December 23, 2004

"extreme engineering"

beer tree, originally uploaded by ksporry.

This week was a revelation of engineering feats. Three items revealed themselves to the world, in a most unique way. The first one is this Christmas tree. It is not just a Christmas tree, it's a gigantic Christmas tree. Over 12 meters high. 'So, big deal' I hear you thinking, except... that this tree is not just a tree... It was made of beer crates! In the city of Delft students from the faculty of civil engineering, designed and build this monstrosity of a christmas tree, made of crates for beer bottles (beer bottles in Holland usually come in crates of 24 bottles). This ofcourse is only possible in Delft, where the students run the daily affairs of life...

The tree was build from about 15.000 crates of beer in 50 layers, with a height of 12 meters (ca. 40ft). It was even fitted with lights! Unfortunatly it was broken down on wednesday. Here's one more shot of the tree...


Another feat of engineering, which actually dwarfed the Christmas tree, is the recentlyy opened Millau Bridge in France. This is bridge is supposed to be the highest bridge in the world, with 343 meters surpassing even the Eiffel Tower! The bridge spans the valley of the River Tarn, a 2.5 km wide gorge dividing two plateaux in France's rugged Massif Central region. The largest pylon is 343 metres high- taller than the Eiffel Tower. The bridge has cost 390 million euros ($517m) to build. Drivers will pay a 4.9 euro toll to use it. For more information have a look at the website of the BBC where I got some of these pictures:
  • BBC News

  • What surprises me, is that this bridge is not a suspension bridge. With this size and height, they might have preffered a slightly different construction... Oh well, I'm only an aeronautical engineer. Don't know anything about bridges, just aircraft...





    Wait, I haven't finished yet...! Last week, the good people of Holland were shaken up by a Boeing 747 maunoeuvring itself through the canals of Amsterdam! The enormous aircraft made it's way from Schiphol Airport to Lelystad Airport. Did it take a wrong turn when it received it's taxi instructions? Or was it an emergency landing on The Dam? No, it was actually fairly simple. The 747 is the oldest 747 KLM had in its posession. The 747 is one of the oldest generation. In fact, it is one of the oldest 747's that was actually converted to have the extended top deck! The massive aircraft was donated by the KLM to the Auerospace museum on Lelystad Airport, where they have all kinds of aircraft, ranging from the Fokker spin to, well, this 747... and some of those planes still fly! They transported the 747 by boat through the canals of Amsterdam and manoeuvred it to Flevopolder, where the lats bit was done over land. Apparently this operation was cheaper than flying it over from Schiphol to Lelystad. Actually I wonder if that is true. First of all I doubt that Lelystad Airport can actually receive 747's, secondly I doubt the flight worthiness of this particular aircraft. I suppose that does make the statement true from a certain point of view: I'm sure it is more expensive to enlarge the runway on Lelystad Airport to cater for 747's and getting this aircraft flightworthy surely isn't cheap either. Anyway, here are some pics of the operation. Enjoy!

    Oops...took a wrong turn...

    Control, this is dutchbird requesting progressive taxi instructions. I think we are on the wrong taxiway


    One more thing. Tomorrow I'll be flying to Holland to spend the holidays with my friends and family. So I won't be updating this website for 2 weeks. But when I'm back I'm sure I've got some new stories and photos to show you.
    For now I wish you all a merry christmas and all the best for the new year!


    Anonymous said...

    Awesome photos ksporry. I commented on the beer crate photo that I clicked off to the side there. I thought it was a way to make me known on your blog so I signed up at flkr.

    Anyway, I wonder how much the christmas tree weighed?

    That bridge is truely fantastic. I couldn't believe it when I saw the pics on TV. It really was surreal seeing it surrounded by the clouds like that. It gives you the impression that it is up in the stratosphere or something. I can't believe man could build a structure so high. I would love to see that thing in person. What an engineering feat.

    Loved the pics of the 747 in the streets of Holland. Now that is really cool. What a sight. A 747 on the streets of the city!.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you had a wonderful vacation.


    Bronek said...

    that christmas tree totally dwarfs all my beer can sculptures!!
    great pics and nice site Kryn!

    Mandy said...

    a tree made of beer crates? that's pretty freakin' cool, man.

    gate valves said...

    wow! this is blog is amazing! tall bridges, giant christmas trees and a plane on the road! om man... this is really something. great shots.