Archive for April 2nd, 2008

Mad about Monster Trucks??? so here they go!!!

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: Auto |

A monster truck and is an automobile, typically styled after pickup trucks, modified or purposely built with extremely large wheelssuspension. They are used for competition and popular Sports Entertainment and in some cases they are featured alongside Motocross races, mud bogging, tractor pulls and car-eating robots.

Typically, a monster truck show involves the truck crushing smaller vehicles beneath its huge tires. These trucks can run up and over most man-made barriers, so they are equipped with remote shut-off switches, called the Remote Ignition Interuptor (RII), to help prevent an accident if the driver loses
control at any time. At some events, only one truck is on the course at a time, while most feature two drivers racing each other on symmetrical tracks, with the losing driver eliminated in single-elimination tournament fashion.

In recent years, many monster truck competitions have ended with a “freestyle” event. Somewhat akin to figure skating with giant trucks, drivers are free to select their own course around the track and its obstacles. Drivers will often try a ‘Donut’, also called a Cyclone, which involves spinning the truck in a high speed circle, and maybe even deliberately rolling the truck over. Additional items for the drivers to crush – usually including a motor home – are frequently placed on the track specifically for the freestyle event.

Truck design

A modern monster truck is more of a scaled up, four wheel drive dune buggy. As such, they generally aren’t actual “trucks” and only maintain their name due to the common style of fiberglass bodies used on the vehicles. Trucks now have custom built tubular chassis, with four-link suspensions to provide up to four feet of travel. Mounted just behind the driver on most trucks are the engines, which are typically supercharged, run on methanol, and have displacement up to 575 cubic inches. Axles are typically out of either heavy-duty military trucks or road vehicles like school buses, and are modified to have a planetary gear reduction at the hub to help turn the tires. All trucks have hydraulic steering in both the front and the rear (four wheel steering), with the front wheels controlled by the steering wheel and the rear wheels by a toggle switch. The tires are typically “Terra” tires used on fertilizer spreaders, and have measurements of 66″x43″x25″. Most trucks utilize a modified and/or custom designed automatic transmission, such as a Turbo 400, Powerglide, Ford C6 transmission, or a Powerflite 727. A limited number of trucks utilize a Lenco transmission, which traces its roots to drag racing. Most of the automatic transmissions are heavily modified with transbrakes, manual valve bodies, and heavy duty gear sets. Trucks running a Lenco use a centrifugal clutch as opposed to a torque converter, which are used in automatic transmissions. Lenco transmissions are usually found in two-speed or three speed configurations, and are commonly shifted using compressed CO2.

The trucks have many safety features, several required just to run in the small arenas that the trucks frequent. The aforementioned RII is one of three kill switches on each truck, the other two being one within the driver’s reach in the cab, and another at the rear of the truck so that all electrical power may be shut off in the event of a rollover. Many trucks are constructed with the driver sitting in the center of the cab for visibility. Most cabs are shielded with Lexan (or comparable polycarbonate), which not only protects the driver from track debris, but also allows for increased visibility. Drivers are required to wear firesuits, safety harnesses, helmets, and head and neck restraints. Most moving parts on the truck are also shielded, and high pressure components have restraining straps, both in case of an explosion.

Popularity

Monster trucks are also often portrayed as being a form of motorized professional wrestling. Commonly cited evidence is the use of names for the trucks, rather than numbers and sponsors, and often accusations of rigged races, as some trucks (including Bigfoot and Grave Digger) are seen as winning more often in order to please the crowd. However, promoters have widely denied rigging races, and many shows often feature evidence to the contrary when the unpredictable happens. Perhaps more than the redneck stereotype, the pro-wrestling stereotype is hated among drivers and teams, who feel they are regarded with disrespect despite their work to compete at a high level. Likewise, many fans would like to see the sport treated by the media as NASCAR is currently. However, as monster truck events do feature a considerably more show-like atmosphere than most other motorsports, competitions are often considered a form of “sports entertainment”.

The advertising of monster truck events has also become a part of popular culture. A familiar 1980s series of radio commercials for various monster truck races featured a screaming announcer (most famously, Larry “Supermouth” Huffman), blaring rock background music, and heavy use of reverb. These spots began with “Sunday!!! Sunday!!! Sunday!!!”, and ended with an emphatic “BE THERE!!!!!!”. Although commonly associated with monster trucks, the ads were conceived in the 1960s for funny car match races at drag strips. Chicago-area drag racing promoter Jan Gabriel, who produced three television specials about monster trucks in 1985 and 1986, is generally credited as coining the Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! catchphrase. As some promoters of those events also became promoters for monster truck events, the ads were retooled to fit the monster trucks. The ads have been frequently parodied in other advertisements.

Slideshow:

Click on the slide show and open in a new window to download a high resolution image.

Further reading:

www.monstertrucks.net
monster truck racing
Exotic Monster truck picture collection
Bigfoot
Monster Truck Challenge

Australian fan site

Howstuffworks link

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The Most Controversial AREA-51

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: People and Places, Science and Technology |

Every weekday morning, at least 500 people arrive at the guarded terminal owned by EG&G on the northwest side of McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here they board one of a small fleet of unmarked Boeing 737-200s. Using three digit numbers prefixed by the word “Janet” as their callsigns, the 737s fly off North every half hour.

Their destination is Groom Lake, also known as Area 51, an installation so secret, its existence is denied by the government agencies and contractors that have connections there. By late 1955, the facility had been completed for flight testing of Lockheed’s U-2 spyplane. Since that time, Groom Lake has undergone vast expansion, catering to the needs of testing the most advanced aircraft projects in the world. Forty-four years after it was created, Groom Lake has hosted flight testing of the aforementioned Lockheed U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 stealth fighter, Northrop’s B-2 stealth bomber, the mysterious Aurora Project, and possibly even alien spacecraft.

Tony LeVier, Lockheed’s test pilot assigned to test-fly the U-2 spyplane, claims the credit for recognizing Groom Dry Lake as a suitable test site. The CIA gave U-2 designer Kelly Johnson the task of choosing and building a secure test site. In March 1955, Johnson sent LeVier and Skunk Works foreman Dorsey Kammerer to visit potential test sites in the deserts of southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. After two weeks, LeVier presented Johnson with his impressions, and Johnson chose Groom Lake.

The Groom Lake facility has been known by many names since its construction. Kelly Johnson named the place “Paradise Ranch”. When his flight test team arrived in July 1955, they simply called it “The Ranch”. In fact, the secret base was formally named Watertown Strip, after the town in upstate New York where CIA director Allen Dulles was born. In June 1958, it was officially designated Area 51 by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The adjacent AEC proving grounds became known as the Nevada Test Site and divided into such numbered areas. The base is now known worldwide as “Area 51” (thanks to numerous mentions in Hollywood shows and movies), though officially this designation was dropped in the 1970s.

By 1970, the USAF Systems Command took over the operation of Groom Lake. At this time, the U-2 and A-12/SR-71 spyplanes had both been tested and in service on reconnaissance missions. Unmanned high-speed drones were also being tested, including the Model 147 Lightning Bug, Model 154 Firefly, and D-21 Tagboard. In 1967, the United States acquired its first Soviet MiG-21 and the US efforts to acquire Soviet weapons technology expanded.

In 1975, the Red Flag series of realistic air warfare exercises started at Nellis AFB, using large portions of the ranges surrounding Groom Lake. The box of airspace surrounding Groom Lake was strictly off-limits to Red Flag aircrews. It became known as “Red Square” at this time, but later acquired the semi-official title of “Dreamland” as a series of new exotic aerospace projects evolved in the late 1970s. These included the Have Blue and Tacit Blue stealth technology demonstrators. The testing of these aircraft brought extreme security measures at Groom Lake.

The Groom Lake base was considerably expanded in the 1980s. The main runway (14/32) was extended to the south, and then a huge northernly extension built out onto Groom Dry Lake, today having a length of 27,000 feet. A smaller parallel runway was built in the early 1990s. Semi-recessed “scoot and hide” shelters were built on the main taxiway so that secret aircraft could be more easily hidden from spying satellites overhead. New radars, satellite telemetry and other communications facilities were installed, and extra warehouse and assembly areas constructed. The base housing area was completely rebuilt, accomodating up to 2,000 people, and an extensive recreational facility provided. Today, Groom Lake seems to be administered by Detachment 3 of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB

extracted from abovetopsecret

click here for more–>>area

Additional Info:

Wikipedia link–> click
Ufomind
Image collection
Crystal links
Aliens On Earth
How Area51 works??

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