Category Archives: AVIATION NEWS

Aviation News of Interest

MAKS-2021 (Russia’s) International Aviation and Space Salon

The MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon is the official title of Russia’s annual International Air Show . . . just per chance the name, “Salon” threw you off the headline’s meaning.

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, lauded his nation’s new entry into the Air Power world of their new SU 35 5th Generation Fighter.  It was manufactured by the country’s renown aircraft maker, Sukhoi The annual event opened Tuesday (July 20, 2021) in Zhukovsky, outside of Moscow.

Several Russian aircraft manufacturers unveiled other prototypes and currently operational aircraft, including new fighter jets, one that features stealth capabilities and other advanced characteristics, which, like the U.S. F-35, will be offered to foreign buyers.

The event also included competitions and air demonstrations by other visiting countries as well as by the host nation.

The following are some insights into the big Air Show events by way of several videos produced by Russian’s International Television platform, RTRT’s sister News agency, available via the Internet, also with International distribution, is known as RUPTLY or Daily Motion (streaming TV).

Stay posted for our usual coverage of the world’s largest Airshow event, held each year in Oshkosh, WI, AirVenture 2021, which is occurring simultaneously with this Russian MAKS “Salon” 2021.  AirVenture is usually personally covered by a number of FASF members, who are also active members of the event’s host, the EAA.

The below MAKS video is only 2:06 long and is summary of Rotary and Fixed Wing as well as Fighters doing their aerobatic maneuvers on air show day 2.

And, here below, are some clips of the opening day’s Air Show, 23:16 long, including various airborne ships strutting their capabilities:

And for those of you who love Rotary Wing Aircraft, here is a 8:22 long Russian Helicopter manufacturer, Rosoboronexport’s, pitch for these novel ships, including the latest offshore Mi-171A3; multipurpose (including fire-fighting) Ka-32A11M; and Ansat-M, passenger Ka-62 and the military combat ship, the Ka-52K:

Famous WWII Fighter/Bomber Made From Forest Materials

Most of you have already guessed:

Yes, we’re talking about that blazingly fast Mosquito Bomber-turned-Fighter, first built by de Havilland in 1940, yet designed two years earlier – – – even before GB entered the war in Europe.  And, long before the more recent Green Revolution, the amazing airplane was actually made primarily of wood – – – both plywood and balsa wood.

Like the famed U.S. P-51 Mustang and Supermarine Spitfire, it rapidly became one of those more iconic aircraft seen weaving through the skies over Europe in defense of the Allies and their forces.  For many years, it was the fastest operational ship, hitting well over 400 MPH with its twin Rolls Royce Merlin engines making their distinctive humming sound.  Here is a video of that great fighting machine courtesy of Kermit Weeks (Fantasy of Flight Museum).  (It is only 12:21 long.)

Click right here and read much more about the indomitable flying machine.

And, click here to see it compared to its American “twin”, the Lockheed P-38.

FINALLY: Are These Our New 6th Generation Fighter Jets?

As those of us who try to stay abreast of the latest military aviation news well know, there is constant rumoring about what might be afoot in international Research and Development programs towards being the first nation to foist a 6th Generation Jet Fighter on the world stage.

Here, below, is a quick 10:38 minute long video clip of what w might expect on the American scene:

And, here’s another peek at what’s going on behind that “TOP SECRET” obscurity barrier.  This “Military Notes” video tell its “computer generated voice-over” story in only 6:15 minutes, with an extra add-on of some 1:50 seconds unnarrated current USAF flight line video coverage.

 

NATO Fighter Pilots, The Finest Aviator Boots & The Cold War

What could possibly be dangerous in having the finest flight boots found anywhere on one’s feet while at work in the skies above Europe?  What could be risky in buying these fine hand made custom boots from the famous, yet small West German Boot Company, the Hans Probst Measureboots custom boot maker?  After all, without a doubt, these were the unparalleled top boots to be found anywhere.  Handsome, comfortable and long-lasting.  Affectionately called “Furstie” boots by the lucky pilots privileged to own them.  “Furstie” being the shortened name of Furstenfeldbruck, the German town in which they were manufactured.

This video was produced by “Historic Wings” and, while but 9 minutes long, is a true story few know, let alone its bizarre content, especially should the Cold War have ever turned HOT.  It was found by FASF Aviation News Scout and former USMC Fighter Pilot, Jerry Dixon (at left).

As observed by Historic Wings,Victory in the air was the key to winning the Cold War. Despite billions of dollars spent by the USAF and NATO on the best planes, the most advanced radar systems and missiles, and the finest pilot training, the outcome may have been decided by a little boot company in West Germany.” Stick this one out to the end . . . for the shocking surprise.

A Weekend on Which We Remember Our American Heroes

Thanks to FASF founding member and News Scout, Dave Clemmer, we have this inspirational video.  As we know, the freedoms we still enjoy are the direct result of these heroic veterans who risked their lives that we might live in a free society.

Is this special occasion not also the time to seriously reflect on what these brave men and women enabled us to experience?  Can we afford to drop our guard and let these precious freedoms – and liberty itself – be taken away?

The following tribute is 6:47 long.

“Think outside the box” . . . and come up with a boxed wing?

We’re all familiar with that essential principle of invention to which both the Wright Brothers AND Bennie Foulois so beautifully adhered in order to achieve their creative genius.

Here, in the following short (10 minute 27 second) video, we see how amazingly vital that dictum of “think outside the box” (of established thought) really is when it comes to truly great inventions becoming functioning – and practical – realities.

How, in this instance, it actually gave us a “boxed wing” configuration, not to mention a startling new if not radical innovation in both air-frame design – – – and especially – – – in propulsion.

A new flying machine design possibly not too far from appearing at our local airport . . . in either, or both, a General Aviation, or new military aircraft design.

DO NOT FORGET TO OPEN THE VIDEO TO FULL-SCREEN SO YOU CAN FULLY APPRECIATE THE HD

A Texas WWII Gasoline Story You Probably Never Heard

  Captain, Nancy Aldrich

But, thanks to long-time FASF member and retired United Air Lines Captain, Nancy Aldrich, a loyal Texan, and regular aviation author, we have this fascinating and little-known story of how an East Texas refinery – and one of its sharper engineers, Tim Palucka – helped change the war’s outcome – in our favor – by his use of an obscure French patent on gasoline refining.

Without further ado, here’s the tale:

87 Octane Aviation Gasoline vs 100 130 Octane Aviation Gasoline in WWII

(This is a declassified article by the British Society of Chemists (Declassified in 2014) )
“It has always puzzled me as to why the German Luftwaffe kept on using 87 Octane Aviation Gasoline while the Americans and British used 100 Octane Gasoline in their Spitfire Fighters and Americans used 130 Octane in our P-51 and other fighters.  (see both aircraft below)

                                            P-51 Mustang leads Spitfire in close formation flight

This morning I discovered the reason!

It seems that the German and British aircraft both used 87 Octane Gasoline in the first two years of the war. While that was fairly satisfactory in the German  Daimler-Benz V-12 engine, It was marginal in the British Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine in British aircraft. It fouled the spark-plugs, caused valves to stick, And made frequent engine repair problems.

                                                                       P-51 Fighter in Flight

Then came lend-lease, and American aircraft began to enter British service in great numbers. If British engines hated 87 Octane gasoline, American, General Motors Built, Allison 1710 engines loathed and despised it.

                                             ME 109 Messerschmitts escorting Nazi Heinkel Bombers

                                                                             B-17E Flying Fortress

SUNOCO officials pour the billionth gallon of high octane aviation fuel produced during world war II

Something had to be done!
Along came an American named Tim Palucka, a chemist for Sun Oil (SUNOCO) in their South East Texas Refinery.
Never heard of him? Small wonder, very few people have. He took a French formula for enhancing the octane of Gasoline, and invented the “Cracking Tower” and produced 100 octane aviation Gasoline.
This discovery led to great joy among our English Cousins and great distress among the Germans. A Spitfire fueled with 100 Octane gasoline was 34 miles per hour faster at 10,000 feet.
The need to replace engines went from every 500 hours of operation to every 1,000 hours. Which reduced the cost of British aircraft by 300  Pounds Sterling. Even more, when used in 4 engine bombers.
The Germans couldn’t believe it when Spitfires that couldn’t catch them a year ago started shooting their ME-109 E and G models right out of the sky.
Of course, the matter had to be kept secret. If the Germans found out that it was a French Invention, They’d simply copy the original French patents. If any of you have ever wondered what they were doing in that 3 story white brick building in front of the Sun Oil Refinery on Old Highway 90, that was it.
They were re-inventing gasoline.
The American Allison engines improved remarkably with 100 Octane gasoline but did much better when 130 octane gasoline came along in 1944. The 130 Octane also improved the Radial Engined Bombers we produced.
The Germans and Japanese never snapped to the fact that we had re-invented gasoline. Neither did our “Friends” the Russians.
100,000 Americans died in the skies over Europe.  Lord only knows what that number would have been without “Super-Gasoline”. And it all was invented just a few miles west of Beaumont, and we never knew a thing about it.”
Aha – – – but there’s much more to this story than just recited above.  In 1935, 6 years before Pearl Harbor and his country’s entry into WWII, Jimmy Doolittle, had retired from the Army and was working for the Shell Oil Company.  He saw the need for a higher octane fuel if we should enter another war.  So, click here, for more on the important role he played in the fuel octane race, which is not mentioned in the opening story above.

3/16/16, then 74 yrs later, 3/6/90, the FAS made New History

Of course, most of you know what took place to make world history on March 16, 1916, but the successor to that early Curtiss JN-3, Jenny, also a special SR (Surveillance-Reconnaissance) aircraft, the Lockheed RS-71 Blackbird, also made its mark on aviation history.

NASA Model of SR-71 Touches down with Drogue Chute

While the Jenny flew into history by engaging in the first sustained U.S. combat operations using airplanes in March 1916, 74 years later, or 31 years ago today, the First Aero Squadron’s SR-71 Blackbird also flew into the history books. Here, below (only 00:24 sec. long), is the Blackbird flying very slowly with its landing gear extended for landing:

It was on March 6, 1990, that the SR-71 made the fastest flight by an airplane from Los Angeles, CA to Washington DC – in record-breaking time . . . and that record still stands unbroken to this date.

It made that flight in only 64 minutes!

Pilots Ed Yielding and Joseph Vida flew that transcontinental flight from Los Angeles, California, to Washington, DC, in a blistering 64 minutes – – – with an average speed of 2,144.8 MPH.

Here are some interesting facts along with several videos of that initially retired in 1990 First Aero speed machine, which was later put back into the skies by Congress in 1995, but later, in 1997, when it was finally cut from the USAF inventory by President Bill Clinton, effective in 1998.

Below is a short video (1:15 long) explanation at the Smithsonian SR-71 Display, but the moderator, Peter Jakab, Chief Curator at the Smithsonian Air & Space Center, made two misstatements.  Can you detect either of them?

In 1976, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird broke the world’s record for sustained altitude in horizontal flight at 25,929 meters (85,069 feet). The same day another SR-71 set an absolute speed record of 3,529.6 kilometers per hour (2,193.2 miles per hour), approximately Mach 3.3.  Both of these distinguished records still stand unchallenged.

And here’s Scott Willey, also at the Smithsonian, describing the coast-to-coast record (:45 sec.):

And, another video (1:13 long):

And now, some “sonic booms” behind several classic photos of the Blackbird in flight (:47 sec.):

To see who the (only 86) pilots were who actually flew the Blackbird operationally, here’s that listing.  Do any of you know which of the FASF Advisors was one of those select few pilots?

If you’d like to see more about this all-time record-breaking flying machine, just enter “SR-71 Blackbird” in our FASF website’s search field to your right, and you’ll find much more interesting information, photos, and videos of the successor to the FAS Curtiss JN-3 of 1916.  There are at least four other posts about this famous blackbird.

Here’s another short (5:21) video by a former Blackbird pilot, Colonel Rich Graham, on what goes into flying the speed machine.

 

Former Army Aviator Addresses Daedalians in El Paso, Texas

    John Signorino

Long-time Life Member of the FASF and also VP of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Chapter 1570 in nearby Santa Teresa, NM, John Signorino,* was the special speaker at the local Daedalian Flight 24 meeting held at Fort Bliss’ Golf Club, yesterday.  This was the first real meeting since early last year, all because of the restrictions placed upon social gatherings throughout Texas because of COVID.

Although many members are still not ready to attend regular meetings, the Flight did get a reasonable post-COVID turnout of 19 attendees.  John had been scheduled to give his address to the Flight late last Summer, but that and several other attempts to have him speak were all canceled because of pandemic restraints and the closing of our various venues.

Normally the Flight meets each month at the Old downtown El Paso Club, but the Club has remained closed ever since the first lockdown order in March of 2020.  The Flight expressed their thankfulness to John for his patience at having been canceled so many times.

The main thrust of John’s talk was focused on his post-military experience with the EAA along with the founding of Chapter 1570, back in 2015.  Since its beginnings, the Chapter has accomplished many notable achievements, but the one John feels most significant is its highly successful Young Eagle Events.  Except for 2020, because of the pandemic lock-downs, each previous year the Chapter has hosted at least one, sometimes even two Young Eagle Events. Here is one of our posts of one of the last, pre-COVID, flights.

It is this Young Eagle enterprise that John feels will help overcome the country’s looming severe shortage of pilots.  How?  Because it introduces the nation’s youth to the thrill and challenges of becoming a pilot while still quite young.  This popular EAA youth program gives free airplane rides and introductions to flight to youngsters from 8 to 17 years old.  It also gives grants and/or scholarships to young teenagers so that they can undergo actual flight training, often paying for the achievement of their Private Pilot’s License from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

While Drones are a huge new development in aviation, there will nevertheless still be a serious requirement for hands-on-aviators in the foreseeable future.  Both the Airlines and U.S. Military services have expressed serious concerns about the coming shortage of new pilots.  One of the major issues facing those who do want to become aviators is the current-day high cost of pilot training.  When yours truly learned to fly back during WWII (1944), the cost was not all that significant.

Here, below, is a short (2:52 minute) video clip about John’s topic, YOUNG EAGLES.

Here are some photos taken at yesterday’s meeting.  Virtually all local Daedalians are long-time members of the FASF, and John is one of the FASF distinguished LIFE MEMBERS because he gave full days of his professional helicopter pilot-time during our 2019 joint exercise with the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers‘ Geographic 3D Project Team when they spent a week in Columbus during June and July of 2019 3D mapping the historic 1916 Army Airfield’s topography and that of the surrounding Camp Furlong terrain.  During that operation, John was directly responsible for the taking of well over 30,000 high-resolution photographs of our area from another Life FASF member, Mike McNamee’s, former (and fully-restored) Army “SCOUT” helicopter.  Mike’s light-weight rotary-wing machine had several other affectionate nicknames: the “LOACH” and/or the “LITTLE BIRD.”

                             Col. Alan Fisher opens his first meeting as the Flight’s new Captain.

L to R: Alan Fisher asks Roger Springstead, Flight Chaplain, to give the meeting blessing.

Chatting before meeting begins are two long-time FASF members and also Aviation News Scouts, Virg Hemphill (L) and Jerry Dixon (R)

(L) Speaker John Signorino and FASF Trustee, Dr. Kathleen Martin, an oft-times guest of the Daedalians

                                              Virg Hemphill, Flight Treasurer, gives his report to the group.

L to R: Alan Fisher, Julie Pitt, Mario Campos, Kathleen Martin, and Mark Pfluger.  John Signorino is at the podium.

                                                  John Signorino describes the EAA Young Eagles

Captured in foreground during John’s presentation are Gerry Wingett, Mary Barnes, & Roger Springstead (back).

Col. Bob Pitt, Julie Pitt, Mark Pfluger, Mario Campos, Ulla & Col. Rice, Gill Gonzales + on Screen, Yours Truly in 1955!

                                                                                            John in action.

More of John.

                                                                              John makes a point.

L to R: Colonel Fisher gives John a token of Flight 24’s appreciation.

  •      John Signorino

    John Signorino retired in 2012 from the military with 28 years of service. John enlisted in the Army shortly after high school at the age of 18. He began his career as an electronic technician working on land-based telephone communication and microwave relay stations. Six years after joining the Army he was selected to attend Warrant Officer Flight Training.

    During John’s flying career he flew both helicopter and fixed-wing airplanes. He was qualified in the UH-1H, TH-67, AH-64A, C-12, RC-12H, and Dash 7. John served as an instructor pilot and a safety officer and served multiple tours in Korea, Iraq, Bosnia, and South America.

    During his military career, John proved himself to be a self-motivated, take-charge individual who has held several significant and vital positions. John is an exceptional leader and trainer. While in various positions, he provided excellent leadership skills and direction that promoted the sharing and encouragement of new ideas. As a teacher and mentor, he helped to counsel others on numerous occasions and has willingly shared his vast wealth of knowledge and experience with less experienced personnel.

    While in the Army, John was called upon to work long and arduous hours often under stressful conditions while maintaining an exemplary and professional manner. He has shown himself to be an exceedingly dedicated and superbly organized individual. He is a proven team player and does not hesitate to provide constructive suggestions to improve operations.

    John has had an entrepreneurial mindset since he was a teenager. While in the military, he started two successful businesses. After retiring, John was selected to Oklahoma State University Veterans Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. In 2013, John opened a Pop-A-Lock franchise in El Paso which specialized in auto, residential, and commercial locksmith work.

    John demonstrated that he learns quickly and is readily able to self-teach himself complex tasks. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle University, where he majored in business management. He also obtained his MBA from Grantham University, where his academic focus was on project management.

    John’s hobbies include motorcycles, hiking, and camping. He’s been married to his wife Mindy for 25 years. They have two children, a daughter, and a son, both of whom followed their father’s footsteps by joining the military right after high school. John and his wife currently live in El Paso, Texas.

    John is an exceptionally active member of the local, Santa Teresa Chapter 1570 of the EAA and has been its Vice President since it first opened its doors in June 2015. He continues to fly both fixed and rotary-winged aircraft in the General Aviation field.