Super Secret Janet Airlines

Janet, sometimes called Janet Airlines, is the unofficial name given to a highly classified fleet of passenger aircraft operated for the United States Department of the Air Force as an employee shuttle to transport military and contractor employees. The purpose is to pick up the employees at their home airport, and take them to their place of work. Then, in the afternoon, they take the employees back to their home airports. The airline mainly serves the Nevada National Security Site (most notably Area 51 and the Tonopah Test Range), from a private terminal at Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport.

The Janet fleet consists of six Boeing 737-600s painted white with a prominent red cheatline. There are also five smaller executive turboprops (two Beechcraft 1900s and three Beechcraft 200Cs) painted white with less prominent blue trim stripes. The fleet is registered to the Department of the Air Force, while some earlier members were registered to several civil aircraft leasing corporations.

The whole Janet fleet, minus one, parked in front of the Luxor hotel.  The fleet has its own private terminal at McCarran International.

 

Due to the airline’s secretive nature, little is known about its organization. It is operated for the USAF by infrastructure and defense contractor AECOM through AECOM’s acquisition in 2014 of URS Corporation, which acquired EG&G Technical Services in 2002, as derived from URS’s history of providing this service to the Air Force and job openings published by URS. For example, in 2010, URS announced it would be hiring Boeing 737 flight attendants to be based in Las Vegas, requiring applicants to undergo a Single Scope Background Investigation in order to be able to obtain a Top Secret security clearance. More recently, AECOM has posted similar openings.

Due to its secrecy, Janet airlines boards at a special part of McCarran International Airport. They board planes at the west side of the airport, next to the Janet Airlines passenger parking lot. There is even a small terminal building for passengers.

Janet flights operate with a three-digit flight number and a WWW-prefix. In the official publication of ICAO airline codes, this specific three-letter designator is listed as being blocked. The official airline callsign is simply Janet. However, the airlines also uses different callsigns, called Groom Callsigns once transferred over to Groom Lake from Nellis control. The callsign name would change, and the callsign number will be the last 2 digits of the flight number +15. For example, if the callsign was Janet 412, and was transferred to Groom Lake control, the callsign would be something like ¨Bunny 27¨.

janet

A Very Strange Airport

Madeira International Airport, located near Funchal, Madeira in Portugal was first opened on July 1964 with two 1,600-meter (5,249 ft) runways. The short runway made landing a tricky business for even the most experienced of pilots. The high mountains surrounding the airport and the nearby ocean only complicated matters. First the pilots has to aim their aircraft at the mountains, and then break a hard right to meet the runway. Aside to the shift of direction, the warm winds coming off the ocean meet the cooler mountain dry air, which in-turn produces massive turbulence.

 

 

On November 19, 1977, a Boeing 727 aircraft flying from Brussels tried desperately to stop after touching down 2000 feet past the threshold in heavy rain, strong winds and poor visibility, but slid off the end and plunged 200 feet into the land below killing 131 people aboard. The crash prompted officials to explore ways of extending the short runway.

Eight years after the incident a 200 meters extension was built over the ocean and again extended in 2000. But instead of using landfill, the extension was built on a series of 180 concrete columns, each being about 70 meters. The total length of the runway was almost doubled, which means that half of the runway is held up by pillars.

For the unique runway expansion project the Funchal Airport has won the Outstanding Structures Award in 2004 given by International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrafugia Flying Car

Late next year, you’ll be able to buy your own flying car — er, “roadable aircraft” — thanks to a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration. As long as you have $194,000 and a sport pilot license.

The agency approved the Transition plane-car this week, giving it a Light Sport Aircraft rating. The test prototype has been flying for about a year, but plane-maker Terrafugia will unveil its production-class plane next month at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual convention in Oshkosh, Wisc.

The Transition drives like a car, uses normal high-octane gasoline, has front-wheel-drive and even comes with airbags. Its fuel economy is about 30 miles per gallon. But unlike your Prius, it can unfold its wings and fly. You’ll only need a one-third of a mile strip for a runway, meaning you could conceivably use your own street. It is powered by a rear propeller and flies about 115 miles per hour.

The ideal customer is a sport pilot who gets tired of flying to regional regional airports only to have to wait for a cab, rent a car or use public transportation. Now he or she can just fold up the wings and motor on to the next errand.

It won’t be ideal for cargo trips — it only holds about 460 pounds, including fuel and passengers — but for sport pilots on short jaunts, it’s a one-vehicle solution.

The Transition uses normal fuel, making it the greenest plane in the sky, Terrafugia says. And potentially one of the safest — if the weather turns bad, the plane can land and drive home instead.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 2, pilot and passenger
  • Payload: 430 lb (200 kg) ()
  • Length: 19 ft 2 in (5.8 m) ()
  • Wingspan: 27 ft 6 in (8.4 m) ()
  • Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.9 m) ()
  • Empty weight: 890 lb (400 kg) ()
  • Useful load: 430 lb (200 kg) ()
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,430 lb (650 kg) ()
  • Powerplant: 1× Rotax 912S, 100 hp (75 kW) @ 5800 rpm (max. 5 minutes), 95 hp (71 kW) @ 5500 rpm (continuous) ()
  • Propellers: Prince Aircraft Company, four-bladed “P-Tip”
  •  propeller, 1 per engine
  • Cockpit width: 51 in (1.3 m) at the shoulder
  • Fuel capacity: 20 US gal (76 L; 17 imp gal)
  • Length on road: 18 ft 9 in (5.7 m) with elevator up
  • Width on road: 80 in (2.0 m) with wings folded
  • Height on road: 6 ft 9 in (2.1 m)
  • Front wheel drive on road

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 100 kts (115 mph or 185 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 45 kts (51 mph or 82 km/h)
  • Range: In flight 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km); on road 600 mi (520 nmi; 970 km) ()
  • Maximum speed on road: 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Fuel economy in cruise flight: 5 US gal (19 L) per hour
  • Fuel economy on road: 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp)
  • Certifications: Both FAA and FMVSS certifications planned

Aircraft Nose Art

Nose art is a decorative painting or design on the fuselage of a military aircraft, usually located near the nose, and is a form of aircraft graffiti.

While begun for practical reasons of identifying friendly units, the practice evolved to express the individuality often constrained by the uniformity of the military, to evoke memories of home and peacetime life, and as a kind of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death.

The practice of putting personalized decorations on fighting aircraft originated with Italian and German pilots. The first recorded piece of nose art was a sea monster painted on the nose of an Italian flying boat in 1913. This was followed by the popular practice of painting mouths underneath the propeller spinner, initiated by German pilots in World War I. The cavallino rampante (prancing horse) of the Italian ace Francesco Baracca was another well-known symbol, as was the red-painted aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen. However, nose art of this era was often conceived and produced by the aircraft ground crews, not by the pilots.

The Americans took Nose Art to a whole new level during World War II.  Nose art especially appeared on B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-25 Mitchells.  All bomber aircraft and many fighter aircraft had Nose Art.  At the height of the war, nose-artists were in very high demand in the USAAF and were paid quite well for their services while AAF commanders tolerated nose art in an effort to boost aircrew morale. The U.S. Navy, by contrast, prohibited nose art, while nose art was uncommon in the RAF or RCAF.

Some examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bockscar was the B-29 bomber that dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan on 9 August 1945.

Drawings of very attractive women improved morale.  Especially when these pilots had been away from home for months on end.  Sometimes years.