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MAKING OF TIME’S HISTORIC 1000 DRONE COVER PHOTO +

While we’ve all heard of the new DRONE rage, have we ever before seen anything even approaching this sort of orchestration?  Hardly.  This TIME Magazine special cover event seems to be a first for such an extravagant enterprise – – – 1,000 individual Drones flying in perfect synchronization in order to achieve the desired result.  Just imagine creating the software to bring this plan to a successful reality.

Without further ado, here is the short (4:28 long) video of not only the final effect of the project, but of a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes efforts that made it all possible.

Some of our FASF Drone enthusiasts, such as Bob Wright, John Read, and Warren Talbot have already created some footage for our site, so if any of  you out there have some interesting airborne videos from your Drone flights, please let us know and we might be able to share those videos with our viewers right here, too.

Remember, the U.S. Military is already deeply involved in the use and development of their own DRONE technology.  All branches of our Military establishment, however, prefer their own nomenclature for their DRONE ops, preferring to call them UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) rather than Drones.  The Army and Marines are using UAV craft as small as an insect, to as large as the GLOBAL HAWK and even full-sized multi-engined aircraft.

The earliest genuinely successful DRONE or UAV technology was likely first experienced during WWII with the use of DRONES (as they were then called) for target towing missions, but this soon evolved into actual combat applications (see videos below). When one considers that modern computer technology was not available in that era, what was done with simple radio remote controls is impressive.

Interestingly, the small private aircraft called the MOONEY MITE, a single place ship, is and example of what was done after WWII, when wartime Drone work and design helped lead to concepts such as the small primarily wooden constructed MOONEY MITE plane, a small ship designed to fulfill an expected new market made up of returning WWII fighter pilots.  It’s designer, Al Mooney, had worked earlier for the CULVER AIRCRAFT COMPANY just prior to and during WWII, where he was the principle designer of the CULVER CADET an airplane which is discussed in the short (3:45) video immediately below:

Here, again below, are some short videos to show how DRONES were used, long before either computers or even TV were known to the general public.  This first video is 1:24 in length.

As early as WWI, aviation designers and engineers could see the advantages of UAV’s, so had begun work on the concept.  In the post WWI era, and especially in the 1930’s, a great deal of effort, some of it even successful, was undertaken in Great Britain, by the Royal Navy.  In 1933, a modified floatplane called Fairey Queen was tested as the first flightless drone aircraft. It crashed on two out of three trials, but by 1934, Queen Bee, a modified Tiger Moth aircraft, followed with greater success.

Training gunners on these rudimentary models wasn’t a very realistic simulation, but a solution was soon to come from the United States in the form of British-born actor Reginald Denny, and his Radioplane Company. After years of trying desperately to interest the US Navy in the Radioplane-1, Denny finally succeeded in 1939, and over the course of the war some 15,374 models of Radioplane were built.

As an interesting aside, did you know that film star Marilyn Monroe once worked assembling these radio controlled UAV’s?  At that time, her later movie name wasn’t yet part of our culture, so, at Radioplane, she was known as simply Norma Jeane Dougherty, the 18 year old wife of a U.S. Merchant Marine Seaman.

Fast, agile and durable, Radioplanes were fitted with responsive radio controls and were better able to mimic the speed and agility of enemy fighters.  Even during the D-Day summer of 1944, the Allies turned to high-stakes DRONE warfare. Under the code name Operation Aphrodite, radio-controlled bombers were packed with explosives and guided into the air by Allied pilots instructed to eject before their planes reached high-value targets in territory controlled by Nazi Germany. (Killed on one of these treacherous missions was the Navy aviator Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., older brother of U.S. President John F. Kennedy).

Below is a USN video (8:10 long) that depicts the Navy test of a TDR-1 combat Drone in the Pacific:

As for the advent of and actual deployment of the new variety of “insect sized” UAV’s, that will have to wait for a later post, but here is some descriptive material about that avenue of research right here.

1st AF Female Hispanic Ftr. Pilot to Emcee at AirVenture 2018

                                                         Lt. Olga Custodio winning her USAF wings

American Airlines Captain, Olga Custodio

May 31, 2018Hot off the newswire from the EAA:  The EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize has added another highly regarded aviation expert to the lineup for the Tuesday night competition during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. Retired Lt. Col. Olga Custodio, the first female Hispanic fighter pilot in the United States will be the emcee, presenting the five finalists in the live showdown. The Founder’s Innovation Prize, presented by Airbus, is in its third year and challenges EAA members to share their best solutions for lowering the rate of in-flight loss-of-control accidents, the leading cause of fatal accidents in the general aviation community.

Custodio retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve with 24 years of service. Among her countless achievements, she was the first Hispanic female to graduate from U.S. Air Force undergraduate pilot training, became the first female T-38 UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) flight instructor at Laughlin Air Force Base, and then became the first female T-38 pilot instructor training flight instructor at Randolph AFB. She was awarded the Air Force Air Education and Training Command’s Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship during a bird strike and engine failure emergency and for executing a safe heavyweight landing in weather minimums.

After resigning her U.S. Air Force commission, Custodio entered the Reserve as an officer training school instructor and began her 20-year career flying for American Airlines. She has logged more than 11,000 hours of flight time.

See Custodio and the five Founder’s Innovation Prize finalists at An Evening with Innovators on Tuesday night July 24 at Theater in the Woods.

Those who still wish to submit their idea for the competition must do so before 11:59 pm CT on Friday, June 1, for a chance to win one of three cash prizes.  Visit www.EAA.org/prize to learn more.

Below is a 7 minute long video is of an interview by FOX NEWS TV of Retired USAF and American Airlines Pilot, Olga Custodio.

MORE ON AMERICA’S NEW FRONT LINE FIGHTER – THE F-35

Long overdue on its scheduled delivery, and clearly well over its earliest budget estimates, the F-35 has hardly been without its share of public scrutiny and even legitimate criticism.

But here are a few videos to help you understand that this machine’s status – and reputation – are in a constant state of flux, but do appear to be moving in the right direction, in terms of the Stealth Jet’s ability to not only overcome its early deficits, but to actually pleasantly surprise even some of its harshest critics as to its true lethal combat capabilities.

Below, by way of The joint Forces Channel, is this 2:28 long video that poses this post’s basic question re the current combat readiness of the Air Force’s latest 5th Generation fighter, in particular, how it stood up in the skies above Edwards Air Force Base to combat capabilities against the Air Force’s middle aged 4th Generation (now more accurately, 4.5 generation), but thoroughly and actual combat proven, F-16 Viper (or, if you prefer the official General Dynamic’s Name – the Fighting Falcon:

Below, thanks again to The Joint Forces Channel, is a 2:12 long video entitled:

Reaction of a highly experienced combat F-16 Pilot After Flying the new F-35

Below, 7:24 long, courtesy of “New Update Defence” is a video entitled:

Here’s why the F-35 once lost to F-16s, and how it made a stunning comeback.

And here is a short commentary video (1:56 long) by USMC Colonel Steve Gillette, entitled “Why the F-35: It can go where other aircraft can’t.”

Can You Take a Little Over Five Minutes to Remember Them?

 Virg Hemphill

Once again, Virg Hemphill (at left), an Air Force veteran Pilot himself, suggests we take a few moments this weekend to stop and remember those who helped us enjoy the freedoms we tend to take so much for granted.

While this national holiday weekend we affectionately call, MEMORIAL DAY, often involves wonderful family and friend time outdoors, and also possibly joining other loved ones to watch main street downtown parades, or great sporting events, such as the INDY 500,* Virg thinks – and we at the FASF agree – that we should still find or make just a few minutes (his selected video below is precisely 5:34 minutes) to reflect; to remember those young men and women who gave so much that we might enjoy our unparalleled and so widely envied American liberties.

* Remember:  Eddie Rickenbacher, great American Fighter Pilot and WWI Ace, started his career racing cars, including at Indianapolis (he later became the famous “500” racetrack’s owner).  And who was it that gave him his first airplane ride?  None other than Glenn Curtiss, himself once the holder the world’s speed record on a motorcycle that he himself built.  Here, below, is a short video (3:53) taken at the Curtiss Museum, of their replica of the Curtiss V-8 engined motorcycle that he rode to such world fame. 

Glenn was born in Hammondsport, NY, in 1878.  Curtiss was gifted with insatiable curiosity, mechanical ability and great ambition.  As his remarkable achievements began to accumulate, this soon became evident. By the time he reached his teens, bicycles and speed had become a near-obsession with the young speed demon.

He was a champion bicycle racer for years,  but soon began to progress into designing and building his own motorized machines. By 1902, Curtiss, with three employees, was manufacturing his own motorcycles under the trade name, “Hercules“.

In a measured-mile run at Ormond Beach, Florida, on Jan. 23, 1907, Curtiss’ V8 powered motorcycle was officially clocked at 136.3 mph. On that day, and for years afterward, Glenn Curtiss carried the title, “Fastest Man on Earth“. The engine used in his record-setting motorcycle served as a prototype for what would later be used in the Curtiss Jenny airplanes, the very aircraft that lifted the First Aero Squadron into the skies over Mexico in 1916.

 

Hilarious Talk by AF Maj. Brian Shul (Ret.): “LA Speed Check”

Virg Hemphill

Thanks again to our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill  (L), for this memorable video. This short 5:07 minute talk from the stage by former First Aero SR-71 Blackbird pilot, Brian Shul, entitled “LA Speed Check” is a real laugh generating piece of jet pilot “hangar talk” – – –  one that brings laughs from pilot audiences each and every time. While the talk is meant for a pilot audience, that fact doesn’t very much diminish the laughs generated each time the Major share’s his short story with non-pilots . . . Without further ado, let’s have his words bring some humorous guffaws back into being.

Maj. Brian Shul stands in front of his SR-71 Blackbird in his regular space suit.  Shul was an  injured  POW in Vietnam.

One of our Advisors was also a famous Blackbird pilot, as well as a Commander of the First Aero Squadron: General Patrick J. Halloran.

Our F-35 Stealth Fighter vs. the Russian S-400 SAM System

This following (top) analytical video (6:32 in length) was produced by “Covert Cabal.” Although your editor has not yet been able to ascertain the actual personal identity of the producer of this military analyst’s documentary, it was decided to feature it, anyway.

Under normal protocols and precautionary procedures this fact would alone prevent us from publishing the video below, but the apparent objectivity and competency of the video itself inclines us to share it with our viewers, regardless of its anonymous nature. Once we are able to identify the owner of “Covert Cabal,” we will of course let you know.

Thanks to the Society of the Daedalians and the Air Force’s 461st  Test Squadron, your Editor just completed a rare “inside” tour of the F-35 Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California this past Wednesday and Thursday, but has, as yet, not received any of the tour video or stills of this newest and highly touted U.S air services multi-role asset.

Your editor was expectedly prohibited from taking any photos or videos of his own, by virtue of the extreme secrecy surrounding this versatile F-35 military weapon system and platform. Any pertinent graphics of the visit we are able to share here must first be cleared by the Edwards’ and/or the Pentagon’s security offices. New F-35 Test Operation images and videos from this recent visit should be posted at some time in the near future – – – so please stay tuned.

Regardless, we’d like to take this opportunity to laud the high caliber of all the personnel encountered on this visit to Edwards; all of whom, from the security guard airmen at the Base’s entry gates to the leaders and Airmen of the Test Squadron, who hosted the visit.  These Air Force and Civilian contractors proved beyond hospitable, gracious and informative to the extent permissible, considering the highly classified nature of their Flight Test Operation.

In particular, we’d like to complement the following individuals who did so much to make the visit meaningful: Steven Zapka, Public Affairs, who personally guided the visit; Stephen K. Robinson and Tony Moore of the AIR FORCE FLIGHT TEST MUSEUM at Edwards; and Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton, highly experienced Test Pilot, and Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron. The up front coordinator of the event was Lockheed-Martin F-35 Test Pilot, Scott “Shark” McLaren.

This newest Lockheed Martin multi-role 5th generation fighter, the “Lightning II,” is named after the company’s legendary twin-engine Lockheed “Lightning” fighter of WWII fame.

Below is a short (3:20) video of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter showing off its unique capabilities.

Another comprehensively explanatory clip of this newest Joint Task Fighter in action (7:28 long), courtesy of Military.Com and DISCOVERY HD, follows below:

 

USN Mark VI Patrol Boats Now Launch Platforms for UAV’s

The ubiquitous Drone (military parlance is UAV for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is now becoming a daily sight aboard the Navy’s new Mark VI Patrol boats.  Below, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Neil Wierboski prepares an unmanned aerial vehicle for launch aboard a Mark VI patrol boat during training conducted by the Coastal Riverine Group 1 Training and Evaluation Unit in the Middle East, May 9, 2018. Wierboski is assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron 3.

These new Navy patrol boats can operate over a distance of some 500 Nautical Miles (approximately 575 statute miles) on only one tank of gas. Watch the short video down below this photograph to see these new fast (over 45 mph) patrol boats and drones in action. The boats are propelled by a two jet engine propulsion system and controlled, much as the modern fighter aircraft today, by a Fly-By-Wire technology, which is to say they are controlled by electronics rather than by either the old physical cable system coupling a steering wheel to the rudder(s) or by hydraulic driven rudders.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Neil Wierboski prepares an UAV for launch-aboard a Mark VI patrol boat off the Coast.

The below video is 7:51 in length.

But, while the Mark VI is a manned patrol boat, we have also moved autonomous guidance into the boats as well as into the air surrounding them.  See the (below) 12:31 long video about autonomous boats deployment advantages.