Mach-3 SR-71 Blackbird’s HOT COCKPIT

Blackbird onboard USS Intrepid – Photo © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.fr

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 This special fuel could drip and leak abundantly as the airframe made up of titanium was retracted while taxiing, and became airtight only when it got its operating shape while flying very fast and very high because of the air density, and surrounding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!

Special thanks to Xavier Cotton for the Blackbird photos. Please, visit his website on http://passiondesavions.blogspot.fr

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RAMP AGENT about her JOB

When you pull your suitcase off the baggage carousel, you cannot see those who took care of it. They sort out a tremendous amount of bags and packs every day.

They drive tugs or pushback tractors, performing aircraft towings, and push-backs thanks to a tow bar. They load bulk cargo, and passenger baggage thanks to belt loaders, and they load ULD (Unit Load Device) pallets as well.

Maybe you wonder who these people are. Let us listen to one of these ramp agents also called “Fleet service clerks“; “Fleet service agents“; or “Baggage handlers“.

Video:

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RENO AIR RACES CRASH – Pilot Tried to Avoid Bleachers

74-year-old Jimmy Leeward, a movie stunt pilot was flying a P-51 Mustang called “Galloping Ghost” for the Reno Air Race yesterday September 16, 2011.

On the video you can see that shortly after lifting-up to reach the middle part of a loop, the aircraft dived towards the bleachers, and crashed very close to them. According to the news, 3 died, and 54 would have been injured, 12 of which in severe conditions. A Mayday emergency call would have been heard a few seconds before the accident.

The Reno Air Races have been cancelled even if the families insisted on letting the airshow go on. Some videos on the Internet show how violent the impact was. The area has been cordoned off as the NTSB is still investigating, as well as FAA officials were on the spot, and a mass-casualty situation has been reported.

Jimmy Leeward would have tried to dodge the bleachers as his P-51 was going down. The famous pilot would have saved hundreds of potential casualties before he died, according to this eyewitness account:

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Pointing lasers at aircraft will cost offenders big time

Pointing lasers at aircraft can cost pilots their lives. The FAA has decided to increase the penalty. This prank is to cost the offenders a hefty fine – up to $11,000. Some pen-shaped laser pointers have been reported around a thousand times in the USA in 2011, and 2,836 incidents were reported last year.

It may seem a harmless prank. However, when a laser pen user aims at an aircraft, it turns into a dangerous hazard as the laser light is reflected everywhere. When the beams re reflected into the pilots’ eyes, the can get blind, and cause a crash.

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Argentine, Uruguayan Flights, and more Cancelled due to Volcanic Ash

An ash blanket has covered Buenos Aires today June 9, 2011.

The Puyehue – a Chilean volcano – has been erupting since June 4, and as a result, all the aircraft have been grounded, as well as all the flights have been cancelled at the main Buenos Aires airports – Ezeiza International Airport (also Ministro Pistarini International Airport); Jorge Newbery Airport; and Ástor Piazzolla International Airport. Flights have been cancelled in Uruguay at Carrasco International Airport.

Traffic troubles had begun in Argentina on Tuesday, then the flight resumed on Wednesday. A huge ash cloud is still hovering over the Argentine capital at FL 290 (9,000 m). The cleaning operation are going on.

Watch the video hereafter:

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Heavily-striped pilot on enormous traffic pattern

…or how to learn with humor – watch the video:

Special thanks to DeltaDart48 for stumbling upon this video starring Paul Bertorelli in this “flying lesson”. By the way, who sells such stripes on E-bay?

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Paris Charles de Gaulle airport running out of de-icing fluid

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FLIGHT SAFETY – Aircraft integrated de-icing services

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More than 100,000 U.S. aircraft avoid tracking !

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