Rode A Paunchy Plane

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Rode a funny plane to Visby: an ATR 72-500. It’s a 1997 version of a French 1988 design with two propellers whose six blades curve rearwards. The rear undercarriage sits in bulky pods on the fuselage, right below the wings. Makes the plane look like it’s got a beer gut. And its cargo bay is right behind the cockpit! Pleasant ride though.

Comments

  1. #1 Birger Johansson
    September 12, 2011

    The swept propeller blades are certainly intended to delay shock wave formation at the tips during high-speed flight, as otherwise the energy goes into creating tiny sonic booms instead of speeding up the plane.
    The rest is guesswork, but I think manufacturing a cheap tubular fuselage without cutouts fot the landing gear was an optimal compromise, as the pods will not cause undue drag during normal cruise speeds.
    Also notice the wing does not enter the tubular fuselage but is perched above it.
    Every aircraft design is a compromise between conflicting demands (conflicts optimised by computer models) and that is why many modern aircraft look boxy or generally odd, compared to the more streamlined (and aestetically pleasing) propeller aircraft made during the fifties.

    Maybe some of you still travel to digs with the venerable De Havilland Otter? It has more character and apparently lasts forever.

  2. #2 nick
    September 12, 2011

    Well you got there and back in one piece so the pilot can’t have been drink flying … I’m sure it’s only BA pilots who hit the drinks cabinet before flying.