Some useful advice courtesy of the military and air force…

  • “Aim towards the Enemy.” – Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher
  • “Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground.” – USAF
  • “When the enemy is in range, so are you.” – Infantry Journal
  • “It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.” – U.S. Air Force Manual
  • “Tracers work both ways.” – U.S. Army Ordnance
  • “If you see a bomb technician running, follow him.” – USAF
  • “You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3.” – Paul F. Crickmore (test pilot)
  • “The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.”
  • “Blue water Navy truism: There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky.” – From an old carrier sailor
  • “There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime.” – Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.
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Best of the Web

The First 700 Tickets on Virgin Galactic’s Space Flights Have Been Sold. Sir Richard Branson says he has sold 700 tickets for trips on his Virgin Galactic spaceflights and he reckons it will be ready to launch within a “matter of months.” Branson told the Institute of Director’s annual convention that ticket sales, which reportedly cost £125,000($200,000) each, have helped fund the project to the late stages.

$21 a Gallon for Avgas in the Congo. If you think the price you pay for avgas is expensive, General Aviation News has an article about the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a Christian ministry organization operating a fleet of 136 airplanes in some of the most isolated places in the world, and how they often pay more than two or three times the price of avgas in the USA (around $6). In fact, avgas is currently $21 a gallon when its available in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

What Happened to the Fuel Tanks Jettisoned by US Aircraft During the Vietnam War. The Aviationist has posted some pictures to show you what has happened to some of the several thousand external fuel tanks jettisoned during the Vietnam War during combat, to evade SAMs or to simply lighten the load a bit: - Aircraft Fuel Tanks in Vietnam

The RAF Bids Farewell to the VC10 Air Refueling Tanker. AIN Online has reported that the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has bid farewell to the VC10 air refueling tanker, a type that has been in British military service for 47 years. They numbered 28 at their peak and also performed in passenger, cargo and aeromedical airlift transport roles. AIN Online has also posted a slideshow showing the aircraft in action here.

London City Unveils Expansion Plans. London City has submitted £200 million expansion plans to allow the airport to double annual passenger numbers from the current three million to six million by 2023. Plans include a terminal building and bigger parking stands for the larger aircraft which are expected to start using the airport from 2016.

Proposal to Re-establish Controlled Airspace at the London Southend Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that due to the recent growth of Commercial Air Transport (CAT) passenger flights at LSA, they have concluded that the re-establishment of controlled airspace is appropriate to enhance the safe operation of CAT flights arriving to and departing from London Southend Airport. You can read more about the proposal here.

Drone Package Delivery in China. Finally, Gizmodo has reported that Shenzhen, China-based SF Express is testing drones to help the company deliver packages to remote locations where trucks can’t. The SF Express experiment is one of the more prominent examples of drone delivery and its navigation system is apparently smart enough to allow courier services to simply type in an address with the drone carrying the package right to it. - Chinese Drones

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Britain’s 93 year old wing walker

Near the end of August, a 93-year-old widower named Tom Lackey broke his own record to become the world’s oldest wing walker. The former builder from the West Midlands broke his old record by being tied to the top of a 1943 Boeing Stearman biplane which flew at an altitude of about 1,000ft from Castle Kennedy, near Stranraer, Scotland to Derry, Northern Ireland. - World's Oldest Wing Walker - World's Oldest Wing Walker (2)

(Picture: Charles McQuillan/PA)

Tom had completed his first wing walk 13 years ago at the age of 85 after the death of his wife, Isobel, who had served in the Royal Air Force. He was recognized by Guinness World Records in 2005 as the oldest person on top of an aircraft that looped the loop.

Since taking up wing walking, Tom has raked in over £1 million for charity and was even named Fundraiser of the Year at the Mirror’s 2011 Pride of Britain Awards.

However, Tom’s last one-hour-21-minute stunt was his hardest due to the wind pressure on top of the biplane e.g. just try keeping your head above the sunroof of your car while going 75 to 80 mph!

In these first two video, Tom talks about how he got into wing walking at the age of 85:

Finally, this next video tells a little bit more about Tom’s latest record breaking wing walking exploit:

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Cool Arctic flying videos to get you in the mood for winter

Winter tends to ground most recreational pilots in lower latitudes, but not in places like Alaska where cool weather still means cool flying and even cooler videos.

In this first video posted on the website of the Alaska Dispatch, Alaskan pilot Mike Collins takes you over the skies of Cordova in both a Super Cub and Cessna 185:

In this next video, also from the Alaska Dispatch, you will learn how to safely land your aircraft in a gorge during a blizzard:

Meanwhile, a quick look around on YouTube found this cool video (the person who uploaded it has a few other great videos as well) showing what to expect in good winter conditions for flying, skiing and sightseeing around the spectacular Glacier Bay National Park:

Finally, the Aviationist blog has found a really cool video shot from a cockpit of a NASA P-3B aircraft as part of an operation under a name of Ice Bridge which is intended to examine ice conditions at both the North and South poles. Its one of the largest surveillance missions covering both the Arctic and Antarctic regions with the main goals being to create a 3D map of the ice cover:

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This weekend’s UK air shows (Sept 21-22)

There are a couple of UK air shows or air displays worth mentioning this weekend:

Sunday - Shuttleworth CollectionShuttleworth Uncovered Air Display at Old Warden, Bedfordshire. The Shuttleworth Collection will be having another air display on Sunday with eighteen aircraft scheduled to fly plus visitors can have a look at the static aircraft displays as well. Book online in advance and save £5 per person (Please note online bookings close at 3pm on Saturday). Otherwise, its £25 per person on the day at the gate while children are free.


National Museums ScotlandEast Fortune Wheels and Wings at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Scotland. Get ready for a day of amazing stunts, over 200 classic cars and vehicles, a fashion show and different forms of transport with wheels and wings at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune. Ticket prices are the following: Adult £10:50 / £8.50; Child £5 (under 5 free); Family (2 adults, 2 children) £27.50; and National Museums Scotland Members free. Note that parking is £4.00 per vehicle.

The Whole Weekend

Newbury Show 2011 17 - 18 September signRoyal County of Berkshire Show: Air Display at the Newbury Showground, Priors Court, Hermitage, Thatcham, Berks. The Royal County of Berkshire show will have something for everyone – including a RAF Falcon Parachute display on Saturday and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with the Land Girls Salute on Sunday. Click here for the full schedule of activities along with ticket information.

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Cool videos from FlightFest 2013 in Dublin

Last Sunday, 130,000 visitors came to the centre of Dublin to watch FlightFest – an event modeled on the flypast that took place during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Some thirty aircraft participated with the event being brought to a close by the British Airways A380 Airbus.

This first short video explains the complicated behind the scenes flight planning that was required to safely pull of FlightFest:

This next video was actually taken a few weeks before FlightFest and gives you a good birds eye view of what the pilots flying the aircraft saw on Sunday (with 130,000 added in):

If you really want to know what it was like to see FlightFest live, there is a couple of hours of footage posted in three videos on here. Otherwise, this following video shows all the important action in just three minutes:

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Sandpoint Airpark: Live in luxury with your airplane

We recently profiled the Mallards Landing Airpark in Henry County just south of Atlanta, but General Aviation News has brought our attention to the SilverWing at Sandpoint Airpark located in Sandpoint, Idaho.

The project was conceived by pilot owner John McKeown who wanted to build a residential airpark, but finding the right spot wasn’t easy because the right location had to be:

  1. Adjacent to a public airport with a runway long enough for larger aircraft.
  2. Close to a vibrant town where people could walk or take a short drive to restaurants, shopping and other activities.
  3. Be in a beautiful location that offers year-round recreational activities and of course, flying.

A flight over Long Bridge, Lake Pend Oreille and downtown Sandpoint that culminated with a landing at the Sandpoint Airport (SZT) on its 5,501 foot or 1,677 meter runway convinced him he’d found the right spot. - SilverWing at Sandpoint - SilverWing at Sandpoint Airpark (2)

John was quoted by General Aviation News as saying that:

“The Sandpoint Airport is one of a few mountain resort airports located in the center of town, just minutes from skiing, boating, shopping and restaurants. USA Today named Sandpoint one of the best five small towns in America and we couldn’t agree more. In the winter, Schweitzer Ski Mountain is the place to be. Just a 15-minute drive from the SilverWing, Schweitzer was named the ‘best kept secret’ by Ski Magazine. From the top of mountain, at 6,400 feet, the stunning views include Canada’s Selkirks, Montana’s Cabinet and Bitterroot Mountain Ranges, as well as Lake Pend Oreille. Downtown Sandpoint is picturesque with holiday lights, earning Travel + Leisure’s accolade as one of ‘America’s Prettiest Winter Towns.’ When the weather heats up, activities on Lake Pend Oreille are boundless. At 65 miles long and 1,150 feet deep, Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest and the fifth deepest lake in the United States, making it great for boating, kayaking, fishing and more.”

SilverWing purchased 18 acres adjacent to the airport in late 2006 with the first model home being completed in 2011. Today, there are 44 residential lots ranging in size from 6,000 to 27,000 square feet (557 to 2,508 sqms) and these lots can be individually built on or combined for larger hangar-home units.

Mike Mileski, one of the developers, noted:

“There are five designs to choose from, ranging from a 50 x 42 foot hangar with an equal size residence above to a 60 x 70 foot hangar with over 4,200 square feet of residence above. The average cost of building a hangar and a residential shell starts at $75 per square foot and can increase depending on finishes and other items an owner wants to do. All of our lots are on fee simple land and ready for immediate build out.”

In addition, there are plans to build a common area with an exercise center, swimming pool, spa and a BBQ area while a full service SilverWing FBO is already at the airport.

Click here to see the latest information about pricing and availability and do note that each owner must pays an annual fee of $150 to Bonner County for airport access rights plus additional fees of $75 per year will be required for any additional aircraft that is hangared for longer than 30 days a year. - SilverWing at Sandpoint Airpark (3)

Interested? You can find out more information and see plenty of pictures (including floor plans) of SilverWing at Sandpoint Airpark on the development’s website here while a quick search on YouTube revealed this really cool flying video over the area which gives you a good idea of just how beautiful the location and region around the Airpark is:

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The joys of night flying…

Night flying:

  1. Remember that the airplane doesn’t know that it’s dark.
  2. On a clear, moonless night, never fly between the tanker’s lights.
  3. There are certain aircraft sounds that can only be heard at night.
  4. If you’re going to night fly, it might as well be in the weather so you can double count your exposure to both hazards.
  5. Night formation is really an endless series of near misses in equilibrium with each other.
  6. You would have to pay a lot of money at a lot of amusement parks and perhaps add a few drugs, to get the same blend of psychedelic sensations as a single engine night weather flight. - Night flying-w800-h600

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Best of the Web

It Takes 96 People to Fly a British Airways Passenger. The Bangalore Aviation blog has noted that British Airways has detailed calculations the number of essential people involved in a passenger’s journey and it works out to 96 different roles, across 18 different departments, using over 11 external suppliers in the process. The figures rises to 107 for premium customers.

British Airways’ Latest TV Advertisement. And speaking of British Airways, their latest advertisement showcases the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and follows a passenger’s journey using a “micro to macro” style of filming:

UAV Protest Outside Drone Testing Base in Aberporth. The BBC has recently reported that protesters from CND Cymru and other groups gathered at Parc Aberporth in Ceredigion to call for the end of military drone testing. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated that UAVs only fly at designated testing areas at Parc Aberporth.

Unexpected Uses of Drones. Sylvia, the blogger behind the Fear of Landing blog, has also compiled a list of unexpected uses of drones, ranging from beer, pizza and dry cleaning delivery to counting Orangutan nests in the wild.

Pakistan’s Only Female Combat Pilot. The Telegraph has profiled Fl Lt Ayesha Farooq who earlier this year, completed her training to become Pakistan’s first war-ready female fighter pilot, flying the F7-PG, a Chinese version of the MiG 21 jet. Some 19 Pakistani women have become pilots in the past decade, but most fly transporters. Of the six fighter pilots, Fl Lt Farooq is the only one to have qualified for combat and to fly regular sorties along the troubled Pakistan- India border.

Wanted: Your Photos for The General Aviation News Photo Issue. If you have taken a really cool aviation photo that you think is worthy of being shared with the 92,000 monthly print readers of General Aviation News, send it to Janice Wood with image details by October 14.

Do You Use an iPad in Your Flying? If so, contact Janice Wood of General Aviation News and your comments might be featured in the Sept. 27 print issue of General Aviation News. Or click here to leave a comment in her original request – which has already attracted a number of comments from pilots.

Guide to Becoming a Helicopter Pilot Now Online. General Aviation News has noted the launch of, which explains the step-by-step guide to becoming a helicopter pilot.

Impressive Elephant Walk. Finally, the Aviationist blog has posted a picture of an impressive “elephant walk” of Seven C-17 Globemaster IIIs, 11 KC-10 Extenders and four C-5B Galaxies from the 60th Air Mobility Wing that took place on September 11th. It took over 36 minutes for all the 22-aircraft involved in the “freedom launch” at Travis AFB, California, to take off with the first plane in the lineup (a C-17 Globemaster) launching at 8:46 am -  the same time American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center twelve years ago. - Travis AFB-Elephant-Walk

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Friday the 13th’s Flight 666 arrives safely in HEL

Today is Friday the 13th and we are happy to report that Finnair flight 666 or AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki (HEL) has landed safely. Not only that, the flight departed and landed ahead of schedule: - Flight 666 on Friday the 13th

For superstitious travelers, Helsinki happens to have the 3 letter designation HEL while flight AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki is a daily flight – meaning there are are two Friday the 13th flights to HEL this year.

The AP has noted that some airlines, like Scandinavian Airlines, take superstitions about the number 13 very serious and don’t have a row 13 on board. However, Finnair and other regional carriers like Norwegian and Estonian Air keep their row 13s because apparently the superstition has only recently arrived in northern latitudes – meaning some lucky passengers got to sit in row 13, on Flight 666 to HEL…

The AP also reported that today’s Flight 666 to HEL was almost full, but there is no word on whether or not any passengers lost their checked-in baggage in or on the way to HEL…

Finally and if you wish to replay an uneventful Flight 666 to HEL, click here to visit the flight’s page on

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