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Speed, The Plane & THE Gift

Speed, The Plane & THE Gift


Starting from the early age, speed has been a great fascination. Given dad was a math teacher, I wanted to become a mathematician when I was at school (though I’m not sure even now what mathematicians do). I still remember the quote that fascinated me the most “speed and accuracy is the motto of the mathematician”.

Next experience with speed is when I heard about the Shatabdi express from Chennai to Bangalore. Supposed to be king of all trains. Though we couldn’t afford to travel in this train, it used to be the most exciting 10 seconds when we are standing in Perambur station (a small station which Shatabdi doesn’t even respect to slow down) and the train just zooms past in less than 7 seconds and shaking the whole station as it leaves past. I could totally imagine the train looking back and giving that pity look at all of us. Not the same train, but you get the idea.

While watching Naruto, the all time favourite character was Minato. For the folks from DC Comics, it is the character similar to Flash. In fact, even the nick name of Minato was “Yellow Flash”.

Eventually realised speed is not just limited to trains or fictional characters. There are many such projects that has been built in a spectacular fashion. There are multiple projects, where speed has been the key feature. You can check them here at https://patrickcollison.com/fast.

THE Plane

With so much about interest about speed, my favourite plane of all time is the SR-71.

When I first heard about SR-71, it was true love. The flight only required self defence was speed. Just push the throttle if someone is trying to shoot at you is some matrix magic.

Some of the fun facts about SR-71

  1. The plane was built using Titanium, the only metal which handle the high temperature and pressure this plane needs to go through. Unfortunately, USA didn’t have enough Titanium and Russia (the country they were fighting the cold war with) had the biggest repository of Titanium. USA had to setup a bunch of fake companies to buy the Titanium from Russia
  2. The plane expands a few inches once it starts flying. So, panels were manufactured to fit only loosely with the aircraft on the ground. Proper alignment was achieved as the airframe heated up and expanded several inches.
Fuel leakages under the SR-71 Blackbird.

Found this interesting video about SR-71, which explains all the cool things about what this plane can do.

I’ve read a lot about the SR-71 and if you plan to, these are the books to look upto.

THE Gift

The last part is about the gift. I got this SR-71 Lego set from a friend. I simply couldn’t believe when I saw the gift. I’ve watched hours and hours of videos about SR-71 and still haven’t seen one outside the laptop yet. The image on the cover is enough to give goosebumps. Probably one of the very rare moments which got me close to tearing up. I can’t still explain in words the joy I felt while holding the kit.

When I got the gift, a part of my team was at my place for a catchup. This added an extra dilemma. Do I build the Lego set with my team immediately and share the fun/joy with everyone. Or do I do this alone in peace and enjoy this for myself. Finally decided to do this alone. To my team – I love you all folks, but not going to share this one with you.

Next was the fear and nervousness about getting this wrong. Given how valuable the gift was, I was nervous about getting something wrong. Especially, if you get something wrong in the early steps, you need to revert things all over again. Even worse, I had to record a time lapse video. Thankfully, I knew about how SR-71 looked in and out. It was easier to build when you can visualize the output even in dreams. Here is how the whole experience turned out.

Oh btw, the reason why any time lapse video looks so cool and exiting is because of the speed of the video isn’t. :-). Speed is always exciting!

Finally, this found the right place at my table.

Every time I come to my table to start the day, looking at the SR 71 brings a smile to my face and adds an extra shot of energy to get done with my work. I don’t think I can thank enough for the wonderful gift. 🙂

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