JSF F-35 Lightning II at Paris Airshow 2011

The U.S. F-35Cs – 5th-generation-fighter a/c – showed below are CATOBAR fighter jets. CATOBAR stands for Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery. It means that this variant of the F-35 JSF – Joint Strike Fighter aka Lightning II – is designed to be launched from a CV (Carrier Vessel aka aircraft carrier), and it is designed to land thanks to arrestor (or arresting) wires and hooks – Video:

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Solid-as-a-rock A380 aircraft struck… by lightning!

It is not uncommon for aircraft to be struck by lightning but this super heavy Emirates Airbus A380 got hit by a jagged bolt of lightning right over the pilot’s seats.

A huge amount of electric energy must have passed through the airframe of the aircraft during its approach at London Heathrow last week. Amazingly the commercial aircraft escaped damage, and nobody was hurt.

Is it any wonder this airplane may sustain such a stress in a clap of thunder? The size and the nature of the A380 airframe seems to be the right solution to such hazards. Thanks to its thick metal structure, the plane behaved as a perfect Faraday cage:

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Deborah Hersman – NTSB chairman – about what happened on Southwest Airlines B-737

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7 major airlines outsourcing 40% of their maintenance

A Boeing 737-300 has recently been forced to perform an emergency landing after an explosive depressurization due to a rather big hole in its fuselage. Reports suggested that some MRO (Maintenance; Repair; and Overhaul) operations had been outsourced to El Salvador, and might have caused such an accident.

However, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) said that the last heavy « C » check – the last major MRO operation on the aircraft – was performed at the Dallas Southwest maintenance facilities in March 2010.

The TWU (Transport Workers Union) has condemned the use of aircraft repair stations outside the USA, calling on Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to toughen the FAA’s oversight – Watch the video:

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X-47B bat-winged unmanned aircraft – Maiden flight

The US Navy X-47B UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) successfully completed its first flight at Edwards AFB on February 4, 2011.

The flight which was conducted by a US Navy/Northrop Grumman test team, lasted 29 minutes. The flight test was aimed to provide test data to check the system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless drone. The X-47B is deemed to safely take off from, and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Other flight tests should be performed to validate the airworthiness of the drone in Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River), Maryland till 2013. Here is the maiden flight video:

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