TDRS-K launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket has successfully launched the Boeing Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-K for NASA at 8:48 PM this evening. The launch site was Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

TDRS-K is the first in a new class of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites. It will serve as a communications platform between numerous spacecraft and ground stations on Earth. TDRS-L and –M will launch in 2013 and 2015, respectively, to complete the upgrade of the TDRS constellation. Stationed in geosynchronous orbit about 22,300 miles above Earth, the satellites can pick up signals from lower orbiting spacecraft and send those signals to ground control and data collection stations.

The International Space Station is a frequent user of the TDRS system. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other space-borne observatories also transmit signals through the TDRS satellites.


Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance



F-35 flight test accomplishments in 2012

Slick videos about the work at Edwards AFB and NAS Patuxent River.

iPad tips for pilots

The iPad has become a frequenty used tool for flight and particularly in the cockpit. Sporty’s has some good iPad tips for pilots.

Cirrus Design introduces the SR22 and SR22T Generation 5

For 2013, Cirrus Design has upgraded its SR22 and SR22T to the Generation 5 configuration, which increases the gross weight to 3600 pounds.

Updates on Boeing 787 grounding

Plenty of news from Aviation Week & Space Technology.

My favorite blog about air transport also has some good information about the 787 crisis.

787 APU battery of the Li-ion type that caught on fire.Photo credit: NTSB

787 APU battery of the Li-ion type that caught on fire.
Photo credit: NTSB

Book Review – Strike Eagle: Flying the F-15E in the Gulf War

Strike Eagle: Flying the F-15E in the Gulf War
William L. Smallwood
Brassey’s Inc.

What it’s about:

The role of the Strike Eagles and their crews in Operation Desert Storm.

What I liked about the book:

  • First-hand combat stories, as told by aircrew.
  • Vivid descriptions.

What could have been done better:

  • Operating a fighter wing takes a lot more people than just aircrew members. A very few maintainers and intel troops make an appearance. The book would have enhanced by including more coverage of the people on the ground.


Riveting tales of taking a highly capable if immature at the time aircraft to war.


5 stars out of a possible 5.

1987 Open House at Edwards AFB

I was there, being on active duty and assigned to the base at that time. The annual open house was one of the highlights of the year at Edwards AFB. Brian Lockett took a lot of video and has posted it on YouTube.

Static displays, part 1

Static displays, part 2

Flying program, part 1

Flying program, part 2

Thunderbirds arrival

Thunderbirds show

Watch, enjoy, and get a feel for the USAF at its Cold War zenith.

NASA Signs Agreement for a European-Provided Orion Service Module

ESA will provide the service module for the Orion spacecraft.

There are three major components to the Orion vehicle:

  • Crew capsule, which will carry four astronauts into space on crewed flights and bring them home for a safe landing.
  • Launch abort system, which would pull the crew module to safety in the unlikely event of a life-threatening problem during launch.
  • Service module, which will house Orion’s power, thermal and propulsion systems.

The service module is located directly below the crew capsule and will contain the in-space propulsion capability for orbital transfer, attitude control and high-altitude ascent aborts. It also will generate and store power and provide thermal control, water and air for the astronauts. It will remain connected to the crew module until just before the capsule returns to Earth.


Tailwheel flight training

In this era dominated by tricycle landing gears on airplanes, the typical pilot never flies a tailwheel aircraft. But it’s still a valuable skill to learn, not only to experience aviation’s heritage, but also to improve one’s stick and rudder skills.

A modified Piper J3C-65 Cub (G-BPCF, built 1940), of O’Brien’s Flying Circus Stunt Team, displays at the Cotswold Air Show at Cotswold Airport, Kemble, Gloucestershire, England. This aircraft later landed on a trailer towed by a van, and then took off again while the trailer was still being towed. Photographed by Adrian Pingstone and posted on in the public domain.

Embraer chooses Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan

Embraer has chosen the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan for its next-generation of airliners. The PW1000G is a significant advance in turbofan technology.