C-17 Globmaster fun

Yesterday a C-17 landed safely. It was also pretty spectacular, as it was on a 3,000′ general aviation strip 5 miles short of the McDill AFB runway.

Okay, but can they then fly it out?

From here:


Airmail navigation stations of the 1930’s

I’m gifted with interesting friends.

One lives in my hometown of Odessa (yes, he escaped, and went back of his own volition), and he has an interesting hobby: searching for the remaining Airmail Navigation stations of the ’30’s.

His description:

I think you may have seen one of these before.

This is a station of the 1930 air mail route across Texas. It originally had a 90ft tower attached to the four steel stubs. There was a 36 inch rotation beacon on top. Between the building and the slab for the tower is a foundation for a fuel tank.  The arrow points in the direction of the next beacon. I’ve read they were originally spaced about ten miles apart. This one was as an aux landing field, not too far from Guadalupe peak.

Not being a pilot, I’d not seen these before. I expect there are several still visible from the air, though I’ve only located a few via Google earth.

106 today, … Odd way to spend my time off.

The photo indicates the compact genius of these stations:

Delaware Arrow

Delaware Arrow


I asked him if I could blog this, and while saying yes elaborated on the ‘why’ of this hobby:

I got interested in an odd way. I was looking up stuff on Pam Am 103, and when following a link found that there are stamp collectors who collect letters from crashed airmail planes.  These are salvaged by the PO, and forwarded with a note on the envelope. On a list of such envelopes, I found a Fokker tri-motor crash in the early 1930s near Guadalupe Peak. More link following showed information on the route, beacons, and airfields. Government subsidy of the air mail route used the legal precedent of the Light Houses and buoys provided for marine navigation. Beacons were at ten mile intervals, airfields at 30. Over time I plan to trace more of the route at far as Big Spring (which was apparently the main field for west texas).  Here is the route as traced so far:

google earth arrows

google earth arrows


Very neat.

I wouldn’t have wanted to be that airmail pilot, flying at night looking for the next 10 mile beacon, hoping it’s there…


Thanks to “An Old Friend” for allowing me to post these here.


Worker Trapped Under Boeing 787 Tires

EVERETT, Wash. – Officials say emergency crews have rescued a worker who was temporarily trapped beneath the tires of a Boeing 787 jetliner at an Everett, Wash., airfield.

via Worker Trapped Under Boeing 787 Tires Is Rescued.

Yikes. Best wishes.


via Drudge.

American Airlines, this is a problem

Dear AA,

I appreciate all the good to great service over the years, so this is why, in the spirit of improving our relationship, I offer this constructive criticism:

For those unfamiliar with DFW, the gates are always related to the terminal. So the terminal being B and the gate starting with D, that’s a disconnect.

I figured it out, but only after asking a terminal B curbside bag fellow which was real, and the answer was that the Terminal B was incorrect, it was supposed to be D.

No harm, no foul. A learning experience. From a friend.

Think Fast Engineering

My brother (the Aerospace Genius) is branching out into race engineering consulting.

Think Fast Engineering is his effort, and if you want to go fast, you’re looking for the right fellow. (If you are rolling your eyes in a ‘what’s he done’ mode, have a look at his ‘about page‘, and then pick your jaw up from your chest).

I’m biased, but aside from my Dad he’s the best engineering brain I know. (Dad’s not for hire).

“Speed is money: how fast do you want to go?”



Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Giffords, retires from Navy – CNN.com

Thank you for your service, Sir. Does anyone know his rank at retirement? I read 5 articles about this and none said. Per @petulantskeptic on Twitter, he retired a Captain (O-6).

CNN — Mark Kelly, the astronaut and husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, formally retired from the Navy on Saturday.Kelly, 47, is a former Navy combat and test pilot who went on to command Space Shuttle flights in 2008 and again in May, several months after his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was wounded in a shooting at a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona. He also flew as part of Shuttle crews in 2001 and 2006.

via Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Giffords, retires from Navy – CNN.com.

What Went Wrong at the Reno Air Races – P-51 Crash – Popular Mechanics

Trim tab.

Today the National Transportation Safety Board released its first report on the Reno Air Race crash that killed P-51 pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others. We did our own digging, talking to racers and crew members with years of experience at Reno about what went wrong. A small flap’s failure probably caused this deadly crash—but the accident could have been much worse.

via What Went Wrong at the Reno Air Races – P-51 Crash – Popular Mechanics.

Backgrounder on trim tabs here.

Apollo ‘footprints’ visible

Super. Cool.

WASHINGTON WLS – A spacecraft circling the moon has snapped the sharpest photos ever of the tracks and trash left behind by Apollo astronauts in their visits from 1969 to 1972.Images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from 13 to 15 miles up show the astronauts’ paths when they walked on the moon, as well as ruts left by a moon buggy. Experts could even identify the backpacks astronauts pitched out of their lunar landers before they returned to Earth.

via WLS 890AM.

There are nicely annotated ‘side by side’ shots, labeling what the objects are as seen during the lunar exploration (from the moon view) and their new overhead view.

Looking froward to the Google Earth version from the little car with the cameras on top.

Staff sgt. offered TV tryout after viral video – Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Air Force Times

What talent looks, er, sounds like.

What started as a half-hour jam session for airmen working the night shift in Afghanistan has landed a staff sergeant an audition for the reality show “The Voice.”

Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson has YouTube to thank for all the attention.

Johnson is part of Air Forces Central Command’s band Sidewinder. The band performed a quick acoustic set — without microphones or sound equipment — for 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron airmen Aug. 8.

The next day, fans posted a video of Johnson belting out Adele’s hit “Rolling in the Deep.” By Aug. 18, the video had logged 900,000 views.

via Staff sgt. offered TV tryout after viral video – Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Air Force Times.


HolyCoast.com: Discovery Launch As Seen From a Passing Airliner

HolyCoast.com: Discovery Launch As Seen From a Passing Airliner.


Very cool.  The Captain’s overhead announcement is amusing.

Boeing Providing Facebook Fan With the ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime’ — CHICAGO, Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —

This weekend, Dr. Jeremy Hampton, an aviation enthusiast and amateur photographer who is also an emergency medicine specialist at Kansas City’s Truman Medical Center and assistant professor at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Pharmacy, will be Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) guest at the debut of the newest 747 passenger plane, the 747-8 Intercontinental.

via Boeing Providing Facebook Fan With the ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime’ — CHICAGO, Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —.

Pretty cool, and smart of Boeing to reward those who advertise for them for free!

Sergeant Friday on the TSA searches

Just the facts, ma’am.

We could use more Joe Fridays.

Qantas grounds Airbus A380 fleet after engine cover falls off plane – CNN.com

CNN — Qantas, Australia’s national airline, grounded its Airbus A380 fleet indefinitely after part of a plane’s engine cover fell off in flight Thursday.

via Qantas grounds Airbus A380 fleet after engine cover falls off plane – CNN.com.

“The engine cover fell off”.  That’s like explaining death as turning very pale, neglecting to mention the heart stopped.

The engine cover fell off because the engine shucked some turbine blades.  One of the pictures in the CNN report is of holes in the top of the wing over then #2 engine which appear to be going up.

Good for Quantas for handling it professionally and safely.

Google Earth on Port Au Prince Haiti Airport

I hope this is a combination of satellite photos of the airport that just happens to have a very busy runway…

Y'all be careful out there...click to embiggen

CAF Airshow this weekend

The Commemorative Air Force airshow is this weekend, in Midland-Odessa. It’s been years since I went and want to go again someday (the only flying B-29 flew today in preparation).

If you’re in driving distance, it’s an amazing event.

HT: Sleepless in Midland