SKYDIVER TO BREAK NEW FREE FALL RECORD

 

Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, performed a challenging test jump on Thursday March 15, 2012.

Felix Baumgartner has the right stuff. He is a well known BASE jumper. B.A.S.E. means Buildings; Aerials; Spans (jumps from bridges); and Earth (jumps from cliffs). He performed numerous stunts such as jumping from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, World Financial Center T101 in Taipei, and the Millau viaduct.

Yesterday’s jump test is just a stage in his attempt to break a new free-fall record. He jumped above Roswell, New Mexico at an altitude of 71,581 feet ie 21.8 kilometers; 13.6 miles; or Flight Level 716. He should then carry out another jump test before leaping again from a capsule lifted by a helium balloon at around 120,000 ft ie 23 miles or 37 km this year, and could become the first man to break the sound barrier while free falling.

 


 

MEDICAL CHALLENGE

This is not a simple leap in the sky. People may not understand how dangerous skydiving at such heights is. The air density is so low that it cannot brake movements as drag becomes poorer up there.

Therefore, a position mistake can make the human body tumble violently or spin very fast. High rotation speeds involve high-G forces due to the centrifugal force, and may lead to G-LOC (G-force induced Loss Of Consciousness), and even to the rupture of blood vessels.

Moreover, if a spacesuit were to leak (due to a dormant seal failure or a cracked/crazed faceplate, for instance), the blood could be boiling (ebullism at 37°C above 63,000 ft or 19 km) because of the very low air pressure, and the body could be swelling, and actually freezing to death as the external temperature can reach down to -70°C, and even lower, not to mention the risk of pulmonary barotrauma.

The current record is held by Joseph Kittinger (a former USAF pilot who is curently advising Felix Baumgartner on his project) who jumped from 102,800 feet in 1960. He temporarily lost the use of his hand which got twice as big as a glove seal was leaking during the final part of the ascent. With this test jump, Felix Baumgartner already belongs to the highest three skydivers along with Joe Kittinger, and Russian Eugene Andreev who performed the longest parachute jump from 83,523 feet (25.5 km).

The following video shows that this feat is not only a matter of pushing limits as researchers are working on this Red Bull Stratos project to prepare flight safety of the future spacecraft:

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Could RAFALE benefit from F-35 glitches?

 

JSF F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II

The British Harriers were to be replaced by the F-35Cs. Do you remember? You may have learnt from the recent news that the carrier variant of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Joint Strike Fighter – CV JSF (Carrier Vessel variant’s Joint Strike Fighter) – F-35C was unable to catch the wire onboard the aircraft carrier during the latest landing tests.

Strange as it may seem, the F-35C’s designers may have not forecast what would unfold during a test flight while landing on an aircraft carrier:

The arresting hook (tailhook) never engaged the arresting wire as the clearance between the tail hook and the main landing gear’s tyre tread is too short for such a speed. An F-35C Lightning II missing her carrier landing has been reported even though some U.S. officials would have dismissed such information which might result from simulated tests.

Added to that is a software bug which had grounded the CV JSF for 6 days a few month earlier for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft might have encountered wing-folding input while flying!

As a result, the British Ministry of Defence might find a Plan-B solution as these design flaws, and some others which date back to November 2011 are deemed unacceptable for such an expensive fighter aircraft – $139.5 million for the F-35C (CATOBAR – Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery), and $150 million for the F-35B (STOVL – Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing). The latter can land on carriers but she is more expensive, and the JSF program costs have already increased several times.

 

Moreover, the JSF would not be able to fire AMRAAM air-to-air missiles as reported in this video:

 

 

RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

And there’s even more: according to a Pentagon study team report, 13 areas of concern that remained to be addressed in the F-35 would have been identified. For instance, the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) would not work properly…

The British MoD is therefore considering the purchase of either F/A-18E Super Hornets or RAFALEs for the RAF. The French Dassault which has already lost the Swiss NAC tender due to replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5s, would be proposing a new offer with 18 RAFALEs at a cost deemed lower than the 22 SAAB Gripens’ one according to the Swiss press.

The RAFALE is still in competition with the Eurofighter in the Indian MMRCA tender. the Indian officials are expected to make a decision this week. To be continued… ==> We have just learnt (on January 31, 2012) that the RAFALE has won the MMRCA tender… 🙂

 

Photo 1: © Recce 233 Savoie; Photo 2: © Xavier Cotton – http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

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PASSENGERS DID BELIEVE THEIR AIRCRAFT WOULD CRASH

 

Scary flight onboard British Airways BA 0206 – It happened over the Atlantic Ocean at 35,000 feet on Friday January 13, 2012 at 03.00 AM.

The passengers were given the scare of their lives by an emergency message which said that the aircraft was about to crash into the ocean, and that they have to brace themselves for impact. It just was not true, as the message was pre-taped, and was sent-out by mistake. The flight attendants dashed into the cabin to calm down the panic surging. Then, an announcement added that such warnings – if re-iterated – should be diregarded.

British Airways has apologized to the people who were onboard BA 0206 for this incident. Watch the video:

 

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HOW to SURVIVE an AIRCRASH

 
This video shows how you can survive an airplane crash.
 
In case you are caught up in an air disaster situation, this is what you need:

  • an aisle seat or one close to it
  • long-sleeved pants and top;
  • and flat closed-toe shoes;
  • and a smoke hood or a wet washcloth

 
Click on the video hereafter:
 


 
If you need the transcript, it is available here: http://goo.gl/31kRo
 

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U.S. drone captured in Iran

The USAF RQ-170 Sentinel – ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) + Ground-attack stealth drone – recently captured in Iran should remain indefinitely according to the latest news:

“No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country,” Iranian General Hossein Salami said.

Nothing more was revealed but the U.S. Air Force admitted that the UAV would have had a malfunction on its course to Iran after leaving Afghanistan. The pictures of the fuselage cannot show evidence of shooting down, and nothing proves what the Iranian officials suggested about EW (Electronic Warfare) means which might have brought down the drone to the ground perhaps by jamming.

To be continued…

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