“When we yelled ‘Brace!’ ” Brown said later, “I always described it as if you watched a wind come across a field of wheat and everything bends. That’s how it was. Everybody went down. It was like a field of wheat being blown over.” What a plane crash feels like: The inside story of an American aviation disaster — and miracle [more inside]
Previously on the blue. Raphael Pirker, a.k.a. "Trappy" was the first person ever to to fined by the FAA for the commercial operation of a drone. However, instead of paying up, Pirker decided to contest the ruling with a little pro bono legal help. Last Thursday evening, the judge issued his ruling. The judge dismissed the FAA's case, agreeing with the defense that since the FAA never created any legally binding rules for small drones to begin with, they cannot now apply rules that would be used for a pilot flying a full size manned aircraft to drone operators. For now, the ruling means that commercial operation of SUAS in the United States is, basically, legal. Within 24 hours of the ruling, the FAA appealed the case to entire board of the NTSB. SUAS experimenters who have been waiting in the wings are pleased with the ruling.
Raphael Pirker, a.k.a. Trappy, is a FPV pilot who came to be well known after the video from his New York flight went viral. While most of the media coverage of Trappy's NYC exploits was positive, the incident prompted a heated debate in the hobbyist community, and the authorities took a dim view of it. Shortly afterwards, Trappy was hired by a PR firm to do an aerial video shoot over the University of Virginia. The FAA, having banned commercial use of UAVs in 2007, took the unusual step of issuing a $10,000 fine for the unauthorized flight. Earlier this month Trappy's attorneys filed a response(pdf) to the FAA's action which questions whether the FAA holds jurisdiction over "model aircraft" in the first place. According to Wired Magazine, he court's decision could determine the future of model aviation and miniature UAVs in the US. Once again, the response from the hobbyist/entrepreneur community has been spirited. [more inside]
109 years ago today, on December 17th 1903, Orville Wright lay down and flew 120 feet at 10 feet per second on the Wright Flyer. [more inside]
In 2006, the United States Air Force declassified part of one of its secret programs: Constant Peg, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which flew MiGs. [more inside]
"This is unprecedented footage of a small airplane crash from inside the cockpit from two different views. Miraculously, everyone survived. The pilot will make a full recovery and the rest of us escaped with superficial injuries and feel very lucky to be alive." (Graphic accident footage, injuries are shown) [more inside]
Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine. ... The key to the D-Dalus' extreme maneuverability is the facility to alter the angle of the blades (using servos) to vector the forces, meaning that the thrust can be delivered in your choice of 360 degrees around any of the three axes. Hence D-Dalus can launch vertically, hover perfectly still and move in any direction, and that's just the start of the story.
The largest model railway layout in the world, Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland has been featured here before. Featuring areas modelled on real life attractions, it also is home to the fictional town of Knuffingen where the 200,000 mini-inhabitants are very much looking forward to the opening of their new airport. [more inside]
Francie Rehwald said she wanted a curved, feminine-shaped house for her Malibu lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean, so architect David Hertz designed her a home built from a scrapped 747.
Online SR-71A Flight Manual. Included in sr-71.org's excellent Blackbird Archive is a scanned copy of the actual "Dash-1" flight manual for the famous SR-71A reconnaissance plane. [more inside]
21st Century Jet: The Building of the 777 (part 1 of 5) In the early 90's, Boeing decided to build a new airplane, the 777. They also decided to allow KCTS Television and Channel Four London to film the design, construction, and testing of the new airliner. This 5-hour documentary, first aired in 1996, is no longer shown on TV, and out of print on VHS, but you can now watch it on Google Videos. [more inside]
Last operational flight of the F-14s Speaking of gravity-defying cats... Remember the F-14, Tom Cruise's favorite ride? It's the end of an era for the venerable warbird. The variable-geometry Tomcat was the last carrier aircraft built specifically for fleet defense and long-range interception -- in fact, it grew up with a dedicated weapon system just for the job. Like any cat with nine lives, it showed up doingnew and different things. In its later years it found a new role as a precision-strike aircraft (the "BombCat") and nearly lived to be the bridge to the new F-35 multirole Joint Strike Fighter. Excuse the warmongering. What can I say...I was bored with the lousy NFL early games on TV this afternoon..