Disney has released another sneak peek of its upcoming movie “Planes,” a 3D animated comedy adventure featuring a plane named Dusty who has dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. The problem is that Dusty is not built for racing and he is also afraid of heights – forcing him to turn to a seasoned naval aviator for help in qualifying to take on the defending champ of the race circuit.
The last time we posted a trailer for “Planes,” we noted a number of viewers on YouTube were less than thrilled by what they saw and the same can be said about comments for this new trailer:
The latest release date for “Planes” (at least in US theaters) is August 9th. So I guess we will have to wait until then to see whether this animation soars with movie goers or crashes hard!
Air Force One For Sale. Over in the USA, an Air Force One is for sale for a minimum deposit of $50,000 and not because of the sequester or any austerity initiative. And as the Aviationist blog pointed out, its not even one of the 747s but a DC-9 used from February 1975 until September 2005 that was hated by the media because its seats were uncomfortable. As of writing this, the reserve for Air Force One has not been met and you still have at least a week to place your bid by going to the auction site here.
Orville Wright Letter to be Auctioned Off. For aviator buffs with a tighter budget, the Swann Auction Galleries’ Autographs Sale will auction off a letter signed by Orville Wright and dated November 10, 1921, that was sent to the publisher of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering in response to the controversy surrounding the Langley vs. Wright controversy. Auction officials estimate the letter will go for between $4,000 and $6,000. In addition, the auction will sell a signed portrait of aviator and aerospace engineer Howard Hughes, from the pressbook for his 1930 film Hell’s Angels (estimate: $1,000-$2,000). The auction will take place on May 23rd and for more information, visit SwannGalleries.com.
First British Pilot Ever to Attend the Top Gun School. In British aviation news, British Royal Navy Lieutenant Stephen Collins will soon be the first ever British pilot to attend the famous Top Gun school. Collins is no stranger to naval aviation as his father was a pilot during the Falklands War and later moved to Red Arrows aerobatic team. Collins has also flown for the US Navy for the past five years as part of an exchange programme that allows British aviators to get used to aircraft carrier operating conditions.
RAF Black Arrows’ Hawker Hunter Restored. Roger Topp, 90, who commanded the RAF’s 111 Sqn and led its Black Arrows team, the forerunner of today’s Red Arrows, was recently reunited with his older Hawker Hunter – which was later grounded, modified to look like a Russian MiG and used for target practice. The aircraft has since been restored and is now on display at Wattisham Airfield Museum in Suffolk. It should also be mentioned that Topp completed a record 22-plane loop at the Farnborough Air Show in July 1958 – a feat that is still on the record books.
Will the Swiss Airforce Display Team be Disbanded? The Aviationist blog has noted that the Patrouille Suisse could be forced to stand down as early as 2016 as a consequence of budget cuts. Beginning in 2016, the ageing F-5 fleet will be progressively retired and replaced by the first JAS-39 Gripen examples – meaning there won’t be many military aircraft in the Swiss Air Force to equip an aerobatic display team, despite its popularity.
Alaska Pilot Crosses Both Poles in a Cessna. The Alaska Dispatch has profiled Alaska pilot Art Mortvedt who recently crossed the Geographic North Pole in his Cessna 185 to become the first pilot to cross both poles in a single-engine aircraft. Mortvedt has also flown more than 20 missions to Antarctica and purchased his aircraft, the “Polar Pumpkin,” after its years of service at the South Pole.
The Truth About Flying in Alaska. On the subject of Alaska or Alaskan pilots, Rex Gray, the president of the Alaska Airmen’s Association, has written an article for General Aviation News where his opening line was:
I’ve heard it a lot — even made the same proclamation myself — “Flying in Alaska is different.” Okay, the truth: It’s not.
He went on to explain why it isn’t except for one important difference: The entire state has a population of less than 800,000, but the pilot population is around 8,000 – meaning 1% of the state’s residents are pilots.
Teen Pilot Completes Her Check Ride. Finally, we recently mentioned the story of teen pilot Amy White who soloed on June 10 (before she passed her driver’s test) and her mother who soloed the following New Year’s Eve. According to General Aviation News, Amy took her check ride on Friday, May 10 (her 17th birthday) and she is now a licensed private pilot.
At least for male travelers, this two minute airline commercial from Russia might just be the best one ever and perhaps not long enough! No word on whether it was effective and actually led to more passengers…
Wales Online has profiled retired engineer Thomas Merlin Maddock who lives in the same Valleys house on Meadow Street, in Pontycymmer as pit carpenter and would-be aviator pioneer Christopher Carlyon did in 1904. Carlyon is not going to be a familiar name to aviation history buffs, but just months after the Wright brothers took to the air, the 17-year old started building his own flying machine in a shed he built 400 feet up a mountain near Bridgend called Coedcae.
His plan was to build a flying machine to glide across the Garw Valley at its narrowest point of about half a mile. However and after several tests on the slopes below his shed, it and the shed were destroyed by a violent storm in 1910.
Demoralised that his flying machine was destroyed before he could do a full fledged flight, Carlyon never returned to the project. Maddock only learned about the would-be aviator pioneer after his father attended the 59 year old Carlyon’s funeral in 1947.
Today and despite being 78-years old, Maddock, who has spent the last decade researching Carlyon’s plans, is taking up the challenge. He believes that Carlyon was inspired to build his flying machine after reading up on the Wright brothers and studying pictures of their aircraft. He also visited Carlyon’s who lent him a box full of glass slides to build prototypes first with a wingspan of 12 inches, then 24 inches and now eight feet
However, Maddock has no intention of taking the final craft for a test flight over the Garw Valley as he says that Carylon picked the most exposed part of south Wales and could have been killed trying to fly it there. Instead, he has found two pilots willing to fly the aircraft once its built, but it will be towed along on the ground to see if it lifts eight or 10 feet to prove this unsung local aviator pioneer right.
Merlin Maddock in his Pontycymer workshop with the 1/3-size replica of a glider first built by Christopher Carlyon, WalesOnline .
Don’t have any plans for this coming Sunday? The Welsh Spitfire Museum near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is set to hold its open day starting at 10 am.
Expect to be entertained by the Army, Pembrokeshire’s Air Cadets, classic and vintage cars, bikes and tractors plus an original steam engine. For nostalgic attendees, there will Forties music from Sandy Sparkle and there is no need to bring a packed lunch as there will be a BBQ, and Salad Bar. In addition, a special ale called Welsh Roundel from the Gwaun Valley Brewery that was brewed just for the event will be available. Finally, the whole event will be watched over by the soldiers of the Glamorgan Home Guard.
The Welsh Spitfire Museum’s aim is to restore vintage aircraft and currently they are involved in the restoration of a MK VIII Spitfire that saw little action during the war and ended up in Australia.
The museum is open to visitors from 10 to 4 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For the airport, take the A40 towards Fishguard.
The airfield entrance is two miles outside Haverfordwest on the right hand side (East).
[GPS Co-ordinates: 51.830706,-4.96951]
There was a rather unusual crash landing last Sunday at the Duluth International Airport in Minnesota, but it didn’t involve aircraft. Instead, two bald eagles who were fighting in midair had locked their talons together and could not separate before crashing onto the pavement:
According to Randy Hanzal, a Minnesota conservation officer who took the above pictures, mature eagles will sometimes fight over territories by crashing into each other and grabbing an intruding eagle with their talons. Usually, the eagles will let go before hitting the ground, but in this case, they had their talons so deeply imbedded in together, they could not let go of each other.
Hanzal said the two eagles were remarkably calm. So he loaded both into the back of his truck because he had no container big enough to put them in and covered them with blankets and jackets. However and half way to a rehab center, he heard a ruckus and turned around to see feathers flying and one eagle on the back of his tailgate. That eagle flew away while the other one decided to hang around for some antibiotics, fluids and pain medication as he or she (its apparently hard to tell what sex an eagle is) had one deep abdominal puncture along with other puncture wounds around the legs.
Last week we mentioned a 20-year old Californian pilot who is attempting to fly around the world, but recently a 21-year-old Malaysian pilot named James Anthony Tan who suffers from dyslexia made a record breaking half-way around the world flight in a single-engine Cessna 210 Eagle aircraft – making him the first Malaysian and the youngest pilot to do so according to Malaysian media accounts.
However, Tan’s achievement as a pilot is extra special because dyslexia makes reading words, numbers and symbols difficult, but dyslexic people are also highly creative, intuitive and excel at three-dimensional problem solving. Tan avoids flying at night but he still holds a pilot’s licence from Australia and UK authorities.
His 20,000 km flight began in Langkawi, Malaysia on March 26 and ended at Teteboro, New Jersey in April with the route taking him to or through Subang, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Russia and Canada. Upon landing the “The Spirit of Malaysia,” Tan was given a rousing welcome by the Malaysian community in New York and he will return to Kuala Lumpur via Phuket on May 15.
Regarding the flight, Tan commented:
“I had some moments of concern…about adequate fuel, whether I was on the right course, etc. But I was really scared when I flew across Russia to Alaska. The ocean below me was frozen…I even saw frozen waves! What would happen if something went wrong with the plane as I flew this long stretch of airspace. It was scary…”
Tan’s flight was intended to raise awareness about the problems faced by children with special needs and to show that such children can still “chase their own dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.” He has also already been inducted into Malaysia’s Book of Record for his previous expedition of 13,000 nautical miles from the UK to Bangkok last year.
Podcast Interview with Terrafugia’s CEO. Terrafugia, the developer of the Transition street-legal airplane, has begun feasibility studies for a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car it intends to call the TF-X. Carl Dietrich, the CEO of Terrafugia, recently did a podcast interview with AVweb to discuss the company’s plans; but even with a time frame of 10 years or more, his firm still faces steep regulatory, technological and funding challenges.
Flying Car Fatigue. However, Paul Bertorelli has written a short but thought provoking and critical post about the Terrafugia flying car where he wrote what many are no doubt already thinking (or have been posting as comments to articles about the firm and its plans!). In the post, Paul rolled out this challenge:
I’d like to see Terrafugia cease and desist on new concepts and bring what they’ve got to fruition. Or not. It’s hard enough to drag one design to market without distracting yourself with yet more concepts. Prove to us once and for all whether a flying car will work. Or not.
Bruce Dickinson on a Pilot Career, Flight Training and the “Pilot Shortage.” Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of rock band Iron Maiden, a commercial airline pilot and the aviation entrepreneur behind Cardiff Aviation (which specializes in heavy maintenance of Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft), gave a lengthy interview to Pilot Career News where he showed his enthusiasm and vision for both British aviation and training.
Stopping the “Rot” at Cardiff Airport. In another inspirational British aviation story, Airport World has profiled the new CEO of Cardiff Airport who has vowed to recapture some 1.5 million passengers lost to its rivals by boosting the gateway’s route network and renewing its customer service offering.
Niece Visits the Site Where Her Eagle Squadron Uncle Crashed During WWII. On a historical note, Wales Online has reported that the niece of a US pilot who died after hitting a Welsh mountainside (Rhigos mountain near Treherbert, Rhondda) during World War II has made a poignant first visit to the crash site more than 70 years latter. Her uncle was based in the UK because he was a member of the so-called Eagle squadrons, which were made up solely of US pilots, and was killed in September 1941 – a few months before the US entered the war (hence, he was also buried in the UK).
Six Exclamations You Never Want to Hear in the Cockpit. Sylvia, the blogger behind the Fear of Landing blog, has come up with a list of six exclamations you don’t want to hear in the cockpit. These exclamations include: We’ve lost the cabin!, Where’s that guy going?, Remember that crazy guy…?, We’re still at 2,000 feet, right?, [*sound of laughing*] This is &$%!ing great! and Have You Ever Done a Barrel Roll in the Dark?
Finnair Teams Up with Marimekko for a Cool New Livery. Finally, Finnair has teamed up with Finnish design and fashion house Marimekko so that all Finnair aircraft will feature a Marimekko for Finnair collection of textiles and tableware in classic Marimekko patterns. Moreover, the iconic 1964 Unikko (poppy) print by designer Maija Isola, which combines the “majesty and fairytale-like magic” of the Finnish forest, was recently painted on a Finnair Airbus A340 as shown in this time lapse video: