Posts Tagged ‘Flying’
Learning from Dogs has been running for one year.
On July 15th, 2009 a post called Parenting lessons from Dogs started what has now become a bit of a ‘habit’. But more reflections tomorrow.
Today I want to voice something that has been running around my mind for some time. It is whether we give in to the mounting doom and gloom at so many levels in our societies (and it can be a very compelling draw) or whether we see this as a painful but necessary period where slowly but surely the desires of ordinary people; for a fairer, more truthful, more integrous world are gaining power.
And I’m going to use Richard Branson to voice it for me!
(Now this is an unusually long Post so I’ve inserted the Read More divider to prevent the Post visually swamping your browser.)
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
A quick Google search shows that this is a well-documented story that has been doing the rounds since 2009. But I hadn’t come across it before so was very grateful for a friend in England, Richard Howell, including me on a recent email circulation. I shall reproduce Richard’s email just as it was received.
OK… so… you’re the pilot of a plane…
It’s on auto-pilot and you’re catching up on People magazine and having a cup of coffee.
Suddenly the loudest sound you will ever hear goes off just behind your left ear.
You’re blinded by the flash and can’t hear.
All you can feel is something warm running down your leg.
You immediately consider retirement.
This is an Atlantic Southeast Airlines/Delta Connection aircraft… soon after it suffered a lightning strike.
Yep… time to RETIRE!
By Paul Handover
The Loop in North Wales and a neat gag!
The British Royal Air Force frequently train their air crews in and around the valleys of North Wales. Much of that area is designated a Tactical Training Area. One such route is known as The Loop. Here’s a description of that from the website Warplane.co.uk:
The most appropriate place to start with is the Machynlleth Loop which is usually referred to by aircrews as ‘The Loop’ although the USAF crews refer to it as ‘The Roundabout’. It is literally a roundabout of flowed valleys running counter-clockwise following the A470 north eastwards from Machynlleth in the south to Dinas Mawddwy then heading north west to join the A487 at the Cross Foxes Inn. From here it follows the A487 southwards through Corris to end back at Machynlleth. Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL23 is recommended for anyone planning a visit.
It is arguably the busiest part of the UK low fly system and although the cold war days of up to 80 plus movements in a day are long gone it is still sometimes possible to see 30 plus aircraft in one day. The usual daily total is usually between 10 and 20 aircraft mainly made up of Hawks with the odd Tornado, Harrier or Hercules thrown in. It is certainly the place to go to practice your panning technique.
It takes about 3 minutes for a jet aircraft to do a circuit of the Loop and multiple passes by aircraft is not an uncommon sight, especially by Hawks. So whenever you see an aircraft it is worth checking to see if it looks like doing a circuit as you may be lucky enough to see it again in 3 minutes.
Do click on the link if only to view some of the fantastic flying photographs.
Anyway, a couple of British newspapers recently published a piece about an RAF Navigator holding up a sign inside the cockpit for the many amateur photographers who frequent this part of the country.
Here’s an extract from the Daily Mail:
A RAF navigator gave plane-spotters a chuckle as he held up a sign reading ‘I’m with stupid’ with an arrow pointing to the pilot.
The pair were on a training mission in a £13million Tornado GR4 aircraft, capable of reaching 1,400mph, when the navigator pulled the prank as they jetted through a valley in Wales.
Wonderful prank, and wonderful picture taken by Andy Chittock who clearly is rather used to taking a mean photograph!
By Paul Handover
This is very, very uncomfortable.
Trying to say anything new about the implications of the terrible disaster in the Gulf of Mexico would be impossible.
All I can do is to admit my very great discomfort at knowing that later today, I shall be returning to Phoenix by flying across the Atlantic in a Boeing 747.
A small amount of web research suggests that there are about 600 transatlantic flights a day and that my B747 will use roughly 10 tons of fuel an hour, i.e. conservatively 100 tons for the flight LHR-PHX.
So 600 x 100 = 60,000 tons of fuel every day just in flights across the Atlantic!
So pointing the finger at BP is, in a very real sense, misdirected. BP are only responding to our need for oil, in all its forms.
Do watch the videos from Prof Al Bartlett being shown on this Blog from tomorrow to understand the mathematics behind our unsustainable way of life.
By Paul Handover
Wonderful short film of the P-38 Lightning (thanks to Steve).
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a WWII American fighter aircraft. Equipped with droppable fuel tanks under its wings, the P-38 was used as a long-range escort fighter and saw action in every major combat area of the world.
A very versatile aircraft, the Lightning was also used for dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing and photo reconnaissance missions.
The Lockheed team chose twin booms to accommodate the tail assembly, engines, and turbo superchargers, with a central nacelle for the pilot and armament. The nose was designed to carry two Browning .50 machine guns, two .30″ Brownings and an Oldsmobile 37 mm cannon.
The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in active production throughout the duration of American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day.
Music: Benny Goodman with Helen Forrest – ‘It’s Always You’.
The WikiPedia entry is here.
By Paul Handover
From the Daily Mail (UK Newspaper) online
A skydiver has pulled off an astonishing stunt by climbing out of a glider’s cockpit, crawling along the wing and then somersaulting underneath and stepping onto the wing of a second glider flying below.
Paul Steiner then moves back onto the main fuselage of the second glider while the first glider turns upside down and flies overhead so that he can reach up and hold the tail fin at 100mph, forming a human link between the two aircraft. He then leaps off and parachutes back to the ground.
The spectacular stunt, captured on YouTube, was carried out by the Red Bull skydive team 2,100 metres above the mountains in Styria, Austria. And they look mightily relieved as they returned to their airfield.
More incredible pictures here.
By Paul Handover
The second part of the guest post by Captain Dave Jones. Ed.
Part One was yesterday which I introduced as follows:
The SR-71, a truly great aircraft
John’s couple of articles about the SR-71 here and here reminded me of the time that I was given an article by my instructor at Mojave. He was a military test pilot and ended up with NASA and he was one of a select few to fly the Blackbird as a civilian….a great chap to talk to… I continue with Part 2
The SR-71 was an expensive aircraft to operate. The most significant cost was tanker support, and in 1990, confronted with budget cutbacks, the Air Force retired the SR-71. The Blackbird had outrun nearly 4,000 missiles, not once taking a scratch from enemy fire. On her final flight, the Blackbird, destined for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, sped from Los Angeles to Washington in 64 minutes, averaging 2,145 mph and setting four speed records. The SR-71 served six presidents, protecting America for a quarter of a century. Unbeknownst to most of the country, the plane flew over North Vietnam, Red China, North Korea, the Middle East, South Africa, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Libya, and the Falkland Islands. On a weekly basis, the SR-71 kept watch over every Soviet nuclear submarine and mobile missile site, and all of their troop movements. It was a key factor in winning the Cold War. Read the final part of this great story
This is a guest post from Captain Dave Jones. Dave and I go back many years to the time when I was studying for my Instrument Rating, a flying rating that allows one to fly in the same airspace as commercial aircraft. He is what I call a Total Aviation Person! Dave read the posts from John Lewis about the SR-71 and mentioned that he had once had a instructor at Mojave Airport, California who had been a civilian SR-71 pilot. Ed.
The SR-71, a truly great aircraft
John’s couple of articles about the SR-71 here and here reminded me of the time that I was given an article by my instructor at Mojave. He was a military test pilot and ended up with NASA and he was one of a select few to fly the Blackbird as a civilian….a great chap to talk to…
This is his article [broken into two posts because of its length. Ed.] with an intro from my instructor.
Awesome story about a truly great aircraft. I only let it go as high as Mach 3.27 once (the design speed was 3.2) but it could do all that is in this story, Cheers, Rogers
In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi's terrorist camps in Libya. My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the damage our F-111s had inflicted. Qaddafi had established a "line of death," a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra, swearing to shoot down any intruder that crossed the boundary. On the morning of April 15, I rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph. I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world's fastest jet, accompanied by Maj. Walter Watson, the aircraft's reconnaissance systems officer (RSO). We had crossed into Libya and were approaching our final turn over the bleak desert landscape when Walter informed me that he was receiving missile launch signals. I quickly increased our speed, calculating the time it would take for the weapons-most likely SA-2 and SA-4 surface-to-air missiles capable of Mach 5 - to reach our altitude. I estimated that we could beat the rocket-powered missiles to the turn and stayed our course, betting our lives on the plane's performance. Read more about this amazing story
A salutary reminder of the power of nature
This is being written at 15:00 UTC on Tuesday, 20th April. It’s still anyone’s guess as to when the airspace that commercial aircraft fly in will be free from volcanic fallout.
Based in Arizona but planning to fly to the UK in about three weeks, it’s also very frustrating finding really good, accurate information to help one think through plans and back-up plans.
But here’s a web site for UK glider (sailplane) pilots that goes a very long way to providing really solid information. Check it out. (And, once again, thanks to Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism for finding the site.)
Well done GlideMet.
By Paul Handover (ex British Gliding Association pilot/instructor.)
Better navigational accuracy in the air may be approaching its limits.
For passengers travelling with scheduled airlines, times have changed, sadly, and no longer can you visit the flight deck, and see from there the views that pilots get.
It was not so long ago, that aircraft navigation was carried out using beacons on the ground, either on VHF, or Medium wavebands.
For longer trips with no ground aids a Navigator would plot your route using Astro (sun or the stars) navigation, until companies like Decca produced other radio systems to give you a position, but these from my memory had their problems.
Today in the modern aircraft we have Inertial Navigation Systems using laser gyros together with radio VHF back up, taking cross cuts from beacons, coupled with Distance measuring equipment to pinpoint your position, and now the magic Global Positioning System (GPS) with it`s startling accuracy.
Often with only 1000 feet between, you can see aircraft either above, or below you, often on the same track. This picture of an Emirates airline Airbus A380 was taken northbound over Turkey. The trails left behind are ice crystals which are left by the water vapour that passes through the engine, and freezes immediately at temperatures of some minus 60 degrees C.
The vortex from the wings causes the rotating trail from each engine to be disturbed, and if you pass through such disturbed air following the wake of another aircraft you often get a bump as your aircraft will be travelling at 500 MPH, some 7 miles per minute, a closing speed of 1000MPH if heading towards each other.
As the accuracy is so good these days, airlines have taken to introducing an offset of one or two miles to the left or right of track, just in case there is an error of timing, or in severe turbulence an aircraft could lose or gain the amount of separation which is between machines.
I think we get the best seats in the house!
By Bob Derham
[Bob is a Captain on a privately operated Airbus A319. Ed.]