The Gloster Meteor

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies’ only operational jet aircraft during the Second World War. The Meteor’s development was heavily reliant on its ground-breaking turbojet engines, pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets Ltd. Development of the aircraft began in 1940, although work on the engines had been under way since 1936. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with No. 616 Squadron RAF. Nicknamed the “Meatbox”, the Meteor was not a sophisticated aircraft in its aerodynamics, but proved to be a successful combat fighter.

 

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Several major variants of the Meteor incorporated technological advances during the 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of Meteors were built to fly with the RAF and other air forces and remained in use for several decades. The Meteor saw limited action in the Second World War. Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fought in the Korean War. Several other operators such as Argentina, Egypt and Israel flew Meteors in later regional conflicts. Specialised variants of the Meteor were developed for use in photographic aerial reconnaissance and as night fighters.

 

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No. 616 Squadron RAF was the first to receive operational Meteors: a total of 14 aircraft were initially delivered. The squadron was based at RAF Culmhead, Somerset and had been previously equipped with the Spitfire VII. The conversion to the Meteor was initially a matter of great secrecy. Following a conversion course at Farnborough attended by the squadron’s six leading pilots, the first aircraft was delivered to Culmhead on 12 July 1944. The squadron and its seven Meteors moved on 21 July 1944 to RAF Manston on the east Kent coast and, within a week, 32 pilots had been converted to the type.

The Meteor was initially used to counter the V-1 flying bomb threat. 616 Squadron Meteors saw action for the first time on 27 July 1944, when three aircraft were active over Kent. These were the first operational jet combat missions for the Meteor and for the Royal Air Force. After some problems, especially with jamming guns, the first two V1 “kills” were made on 4 August. By war’s end, Meteors had accounted for 14 flying bombs. After the end of the V-1 threat, and the introduction of the ballistic V-2 rocket, the RAF was forbidden to fly the Meteor on combat missions over German-held territory for fear of an aircraft being shot down and salvaged by the Germans.

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No. 616 Squadron briefly moved to RAF Debden to allow USAAF bomber crews to gain experience and create tactics in facing jet-engined foes before moving to Colerne, Wiltshire. For a week from 10 October 1944 a series of exercises were carried out in which a flight of Meteors made mock attacks on a formation of 100 B-24s and B-17s escorted by 40 Mustangs and Thunderbolts. These suggested that, if the jet fighter attacked the formation from above, it could take advantage of its superior speed in the dive to attack the bombers and then escape by diving through the formation before the escorts could react. The best tactic to counter this was to place a fighter screen 5,000 ft above the bombers and attempt to intercept the jets early in the dive. The exercise was also useful from No. 616 Squadron’s perspective, gaining valuable practical experience in Meteor operations.

In March, the entire squadron was moved to Gilze-Rijen and then in April, to Nijmegen. The Meteors flew armed reconnaissance and ground attack operations without encountering any German jet fighters. By late April, the squadron was based at Faßberg, Germany and suffered its first losses when two aircraft collided in poor visibility. The war ended with the Meteors having destroyed 46 German aircraft through ground attack. Friendly fire through misidentification as Messerschmitt Me 262s by Allied anti-aircraft gunners was more of a threat than the already-diminished forces of the Luftwaffe; to counter this, continental-based Meteors were given an all-white finish as a recognition aid.

 

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Operators:

Australia: 113 aircraft

Argentina: 100 aircraft

Egypt: 30 aircraft

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Syria: 25 aircraft

France: 55 aircraft

Israel: 35 aircraft

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Flying high in lavish luxury

The Boeing Business Jet series are variants of Boeing airliners for the corporate jet market, initially the 737 series airliners. This aircraft usually seats between 25 and 50 passengers within a luxurious configuration. This may include a master bedroom, a washroom with showers, a conference/dining area, and a living area. The Boeing Business Jet is a 50/50 partnership between Boeing Commercial Airplanes and General Electric.  The latest versions of the BBJs include configurations based on the Boeing 777, Boeing 787 and the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental.

Below are interior pictures from a BBJ 737.

 

 

Governments and militaries from around the world are the major clients that lease these Boeing Business Jets.  But corporations also are clients.

BBJ is now configuring the new 747-8 Intercontinental Jumbo Jet for these private jaunts.  The people that get to take the ride should be very impressed.

 

Interior of the 747-8 below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Hidden Crew Rest Compartments on Airliners

A crew rest compartment (crew rest) is a section of an airliner dedicated for breaks and sleeping by crew members, usually located above or adjacent to the passenger compartment. Crew rest compartments are normally segregated, with separate compartments for the flight crew and the cabin crew.

On long flights, crew members may sleep in crew rest compartments during off-duty periods. Federal Aviation Regulations have provisions requiring crew rest areas be provided in order to operate a long flight by using multiple crew shifts.

Passengers are restricted from accessing crew rest compartments by regulations, additionally their entrances may be secured by locks and may require ascending a ladder for access.

Giant Commercial Aircraft Maintenance Base in Southern California

Southern California Logistics Airport, also known as Victorville Airport, is a public airport located in the city of Victorville in San Bernardino County, California approximately 20 mi (32 km) north of San Bernardino. Prior to its civil usage, the facility was George Air Force Base from 1941 to 1992 which was a front-line United States Air Force base.

The airport is home to Southern California Aviation, a large transitional facility for commercial aircraft. The main activities at the airport are MRO, an aviation term meaning Maintenance and Repair Organization.  Major overhauls of commercial jet airliners are undertaken at Victorville.  It is the largest MRO facility in the world.

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With airlines grounding up to 80 percent of their fleets due to covid-19, Victorville has been inundated with dozens of more airliners.

Other international airports are also being used for storage.

Charles De Gaulle in Paris

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The Dassault Falcon 900

The Dassault Falcon 900, commonly abbreviated as the F900, is a trijet French-built corporate jet aircraft made by Dassault Aviation.

 

General characteristics

Crew: 2
Capacity: 19 passengers
Length: 20.21 m (66 ft 4 in)
Wingspan: 19.33 m (63 ft 5 in)
Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 49.0 m2 (527 sq ft)
Aspect ratio: 7.63:1
Empty weight: 10,255 kg (22,608 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 20,640 kg (45,503 lb)
Fuel capacity: 8,690 kg (19,160 lb)
Powerplant: 3 × AlliedSignal TFE731-5BR-1C turbofans, 21.13 kN (4,750 lbf) thrust each
Performance

Maximum speed: Mach 0.84–0.87
Cruise speed: 950 km/h (590 mph, 510 kn) ; Mach 0.85 (at 11,000 m (36,000 ft)
Stall speed: 158 km/h (98 mph, 85 kn) (wheels and flaps down)
Range: 7,400 km (4,600 mi, 4,000 nmi) with 8 passengers
Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,900 ft)

Those Amazing Flying Machines

 

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San Francisco International

 

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Five giants: three Airbus A380’s, a Boeing 747 and 777.

 

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Qantas A380

 

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747 coming in extremely low at St. Martens.

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The infamous “Gimli Glider”. Air Canada 767 made an emergency landing at an abandoned airstrip in Gimli, Manitoba. The plane ran out of fuel when a technician made a mistake converting gallons into litres.

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Up and away  at LAX

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Berlin Airshow. The American section with the giant C-5 Galaxy dwarfing everything else.

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The Russian Anotov AN-225 Mriya. Biggest plane in the world.

 

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Crosswinds

 

More Crosswinds

 

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747 into the sunset

 

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Car-go

 

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Thunderbirds over Nevada

 

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F-100 Super Sabre alongside FedEx MD-111 Mojave, California.

A Very Very Big Balloon!

Project Echo was the first passive communications satellite experiment. Each of the two American spacecraft, launched in 1960 and 1964, was a metalized balloon satellite acting as a passive reflector of microwave signals. Communication signals were bounced off them from one point on Earth to another.

During ground inflation tests, 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg) of air were needed to fill the balloon, but while in orbit, several pounds of gas were all that was required to fill the sphere. At launch, the balloon weighed 156.995 pounds (71.212 kg), including 33.34 pounds (15.12 kg) of sublimating powders of two types. According to NASA, “To keep the sphere inflated in spite of meteorite punctures and skin permeability, a make-up gas system using evaporating liquid or crystals of a subliming solid were incorporated inside the satellite.” One of the powders weighed 10 pounds (4.5 kg), with a very high vapor pressure; the other had a much lower vapor pressure.

Echo 2 was a 41.1-meter-diameter (135 ft) balloon satellite, the last launched by Project Echo. A revised inflation system was used for the balloon, to improve its smoothness and sphericity. Echo 2’s skin was rigidizable, unlike that of Echo 1A. Therefore, the balloon was capable of maintaining its shape without a constant internal pressure; a long-term supply of inflation gas was not needed, and it could easily survive strikes from micrometeoroids. The balloon was constructed from “a 0.35 mil (9 µm) thick mylar film sandwiched between two layers of 0.18 mil (4.5 µm) thick aluminum foil and bonded together.” It was inflated to a pressure that caused the metal layers of the laminate to slightly plastically deform, while the polymer was still in the elastic range. This resulted in a rigid and very smooth spherical shell.

Echo 2 was launched January 25, 1964, on a Thor Agena rocket. In addition to passive communications experiments, it was used to investigate the dynamics of large spacecraft and for global geometric geodesy. Since it was larger than Echo 1A and orbiting in a near-polar orbit, Echo 2 was conspicuously visible to the unaided eye over all of the Earth. It reentered Earth’s atmosphere and burned up on June 7, 1969.

Both Echo 1A and Echo 2 experienced a solar sail effect due to their large size and low mass. Later passive communications satellites, such as OV1-08 PasComSat, solved the problems associated with this by using a grid-sphere design instead of a covered surface. Later yet, NASA abandoned passive communications systems altogether, in favor of active satellites.

Strange UFO?

A curious piece of footage from Brazil shows a strange unidentified flying object which bears an uncanny resemblance to a jellyfish. The puzzling anomaly was recorded over the city of Sao Paolo last month and the video of the strange sighting subsequently popped up online this past weekend. Unfortunately, aside from those details, there is no other information surrounding the circumstances in which the scene was filmed.

In the footage, the UFO initially appears as a fairly indistinct anomaly high in the sky and far away from the person behind the camera. However, when they zoom in on the object, one can see that it appears to have a dome-like top with some tentacles, for lack of a better word, dangling from it. Since appearing online, the video has been picked up by several YouTube channels devoted to odd aerial anomalies and, in turn, various suggestions for the nature of the object have been offered.

The most prominent possibilities put forward by UFO enthusiasts is that the anomaly is either some kind of alien craft or, failing that, a heretofore unidentified flying creature. More skeptical observers have offered a different take, arguing that the oddity is either a balloon or a jellyfish kite. The latter theory seems to have some merit, although the height and distance of the mystery object raise some doubts about that.

I googled jellyfish kite. Got a picture. Sure looks like a jellyfish kite.