Apparently, even best-selling authors can’t be bothered to do their homework.
In my never-ending quest for light reading while I sit around in Wickenburg waiting for my marriage to be terminated, I picked up a copy of Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler from the library. This book features Cussler’s protagonist, Dirk Pitt, a man so outrageously skilled and lucky that he makes James Bond look as inept as Inspector Clouseau.
Hey, I did say I wanted light reading, didn’t I? (And yes, I do realize I was bitching about a supposed Cussler book just the other day.)
But no matter how light reading is, it really bugs me when an author gets something insanely wrong. Take, for example, this passage from the book:
Purchased by Destiny Enterprises from the Messerschmitt-Bolkow Corporation, the Bo 105LS-7 helicopter was designed and built for the Federal German Army primarily for ground support and paramilitary use. The aircraft chasing the Skycar carried a crew of two, and mounted twin engines that gave it a maximum speed of two hundred and eighty miles an hour. For firepower, it relied on a ventral-mounted, swiveling twenty millimeter cannon.
My helicopter pilot brain shouted “How fast?”
You see, there’s a little thing called retreating blade stall which normally limits the airspeed of a helicopter. I don’t know of any helicopter capable of going 280 miles per hour. Certainly not one with a single main rotor system.
But hell, I’m not an expert. I’m just a pilot. What do I know?
- Never exceed speed: 270 km/h (145 knots, 167 mph)
- Maximum speed: 242 km/h (131 knots, 150 mph)
- Cruise speed: 204 km/h (110 knots, 127 mph)
280 miles per hour? How about 150 miles per hour? That’s more reasonable.
And, coincidentally, it’s the never exceed speed for my Robinson R44 Raven II — although, admittedly, I don’t have any ventral-mounted, swiveling twenty millimeter cannons.
Come on, guys! Do your homework! I know it’s fiction, but when you discuss the capabilities of an aircraft that actually exists, how about getting it right?