Michelle “Sonic” Ruehl is an Air Force Instructor Pilot with over fifteen years of service. She flew four different aircraft and amassed over 2000 hours, including 807 combat hours in Afghanistan, providing real-time airborne targeting data to Special Operations forces. While in Afghanistan, she also volunteered to teach English to local school girls as well as a group of young Afghan men studying Business. For her service, she earned seven Air Medals, two Aerial Achievement Medals and a special award for volunteer work, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
After her last deployment, Sonic returned to the U.S. Air Force Academy (class of ’03) to teach Rhetoric and Composition in the Department of English and Fine Arts. She taught courses in Writing and Public Speaking. When she was not in the classroom, she was the theater director, equestrian team mentor and worked down at the airfield teaching cadets how to fly the T-53 in the Air Force Academy’s Powered Flight Program. She found it incredibly rewarding to help the next generation of officers reach their dream of becoming military aviators.
Sonic brings 15 years of rhetoric, communication, and debriefing skills to the Afterburner team. She earned her M.A. in Teaching Writing and Rhetoric from the University of Colorado and traveled to Ghana where she taught civic leaders how to develop community improvement plans. In Tanzania, she taught children how to write music. In Nepal, she taught English to Tibetan refugees at a Buddhist monastery. She also worked as a speechwriter for a three-star general, preparing her for public engagements and developing strategic corporate messages for dissemination to 7000 personnel. Additionally, at the request of the Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, she designed and taught a communication course to the Air Force headquarters staff at the Pentagon.
To honor fallen military colleagues, Sonic founded Parwana LEADership Legacy, a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide leadership camps to veterans and their families to enhance empathy, communication, and teamwork so youth can then use these concepts to lead others. Through these programs, Sonic uses her M.A. in Psychology, as well as her certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL) to teach children, veterans, and survivors of trauma how to heal from their experiences and become empowered leaders in their community.
Sonic excels at helping teams become their best by aligning their communication processes with their strategic goals, so she was thrilled to join the Afterburner team in 2018! She is currently serving in the Air Force Reserves for the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base. She lives in Colorado with her husband, who flies for a major airline, and their baby girl.
Whether you're a professional pilot or someone who flies as a passenger, there's a good chance you're going to fly in an airliner and layover in a hotel at some point in the near future. Here are some tips to make your trip easier and safer:
Tammy Barlette got her introduction to aviation when she received 40 hours of flight instruction from the ROTC Program at the University of Minnesota. After graduation and commissioning, she attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. When she received her wings, she qualified to remain at Del Rio as a T-37 Instructor Pilot as a FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot).
After serving as an IP for three years, she qualified in the A-10, and went overseas to Korea. When she returned to the United States, she flew A-10s at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, in Tucson, and then became qualified in the MQ-1 Predator. Tammy participated in 1500 hours of combat support in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting our troops on the ground with real-time combat support.
After attending Weapons School, she returned to Laughlin Air Force Base as a T-38 Instructor Pilot. She recently retired from the Air Force, and is now a motivational speaker. Her websites are www.tammybarlette.com and www.athenasvoiceuse.com.
From Captain Aux's website:
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Eric Auxier is an airline pilot by day, writer by night, and kid by choice. Never one to believe in working for a living, Mr. Auxier’s past list of occupations include: Alaska bush pilot, freelance writer, mural artist, and Captain for a Caribbean seaplane operation. With over 20,000 flight hours, he is now an A320 captain for a major U.S. airline.
Eric started out in aviation with a hang glider he bought at age 14, then flew gliders at age 16, and took lessons in powered aircraft at 17. He attended flight training courses at Cochise college, and had all of his flight ratings thru CFI when he graduated. He then attended Arizona State University for his bachelor's degree, and worked his way through school as a CFI.
After college Eric flew grand canyon tours, then landed a job as a bush pilot in Alaska He followed that with a stint flying charters in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Finally, Eric landed his dream job as an airline pilot, and is now a Captain on the Airbus A-321.
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.
N - Nature of emergency
T - Time until landing
S - Signal
B - Brace
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
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.
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/.
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".
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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
• loss of all four EMPs and faults in the flight control system occur on
• loss of all four EMPs and an engine fails on takeoff or landing
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.
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:
There exist standards for runway markings.
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. 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).
Class A fires consist of ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, fabric, and most kinds of trash.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 44702–44716 of this title, the Administrator shall—
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
There's much more information in the FAA Weight And Balance Handbook.
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.
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.