The end result of this red and blue shift of the light from the laser beam is that there was a cone of electromagnetic radiation emanating from the hub of each of the two engines (on the C-130) or the one engine on the retrofitted 707. This cone radiated out from the hub with a continuously changing frequency to the electromagnetic emissions as the cone widens out behind the aircraft. The intensity of the emissions is directly proportional to the power of the laser and the speed of the props so the highest and lowest frequencies were the most intense. These also happened to be the most destructive.


This is just one story that is firmly based in real and actual science. You have to be the judge if it is true or not but I defy you to find any real flaw in the logic or science. As with all of my stories, I don’t talk about space cadet and tin foil hat stuff. I have 40 years of hard core R&D experience along with four degrees in math, computer modeling, physics and engineering so I’m not your usual science writer but whether it is science fiction or not is up to you to decide. Just don’t make that decision because you don’t believe or understand the science – that is the part that should not be questioned. If you doubt any of it, I encourage you to look it up. It will educate you and allow me to get these very important ideas across to people.

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