Those Amazing Flying Machines



San Francisco International



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



Qantas A380



747 coming in extremely low at St. Martens.


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.

airline6 Antonov An-225 Mriya

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





More Crosswinds


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747 into the sunset






Thunderbirds over Nevada



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.


The Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch is an aircraft built for Stratolaunch Systems by Scaled Composites to carry air-launch-to-orbit rockets. It was announced in December 2011 and rolled out in May 2017. The twin-fuselage design is the aircraft with the longest wingspan ever flown at 385 feet (117 m), surpassing the Hughes H-4 Hercules flying boat’s of 320 feet 11 inches (97.82 m). The Stratolaunch is intended to carry a 550,000-pound (250,000 kg) payload and has a 1,300,000-pound (590,000 kg) maximum takeoff weight.

The aircraft first flew on April 13, 2019, at the Mojave Air and Space Port, reaching 17,000 ft (5,200 m) and 165 kn (305 km/h) in a 2 h 29 min flight.

General characteristics

  • Length: 238 ft (73 m) 
  • Wingspan: 385 ft (117 m) 
  • Height: 50 ft (15 m) 
  • Empty weight: 500,000 lb (226,796 kg) 
  • Gross weight: 750,000 lb (340,194 kg) with no external payload
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,300,000 lb (589,670 kg) 
  • External payload: 550,000 lb (250,000 kg)
  • Powerplant: 6 × Pratt and Whitney PW4056 turbofan, 56,750 lbf (252.4 kN) thrust each 
  • Maximum speed: 460 kn (530 mph, 850 km/h) 
  • Range: 1,000 nmi (1,200 mi, 1,900 km) radius
  • Ferry range: 2,500 nmi (2,900 mi, 4,600 km) 


United Customers

Some people have issues with the airline.

On the evening of April 9, 2017, a revenue passenger was forcibly removed by law enforcement from United Airlines flight 3411 at Chicago-O’Hare, bound for Louisville. United announced that it needed four seats for airline staff on the sold-out flight. When no passengers volunteered after being offered vouchers worth $800, United staff selected four passengers to leave. Three of them did so, but the fourth, a doctor named David Dao, declined as he said that he had patients to treat the following morning. He was pulled from his seat by Chicago Department of Aviation security officers and dragged by his arms down the aisle. Dao sustained a concussion, broken teeth, a broken nose, and other injuries. The incident was captured on smartphone cameras and posted on social media, triggering an angry public backlash. Afterwards, United’s chief executive officer, Oscar Munoz, described Dao as “disruptive and belligerent”, apologized for “re-accommodating” the paying customers, and defended and praised staff for “following established procedures”. He was widely criticized as “tone-deaf”. Munoz later issued a second statement calling what happened a “truly horrific event” and accepting “full responsibility” for it. After a lawsuit, Dao reached an undisclosed settlement with United and airport police. In the aftermath, United’s board of directors decided that Munoz would not become its chairman and that executive compensation would be tied to customer satisfaction. Following this incident, passenger complaints increased by 70 percent.