Posts Tagged ‘US Air Force’

Air Show Rehearsal

Last year I blogged about going to an US Air Force air show. This year – as Air Show season is about to start – I was able to spend a day watching the US Air Force demo teams practice not only their routines, but also for the Heritage Flights.

Early each Spring – the US Air Force demo teams gather at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ to plan out how the flights will be flown, then rehearsal their routines and to actually practice the Heritage Flight formations. Heritage Flights are where front line Air Force fighters (F-15, F-16, F-22 and A-10’s) will fly formation with historic aircraft (P-51 Mustangs, P-40 Warhawk, A-1 Skyraider, F-4 Phantom).

The advantage to being at this event – is you get to see more than just one Heritage Flight formation.  I saw a P-51 Mustang, flying with two F-4 Phantom’s, and a F-16 Viper.  And then later on – it was a P-51, a F-4, a F-16 and a F-22 Raptor.

All of the pictures are available through the link to the Slideshow below.

 

The SR-71 Blackbird




PC023-068

Originally uploaded by Lockheed Martin

I have been trying for it seems weeks to write a post to do this picture (and the Blackbird) justice, but I just haven’t had the time.

The picture dates from 1990 just after the Air Force had decided to retire the Blackbird from active service.

The current Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine included this same picture in their article about Lockheed’s famed designer Kelly Johnson where they also discussed the development of the Blackbird (but if you are a fan of the Blackbird, then you know that lots of books have already been written about its development and past glories).

 

Inside Whiteman AFB, home of the B-2


Northrup B-2 Stealth Bomber

Originally uploaded by rob-the-org

I came across two articles on-line from the week before last this morning. Both were written by a British journalist who got permission to visit Whiteman AFB – the home of the B-2 ‘Spirit’ Stealth Bomber.

Here is the article that got published – Daily Mail [http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1241116/Britains-new-bomber-command-The-2bn-aircraft-aiming-world-peace.html] and the overflow material that was published in the journalist’s blog [http://www.angusbatey.com/index.html?id=578&category=blog].

Both articles are worth reading. One of the highlights of the Daily Mail article was the too small picture of the cockpit (which basically looks like the glass cockpit in any modern airliner). The 2nd story was a closer look at the people who are involved with the B-2, including two RAF exchange pilots (one who is just joining the squadron, and one about to rotate out – and the justification for allowing a British journalist to come onto the base).

 

Air Force shoots down its own Reaper

According to reports over on Ares (Aviation Week’s blog site) – the US Air Force had to shoot down one of their own Reaper’s – after communication/control over the UAV was lost and it was about to leave Afghan airspace.

I wonder whose airspace it was about to violate – when they took it out?

 

So what’s going on with the Tanker buy?

The President’s first 100 days are over – and still no word on what is going to happen with one of the most watched Pentagon acquisition programs in years.

The Air Force tanker program (to replace the aging KC-135’s).

SecDef Robert Gates has said he opposes a ‘dual buy’ (some from Airbus and some from Boeing) option.

There isn’t a even a concrete ‘dual buy’ proposal on the table, only suggestions from some Senate subcommittee chairmen as a way to break the impasse. And even then – the actual committee chairmen have not yet decided other than to wait to see what the Pentagon proposes.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Boeing X-48B Blended Wing Body demonstrator


X-48B

Originally uploaded by cherbro1

When I first blogged about the X-48 a year and a half ago – the radio controlled scale model had just taken its first flight.

This program hasn’t died yet – but its focus has changed. In a AvWeek article published on-line earlier this week – NASA now believes that the Hybrid Wing Body (HWB, its generic term for BWB shapes) is key to reaching its agressive environment targets (for both fuel economy and radiated noise).

Boeing’s Phantom Works has supposedly even talked to two large shipping companies (believed to be FedEx and UPS) about the BWB, causing internal problems with Boeing Commercial Airplanes (who normally handles cargo aircraft).

The US Air Force is still in the mix – looking for tanker/cargo aircraft with the best fuel efficiencies possible, which leads to……

NASA’s lead investigator said they are looking to partner w/ the Air Force Research Lab on a large scale structural demonstrator in the next couple of years. That would then lead to a manned flight demonstrator approximately the size of a 737.