AIRVENTURE 2017, Oshkosh Air Show

I’m headed to Oshkosh on Sunday, I will be participating in the AIRVENTURE 2017 Authors Corner. All week I will be signing: Project Seven Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and CODE NAME: Infamy. I hope to see many of you there!

leland

Posted in Airlines, Aviator book series, Blog, Book, flight test, Military, Naval Aviation, war bird

United Airlines to blame? (UAL 3411)

Ok, I admit it; I’ve been amused and perhaps have experienced a bit of schadenfreude. As one of my UAL buds pointed out last night, I was enjoying: The First Law of Naval Aviation Thermodynamics- “when the heat is on someone else…it’s off you!” The reality is, the airport police have to deal with idiots like the good Doctor everyday, in every airport in America. If you actually listen to the video you can hear passengers thanking them even after the “drag out”.

And the way the top management handled the PR? Well…there have been quite a few bankruptcies.

But I digress. Read the article below for a realistic view, and I’d point out the most pertinent part in our “it’s all about me” world. The crew was dead heading to work another flight. Which means if they didn’t go, an entire plane load of passengers would have been stranded.

PS: the other 3 passengers apparently got off with out a fight, AND I’d point out the good doctor has a very dubious past, with a long history of bad decisions. I suspect he saw a way to make a buck and that’s why he ran back on the jet.

I Know You’re Mad at United but… (Thoughts from a Pilot Wife About Flight 3411)

I’ve been getting a lot of feed back on FB…but over-booking is done every day, by every airline. Yea the heats on UAL, snicker, snicker; but it could be any airline.

The joys of modern air travel.

leland

PS: Its going to get much worse as the pilot shortage becomes acute.

Posted in Airline Safety, Airlines, Naval Aviation, Pilot shortage Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Blue Angel’s Jets through time

Symphony in Blue

Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor U.S. Navy Blue Angels www.Sierrahotel.net

Posted by SIERRA HOTEL AERONAUTICS on Monday, March 10, 2014

This is a fantastic trip through time, via the Blue Angel’s jets. For a history buff in general, and an aviation enthusiast like myself in particular, its a must see video. There are a couple jets missing: the Panther, the Cutlass and the USAF trainer Shooting Star (which they only used for VIP rides).

First let’s look at the F9F-2 Panther:

And here is the F9F-8 Cougar:

The big difference is the swept wing. Other than the wing its virtually the same jet.

Next is the beautiful F-11F-1 Tiger.

When you imagine a classic Jet, the lines of the F-11F-1 Tiger are it.

However, the quintessential Jet has to be the F-4J Phantom II:

It was also representative the 1970s et large. Big, loud and smoky; as it blasted thousands of gallons of dead dinosaurs out of the tail pipes. I had 599.9 hours in the glorious Phantom, I loved every second. But I also had 1,100 hours in the “Scooter”, the TA-4J Skyhawk. After the fuel crisis of 1973 the Blues transitioned to the more economic A-4F (The USAF Thunderbirds transitioned to the T-38 Talon). I think the A-4F show was the most precise, certainly the 6 plane landing shown in the video. Below is a picture of a TA-4J, the two seat trainer. I included it because the Blues also flew a T-bird and it is the model, in the timeframe when I flew it. As a bonus its on the USS Lexington, the first ship I landed on in 1983.

I also had a couple hours in the F/A-18D. The Hornet F/A-18A,B,C and D is without a doubt the aircraft most associated with the Blue Angels. This year will be the 30th anniversary. Most fans have only seen the Hornet show.

Oh yes, we forgot the F7U Gutless…I mean Cutlass. It lasted just a few months, and its failure with the Blues I think was instrumental in killing the dangerous “Ensign Killer’s” entire program.

Like the Blue Angels, my books: The Aviator Series are progressing through the history of Naval Aviation: Project 7 Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and CODE NAME: Infamy all are set in WW2. My latest, COLD WAR HOT, move from WW2 era into the jet age. So what will be the Blue Angels next jet?

Will it be Super?

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Book, Military, Naval Aviation, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

F-16 Viper going vertical for St. Patties Day

Jet Pilot Climbs 15,000ft In 45 Seconds

When your job is to test out jet fighters ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œvia Caters News Agency

Posted by UNILAD on Thursday, March 9, 2017

I’m Irish, let’s launch in the vertical for St Patties Day!

Back in the day I got a pay-back flight from the USAF Test Pilot School. I had been instructing Candidates in the F-4 Phantom. Had a couple wild rides, they knew it so let me fly one of their F-15s. I did a vertical take off, the flight is still stamped on my mind like it was yesterday. Here is a taste:

And from the outside.

My books: The Aviator Series are progressing through the history of Aviation: Project 7 Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and CODE NAME: Infamy all are set in WW2. My latest, COLD WAR HOT, will move into the jet age and Cold War culminating in the Korean War and is closing in on the modern era. I put my readers in the cockpit of some of the most famous aircraft in the world.

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Blog, Military, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A-6 Intruder and EA-6B Prowler

For my A-6 Intruder Buds! I flew the EA-6B Prowler, it was a stretched A-6, and they are often confused for each other.

This is an A-6 Intruder. A two man crew, Pilot and Bombardier-Navigator (BN).

This is an EA-6B Prowler. A 4 man crew, Pilot and 3 Electronic Counter Measures Officers (ECMO).

Both were designed to go in low and fast to project power (ie blow shit up). The A-6 was a Medium Attack aircraft, its mission was bombing whether over the land or against ships. It also could mine harbors, shoot anti-SAM, Harpoon anti ship and even AIM-9 air to air missiles. But it’s bread and butter mission was hauling up to 28 (32 with gear doors off) 500 pound MK-82 (or bigger) bombs through all weather, night or day, at low level and put them on target.

Countering surface to air missiles (SAMs) and search radars through jammers and AGM-88 HARM missiles was the Prowler’s bread and butter. It was also a great Electronic Spy platform and occasionally we’d put linguists onboard as well. It combined many missions which is why it lasted 40 years in the Fleet. In fact the Marines are still flying it. I had 1,800 hours in the mighty Prowler, 550+ carrier landings 200 at night. It wasn’t easy to fly, but it was honest. And those J52-P408s could dig you out of a big hole. One would bring you safely back aboard and did four times for me.

My books: The Aviator Series are progressing through the history of Naval Aviation: Project 7 Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and CODE NAME: Infamy all are set in WW2. My latest, COLD WAR HOT, will move into the jet age and Cold War culminating in the Korean War and is closing in on the Prowler/Intruder era.

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Blog, Book, Military, Naval Aviation, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

F/A-18 Hornet landing on carrier in bad weather

US F/A-18 fighter pilot lands on aircraft carrier in conditions of no visibility

The most feared radio call a Carrier Air Wing can hear while Blue Water is:

“Ninety-Nine School-boys…landing lights on.”

My last post featured a beautiful dusk carrier landing, I was going to show a worst case scenario (night bad weather) but realized the viewer wouldn’t see anything any way. I have two traps etched in my mind where I was so riveted to the instruments I didn’t realize how close I was until the ship’s wire yanked me to a stop. With that in mind I opted for a day zero visibility trap.

Blue Water means there is no divert, the ship is too far from shore, so you get onboard or come up the starboard side and eject, then hope they find you. It is worse at night of course, The radio call, 99, means its for everyone airborne. School-boys was the collective call sign for the Midway’s Air Wing. Landing lights on is what sent the chill down your spine. We got other blast calls: “99 School-boys max conserve.”, for example meant something was wrong with the ship, Aviators were boltering (missing the wires, it was contagious) or an accident happened on deck. While it got your attention and caused you to keep one eye on the depleting fuel gauge, it didn’t strike fear like “Landing lights on”.

In Naval Aviation you never land with the aircrafts landing lights on. We used running lights (green, red and white just like a boat) and a color coded light that told the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) what your Angle Of Attack was, (AOA is basically your speed). So, when that call was made it meant the weather was so bad, not only could the Aviators not see the boat’s lights. The LSOs couldn’t see the aircraft unless that bright landing light was on. During really bad weather fun you’d get to 3/4s of a mile (where you’d normally call the ball with your side number and fuel state) instead of calling the ball, you’d call “Clara”. That meant you couldn’t see anything. You wanted to hear: “We’ve got you, you’re a little high (or whatever) continue.” What you didn’t want to hear was: “You’re sounding good keep it coming.” That meant the LSOs couldn’t see you either, even with that VERY bright light on!

The video is from the HUD (Heads Up Display) camera of an F/A-18, it is the pilots view. Airspeed is the left box, radar altimeter is the right. At the top, the numbers are the aircraft’s heading and at the bottom is a vertical moving line and a horizontal. That is the ship’s ILS approach, and represents the proper lateral and glideslope guidance that will put you on the number three wire and centerline of the landing area. Both very important; if the line goes low…you go around for another try. Left or right and the LSOs will send you around for another try. Remember there are millions of dollars worth of aircraft and hundreds of Sailor’s with in a few feet of each wing-tip. Obviously, it is super sensitive in close, we are talking 1 or 2 feet of accuracy at 150 MPH.

Watch it again. with all that in mind.

My books: The Aviator Series are progressing through the history of Naval Aviation: Project 7 Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and CODE NAME: Infamy all are set in WW2. My latest, COLD WAR HOT, will move into the jet age and Cold War culminating in the Korean War and the Navy’s dangerous transition.

Take one for a ride!

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Book, Military, Naval Aviation, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

E-2 Hawkeye lands on air craft carrier at dusk

Great video of an E-2C or D landing on an aircraft carrier, officially at night. This is one of the best I’ve seen for anyone who wants to know what the experience is like. The E-2 is a twin engine turbo-prop aircraft and a bit slower than Fighter or Attack jets. That helps you get a front seat view of the approach with internal communication (pilot to pilot) and from the ship.

At the top of the video is the ships view from the PLAT camera, located in the deck, on centerline of the landing area. Every space (room) on the ship has a PLAT TV in it. Your name as the pilot is also provided…everyone knows if you bolter (miss wires) who it was. That causes all hands to work longer. I personally found that pressure much higher than fear of busting ass. If you watch to the end, you can hear the Naval Aviators joking about it being a “night trap”. Even though it is dusk and there is a great horizon, officially it counts as night and is highly sought after to maintain your night qual.

In my books: The Aviator Series I convey the experience of Naval Aviation in my books: Project 7 Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and CODE NAME: Infamy.

Next post will be a zero visibility approach at night in a single seat F/A-18 Hornet.

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Book, Naval Aviation, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

P-51 Mustang vs. A-6M Zero

North American P-51 Mustang vs Mitsubishi A6M Zero โœˆ Aero-Pictures โœˆ

Posted by Aero-Pictures on Friday, November 11, 2016

A view from the other cockpit. This is some real good footage, done as I think it should be, with some real aircraft (I think). And they understand what Howard Hughes learned in Hell’s Angels: speed is relative. Notice all the scenes are either near the ground or clouds, thus the viewer sees the relative speed.

Hell’s Angels, set in WWI, is still a good watch. Real aircraft is still the best way to go. In my first book, Project 7 Alpha, I write about a WWI air battle like this. The other books in the Aviator Series: Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, ENDGAME in the Pacific and Code Name; Infamy all have air to air combat scenes from WWII.

leland

Posted in Blog, Book, flight test, Military, Pilot shortage, Vengeance, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

F7U-3 Cutlass….or as Naval Aviators called it, The Gutless.

The Gutless, The Ensign Eliminator: Vought’s F7U-3 Cutlass had performance that was…shall we say underwhelming. It was so bad Navy lore has it that the F7U-3 is the sole reason we went from a flat 100 foot pattern at the ship to a descending pattern that starts at 600 feet abeam. It’s Westinghouse J-34 turbojets performance were so anemic, with gear and flaps down the Gutless couldn’t maintain level flight in a turn. Political pressure being what it was, and is (witness the F-35), as often happens the Fleet guys were ordered to “make it work”. Thus the descending pattern.

Even with the descending pattern and extreme caution being used when operating the Cutlass, 25% of them were stricken from the inventory due to crashing. Certainly, the straight deck carriers it was attempting to operate from contributed. And the entire period of prop-jet transition had a horrendous accident rate, in 1958 Naval Aviation killed more pilots than they winged. Still the Gutless will go down in history as one of, if not the, worst.

The swept winged, tailless fighter was indeed ahead of its time. In fact it out ran the available technology of the time to pull it off. I love writing about aircraft like this in my novels: Project 7 Alpha, Vengeance, Endgame in the Pacific and Code Name; Infamy.

Even the Blue Angels couldn’t make it work. They had two for a demo of jet power, while the team still flew the F8F Bearcat, halfway through the inaugural season they grounded them.

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Blog, flight test, Military, Naval Aviation, Vengeance, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

F-4F Wildcat

FM-2 Wildcat

Evan Fagen in the Grumman FM-2 Wildcat in October.

Posted by Fagen Fighters WWII Museum on Monday, December 19, 2016

In my book Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, I write about the Grumman F-4F Wildcat. I’m having a blast flying my own War Bird (Nanchang CJ-6A) with my kids. I’m working on another documentary and it will feature the Nanchang and some nice aerobatics.

leland

Posted in Aviator book series, Blog, Book, Naval Aviation, Vengeance, war bird Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,