An English Electric Lightning jet crashing in an English field, September 1962. The pilot survived.

The aircraft in the photograph was XG332. It was built in 1959, one of 20 pre-production Lightnings. Alan Sinfield took a photograph of XG332 in 1960 at Farnborough:

However, the very last photograph taken of XG332, in 1962, is deservedly the most famous one. How does someone manage to take a photograph like this? Planning, quick wits and a healthy dose of luck.

Jim Meads is the man who took the picture. He was a professional photographer who lived near the airfield, next door to de Havilland test pilot Bob Sowray.

So, the story goes: Bob Sowray mentioned to Jim Meads that he was going to fly the Lightning that day. When Meads took his kids for a walk, he took his camera along, hoping to get a shot of the plane.

His plan was to take a photograph of the children with the airfield in the background as the Lightning came in to land. They found a good view of the final approach path and waited for the Lightning to return.

As it happened, Bob Sowray didn’t fly the Lightning that day. The pilot was George Aird, another test pilot working for De Havilland.

Whilst carrying out a demonstration flight, there was a fire in the aircraft’s reheat zone. Unburnt fuel in the rear fuselage had been ignited by a small crack in the jet pipe and had weakened the tailplane actuator anchorage. This weakened the tailplane control system which failed with the aircraft at 100 feet on final approach.

The aircraft pitched up violently just as Aird was coming up to land. Aird lost control of the aircraft and ejected.

Luckily, because the nose pitched up he had just enough time to eject.

The tractor in the photograph was a Fordson Super Major. If you look closely at the grill, you’ll see it reads D H Goblin, as in the de Havilland Goblin jet engine.

The tractor driver was 15-year-old Mick Sutterby, who spent that summer working on the airfield. He wasn’t posing for the camera. In fact, he was telling the photographer, Jim Mead, to move on, because he shouldn’t be there.

Mead saw the plane coming in and the nose pitch up. Then Aird ejected and Mead says he had just enough time to line up the shot as the Lightning came down nose first.

Meanwhile, George Aird landed on a greenhouse and fell through the roof, breaking both legs as he landed unconscious on the ground. The water from the sprinkler system for the tomatoes woke him. He’s reported to have said that his first thought was that he must be in heaven.

 

Magnificent Jet Airplanes

16249849822_a4c9b459fc_b

San Francisco International

 

airline

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

 

airline1

Qantas A380

 

airline2

747 coming in extremely low at St. Martens.

airline3

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.

airline4 lax

Up and away  at LAX

airline5 berlin

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.

 

airline7

Crosswinds

 

More Crosswinds

 

airline9 crosswinds ecuador

 

airline8

747 into the sunset

 

airline10

Car-go

 

airline11

Thunderbirds over Nevada

 

airline12

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

A Canyon That Fighter Pilots Love To Scream Through

f-16c

 

In Death Valley National Park, north of Barstow, California, is Rainbow Canyon. It’s not especially remarkable, just one canyon in an area full of them, all but indistinguishable from its neighbors in an area populated mainly by snakes. But stand on one of the canyon tops for long enough and a fighter jet will suddenly roar into the valley below you, flying fast and very, very low. It will be visible for only a few seconds before it turns hard and disappears behind the next hill. But during those few moments, anyone with a camera has a brief chance to take a spectacular picture. Rainbow Canyon (or Star Wars Canyon, as some call it) is part of the R-2508 restricted airspace complex, host to a busy, low-level training route for combat aircraft.

Military pilots train to fly low and fast, hiding behind hills to fool radar and going fast enough that they can’t be shot at. Since flying is a perishable skill, every fighter or attack pilot periodically has to practice such low-level flights. Rainbow Canyon is in the desert of eastern California, where the population is sparse and the airspace wide open. It’s also surrounded by military bases, bombing ranges, maneuvering grounds and radars—an ideal spot for military pilots to hone their skills. Among the nearby facilities are Edwards AFB, Naval Air Station China Lake, and Plant 42 (where Lockheed and Northrop build advanced aircraft).

 

f-4
f-15
Photos are taken on a high ridge above the jets
f-16d
f-15a
f-16a
Thunderbird
Marine Harrier
f-8
f-18
f-16b
F-18 Hornet with brown camo.
fa-18f-vfa-122

Pilots Report Seeing ‘Guy in Jetpack’ Flying Near LAX

Only in Los Angeles.

In a bizarre story out of Los Angeles, the pilot of a jet coming in for a landing at LAX reported seeing a person in a jetpack flying alongside their aircraft. The very strange incident reportedly occurred on Sunday evening as an American Airlines flight was headed towards Los Angeles International Airport. The normally routine task of landing the plane took a weird turn when the pilot looked out his window and spotted a proverbial ‘rocketeer’ in the sky next to the airliner.

Understandably concerned about the ‘unidentified flying person,’ the pilot promptly contacted the control tower at LAX to report the curious sighting. “We just passed a guy in a jetpack,” he told them with a tone suggesting that he was more annoyed than bewildered by the odd aerial interloper. To their credit, officials at the airport also seemed to take the sighting in stride and simply asked “were they off to your left side or right side?”

In response to the inquiry, the pilot said “off to the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, at about our altitude,” which was around 3,000 feet at the time. The sighting was subsequently confirmed by two other pilots who told the tower that they had also seen the mysterious individual flying near the airport. Although the series of sightings sound somewhat hard to believe, aviation experts say that it is possible that someone with an advanced jetpack could actually pull off the foolish feat.

As one might imagine, authorities are taking the matter seriously since someone flying a jetpack in the congested airspace around LAX could have disastrous consequences. Attempts to locate and identify the individual at the center of the case have so far proven futile. One suspects that now that their misadventure has spawned international headlines and likely would result in some kind of legal trouble, ‘jetpack man’ will likely stay silent and, hopefully, stick to the ground.

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.

 

meteor-7a

 

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.

 

meteor1

 

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.

meteor-3

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.

 

meteor12

 

Operators:

Australia: 113 aircraft

Argentina: 100 aircraft

Egypt: 30 aircraft

meteor2

Syria: 25 aircraft

France: 55 aircraft

Israel: 35 aircraft

meteors_alley_c

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.

victor6

 

 

victor7

 

 

victor8

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

Copenhagen

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

 

16249849822_a4c9b459fc_b

San Francisco International

 

airline

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

 

airline1

Qantas A380

 

airline2

747 coming in extremely low at St. Martens.

airline3

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.

airline4 lax

Up and away  at LAX

airline5 berlin

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.

 

airline7

Crosswinds

 

More Crosswinds

 

airline9 crosswinds ecuador

 

airline8

747 into the sunset

 

airline10

Car-go

 

airline11

Thunderbirds over Nevada

 

airline12

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