“Sea Water” Metal Used to Make Plane (Feb, 1949)

“Sea Water” Metal Used to Make Plane

Sea and air combine in a five-seater British personal plane made of magnesium alloy, an element extracted from sea water. Though the metal weighs less than the lightest aluminum, the wings in bending tests have withstood deflection five times greater than is required. Expected to fly over 200 m.p.h., the unorthodox craft was designed by an “amateur” who had never before worked around airplanes.

  1. Hirudinea says: December 28, 20121:54 pm

    Doesn’t magnesium have a tendency to burn with a very hot flame in an accident?

  2. docespresso says: December 28, 20128:20 pm

    It’s challenging to get big chunks of magnesium to burn. https://www.youtube.com…

  3. Stephen says: December 29, 20127:17 am

    This is the Planet Satellite. I know about it from that fascinating book “Back to the Drawing Board: Aircraft that flew but never took off”. It was made of a magnesium-zirconium alloy, which was supposed to be light but strong. On the first attempted flight, it barely got off the ground, and the undercarriage collapsed; on the second, the keel was found to be broken, and after that the relevant authorities refused to let the manufacturer even attempt to fly it until it had been restressed. One person associated with the machine interviewed for the book said that in his opinion “they should jack up the windscreen and run a new aircraft underneath”.

  4. Toronto says: December 30, 20127:46 pm

    Stephen – thanks! Lovely little thing, isn’t it?

    Others: My father could tell you about the lighting of a broken magnesium tail wheel strut on a runway. Beechcraft 18, I think. I’ll give it that it probably had a rough broken edge that lit first – really solid Mg is definitely hard to light, but a feathered edge can go WOOF.

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