Of delicious curves and industrial chic (November 2011 issue)

Read ""DIY flight"" on page 24 of the November 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics
Date:21 October 2011 Tags:, , , , , , , ,

This month’s cover story, “Build your own plane”, celebrates some of the most interesting ideas and innovations in DIY flight: you’ll meet the radical and disconcertingly over-powered RP-4, Cory Read’s deliciously curved Symmetry, Chris Christiansen’s country-crossing Savor and Mark Stull’s slightly scary Lucky Stars. Our story is likely to resonate with South African aviation enthusiasts who have designed (and in some cases, actually built) a variety of flying machines over the years, including microlights, gyrocopters and way-out kit planes that resemble something from an old episode of Flash Gordon.

Still with dream machines, we reveal some of the more entertaining car designs showcased at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show. Among our favourites is a Land Rover Defender concept that looks amazing but doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of entering production in its present form. We have mixed feelings about this. Although the Defender’s basic design hasn’t changed over the years and is long overdue for a makeover, we must admit to a twinge of regret when we contemplate a rounded and (gasp!) comfortable successor. There’s something inexplicably appealing about industrial chic.

Are you a DIY practitioner? Do you enjoy building things, fixing stuff and generally making yourself useful around the house? If so, you’ll appreciate the 32-page DIY Handbook accompanying this issue of PM. Aside from the host of useful hints, it showcases a compelling variety of what we term “non-threatening” projects – that is, the sort of challenge that won’t make you turn pale and reach for the Yellow Pages. A request: if you’re inspired by our T-shirt cannon project and actually pluck up the nerve to build one, we would love to hear from you.

On to things digital. We recommend that you waste no time in downloading the PM Daily app and keep up with the latest events and discoveries via our daily sci-tech news service. Enter our regular competitions, browse our “Image of the Week” gallery – we’ve assembled some exquisite images from around the world – and watch videos to your heart’s content. It's available from the Nokia Ovi Store, iTunes App Store and Samsung App Store: search for “Popular Mechanics South Africa”.

Latest news from the world of e-book readers is the arrival of an exciting new product from Amazon, plus a tweak that will turn your regular Nook Color into something quite different. For example, its improved functionality includes access to the many thousands of apps in Android Market, including Angry Birds – and therein lies a tale.

Although PM’s staff were forewarned and forearmed, my own family enjoyed no such protection, and several of my nearest and dearest have been ensnared by the game’s siren song. If this sounds painfully familiar, you might benefit from a YouTube visit: http://bit.ly/eus9XO Hey, you might even start your own support group…

– Alan Duggan (aland@ramsaymedia.co.za)