Cory and Pete have run into more problems with the Piper Malibu they were trying to ferry from South Africa so they’ve decided to fly home while the mechanics sort things out. There’s nothing more frustrating than aircraft problems on the road and flying home in an airliner is the ultimate bummer for a ferry pilot. Hopefully the plane is fixed and the boys are back in the air soon, the north Atlantic is just getting colder and colder this time of year.
Felix did a great job of getting out of the flat spin he got into but with his face plate fogging up he pulled too early to set the freefall record, so there is still something to shoot for. I’d give anything to be able to do that so if anybody has a few million dollars burning a hole in their pocket I’m your guy!
I was always afraid of dying. Always. It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my
emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.
~General Chuck Yeager
I met gen. Yeager in an elevator in Minneapolis sometime in the late 90’s shortly after reading his autobiography and was embarrassingly star struck. There isn’t anyone in the world I would ever trade places with except Chuck Yeager. His career is the stuff of legend. He shot down 12 German fighters in WWII and was one of the only pilots to escape back to England after being shot down and became one of the best test pilots if history becoming the first man to break the speed of sound. Never one to follow the rules and fly by the book he was constantly getting trouble for unauthorized buzz jobs and what many would consider “reckless” flying. The man is my hero because he’s living proof that there are indeed a few old and bold pilots, it just helps to be awesome too.
No, he was just three times the soldier any of us was or is. I would put the Auld Soldier in a class with LTG (R) Hal Moore, who was CSM Plumley’s battalion commander in the Ia Drang, but Plumley towers over them.
Felix Baumatrner is poised to make history this morning by jumping from a stratospheric balloon at the record breaking altitude of 120,000 feet. If successful he will break the speed of sound and break the current record held by retired Colonel Joe Kittinger. Joe’s record jump from 102,800 ft in 1960 was during a time when no one knew if a human could survive a jump from the edge of space. Joe was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and had already taken a balloon to 97,000 feet in Project ManHigh and survived a drogue mishap during a jump from 76,400 feet in Excelsior I. The Excelsior III mission was his 33rd parachute jump. God speed Felix and remember if you have any second thoughts I’d gladly take your place!
US Air Force’s flying saucer plans declassified
Recently declassified documents reveal that the US Air Force was working on a flying saucer-like craft in 1956. “Project 1794” was in research and development at the USAF’s Aeronautical Systems Division, and was contracted out to Canadian company Avro Aircraft Limited. The craft was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing plane that used propulsion jets to steer, and could reach a top speed between Mach 3 and Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet and a range of about 1,000 nautical miles. The Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report reveals that the project was going well, and would “provide a much superior performance to that estimated at the start of contract negotiations.”
The report also estimated the cost of the project at $3,168,000 over a roughly two year period, which would be about $26.6 million today. The project was eventually dropped, and, as Wired points out, the USAF’s other attempts to build flying saucers were considerably less effective in practice than on paper. However, it does make one wonder what other classified projects the USAF is developing using today’s technology.
God forgives man the time spent looking at airplane photos.
~Barrett Tillman, aircraft historian and author