Monday, Sep 28, 2015 – The British pilot Paul Bonhomme won Fort Worth at Texas Motor Speedway yesterday. He is now on his way to the final victory in Master Class (RBAR World Championship). Only the Australian Matt Hall – eight points behind him – might win the Red Bull Air Race. The French Nicolas Ivanoff had won Fort Worth race last year but he he has come in ninth position this year.
If the die seems to be cast in Master Class, it is still rolling for the other championship: The top ranking is very tight in Challenger Class as the French Mickael Brageot, the Czech Petr Kopfstein, and the Swedish Daniel Ryfa all have a 28-point total. Just behind, Cristian Bolton, the Chilean pilot comes with 24 points. Only one of them will be allowed to go through to the Master Class next year. The next and last race promises to be a hard fought final in Las Vegas on October 17th & 18th, 2015.
Thursday November 8, 2012 – Two Iranian Sukhoi Su-25s (Su-25K Frogfoot-A? or Su-25UBK Frogfoot-B?) would have fired at a U.S. drone last week on November 1, at 04.50 am (Eastern Time) as it was flying above international waters – 16 miles off the Kuwaiti coast, according to the Pentagon.
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was not above Iranian territory when it was intercepted by Frogfoots which engaged the drone. However, the Predator was not shot down, and returned to its base.
George E. Little, Press secretary of the U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) stated: « We have a wide range of options from diplomatic to military. »
Reminder: an American RQ-170 Sentinel UAV had been captured in Iran on December 13, 2011.
Warning – This voice communication does not comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) recommendations. However, you can click off, and listen without reading the script on this video in order to jot down this radio communication for listening training purpose:
As you may have heard, the mythical Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was a strategic reconnaissance aircraft able to fly at more than Mach 3 – Mach 3.3 ie around 3,500 km/h; or 1,900 kts; and at a maximum flight level of… FL 850 or 26 kilometers high!
The Blackbird indeed had a unique flight envelope with a particular doghouse plot (since she could not exceed 3.5 G), and an exceptionnal coffin corner limited by her CIT – Compressor Inlet Temperature of 427°C maximum.
This aircraft was also unique for her engines were two J58 ramjets fuelled by JP-7 especially refined for extreme flying purpose. This special fuel could drip and leak abundantly as the airframe made up of titanium was retracted while taxiing, and became airtight only when it got its operating shape while flying very fast and very high because of the air density, and surrounding pressure plus the heating caused by the air friction at such speeds. In short, the whole structure considerably expanded when airborne.
The irony – I heard it on the grapevine, or read it somewhere on the web – that titanium which turned into dark blue while flying (SR-71s probably deserved those unofficial other nicknames « Bluebird », or « Habu » viper) was « imported » from… USSR!
Pilots must have taken significant risks inherent in flying such an aircraft as mentioned in this previous post. These pilots used to fly over the USSR to take strategic reconnaissance photographs during the Cold war. They wore pressurized spacesuits so that their blood could not boil in case of decompression or ejection at such altitudes.
The Blackbird travelled faster than a rifle bullet, and the air friction could have melt aluminum-skinned aircraft. At Mach 3.2, fuel cycled behind the chine surface in order to cool the aircraft! The inner windshield temperature could reach 120°C even though a heavy-duty cooling system was on a full function. On landing, the outside temperature of the canopy could reach 300°C, and it must have been far beyond on the fuselage, and wing surfaces while flying at high speeds. The pilot could feel the heat behind his protective gloves!