Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

World’s Largest Miniature Airport in Hamburg, Germany   Leave a comment


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The world’s largest model airport has opened at Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, which is also home to the world’s largest model railway landscape.

The model airport is based off of Hamburg’s Fuhlsbüttel International airport.

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In the past years, embedded between Knuffingen and Switzerland, Miniatur Wunderland’s latest layout arose – our passenger airport. After more than 6 years of construction, it was inaugurated on May 4th 2011, at last. The development of the Airport began in June 2005, already. In 2008 the planning phase was finalized, and the final building plans were worked out.
Since the 22nd of August 2008 the plan was lying on the layout base, initiating the construction phase, officially. The layout arose right in front of our visitor’s eyes. Not only for aviation and technology fans, the impressive Airport is the new Wunderland highlight. Up to 40 different aircraft (from Cessna to Airbus A 380) are taxiing independently on this Airport to the gates. They are also being moved back from the gates by push-back vehicles in order to taxi to the runway. There they are accelerating and taking off or landing respectively. Each aircraft is equipped with original lights and original, realistic turbine sounds at least in the take-off phase (otherwise the noise level would be unbearable).

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Posted January 7, 2017 by markosun in Aviation

B-2 Bomber Flyover of the 2017 Rose Bowl   Leave a comment


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On Jan. 2, 2017, B-2 Spirit “Spirit of Kitty Hawk” with 509th Bomb Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, opened the 103rd Rose Bowl Game game, between the Big Ten Conference Champion Penn State Nittany Lions and the Pac-12 Conference Champions the University of Southern California Trojans, at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California with the traditional flyover.

The top air-to-air image showing the Stealth Bomber during the flyover (from above) was taken by Mark Holtzman, a photographer and pilot, founder of West Coast Aerial Photography, a company specialising in aerial photography based in Los Angeles.

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The Northrop (later Northrop Grumman) B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy penetration strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is a flying wing design with a crew of two. The bomber can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons, such as eighty 500 lb (230 kg)-class (Mk 82) JDAM Global Positioning System-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.

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General characteristics

  • Crew: 2: pilot (left seat) and mission commander (right seat)
  • Length: 69 ft (21.0 m)
  • Wingspan: 172 ft (52.4 m)
  • Height: 17 ft (5.18 m)
  • Wing area: 5,140 ft² (478 m²)
  • Empty weight: 158,000 lb (71,700 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 336,500 lb (152,200 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 376,000 lb (170,600 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × General Electric F118-GE-100 non-afterburning turbofans, 17,300 lbf (77 kN) each
  • Fuel Capacity: 167,000 pounds (75,750 kg)

Armament

  • 2 internal bays for ordnance and payload with an official limit of 40,000 lb (18,000 kg); maximum estimated limit is 50,000 lb (23,000 kg).
  • 80× 500 lb class bombs (Mk-82, GBU-38) mounted on Bomb Rack Assembly (BRA)
  • 36× 750 lb CBU class bombs on BRA
  • 16× 2,000 lb class bombs (Mk-84, GBU-31) mounted on Rotary Launcher Assembly (RLA)
  • 16× B61 or B83 nuclear bombs on RLA (strategic mission)
  • Standoff weapon: AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) and AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

Posted January 5, 2017 by markosun in Aircraft, Aviation

Russian Military Plane Crashes in Black Sea with Famous Army Choir on Board   Leave a comment


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All 84 passengers and eight crew members on board the plane operated by the Russian military are believed to have died when it crashed two minutes after taking off at 5:25am local time (02:25 GMT) in good weather from the southern Russian city of Sochi.

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The Russian defence ministry said it had recovered 10 bodies by late Sunday.

Transport minister Maxim Sokolov, in charge of a state probe into the crash, said on state television that investigators were looking into a “whole spectrum” of theories on the cause of the crash of the Soviet-built Tu-154 plane.

When asked if a “terror attack” could have been behind the crash, Sokolov said: “It is premature to speak of this.”

He added that the aircraft’s black boxes had yet to be found.

The plane belonging to the defence ministry was taking its famed choir, the Alexandrov Ensemble, to a New Year’s concert at Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia. Those on board also included nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor famous for her work in war zones.

The Alexandrov Ensemble is an official army choir of the Russian armed forces. Founded during the Soviet era, the ensemble consists of a male choir, an orchestra, and a dance ensemble.

The Ensemble has entertained audiences both in Russia and throughout the world, performing a range of music including folk tunes, hymns, operatic arias and popular music. The group’s repertoire has included The Volga Boatmen’s Song, Katyusha, Kalinka and Ave Maria.

It is named for its first director, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov (1883–1946). Its formal name since 1998 has been Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Army named after A. V. Alexandrov.

The Alexandrov Ensemble and the MVD Ensemble are the only groups with the right to claim the title “Red Army Choir”.

On 25 December 2016, 64 members of the ensemble were killed when the Russian military aircraft on which they were travelling to perform for troops crashed into the Black Sea.

 

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In recent years, Russian airlines have replaced their Tu-154s with more modern planes, but the military and other government agencies in Russia have continued to use them. While noisy and fuel-guzzling, the plane is popular with crews that appreciate its manoeuvrability and ruggedness.

Still, since 1994 there have been 17 major plane crashes involving the Tu-154 that have killed over 1,760 people. Most resulted from human error.

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Posted December 26, 2016 by markosun in Aviation, Military, Music

Ideas on how a Droneport may look   Leave a comment


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Inverse.com

If you ordered something from Amazon recently, it was probably delivered by a person dressed in black and wearing a reflective vest. Chances are, that person woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning and reported for duty at a distribution warehouse in some unseemly industrial area somewhere in your city, and then set out in a van with some 150 packages. For a long time, that’s pretty much how delivery logistics have worked. But a swam of delivery drones, operating out of a giant drone beehive, could change all that before long.

Out with the old, says Saul Ajuria Fernandez, an architecture student of at the University of Alcalá in Spain. For his master’s degree project, Fernández composed over ten illustrations depicting an urban droneport, the delivery hub of tomorrow. The bulk of its employees? Aerial drones that would zip back and forth between their spherical HQ and various delivery destinations.

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The port would be situated among a cluster of highway junctions in a real-world location in the South Node of Madrid. The highway location ensures open air and easy access to multiple areas of the city.

Aerial drones can be seen buzzing to and from the droneport to pick up or deliver another package, as cars pass by on the roads that wind around it. In the images, Fernández superimposed a grid in the sky above the port, likely as a means to display the presence of flight patterns for the robots.

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And Fernández took those flight patterns seriously, even going so far as to mark up a map of the city to show potential routes and service radii. He really considered the placement of the droneport, as well as its actual design.

Another drawing, showcasing the height of the structure, also shows people milling about beneath it and what looks to be an observation deck of a sort at the top. It would make for a great, scenic place for employees to take their lunch.

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A cross section of the building, taken from the same angle as the previous picture, showcases each individual floor. The droneport comes complete with a loading dock, where trucks can offload large shipments to be sorted for delivery, as well as a number of packaging rooms, where drones would collect packages before being sent out via the circular hatches that dot the outside.

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Here’s a close-up look at how the drones would actually get into the building. The hatches make for quick and fluid access. As shown in the upper portion of the picture, and employee could be waiting inside for the drones as they return, ready to hand of the next package(s) and facilitate a lightning fast turnaround.

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To top it all off, Fernández gives us a look inside the actual building. There, we can see people who look like repair technicians wearing leg exoskeletons (which are currently in seat mode) working with some engineering equipment. This suggests that any drone repairs or maintenance would be done on-site, further localizing and streamlining the process.

A droneport like this would be a dream come true for any urban center, optimizing the process of delivering packages to consumers in a safe and, dare we say it, gorgeous fashion.


Posted December 21, 2016 by markosun in Aviation, Technology

John Glenn Military Flight History   Leave a comment


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John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016) was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling three times. Before joining NASA, he was a distinguished fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, with six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters to the Air Medal.

Glenn was one of the “Mercury Seven” group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America’s first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, he flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.

After he resigned from NASA in 1964, Glenn planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. A member of the Democratic Party, he first won election to the Senate in 1974 where he served through January 3, 1999.

He retired from the Marine Corps in 1965, after twenty-three years in the military, with over fifteen medals and awards, including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. In 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs as crew member of the Discovery space shuttle. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

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Photograph of John Glenn in the cockpit his F8U-1P Crusader during the "Project Bullet" record breaking transcontinental flight, 1957

Photograph of John Glenn in the cockpit his F8U-1P Crusader during the “Project Bullet” record breaking transcontinental flight, 1957

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John Glenn was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio, the son of John Herschel Glenn, Sr. (1895–1966) and Clara Teresa (née Sproat) Glenn (1897–1971). He was raised in nearby New Concord.

After graduating from New Concord High School in 1939, he studied Engineering at Muskingum College. He earned a private pilot license for credit in a physics course in 1941. Glenn did not complete his senior year in residence or take a proficiency exam, both requirements of the school for the Bachelor of Science degree. However, the school granted Glenn his degree in 1962, after his Mercury space flight.

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, Glenn quit college to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. However, he was never called to duty, and in March 1942 enlisted as a United States Navy aviation cadet. He went to the University of Iowa for preflight training, then continued on to NAS Olathe, Kansas, for primary training. He made his first solo flight in a military aircraft there. During his advanced training at the NAS Corpus Christi, he was offered the chance to transfer to the U.S. Marine Corps and took it.

Upon completing his training in 1943, Glenn was assigned to Marine Squadron VMJ-353, flying R4D transport planes. He transferred to VMF-155 as an F4U Corsair fighter pilot, and flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific. He saw combat over the Marshall Islands, where he attacked anti-aircraft batteries on Maloelap Atoll. In 1945, he was assigned to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and was promoted to captain shortly before the war’s end.

Glenn flew patrol missions in North China with the VMF-218 Marine Fighter Squadron, until it was transferred to Guam. In 1948 he became a flight instructor at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by attending the Amphibious Warfare School.

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During the Korean War, Glenn was assigned to VMF-311, flying the new F9F Panther jet interceptor. He flew his Panther in 63 combat missions, gaining the nickname “magnet ass” from his alleged ability to attract enemy flak. On two occasions, he returned to his base with over 250 holes in his aircraft. For a time, he flew with Marine reservist Ted Williams, a future Hall of Fame baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, as his wingman. He also flew with future Major General Ralph H. Spanjer.

Glenn flew a second Korean combat tour in an interservice exchange program with the United States Air Force, 51st Fighter Wing. He logged 27 missions in the faster F-86F Sabre and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu River in the final days before the ceasefire.

For his service in 149 combat missions in two wars, he received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross (six occasions) and the Air Medal with eighteen award stars.

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Glenn’s USAF F-86F that he dubbed “MiG Mad Marine” during the Korean War, 1953

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Glenn returned to NAS Patuxent River, appointed to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (class 12), graduating in 1954. He served as an armament officer, flying planes to high altitude and testing their cannons and machine guns. He was assigned to the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (now Bureau of Naval Weapons) as a test pilot on Navy and Marine Corps jet fighters in Washington, D.C., from November 1956 to April 1959, during which time he also attended the University of Maryland.

Glenn had nearly 9,000 hours of flying time, with approximately 3,000 hours in jet aircraft.

On July 16, 1957, Glenn completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight in a Vought F8U-3P Crusader. The flight from NAS Los Alamitos, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, took 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds. As he passed over his hometown, a child in the neighborhood reportedly ran to the Glenn house shouting “Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb!” as the sonic boom shook the town. Project Bullet, the name of the mission, included both the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed (despite three in-flight refuelings during which speeds dropped below 300 mph), and the first continuous transcontinental panoramic photograph of the United States. For this mission Glenn received his fifth Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

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Glenn wasn’t finished. He went on to flying much higher.

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John Glenn in his Mercury spacesuit


Posted December 9, 2016 by markosun in Aviation

Long Lost Nuke Found Off the Coast of Canada?   Leave a comment


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The Royal Canadian Navy confirmed today that a mysterious object found off the coast of B.C.’s North Coast is not a bomb or a lost nuclear weapon.

The navy was deployed at the request of RCMP to investigate the area near Haida Gwaii after diver Sean Smyrichinsky found a suspicious object during a diving trip near Banks Island.

Banks Island is in the Hecate Strait, approximately 110 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. (Google Maps)

In a statement, the navy said the object is “a metal part of a larger machine assembly and appears to be a piece of industrial equipment.”

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November 5, 2016

A diver exploring off the coast of British Columbia may have found a legendary nuclear bomb that went missing in the 1950’s.

Sean Smyrichinsky spotted the strange object during a diving expedition near Canada’s Banks Island.

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“It resembled, like, a bagel cut in half, and then around the bagel these bolts molded into it,” Smyrichinsky told the CBC.

When he first emerged from the water after encountering the mystery object, Smyrichinsky marveled to his fellow divers that he had just spotted a UFO!

However, he later investigated what it could have possibly been and concluded that it was likely a nuclear bomb that was lost in a U.S. Air Force crash in 1950.

The incident had been kept secret by the American government for years and the ultimate whereabouts of the bomb had long been the subject of debate among researchers.

Comparing images of the ‘lost bomb’ to what he saw during the dive, Smyrichinsky is convinced that it must be the infamous armament, probably because any other possibly was too fantastic to consider.

Smyrichinsky mused to the CBC, “I was thinking UFO, but probably not a UFO, right?”

Since the discovery is not too far from where the American Air Force plane went down in 1950, the chance of Smyrichinsky’s object being the bomb seems fairly likely.

Fortunately, the ‘mystery object’ will not linger as an unsolved case for long as the Canadian Navy is en route to examine Smyrichinsky’s find and determine what it is.

Although an official with the Canadian Air Force claims that the ‘lost bomb’ from the 1950’s is not dangerous, we wouldn’t want to be the guy in the wetsuit who has to go down there and find out.

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On 14 February 1950, a Convair B-36B, Air Force Serial Number 44-92075 assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing at Carswell Air Force Base, crashed in northern British Columbia after jettisoning a Mark 4 nuclear bomb. This was the first such nuclear weapon loss in history. The B-36 had been en route from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska to Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas, more than 3000 miles south-east, on a mission that included a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco.

Plane 44-92075, was flying on a simulated nuclear strike combat mission against the Soviet Union. The B-36 took off from Eielson AFB with a regular crew of 15 plus a Weaponeer and a Bomb Commander. The plan for the 24-hour flight was to fly over the North Pacific, due west of the Alaska panhandle and British Columbia, then head inland over Washington state and Montana. Here the B-36 would climb to 40,000 feet (12,000 m) for a simulated bomb run to southern California and then San Francisco, it would continue its non-stop flight to Fort Worth, Texas. The flight plan did not include any penetration of Canadian airspace. The plane carried a Mark IV atomic bomb, containing a substantial quantity of natural uranium and 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of conventional explosives. According to the USAF, the bomb did not contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation.

Cold weather (−40 °F/−40 °C on the ground at Eielson AFB) adversely affected the planes involved in this exercise, and some minor difficulties with 44-92075 were noted before takeoff.  Seven hours into the flight, three of the six engines began shooting flames and were shut down, and the other three engines proved incapable of delivering full power. The subsequent investigation blamed ice buildup in the mixture control air intakes.

The crew decided to abandon the aircraft because it could not stay aloft with three engines out of commission while carrying a heavy payload. The atomic bomb was jettisoned and detonated in mid-air, resulting in a large conventional explosion over the Inside Passage. The USAF later stated that the fake practice core on board the aircraft was inserted into the weapon before it was dropped.

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The aircraft commander steered the plane over Princess Royal Island to spare his crew having to parachute into the cold North Pacific, whereupon the crew bailed out. Before bailing out last, he set a turning course toward the open ocean using the autopilot.

The plane had been in constant radio contact with Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and within minutes of the bailout the Royal Canadian Air Force launched Operation Brix to find the missing men. Poor weather hampered search efforts; nevertheless 12 of the 17 men were eventually found alive. Four of the five deceased airmen were believed to have bailed out of the aircraft earlier than the surviving crew members, and it was assumed that they landed in the ocean and died of hypothermia. Canadian authorities were never told that the aircraft was carrying a nuclear weapon.

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To search for the B-36, planes were pulled off the search for a C-54 that had disappeared three weeks earlier. A more exhaustive search was not launched for the plane, as it was believed to be at the bottom of the Pacific. Three years later, however, a RCAF flight searching for the missing de Havilland Dove aircraft of Texas millionaire oilman Ellis Hall spotted the B-36’s wreckage. It was found on the side of Mount Kologet, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Alaskan border, roughly due east of the towns of Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska, on the east side of the isolated Nass Basin northwest of Hazelton, British Columbia.

The USAF immediately began an investigation. A team was sent in September 1953, as the effort was given a high priority, but they failed to reach the site after 19 days of trudging through the wilderness. The effort was resumed the following year with better equipment, and in August 1954 a new team of USAF personnel accompanied by a local guide reached the wreckage. They recovered important components and then used explosives to destroy what was visible above the snow.

In 1956, two civilian surveyors chanced on the wreck and noted its exact location, which otherwise remained unknown for the next 40 years. In 1997 one of the surveyors provided the coordinates to two distinct expeditions, one American and one led by the Canadian Department of National Defence, seeking to conduct an environmental analysis of the site. Both expeditions reached the wreck around the same time, and members were apparently the first humans to set foot in the area since 1956. The Canadian-led mission found no unusual radiation levels. In late 1998, the Canadian government declared the site protected. A portion of one of the gun turrets is on display at The Bulkley Valley Museum in Smithers, British Columbia.

In November 2016 a diver reported he had discovered something that looked like a segment of the (non-nuclear) bomb that the co-pilot said they had dumped before the crash.

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Posted November 29, 2016 by markosun in Aviation, Weapons

U.S. is developing new Super-Drone   Leave a comment


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DARPA is building a drone to provide ‘persistent’ surveillance virtually anywhere in the world

 

DARPA is on track to unveil a working prototype of its “Tern” drone system in 2018 that could eventually give the Navy and Marines persistent surveillance and strike targeting “virtually anywhere in the world.”

If it’s implemented, the Tern program would see fully-autonomous drones on small-deck ships throughout the world that can take off and land vertically. Once in flight, they transition to wing-borne flight at medium 

altitude and become the eyes and ears for its ship for long periods of time.

Among the things the Navy wants is a drone that can provide surveillance capability and strike targets, but with greater range than a traditional helicopter. It also would likely be used to gather signals intelligence from foreign adversaries — one of the main missions for US submarine forces.

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Tern, short for Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node, is a joint program between the Office of Naval Research and DARPA, the Pentagon’s research and development arm. The agency just funded a second Tern test vehicle for the next year that’s being built by Northrup Grumman.

If all goes to plan, Tern will move to ground-based testing in early 2018, before being tested at sea later in the year.

“We’re making substantial progress toward our scheduled flight tests, with much of the hardware already fabricated and software development and integration in full swing,” Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in a statement.

“As we keep pressing into uncharted territory—no one has flown a large unmanned tailsitter before—we remain excited about the future capabilities a successful Tern demonstration could enable: organic, persistent, long-range reconnaissance, targeting, and strike support from most Navy ships.”

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Tern isn’t the only drone program DARPA is working on. The agency has also been working on something called “upward falling payloads,” a program that would station drones in water-tight containers around the world’s oceans until they are called to the surface.

Here’s a concept video of how Tern is supposed to operate:

Posted November 21, 2016 by markosun in Aviation, Military