Fighter Planes

Fighter planes first caught my interest when I read a book about fictional fighter pilots during the world wars. I will give you a synopsis of the book later.

Fighter Planes

History

Models & Use Throughout Wars

Planes have been an important part of our history ever since the first propeller powered plane, created by the Wright Brothers came into existence in 1903.

As many other scientific discoveries, the airplane too was quickly co-opted for warfare.

Fighter aircraft were first used, in the Italo-Turkish war, in Libya, on October 23rd. The flight was a one-hour long, reconnaissance mission conducted by the Italians. This flight was over enemy posts in Libya. A reconnaissance mission is a mission for gathering information, a spy mission if used to find out about one’s enemy.

Ever since that time more and more advanced fighter planes have been tested all over the world.

One year after the Italo-Turkish war ended in 1913, World War 1 started. During World War 1 the Sopwith Camel F-1 had the most kills to it’s name. It was a British plane. The most famous German plane at the time, was the single-seater Fokker Eindecker.

During World War 2, the most famous British plane was the Supermarine Spitfire. For Germany it was the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and 10. And for America it was the P-51 D-1s.

During the 2nd World War, there were various types of fighters, including the lightweight fighters, the heavy bombers, light bombers which had some bombing capability but were mainly fighters, and the medium bombers which were mainly bombers but had more fighting ability than the heavy bombers. Junkers Jus and the Blackburn Stukas are examples of such bombers.

Heavy bombers were slow and nearly defenseless, so when completing operations they were only sent with a fleet of fighters. These bombers were mainly used for large scale bombing, like the time when the Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Inspite of their mass production during the World Wars, nowadays the nuclear powered guided missiles that can be equipped on light-weight and speedy fighter jets, have mostly replaced them.

Air Operations

Battle Of Britain

The Battle of Britain was a Nazi bombing campaign against the United Kingdom. The RAF (Royal Air Force), the FAA (Fleet Air Arm) and the Royal Navy fought to prevent the Luftwaffe which is the German Air force, from gaining air superiority. Air superiority implies an advantage over enemies when it comes to air missions.

The Luftwaffewas hoping that after they gained air superiority the United Kingdom would agree to a peace treaty favouring the Axis powers. During the battle, there were many ground, air and navy operations, but we will focus on the air operations only.

During the Battle Of Britain, The Blitz, an operation conducted by the Germans, was their main attempt, to gain air supremacy over the English channel. Air supremacy is the highest degree of air superiority.

This attempt to gain air superiority failed and the Luftwaffe lost a lot of aircraft.

The Blitz mostly damaged London although the bombing was conducted in the whole of the country. It is not clear how long The Blitz lasted but most sources (?) agree that it started on 7th September 1940.

The main reason the Germans wanted air supremacy was to conduct Operation Sea Lion. To gain air superiority the Luftwaffe held major training programs, made new specialized weapons and even modified transport ships.

On 16th July 1940, Adolf Hitler announced the conditions for Operation Sea Lion. They were:

  • The RAF should be ‘beaten down’ so badly that they cannot make an aggressive move.
  • British mines were to be swept away and German mines were to block both sides of the Strait of Dover.
  • The costal zone between occupied France and England must be bombed by heavy artillery.
  • The British squadrons must be damaged or destroyed by torpedoes.

Even though Hitler announced the Battle of Britain after Operation Sea Lion, the operation is still considered a part of the battle, because the battle campaign started before the operation was conducted. However, since the Germans failed to gain air superiority and the operation was postponed by Hitler indefinitely.

Operation Strangle

After Benito Mussolini died in April 1945, the Germans implemented Operation Axis to prevent the Allied forces from getting a foot hold on Italy after Mussolini’s execution.

The Italian Campaign is a series of four strikes conducted by the Allies, to rid the German army from Italy.

Operation Strangle was the fourth airstrike conducted by the allied forces to rid the German army from Italy. The goal of the mission was to bomb and destroy or damage all essential resources en route for the German army, thus forcing them to withdraw from Italy and prevent a ground attack in the U.K.

At first, the Allied powers did not want to send troops into German territory and that was why they executed a pure air operation.

The Allies failed in the overrated objective of the campaign, but they crippled the Germans enough to send troops into the German territory.

The bombing lasted 8 weeks. Throughout that time, supplies for the Germans could not be sent by railways or airplanes and they had to be sent by trucks, further inconveniencing the Germans.

The Commando Series: Battle of Britain Scramble!

The Commando Series is a set of short stories written as comics.

The Battle of Britain: Scramble is collection of these comic short stories set in Europe at the time of The Battle Of Britain, World War 2.

Thrilling dogfights between the ace fighters of the Allied and Axis powers are splattered through the pages of book.

In each story, an R.A.F. pilot, often a beginner or ace, explores the battlefield and learns that being a fighter pilot has more to it than just being good at tactics and technique. Each of the value different aspect of life in the air force.

Although the book has a background theme of Battle of Britain it mostly discusses dogfights, airplanes, engines, and the characters themselves not just as fighters but also as human beings rather than the historical facts and events.

The book points out the pressure on people with ace and veteran family members at the time. Many a time, those who did not follow in their family’s footsteps of being aces and war veterans (especially in those in fields like science and mathematics) felt that they were dull.

In our lives, you may notice fighter aces are acknowledged and respected far more by the general people, than the engineers and scientists who make the flight so smooth and the equipment simpler to operate. One of the stories points out that those who build the equipment, are just as important as those who fly the planes.

Often, a fighter pilot finds himself in a complex ethical or moral dilemma to which he often has to make a just decision in spite of his preconceptions and biases.

Although there is a realistic background, some of the stories explore things like shared thought and spirits.

Fighter Planes Through The Ages

Over the past hundred years fighter planes have not only lost their propellers and replaced them with jet engines, but they also have caught the attention of movie producers and video game creators. I have watched the movie Top Gun many times and my dad bought me a video game in which the player flies an a jet plane called Strike Commander.

Project Hail Mary

Book Details

Author: Andy Weir

Age: 9+

Price: For the paper back Rs. 455 on Amazon

For the kindle edition Rs.432 on Amazon

Purchase Link: For the paperback For the kindle edition

Pages: 496

About the book

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir is a Science Fiction book set in space.

A junior high school teacher with a knack for solving problems can’t remember anything about himself or what he is doing. He is lost in space all alone.

Soon he finds he is on a suicide mission to save Earth from a star eating space microbe that has attacked the Sun. He is over a trillion miles from home. Will he succeed in finding a way to stop this microbe? Read the book to find out.

Meanwhile he encounters an alien spaceship. Is it a friend or a foe? Should the school teacher trust it?

Why I Liked The Book

The characters are funny and most of them are quirky.

I liked the school teacher’s interactions with the alien. Also I found reading about first contact exciting.

Despite the exaggerated science fiction setting, through the course of the book the teacher does a lot of real science experiments. It was fun to read about the problems he has during the mission and how he solves them and figures things out.

The story shows how complicated evolution is, when the school teacher tries to manipulate it.

Even though the school teacher does have a knack for solving problems, he too makes mistakes as anyone in his place would.

In this way, I found the book very well written. It looks at many aspects of things that you do not think of while reading, until it is pointed out to you.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Book Details

Author: Rick Riordan

Age: 8+

Price: Rs 1299 for kindle edition and MRP is Rs 250 on paperback

Pages: 1696

Purchase link: Paperback boxed set

About The Series

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is about the Greek Gods moving to America because it is the modern heart of western civilization.

We cannot see the gods or where they stay due to the power of The Mist. It makes us see only or exactly what we expect or want to see.

So in some cases when gods come down to earth using the mist we normally see them as mortals just like us. Sometimes the god on earth falls in love with a human and they have a kid.

These kids are called half-bloods. They are always haunted by monsters. Most of the time they are fighting for their lives and do not enjoy it.

Most of the Ancient Greek monsters do not have super great eyesight, but still most of the time they find half-bloods to attack, due to half-bloods carrying a scent they dangerously carry along with them continuously.

Under rare circumstances do half-bloods reach Camp Half-blood. It is a safe haven for all half-bloods. This camp is where they are trained to survive.

Half-bloods do not stay at the camp all the time. They have to go for quests as and when prophecies are issued by the oracle.

These books are mostly about a half-blood named Percy Jackson, his friend Annabeth Chase, Grover Underwood the satyr and various other half-bloods fighting against some dangerous ancient Greek monsters.

Everyone at the camp is worried about the presence of spies or dangerous enemies among them. Read the book to find out more!

Why I Liked The Books

My favourite part of the books was the way Rick Riordan made things not to scary, and even when something dangerous happens he adds something really funny, so I did not freak out. The other thing I liked was, often he really surprised me.

I liked the camp director Dinosyus because he would pretend to never remember anyone’s name. He’d just alter it a bit so it looked like he was bad at handling the camp.

My favourite character was Percy’s cyclops half-brother Tyson, because he was always funny and a bit cute compared to everyone else in the books. He was usually very excited and loved Percy a ton. He was very curious too.

My favourite books were The Sea of Monsters and The Titan’s Curse.

Another thing I thought was funny is almost every year or so Percy would get kicked out of school almost as if it was his goal to do so. Sometimes the reasons he got expelled were hilarious.

Atomic Levels

Public domain image from Wikipedia

Energy Levels and Angular Momentum

Electrons orbit the nucleus at different distances from the nucleus much like the planets orbit the sun in the solar system. Each orbit corresponds to a different energy level and can accommodate a certain maximum number of electrons. The electrons hate energy, so they want the least of it as possible. Because the inner most orbit has the lowest energy and the next has more,the electrons first fill the inner most orbit called the first orbit. The energy level symbol is n. n takes values 1, 2, 3 etc.

The energy of the electron also depends on the angular momentum. The angular momentum symbol is l. The maximum value l can have for any particular n level is n-1. So for a particular value of n, l assume values from 0 to n -1.

l orbitals are labeled as the letters s,p,d. They can each hold a maximum number of electrons.

The angular momentum has different possible orientations labeled by m. For a particular value of l, m takes the values -l to l in steps of 1. For example if l = 2, m = -2, -1, 0, 1, 2

Each value of m accommodates at most two electrons, one of each spin type. The two types of spins are the up spin and the down spin.

For example let’s look at the distribution of electrons in the carbon atom.

By adding all the electrons that can fit in all the m orbitals for a particular n level we get the maximum number of electrons in the particular n level, which is equal to n*n*2. Like in the second level we have n = 2. We see that 2*2*2 is equal to eight therefore the second level can hold a maximum of electrons which is eight.

Across The Line

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Book Details

Author: Nayanika Mahtani

Age:8+

Price: 156.94 for kindle edition and MRP is Rs 250 on paperback

Pages: 230

Purchase link: Kindle edition, Paperback

About the book

Across The Line by Naynika Mahtani is about 3 generations of two families and how strongly they feel about the partition between India and Pakistan. Most of it is set in 2008 but some is set in 1947.

1947

1947 in Rawalpindi. Toshi Sahni and her younger brother were playing, when a bunch of unexpected rioters were on a rampage. Toshi and her grandparents manage to escape on to a train to India, but they don’t find either her brother or her parents.

1947 in New Delhi. Here there are as many riots too. The Haidars were big landlords in Delhi. But they had to leave this great life behind when they were forced to move to Pakistan.

2008

Jai is Toshi’s grandson. His mother was going to work in London, so Jai decided to visit her. At the very same time Innaya Haidar is going to play cricket, also in London. At the beginning they do not get along at all. Read the book to find out more about their interactions and families.

Why I Liked The Book

I liked the book because it had many people’s perspective and how they felt about the partition.

Even though partition is not a very pleasant subject, the book didn’t freak me out as much as the real topic.

My favorite character is Jai. I like him because he is troubled by bullies but he tackles them very well. He likes food and is good at ordering like me.

I thought it was cute that Innaya’s grandmother called her kishmish

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll

Price: Rs. 151 on amazon

Age:
7 to 10 years

Pages:
240

About the book:

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, is about 7 year old Alice following a white rabbit into a rabbit-hole and landing into a fantasy world which she knows nothing about. She is desperate to escape, but she does not know how to do so. Will she escape? How shall she do so? Read the book to find out.

Why I liked the book:

I liked the the Cheshire cat best of all the characters he is logical and funny. He is safe from anyone attacking him because he can disappear and appear at will.

I would recommend this book, because it has many funny conversations between Alice and over-logical and quirky characters of Wonderland.

What I did not like about the book:

I did not like the character of the caterpillar. I think he was a bit nasty and bitter.

The Mystery Of The Invisible Thief

Author: Enid Blyton

Pages: 240 (print edition)

Price: Rs. 136.29 (kindle edition)

Age: 7 to 11

About the book:

The Mystery Of The Invisible Thief by Enid Blyton is the 8th book in The Five Find-Outers series.

There has been a robbery in Peterswood and the robber seems quite invisible. How can that be? The Five Find-Outers cannot wait to solve this new mystery. There are huge glove prints and boot prints all over the wall and floor. But not a soul has seen him or even heard him. But yet this thief is getting away with more robberies. Will Mr.Goon solve this mystery first? How much more will this thief get away with? Read the book to find out who is robbing Petreswood.

Why I liked the book:

I liked the tricks played by the thief.

The clues were easy to find but together they had no obvious answer which made this book very interesting. And every time they found a new bit of information I suspected someone else.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Book Details:

Author: Roald Dahl

Pages: 208

Ages: 7 to 11 years

Price: Rs. 165.39 for kindle edition and Rs. 239 for paperback

About The Book:

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory byRoald Dahl is about a little boy named Charlie. Charlie loved chocolate but Charlie’s family was very poor and he could rarely afford any.

Willy Wonka, the greatest chocolate maker in the world has hidden 5 golden tickets in his chocolates. The 5 people who find the tickets will get to see Wonka’s secret factory.

Lucky for Charlie, his birthday comes before the 5th golden ticket is found. His grandfather presents him a Wonka bar. Will Charlie be lucky? Will he be able to see Wonka’s secret factory?

4 of the children who found the ticket were rich and could get whatever they wanted. To me, it felt like a dream to get whatever one wants. But when I met them, they learnt a lot about their flaws. If you want to know about it and the fascinating secrets of the factory, read the book.

Why I Liked The Book

  • The life lessons the Oompa Loompas were both educational and entertaining.
  • The factory was magical and so amazing! I loved reading about all the bizarre things the various machines did.
  • The way the kids got into trouble and learnt about their flaws was funny.