GUSTAVE WHITEHEAD FLEW ON AUGUST 14, 1901

He took off that day. It was 115 years ago, two years before the Wrights. Gustav Weisskopf had changed his name into Gustave Whitehead before building his aeroplane whose name was the « Condor », or number 21. Gustave was a German immigrant from Leutershausen in Bavaria, where a splendid museum https://www.weisskopf.de commemorates the feats of the brilliant inventor.

Two replicas of his plane #21 flew in 1986 in the U.S.A., and in 1997 in Germany. Several books have been written about Gustave Whitehead so far. Susan O’Dwyer Brinchman published the latest one last year. Her searching follows her father’s, Major William J. O’Dwyer, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve officer who had found early Whitehead’s photos in an attic, in 1963, and researched Whitehead for the next 45 years, interviewing many witnesses. Susan worked with him during the later decades and recently, has found even more. She explains why Whitehead must have been the first in the world to perform a steerable, propelled without catapult, heavier-than-air flight. She shares an extensive FAQ and lots of resources on her website here: http://gustavewhitehead.info/gustave-whitehead-resources/  which are quite compelling. You can order her book Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight on Amazon or get a signed one by clicking on the cover here below:

Book cover First in Flight on Gustave Whietehead by Susan O'Dwyer BrinchmanBook cover story of Gustave Whitehead First in Flight aviation history Connecticut

Iranian Su-25 Fighterjets Shot at U.S. Drone

BREAKING NEWS :

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.

VIDEO:

LANDING – HOW DIFFICULT IT CAN BE…

 

WarningThis 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:

 

Waterbury-Oxford Airport Map

Click on the map above to enlarge. (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration courtesy via Wikimedia)

 

These things happen.

  1. Bearing reported with a ninety-degree error, then corrected;
  2. Uncertainty of the downwind leg;
  3. Traffic not in sight;
  4. Uncertainty as to which airport is in sight;
  5. Requests are said again;
  6. Another airport in the vicinity with same runway configuration;
  7. Traffic off course;
  8. Within half a mile, no traffic in sight, and no radar tracking;
  9. Pilot cannot hear at times or does not reply;
  10. Confusion between ident and squawk;
  11. Pilot does not know how to use the transponder;
  12. Uncertainty of the type of aircraft, then corrected.

Landings may be difficult at times, indeed…

Mach-3 SR-71 Blackbird’s HOT COCKPIT

Blackbird onboard USS Intrepid – Photo © Xavier Cotton http://www.passionpourlaviation.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://www.passionpourlaviation.fr

BRAZIL puts off its decision to buy new Fighterjet

Brazil is to spend up to 7 billion dollars (around 12 billion reals) for its Brazilian Air Force (FAB – Forca Aerea Brasileira) next procurement – fighter aircraft. There is no way to predict whether it will be Rafales, Gripens, or Super Hornets. Nobody knows much about what the tender outcome will be. We just know that India would advise Brazil in this competition. We will have to take another six months until Brazil makes a decision on this bid ie on December 31, 2012, or even later.

On the one hand, the French Dassault Rafale is deemed ahead thanks to its performance, the Swiss NAC tests, and thanks to a transfer of technology pledge. Moreover, the Rafale (carrier-capable) has won the Indian MMRCA tender among strong contenders – F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, MiG-35 Fulcrum F, Eurofighter/Typhoon, F-16IN Super Viper, JAS 39 NG Gripen. On the other hand, the U.S. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet would be cheaper but the transfer of technology still depends on another aircraft sale.

Remember about fighter aircraft performance… 3 years ago!