Flying machines are radically different from each other depending on the job they have to do. You would think that flying around in air would make them all pretty much the same, more power than weight, aerodynamic and the rest. Today the next to last shuttle flight took off. Talk about power, the 3 main engines provide 1.2 million pounds of thrust and thats not counting the 2 solid rocket boosters which all push the shuttle from 0 to 17,000 mph in around 6 minutes. I don’t know what that is in horsepower but it’s a lot.

Also in aircraft propulsion news, the Solar Impulse made it’s maiden flight and landed in Brussels this week. It’s the first solar powered aircraft and is an ungainly looking thing. But it is thrifty, and uses no fuel. It’s four 10 horsepower electric engines push it along at a blistering 60 mph, a challenge to land at an international airport when the craft goes so slow. You would think high winds could give it fits, also. But it is pretty cool. Not likely to get us to the moon.

I’m torn by which one I’d rather ride in… I think I’ll take 1.2 million pounds of thrust, please.