Fitzhugh L. Fulton Jr., 1925-2015

RIP, Fitz Fulton.

Fitzhugh Fulton was a renowned test pilot who flew for the US Air Force, NASA and Scaled Composites. Not only was he a giant in his field, but he was a true gentleman. When I was a 23-year old 2Lt flight test engineer, I had the opportunity to work with Fitz for a short period. Imagine somebody just called up from the minor leagues in the same line-up as Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron, and you get the picture. It made a big impression on me that this living legend treated me (objectively, a nobody) as a valued colleague, and it was a valuable life lesson about how to treat other people correctly. I learned that I was not treated in a special way; this was his standard way of dealing with people.

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Best photograph of 2014

Night sky photos on Space.com

Israeli Defense Forces

AVweb

Smithsonian Air and Space

Aviation Week & Space Technology annual photo contest

US Air Force to close three bases in the United Kingdom

The US Air Force that us oldsters remember continues to shrink. RAF Mildenhall, RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth will all close.

Redesigning Santa’s Sleigh for Aerodynamic Efficiency

A little late for Christmas but still amusing.

http://www.popsci.com/why-santas-sleigh-poorly-designed-aerodynamic-efficiency

Flying a Jet in the Los Angeles Storms, December 12, 2014.

kennethpkatz:

An excellent view into a professional aircrew at work.

Originally posted on JetHead's Blog:

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22.” –Captain Yossarian, Catch-22

Here’s the deal, captain: you’re flying a 65 ton jet into Orange County airport, the famously short 5,700 foot runway. The stopping distance required there is increased drastically if that runway is wet–and yesterday, “wet” was an understatement: Los Angeles was drenched in a ten-year storm dumping inches of rain in a matter of hours.

And here’s the catch: you want to have the least amount of fuel–which is weight–on board for landing to permit stopping on the short, rain-slicked runway, but at the same time, as much as possible for a divert if necessary to Los Angeles International Airport or to Ontario Airport, both of which have long runways.

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But it gets worse. The best bet for a diversion is Ontario, because the inbound air traffic is light compared to always busy LAX. But you’ve been watching on radar two thunderstorms…

View original 886 more words

KC-46A first flight

Boeing conducted the first flight of the KC-46A Pegasus tanker for the US Air Force.

767 #1065-YH001

Airbus makes first customer deliver of A350 XWB

Airbus made its first customer deliver of an A350 XWB to launch customer Qatar Airways on December 22, 2014.

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First flight of new Russian rocket

The first launch of a heavy-lift version of Russia’s Angara rocket was declared a success Tuesday, placing a dummy payload into orbit. The Angara A5.1L lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 12:57 am EST (0557 GMT, 8:57 Moscow time) Tuesday. The Angara 5 is a more powerful version of the Angara 1 rocket tested earlier this year, using five “universal rocket module” cores, powered by engines using liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants, for the first stage, along with a second stage and a Briz-M upper stage. The rocket placed a dummy satellite, which remained attached to the Briz0M, into geostationary orbit; the upper stage then maneuvered the payload into a graveyard orbit. Russia developed the Angara to allow it to launch payloads to geostationary orbit from Russian facilities, without requiring the use of Proton rockets from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Development of Angara, though, suffered many years of delays. (copied from spacetoday.net)

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Image credit: RIA Novosti/Russian Defense Ministry

Lockheed T-33 pilot report

Barry Schiff flies the T-33 at the Jet Warbird Center.

Orion EFT-1 successful

The NASA/Lockheed Martin Orion spacecraft had a completely successful unmanned orbital test mission on December 5, 2014, after the launch was scrubbed the previous day. Launched on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy booster, the Orion conduct low and high apogee orbital operations before its high-energy reentry and splashdown.

Image credit: United Launch Alliance

Image credit: United Launch Alliance

Image credit: NASA

Image credit: NASA

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