Saturday, December 19, 2009

San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame 2009

The San Diego Air & Space Museum has selected its hall of fame class of 2009. The honoree was selected for their historic contributions to aviation, space, or aviation technology.

Class of 2009:
Sally Ride, first woman in space
Sean D. Tucker, airshow performer
Clay Lacy, founder of Clay Lacy aviation
Lockheed Brothers & Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Aircraft Co.
The Blue Angels, airshow performer
Cliff Robertson, pilot, Academy-Award-winning screen star, founder of Cliff Robertson Work Experience
Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)

Sally Ride is an American physicist and a former NASA in 1983 the first American woman to enter space. During he career Sally served as the ground-based Capsule Communicator for the second and third Space Shuttle flights. On June 18, 1983 she became the first woman in space on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego and Director of the California Space Institute. Sally is currently serving as President and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded in 2001.

Sean D. Tucker is an American airshow pilot. He earned his pilot's certificate at age 17. He has been in airshows since mid-1970s. He is sponsored by Team Oracle and flies a Challenger II biplane. Sean D. Tucker is the founder and president of Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety, where you can train to be an aerobatic pilot. The Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety is the only aerobatic pilot training place in the world.

Frank Robinson, founder of Robinson Helicopter Co.Clay Lacy is the founder of Clay Lacy Aviation, one of the largest corporate jet providers in the country. Clay Lacy Aviation operates the largest number of aircraft in the west. Currently Clay Lacy Aviation flies more charters in the West Coast more than any other.

Lockheed Brothers & Skunk Works Brothers Allan and Malcolm, created a series of aviation companies that eventually became the current company, Lockheed Martin Aircraft Co. that started in 1912. Lockheed Brothers & Skunk Brothers produce some of the most famous aircraft.

United Sates Navy Flight Demonstration Team Blue Angels who are a performing aerobatic team that started in 1946. Blue Angels flew various aircraft over their time-span including a Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, F8F-1 Bearcat, F9F-2 Panther, F9F-5 Panther, Grumman F9F-8 Cougar, F11F-1 Tiger, F-4J Phantom II, A-4F Skyhawk, and the current day Boeing F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet. The Blue Angels are one of the most respected team.

Cliff Robertson is a pilot, Academy Award and Emmy-Award-winning screen star as well as founder of the Cliff Robertson Work Experience, within the EAA. Cliff Robertson is an American actor and also a pilot. He has been in films suck as Corvette K-225, We've Never Been Licked, All in a Night's Work, Underworld U.S.A., Sunday in New York, 633 Squadron, Charly, Shoot, Midway, Obsession, The Pilot, Escape from L.A., Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Riding the Bullet, and Spider-Man 3 just to name a few. The EAA's Young Eagles program started in 1992 with Cliff Robertson as the honorary first chairman.

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) is an organization of civilian female pilots employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Between September 1942 and December 1944, the WASP delivered 12,650 aircraft of 78 different types.

Paul Sanderson Dead at 86

In memory of Paul Sanderson (November 23, 1922-October 23, 2009).
Paul Sanderson was the founder of Sanderson Films, a Jeppesen heritage company, and father of modern multimedia flight training programs. He died of natural causes at age 86.

ASTM - New Specification for Binary Unleaded Aviation Certification Fuel

On October 2, 2009 ASTM announced the start of a new avgas specifications for a "binary unleaded aviation fuel."

1. Scope

"1.1 This specification covers formulating specifications for purchases of a binary unleaded aviation fuel under contract and is intended primarily for use by purchasing agencies for testing purposes. 1.2 This specification defines a specific type of binary unleaded aviation fuel for use as an aviation gasoline."

Richard Whitcomb Dead at 88

In memory of Richard Whitcomb (February 21, 1921-October 13, 2009)
Richard Whitcomb was a American Aeronautical Engineer noted for his significant contributions to the science of aerodynamics. In 1954 he developed the "transonic area rule," which reduces the shock wave drag that occurs near the speed of sound. In the 1960s he developed the airfoil design was flatter on the top and rounder on the bottom with a downward curve on the trailing edge. The shape delayed the onset of drag, increasing the fuel efficiency of the aircraft flying close to the speed of sound. In the 1970s he developed winglets. Winglets are found on wide rage of aircraft today and improve fuel efficiency. He died at age 88 from a stroke.

NTSB: Flight 188 Accident Update

NTSB Advisory
National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, DC 20594
October 26, 2009


In its continuing investigation of an Airbus A320 that overflew the Minneapolis-St Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain Airport (MSP), the National Transportation Safety Board has developed the following factual information: On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 5:56 pm mountain daylight time, an Airbus A320, operating as Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight 188, became a NORDO (no radio communications) flight at 37,000 feet. The flight was operating as a Part 121 flight from San Diego International Airport, San Diego, California (SAN) to MSP with 144 passengers, 2 pilots and 3 flight attendants.

Both pilots were interviewed separately by NTSB investigators yesterday in Minnesota. The following is an overview of the interviews:

  • The first officer and the captain were interviewed for over 5 hours combined.
  • The Captain, 53 years old, was hired in 1985. His total flight time is about 20,000 hours, about 10,000 hours of A-320 time of which about 7,000 was as pilot in command.
  • The First Officer, 54 years old, was hired in 1997. His total flight time is about 11,000 hours, and has about 5,000 hours on the A-320.
  • Both pilots said they had never had an accident, incident or violation.
  • Neither pilot reported any ongoing medical conditions.
  • Both pilots stated that they were not fatigued. They were both commuters, but they had a 19-hour layover in San Diego just prior to the incident flight. Both said they did not fall asleep or doze during the flight.
  • Both said there was no heated argument.
  • Both stated there was a distraction in the cockpit. The pilots said there was a concentrated period of discussion where they did not monitor the airplane or calls from ATC even though both stated they heard conversation on the radio. Also, neither pilot noticed messages that were sent by company dispatchers. They were discussing the new monthly crew flight scheduling system that was now in place as a result of the merger. The discussion began at cruise altitude.
  • Both said they lost track of time.
  • Each pilot accessed and used his personal laptop computer while they discussed the airline crew flight scheduling procedure. The first officer, who was more familiar with the procedure was providing instruction to the captain. The use of personal computers on the flight deck is prohibited by company policy.
  • Neither pilot was aware of the airplane's position until a flight attendant called about 5 minutes before they were scheduled to land and asked what was their estimated time of arrival (ETA). The captain said, at that point, he looked at his primary flight display for an ETA and realized that they had passed MSP. They made contact with ATC and were given vectors back to MSP.
  • At cruise altitude - the pilots stated they were using cockpit speakers to listen to radio communications, not their headsets.
  • When asked by ATC what the problem was, they replied "just cockpit distraction" and "dealing with company issues".
  • Both pilots said there are no procedures for the flight attendants to check on the pilots during flight.

The Safety Board is interviewing the flight attendants and other company personnel today. Air traffic control communications have been obtained and are being analyzed. Preliminary data from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) revealed the following:

  • The CVR recording was 1/2 hour in length.
  • The cockpit area microphone channel was not working during this recording. However, the crew's headset microphones recorded their conversations.
  • The CVR recording began during final approach, and continued while the aircraft was at the gate.
  • During the hours immediately following the incident flight, routine aircraft maintenance provided power to the CVR for a few minutes on several occasions, likely recording over several minutes of the flight.

The FDR captured the entire flight which contained several hundred aircraft parameters including the portion of flight where there was no radio communication from the flight crew. Investigators are examining the recorded parameters to see if any information regarding crew activity during the portion of flight where radio contact was lost can be obtained.

The Safety Board's investigation continues.


NTSB Media Contact: Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100

Rans Unveils Coyote II S-6ELS

Rans has unveiled the Coyote II S-6ELS. This aircraft is based on the Rans S-6ES. This is a new sport plane that can be available in trike or tail-wheel configurations. The powerplant is a Rotax 80 HP standard, and an optional Rotax 100 HP. It has a 95 knots cruising speed.

Price: 69,995.00