Rafale C

Rafale C. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

For a few weeks I’ll be continuing with photos from the Malta International Airshow, held in early autumn this year. I’m sure that for many aircraft enthusiasts and airshow visitors, the highlights tend to be the jet fighters. While their planned function is at best a sobering reality, there can be no doubt about the engineering ingenuity involved in their design and production. I recall reading (or being told, not quite sure which), when I was studying engineering, how modern fighter aircraft is designed with an effectively unstable (or close to the limit of stability) operating point. And that it is only with the marvel of modern control systems that these things can be operated at all. It must remain a rather sad reflection on the human condition that some of our greatest advances happened for belligerent reasons.

In any case, today’s photo shows the French Air Force‘s Dassault Rafale C, with the glow from its twin engines showing. I must admit that I learned to distinguish the various aircraft retrospectively, following a lengthy (and fun) conversation with Noel, a former PhD student and now post-doc working on one of the projects I’m involved in. Turns out he’s quite the aircraft aficionado.

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