Emotional Support Animals on Planes

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Emotional support animals, typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability. An animal does not need specific training to become an emotional support animal.

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The Air Carrier Access Act establishes a procedure for modifying pet policies on aircraft to permit a person with a disability to travel with a prescribed emotional support animal, so long as they have appropriate documentation and the animal is not a danger to others and does not interfere with others (through unwanted attention, barking, inappropriate toileting, etc.

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CNBC

Want to travel with an emotional support dog, duck or miniature horse? Starting next month, United Airlines will want passengers to show they can behave.

The airline is setting more stringent requirements for emotional support animals, joining Delta Air Lines in cracking down on a sharp increase in such animals in the cabin. Delta complained that some of the animals soiled cabins or bit travelers.

United said the number of customers bringing emotional support animals on board has risen 75 percent over the past year.

“The Department of Transportation’s rules regarding emotional support animals are not working as they were intended to, prompting us to change our approach in order to ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience for all of our customers,” United said.

Late last month, a Brooklyn artist tried to bring a peacock on board a cross-country United flight, but was turned away by the airline because of the bird’s weight and size.

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“As a reminder, animals currently prohibited from traveling in the cabin include hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles, sugar gliders, non-household birds, exotic animals and animals not properly cleaned or carry a foul odor,” said United.

The animals below are not on the prohibited list.

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Last 2 images above courtesy of Markozen photoshop.

A very Big helicopter for the very Big jobs

The Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane is an American twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter. It is the civil version of the United States Army’s CH-54 Tarhe. The S-64 Aircrane is the current production version, manufactured by the Erickson Air-Crane company.

The Sikorsky S-64 was designed as an enlarged version of the prototype flying crane helicopter, the Sikorsky S-60. The S-64 had a six-blade main rotor and was powered by two 4,050 shaft horsepower (3,020 kW) Pratt & Whitney JFTD12A turboshaft engines. The prototype S-64 first flew on 9 May 1962 and was followed by two further examples for evaluation by the German armed forces. The Germans did not place an order, but the United States Army placed an initial order for six S-64A helicopters (with the designation YCH-54A Tarhe). Seven S-64E variants were built by Sikorsky for the civil market.

The early military versions

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Notice the insignia on the beast above is the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Colonel Kilgore’s unit from Apocalypse Now

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Originally a Sikorsky Aircraft product, the type certificate and manufacturing rights were purchased from them by Erickson Air-Crane in 1992.

Since that time, Erickson Air-Crane has become the manufacturer and world’s largest operator of S-64 Aircranes and has made over 1,350 changes to the airframe, instrumentation, and payload capabilities of the helicopter. The Aircrane can be fitted with a 2,650-gallon (~10,000 litre) fixed retardant tank to assist in the control of bush fires, and it has proved itself admirably in this role.

S-64 Aircranes have been sold to the Italian and Korean Forest Services for fire suppression and emergency response duties. Those in the Erickson Air-Crane fleet are leased worldwide to organizations, companies, and Federal Government agencies for either short-term or longer term use in fire suppression, civil protection, heavy lift construction, and timber harvesting.

Erickson is manufacturing new S-64s, as well as remanufacturing existing CH-54s. Erickson gives each of its S-64s an individual name, the best-known being “Elvis”, used in fighting fires in Australia alongside “The Incredible Hulk” and “Isabelle”. Other operators, such as Siller Brothers, have followed with their Sikorsky S-64E, Andy’s Pride. The Erickson S-64E nicknamed “Olga” was used to lift the top section of the CN Tower into place in Toronto, Canada.

Erickson currently operates 20 Air-Cranes.

Erickson Air-Cranes being used for energy infrastructure placement

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Fire Fighting

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Logging

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Other uses include moving heavy AC equipment to high rooftops.

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Placing the refurbished statue on top of the Capital dome in Washington D.C.

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General characteristics

  • Crew: 3 (pilot, co-pilot), plus one engineer or rear-facing observer
  • Capacity: up to 5 total persons
  • Payload: 20,000 lb (9,072 kg)
  • Length: 70 ft 3 in (21.41 m (fuselage))
  • Rotor diameter: 72 ft 0 in (21.95 m)
  • Height: 18 ft 7 in (5.67 m)
  • Disc area: 4070 ft² (378.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 19,234 lb (8,724 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 42,000 lb (19,050 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney JFTD12-4A (T73-P-1) turboshaft engines, 4,500 shp (3,555 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 109 knots (126 mph, 203 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 91 knots (105 mph, 169 km/h)
  • Range: 200 nmi (230 mi, 370 km) max fuel and reserves
  • Rate of climb: 1,330 ft/min (6.75 m/s)

Flying Car Prototype Completes Successful Inter-City Test Flight

A Slovakian company working on developing a flying car took a big step forward this week when their prototype successfully completed an inter-city test flight. Dubbed simply ‘AirCar,’ the wondrous vehicle took flight from the city of Nitra on Monday morning and, over the course of 35 minutes, journeyed approximately 45 miles to the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava. Upon landing, the creators of the craft provided a fantastic display of its feasibility by immediately transforming it from an aircraft into a car, which is a process with takes less than three minutes, and then cruising into the center of the city where they were met by reporters.

Powered by a 160 horsepower BMW engine running a fixed propeller positioned at the back of the vehicle, the flying car is the brainchild of inventor Stefan Klein, who heads the company Klein Vision alongside co-founder Anton Zajac. According to the group, Monday’s flight was the latest in a series of milestones for the AirCar, which has already demonstrated the ability to reach an altitude of 8,200 feet and a cruising speed of 118 miles per hour. Klein Vision now hopes to take the insights gleaned from this initial prototype and create a more sizeable second test vehicle that will be equipped with a 300 horsepower engine. “AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept,” declared Zajac in a press release, “it has turned science fiction into a reality.”

While pulling off a successful flight from one city to another is undoubtedly an impressive achievement for the company, one may wish to temper their expectations as far as when the average person might be able to get behind the wheel of a flying car. As one can imagine, there are all manner of challenges that need to be overcome before such vehicles become commonplace, least of which are logistical issues that will come from having skies filled with such craft. That said, given the fact that a working flying car seemingly now exists, that long-imagined symbol of the future just might be closer than we think.

The World’s Loudest Plane Was So Loud It Caused Seizures

The aviation industry’s transition from propellers to jet engines saw the emergence of a new kind of engine called the turboprop. A turboprop engine is a turbine engine but instead of generating thrust from exhaust, the engine drives a propeller.

In 1955, the US Air Force developed an experimental aircraft called the XF-84H, manufactured by Republic Aviation. The purpose of the XF-84H was to determine whether it was possible for a fighter airplane to ditch the catapult and takeoff from a carrier on its own accord. A turboprop engine was chosen to power the aircraft, because such an engine uses big fans to move large volumes of air, which enables the aircraft to produce greater thrust at lower speeds. Bigger thrust means faster acceleration, which translates to shorter takeoffs.

Republic XF-84H Thunderscreech the loudest plane

The XF-84H was based on the well-known swept-winged F-84 Thunderstreak, but instead of a jet engine, the XF-84H was fitted with 5,850 hp Allison XT40-A-1 turboprop engine that turned three steel blades. With a sweep of 12 feet, the blades were so long that even at idling thrust the tip of the blades moved at supersonic speeds producing a continuous visible sonic boom that could be heard from 40 km away. The shockwaves were so powerful it could knock a full grown man down.

From Air&Space Magazine:

“One day, the crew took it out to an isolated test area [at Edwards Air Force Base in California] to run it up,” recalls Henry Beaird, a Republic test pilot at the time and one of only two men ever to fly the -84H. “They tied it down on a taxiway next to what they assumed was an empty C-47, but that airplane’s crew chief was inside, sweeping it out. Well, they cranked that -84H up, made about a 30-minute run, and shut it down. As they were getting ready to tow it back to the ramp, they heard this banging in the back of the C-47.” It was the crew chief, Beaird relates, knocked silly by the high-intensity noise and on his back on the floor of the –47, flailing his limbs. “He eventually came out of it,” Beaird recalls.

“As long as you stood ahead of or behind the airplane,” says Beaird, now 78 and flying Learjets, “it really wasn’t so bad, but if you got in the plane of the prop, it’d knock you down.” Really? “Really.”

The XF-84H’s horrendous noise earned the aircraft the nickname “Thunderscreech”.

The Thunderscreech’s engine ran at full speed all the time, and the propeller rotated at 2,100 rpm from startup until shutdown. Thrust was obtained and adjusted by changing the pitch of the blades. The response from the propellers was instantaneous. But the noise was terrible.

Edward von Wolffersdorff, Beaird’s crew chief, recalls:

I remember making my first ground runs with the thing, down on the main base, and I was wondering Why are they flashing that red light at me over on the control tower? It turned out they couldn’t hear a damn thing over their radios, so they kicked us out and sent us over to the north base.

Edwards feared that the shockwave from the propellers would break the windows in the control tower, located about a mile away from the runway. To prevent injury from a blown in window, whenever the XF-84H was flying, the traffic controllers would get under their desks with their radios and cover themselves with blankets.

“Nobody ever actually recorded the decibels,” recalls Beaird. “I think they were afraid the measuring device might get broken.”

Republic XF-84H Thunderscreech the loudest plane

Photo: US Air Force

The XF-84H was never well-liked at the Edwards Air Force Base, and it wasn’t solely for the noise. The XF-84H was an impractical machine that took half an hour just to warm up and be cleared for takeoff which made it clearly unsuited for combat. More than noise or delays, it was mechanical problems that led to its undoing.

The T40 turboprop engine was—in the words of the company’s own authorized history, Power of Excellence by William A. Schoneberger and Paul Sonnenburg—“a monstrosity, a mechanical nightmare.” The XF-84H suffered from vibrations that originated from the supersonic propellers and the powerful torque the engine produced. Lin Hendrix, one of the Republic test pilots assigned to the program, flew the aircraft once and refused to ever fly it again. “You aren’t big enough and there aren’t enough of you to get me in that thing again,” he told the formidable Republic project engineer.

The fearless Hank Beaird flew eleven times in that machine, and ten of those flights ended in forced landing. “By jingo, that airplane is going to hurt somebody!” Beaird once said after an emergency landing.

In the end, nobody wanted anything to do with the aircraft. First the Navy backed out and then the Air Force canceled the project after only two XF-84Hs was built with a total flight time of less than 10 hours between them.

The XF-84H was widely believed to be the fastest propeller-driven aircraft ever built, with an official top speed of 670 mph, as predicted by Republic, although neither of the two planes ever made it past 450 mph.

What happens when airline pilots are too eager to get airborne

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In aviation, a tailstrike is an event in which the rear empennage of an aircraft strikes the runway. This can happen during takeoff of a fixed-wing aircraft if the pilot pulls up too rapidly, leading to the rear end of the fuselage touching the runway. It can also occur during landing if the pilot raises the nose too aggressively. This is often the result of an attempt to land nearer to the runway threshold.

Tailstrike incidents are rarely dangerous in themselves but the aircraft must be thoroughly inspected and repairs may be difficult and expensive if the pressure hull is involved. Inadequate inspections and improper repairs to damaged airframes after a tailstrike have been known to cause catastrophic structural failure long after the tailstrike incident following multiple pressurization cycles .

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Military is not exempt from the phenomena

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