RIP Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, Royal Navy officer, Battle of Britain survivor and test pilot who flew a record breaking 487 different types of aircraft. [more inside]
On June 18, 1947 on a Pan Am flight from Calcutta to New York, an engine stopped working. While the pilot attempted to land the plane, the 25-year-old co-pilot unbuckled himself, and went into the main cabin to help the passengers...
If you happen to drive along NM-137, a quiet rural road in south-east New Mexico, you'll drive through Queen, a former ghost town that is once again inhabited by the living. Slow down and you'll see a monument to The Flying Paper Boy Of The Guadalupes, Frank Kindel. [more inside]
On September 11, pioneering pilot and aerial cinematographer, occasional cameo actor and air ambulance pilot Alan Purwin was killed in a plane crash in Colombia while working on a movie. The master of the dangerous art of aerial photography is memorialized by[WATCH ME] his friend and frequent collaborator, Michael Bay.
As the North Vietnamese Army captured Saigon, Ba Van Nguyen was one of the thousands of South Vietnamese desperately fleeing the country. Nguyen, a major in the South Vietnamese Air Force, would be executed and his family would be sent to concentration camps if he was caught. But Major Nguyen had a plan: he'd moved his family to his mother-in-law's house near a soccer field, and told his wife to listen for--and be ready when she heard--the distinctive whump-whump-whump-whump chopping sound made by the twin rotors of his CH-47 Chinook, the largest helicopter in the South Vietnamese Air Force. Early on the morning of April 29, 1975…
The New York Times is reporting this morning that crash of the Germanwings plane on Tuesday in the French Alps that killed 150 people "most likely happened" because the co-pilot crashed the jet deliberately, [more inside]
Rocket Boy was a short-lived Canadian TV series. Starring Dave Thomas, Ron James, and an assortment of Thomas' SCTV comrades. Sadly, the series is not displayable on the internet. [more inside]
Samantha Cristoforetti is an European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer and polyglot, fluent in Italian, English, German, French and Russian. She is also the first Italian woman in space and cheerfully tweeting and taking photos from the International Space Station.
This idea that nature is inherently probabilistic — that particles have no hard properties, only likelihoods, until they are observed — is directly implied by the standard equations of quantum mechanics. But now a set of surprising experiments with fluids has revived old skepticism about that worldview. The bizarre results are fueling interest in an almost forgotten version of quantum mechanics, one that never gave up the idea of a single, concrete reality.
The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.
Particles at the quantum scale seem to do things that human-scale objects do not do. They can tunnel through barriers, spontaneously arise or annihilate, and occupy discrete energy levels. This new body of research reveals that oil droplets, when guided by pilot waves, also exhibit these quantum-like features.
On September 20, 1956, just before the bars closed at 3 a.m., a single-engine plane landed on St. Nicholas Avenue near 191st Street in northern Manhattan. Behind the stick was 26-year-old Tommy Fiztpatrick, who pulled off the no-lights, no-radio "feat of aeronautics" while (allegedly) drunk to (allegedly) win a bar bet. Two years later, when a fellow patron called his story into question, Fitzpatrick did it again.
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
Early this morning, pilot John Pedersen encountered mechanical difficulties and made an emergency landing on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago [photos]. [more inside]
"In the early days of human flight, a new word entered our lexicon: "aviatrix," the female version of "aviator." These women were true pioneers, although if you asked them, they would probably tell you they were just adventurous and loved flying -same as the men who took to the air in those days." Mentalfloss profiles seven women from the first decades of airplanes. If you'd like more tales of adventure and daring, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum website has a section on women in aviation, as does the San Diego Air and Space Museum (related Flickr gallery). [more inside]
"When you were up there in a plane, you’d get shot at, and you couldn’t call field artillery to support you. You had no ambulance, no medic. There was no tank to come in and run over the enemy. All it took was one accurate aircraft shot, and a plane full of 10 guys was gone. The commanders, for the most part, understood this,” Conway continues, “So there was a little bit more leniency in that regard than there would have been with ground guys. The officers figured, ‘Well, if this guy wants to paint a naked lady on the back of the jacket, what good is it to try to stop him? He could be dead tomorrow morning.’ The main objective was winning the war, not enforcing minor regulations and rules.”
The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a popular MetaFilter topic, was born 177 years ago today (November 30th 1835) in Missouri. The printer, riverboat pilot, game designer, journalist, lecturer, technology investor, gold miner, publisher and patent holder wrote short stories, essays, novels and non-fiction under the pen name Mark Twain. This included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (recently adapted into a musical), one of the top five challenged books of the 1990s, published in 1884-85 to a mixed reception and with an ending that still causes debate. [more inside]
"Revolution" seems a little too much like "Powerless." Indie television proof-of-concept pilot "Powerless" is "about a trio who are in the woods when an unexplained and unexpected event causes electricity the world over to suddenly disappear." The pilot is submitted to a 2011 television festival where it is seen by studio executives. Then, "come February 2012, NBC picks up [a] mystery high concept pilot and reveals it's called 'Revolution' and the high concept is: An adventure series in a world suddenly and inexplicably without power." [more inside]
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 drawings of Ron Franciere circa 1962-1988 — "Ron Franciere was something of a mystery to me. Ran into many dead ends trying to find information on him. I posted some images on my website Bighappyfunhouse. I received emails that held a few stories of Ron and his life - but nothing ever lead me to contacting Ron Franciere. Then, I received an anonymous comment on my website."
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]
Denny Fitch, one of 4 pilots who guided United 232 to a controlled crash landing in Sioux City, Iowa after a complete hydraulic fluid loss following an engine failure, has died of cancer. He was interviewed about the landing for Errol Morris' First Person series (YouTube) (previously). Denny's family also documented his journey with his incurable brain tumor on his website and blog.
X Planes, a tumblr. x planes is a tumblr devoted to historical aviation, and with a specific interest in experimental aviation. [more inside]
In 1975, a half-hour variety show titled The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence piloted on ABC television but it was going after an older audience.
A gallery of personalized bomber jackets from WWII with descriptions.
In August-September 1965, India and Pakistan went to war for the second time since their independence in 1947. On September 19, a civilian aircraft (Beechcraft Model 18) carrying the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat (bordering Pakistan) was shot down by a Pakistani Air Force pilot (flying an F-86F). Now, 46 years later, the Pakistani pilot has written a condolence letter to the daughter of the pilot of the Indian civilian aircraft.
One day in 1984 character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, the original, unaired pilot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) was walking down the street when Jonathan Demme pulled up and asked if he wanted to see a movie he was finishing. Tobolowsky accepted: taking his girlfriend Beth Henley, they went to the Academy Linwood Dunn Theatre to watch the rough cut of the movie, Stop Making Sense. The audience in the otherwise empty theatre consisted of Tobolowsky, Henley, and Demme, along with members of Talking Heads, including David Byrne and Tina Weymouth. Later, Byrne passed Tobolowsky on his bike and asked if he wanted to work on a new movie. Interest sparked again, and during the ensuing collaboration Tobolowsky shared his past experience of psychic phenomena. Inspired, Byrne went on to write Radio Head. The song was heard by Thom Yorke and became the name of his band. All of this is a true story, based on puzzling evidence. [more inside]
Ever wish you could watch the pilot episode of Married... with Children with different actors portraying the roles of Bud and Kelly? Of course you have. Why wouldn't you? [more inside]
'Poets don’t draw,' Jean Cocteau said. 'They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.' An ode to the Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine.
I looked over my shoulder and saw her sitting on the floor of the aircraft and she was just devastated. It was heartbreaking.
Mark Kempton s a chopper pilot. On Monday January 10, 2011 while flood waters rose in Grantham, Queensland, Mark and his Emergency Management Queensland helicopter crew from Archerfield winched 28 people to safety over a period of 2 1/2 hours. [more inside]
This is by far the coolest collection of TV pilots, pitches, scripts, and supplementary documents I have ever seen. [more inside]
Once, there was a boy named Yves. He lived in the mountainous country of Switzerland, and he dreamed of flying. He loved the idea of being free to soar through the air so much that he became a pilot. Later, he went on to fly bigger planes. Perhaps he's even been your pilot. But being a pilot was never quite enough. Yves still dreamed of soaring through the air, like a bird. And now, he does. Meet Jetman. Previously
"The TV Wheel was a television experiment created by and starring Joel Hodgson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame. Cable network HBO ordered a pilot, but ultimately passed on picking up the show. The pilot episode eventually aired once on Comedy Central as a special presentation following the last new episode of MST3K to be broadcast on that network."*
The pilot, bookended by introduction segments, is right through this door: [more inside]
The pilot, bookended by introduction segments, is right through this door: [more inside]
The unaired pilot of The Big Bang Theory has surfaced on YouTube. Coming off like an episode of the series from an alternate universe, this first stab at the show gives us a more inept Leonard, a sexual Sheldon, and two female leads that wouldn't carry over to the finished product: Katie (a wild party girl who makes stupid choices) and Gilda (a fellow nerd who has her analytical eyes on Leonard). [Part 2 | Part 3] [more inside]
Ever wonder how military aviators get their callsigns? Chances are good it won't be based on something you're proud of. Apparently being too influenced by Top Gun and asking to be called "Iceman" is a frequent, and bad, move: see "Slush" and "Snocone", and that's just from the S's. [more inside]
Palm is up for sale. Brief history and influence of this award winning maker of handheld devices. Does it have a future? [more inside]
Star Trek fans know that there was a second, unaired pilot episode of Where No Man has Gone Before. That version has been found by a collector in Germany, and is going to be released.
The complete and until today unaired pilot of South Park for Comedy Central, with an additional creator's commentary track. About 90% was recut into the first episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe," but with a few slightly altered scenes and characters. After gaining underground popularity with two shorts that you've all probably seen already at this point, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were contracted by Comedy Central to produce a full pilot episode for a potential show based on the shorts. This pilot episode is what would ultimately lead to a series that is now 12 years old, spans over 180 episodes, and is one of the most successful shows in the history of cable television both in ratings and revenue. The pilot is also the only episode in the series that, like the original shorts, uses stop-motion animation of paper cutouts instead of computer software.
Ask the Pilot. Columnist Patrick Smith explains why you shouldn't be afraid of flying. [more inside]
A woman with no arms has conquered flying It's not all sensible, though. As she says at the end, she literally has her life in her "own feet." Flying a plane never looked so comfortable.
The Faroe (Fær Øer) pilot whales slaughter (warning, crude pictures). The Faroe Islands (prev) were nominated in year 2007 by National Geographic as one of the most appealing tourism location in the world. The inhabitans have traditionally hunted pilot whales and other cetaceans for their own sustainment, but according also to their own national statistics (PDF) , the whale hunting business is no longer a significant factor. Some ongoing online petition is trying to put a final end to this practice.
Flawless Aircraft Emergency Landings (QLYTP). Breatheless reporting aside, it looks like when a pilot can control the landing, these aircraft are tough enough that no one need be hurt. Many more excellent videos in the post-video links, too.
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