Monthly Archives: August 2013

The National Air B747 Crash at Bagram

Whilst beboppin’ around chasing a video thread, there appeared a thumbnail for something that drew me in. One video led to another video, the second done in what I would call a thoughtful and reasoned out interview with an expert.
The subject? The much discussed contract 747 mishap out of Bagram Airbase. The video is a somber watch for anyone, but the discussion that follows I thought was conducted as tastefully and professionally as might be managed under the circumstances. To Ms. Erin Burnett of CNN, I say “Well done”
For my part, I don’t see a load shift being the cause of a stall whose beginning is this subtle; namely, left wing stall with no abrupt pitch up. My call? Not managing/monitoring airspeed and power on a steeper than usual takeoff.

RIP to seven crew members.
National Air B747 Crash at Bagram AB

With that, hizzoner has a midnite wakeup call for a road trip to Victorville and beyond. See y’all on the morrow.


Filed under Airplanes, In Memoriam

The answer to “What’s wrong with this picture?


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How Big is the Sky?

The JetHead Blog

cockpit panoThe cockpit is a solemn place in the pregnant pause between preflight and pushback. Always, like a deserted island where everything’s already been said: checklists done, preflight complete, systems verified, amen. Plenty more details and decision points ahead, but nothing to worry about now, because the litany of procedures, numbers, actions, maneuvers and control inputs are etched in your mind like an inscription in granite. Thinking about the details is unneeded; knowing what’s to come and when is like running a hand over the inscription without reading the words–and that’s enough for now.

“You have a visitor,” the number one flight attendant breaks the reverie, ushering a school-aged boy into the cockpit. He looked to be maybe seven . . . eight? Dutifully wide-eyed behind thick glasses, a woman–must be his mom–hovering behind.

“C’mon in,” you say. “Are you the new copilot?” You jerk a thumb toward the F/O. “Because…

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The Epistle oF light.

The JetHead Blog


The Orion Nebula contains a very young open cluster, known as the Trapezium due to the asterism of its primary four stars. Two of these can be resolved into their component binary systems on nights with good seeing, giving a total of six stars.

The basic framework for the moving target that is flight comprises an architecture of anchors and change: weights dictate speeds which prescribe duration and altitude. The wooden stake in the ground, sure as the tenuous GPS alignment reluctantly tolerating the gusty wind bucking the 40 foot tall rudder assembly, will be ancient history as soon as we move. But to know where we’re going, we have to know where we started from.

The stars of the Trapezium, along with many other stars, are still in their early years. The Trapezium may be a component of the much larger Orion Nebula Cluster, an association of about 2,000…

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What’s wrong with this picture?

Connie landing

Need to liven it up a little here, by the time most of you read this it is Monday.

Bonus points for naming where this photo is taken. Believe it or not, yours truly nailed where it was at first glance but had to look long and hard to see the obvious wrongness. Duh.

(Monday update) Will post the answers on Wednesday.


Filed under Airplanes, Flying, Outside the Box, Uncategorized

Australia 1986 – Sydney to Canberra


Images of Australia 1986


By this time the money was running low and I had thoughts of returning home. But there were a few more things to see. As I recall, it was a short distance – the web says 288 km. I know the bus ride was only a couple of hours…if that. Continue reading


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Cutaway Thursday: Northrop A-9A



Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Air Force, Airplanes, USAF

Morning Ride in The Desert

Among The Joshua Trees

I have been riding my bike for almost two months at least three times a week, since Doc was on the regular exercise thing along with a new Blood Pressure Medication. Today I decided to do the scenic route of sorts.

The ride was about 8 miles total out a ways on Randsburg-Mojave Road to the Desert Tortoise Area turnoff.  Good with some up and down terrain in it. BP after the ride, shower and building my lunch for work was 114/66. I take the meds when I get up so it has time to work.







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Sukhoi T-4 (part 2)

The Sukhoi T-4’s first flight took place on 22 August 1972. The T-4’s first flight was actually delayed due to forest fires that appeared around the Zhukhovskii airflield. The pilot was Vladimir Ilyushin and lasted for 40 minutes with the landing gear down (whichc stayed down for the next 5 flights of the aircraft). Here’s a video clip of the first flight and some of the subsequent flights.

The only problem that was encountered on this flight was heating of aft airframe section due to the engines. A steel heat shield was later added to fix this. The engines themselves performed well as did the fly-by-wire control system.

The T-4 underwent a total of 10 flights:

Flight Date Duration
1 8/22/1972 40 mins
2 1/1/1973 31 mins
3 2/2/1973 34 mins
4 4/13/1973 53 mins
5 4/19/1973 1 hr 24 mins
6 5/24/1973 50 mins
7 6/15/1973 1 hr 55 mins
8 6/26/1973 1 hr 16 mins
9 8/8/1973 1 hr 16 mins
10 1/22/1974 1 hr 1 min

These flights revealed that the T-4 was easy to control on the ground. There was no tendency for the aircraft to pitch up during the takeoff run. Visibility from the cockpit was shown to be good. The T-4 handled relatively straightforward in level flight and approach and landing, with the auto-throttles and the fly-by-wire systems functioning as they should. The major issue during these flight tests was the excessive stick and rudder force needed to fly the T-4 when the backup flight control system was tested.

Sukhoi T-4 landing

The Sukhoi T-4 about to land.

Construction on the second T-4 aircraft (called aircraft “102”) began in 1969 and completed in 1973. The first flight for 102 was scheduled for the 4th quarter of 1973. There were also plans for 3 more developmental aircraft. Aircraft 103 construction began in 1973 and was partially constructed by the time the T-4 was cancelled.

Stage 2 flight testing was to begin with the first aircraft (aircraft “101”) being used for system verification and high-speed performance and handling tests.

In the end, the Soviet Air Force decided to go with an improved version of the TU-22 (NATO code-named “Blinder”), which became the TU-22M (M = modified) (NATO code-named “Backfire”). It was felt that a modification of the Blinder was easier to do than to build a new aircaft. The Airforce also requested an increase in MiG-23 production.


TU-22 “Blinder”


TU-22M “Backfire”

Aircraft “101” went to the Airforce Museum as Monino in 1982 and parts of 102 went to the Moscow Aviation Institute  but was eventually scrapped.


The Sukhoi T-4 on display at Monino.

Sources and resources:

Soviet X-Planes.

Aerofax TU-22.

OKB Sukhoi.

Wings of Fame Volume 7.

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Hats off to Mark Fajardin, Sr., Director of Acquisitions at the Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa, California.
This A-6 is Buno 155595 and Mark has done an outstanding job of restoring the jet.
Click to embiggify.
This is a War Horse, Mark got the guys at Lemoore (you know, those youngsters in the Hornet world) to donate some ordinance to hang on the wings.
This is the weapons load: 3 stations with six 500 pound bombs each (that’s eighteen 500 pounders) and 2 stations with one 2,000 pound bomb.


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Yours truly and a host of others have time in this particular jet. I saw this jet last summer and while it looked OK the bird poop was getting the upper hand.
It’s nice to see it looking soooo good!
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And of course, why is all this important? To remember what is past and to inspire future generations of Naval Aviators!
August 18 2013 008


Filed under Airplanes, Naval Aviation, Plane Pr0n