Retirements: EA-6B Prowler and QF-4 Phantom II

The Grumman (now Northrop Grumman) EA-6B Prowler, which entered service in 1971, has retired from operational US Navy service. It still remains in service with the US Marine Corps. Ottosen Photography has a nice article on its website about the EA-6B and its retirement.

An EA-6B Prowler attached to VAQ-134 lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after conducting strike missions against ISIL targets. Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens/Released)

An EA-6B Prowler attached to VAQ-134 lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after conducting strike missions against ISIL targets.
Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens

The QF-4 full scale aerial target is retiring from service in the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall AFB. It will remain in service with Detachment 1 of that unit for a short while longer at Holloman AFB, and when retired there, the era of F-4 Phantom flight operations in the American military will come to an end.

The final, of 314, QF-4s produced since 1998 landed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Nov. 19. It will be used as an unmanned-full-scale-aerial target during training exercises. Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Reel

The final, of 314, QF-4s produced since 1998 landed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Nov. 19, 2013.
Image credit: Senior Airman Christopher Reel

The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron's last QF-4 Phantom takes off from the runway May 27 marking the end of almost 20 years of its use at Tyndall.  Image credit: Senior Airman Alex Echols

The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron’s last QF-4 Phantom takes off from the runway May 27, 2015 marking the end of almost 20 years of its use at Tyndall.
Image credit: Senior Airman Alex Echols

Solar Impulse flies across the Pacific to Hawaii

Solar Impulse, the solar powered aircraft attempting an around-the-world flight, is currently over the Pacific Ocean, flying from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii. As I type, it has been aloft for 2 days, 9 hours, 14 minutes. The pilot for this leg is André Borschberg.

Pacific

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fails on ascent; CRS-7 mission is a failure

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon resupply vehicle for the International Space Station failed today on ascent.

Dragon and Falcon 9 ready for launch on CRS-7 mission Image credit: SpaceX

Dragon and Falcon 9 ready for launch on CRS-7 mission
Image credit: SpaceX

B-29 and SB2C at KBDL

Each the only flyable aircraft of their type in existence, both the B-29 and the SB2C-5 arrived yesterday at Bradley International Airport. The aircraft are owned by the Commemorative Air Force and the visit is hosted by the New England Air Musuem.

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Northrop Grumman proposes unmanned aircraft to probe Venusian atmosphere

Northrop Grumman is developing an inflatable, propeller-powered aircraft called Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP) for a years-long cruise over Venus.

Image credit: Northrop Grumman

Image credit: Northrop Grumman

Software problem called fatal A400M mishap

The fatal Airbus A400M MSN23 mishap on May 9, 2015 in Spain was caused by a software configuration error in the electronic control units of the Europrop International TP400 turboprop engines. Engines 1, 2 and 3 did not respond to throttle commands after lift-off and did not respond to the crew’s attempts to control the power setting in the normal way, whilst engine 4 responded to throttle demands. When the power levers were set to “flight idle” in an attempt to reduce power, the power reduced but then remained at “flight idle” on the three affected engines for the remainder of the flight despite attempts by the crew to regain power. The crash killed four and injured two crewmembers.

Low Density Supersonic Decelerator shreds during flight test

During a flight test on June 8, 2015, the NASA JPL Low Density Supersonic Decelerator shredded. This experiment is a concept demonstrator for an advanced aerobraking technique for future Mars missions. The first flight was on June 29, 2014. A third test is planned.

It’s worthwhile to keep in mind that as much or more can be learned from a failure as from a success. And if it were easy, it wouldn’t be rocket science.

Animated video of Ceres

Using data from Dawn, a video has been created of Ceres.

First American EVA

50 years ago today, astronaut Ed White became the first American spacewalker on the Gemini 4 mission.

EdWhiteFirstAmericanSpacewalker.1965.ws

Jos Heyman’s military aircraft website

Jos Heyman has put his valuable database of military aircraft information on WordPress.