Confederate submarine set upright for first time since 1864

Confederate submarineThe H.L. Hunley made history back in 1864 when it became the first submarine to successfully attack an enemy ship. Launched by the Confederacy as a way to break the Union blockade of Southern ports during the Civil War, it sank the USS Housatonic on 17 February 1864 and itself mysteriously sank shortly thereafter.

Crew members hand cranked the propeller to make the sub move forward and its one weapon was a bomb set at the end of a long pole. The idea was to ram a ship with the bomb, which would then explode and leave a hole below the waterline. That’s what happened when the H.L. Hunley attacked one of the warships blockading Charleston harbor, but the sub never returned from its mission.

The Hunley was later found and brought to the surface. Now after several years of restoration the Confederate submarine has been placed upright for the first time since its sinking. The sub had been found resting at a 45 degree angle in a layer of silt and was kept in the same position until now. Moving it to the upright position has given researchers a look at a side of the ship unseen since 1864.

The researchers have found some holes on that side but are unsure if they are natural erosion or the cause of the Hunley’s sinking. Analysis of the bones of the eight crew members showed they died of a lack of oxygen. Interestingly, they were all at their posts as if nothing was going wrong.

You can visit the lab where this historic sub is being studied. The Warren Lasch Conservation Center is located in North Charleston, SC. You can also see a different Confederate submarine at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge.

Confederate submarine

[Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Airport closed so plane can’t land

Yesterday there were two stories out there about rest stop closings. This story is about an airport, an airplane and a more problematic situation than a rest stop being closed when one is desperate to stop. If a rest stop is closed there are options. The side of the road works in a pinch. In the case of the airplane in a decent towards an airport, but the airport turns out to be closed, there’s a bit more involved.

The pilot needs to quit descending asap and head somewhere else, in an ideal case, somewhere close by. Thankfully, that is what happened when US Airways flight 3203 was about to land at the Charleston, South Carolina airport but found the airport closed. The pilot turned the plane around to head back to where it came–Charlotte, North Carolina.

The airport isn’t closed all the time, but just some of the time–after midnight and only until August 9. Usually, it’s open 24-7. Two runways are getting fixed. A lightning strike had delayed the plane from take off after taxing out to the runway and the pilot knew he wouldn’t have enough time to make it to the airport before the witching hour, but thought the tower would stay open a tad longer. Nope.

Once back in Charlotte after state hopping the Carolinas, the passengers were given rooms, meal vouchers and status as being on a flight with an issue that almost never, if ever, happens. [The Post and Courier]