Thursday, December 31, 2009

war film, discretion advised

READ NARRATIVE BEFORE Clicking on Link below

The attached video was filmed by Air Force Joint Tactical Air Controllers
(JTAC) in Tal Afar, west of Mosul in Iraq. They were with a U.S. Marine
Corps ASTs (Advisor Support Team) attached to Iraqi units to help train
their forces day-to-day. They were in a fairly sustained fire fight in the
streets of Tal Afar with about 30 Anti-Iraqi Forces (AIF - bad guys) and
got clearance to fire a Maverick AGM-65 air-to-ground missile.

They set a video camera on the bumper of their armored humvee, which they
were using for cover. Keep an eye on the opposing direction van parked just
down the street.

On the audio you can hear shooting back and forth. The rounds you hear are
from the Marines and the ones you hear pinging against the side of the
vehicle with no accompanying pop are from the bad guys. When the JTACs say
they just fired "rifle" that means the F-16 aircraft just launched the
Maverick missile. You can hear it come in and see it strike the vehicle the
AIF were using for cover. Pinpoint accuracy! End of story...for the bad

When engaged against an enemy on the ground, it is comforting to have an Air
Force Forward Air Controller, airborne or imbedded with you, able to call in
some 'serious hurt' on the enemy. When the Maverick hits the target, you
will see a bad guy flying off to the upper left of your screen, checking

Enlarge the movie to full screen for best viewing if your program permits.

war film, discretion advised

Aviation book

image courtesy of BookshackUSA

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

by Robert Coram

Click here for more information from Amazon

This was one of the most enlightening books I have read on the development of the F15, F16 and A-10 as a sidelight to the career of a remarkable man. tcp

The power of duct tape

During a private "fly-in" fishing excursion in the Alaskan wilderness,
the chartered pilot and fishermen left a cooler and bait in the plane.
And a bear smelled it. This is what he did to the plane.

The pilot used his radio and had another pilot bring him 2 new tires, 3
cases of duct tape, and a supply of sheet plastic.

He patched (taped) the plane together, and FLEW IT HOME!

Click on the photos for more detail.

thanks Jack

assembling a 182

time lapse of the Moody Aviation Cessna 182 aircraft assembly

thanks Tim

pima air B-36 restoration

A link to the Pima Air and Space Museum website

thanks barratt

Don't worry I have a parachute

that had to hurt....

thanks Ralph

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the airline pilot

Edwards Air Force Show

Air Show at Edwards Air Force Base in California, 2009

thanks bill

unusual airplanes

A bunch of planes, some you may not have seen before.

Carrying the Shuttle to Florida

A quick "trip report" from the pilot of the 747 that flew the shuttle back to Florida after the Hubble repair flight.
A humorous and interesting inside look at what it's like to fly two aircraft at once . .

(I have decided to adopt one of "Triple Nickel's" phrases :

"That was too close for MY laundry!")

Walt and all,

Well, it's been 48 hours since I landed the 747 with the shuttle Atlantis on top and I am still buzzing from the experience. I have to say that my whole mind, body and soul went into the professional mode just before engine start in Mississippi, and stayed there, where it all needed to be, until well after the fact, I am not sure if it is all back to normal as I type this email. The experience was surreal. Seeing that "thing" on top of an already overly huge aircraft boggles my mind. The whole mission from takeoff to engine shutdown was unlike anything I had ever done. It was like a dream... someone else's dream.

We took off from Columbus AFB on their 12,000 foot runway, of which I used 11,999 1/2 feet to get the wheels off the ground. We were at 3,500 feet left to go of the runway, throttles full power, nose wheels still hugging the ground, copilot calling out decision speeds, the weight of Atlantis now screaming through my fingers clinched tightly on the controls, tires heating up to their near maximum temperature from the speed and the weight, and not yet at rotation speed, the speed at which I would be pulling on the controls to get the nose to rise. I just could not wait, and I mean I COULD NOT WAIT, and started pulling early. If I had waited until rotation speed, we would not have rotated enough to get airborne by the end of the runway. So I pulled on the controls early and started our rotation to the takeoff attitude. The wheels finally lifted off as we passed over the stripe marking the end of the runway and my next hurdle (physically) was a line of trees 1,000 feet off the departure end of Runway 16. All I knew was we were flying and so I directed the gear to be retracted and the flaps to be moved from Flaps 20 to Flaps 10 as I pulled even harder on the controls. I must say, those trees were beginning to look a lot like those brushes in the drive through car washes so I pulled even harder yet! I think I saw a bird just fold its wings and fall out of a tree as if to say "Oh just take me". Okay, we cleared the trees, duh, but it was way too close for my laundry. As we started to actually climb, at only 100 feet per minute, I smelled something that reminded me of touring the Heineken Brewery in Europe...I said "is that a skunk I smell?" and the veterans of shuttle carrying looked at me and smiled and said "Tires"! I said "TIRES??? OURS???" They smiled and shook their heads as if to call their Captain a n amateur...okay, at that point I was. The tires were so ho t you could smell them in the cockpit. My mind could not get over, from this point on, that this was something I had never experienced. Where's your mom when you REALLY need her?

The flight down to Florida was an eternity. We cruised at 250 knots indicated, giving us about 315 knots of ground speed at 15,000'. The miles didn't click by like I am use to them clicking by in a fighter jet at MACH .94. We were burning fuel at a rate of 40,000 pounds per hour or 130 pounds per mile, or one gallon every length of the fuselage. The vibration in the cockpit was mild, compared to down below and to the rear of the fuselage where it reminded me of that football game I had as a child where you turned it on and the players vibrated around the board. I felt like if I had plastic clips on my boots I could have vibrated to any spot in the fuselage I wanted to go without moving my legs...and the noise was deafening. The 747 flies with its nose 5 degrees up in the air to stay level, and when you bank, it feels like the shuttle is trying to say "hey, let's roll completely over on our back"..not a good thing I kept telling myself. SO I limited my bank angle to 15 degrees and even though a 180 degree course change took a full zip code to complete, it was the safe way to turn this monster.

Airliners and even a flight of two F-16s deviated from their flight plans to catch a glimpse of us along the way. We dodged what was in reality very few clouds and storms, despite what everyone thought, and arrived in Florida with 51,000 pounds of fuel too much to land with. We can't land heavier than 600,000 pounds total weight and so we had to do something with that fuel. I had an idea...let's fly low and slow and show this beast off to all the taxpayers in Florida lucky enough to be outside on that Tuesday afternoon. So at Ormond Beach we let down to 1,000 feet above the ground/water and flew just east of the beach out over the water. Then, once we reached the NASA airspace of the Kennedy Space Center, w e cut over to the Banana/Indian Rivers and flew down the middle of them to show the people of Titusville, Port St.Johns and Melbourne just what a 747 with a shuttle on it looked like. We stayed at 1,000 feet and since we were dragging our flaps at "Flaps 5", our speed was down to around 190 to 210 knots. We could see traffic stopping in the middle of roads to take a look. We heard later that a Little League Baseball game stop to look and everyone cheered as we became their 7th inning stretch. Oh say can you see...

After reaching Vero Beach, we turned north to follow the coast line back up to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). There was not one person laying on the beach...they were all standing and waving! "What a sight" I thought...and figured they were thinking the same thing. All this time I was bugging the engineers, all three of them, to re-compute our fuel and tell me when it was time to land. They kept saying "Not yet Triple, keep showing this thing off" which was not a bad thing to be doing. However, all this time the thought that the landing, the muscling of this 600,000 pound beast, was getting closer and closer to my reality. I was pumped up! We got back to the SLF and were still 10,000 pounds too heavy to land so I said I was going to do a low approach over the SLF going the opposite direction of landing traffic that day. So at 300 feet, we flew down the runway, rocking our wings like a whale rolling on its side to say "hello" to the people looking on! One turn out of traffic and back to the runway to land...still 3,000 pounds over gross weight limit. But the engineers agreed that if the landing were smooth, there would be no problem. "Oh thanks guys, a little extra pressure is just what I needed!" So we landed at 603,000 pounds and very smoothly if I have to say so myself. The landing was so totally controlled and on speed, that it was fun. There were a few surprises that I dealt with, like the 747 falls like a rock with the orbiter on it if you pull the throttles off at the "normal" point in a landing and secondly, if you thought you could hold the nose off the ground after the mains touch down, think again..IT IS COMING DOWN!!! So I "flew it down" to the ground and saved what I have seen in videos of a nose slap after landing. Bob 's video supports this! :8-)

Then I turned on my phone after coming to a full stop only to find 50 bazillion emails and phone messages from all of you who were so super to be watching and cheering us on! What a treat, I can't thank y'all enough. For those who watched, you wondered why we sat there so long. Well, the shuttle had very hazardous chemicals on board and we had to be "sniffed" to determine if any had leaked or were leaking. They checked for Monomethylhydrazine (N2H4 for Charlie Hudson) and nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4). Even though we were "clean", it took way too long for them to tow us in to the mate-demate area. Sorry for those who stuck it out and even waited until we exited the jet.

I am sure I will wake up in the middle of the night here soon, screaming and standing straight up dripping wet with sweat from the realization of what had happened. It was a thrill of a lifetime. Again I want to thank everyone for your interest and support. It felt good to bring Atlantis home in one piece after she had worked so hard getting to the Hubble Space Telescope and back.

Triple Nickel

NASA Pilot

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Pancake Flyin 2009

Many planes and great weather.

Not sure what he is looking for, but I thought it was a good picture.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Link to Picasa Web Album of Builders Day 2009

Builders Day

Builders Day started out a little cold and windy, but by the end of the day it was warmer, and sunny. These first pictures are of Steve Johnson's kit which he taxied over so we could get a closer look at it.
Click on the pictures to get a better look.

Then we went over to Jim LeSeure's. Thanks to Jim for getting this event arranged.

On to Richard Frisbie's. I stopped by Peter Zabriskie's on the way, but he was out looking at the other planes. Peter if you have some photos to share, send them along.

And then on to Russ Goodwines

If you did not make it too all of the sites, you missed some good brownies, and a first hand look into the planes that you will probably see on the ramp or flying over head in the future.

Saturday Morning Breakfast

All The Saturday morning breakfast we had was a resounding success. The eggs to order, the bacon fried crispy, the fruit garnish,...