Soundings

Soundings

Bud Evans reunites with a piece of his F-104. (Laura Mowry/Edwards AFB)
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The Shuttles Retire

Last Call for a LEGO Shuttle

It’s not like LEGO never put out a space shuttle before. The 1996 LEGO Technic 8480 fiber optic model (1,366 pieces, $158) was a hit, as was the 2003 Discovery 7470, which commemorated the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope (826 pieces, $380 including telescope). But the brand-new Shuttle Adventure (1,204 pieces) seems like a bargain at a mere $100. It includes two astronauts and a service crew member and can separate from the launch pad; the external tank and solid rocket boosters also separate. Deploy the satellite and unfurl the antenna and solar cell panels. Then disassemble it, put the pieces back in the box, and sell the kit on eBay in 2030.

 

Esoterica

“Want to know how to ditch a B-29?” asks Nick Sparks, a partner in Periscope Film LLC in Los Angeles. “Or how to eject from a B-47? Or prepare to land the X-15?” Sparks’ company, which has produced a documentary about Regulus missile submarines, sells flight manuals for dozens of military aircraft, from V-1 Buzz Bomb Manual to MiG-29 Fulcrum Pilot’s Flight Operating Manual.

The first manual Sparks acquired, which he used to show to guests, was for the YB-49 Flying Wing: “Who knew that the Air Force used cartoons featuring beautiful damsels to train crews to fly a nuclear bomber?” Though most of the manuals were long ago declassified, he has at times invoked the Freedom of Information Act, as he did to obtain the manual for the XB-70. His best seller? The P-51 Mustang Pilot’s Flight Operating Manual at $16.95. Visit periscopefilm.com.

 

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