Vesna Vulovic’s 33,000 Feet Fall

On January 26, 1972, the JAT Yugoslav Airlines Flight 367 flying from Stockholm to Belgrade became the target of a terrorist attack. A suitcase bomb tucked inside the baggage compartment of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 aircraft exploded when the airplane was cruising at an altitude of 33,000 feet over East Germany. The explosion tore through the fuselage of the narrow-body jetliner, breaking it apart into three pieces. The wreckage then crashed near the village of Srbská Kamenice in Czechoslovakia. Typically, there should have been no survivors, but this time around there was one—a flight attendant named Vesna Vulovic.

Vesna Vulovic.

The 22-year old Serbian flight attendant Vesna Vulovic was part of the secondary cabin crew who boarded the airplane in Copenhagen, where the flight made a brief stopover en route to Belgrade. But Vulovic was not supposed to be on the doomed flight. Vulovic’s schedule got mixed up with that of another stewardess named Vesna, and she was subsequently placed on the wrong flight. Nevertheless, Vulović was happy for the mistake because it allowed her to travel to Denmark, a country she had never been to before.

At 4:01 pm, forty-six minutes after take off from Copenhagen Airport, the bomb placed in the baggage compartment went off, and the airplane broke apart. As the cabin depressurized, the passengers and other flight crew were sucked out of the plane into freezing temperatures and fell to their deaths. Vulovic miraculously got trapped inside one of the broken sections of the fuselage by a food cart, protecting her from frigid temperatures, as it plummeted towards the ground. The fuselage section with Vulovic trapped inside crash landed in thick snow in a heavily wooded area, which cushioned the impact.

The route of flight JAT367

The route of flight JAT367. Image: Karel x/Wikimedia

A villager named Bruno Honke discovered Vulovic when he heard her screaming amid the wreckage. Honke had been a medic during World War II and was able to keep Vulović alive until rescuers arrived. She suffered a fractured skull, two broken legs, and three broken vertebrae, one of which was crushed completely. Her pelvis was fractured and several ribs were also broken. Her injuries resulted in her being temporarily paralyzed below the waist, and she spent several days in coma. Doctors later told her that her history of low blood pressure caused her to pass out quickly after the cabin depressurized and kept her heart from bursting on impact.

Vulovic couldn’t remember anything about her flight and the ordeal. The last thing she remembered was greeting passengers as they boarded. The next thing she remembered was seeing her parents in her hospital room about one month later. She had to be told that she survived a plane crash, and when shown a newspaper headline by her doctor, she reportedly fainted.

Photo: CTK / Alamy Stock Photo

After several surgeries, and ten months later, Vulovic was able to walk again although the accident left her with a permanent limp. By September 1972, and less than nine months after the incident, Vulovic was eager to go back to work, but JAT gave her a desk job instead, because they didn’t want Vulovic drawing too much publicity.

Back home, Vulovic became a national celebrity and received a decoration from Yugoslav President Josip Tito. The Serbian folk singer Miroslav Ilić even wrote a song in her honor. In 1985, Vulovic ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records for surviving the highest fall without a parachute, at 10,160 meters (33,330 feet).

For decades after the crash, Vulovic struggled with survivor’s guilt. “Whenever I think of the accident, I have a prevailing, grave feeling of guilt for surviving it and I cry … Then I think maybe I should not have survived at all,” she told The Independent in 2012. Vulovic declined therapy to help cope with her experiences and instead turned to religion, becoming a devout Orthodox Christian. She stated that her ordeal had turned her into an optimist. “If you can survive what I survived, you can survive anything,” she said.

Monument to victims of the Yugoslav aircraft tragedy of 1972, in Srbská Kamenice. Photo: palickap/Wikimedia

When she was asked whether she considered herself lucky, she replied: “No, I’m not. I’m not lucky. Everybody thinks I am lucky, but they a mistaken. If I were lucky I would never had this accident and my mother and father would be alive. The accident ruined their lives too.”

Vulovic became a political activist in later life, that cost her her job—she was fired from JAT for speaking out against Serbian statesman Slobodan Milošević and taking part in anti-government protests. She avoided arrest because the government was concerned about the negative publicity that her imprisonment would bring. She later campaigned on behalf of the Democratic Party and advocated for Serbia’s entry into the European Union, which she believed would bring economic prosperity.

Vesna Vulovic died in 2016 at the age of 66.

German airline unveils candy-striped aircraft

(CNN) — Most airplane exteriors look more or less the same — white backdrop, bold lettering, company logo — but every now and again, an airline unveils a livery that stands out from the pack.
Take All Nippon Airways’ “Flying Honu” A380s, designed to resemble bright colored turtles, or the stunning indigenous art that adorns one of Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
German airline Condor is the latest carrier to step up its livery game with a simple yet stylish paint job. Condor’s fleet is tricked out in candy-colored bold stripes, inspired by “parasols, bath towels and beach chairs,” according to the airline.
Condor was owned by British holiday company Thomas Cook, which collapsed in 2019. Now the leisure airline is striking out on its own, with a new look to celebrate. The colorful stripes, designed by Berlin creative agency Vision Alphabet, aim to evoke nostalgia for vacations past and excitement for vacations of the future.
There are five color options: Condor says the blue stripes represent the sea, the yellow stripes recall sunshine, red represents “passion”, green represents “island” and a beige-gold stripe should make travelers think of a sandy beach.

The airline suggests the stripes also represent “the diversity of Condor’s guests, employees and the multitude of opportunities to discover the world with Condor.”

Ralf Teckentrup, Condor’s CEO, said in a statement that the colorful stripes are the airline’s “new trademark.” Accordingly, it’s not just Condor’s exterior that’s been reimagined. Condor’s logo on its social media account is now emblazoned with stripes, while boarding passes and inflight items like blankets are being reimagined. Condor promises crew uniforms will also “shine in the new design,” with more details and photos to come.

Condor has over 50 aircraft in its fleet, and promises the majority will be painted by 2024. Expect to see six of the striped aircraft in operation by this summer, with these aircraft flying to destinations including the Canary Islands, Greece and Egypt.

The Little Jets That Can

The BD-5 Micro is a series of small, single-seat homebuilt aircraft created in the late 1960s by US aircraft designer Jim Bede and introduced to the market primarily in “kit” form by the now-defunct Bede Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s.

In total, only a few hundred BD-5 kits were completed, although many of these are still being flown today. The BD-5J version holds the record for the world’s lightest jet aircraft, weighing only 358.8 lb (162.7 kg).

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With the demise of the Bede Aircraft Company, the BD-5 entered a sort of limbo while builders completed their kits. The early safety problems and the challenge of adapting a suitable engine exacerbated delays. Over the next few years, however, solutions to most of these problems arrived in one form or another. Many other changes have also been incorporated to improve the original design. Today the BD-5 is a rewarding, if demanding aircraft.

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General Characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 12 ft to 13.5 ft w/stretch kits (3.88 m to 4.11 m)
  • Wingspan: 14 ft to 21 ft 6 in (4.26 m to 6.55 m)
  • Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.6 m)
  • Wing area: Depends on wing used (-5A, -5B or -5J)
  • Empty weight: 167 kg and up
  • Loaded weight: 407 lb to 809 lb
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,100 lb (530 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Various reciprocating engines, from Rotax to Turbo Honda; turboprop with modified Solar T62; jet with Microturbo Couguar or TRS-18,

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 200+ mph (320+ km/h) recip, 300 mph (500 km/h) jet
  • Range: 720+ miles (1,152+ km) recip, 300+ miles (500 km) jet
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 ft (3,700 m) recip, 23,000 ft (7,000 m) jet
  • Rate of climb: 1,900 ft/min (579 m/min) recip, 4,000 ft/min (1,219 m/min) jet
  • Wing loading: Varies depending on wing selected and aircraft weight

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Top 50 countries by number of business jets registered

The table below presents the top 50 countries by the number of business jets in operation. It will come as no surprise that the number of aircraft registered in the US is far greater than anywhere else in the world. Out of all of the 50 countries below, the US alone accounts for 67 per cent of business jets and 63 per cent of the global fleet.

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Gulfstream G650. Highest rated business jet

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In sixth position with 264 aircraft, the Isle of Man, located off the coast of the UK, opened for business in May 2007 and is continuing to be seen as a popular and quick place to register aircraft.

Latin American occupies three places in the top 10, with Brazil and Mexico in second and third Venezuela at number 10. Brazil, in particular, is a vast country that takes time to travel across, so the number of smaller aircraft provide businesses with vital links between towns and cities. Although no age analysis is available, the number of older aircraft in both Mexico and Venezuela is noticeable and with little official information available, it is proved difficult to obtain true numbers of aircraft that are still currently active.

Austria’s position at number seven is partly due to a number of aircraft with Russian owners. Russia’s own import duty and tax payable on aircraft placed on the Russian register makes Austria a very attractive alternative country to register aircraft – something that also benefits the Isle of Man.

The number of business jets registered in China excludes aircraft registered in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, each of which appear under their own entries. If we were to consolidate the three countries, China would jump two places in the list to number seven. Hong Kong, in particular, has a large number of aircraft registered and appear at 35th place with 32 business jet on the register.

Most popular private jet registries

PositionRegistered CountryNo. of Aircraft
1United States12,051
2Brazil764
3Mexico704
4Canada483
5Germany387
6Isle of Man264
7Austria244
8United Kingdom241
9China203
10Venezuela168
11South Africa160
12Australia154
13Argentina142
14India140
15Portugal138
16France132
17Switzerland123
18Bermuda117
19Cayman Islands114
20Turkey110
21Spain100
22Italy99
23Denmark62
24United Arab Emirates61
25Saudi Arabia56
26Russian Federation53
27Luxembourg48
28Belgium45
29Aruba45
30Nigeria41
31Japan36
32Sweden36
33Malta35
34Czech Republic34
35Hong Kong32
36Philippines32
37Indonesia27
38Netherlands27
39Finland26
40Morocco26
41Thailand25
42Ukraine24
43Egypt23
44Chile20
45Serbia17
46Bulgaria16
47Kazakhstan16
48Colombia16
49Greece15
50Pakistan15

Most popular business jet: Cessna Citation series with over 7000 built

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Looking for a smaller aircraft, the Honda Jet

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The Largest Aircraft Boneyard in the World

All images © Bernhard Lang

Housing the largest aircraft and missile facility around the globe, the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson is a trove of aviation history. The Arizona boneyard is responsible for nearly 4,000 vehicles that are maintained, recycled for parts, and stored across miles of the dry, desert landscape. Photographer Bernhard Lang (previously) visited the site recently to document the aircraft, which are organized in neat rows and grouped by model. Containing both rusted and disassembled machines and those in pristine condition, the boneyard is designed for preservation “in order to make (the planes) airworthy again if necessary, a current topic in times of the Ukraine war and the global discussion about deliveries of arms,” Lang says.

Nazi UFOs? Very Interesting

Is it possible that an evil race of Aliens allied with the Nazis during World War II?  That would have been a formidable alliance to deal with.  Especially if the Aliens provided the Nazis with UFO technology.  I can’t see a P-51 Mustang defeating a souped up UFO.  But then again, maybe the Americans and Russians had their own Alien benefactors.

In science fiction, conspiracy theory, and underground comic books, there are a number of stories or claims regarding Nazi UFOs (in German: Rundflugzeug, Feuerball, Diskus, Haunebu, Hauneburg-Geräte, VRIL, Kugelblitz, Andromeda-Geräte, Flugkreisel, Kugelwaffen, Reichsflugscheiben). They relate supposedly successful attempts to develop advanced aircraft or spacecraft in Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II, and further claim the post-war survival of these craft in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America or the United States, along with their Nazi creators.

Nazi UFO tales and myths very often conform largely to documented history on the following points:

  • Nazi Germany claimed the territory of New Swabia in Antarctica, sent an expedition there in 1938, and planned others.
  • Nazi Germany conducted research into advanced propulsion technology, including rocketry, Viktor Schauberger’s engine research, flying wing craft and the Arthur Sack A.S.6 experimental circular winged aircraft.
  • Some UFO sightings during World War II, particularly those known as foo fighters, were thought by the allies to be prototype enemy aircraft designed to harass Allied aircraft through electromagnetic disruption; a technology similar to today’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.

16 Rotor One Man Helicopter Lifts Off 

One-man flying space hopper could become the ‘air car’ of the future

  • 80kg machine can take off vertically like a
    jump jet
  • Powered by Lithium Ion batteries
  • Inventor claims the 16-rotor machine will make helicopters ‘obsolete
  • Could be used for ‘air sports’ – or even as a
    flying car

It might look like as space hopper surrounded by model helicopters, but the 16-rotor E-Volo is an entirely new kind of
helicopter – which can hover motionless in the air without input from the pilot.

Its bold engineer, Thomas Senkel, took the machine on its first manned flight this week – lasting 1 minute 30 seconds.
It’s not the first electric helicopter flight – but this is a new kind of machine, steered simply by joystick, with the pilot
sitting above the rotors. Senkel says it could revolutionise transport.
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The three inventors claim their flying machine could be used for inspecting pipelines, as an air ambulance or for taking aerial photographs – as well as just for fun.

Once they have solved the problem of how to keep it in the air for longer – and support more people – Senkel hopes it might replace helicopters for good.

It’s far easier to fly than ordinary helicopters – it’s steered by rotor speed, which is computer-controlled, so the pilot just needs to use a joystick as if playing a videogame, rather than controlling multiple complex controls at once.

Senkel describes the easy-to-use machine as ‘good-natured’ and potentially capable of replacing the helicopter in many
situations.

A one-hour flight would cost around six euros in electricity. The machine has few parts, which could wear out, meaning the
aircraft needs little maintenance.

E-volo say their aircraft is special because of the ‘simplicity of its engineered construction without complicated mechanics,
and redundant engines.’

In an emergency, it can land even if four of its 16 rotors fail. And since the propellers sit below the pilot, a safety parachute can also be deployed.

The controls could be integrated with GPS software, the three friends claim, and the machine could even automatically avoid obstacles and direct itself to predetermined locations. E-Volo have already completed several successful ‘drone’ flights with the vehicle, controlled remotely from the ground.