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A blast from the (Aerospace) past...

A blast from the (Aerospace) past...
B-17 Flying FortressTwo exciting things happened this week (exciting to those of us who have a love for old aircraft). A B-17 flew directly over my house on Tuesday night! I stood in my front yard and marveled at the sight and listened to that wonderful roar of the couldn't get any better. But it did. On Wednesday afternoon, a B-24 flew over our office building. We're located on the top floor of a building situated on top of a hill. I could watch the bomber until my eyes were simply too strained to follow it. To see the planes on the ground is one thing, but to see them in the air is fantastic! The aircraft were part of a Wings of Freedom tour that flies the historic planes into local airfields. In addition to the B-17 and the B-24, a P-51 Mustang was also part of the tour. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see that one in flight. But trust me, I kept looking for it!

Enter a little factoid I discovered when doing some web searches on the planes (you know, because I just had to see more). Did you know the P-51 was designed and built AND airborne in 117 days. (Thanks to Wikipedia for that info.) 117 days! 117 days? Can you imagine doing that today? Think you could? Oh, and by the way, you wouldn't be able to use CAD to create your drawings. And forget about using 3D CAD models.

So that brings me to this thought. Even though today's aircraft are so much more complicated, why does it take so long to get these state of the art programs into production? Especially when so many sophisticated tools exist and are available to the engineers of today. Could it be the tools are actually complicating the process? Do the aerospace OEMs need simpler and more flexible tools?

What do you think?