Category: History

The Real “Bionic Man”

Some of you may have spotted the recent comments on Wingless Flight in the M2-F1 by aerospace journalist and author Nigel Macknight, who had written about NASA’s M2-F2 pilot Milt Thomson, whom he knew when he was editing and publishing Space Flight News back in the 1980s. In the article Nigel was commenting on, I…

Read more… 8 May 20

Flight 19: The Point of No Return

I was interviewed about Flight 19 for a documentary recently and although I’ve limited the details of the experience to supporters of my personal Patreon (for travel writing and essays), there was one question in the pre-interview that I wanted to share more widely. We were talking about the fact that radio stations triangulated their…

Read more… 7 Feb 20

Wingless Flight in the M2-F1

Sometimes, the most interesting aircraft are the experimental ones that barely made it off the ground. Sometimes the most intriguing stories come out of things I don’t understand. ​ I was thinking about hybrid airships and I was struggling to understand the concept of a lifting body. My attempt to understand how a wingless vehicle…

Read more… 23 Nov 19

Alcock and Brown: Part 3

Last week, we looked at the teams and the aircraft who were competing to be the first to fly across the Atlantic. Alcock and Brown arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland on the 24th of May, a few days before the NC-4 completed the first aerial crossing of the Atlantic. The Daily Mail prize, however, was…

Read more… 23 Aug 19

Alcock and Brown: Part 2

In part 1, I introduced Jack Alcock and Teddie Brown along with the context under which they raced to become the first to fly across the Atlantic in less than 72 hours. Of course, they weren’t the only ones. In all, there were seventeen teams who wanted to attempt the crossing but most of them…

Read more… 16 Aug 19

Alcock and Brown: part 1

I’m going to Ireland! It will be my first time there. While I’m there, I’ll get the chance to see Dublin and Belfast and Rudy! I’m not sure which of the three is most exciting. You can bet I’m looking forward to this, even if it means you’ll be without me for a few weeks.…

Read more… 9 Aug 19

Accident Reports

Hard Landing Within Limits

In this simple incident, we can see how a trivial failure and a simple-but-wrong assumption has knock-on effects that could have easily led to the structural failure of an aircraft.…

Procedural Drift at Yeager Airport

In the early morning hours of the 5th of May 2017, Air Cargo Carriers flight 1260 crashed at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia. There were two souls on board,…

Demystifying

"N28V, I need your call sign, please."

This general aviation accident didn’t happen on the 27th of April 2017, although I think you’ll agree with me that it was a near thing. The aircraft, a 1964 Mooney…

Aviation Airspeed Guide

Just a quick one today but I really liked this guide to the airspeed indicator which was published to r/aviation. The thread has ended up in an interesting discussion about…

History

Building a B-29 Piece by Piece

I’m in Austria this week, giving a presentation about the representation of old women in science fiction. So it seemed only right to celebrate a woman in aviation who might…

The Odd Story of Richard Floyd McCoy Jr

I’ve been working hard on volume two of Without a Trace and, of course, I can’t resist a chapter on Dan Cooper, who successfully hijacked a Northwest Orient aircraft and…

Fun Stuff

Toddler Overboard and other aviation videos

I’ve got quite a collection of interesting videos building up so it’s past time for me to share them! These are not all brand new but new to me and…

Top Ten Posts of 2019

Next week we’ll be starting on a detailed look at Lion Air flight 610 but first, to celebrate the end of 2019, I want to share the most popular posts…