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What a plane crash feels like: The inside story

“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]
posted by heyho on Aug 2, 2014 - 27 comments

Mystery MH370

Last week it was announced that "Bluefin-21 completed its last mission" and that "the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370". That news came two days after Malaysian authorities released a 47 pages long document of Inmarsat's raw data [pdf]. [more inside]
posted by travelwithcats on Jun 1, 2014 - 84 comments

A New Perspective

Richard Edes Harrison was a trained architect, artist and mapmaker whose maps in the years leading up to and through WWII gave Americans a new perspective on the world.
World War II Led to a Revolution in Cartography. These Amazing Maps Are Its Legacy [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 22, 2014 - 4 comments

Way too close for comfort

Two Weeks Ago, I Almost Died in the Deadliest Plane Crash Ever How two jetliners nearly collided over the Pacific, why no one knows about it, and what it means for safety oversight aboard airplanes
posted by gottabefunky on May 15, 2014 - 67 comments

When Unlimited really meant Unlimited

Way back in 1970, there were some air racing organizers who felt that the answer to the too-short Unlimited air races at Reno might be to have a longer race, so long that it would require pit stops. In Unlimited-class piston airplanes. Thus was born the California 1000. [more inside]
posted by pjern on May 12, 2014 - 15 comments

No. No, no, no, and no.

A little video taken on gusty days at BHX, Birmingham, England's infamous Rock & Roll runway, 15-33. [SLYT]
posted by pjern on Apr 10, 2014 - 60 comments

Trappy - 1 : FAA - 0

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.
posted by smoothvirus on Mar 9, 2014 - 13 comments

MH370 missing

Malaysia Airlines MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is missing.
Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on 8 March 2014. MH370 was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.
Rumors that the plane has landed in Nanning, China are debunked. Chinese media had originally reported Vietnamese officials saying they've picked up a signal, but this has also been refuted. There has been no contact nor distress signals, and the case is especially puzzling as the plane lost contact at the safest moment of the flight. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Mar 7, 2014 - 1953 comments

Debugging the A350-XWB

How Airbus is Debugging the A350-XWB. Jeff Wise, writing in Bloomberg Business Week, describes the 18-month testing process for the new Airbus A350-XWB passenger jet. One page version (printer format). And a bonus media offering: a somewhat functional online 3D flight simulator. [more inside]
posted by spitbull on Feb 14, 2014 - 31 comments

SOP

Have you ever wondered how to turn on a Boeing 737? (SLYT)
posted by theodolite on Jan 25, 2014 - 56 comments

Operation Migration

Operation Migration has helped endangered bird species migrate by leading the way with ultralight aircraft. At the moment you can see a live video of them in flight.
posted by exogenous on Nov 29, 2013 - 6 comments

Flying Square of Cardboard.

Flying Square of Cardboard. [SLYT] It's a square of cardboard. That flies. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Oct 20, 2013 - 41 comments

The FAA vs. Trappy

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]
posted by smoothvirus on Oct 17, 2013 - 26 comments

Next to being a Hollywood movie star, nothing was more glamorous.

"After all I had gone through, I couldn’t believe I was finally wearing the uniform. I had made it. I was going to fly. It was such an accomplishment." International Politics and the First African American Flight Attendants [more inside]
posted by jaguar on Oct 1, 2013 - 3 comments

You find more drifters in dusting and spraying

Mississippi Delta Crop Duster Pilot (7 minute video)
posted by exogenous on Aug 26, 2013 - 13 comments

"...I assumed that this was another such check."

Don't fly during Ramadan. Aditya Mukerjee describes his experience while attempting to clear the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's checks and board a JetBlue flight. After being cleared by the TSA, following two hours of questioning and checks, Mukerjee was prevented by JetBlue from boarding his intended flight. He was offered rebooking for the following day and, when he declined, given a refund.

This isn't the first time that the TSA and JetBlue have been called out for this type of action.
posted by fireoyster on Aug 22, 2013 - 149 comments

Russian rocket explodes in Kazakhstan

Russian rocket explodes after launch in Kazakhstan.    More photos and video (Russian). [more inside]
posted by stopgap on Jul 2, 2013 - 46 comments

Forgotten 1960s 'Thunderbirds' projects brought to life

Forgotten 1960s 'Thunderbirds' projects brought to life. The "Multi-Unit Space Transport and Recovery Device" (MUSTARD), the "Jumping Jeep", and the "Intercity Vertical-Lift Aircraft". "British arms company BAE has recently been through its archives and publicised some of the projects dreamed up in the glory days of the 1960s, when designers' imaginations were allowed to run riot with little consideration of practicality or budget." From The Economist magazine, which has period sketches of the designs.
posted by alasdair on Jun 22, 2013 - 10 comments

Is this the Earhart Electra?

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has found something in the sonar data from their 2012 summer expedition to Nikumaroro atol.
posted by hat_eater on May 30, 2013 - 25 comments

Just how do you move a secret aircraft overland to a secret base?

How did Lockheed move the A-12 from the Skunk Works to Area 51 for flight testing without the vehicle being seen? Here's how.
posted by Rob Rockets on Apr 25, 2013 - 61 comments

TEAM GAMERA!

Gamera II is the University of Maryland's Human-Powered Helicopter. So far it has remained aloft for 65.1 seconds and reached an altitude of 9.4 feet, not quite enough to win the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter competition. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 21, 2013 - 47 comments

Maybe chemtrails were deployed to boost cartilage gel sales

A Brief History of Chemtrails traces the popular conspiracy theory to its origins on Usenet and Art Bell. How To Debunk Chemtrails collects resources about the theory. Jet Pilots Fear Chemtrail Attacks suggest the belief may be more than a harmless theory.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Apr 11, 2013 - 107 comments

Because because because

Why electronic devices are dangerous on planes.
posted by Artw on Dec 31, 2012 - 166 comments

Cleared to Land

Heathrow Approach Planes lining up on approach to London Heathrow at 17x speed. Strangely hypnotic slyt.
posted by jontyjago on Oct 26, 2012 - 57 comments

Elmendorf tower said something large just fell off your airplane

Freight Dogs are cargo pilots, often flying under less-than-ideal conditions. An audio interview with the author Michael Walker.
posted by exogenous on Sep 21, 2012 - 21 comments

Pilot's Timelapse

The working week of a commercial pilot as seen from the cockpit A timelapse video showing takeoffs and landings from the pilot's perspective. Complete with squashed insects on the windscreen.
posted by jontyjago on Sep 18, 2012 - 33 comments

Build your own Gossamer Condor

The first human-powered aircraft to achieve sustained and controlled flight, the Gossamer Condor (6.3 MB PDF), now belongs to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (2.2 MB JPG). So you'll need to build your own. (previously)
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 31, 2012 - 10 comments

Wrong-Way Corrigan

"I'm Douglas Corrigan," the man told a group of startled Irish airport workers who gathered around him when he landed his modified Curtiss Robin at Baldonnel Airport, in Dublin, on July 18, 1938. "Just got in from New York. Where am I? I intended to fly to California."
posted by ocherdraco on Apr 12, 2012 - 20 comments

Finally, a flying car!

Video: the Terrafugia Transition flying car goes for a drive and a flight. Press release. Previously. This is the first demonstrated flight of the vehicle at significant altitude (above ground effect).
posted by exogenous on Apr 3, 2012 - 43 comments

Dissecting OV's 103, 104 and 105.

Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
posted by zarq on Mar 23, 2012 - 13 comments

Boeing's 737 -- Prone To Problems?

Is Boeing's 737 an airplane prone to problems? [single-page version here]
posted by mr_crash_davis on Mar 21, 2012 - 49 comments

Fight and Flight. And Cars, too.

AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2012 - 2 comments

X Planes

X Planes, a tumblr. x planes is a tumblr devoted to historical aviation, and with a specific interest in experimental aviation. [more inside]
posted by mwhybark on Mar 2, 2012 - 7 comments

Point a Laser, Go to Jail

The FBI presents: Laser Pointer Leads to Arrest. Laser events logged by the FAA in 2010 nearly doubled from 2009, with 2,836 reports. [more inside]
posted by oneirodynia on Sep 29, 2011 - 180 comments

Reaching high altitudes with trash bags

Oh hello, I'm Las Vegas high school student Manuja Gunaratne and I built this aircraft using trashbags and helium. Btw, I put a GPS tracker on this thing and had a digital camera takes pictures during the entire flight. Check out Project T.B.A.C. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Sep 24, 2011 - 19 comments

The T-50 takes flight

Watched by Vladimir Putin, the Sukhoi T-50, Russia's answer to the Raptor stealth fighter, has made its maiden public appearance at the MAKS 2011 air show near Moscow, after first flying in January 2010. Bearing a striking resemblance to the F-22, the Sukhoi T-50 has been developed in co-operation with India and is slated to become the backbone of Russia's airforce. While the F-22 first flew in 7 September 1997 and ceased production with just 187 aircraft ordered, Sukhoi director Mikhail Pogosyan hopes to build 1,000 T-50s for Russia's airforce and export. Despite its ageing engines, it is rumoured to have a range of a range of almost 3,500 miles, twice that of the F-22. What is believed to be China's 5th generation fighter, the J-20, is also under development.
posted by joannemullen on Aug 18, 2011 - 69 comments

World's Largest Etch-A-Sketch

Boeing are currently testing the latest version of their venerable Jumbo Jet, the 747-8. Yesterday, in one of the last test flights prior to certification the new 747 flew for 17 hours, a distance of over 11,000 miles. The flight path can be seen here. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Aug 3, 2011 - 27 comments

Stewardess Uniform Collection

In the seven years since its last* appearance in the blue, Cliff Muskiet's Stewardess Uniform Collection has grown to more than 1,000 different uniforms from more than 400 different airlines. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 24, 2011 - 25 comments

D-Dalus

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.
posted by Trurl on Jun 23, 2011 - 38 comments

So how much does an F-35 actually cost?

Fresh on the heels of Lockheed Martin's delivery of the first production F-35 to the USAF, you might be wondering how much it actually costs. It depends on who you ask. Blackfive takes a crack at it, prompting a rather snippy response from Bill Sweetman over at Ares. Throw in additional commentary and a rebuttal, and head down the rabbit hole into the wonderful world of defense acquisition.
posted by kjars on May 17, 2011 - 94 comments

Senator James Inhofe

A released FAA investigation describes how in October last year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) deliberately landed his plane on a closed runway, and then caused the plane to "hop" over terrified construction workers and their vehicles. More recently, Senator Inhofe has taken to the Senate floor in praise of his friend (and friend of C Street), deposed Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo. [Previously, previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 13, 2011 - 81 comments

Roger, Roger.

14 high-res panoramas of aircraft cockpits.
posted by gman on Feb 8, 2011 - 20 comments

Girls Gone WWII

Photos of female aircraft workers, 1942-1943.
posted by hermitosis on Dec 16, 2010 - 31 comments

What happened to Qantas flight QF32, or: How to fly an A380 with three engines and a balky computer

Two hours just to sort through the error messages. What happened to that Airbus A380 (Qantas flight QF32) whose engine caught fire in mid-air between Singapore and Sydney in November 2010? One of the five crewmembers on the flight deck recounts the story, which centres on airplane computer systems as much as on keeping tons of metal in the air. [more inside]
posted by joeclark on Dec 12, 2010 - 40 comments

"Aircraft is flying safely and we'll get back to you very shortly with further information. Thank you for your patience."

On Friday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released their preliminary report regarding the Qantas Flight 32 in-flight engine failure. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Dec 6, 2010 - 30 comments

Up, Up and Away! (Auf, Auf und Weg?)

Luftfahrtsieb: Das Luftfahrtarchiv ist eine interessante Website, die handelt sich um die frühe Geschichte des Luftwesen in Deutschland und anderswo. Es botet Artikeln, die diskutieren die frühste Fliegversuche des Mensch, berühmte Fliegstaten wie die erste Flüge über den Ärmelkanal oder den Atlantik usw., aber vielleicht interessanter sind jene, die sich mit anderer Fächer befassen. Es gibt zum Beispiel Geschichten der Bemühungen des Graf von Zeppelin, einen erfolgreichen Luftschiff in seiner schwimmenden Halle auf dem Bodensee zu bauen und des Flugplatz in Johannisthal, wo findet deutsches Luftwesen seines Anfangrichtige. Man kann auch lernen, wie Kunstflugmanöver zu erbingen sind, oder die richtige Methode, sein Luftschiff zu starten oder landen. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns on Nov 24, 2010 - 48 comments

Curved couches of the autocrats

Inside the private jets of African dictators and other heads of state. (Slideshow of photographs by Nick Gleis.)
posted by WPW on Aug 12, 2010 - 30 comments

You buy transportation, not a carnival thrill ride.

We've discussed it before but why not take a look at So You're Going To Fly, a 1939 Popular Mechanics article aimed at first-time flyers.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 20, 2010 - 35 comments

or: How we learned to stop worrying and love the gyroscope

The Turn by William Langewiesche tells the story of pilots' fight against their innate sense of balance, which due to Newtonian physics, may insist a graveyard spiral is level, or vice versa. wikipedia has more, but essentially SLAtlantic.
posted by d. z. wang on Jul 10, 2010 - 27 comments

High Frontier

“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back for sure” - The US Air Force's first launch of the X-37b reusable space vehicle has provoked much speculation, with some even wondering if the Pentagon is reviving Nazi space-bomber plans. But was the launch of spaceplane an attempt to mask the launch of another secret weapon?
posted by Artw on Apr 25, 2010 - 55 comments

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