Tag Archives: Airliner

SXSW

The world isn’t flying very much at the moment. With countries locked down due to Coronavirus many airlines have had to ground their entire fleets, with rows of parked airliners visible from – ironically – the air at airports globally.

Mini-figures seem unaffected however, as this marvellous Southwest Boeing 737-800 by Flickr’s BigPlanes is packed! Southwest are America’s busiest domestic carrier and use a fleet of only 737s. The airline has over seven-hundred, making it the world’s largest 737 fleet, and BigPlanes has recreated one their hundreds of aircraft with a complete mini-figure scale interior and a kinda-brick-built livery (a few decals have helped) that’s beautifully accurate.

Head south via BigPlanes ‘Southwest Boeing 737-800’ album at the link above.

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Supersonic Bricks

TLCB bold statement of the weekend; the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde is the greatest aircraft ever made. And simultaneously one of the worst…

Concorde is one of only two airliners ever to fly supersonic (the other of which was basically a Soviet copy), with a top speed of over 1,300mph. That’s twice the speed of sound, and it enabled passengers to travel from New York to London in three hours, meaning that check-in probably took longer than the transatlantic flight.

This remarkable feat was enabled by Concorde’s incredible delta wing design and the four Rolls Royce Olympus engines engines that took the plane to around 60,000ft, an altitude 50% higher than other commercial airliners.

However despite this height the aircraft was spectacularly loud, and not just because of its engines. A sonic boom – caused by the pressure wave that builds up around an object travelling above the speed of sound – is not a one-off ‘bang’, it’s continuous, travelling with the object. This meant that Concorde was only allowed to travel at supersonic speeds over water, and thus almost all of the world’s airports refused to take it.

With costs spiralling to over £1 billion (in the 1970s!), the British and French governments effectively bought the programme, with each country’s national carrier (British Airways and Air France) becoming the only operators to fly the plane. From an original sales expectation in the low hundreds, just fourteen aircraft were built (plus six test units), entering service between Europe and America.

With Concorde only able to take around 100 passengers at a time, tickets were enormously expensive – costing dozens of times more than a conventional transatlantic flight. However in the booming 1980s both operators were finally able to turn a profit, as Concorde’s wealthy passengers were happy to pay the huge price for the speed and status offered by a supersonic transatlantic flight.

It couldn’t last forever though, and with Concorde ageing, fuel prices increasing, and alternative flights becoming more luxurious and much cheaper on conventional aircraft, the business case for supersonic passenger flights became less viable. A fatal accident in 2000 (Concorde’s only such loss in three decades of flying) and the global demand slump after the September 11th attacks led to the aircraft retiring in 2003, and with it the era of supersonic transatlantic flight was over.

This spectacular replica of the world’s most iconic airliner is the work of BigPlanes of Flickr, whose incredible recreation of Air Force One appeared here at the start of the year. With a fully fitted mini-figure interior including kitchen, cockpit, and bathrooms, a working ‘droop nose’ (which allowed the pilots to see the runway as the plane approached), functioning landing gear, afterburners, and a wonderful brick-built classic British Airways livery, BigPlanes’ Concorde is one of the finest Lego aircraft that we have ever featured.

It’s a fitting tribute to one of the most ambitious engineering masterpieces of modern times, and there’s more to see of his phenomenal model at his photostream. Click the link above to head out over the Atlantic Ocean and go supersonic.

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DC-3C

Nope, not an annoying Star Wars droid (we’re not Bricknerd), but this gorgeous classic Douglas DC-3C airliner, recreated beautifully by previous bloggee Luis Pena. Built for display at Chile’s Air and Space International Fair alongside his previously featured models, Luis’ creation captures LAN-Chile’s iconic 1940s airliners – that were converted from military transports after the Second Wold War – in wonderful detail. If you’re one of our Chilean readers you can see Luis’ Douglas DC-3C along with his other historic Lego aircraft at FIDEA Santiago, and if not you can see all the imagery at his Flickr album by clicking here.

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Constellation

This gorgeous Lockheed Constellation airliner was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr today. Built by the aptly-named BigPlanes it’s a fully fitted mini-figure scale replica of the iconic triple-tailed aircraft, complete with a highly detailed cabin including cockpit, toilets and even a kitchen!

The Constellation first flew in the early 1940s and was produced until 1958, by which point jets were quickly replacing piston engined aircraft. The ‘Connie’s four piston engines were eighteen-cylinders each, and allowed the plane to fly at over 375mph (faster than a Mitsubishi Zero fighter!) and for 3,500 miles.

The Constellation was also the first mainstream aircraft to feature a pressurised cabin, and saw deployment by both the military and civilian airlines with carriers including Air France, Pan-Am, and – as shown here – Trans World Airlines.

Still in limited service today we think the Constellation is one of the most beautiful airliners of all time, and BigPlanes’ Lego recreation certainly does it justice. Head over to his photostream via the link above check out more images of his spectacular model including some wonderful interior shots.

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