In 2014 a Gulfstream plane crashed and burst into flames in Bedford, Massachusetts, killing seven people (NTSB animation). Aviation writer Ron Rapp argues that the cause was not defective equipment or simple complacency, but the normalization of deviance, whereby "people within [an] organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety." This was also considered to be a factor in the crashes of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. The creator of the concept and author of The Challenger Launch Decision, sociologist Diane Vaughan, is interviewed here. (transcript)
United States Naval Aviation 1910–2010 by Mark L. Evans and Roy A. Grossnick is the Naval History and Heritage Command’s fourth update to the original history which was initiated in 1960. That first issue celebrated the first 50 years of United States naval aviation and this two-volume set commemorates the centenary. [more inside]
Jetman (previously, previously, previously) and wingman over Dubai in formation flight with A380 (YouTube). Behind the scenes video. Discussion by Emirates of the flight planning involved in ensuring, among other things, that they didn't reenact the sad fate of Stratogale as seen in The Incredibles.
How difficult would it be to take apart this airplane and use it to manufacture this airplane?
The Solar Impulse, the world's first solar-powered manned long-haul flying machine, is currently in the midst of the longest leg in its pioneering round-the-world journey — China to Hawaii, which at a cruising speed of less than 30mph is anticipated to take most of a week. Follow along with live flight telemetry here. Swiss businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, who both previously participated in the world's first round-the-world balloon voyage, in the Breitling Orbiter 3, are alternating flight legs. Borschberg is at the controls until the aircraft reaches Hawaii.
There is no more water, except for the clouds. In this animated short film, a heroic pilot attempts to change that. [more inside]
Since the 1980s, the female pilot population has been stagnating at unbearably low levels. Out of more than 1 million pilots worldwide, there are only 50,000 female pilots. Other technical fields in the air and space industry are equally lacking female presence. Women of Aviation Week Worldwide celebrates women's aviation history and encourages girls and women to get out and 'be the majority' at your local aviation site. [more inside]
The Science of Survivability (PDF) is a presentation by Anthony T. Brickhouse about maximizing survivability in airplane crashes. It is presented as part of the NOAA Aviation Safety Program, and contains many interesting facts about surviving a plane crash.
The TSA Blog has posted their 2014 year in review, including 2,212 confiscated firearms and a variety of other prohibited and suspicious items. FiveThirtyEight has a breakdown by airport of the confiscated firearms. [more inside]
In 1966, Weaver was flying an SR-71 at full speed, Mach 3.18, when it abruptly and catastrophically disintegrated. Somehow, he survived the breakup. He didn't eject; the plane just tore itself apart around him and scattered in all directions. In other words, he suddenly found himself flying along at Mach 3.18 ... without his plane. (via)
Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the globe, has died. She was 88 years old. In 1964, housewife and amateur pilot Jerrie Mock took on the task of completing what Amelia Earhart had attempted over a quarter century earlier: flying around the world. To the surprise of many, she was successful. [more inside]
“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]
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]
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]
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
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]
A little video taken on gusty days at BHX, Birmingham, England's infamous Rock & Roll runway, 15-33. [SLYT]
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.
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]
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]
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.
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]
"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]
Mississippi Delta Crop Duster Pilot (7 minute video)
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.
This isn't the first time that the TSA and JetBlue have been called out for this type of action.
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.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has found something in the sonar data from their 2012 summer expedition to Nikumaroro atol.
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.
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]
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.
Heathrow Approach Planes lining up on approach to London Heathrow at 17x speed. Strangely hypnotic slyt.
Freight Dogs are cargo pilots, often flying under less-than-ideal conditions. An audio interview with the author Michael Walker.
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.
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)
"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."
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).
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.)
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]
X Planes, a tumblr. x planes is a tumblr devoted to historical aviation, and with a specific interest in experimental aviation. [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
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]