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05 December 2014

A Fun Set of Videos for the Weekend

These are all good-hearted aviation videos which are being passed around that I thought you might enjoy. Surely you can’t have already seen them all!

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This viral video shows real community spirit, when an aircraft full of passengers got out into weather of -50C to push their aircraft onto position on the runway:

One of the passengers puts it simply: “We all want to get home.”

This is closer to power lines than I ever want to be in a flying machine:

They are fixing damaged wires and cables on live high voltage power lines. I was holding my breath while I watched.

I have seriously always wanted a jetpack:

In my imagination they would be a bit more portable and less like a strapped on car, though.

This video is a bit older but still quite frightening to watch from the 6 minute mark onwards:

Spoiler: the Cap-21 at College Park Airshow was able to land safely despite the lack of a propellor.

I found this documentary about the Hawker Hunter is fascinating:

The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts.

An amazing video of atmospheric affects around aircraft:

Fantastic and surreal footage taken when the dew point and the air temperature line up to show trailing vortices and wing condensation.

I’m still amazed by the A350 formation flight in September. Airbus have now released a “making of” video about how they did it.

The attention to detail is very telling and it’s just wonderful to see those five aircraft flying together again. Full credit to Airbus for making this excellent display and allowing us a view behind the scenes.

And finally, this documentary follows the final flight of a Qantas Boeing 767-300ER as it goes to Victorville* airplane graveyard, “where planes go to die.”

I have to admit, I felt a bit teary eyed for the poor little Boeing.

I hope you enjoyed those. See you next week!

* Little known fact: when I was 16, an earnest young gentleman asked me to run away to Victorville with him to get married and live happily ever after. If I’d known about the airplane graveyard back then, I might have been tempted!

31 October 2014

Fascinating Aviation News

Anna is back from holiday and boy does it show. I’m hard-pressed to compete with the excellent articles that she’s highlighted on the Fear of Landing Facebook page this past week.

I know not all of you use Facebook so I thought I’d share the best posts with you.

My favourite was the news piece about the RAF jet who diverted a Lithuanian cargo plane after it stopped responding to ATC.

RAF Typhoon to cargo plane: “I’m instructed by Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom to warn you if you do not respond immediately to my orders, you will be shot down.”

RAF jets escort Latvian cargo plane causing loud blast in Kent area – Home News – UK – The Independent

To react quickly to the incident, the Typhoons were launched from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and travelled at supersonic speed.

The resulting blast was heard in the Dartford area at around 4.40pm, and resonated in the north-west Kent areas of Sevenoaks, Kemsing, Dartford, Faversham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Frightened local residents quickly took to Twitter to speculate whether Kent had been hit by an earthquake or an explosion.

The audio has been posted to Soundcloud by RAF Coningsby Info:

Here’s a few more of Anna’s posts:

And today’s post, especially for Halloween:

If you enjoy Anna’s posts, come on over to Facebook and join us on the page or simply leave a comment here to ask her to post more.

06 June 2014

In the News – The Facts Behind This Week’s Headlines

This has been an odd week in aviation news. Here’s some of the background on the headlines.

Passenger Lands Plane!

The First Officer landed the plane, not the passenger. Still, she must have been thrilled that there was a qualified pilot on board to help her with the checklists and the radio.

Local USAF pilot helps in airline emergency

Gongol, his wife and daughter were on the way from Des Moines International Airport Dec. 30, with 151 other passengers and six crewmembers, after spending the holidays with his family. To him and his family, the day was just like any other, except for a short flight delay due to weather.

Approximately 30 minutes into the flight, Gongol, a B-1B Lancer pilot, noticed the engines power down to idle. The thoughts immediately started jumping through his head; there were a variety of reasons why the engines would shut down to idle, none of them categorized as normal. Slowly, the aircraft began to descend and turn right.

“Over the public address system; a flight attendant asked if there was a doctor on board the plane,” said Gongol. “A few more calls went out for medical professionals and the flight attendants were all hurrying to first class with their beverage carts and a first-aid kit.”

At that moment, Gongol thought it was a medical emergency with a first class passenger, his instincts told him to stay seated and stay out of the way. A fourth call went out, “are there any non-revenue pilots on board, please ring your call button.” Immediately, Gongol realized the pilot was the patient. He looked to his wife; as she gave him a nod, Gongol pressed his button and headed toward the flight deck.

Apparently the most stressful issue was taxi-ing: It was her first time at Omaha airport and she had never taxied a 737 before.

Plane Lands on Sunbather

This was published by German tabloid Bild with a video clip of a low approach over the beach coming into Helgoland, a popular German tourist resort. To be fair, the original piece does not mention sunbathing.

Breathtaking video – Plane at Helgoland almost lands on Holiday Maker!

The Piper Archer (lovely plane!) is shown on final approach coming in way too low. The man in the video wasn’t sunbathing, he was walking along the beach. He flung himself onto the sand when he saw it flying at him. You can see that he makes himself as flat as possible before the aircraft flies over him and takes out the fence.

The pilot commented after the event:

In my defence I can say that I didn’t see him because he was lying down and I’m just very grateful it worked out well and I didn’t land on him. I don’t want to say any more than that. I fear I will be in for a fine from the Federal Aviation Office but I hope I will be able to keep my licence.

Who Forgot to Set the Parking Brake?

A Ryanair Boeing 737 rolled into the garage of the fire station at Rome-Ciampino Airport on Thursday.

Ryanair Boeing 738 suffers severe damage hours ago at CIA (Rome-Ciampino Airport) | Ryanair News

Ryanair B737 damaged is registration EI-DLI The details are still unclear but according to Italian news the aircraft rolled into an adjacent building causing significant damage to the horizontal stabiliser. It is understood that there was no one onboard at the time and no injuries have been reported. Yesterday all ground handling staff at CIA airport were on strike and all flights into and out of CIA airport were cancelled therefore it is unlikely any Pilots were on or near the aircraft.

Ryanair had cancelled forty flights as a result of the unexpected strike by staff at their ground handling agent at Rome-Ciampino and Rome-Fiumicino, Groundcare, offering a refund or a rebooking to their customers.

Someone at the airport anonymously described the event for the Daily Mail.

It was surreal to watch. This big heavy jet just started to roll backwards gathering speed until it crashed into the garage of the airport fire station.

The whole thing only lasted a matter of seconds but the noise as it smashed into the building was terrific. It was grinding metal and the damage was quite severe.

The guttering on the building was ripped off and wires and bits of metal were hanging off the plane.

The Daily Mail goes on to state that a criminal investigation is underway at Rome-Ciampino airport to discover what happened.

According to a poster on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network, the chocks were not in place. No comment was made as to the state of the parking brake. It seems likely that some heads are going to roll.

So, that’s this week’s headlines!

25 April 2014

Viral Super Hornet Video from VFA-27

The Royal Maces are having altogether too much fun in their jets. Strike Fighter Squadron 27 is a US Navy Super Hornet fighter squadron based in Japan. Naval Air Facility Atsugi, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, is the largest US Navy air base in the Pacific.

1968 – Introducing the VA-27 Royal Maces.

The attack squadron was established in 1967. The squadron’s insignia, designed by the first members of the squadron, includes a gloved hand holding a large mace and they are known as the Royal Maces. The spikes on the tail were also designed by the squadron members and are meant to represent the spike tips on a mace.

“The design of the Royal Mace and the name came from the Senior Chief that was the plank owner QA Chief in the squadron and also quite an artist. I don’t recall his name right now, but will get out a cruise book and look it up. He was a heavy smoker and was medically retired with emphysema after our first cruise.

The “saw tooth” rudder tail markings that were on the original aircraft, were the brain child of the line division officer, Bill Matto. He had a plane painted with them and showed the skipper. The skipper reamed him out for painting the planes without his permission and made Bill remove them. Then he told Bill to repaint them(now with his permission).

….Bud Biery

However one might feel about the American politics, there’s no denying that these young pilots are risking their lives in some of the most dangerous arenas of the world. They have the best pilots in the Navy and repeatedly have been awarded the Battle Efficiency and Safety awards in the past decade. In 2009 they reached a new milestone: 100,000 hours without a Class “A” mishap.

The Royal Mace mission is to be prepared to conduct sustained combat operations from sea on short notice in support of national policy. We will be ready to provide fused ordnance on target, on time, anytime, anywhere.

In February, the squadron were upgraded to the latest Super Hornets with better systems. They were given heavy training at Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Air events before flying the new Super Hornets back to Atsugi.

On 11 March 2013, CDR Braden “Jimmy” Briller, Commanding Officer of the VFA-27 Royal Maces stationed in Atsugi, Japan, flew the squadron’s brand new 200 jet in loose formation on an Air Force DC-10 tanker prior to receiving fuel. The squadron had completed their transition to new F/A-18E Lot 34/35 Super Hornets, and was en route to Hickam AFB, HI from NAS Fallon, NV on their way back to Japan. (Photo: LCDR Justin “Jugs” Halligan)

I don’t know who had the brilliant idea of giving them GoPro personal video cameras while they train and patrol there but the results are simply amazing. The 5-minute teaser was released on YouTube last week and swiftly gone viral:

The high-definition video from recent patrols includes trips along the Australian and Japanese coasts and incredible footage of an aircraft maneuvering through the Japanese Alps.

“It’s a low-level route we fly all the time — it just happened to be a pretty day,” Matson said.

The full video, Shoot ‘Em If You Got ‘Em, promises 27-minutes fast action, with more low-level flying, carrier operations and footage from the Philippines. It’ll be launched at the NAF Atsugi Spring Festival next weekend and I sure hope there will be a copy online for us all to watch!

14 February 2014

Hijack, Low Flying, Airport Stress and more…

Today, a selection of fun and interesting links that I found on the Web just for you! I recommend all of these articles and videos as interesting and informative.

Please note that videos and other embedded items won’t work on the mailing list, so if you’ve received this post in your inbox, you may need to click through to see everything.

File this one under “It seemed like a good idea at the time!”

Drunk Ukrainian fails in Kharkov-Istanbul hijack bid – News – World – The Voice of Russia

Ukrainian authorities have reported an attempt to hijack a passenger airliner flying from Kharkov-Istanbul and specified that the plane made a scheduled landing in Istanbul. The suspect turned out to be drunk. The “Passenger was in a state of extreme intoxication and tried to go into the crew cabin shouting “Let’s all go to Sochi”, Ukrainian Security Service stated.

I’m not even sure that I should post these, for fear of encouraging stunts like this. The guy came too damn close to that wing, that’s for sure. – Airplane Fly By!!!!

Alternate Headline:

3 Suicidal Assholes Nearly Ruin Perfectly Good Airplane

The story is a little too pat but it did make me smile.

To the Ticket Agent at the Delta Counter | Josh Misner, Ph.D.

I began to feel enraged at seeing this outpouring of selfishness and willful ignorance. My determination to make the connection was growing by the millisecond, though, and as soon as we were out of the gate, the three of us sprinted — or at least, as fast as a 6-year-old’s legs can run.

The 2014 Singapore Airshow is happening right now and Airbus have posted a great clip of the best of the show so far, even if it does understandably have a bit of an Airbus bias. :)

I’d never heard of training flights involving taking off from the roads, but it makes sense to reduce the dependency on (easily bombed) airfields.

Watch a Fighter Jet Take Off From a Freeway | Autopia |

Finland’s air force, mindful of the fact motorists might be just a bit freaked out by a warplane approaching, cleared the road of traffic, but other nations aren’t as considerate. A commander in the Swedish Armed Forces told SVT (Swedish) that the Russians are particularly cavalier about their exercises. As this dash-cam video shows, a pilot had no problem making his approach directly above civilian drivers during a training exercise in Belarus, who collaborates with Russia’s military.

A very good post on wake turbulence and how to avoid it.

How To Avoid Wake Turbulence | Boldmethod

It’s one of those easy-to-make mistakes: I have to admit, I did it once.

Shame the headline doesn’t understand the difference between a landing and an approach, though…

Planes landed at wrong airports 150 times over 2 decades – NY Daily News

You’ve got these runway lights, and you are looking at them, and they’re saying: `Come to me, come to me. I will let you land.’ They’re like the sirens of the ocean,” Michael Barr, a former Air Force pilot who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California, told AP.
According to the AP tally released Monday, there’s been 35 landings and 115 approaches or aborted landing attempts at wrong airports by commercial passenger and cargo planes over more than two decades.

This is sure to raise some eyebrows.

TSA Agent Confession – POLITICO Magazine

I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

And finally, I’d hate for anyone to miss the currently viral video of a go-pro camera filming as it fell out of an aircraft.

20 December 2013

Amazing Aviation Videos

As we run up to the holiday season, here’s a couple of amazing aviation videos to brighten up your day! If you are reading this on the mailing list, I’m afraid you’ll have to click through to see these as I can’t embed them into the mail for you!

Anyway, these are all stunning new videos, I’m sure you will agree. – Breathtaking Boeing 747 Cockpit Scenes

Air Tahiti Nui behind the scenes footage

Painting the WestJet Magic Plane

I hope there’s plenty of food and drink in your plans over the next week. Merry Christmas!

08 November 2013

Going Viral at a Website Near You

This week, a selection of aviation news and videos that caught my eye.

Seems like everyone is talking about this unbelievable video of skydivers escaping from a crashing plane, as broadcast by NBC. The headcam footage is amazing (and chilling).

Planes Collide in Mid Air – Terrifying Skydiving Accident caught on camera – Exclusive Full – YouTube

When the two small planes carrying the daredevils collided, they were catapulted out prematurely as one of the planes crashed below.

The footage comes from both inside the plane and on the jumpers’ helmets, capturing the frightening scene from many angles. All nine skydivers ended up landing safely and the pilot of the plane that lost its wing was able to eject and come with only a few small injuries.

FAA Air Safety Investigator, Tony James, has produced a great presentation about the top 10 causes of general aviation accidents and how they can be avoided. Definitely worth a watch!

Top 10 Causes Of General Aviation Accidents (2012) on YouTube

It seems like people never get tired of these worst-of lists and here’s the latest one to cross my desk. This particular version has some amazing photographs which made it worthwhile reading for me.

Most dangerous airports in the world

I’m not really sure why this 2006 video is suddenly getting passed around but I have to admit: wow, what a landing!

This beautiful beast can fly to any location within an hour. It’s amazing!

New Hypersonic Spy Plane Being Developed by Lockheed Martin |

A new hypersonic spy plane, capable of flying up to six times faster than the speed of sound, is being developed by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp., according to company officials.
The new aircraft, known as the SR-72, is the unmanned successor to Lockheed’s SR-71 Blackbird, a twin-engine, two-seater, supersonic aircraft that was developed in the 1960s. The company’s new spy plane will be able to fly twice as fast as the Blackbird and three times faster than current fighter jets, accelerating to Mach 6, which is six times the speed of sound, or more than 3,500 mph (5,600 km/h).

You all already know I have a soft spot for these…although really, it’s the gorgeous video that makes this one.

Dave & Lisa’s Helicopter Proposal on YouTube

In May of 2013, a friend of mine Lisa, who is an aspiring photo-stylist approached me and asked if I would help her build her portfolio. She had an idea for a photo-shoot on top of a mountain with her best friend, the extremely gorgeous Sarah Porchetta. I quickly agreed to help, and we decided to be in touch to work out the details.

The next morning, Lisa’s long term boyfriend, and good friend of mine Dave called me excitedly and asked if he could come along on the shoot to propose to Lisa on top of the mountain during the shoot. From there, we started scheming on how to hijack Lisa’s shoot, and turn it into Dave’s proposal to her…

Be sure to read the full story in the about section!

And finally, this photograph of the total solar eclipse last week is amazing!

Total Solar Eclipse 2013 photos from a plane 600 miles off Bermuda

Total Solar Eclipse of November 3, 2013, as seen from 44,000 feet over the Atlantic aboard a 12-person Dassault Falcon 900B jet chartered from Bermuda.

For the first time ever, an aircraft was used to intercept an extremely short eclipse with a perpendicular crossing of the eclipse path. There was zero margin for error, with the plane, traveling near 500mph and hitting the eclipse shadow where it touched down on earth at some 8,000 mph, required to hit a geographic point over the ocean at a precise instant (read on). It is also just the second time a flight to intercept any such super-short eclipse was accomplished successfully! (It was calculated to be seven seconds in our case had we hit dead center, but it appears, being about one second off, we got an instantaneous totality of zero seconds.)

Did you see any exciting posts this week that I missed? Feel free to add them to the comments!

06 September 2013

Aviation News and Posts that Made Me Smile

So, I’m finally back online but boy, do I have a lot of catching up to do. Here’s a number of links, photos and videos that made me smile as I started reading through the aviation news that I had missed.

Young pilots praised for ‘textbook’ crash landing at Victoria Point – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

When the engine started to surge, his 22-year-old instructor, Doug Field, took over but he was unable to get the power back and they began gliding.
Recalling the events, Mr Field said: “We’re at 1,100 feet, we’ve got about a bit under two minutes before we’re going to hit the ground at this point in time.”

Interplanetary Cessna

The always excellent xkcd answers the question What would happen if you tried to fly a normal Earth airplane above different Solar System bodies?

Click through for the full explanation but I have to admit, his conclusion gave me chills.

But I’ve never seen the Icarus story as a lesson about the limitations of humans. I see it as a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive. The cold of Titan is just an engineering problem. With the right refitting, and the right heat sources, a Cessna 172 could fly on Titan—and so could we.

G at its best

I love this photo posted in Reddit’s aviation forum:

And here’s the image modified by a user for maximum impact:


As my friend Jon said when he sent this to me, it beats hand-cranking, I guess…

▶ Extreme Airport Approach in Iceland! (HD) – YouTube

OK, maybe it doesn’t look THAT extreme but imagine trying to land that plane rather than stare out at the stunning scenery. I think I’d struggle!

hello kitty airplane fleet for EVA air

Taiwanese airline company EVA air has delved into a collaborative project with Japanese toy manufacturer Sanrio to decorate the exteriors of three of their planes with the image of cartoon cat character hello kitty. The three distinct feline motifs decorate the fleet of A330-300 airbus aircrafts flying highly-trafficked routes in Asia. Beginning in Taipei’s Taoyuan international airport and ending in either Sapporo or Guam, individuals come take to the air in a ‘magic jet’. The ‘global jet’ design connects Hong Kong and Tokyo to Taiwan while ‘apple jet’ planes fly between Taipei, Seoul and Fukoka– each plane shuttling their passengers in totally immersive cute kitten style.

OK, yes, it made me smile but all I can really say is No, thank you! I dread to think what the pilots have to wear…

Wolfe Air Reel on Vimeo

This video truly captures the sheer beautfy of flight:

And finally, a handy-dandy flow-chart for the use of your Ground Proximity Warning System:

OK, I admit it, the old ones sometimes really are the best.

Until next week, keep smiling!

05 July 2013

Baby chickens, touchdown in slow motion and more…

A selection of links and videos that I was perusing when I should have been writing you an interesting post for the week…

Apparently it’s a shame about the plot, however this is some of the most stunning footage I’ve seen in a long time. Eat your heart out, Top Gun.

Aw, so cute!

Chicks away! Chicks away! Baby chickens ‘stowaway’ on cargo flight from Brazil and get a different type of flying lesson from the cockpit | Mail Online

There isn’t an oops big enough for this one…

Small aircraft squawks 7500 by mistake and is met by police upon arrival at vny. – NASA ASRS

While flying VFR from sacramento to van nuys I called la center while approximately 50 mi, 315 degrees from van nuys airport. They asked me to contact burbank approach. Burbank assigned me a squawk code. Several mins later the controller asked me my altitude and I responded 7500′. He told me to squawk my altitude. I replied, ‘squawking 7500′, and the controller confirmed my code.

Be sure to read the whole story, what a scene!

Astounding footage of a touchdown in slow motion:

Via r/aviation, Sukhoi SU-35S fighter faces off an Su-27 Flanker, photo by ICEprod:

This isn’t new news but I didn’t know the story (thank you to RJ Wade!) : Mehran Karimi Nasseri lived in the departure lounge of Charles De Gaulle Airport Terminal One for eighteen years. He was travelling to the UK as a refugee but his briefcase containing his papers was stolen. He boarded the plane for London but was turned away at immigration and returned to France. His story is fascinating.

h2g2 – Mehran Karimi Nasseri – In Transit

On arrival at Charles de Gaulle, he was arrested for attempting to enter the country illegally, having no papers to substantiate his previous predicament. The lost papers also meant the French had no country of origin which they could return him to. This was a pretty pickle with no obvious solution, so the police returned him to the confines of the airport.

Without documentation, Nasseri was unable to fly anywhere, nor was he able to leave the airport to enter France proper for fear of being rearrested for illegal entry. Nasseri had arrived at his own personal hell: Terminal One, Charles de Gaulle Airport.

And that’s it for today but I hope I brought a small smile to your face. I’m away for next week but I have an amazing video and story for you when I get back!

07 June 2013

In the News

Last week, I was struck by the difference in headlines: The BBC reported Heathrow Airport runways closed for emergency landing while a rather less professional journal chose the headline Plane on Fire Flying Over Central London.

Anyway, the AAIB have released a special bulletin regarding the Airbus A319 that had an engine fire departing from Heathrow on the 24th of May. The fan cowl doors from both engines detached on take-off, which punctured a fuel pipe on the right engine and damaged the aircraft.

AAIB Bulletin S3/2013

Following the event, photographs of the aircraft, taken prior to pushback, were provided to the AAIB. These photographs show the fan cowl doors unlatched on both engines.

The aircraft had undergone scheduled maintenance overnight. This required opening the fan cowl doors on both engines to check the Integrated Drive Generator (IDG) oil level.


And speaking of oops…

Finnair forced to repaint A330 livery after embarrassing copyright violation ~ The Aviation Writer

Finnair has been promoting a brand new Airbus A330 livery, designed by European clothing and home furnishing retailer Marimekko… only to find out the design was copied from Ukrainian folk art.

The plagiarism was initially reported by Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, which noticed the similarities between Marimekko’s pattern and a 1963 painting by the late Ukrainian folk artist Maria Primachenko.

Some very red faces in Helsinki at the moment.

This video is old but shows some incredible low-level helicopter flying:

One of the commenters says:

Some facts for you that can be verified: a) the type of flying shown here is military type of flying, trained in the german HEERESFLIEGER since 1960s. b) The Pilot was at least 50 years old, when this was recorded. c) he still lives d) No (ZERO) casualties in the German Heeresflieger while doing low level flying in 50 years of training. e) Numerous world championships in helicopter acrobatics for these guys

It’s hard to believe that no one was hurt in this emergency landing straight into a house:

Small plane crashes into Herndon apartment as family sleeps – The Washington Post

Ventura said he sprang from his bed to find a surreal scene: A small plane had crash-landed in his living room with its nose resting on the floor next to the fireplace. A battery sat on a sectional couch, and a yawning hole in the ceiling opened to the night sky.

As Ventura stood in shock, he said the pilot and a passenger clambered out of the cockpit of the single-engine Cessna 177, and an awkward moment ensued.

“The pilot asked if we were okay,” Ventura said. “I told him that we were all good.”

I was entranced by this feature in io9 on aviation graveyards, featuring amazing photographs from all over the world:

The World’s Most Bizarre Aircraft Graveyards

Also, loving this video as a plane taxis past the abandoned aircraft at Pinal Airpark, Arizona:

I would love to get the chance to fly over these places for a better look…

And because looking at dead planes can be sad-making, here’s a video of the first A350 XWB, freshly painted in Airbus livery.

Finally, I saw today that Why Planes Crash is #9 on Amazon in the top rated books in aviation. Thank you so much for supporting my project, it’s incredibly motivating. I can’t wait to show you all the next one!