Aviation News

Archive for September, 2010

Reno Air Races 2010 – the final results

by on Sep.20, 2010, under Articles, Aviation, Aviation News, Video of the day

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Due to high winds on Sunday afternoon, officials for the Reno National Championship Air Races had to cancel the final race – The Breitling Unlimited Gold Race because of winds gusting out of the southwest to 35 mph.

This was the first time the Gold Race was cancelled in its 47 year history.

“It was a safety issue,” stated Mike Houghton, CEO and President of the Reno Air Racing Association. “Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our pilots.”

23-year-old pilot of Strega, Steve Hinton, from Chino California, was awarded the title based on the winning of the unlimited Gold qualifying race on Saturday.  It was his second consecutive title in the race and the ninth overall for the “Strega” Mustang.

“It’s more than kind-of disappointing,” Hinton stated. “Every one of these crews up here work hard 365 days a year to come out and show what you’ve done with the airplane and to compete.

“As the racing process goes, you’re building up to Sunday, so what we used yesterday or what Rare Bear used yesterday isn’t necessarily all we had,” he said. ” We were saving it for Sunday and when you don’t get to go out there and use what you built up all year, it’s a major disappointment.”

The pilot or Rare Bear, John Penney, who has been an Unlimited Gold champion four times, also agreed: “It’s very disappointing,” he said. “We had all kinds of issues during the week with our oil pressure system, our water and oil cooling system, and we thought we had everything settled down now, so we were anxious to get up there and give it a shot. We’ll have to wait until next year.”

It was considered by the organizers of the air race to postpone the race until today (Monday), but due to logistical problems this was deemed prohibitive. More than 2,500 volunteers help put on the air races, many from out of state, and many with jobs they must resume today.

Due to the strong winds, the T 6 Class Gold race also had to get cancelled. Dennis Buehn from Carson City had the fastest qualifying time on Saturday in his airplane Midning Miss III and by that won the Gold medal.

In the Super Sport Gold Race earlier on Sunday pilot George Giboney his Thunder Mustang, the Rapid Travel. He made a hard landing and his plane cartwheeled off the runway. It was a frightening moment from everyone and there was a huge relief in the crowd, when it was announced that Giboney had walked away from the crash. Click on the photo below for a link to a video showing the accident.

Giboney got some lacerations to his head and leg, but his injuries were considered minor at the hospital where he was treated.

Mike Dacey of Pismo Beach, Calif., won the race, posting a speed of 374.052 mph, and he was definitely ahead of John Parker of Reno, who finished at 355.993 mph.

In the Jet Class, Curt Brown of Hudson, Wisconsin., won his third consecutive title with his L-29 jet “Viper” which he took around the pylons at 515.582 mph.

In the Sport Class, Jeff LaVelle of Mukilteo, Washington., won the  Reno gold championship for the first time.

In the Biplane Class, Tom Aberle of Fallbrook, Calif., got his third consecutive gold title in the Biplane class. He flew his modified Mong Sport “Phantom.”

In Formula 1, Steve Senegal of San Bruno, Calif., won his second gold title in the past three years during very windy and blustery conditions.

Conditions were challenging with the winds and in spite of the disappointment with no final Gold Race, we whole heartedly agree that safety is the number one concern. The participating pilots are way too valuable to warrant taking any risks. We are already looking forward to the 2011 Air Races – less than a year away….

The spectacular Canadian Snow Birds had a great show on Sunday afternoon against a cumulus clad sky.

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Aviation Going Green

by on Sep.03, 2010, under Articles, Aviation, Aviation News, General, Green Aviation, Video of the day

CriCri

Electrical Cri Cri

The first electric Cri-Cri airplane was airborne Thursday – for all of seven minutes. The all electric aircraft, jointly developed by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association, made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris on Thursday, Sept. 1.Â

“This aircraft flies very smoothly, much more quietly than a plane with conventional propulsion”, said Didier Esteyne, who piloted the all-electric Cri-Cri. “But we are still at the beginning and have a lot to learn.”Â

Click here or on the picture above see a video if its maiden voyage flight. (The narration is in French, but even if you don’t speak the language, it is still worth watching.)Â

The Cri-Cri was originally designed in the early 1970’s by a French aeronautical engineer, Michael Colomban, as the smallest twin-engine airplane in the world.

His goal was to build a very small and economical plane powered by two engines, that would be capable of flying even some aerobatic maneuvers. He also wanted not to exceed his budget over 1000 USD, including two engines, which was quite hard to believe even in early 70s.

At only 4.9 m (16.1 ft) wingspan and 3.9 m (12.8 ft) length, it has become a well known airplane around the world. It is a single-seater, which can even be transported on top of a car. It sort of reminds you of a model airplane on steroids.

Construction time took around 1500 hours for the first airplane and it became a reality in 1973, when it was given the name “Cri-Cri” after Michel Colomban’s daughter, who was often called “Cri-Cri”.Â

The airplane has now been modified and expanded into a 4-engine aircraft with electrical and environmental friendly motors!  The plane has lithium batteries and four electric prop motors that don’t emit carbon dioxide like standard aircraft.

 The Cri-Cri is made relatively lightweight to compensate for the weight of the batteries, the company said. It is CriCri2capable of 30 minutes of cruising and will fly at about 68 mph.Â

There is currently a lot of effort being put into making aviation environmentally friendly. Besides the Cri-Cri, there are also larger projects in the works.

The photo below shows a project currently being worked on by MIT, for an airplane which is estimated to use 70 % less fuel than a conventional aircraft and is designed to carry 180 passengers. The aircraft is referred to as the “double-bubble”. The design uses long, skinny wings, a small tail and – hence the name – replaces the traditional cylindrical fuselage with a two partial cylinders placed side-by-side.

For more information on this project, you can visit MIT’s website http://web.mit.edu/press/2010/green-airplanes.html

 

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Ready to book your ticket for space? Just contact Virgin Galactic.

by on Sep.03, 2010, under Articles, Aviation, Aviation News, Space flight, Video of the day

Image result for spaceport america drawing

Spaceport America, currently under construction in New Mexico. Click on the picture above to watch a short video about it.

If you are ready to venture into space and have the resources to do so, you can now book your ticket. Sir Richard Branson wants to make it possible for everyone to experience space flight. The Virgin Galactic website announces: “Book your place in space now and join around 340 Virgin Galactic astronauts who will venture into space. Tickets cost $200,000 and deposits start from $20,000. If you are interested in discussing your reservation with us directly please fill in the booking form and we will be in touch as soon as possible to answer any questions you may have. Or you can contact one of our Accredited Space Agents around the world. They have been specially selected and trained by us to handle all aspects of your spaceflight reservation.”

So the dream of space flight is now within reach for anyone who is willing to pay the price! Spaceship Two, designed by the the engineering genius Burt Rutan and his team in the Mojave desert, is now undergoing its test flight stages. Once this project is fully launched, they are hoping to get the ticket price down to approximately what it would cost you to buy a new car.
Image result for spaceship two

After successfully having concluded the SpaceShipOne project, SpaceShipTwo was designed, built and presented to the world in the Mojave desert, in California in December last year.

Upon completion of the test flight stage, those with tickets will be taken up for flights above the atmosphere. This may be as early as 2011.

Sir Richard intends to run the first flights out of New Mexico before extending operations around the globe. Just like its predecessor SpaceshipOne,  it is a rocket plane that is lifted initially by a carrier vehicle before blasting skywards.

SS2 is built for a crew of two and has room for six passengers. The launch plane will also be able to carry passengers for those who would like to see their loved ones getting launched into space! Sir Richard himself intends to be on the launch craft to see his mother going to space.

About 300 individuals are reported to have signed up for a flight so far. The New Mexico authorities are investing almost $200m in a facility in Upham. It will have a 3,000m (10,000ft) runway and a suitably space-age terminal and hangar buildings.

“We’re going where no one has gone before”, Branson stated a few years ago, “there’s no model to follow, nothing to copy. That is what makes this so exciting.”  The dreams and “can do” attitudes of Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan has made it possible for many of us to now start thinking about space travel.

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Aviation Event with Bob Hoover

by on Sep.02, 2010, under General

Image result for bob hoover

If you are in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, mark your calendars in red for Saturday, October 9th. Aviation Legend Bob Hoover will be the Grand Marshall at the event “A Salute to North American Aviation”, which is being held at Zamperini field, Torrance. The event is being put on by the Western Museum of Flight. Click here to get all details about the event.

Mr Hoover is a true legend of Aviation, as covered in an earlier blog this week. He is now in his late 80’s but still very active and in high spirits. No less an authority than Jimmy Doolittle considers Hoover “the greatest stick and rudder pilot who ever lived”. In the 1990’s, Chuck Yeager called Hoover the best pilot flying.

Born in 1922, he soloed at age 16 and went on to become a fighter pilot in WWII, during which he was shot down and served more than a year as a German prisoner of war. He escaped from the prison, stole a German fighter plane and made it back to allied territory in that.

He was selected at the back up pilot to Chuck Yeager, when he broke the sound barrier in 1947. In 1950, he became one of the chief test pilots for North American Aviation and, subsequently, for the merged NAA-Rockwell. Hoover retired from the aviation industry in 1986 but continued appearing in air shows after that. Click on the photo above or on this link to watch an 8 minute interview, where he describes parts of his very rich life in an interview that was done last year.

The Museum Director, Cynthia Macha, to the left with Chuck Galbasin from the City of Torrance are doing the final planning for the upcoming event, which will be a very memorable occasion.
If you have not visited the Western Museum of Flight and are in the Los Angeles area take the opportunity to do so. It is well worth doing it! Located at Torrance Airport, 3315 Airport Drive, they are open 10am-3pm Wednesday through Sunday.

The Western Museum of Flight is a non-profit, educational institution dedicated to preserving and displaying aircraft history and artifacts of southern California’s aviation heritage. The Museum’s educational programs give children an opportunity to see and touch the airplanes that made aviation history history.

The collection includes warbirds, aircraft and target drones, piston and jet aircraft engines, aircraft components, aircraft ejection seats, World War II instruments, aircrew accessories, and an extensive model aircraft collection. This area is very rich in aviation history. More details about them can be found at their website: http://www.wmof.com.

 

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