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Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career

The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
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Now displaying: 2018
Oct 4, 2018

In airline operations, flight crews and cabin crews are thoroughly trained on what to expect in the event of an emergency landing. There are several acronyms that are used to convey this information.

NTSB:

N - Nature of emergency

T - Time until landing

S - Signal

B - Brace

TEST :

T - Type of Emergency

E - Exits to be used in the event of evacuation

S - Signal to be given by the flight deck crew to brace customers

T - Time to prepare cabin

NITS:

N -nature of the emergency

I - information to passenger & preparation

T -time remaining

S - Signals

If the aircraft is equipped with an Evacuation Command Switch, this will be part of the briefing.

After receiving the briefing from the Captain, the lead flight attendant will identify any Able Bodied Passengers (ABPs) who can assist with a potential evacuation, and may reseat and thoroughly brief APBs if time permits.

Oct 1, 2018

Chris Dunn started flying - in the right seat of his father's airplane - when he was an infant. Chris's dad had several airplanes while Chris was growing up, so he was steeped in aviation throughout his childhood.

Chris didn't actually start his own flight training until he was thirty years old, when he had "the time and the money" to take lessons. He flew 2-3 days a week, and earned his Private Pilot certificate quickly. He immediately earned his Instrument rating shortly afterwards, and later pursued his Commercial certificate.

Chris attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to earn his Master's Degree in Aviation Safety.

Chris became an on-air television weatherman, and continued his love of aviation by serving in volunteer aviation activities, such as Civil Air Patrol and Angel Flight West. In that capacity, Chris transported patients to medical treatment where commercial air transportation was not available and automobile trips would take too long and be too taxing on the individuals. He once transported a patient from Denver to North Platte, Nebraska, where she was met by another pilot who would fly her the rest of the way to Iowa. The patient's transfer was front and center on North Platte's only television station, and garnered publicity and appreciation for General Aviation and how it serves communities.

Chris shares his love of aviation in his website: http://www.theflyingweatherman.com/.

Sep 28, 2018

If you become an airline pilot, there's a good chance you will at some point become a commuter. Commuting is probably more prevalent among pilots than in the general population, since they can travel from their homes to their bases on their company's planes as pass-riding passengers on in the cockpit on jump seats. Reciprocal jump seat agreements make it fairly easy to obtain a jump seat on another carrier.

There are several scenarios of commuting situations. If you reside in a city where your airline has a base, but you are currently based at a different location, you may decide to commute to your base, rather than relocate. At some point, you may become senior enough to be based where you live. In this case, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

In another example, perhaps you reside in a city where your airline does not have a pilot base. In this case, you will be a commuter for the duration of your employment, unless and until the airline establishes a base where you live. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

When you commute, you typically must plan for several backup flights to get yorself to work, since  your airline expects you to be in position when you're needed. And you have to be well-rested. That means you probably need to obtain accommodations at your base.

Many pilots obtain crash pads, where they pay a fairly reasonable price to share a sleeping space with other commuting pilots. The other option, unless you have a friend in the new city who will allow you to camp out at their house, is to get an apartment in the city where you're based, or get a hotel room for every trip.

In another model, perhaps your airline provides positive-space air transportation and hotel room prior to your beginning your flight schedule. In this case, you still need to spend a lot of time away from home simply traveling to your employment, but the problem of uncertainty about your transportation is solved.

If you're commuting simply to get seniority in a base, or get more pay due to a promoted position, you need to give a lot of thought to the heavy price you'll pay.

For more information, read the blog post "The Commuter's Survival Kit".

Sep 24, 2018

Gilmary Michael "Mike" Hostage III is a retired United States Air Force four-star general who last served as the commander, Air Combat Command from September 13, 2011 to October 2014. He previously served as commander, United States Air Forces Central, Southwest Asia. He retired from the Air Force after over 37 years of service.

As the commander of Air Combat Command, he is responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. ACC operates more than 1,000 aircraft, 22 wings, 13 bases, and more than 300 operating locations worldwide with 79,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. When mobilized, the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve contribute more than 700 aircraft and 51,000 people to ACC. As the Combat Air Forces lead agent, ACC develops strategy, doctrine, concepts, tactics, and procedures for air- and space-power employment. The command provides conventional and information warfare forces to all unified commands to ensure air, space and information superiority for warfighters and national decision-makers. ACC can also be called upon to assist national agencies with intelligence, surveillance and crisis response capabilities.

As the Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command, Hostage was responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting air operations in a 20-nation area of responsibility covering Central and Southwest Asia.

General Hostage entered the air force through Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps from Duke University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, and a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours. He has flown combat missions in multiple aircraft, logging more than 600 combat hours in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

In May 2012, press reports have indicated Hostage ordered pilots to fly the F-22 Raptordespite problems with its oxygen system. Hostage has said that some of the problems the pilots encountered were simply limits of the human body, but that UAVs were not suitable for the AirSea Battle concept of the Pacific Pivot.

Hostage has put forward the concept of a "combat cloud" for how manned and unmanned systems will work together in the USAF of the future.

In 2014 Hostage said that his plans to retire the A-10 fleet would put greater demands on USAF pilots and that their readiness was crucial. He also doubted the usefulness of the planned Combat Rescue Helicopter in a serious conflict against modern air defenses, and that it might be better to just use the V-22.

Sep 21, 2018

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is an observance that honors whose who were prisoners of war (POW) as well as those who are still missing in action (MIA). It is observed in the United States on the third Friday in September. National POW/MIA Recognition Day was proclaimed by the United States Congress in 1998. It is one of the six national observances when the POW/MIA Flag can be flown. The other five observances are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.The POW/MIA flag was created by the National League of Families in 1972 and was officially recognized by the Congress in 1990. It is a symbol of concern about United States military personnel taken as POW or listed as MIA.The POW/MIA flag should be no larger than the United States flag. It is typically flown immediately below or adjacent to the national flag as second in the order of precedence. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the flag is flown on the grounds of major military installations, veterans memorials, government agencies, federal national cemeteries.In the armed forces, a single table and chair draped with the POW/MIA flag are displayed in mess halls and dining halls. Such installation symbolizes the hope for the return of these who are missing in action.

The POW/MIA flag was created for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia and officially recognized by the United States Congress in conjunction with the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, "as the symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation."

The original design for the flag was created by Newt Heisley in 1972 The National League of Families then-national coordinator, POW wife Evelyn Grubb, oversaw its development and also campaigned to gain its widespread acceptance and use by the United States government and also local governments and civilian organizations across the United States.

In 1971, while the Vietnam War was still being fought, Mary Helen Hoff, the wife of a service member missing in action and member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for a symbol of U.S. POW/MIAs, some of whom had been held captivity for as many as seven years. The flag is black, and bears in the center, in black and white, the emblem of the league. The emblem was designed by Newton F. Heisley, and features a white disk bearing in black silhouette the bust of a man (Jeffery Heisley), watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire; above the disk are the white letters POW and MIA framing a white 5-pointed star; below the disk is a black and white wreath above the white motto: "You are not Forgotten." The POW/MIA was flown over the White House for the first time in September 1982. The flag has been altered many times; the colors have been switched from black with white – to red, white and blue – to white with black; the POW/MIA has at times been revised to MIA/POW.

On March 9, 1989, a league flag that had flown over the White House on the 1988 National POW/MIA Recognition Day was installed in the U.S. Capitol rotunda as a result of legislation passed by the 100th Congress. The league's POW-MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the rotunda, and the only one other than the Flag of the United States to have flown over the White House. The leadership of both houses of Congress hosted the installation ceremony in a demonstration of bipartisan congressional support.

On August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, recognizing the National League of Families POW/MIA flag and designating it "as a symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation." Beyond Southeast Asia, it has been a symbol for POW/MIAs from all U.S. wars.

The flag is ambiguous as it implies that personnel listed as MIA may in fact be held captive. The official, bipartisan, U.S. government position is that there is "no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia". The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) provides centralized management of prisoner of war/missing personnel (POW/MP) affairs within the United States Department of Defense and is responsible for investigating the status of POW/MIA issues. As of 29 March 2017, 1,611 Americans remained unaccounted for, of which 1,023 were classified as further pursuit, 497 as no further pursuit and 91 as deferred.

The last loss of the Vietnam War:

CDR Harley H. Hall was the commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143
onboard the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE. On January 27, 1973 he and his
Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), LTCDR Philip A. Kientzler, launched in their F4J
Phantom fighter aircraft on an attack mission against North Vietnamese supplies
and logistic vehicles 15 miles northwest of Quang Tri, South Vietnam. Hall and
Kientzler were under the direction of an OV10 Forward Air Controller (FAC).

CDR Hall's aircraft came under intense anti-aircraft fire while attacking
several trucks and was hit. He made an attempt to fly back out to the safety of
the sea, but minutes later the aircraft caught fire on the port wing and
fuselage.

Both Hall and his co-pilot, LCDR Philip A. Kintzler ejected at 4,000 feet and
were seen to land 100 feet apart near a village on an island in the Dam Cho Chua
and Cua Viet Rivers. CDR Hall was seen moving about on the ground, discarding
his parachute. No voice contact was made with the men, and the probability of
immediate capture was considered very high.

Numerous aircraft made several passes over the area for the next several hours
and were unsuccessful in observing either of the downed crewmen. Several
emergency beepers were heard intermittently the remainder of the afternoon and
throughout the night, however, no voice contact was established. Active,
organized search and rescue efforts were subsequently terminated.

Only Kientzler was released at Operation Homecoming in 1973. He reported that
during parachute descent they received heavy ground fire, at which time he was
hit in the leg. He last saw CDR Hall as they touched the ground. When he asked
his guards about his pilot, he was told that he was killed by another.

No other returned POW reported having knowledge of Harley Hall, yet the Pentagon
maintained him in POW status for over 6 years, and documents were obtained that
indicated that he was indeed captured. The Hanoi government claims to have no
knowledge of CDR Harley Hall. This former member of the famed Blue Angels flight
team remains missing.

Harley Hall was shot down on the last day of the war and was the last Navy air
casualty of the Vietnam War. He was the last American to be classified Prisoner
of War in the Vietnam War.

Harley H. Hall was promoted to the rank of Captain during the period he was
maintained as a prisoner.

In October 2017, state government buildings in Maryland began flying the POW/MIA flag outside.

Sep 18, 2018

The U.S. War Department created the first antecedent of the U.S. Air Force, as a part of the U.S. Army, on 1 August 1907, which through a succession of changes of organization, titles, and missions advanced toward eventual independence 40 years later. In World War II, almost 68,000 U.S. airmen died helping to win the war, with only the infantry suffering more casualties. In practice, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) was virtually independent of the Army during World War II, and in virtually all ways functioned as an independent service branch, but airmen still pressed for formal independence. The National Security Act of 1947 was signed on 26 July 1947 by President Harry S Truman, which established the Department of the Air Force, but it was not until 18 September 1947, when the first secretary of the Air Force, W. Stuart Symington, was sworn into office that the Air Force was officially formed as an independent service branch.

The act created the National Military Establishment (renamed Department of Defense in 1949), which was composed of three subordinate Military Departments, namely the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the newly created Department of the Air Force. Prior to 1947, the responsibility for military aviation was shared between the Army Air Forces and its predecessor organizations (for land-based operations), the Navy (for sea-based operations from aircraft carriers and amphibious aircraft), and the Marine Corps (for close air support of Marine Corps operations).

Sep 17, 2018

From the Wings Over The Rockies website:

Chuck enjoys working as an aviation writer and as a museum exhibit designer. He gets to do both in his current career as director of the Colorado Aerospace History Project. Before this, he spent many years writing the books and online courses that help teach pilots to fly. He has volunteered at Wings Over the Rockies for more than 20 years. Chuck learned to fly in 1972, and has been an active general aviation pilot ever since. He’s passionate about encouraging Americans to improve their critical thinking skills, and especially likes sharing his interest in aerospace history. Whether in an elementary school classroom or a senior center, his lively presentations encourage interaction and keep audiences engaged, interested, and entertained.

Speaking Topics:

  • Colorful Coloradans in Aerospace History
  • The 20 Greatest Moments in Flight (that you never heard of)
  • Everyday Life in Space (So, how do astronauts go to the bathroom, anyway?)
  • Best. Race. Ever. (To the Moon and back!)
  • What Has the Space Program Done for YOU?
  • Women in Aviation: Determined Pioneers
  • Did Going to the Moon Save the Earth?
  • Those Dang Little Airplanes: Menace or Necessity?
  • Flying with Broken Wings: Pilots Who Overcame Disabilities
  • How Airplanes Fly
  • What Makes a Hero?
  • Invisible Heroes in Aerospace
  • From Biplanes to Atomic Bombs: The astonishing changes in aviation technology during World War II
  • How to Have a Great Career
  • Six Major Air Disasters that Never Happened
  • Aerobatics: Gymnastics in the Sky
  • What Makes Weather
  • Poetry, Prose, and… Pilots? (Aviators with the Write Stuff)
  • Night Sky (Naked-eye astronomy)
  • A Really Grand Tour
  • What We’ve Learned from Flying
Sep 13, 2018

Now we'll talk about a RAT on a plane. A ram air turbine (RAT) is a small wind turbine that is connected to a hydraulic pump, or electrical generator, installed in an aircraft and used as a power source. The RAT generates power from the airstream by ram pressure due to the speed of the aircraft.

Modern aircraft generally use RATs only in an emergency. In case of the loss of both primary and auxiliary power sources the RAT will power vital systems (flight controls, linked hydraulics and also flight-critical instrumentation). Some RATs produce only hydraulic power, which is in turn used to power electrical generators. In some early aircraft (including airships), small RATs were permanently mounted and operated a small electrical generator or fuel pump.

Modern aircraft generate power in the main engines or an additional fuel-burning turbine engine called an auxiliary power unit, which is often mounted in the rear of the fuselage or in the main-wheel well. The RAT generates power from the airstream due to the speed of the aircraft. If aircraft speeds are low, the RAT will produce less power. In normal conditions the RAT is retracted into the fuselage (or wing), and is deployed manually or automatically following complete loss of power. In the time between power loss and RAT deployment, batteries are used.

On the B787, the RAT extends automatically if any of the following occur:

Ram Air Turbine (RAT) Generator

• both engines are failed

• all three hydraulic system pressures are low

• loss of all electrical power to captain’s and first officer’s flight

instruments

• loss of all four EMPs and faults in the flight control system occur on

approach

• loss of all four EMPs and an engine fails on takeoff or landing

Sep 11, 2018

From the DahlFund website:

This fund is created in memory of Captain Jason Dahl with respect toward all victims of the events of 9/11/2001. It supports future generations of pilots, young people yearning to fly, through the award of Aviation Scholarships annually.

Jason never accepted less than the best. We remain dedicated to ensure that the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Board and the growing community of Scholarship Winners reflect this expectation of excellence.

The Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund is a IRS qualified 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation. The Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund was established the day after the national tragedy, and grew to a respectable sum within the first few months, thanks to the outpouring of support from family, friends, and other generous Americans. That outpouring continues to this day, as fundraising activities and charitable organizations demonstrate with generous contributions.

The Dahl Fund provides scholarships for qualified students who wish to attend accredited commercial flight training schools in the United States.

 

Sep 6, 2018

From Wikipedia:

Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally the magnetic azimuth of the runway's heading in decadegrees. This heading differs from true north by the local magnetic declination. A runway numbered 09 points east (90°), runway 18 is south (180°), runway 27 points west (270°) and runway 36 points to the north (360° rather than 0°). When taking off from or landing on runway 09, a plane would be heading 90° (east).

A runway can normally be used in both directions, and is named for each direction separately: e.g., "runway 33" in one direction is "runway 15" when used in the other. The two numbers usually differ by 18 (= 180°).

If there is more than one runway pointing in the same direction (parallel runways), each runway is identified by appending Left (L), Center (C) and Right (R) to the number to identify its position (when facing its direction) — for example, Runways One Five Left (15L), One Five Center (15C), and One Five Right (15R). Runway Zero Three Left (03L) becomes Runway Two One Right (21R) when used in the opposite direction (derived from adding 18 to the original number for the 180° difference when approaching from the opposite direction). In some countries, if parallel runways are too close to each other, regulations mandate that only one runway may be used at a time under certain conditions (usually adverse weather).

At large airports with four or more parallel runways (for example, at Los Angeles, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth and Orlando) some runway identifiers are shifted by 10 degrees to avoid the ambiguity that would result with more than three parallel runways. For example, in Los Angeles, this system results in runways 6L, 6R, 7L, and 7R, even though all four runways are actually parallel at approximately 69 degrees. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, there are five parallel runways, named 17L, 17C, 17R, 18L, and 18R, all oriented at a heading of 175.4 degrees. Occasionally, an airport with only 3 parallel runways may use different runway identifiers, such as when a third parallel runway was opened at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airportin 2000 to the south of existing 8R/26L — rather than confusingly becoming the "new" 8R/26L it was instead designated 7R/25L, with the former 8R/26L becoming 7L/25R and 8L/26R becoming 8/26.

For clarity in radio communications, each digit in the runway name is pronounced individually: runway three six, runway one four, etc. (instead of "thirty-six" or "fourteen"). A leading zero, for example in "runway zero six" or "runway zero one left", is included for all ICAO and some U.S. military airports (such as Edwards Air Force Base). However, most U.S. civil aviation airports drop the leading zero as required by FAA regulation. This also includes some military airfields such as Cairns Army Airfield. This American anomaly may lead to inconsistencies in conversations between American pilots and controllers in other countries. It is very common in a country such as Canada for a controller to clear an incoming American aircraft to, for example, runway 04, and the pilot read back the clearance as runway 4. In flight simulation programs those of American origin might apply U.S. usage to airports around the world. For example, runway 05 at Halifax will appear on the program as the single digit 5 rather than 05

Runway designations change over time because the magnetic poles slowly drift on the Earth's surface and the magnetic bearing will change. Depending on the airport location and how much drift takes place, it may be necessary over time to change the runway designation. As runways are designated with headings rounded to the nearest 10 degrees, this will affect some runways more than others. For example, if the magnetic heading of a runway is 233 degrees, it would be designated Runway 23. If the magnetic heading changed downwards by 5 degrees to 228, the Runway would still be Runway 23. If on the other hand the original magnetic heading was 226 (Runway 23), and the heading decreased by only 2 degrees to 224, the runway should become Runway 22. Because the drift itself is quite slow, runway designation changes are uncommon, and not welcomed, as they require an accompanying change in aeronautical charts and descriptive documents. When runway designations do change, especially at major airports, it is often changed at night as taxiway signs need to be changed and the huge numbers at each end of the runway need to be repainted to the new runway designators. In July 2009 for example, London Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom changed its runway designations from 05/23 to 04/22 during the night.

For fixed-wing aircraft it is advantageous to perform takeoffs and landings into the wind to reduce takeoff or landing roll and reduce the ground speed needed to attain flying speed. Larger airports usually have several runways in different directions, so that one can be selected that is most nearly aligned with the wind. Airports with one runway are often constructed to be aligned with the prevailing wind. Compiling a wind rose is in fact one of the preliminary steps taken in constructing airport runways. Note that wind direction is given as the direction the wind is coming from: a plane taking off from runway 09 would be facing east, directly into an "east wind" blowing from 090 degrees.

Runway dimensions vary from as small as 245 m (804 ft) long and 8 m (26 ft) wide in smaller general aviation airports, to 5,500 m (18,045 ft) long and 80 m (262 ft) wide at large international airports built to accommodate the largest jets, to the huge 11,917 m × 274 m (39,098 ft × 899 ft) lake bed runway 17/35 at Edwards Air Force Base in California – developed as a landing site for the Space Shuttle.

Takeoff and landing distances available are given using one of the following terms:

TORA
Takeoff Run Available – The length of runway declared available and suitable for the ground run of an airplane taking off.
TODA
Takeoff Distance Available – The length of the takeoff run available plus the length of the clearway, if clearway is provided.
ASDA
Accelerate-Stop Distance Available – The length of the takeoff run available plus the length of the stopway, if stopway is provided.
LDA
Landing Distance Available – The length of runway that is declared available and suitable for the ground run of an airplane landing.
EMDA
Emergency Distance Available – LDA (or TORA) plus a stopway.

There exist standards for runway markings.

  • The runway thresholds are markings across the runway that denote the beginning and end of the designated space for landing and takeoff under non-emergency conditions.
  • The runway safety area is the cleared, smoothed and graded area around the paved runway. It is kept free from any obstacles that might impede flight or ground roll of aircraft.
  • The runway is the surface from threshold to threshold, which typically features threshold markings, numbers, and centerlines, but not overrun areas at both ends.
  • Blast pads, also known as overrun areas or stopways, are often constructed just before the start of a runway where jet blast produced by large planes during the takeoff roll could otherwise erode the ground and eventually damage the runway. Overrun areas are also constructed at the end of runways as emergency space to slowly stop planes that overrun the runway on a landing gone wrong, or to slowly stop a plane on a rejected takeoff or a takeoff gone wrong. Blast pads are often not as strong as the main paved surface of the runway and are marked with yellow chevrons. Planes are not allowed to taxi, take off or land on blast pads, except in an emergency.
  • Displaced thresholds may be used for taxiing, takeoff, and landing rollout, but not for touchdown. A displaced threshold often exists because obstacles just before the runway, runway strength, or noise restrictions may make the beginning section of runway unsuitable for landings.It is marked with white paint arrows that lead up to the beginning of the landing portion of the runway.
Sep 3, 2018

From Wikipedia:

In 1968, Driscoll graduated from Aviation Officer Candidate School and received his commission as an Ensign (ENS) in the Naval Reserve. After initial flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, he completed advanced flight training at Naval Air Station Glynco, Georgia, and received his Naval Flight Officer wings in 1970. He was selected to be in the F-4 Phantom II as a Radar Intercept Officer (RIO). He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 121 (VF-121) at NAS Miramar, California, for fleet replacement squadron training in the F-4J, then to Fighter Squadron 96 (VF-96) The Fighting Falcons, also based at NAS Miramar. As a lieutenant junior grade (LTJG), he served as a RIO with his primary pilot, Lieutenant Randy "Duke" Cunningham. They became the Navy's only two flying aces during the Vietnam War while VF-96 was embarked on a Western Pacific deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation.

Cunningham, with Driscoll as his RIO, made his first two kills on separate missions; his third, fourth and fifth kills occurred during a single day: May 10, 1972. The engagement became one of the most celebrated aerial dogfights in the war. After they bombed their intended ground target, they engaged 16 MiG interceptors that converged on a bomber convoy of USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses attacking a railyard in Hải Dương.[1] Cunningham shot down two MiG-17s, and became separated from the other aircraft in their strike package. The pair headed for the coast, where they spotted and shot down a lone North Vietnamese MiG-17. Their fighter was then hit by a missile, and they ejected over the Gulf of Tonkin and were rescued. Driscoll was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions.

During the war, Driscoll was promoted to lieutenant. Besides the Navy Cross, he was awarded two Silver Stars, a Purple Heart, and ten Air Medals. He was also nominated for the Medal of Honor.

Driscoll later became an instructor at the U.S. Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) followed by his transition to the F-14 Tomcat and assignment as an instructor at Fighter Squadron 124 (VF-124), the F-14 Fleet Replacement Squadron for the Pacific Fleet at NAS Miramar (now MCAS Miramar), in San Diego, California. He separated from active duty in 1982, but remained in the United States Navy Reserve, flying the F-4 Phantom II and later the F-14 Tomcat in a Naval Air Reserve fighter squadron at NAS Miramar, eventually retiring with the rank of commander (O-5).

Sep 1, 2018

From Wikipedia:

Ordinary combustibles

Fire type A.svg

Class A fires consist of ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, fabric, and most kinds of trash.

 

Flammable liquid and gas

 A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher rated for flammable liquids and gasses

These are fires whose fuel is flammable or combustible liquid or gas. The US system designates all such fires "Class B". In the European/Australian system, flammable liquids are designated "Class B" having flash point less than 100 °C, while burning gases are separately designated "Class C". These fires follow the same basic fire tetrahedron (heat, fuel, oxygen, chemical reaction) as ordinary combustible fires, except that the fuel in question is a flammable liquid such as gasoline, or gas such as natural gas. A solid stream of water should never be used to extinguish this type because it can cause the fuel to scatter, spreading the flames. The most effective way to extinguish a liquid or gas fueled fire is by inhibiting the chemical chain reaction of the fire, which is done by dry chemical and Halon extinguishing agents, although smothering with CO2 or, for liquids, foam is also effective. Halon has fallen out of favor in recent times because it is an ozone-depleting material; the Montreal Protocol declares that Halon should no longer be used. Chemicals such as FM-200 are now the recommended halogenated suppressant.

Electrical

Electrical fires are fires involving potentially energized electrical equipment. The US system designates these "Class C"; the Australian system designates them "Class E". This sort of fire may be caused by short-circuiting machinery or overloaded electrical cables. These fires can be a severe hazard to firefighters using water or other conductive agents, as electricity may be conducted from the fire, through water, to the firefighter's body, and then earth. Electrical shockshave caused many firefighter deaths.

Electrical fire may be fought in the same way as an ordinary combustible fire, but water, foam, and other conductive agents are not to be used. While the fire is or possibly could be electrically energized, it can be fought with any extinguishing agent rated for electrical fire. Carbon dioxideCO2, NOVEC 1230, FM-200 and dry chemical powder extinguishers such as PKP and even baking soda are especially suited to extinguishing this sort of fire. PKP should be a last resort solution to extinguishing the fire due to its corrosive tendencies. Once electricity is shut off to the equipment involved, it will generally become an ordinary combustible fire.

In Europe, "electrical fires" are no longer recognized as a separate class of fire as electricity itself cannot burn. The items around the electrical sources may burn. By turning the electrical source off, the fire can be fought by one of the other class of fire extinguishers.

Metal

Class D fires involve combustible metals - especially alkali metals like lithium and potassium, alkaline earth metals such as magnesium, and group 4 elements such as titanium and zirconium.

Metal fires represent a unique hazard because people are often not aware of the characteristics of these fires and are not properly prepared to fight them. Therefore, even a small metal fire can spread and become a larger fire in the surrounding ordinary combustible materials. Certain metals burn in contact with air or water (for example, sodium), which exaggerate this risk. Generally speaking, masses of combustible metals do not represent great fire risks because heat is conducted away from hot spots so efficiently that the heat of combustion cannot be maintained. In consequence, significant heat energy is required to ignite a contiguous mass of combustible metal. Generally, metal fires are a hazard when the metal is in the form of sawdust, machine shavings or other metal "fines", which combust more rapidly than larger blocks. Metal fires can be ignited by the same ignition sources that would start other common fires.

Care must be taken when extinguishing metal fires. Water and other common firefighting agents can excite metal fires and make them worse. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that metal fires be fought with dry powder extinguishing agents that work by smothering and heat absorption. The most common agents are sodium chloride granules and graphite powder. In recent years, powdered copper has also come into use. These dry powder extinguishers should not be confused with those that contain dry chemical agents. The two are not the same, and only dry powder should be used to extinguish a metal fire. Using a dry chemical extinguisher in error, in place of dry powder, can be ineffective or actually increase the intensity of a metal fire.

Cooking oils and fats (kitchen fires)

 

Laboratory simulation of a chip pan fire: a beaker containing wax is heated until it catches fire. A small amount of water is then poured into the beaker. The water sinks to the bottom and vaporizes instantly, ejecting a plume of burning liquid wax into the air.

Class K fires involve unsaturated cooking oils in well-insulated cooking appliances located in commercial kitchens.

Fires that involve cooking oils or fats are designated “Class K” under the American system, and “Class F” under the European/Australian systems. Though such fires are technically a subclass of the flammable liquid/gas class, the special characteristics of these types of fires, namely the higher flash point, are considered important enough to recognize separately. Water mist can be used to extinguish such fires. As with Class B fires, a solid stream of water should never be used to extinguish this type because it can cause the fuel to scatter, spreading the flames. Appropriate fire extinguishers may also have hoods over them that help extinguish the fire. Sometimes fire blankets are used to stop a fire in a kitchen or on a stove.

Aug 27, 2018

From the Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum website:

John L. Barry, current President & CEO of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board that was created to examine the disaster. In his presentation “When the Right Stuff Goes Wrong”, he will speak first-hand about the accident and share lessons that can be learned from this mishap.

The accident was a major event that was essentially caused by technological, cultural, mechanical and organizational failures. Barry will explain the “nuts and bolts” of this disaster in a way that can be understood, reflected on, and applied to current business plans.

About John L. Barry:

Retired Major General John L. Barry was in the Air Force for over 30 years as a combat veteran, fighter pilot/USAF “Top Gun” graduate and Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He retired in 2004, having served his last tour on active duty as Board Member and Executive Director for the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation.

From 2006-2013, Barry served as superintendent of Aurora Public Schools, the sixth largest district in Colorado. In 2014, he was then named Chief Executive Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. Currently, Barry holds the position as President & CEO at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

Aug 23, 2018

Common carriers are required to exercise the highest degree of care in safety:

 49 U.S. Code § 44701 - General requirements 

(d)Considerations and Classification of Regulations and Standards.—When prescribing a regulation or standard under subsection (a) or (b) of this section or any of sections 4470244716 of this title, the Administrator shall—

(1)consider—

(A)

the duty of an air carrier to provide service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest;

From Wikipedia: A common carrier is distinguished from a contract carrier (also called a public carrier in UK English), which is a carrier that transports goods for only a certain number of clients and that can refuse to transport goods for anyone else, and from a private carrier. A common carrier holds itself out to provide service to the general public without discrimination (to meet the needs of the regulator's quasi judicial role of impartiality toward the public's interest) for the "public convenience and necessity." A common carrier must further demonstrate to the regulator that it is "fit, willing, and able" to provide those services for which it is granted authority. Common carriers typically transport persons or goods according to defined and published routes, time schedules, and rate tables upon the approval of regulators. Public airlines, railroads, bus lines, taxicab companies, phone companies, internet service providers, cruise ships, motor carriers (i.e., canal operating companies, trucking companies), and other freight companies generally operate as common carriers. Under US law, an ocean freight forwarder cannot act as a common carrier.

 

 

Aug 20, 2018

Jim Badger became an Air Force officer after graduating from college, and attended navigator training. After earning his wings, he was assigned to (at the time) Military Air Transport Service (later to become MAC - Military Airlift Command) flying as navigator on the C-124. He flew missions in support of Europe and the expanding war in Vietnam. The C-124 flew low and slow, and was not well suited to supplying the needs of the war.

Jim transitioned into the new C-141, which flew much faster and further, and carried a much greater load. By the time Jim finished his time in the 141, he had accumulated over 5000 hours of flying time. Then the Air Force needed Weapon System Officers (WSOs).

Jim attended F-4 WSO training at George Air Force Base, California and was "top gun" in his class. He selected Ubon Royal Thai Air Base as his Vietnam assignment, and joined the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, the "wolfpack". In addition to flying combat missions, Jim ran the Frag Shop, which planned the hazardous missions over North Vietnam.

After Ubon, Jim was assigned to a missile unit in Missouri, and, after leaving the Air Force, attended law school and practice law, eventually rising to the position of magistrate.

Aug 15, 2018

This past week there was a dramatic, and tragic, event at Sea-Tac airport in Seattle, Washington. An airport worker stole an empty Horizon Air Q400 aircraft and flew it erratically for over an hour before crashing and killing himself. Rather than the NTSB, the FBI is taking the lead in the investigation into this event, which is rightly being called a crime.

Even for an experienced pilot, stealing an airliner is no small feat. If the airplane is parked at a gate, it must be pushed back with a tow vehicle and then disconnected from the tow vehicle, which must them be driven out of the way. In this case it was parked remotely, at the cargo ramp, and could be taxied forward once the engines were started. And the cargo ramp is located adjacent to the takeoff position on runway 19L, so once the engines were started there was little to prevent the aircraft from initiating a takeoff.

Gaining access to the Q400 aircraft itself is relatively easy, as the main entry door has integral stairs, and there is a YouTube video showing door operation:

https://youtu.be/_ai4L3tb92o

There is very little information regarding how the individual was able to gain access to the aircraft, start the APU, start the engines, taxi and take off without interruption. The facts as they are now known are:

  • He had no prior experience as a pilot
  • He was an airline employee with access to the airport Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA)
  • His normal employment was in the area of baggage loading and airplane marshalling
  • From his conversations with ATC, he intended to kill himself

This is not something that can be accomplished on a whim. I believe the FBI's investigation will reveal that the individual had planned this for some time. He most likely had the Microsoft Flight Simulator X program and had been practicing how to start the engines, adjust the condition levers, take off, raise the landing gear, and fly.

There is an add-on program for Microsoft Flight Simulator X for the Q400, and the flight manual for the Q400 is readily available on the internet.

If this individual had simply wanted to steal the airplane and crash it, he likely would not have engaged in conversation with ATC. He was clearly a troubled individual, and it is really sad that an intervention was apparently not possible.

This is not the first such event. In 1969, Sergeant Paul Meyer, a C-130 aircraft mechanic stationed at Mildenhall Air Base in England, put on an officer's flight suit and stole a C-130, hoping to fly back to the United States. He had been under a lot of emotional pressure and desperately wanted to get back home to his wife of eight weeks. He was drunk when he stole the plane, which vanished after a few hours.

There will undoubtedly be a knee-jerk over-reaction in the industry, which will make it more difficult for legitimate crew members to initiate their flights, and which will likely lead to departure delays. Perhaps it would be more productive to educate the public on the signs of mental illness and how to help someone who seeks a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. This line is available for 24 hours, every day.

Aug 13, 2018

Cynthia and Mike Lisa met while midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Mike graduated a year ahead of Cynthia, and attended graduate school to receive his Master of Science Degree in Physics, then attended Navy pilot training at the same time as Cynthia.

Once they were married, they received joint-spouse assignments to Whidby Island Naval Air Station, each flying the EA-6B. During their careers, Mike attended Navy Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD, and Cynthia continued flying the EA-6B until her aircraft accident.

Her EA-6B suffered an engine failure, followed by smoke and fire in the cockpit. She ordered a crew ejection, and a long 1.2 seconds transpired before her sequenced ejection as the aircraft commander. Less than a second later, the jet impacted the ground. She got "one swing" of the parachute before landing near the crash site. Cynthia's ejection was featured in the Smithsonian Channel "Survival In The Skies" episode on ejection seats.

In the mean-time, Mike was deployed and not permitted to return to home for another five months.

Aug 11, 2018

From Wikipedia:

Center-of-Gravity Limits
Center of gravity (CG) limits are specified longitudinal (forward and aft) and/or lateral (left and right) limits within which the aircraft's center of gravity must be located during flight. The CG limits are indicated in the airplane flight manual. The area between the limits is called the CG range of the aircraft.
Weight and Balance
When the weight of the aircraft is at or below the allowable limit(s) for its configuration (parked, ground movement, take-off, landing, etc.) and its center of gravity is within the allowable range, and both will remain so for the duration of the flight, the aircraft is said to be within weight and balance. Different maximum weights may be defined for different situations; for example, large aircraft may have maximum landing weights that are lower than maximum take-off weights (because some weight is expected to be lost as fuel is burned during the flight). The center of gravity may change over the duration of the flight as the aircraft's weight changes due to fuel burn or by passengers moving forward or aft in the cabin.
Reference Datum
The reference datum is a reference plane that allows accurate, and uniform, measurements to any point on the aircraft. The location of the reference datum is established by the manufacturer and is defined in the aircraft flight manual. The horizontal reference datum is an imaginary vertical plane or point, placed along the longitudinal axis of the aircraft, from which all horizontal distances are measured for weight and balance purposes. There is no fixed rule for its location, and it may be located forward of the nose of the aircraft. For helicopters, it may be located at the rotor mast, the nose of the helicopter, or even at a point in space ahead of the helicopter. While the horizontal reference datum can be anywhere the manufacturer chooses, most small training helicopters have the horizontal reference datum 100 inches forward of the main rotor shaft centerline. This is to keep all the computed values positive. The lateral reference datum is usually located at the center of the helicopter.
Arm
The arm is the horizontal distance from the reference datum to the center of gravity (CG) of an item. The algebraic sign is plus (+) if measured aft of the datum or to the right side of the center line when considering a lateral calculation. The algebraic sign is minus (-) if measured forward of the datum or the left side of the center line when considering a lateral calculation.[1]
Moment
The moment is the moment of force that results from an object’s weight acting through an arc that is centered on the zero point of the reference datum distance. Moment is also referred to as the tendency of an object to rotate or pivot about a point (the zero point of the datum, in this case). The further an object is from this point, the greater the force it exerts. Moment is calculated by multiplying the weight of an object by its arm.

There's much more information in the FAA Weight And Balance Handbook.

Aug 6, 2018

Dr MacAulay spent 20 years in the US Air Force where she commanded the 400 member joint 305th Operations Support Squadron, was a professionalism and leadership instructor, and served as the Director of Human Performance and Leadership for the 58th Special Operations Wing. In this capacity, she stood up a pilot program launching a human performance effort from the ground up, to create high-performing, mindful, and mission-focused warfighters & families.

Most recently, she serves as a Human Performance consultant for the US Air Force, Department of Justice, and corporate America - sharing her knowledge and lessons for building high-performing organizations and teams. She has a

Masters Degree in Kinesiology (focused in exercise physiology) and a PhD with

work in the field of strategic health & human performance. Dr MacAulay is a

certified wellness educator, yoga instructor, mindfulness researcher, and holds a

certificate in plant based nutrition. She is a mother of two, and a combat veteran

with over 3000 flying hours in the C-21, C-130, & KC-10 aircraft.

Aug 2, 2018

Attempting to crash an aircraft into a building was not an entirely new paradigm.  Despite Secretary Rice stating, “I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile”, there had been numerous prior attempts to utilize aircraft in this manner.  In addition, there had been a significant number of warnings suicide hijackings posed a serious threat.  For example, a 1994 report for the Department of Defense predicted every aspect of the 911 attack. 

In 1972, hijackers of Southern Airways Flight 49 threatened to crash the airliner into Oak Ridge National Laboratory if a $10 million ransom was not paid.  The specific target was the nuclear reactor.  The hijacked airliner began a dive toward Oak Ridge, and was only pulled out at the last minute when Southern Airways agreed to pay $2 million to the hijackers.

In 1974, S. Byck attempted to hijack a Delta Airlines DC-9 aircraft to crash it into the White House.  During the hijacking, Byck killed a security guard and the copilot before committing suicide after being wounded by police.  Also in 1974, Private R. Preston stole an Army helicopter and flew over the White House and hovered for six minutes over the lawn outside the West Wing, raising concerns about a suicide attack.

In 1994, four Algerian terrorists attempted to hijack Air France Flight 8969.  The group, identified as Phalange of the Signers in Blood, killed one of the passengers, planted explosives on the plane, and planned to crash the aircraft into the Eiffel Tower.  French police stormed the aircraft and stopped the hijacking.    


Also in 1994, Flight Engineer A. Calloway boarded Federal Express Flight 705 as an additional jump seat crewmember, intending to overpower the crew and crash the DC-10 aircraft into the Federal Express corporate headquarters in Memphis.  Calloway attacked the flight deck crew with a hammer, inflicting serious, permanent, disabling injuries to all three pilots.  Additionally in 1994, F. Corder attempted to crash an aircraft into the White House. 

The planned 1995 Bojinka attack targeted the Pentagon, an unidentified nuclear power plant, the Transamerica Building in San Francisco, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the World Trade Center, John Hancock Tower in Boston, U.S. Congress, and the White House.  In 1996, hijackers attempted to crash Ethiopian Airlines flight 961 into a resort in the Comoros Islands, ditching into the Indian Ocean near the coast. 

Another 1996 event occurred when M. Udugov, a Chechen leader, threatened to hijack a Russian airliner and crash it into the Kremlin. 

In 1998 the Kaplancilar terrorist organization planned to crash an explosives-laden plane into the tomb of M. Ataturk, Turkey’s founder.  The entire Turkish government had gathered at the mausoleum for a ceremony on the day scheduled for the attack.  Police foiled the plot and arrested the conspirators shortly before execution of the plan.

In addition to actual aircraft suicide attacks, there were numerous predictions of these types of attacks.  One prediction was in the March 2001 pilot episode of the Fox series The Lone Gunmen, featuring a hijacked Boeing 727 used as a missile to crash into the World Trade Center.  In 1999, the British Secret Service MI6 provided the U.S. Embassy in London with a secret report on al Qaeda activities.  The report indicated al Qaeda was planning to use commercial aircraft to attack the United States.  The report stated the aircraft would be used in “unconventional ways”.

The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center prompted an exhaustive threat analysis for the World Trade Center.  The study concluded an aerial attack by crashing an aircraft into the Center was a remote possibility requiring consideration.  Reports indicated Iran was training pilots to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings: “Trained aircrews from among the terrorists would crash the airliner into a selected objective”. 

A report on terrorist threats prepared for the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress specifically named bin Laden and al Qaeda: “Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House”.  A 1999 keynote address at the National Defense University warned terrorists might attempt to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack buildings.  In 2000, security consultant C. Schnabolk had remarked, the most serious threat to the World Trade Center was someone flying a plane into it.

Jul 30, 2018

From Doc Weaver's website:

Upon graduation from college, Weaver pursued a flying career as a pilot in the United States Air Force. In addition to flying, painting gave him an outlet that added much to his life. His last assignment prior to retirement brought him to New Mexico in 1974. He retired from active duty in 1976 and from that time on he has painted full time.

In 1974 Doc Weaver joined the New Mexico Watercolor Society. He was awarded Charter Signature Membership in this society.

From 1972 through 1976 Weaver was employed as a workshop director with Tony Van Hassalt's Painting Holidays Workshops. Van Hasssalt's workshops always had a stable of top-notch artists teaching painting. He directed many workshops, principally for John Pike, Tom Hill, George Cheropov, Jack Pellew, Tony Van Hassalt and Charles Reid. Over the past 30 years he also conducted his own watercolor workshops throughout the West. In 1977 Doc moved from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, where he has remained active in the arts community. During the next several years he served on the Santa Fe City Arts Council, the Board of Directors and Master Selection Committee of the Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts, and has been an Officer and Trustee, Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Weaver splits his time between painting outdoors and painting in the studio. Sketches completed on location are a valuable resource for his larger studio work. In addition to watercolor he also paints in oil and acrylic mediums. Many of his paintings are in private collections and in the collections of museums throughout the country. He is a member of the United States Air Force Artist Program and his paintings are represented in the United States Air Force Art Collection.

Exhibitions:
New Mexico Watercolor Society: 2004 Spring Show, Canson Award winner.
American Watercolor Society: Selected for exhibition in the 134th show, New York, NY, April 2001
Watermedia 2000: Signature Member Group, New Mexico Watercolor Society Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June, 2000
The Taos National Exhibition of American Watercolor II: Stables Gallery, Taos, New Mexico, November, 1996

Jul 26, 2018

Funding for the Bojinka Plot came from Osama bin Laden and Hambali, and from front organizations operated by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden's brother-in-law.

Wali Khan Amin Shah, an Afghan, was the financier of the plot. He funded the plot by laundering money through his girlfriend and other Manila women, several of whom were bar hostesses and one of whom was an employee at a KFC restaurant. They were bribed with gifts and holiday trips so that they would open bank accounts to stash funds.

The transfers were small, equivalent to about 12,000 to 24,000 Philippine pesos ($500 to $1,000 US), and would be handed over each night at a Wendy's or a karaoke bar. The funds went to "Adam Sali", an alias used by Ramzi Yousef. The money came through a Filipino bank account owned by Jordanian Omar Abu Omar, who worked at International Relations and Information Centre, an Islamic organization run by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa.

A company called Konsojaya also provided financial assistance to the Manila cell by laundering money to it. Konsojaya was a front company that was started by the head of the group Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesian named Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali. Wali Khan Amin Shah was on the board of directors of the company.

As soon as Yousef arrived in Manila along with other "Arab Afghans" who were making cells in Manila, he started to work on making bombs. Yousef had shown up in Singapore with Shah earlier in the fall of 1994. The two got their Philippine visas in Singapore.

He left Manila for several days, but was met by Islamist emissaries upon his return to Metro Manila. They asked him to attack United States President Bill Clinton, who was due to arrive in the Philippines on November 12, 1994 as part of a five-day tour of Asia. Yousef thought of several ways to kill the president, including placing nuclear bombs on Clinton's motorcade route, firing a Stinger missile at Air Force One or the presidential limousine, launching theater ballistic missiles at Manila and or killing him with phosgene, a chemical weapon. He abandoned the idea, as it would be too difficult to kill the President. However, he incorporated his plan to kill the Pope into the Bojinka plot.

In 1994, Yousef and Khalid Sheik Mohammed started testing airport security. Yousef booked a flight between Kai Tak International Airport in Hong Kong and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. Mohammed booked a flight between Ninoy Aquino International Airport near Manila and Kimpo International Airport near Seoul. The two had already converted fourteen bottles of contact lens solution into bottles containing nitroglycerin, which was readily available in the Philippines. Yousef had taped a metal rod to the arch of his foot, which would serve as a detonator. The two wore jewelry and clothing with metal to confuse airport security. To support their claim that they were meeting women, they packed condoms in their bags.

On December 8, Yousef moved into the Doña Josefa Apartments under the alias "Najy Awaita Haddad" and purported himself to be a Moroccan. Edith Guerrera, the manager, laughed with the receptionist after the two men asked for new registration forms. "Perhaps they have forgotten their names", she said as the first ones were torn up. Yousef had accidentally put his "real name" on the first form. He did not want to get discovered too early.

Yousef had booked Room 603 in advance. He had made an Php 80,000 (Philippine peso) deposit, and added Php 40,000 more up front before taking the elevator to Room 603.

A conspirator named Abdul Hakim Murad came to Manila with Yousef and stayed at the same apartment.

The apartments are located in the Malate district, 200 meters away from the embassy of the Holy See in the Philippines, and 500 meters down the street from Manila Police Station No. 9 on Quirino Avenue. One of the windows of Room 603 looks down on the path that the Papal motorcade was to take.

People were suspicious of the men in Room 603. The men renting the apartment were very secretive. According to Guerrera, "They gave me the impression that they were here to study", said Mrs. Guerrera. "They looked like students. They double locked the door when they were inside or out. They didn't ask the room boy to clear up the room." The men, who had chemical burns on their hands, were carrying boxes and never hired other people to carry them up. The boxes contained chemicals bought from suppliers in Manila and Quezon City in Metro Manila. Yousef would use these to make his bombs.

Mohammed purported himself to be a Saudi or Qatari plywood exporter named "Abdul Majid." Yousef and Mohammed had already started planning Operation Bojinka.

According to Abdul Hakim Murad, Yousef got an idea for crashing a plane into the CIA from Murad while at the apartments. According to Murad, Yousef replied, "OK, we will think about it", before heading off with Mohammed to Puerto Galera for scuba diving.

Yousef's first operational test of his bomb was inside a mall in Cebu City. The bomb detonated several hours after he put it in a generator room. It caused minor damage, but it proved to Yousef that his bomb was workable.

On December 1, Shah placed a bomb under a seat in the Greenbelt Theatre in Manila to test what would happen if a bomb exploded under an airline seat. The bomb went off, injuring several patrons.

On December 11, 1994, Yousef built another bomb, which had one tenth of the power that his final bombs were planned to have, in the lavatory of an aircraft. He left it inside the life jacket under his seat (26 K) and got off the plane when it arrived in Cebu. Yousef had boarded the flight under the assumed name of Arnaldo Forlani, using a false Italian passport. The aircraft was Philippine Airlines Flight 434 on a Manila to Narita route, stopping partway at Cebu. Yousef had set the timer for four hours after he got off the aircraft.

The bomb exploded while the aircraft was over Japan's Minamidaitō Island, part of Okinawa Prefecture. A Japanese businessman named Haruki Ikegami occupying the seat was killed and an additional 10 passengers were injured. The flight was carrying 273 passengers in total. The blast blew a hole in the floor and the cabin's rapid expansion severed several control cables in the ceiling, cutting off control of the plane's right aileron, as well as both the pilot and first officer's steering controls. Usually, 26K, the seat that Yousef chose to plant the bomb, would be positioned directly over the centre fuel tank, and the detonation of the bomb would have caused a crippling explosion, but on this particular airframe, a former Scandinavian Airlines aircraft, the seat was two rows forward from normal. The flight crew kept control of the Boeing 747-200 and brought it into an emergency landing at Okinawa's Naha Airport. Satisfied with the deadly results of the attack, Yousef then planned which flights to attack for "Phase II" of the plot.

The first plan was to assassinate Pope John Paul II when he visited the Philippines during the World Youth Day 1995 celebrations. On January 15, 1995, a suicide bomber would dress up as a priest, while John Paul II passed in his motorcade on his way to the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City. The assassin planned to get close to the Pope, and detonate the bomb. The planned assassination of the Pope was intended to divert attention from the next phase of the operation. About 20 men had been trained by Yousef to carry out this act prior to January 1995.

The details of Phase I were found in the evidence discovered in the investigation into Room 603 in the Doña Josefa.

The next plan would have involved at least five terrorists, including Yousef, Shah, Murad and two more unknown operatives. Beginning on January 21, 1995, and ending on January 22, 1995, they would have placed bombs on 11 United States-bound airliners which had stopovers scattered throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. All of the flights had two legs. The bombs would be planted inside life jackets under seats on the first leg, and each bomber would then disembark. He would then board one or two more flights and repeat. After all of the bombers had planted bombs on all of the flights, each man would then catch flights to Lahore, Pakistan. The men never needed U.S. visas, as they only would have been on the planes for their first legs in Asia.

United States airlines had been chosen instead of Asian airlines so as to maximize the shock toward Americans. The flights targeted were listed under operatives with codenames: "Zyed", "Majbos", "Markoa", "Mirqas" and "Obaid". Obaid, who was really Abdul Hakim Murad, was to hit United Flight 80, and then he was to go back to Singapore on another United flight which he would bomb.

Zyed, probably Ramzi Yousef, was to target Northwest Flight 30, a United Flight going from Taipei to Honolulu, and a United Flight going from Bangkok to Taipei to San Francisco.

The explosions were to be timed by the operatives before they disembarked from the plane. The aircraft would have exploded over the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea almost simultaneously. If this plan worked, several thousand passengers would have perished, and air travel would likely have been shut down worldwide. The U.S. government estimated the prospective death toll to be about 4,000 if the plot had been executed. (For comparison, about 3,000 were killed during the September 11 attacks in the United States.)

If Phase II of the plot had been successful, it would have been, in terms of casualties, the most devastating terrorist attack in recent history.

The "Mark II" "microbombs" had Casio digital watches as the timers, stabilizers that looked like cotton wool balls, and an undetectable quantity of nitroglycerin as the explosive. Other ingredients included glycerin, nitrate, sulfuric acid, and minute concentrations of nitrobenzene, silver azide(silver trinitride), and liquid acetone. Two 9-volt batteries in each bomb were used as a power source. The batteries would be connected to light bulb filaments that would detonate the bomb. Murad and Yousef wired an SCR (silicon controlled rectifier) as the switch to trigger the filaments to detonate the bomb. There was an external socket hidden when the wires were pushed under the watch base as the bomber would wear it. The alteration was so small that the watch could still be worn in a normal manner.

Yousef got batteries past airport security during his December 11 test bombing of Philippine Airlines Flight 434 by hiding them in hollowed-out heels of his shoes. Yousef smuggled the nitroglycerin on board by putting it inside a small container, reputedly containing contact lens cleaning solution.

Abdul Hakim Murad's confession detailed Phase III in his interrogation by the Manila police after his capture.

Phase three would have involved Murad either renting, buying, or hijacking a small airplane, preferably a Cessna. The airplane would be filled with explosives. He would then crash it into the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in the Langley area in Fairfax County, Virginia. Murad had been trained as a pilot in North Carolina, and was slated to be a suicide pilot.

There were alternate plans to hijack a 12th commercial airliner and use that instead of the small aircraft, probably due to the Manila cell's growing frustration with explosives. Testing explosives in a house or apartment is dangerous, and it can easily give away a terrorist plot. Khalid Sheik Mohammed probably made the alternate plan.

A report from the Philippines to the United States on January 20, 1995 stated, "What the subject has in his mind is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters."

Another plot that was considered would have involved the hijacking of more airplanes. The World Trade Center (New York City, New York), The Pentagon (Arlington, Virginia), the United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.), the White House (Washington, D.C.), the Sears Tower (Chicago, Illinois), and the U.S Bank Tower (Los Angeles, California), would have been the likely targets. In his confession to Filipino investigators, prior to the foiling of Operation Bojinka, Abdul Hakim Murad said that this part of the plot was dropped since the Manila cell could not recruit enough people to implement other hijackings. This plot would eventually be the base plot for the September 11 attacks which involved hijacking commercial airliners, as opposed to small aircraft loaded with explosives, and crashing them into their intended targets. However, only the World Trade Center (which was destroyed) and The Pentagon (which suffered partial damage) were hit.

The plot was abandoned after an apartment fire at the six-story Doña Josefa apartments occurred in Manila, Philippines, on the evening of Friday, January 6, 1995. The fire occurred before Pope John Paul II was scheduled to visit the Philippines on January 12.

According to the initial accounts of the Philippine authorities, Abdul Hakim Murad started a chemical fire in the kitchen sink in Room 603 in the 6th floor of the Doña Josefa apartment by pouring water on a substance. The fire was spotted at about 11 pm after residents complained about a strange odour. Edith Guerrera, the owner of the apartments, called the fire brigade, but the fire went out unassisted. Yousef and Murad had told the firefighters to stay away before they fled. Police Major Francisco F. Bautista and his men, including watch commander Aida D. Fariscal, decided to investigate the situation and saw four hot plates in their packing crates, what looked like cotton batting soaked in a beige solution, and loops of green, red, blue, and yellow electrical wiring. The telephone rang, and the police ran downstairs, thinking that it was a trap.Fa riscal had been suspicious of the men in Room 603 due to the recent wave of bombings (committed by Yousef) that hit Metro Manila and Philippine Airlines Flight 434. Seeking a search warrant, they left and asked 11 judges before finding one that would grant a warrant.

After police discovered the evidence, they arrested a man who called himself "Ahmed Saeed." "Saeed", who later proved to be Murad, claimed that he was a commercial pilot who was on his way to the precinct house to explain that what he claimed to be firecrackers had gone off. Murad initially tried to run away, but he was arrested after he tripped over a tree root. The arresting officer, having lost his handcuffs, improvised a solution by tying Murad's hands with the elastic cord taken from the officer's raincoat. Murad was hauled to the precinct in a taxi van with the help of two other people. He offered 110,740 Philippine pesos (US$2,000) to the policemen if they would agree to let him go, but the officers refused. At the precinct, Murad signed a statement saying that he was innocent and that he was a tourist visiting his friend in his chemical import/export business. He then mumbled about "two Satans that must be destroyed: the Pope and America."

55-year-old Fariscal was later depicted (although by a much younger actress) in the 2006 docudrama The Path to 9/11, in which US agencies in the script gave her much credit. An actress portrays her in the Mayday episode "Bomb on Board." The widow of a slain police officer, she had spent seventeen years as a homemaker before enrolling in the police department in 1977. She became well known in her home nation, which awarded her the equivalent of 33,222 pesos ($700) and a trip to Taiwan. The CIA awarded her a certificate reading "in recognition of your personal outstanding efforts and co-operation." Her decision to investigate the fire was key to disrupting the plot and forcing Yousef to flee.

When the officers returned to Suite 603 at 2:30 am on January 7, they found: street maps of Manila with routes plotting the papal motorcade, a rosary, a photograph of the pontiff, bibles, crucifixes, papal confessions, and priest clothing, including robes and collars. This collection of objects, and a phone message from a tailor reminding the occupant that "the cassock was ready to be tried on", along with the fact of the Pope's impending visit, was enough for Police Major Francisco F. Bautista to infer that an assassination plot had been interrupted. A search warrant was granted by 4 am on January 7.

The most conclusive piece of evidence found was a manual written in Arabic on how to build a liquid bomb.

Stacks of 12 false passports, including Norwegian, Afghan, Saudi, and Pakistani were also found in the apartment. Investigators found a business card from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa; Saeed apparently possessed five telephone numbers from Khalifa. Investigators also found phone numbers for Rose Masquera, Mohammed's girlfriend.

Yousef's project was discovered on four floppy disks and an off-white Toshiba laptop inside his apartment, two weeks before the plot would have been implemented. Several encrypted files on the hard drive contained flight schedules, calculations of detonation times, and other items. The first string of text in one of the files states, "All people who support the U.S. government are our targets in our future plans and that is because all those people are responsible for their government's actions and they support the U.S. foreign policy and are satisfied with it. We will hit all U.S. nuclear targets. If the U.S. government keeps supporting Israel, then we will continue to carry out operations inside and outside the United States to include..." and the text ends.

A file named "Bojinka" lists the 11 flights between Asia and the United States, which were grouped under five codenames. Strings were found, such as "SETTING: 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm TIMER: 23HR. BOJINKA: 20:30-21:30 NRT Date 5" (for United flight 80), and "SETTING: 8:30-9:00. TIMER: 10HR. BOJINKA: 19:30-20:00 NRT Date 4" (for Northwest Flight 30).[7]

The laptop had names of dozens of associates, including some photographs of a few of them and including contact information for Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. They contained records of information about five-star hotels, dealings with a London trading corporation, a meat market owner in Malaysia, and an Islamic center in Tucson, Arizona. Information about how money moved through an Abu Dhabi banking firm was found.

A communication signed "Khalid Shaikh + Bojinka" was also found on Yousef's computer that threatened to attack targets "in response to the financial, political and military assistance given to the Jewish state in the occupied land of Palestine by the United States Government." The letter also said that the bombers claimed to have "ability to make and use chemicals and poisonous gas... for use against vital institutions and populations and the sources of drinking water."

The letter also threatened to assassinate Fidel V. Ramos, the President of the Philippines at the time, as well as attack aircraft if the United States did not meet the group's demands. The letter said that the group claiming responsibility was the "Fifth Division of the Liberation Army".[7]

The evidence found at the Doña Josefa filled three police vans.

U.S. investigators did not find the connection with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to al-Qaeda until several years later.

The 9/11 attacks evolved from the original Bojinka plot

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed decided that explosives were too risky to use in his next plot, and chose instead to use airplanes. The plot was later revised and executed during the September 11 attacks. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan in 2003.

Yousef filed a motion for a new trial in 2001. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard the case on May 3, 2002, and announced on April 3, 2003 the decision that Yousef and his partners were to remain incarcerated.

 

Jul 23, 2018

From John's website:

John O. Graybill has been an active aviator for more than fifty years. He holds a commercial pilot certificate (single- and multiengine rating), glider rating, is a certified flight instructor, is an instrument pilot, has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a master pilot, and has flown private airplanes all over the United States, Mexico, and Central America. He holds an MBA with studies in operations research and statistics. Mr. Graybill is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Road to Business Success and Personal Freedom.

John has owned numerous aircraft, both powered and gliders.

John's newest book, Private Airplane Passenger Safety, is now available at Amazon.

Jul 19, 2018

From the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

Density Altitude

SDP is a theoretical pressure altitude, but aircraft operate in a nonstandard atmosphere and the term density altitude is used for correlating aerodynamic performance in the nonstandard atmosphere. Density altitude is the vertical distance above sea level in the standard atmosphere at which a given density is to be found. The density of air has significant effects on the aircraft’s performance because as air becomes less dense, it reduces:

  • Power because the engine takes in less air
  • Thrust because a propeller is less efficient in thin air
  • Lift because the thin air exerts less force on the airfoils

Density altitude is pressure altitude corrected for nonstandard temperature. As the density of the air increases (lower density altitude), aircraft performance increases; conversely as air density decreases (higher density altitude), aircraft performance decreases. A decrease in air density means a high density altitude; an increase in air density means a lower density altitude. Density altitude is used in calculating aircraft performance because under standard atmospheric conditions, air at each level in the atmosphere not only has a specific density, its pressure altitude and density altitude identify the same level.

The computation of density altitude involves consideration of pressure (pressure altitude) and temperature. Since aircraft performance data at any level is based upon air density under standard day conditions, such performance data apply to air density levels that may not be identical with altimeter indications. Under conditions higher or lower than standard, these levels cannot be determined directly from the altimeter.

Density altitude is determined by first finding pressure altitude, and then correcting this altitude for nonstandard temperature variations. Since density varies directly with pressure and inversely with temperature, a given pressure altitude may exist for a wide range of temperatures by allowing the density to vary. However, a known density occurs for any one temperature and pressure altitude. The density of the air has a pronounced effect on aircraft and engine performance. Regardless of the actual altitude of the aircraft, it will perform as though it were operating at an altitude equal to the existing density altitude.

Air density is affected by changes in altitude, temperature, and humidity. High density altitude refers to thin air, while low density altitude refers to dense air. The conditions that result in a high density altitude are high elevations, low atmospheric pressures, high temperatures, high humidity, or some combination of these factors. Lower elevations, high atmospheric pressure, low temperatures, and low humidity are more indicative of low density altitude.

Effect of Pressure on Density

Since air is a gas, it can be compressed or expanded. When air is compressed, a greater amount of air can occupy a given volume. Conversely, when pressure on a given volume of air is decreased, the air expands and occupies a greater space. At a lower pressure, the original column of air contains a smaller mass of air. The density is decreased because density is directly proportional to pressure. If the pressure is doubled, the density is doubled; if the pressure is lowered, the density is lowered. This statement is true only at a constant temperature.

Effect of Temperature on Density

Increasing the temperature of a substance decreases its density. Conversely, decreasing the temperature increases the density. Thus, the density of air varies inversely with temperature. This statement is true only at a constant pressure.

In the atmosphere, both temperature and pressure decrease with altitude and have conflicting effects upon density. However, a fairly rapid drop in pressure as altitude increases usually has a dominating effect. Hence, pilots can expect the density to decrease with altitude.

Effect of Humidity (Moisture) on Density

The preceding paragraphs refer to air that is perfectly dry. In reality, it is never completely dry. The small amount of water vapor suspended in the atmosphere may be almost negligible under certain conditions, but in other conditions humidity may become an important factor in the performance of an aircraft. Water vapor is lighter than air; consequently, moist air is lighter than dry air. Therefore, as the water content of the air increases, the air becomes less dense, increasing density altitude and decreasing performance. It is lightest or least dense when, in a given set of conditions, it contains the maximum amount of water vapor.

Humidity, also called relative humidity, refers to the amount of water vapor contained in the atmosphere and is expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold. This amount varies with temperature. Warm air holds more water vapor, while cold air holds less. Perfectly dry air that contains no water vapor has a relative humidity of zero percent, while saturated air, which cannot hold any more water vapor, has a relative humidity of 100 percent. Humidity alone is usually not considered an important factor in calculating density altitude and aircraft performance, but it is a contributing factor.

As temperature increases, the air can hold greater amounts of water vapor. When comparing two separate air masses, the first warm and moist (both qualities tending to lighten the air) and the second cold and dry (both qualities making it heavier), the first must be less dense than the second. Pressure, temperature, and humidity have a great influence on aircraft performance because of their effect upon density. There are no rules of thumb that can be easily applied, but the affect of humidity can be determined using several online formulas. In the first example, the pressure is needed at the altitude for which density altitude is being sought. Using Figure 4-2, select the barometric pressure closest to the associated altitude. As an example, the pressure at 8,000 feet is 22.22 "Hg. Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website (www.srh.noaa.gov/ epz/?n=wxcalc_densityaltitude) for density altitude, enter the 22.22 for 8,000 feet in the station pressure window. Enter a temperature of 80° and a dew point of 75°. The result is a density altitude of 11,564 feet. With no humidity, the density altitude would be almost 500 feet lower.

 

Jul 16, 2018

Official Air Force Biography:

Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria is the Superintendent, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He directs a four-year regimen of military training, academics, athletic and character development programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant.

Prior to assuming his current position, General Silveria served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Deputy Commander, Combined Air Force Air Component, U.S. Central Command, Southwest Asia. As Deputy Commander, he was responsible for the command and control of air operations in a 20-nation area of responsibility covering Central and Southwest Asia, to include operations Resolute Support in Afghanistan, and Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. He has previously served as Commander, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and Vice Commander, 14th Air Force, Air Forces Strategic at Vandenberg AFB, California, as well as Director, Security Assistance in the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq.

General Silveria grew up in an Air Force family and is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He completed undergraduate pilot training in 1986. He is a command pilot with more than 3,900 hours in the T-37, T-38, F-15C/E, HH-60 and F-35A aircraft. He has flown combat sorties over the Balkans and Iraq and served as Vice Commander at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

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