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Amazing New Technology in Aircraft Construction

Planes in and off themselves are amazing feats of technology, but today I saw a couple of different articles about some of the new technology going into the planes at Boeing and Airbus.

The new technology that Boeing is supporting is a new super-light metal that is also super strong.  Just look at the video below and tell me it is not awesome.

This metal is so light it can balance on top of a dandelion.

Posted by The Boeing Store on Friday, September 4, 2015


Airbus is continuing to innovate off of their A350 XWB in building their new A330neo.  They are utilizing materials technology from the innovative A350 XWB along with titanium to build lighter and stronger wing boxes and engine pylons.

It is pretty incredible all of the advancements that continue to be made in aviation.  What will be really fun to see is what the next majorly disruptive technology will be.  What do you think we may see in the near future? distant future?

September 7, 2015 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

A Day of Spotting at Paine Field: Support Equipment

To close out my almost six-week vacation (it may sound nice to some of you, but honestly it is terrible) I have been able to spend some time in the Seattle area which is just about the best place any Avgeek can be.  It was awesome to see the SeaFair Airshow over the weekend that I will share more about later, as well as seeing all of the planes on final to SeaTac during my time downtown.

However, today was the best location of all as I got to spend most of the day at Paine Field, which is essentially Disneyland for us Avgeeks.  If you are into planes at all then you really need to get there and take in all of the aviation amazingness.  Ideally you should attend Aviation Geek Fest next spring, but really any time can be absolutely amazing.

All of these pictures were taken from the StratoDeck at Future of Flight, which is one of the best spotting locations ever.  I will share pictures of some of the amazing planes I saw later on, but in honor of my Twitter friend Jennifer, this post is all about support equipment.

It is amazing how many people and equipment it takes to run an airport, and Paine Field actually has a few things unique to their special operations.

I don't know if there is an airport fire department that stays busier than these guys.

I don’t know if there is an airport fire department that stays busier than these guys.

Every airport has a fire department on the field or close by, but few departments probably get as much work as these guys.  They are actually operated by Boeing, which makes sense with the demands they put on this group.  They come out for what seems like every single engine run, takeoff, and landing.  It is actually a good indication that engines are about to turn on a plane when you see the fire trucks roll at Paine Field.  Fortunately, the vast majority of their work is strictly precautionary, but they are incredibly important to overall safe operations.

I never once saw this guy stop working in the five hours I was at the field.

I never once saw this guy stop working in the five hours I was at the field.

Not the sexiest piece of equipment on the ramp, but still very important for safe operations.  This street sweeper was working constantly for the five hours I was there ensuring that taxiways and ramps were clean and free of debris, or FOD as it is referred to at airports.

These lifts were specifically designed to work with the Dreamlifters.

These lifts were specifically designed to work with the Dreamlifters.

As one might expect at a factory for manufacturing aircraft, there is a need for some special equipment, and these lifts are not just unique to the Boeing Factory, but to the building of a specific aircraft.  Much has been written about the production of the 787 Dreamliner, and specifically how much of it is assembled in other locations and thought brought to Everett for final assembly.

So how do you take aircraft fuselages and get them from one side of the world to the other?  You take a 747 and “put it in the microwave” so it blows up like a marshmallow so those fuselages will fit inside.  That is why Boeing uses the Dreamlifter to bring all of these pieces together.  Fun Fact: The 787-10s will all be built in Charleston where the main body sections are manufactured because they are too long to fit inside the Dreamlifter.

However, you can’t just unload sections like that with a forklift so Boeing had to build these lifts specifically for unloading the Dreamlifters.  As you can see they have quite a few of them to handle the rapid pace of production that they are currently experiencing.

You can see at least 11 sets of air stairs if you look closely.

You can see at least 11 sets of air stairs if you look closely.

No post for Jennifer would be complete without a mention of her absolute favorite piece of equipment, the air stairs.  While once again, not the sexiest piece of equipment, they do serve a valuable purpose in operations.  My apologies that I couldn’t get a more up close picture, but I made up for it in quantity.  There are probably more stairs on the ramp at Paine Field than probably most ramps in the world.  Heaven help us if she ever gets loose on that ramp.

If you are looking for a fresh and entertaining view of the aviation world, make sure that you take a look at Jennifer’s Blog, Tales From the Terminal.

August 5, 2015 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Air Force One to Find a New Home on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental

"Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore" by U.S. Air Force File Photo.

“Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore”  U.S. Air Force File Photo.

I know I am a little biased due to my preference for Boeing over Airbus, but the announcement that the latest variant of the 747 will be the new Air Force One really isn’t a surprise to anyone that followed the process at all.  It honestly would not look good to a lot of people to have the American President flying in a French plane.

Just to be clear, the callsign Air Force One applies to any Air Force aircraft that is carrying the president.  Which is why the S-3 Viking that carried President Bush onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln was Navy One, because he was on a Navy plane.  The presidential helicopter bears the callsign Marine One when the president is on board.

Sorry for the lesson, I will get back to the story at hand.

Almost two years ago I wrote a piece about the 787 being a potential replacement for the presidential fleet of three aircraft.  I doubt that it was ever really an option because of the requirements they have for these aircraft, but it was kind of fun to think about it.

The newest 747 variant is the perfect chariot for the American President.

The newest 747 variant is the perfect chariot for the American President. Photo: Boeing

The latest version of the queen of the skies is a fitting fixture for our President to strut around the world in.  This plane is not just a means of transportation for a powerful leader, but a symbol of his office and the power that it bears.  It was a clear decision to pick the most majestic aircraft that is manufactured in America.

The A380 would have been a perfectly acceptable choice as well, along with a few other options, but the symbolic nature of this aircraft really made this choice a no-brainer.

The new planes won’t join the 89th Airlift Wing (the presidential squadron) for about eight years, so we will have gone through at least one more president by the time it enters service.  However, I’m sure I speak for all the other avgeeks out there when I say I hope we get to see some of the development, but I’m not naive enough to think we will see much of anything.

January 30, 2015 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing Working to Inspire Children in South Africa

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a Boeing guy.  It’s not that Airbus makes a bad plane, I am just your stereotypical prideful American that wants all of the best stuff to come from the states.  So sue me. (please don’t, I can’t afford it)

I have written in the past about some of the cool things that Airbus is doing to educate and inspire young people to pursue aviation like the Fly Your Ideas Challenge and the Airbus Lycée.  I’m happy to see that Boeing is following suit with their newest joint venture with South African Airways.

One of the things that I spend a lot of time thinking about these days is how to get young people, including my own kids, excited about aviation.  Kids like my son are easy because they just love airplanes, but there are so many that never even see a life in aviation as a possibility because they don’t realize all of the opportunities that exist.

That is why this venture is so cool.

Boeing and South African Airways have taken a normal shipping container and turned it into a mock up NextGen 737 including a flight deck, passenger cabin, and even a demonstration engine.  This is the kind of hands on experience that kids need to really spark their interest in aviation and inspire them to pursue a career.

What makes this shipping container aircraft even more valuable is that it is accompanied by actual people who have careers in aviation that can show the kids that anything is possible.  They can be role models for these young South Africans and give them hope that they can actually pursue their dreams no matter how lofty they may be.

As a kid I always loved airplanes and would stop playing to look up as they flew over my house.  That really hasn’t changed since I grew up, and I hope to find a way to do my part with inspiring young people who have the same dreams that I did, but just don’t know how to make it a reality.

I’m glad to see that Boeing and South African Airways are doing their part as well.

October 1, 2014 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing Phantom Eye Promoted to Experimental Status by US Air Force

The Phantom Eye could change the future of ISR forever.

The Phantom Eye could change the future of ISR forever.

I’m sure I sound like a broken record with how much I talk about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) being one of the most exciting and interesting topics of discussion in aviation, but they are.  Right now the focus is really on their value as an ISR asset, and I think that is largely where the focus will stay for quite a while.  One of the most intriguing stories is the development of the Boeing Phantom Eye.

I have written about the Phantom Eye in the past and all of the incredible goals they have set.  It is a high altitude long endurance (HALE) airframe that is designed to cruise at 60,000 feet for anywhere from 7 to 10 days at a time.  Yes you read that right, over a week which is made possible by the liquid-hydrogen powered engines.

The platform has only performed six flight tests, but was just promoted from unproven to experimental status by the US Air Force 412th Operations Group.  That upgrade was based on the recommendation of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center.

This promotion allows the Phantom Eye development team to expand testing by flying to a nearby test range instead of strictly flying in the protected airspace over Edwards Air Force Base.  The team will now be able to really push the altitude and endurance limits that they are shooting for.

Military use is often the first thing people think of when they talk about UAVs, but there are so many other uses for a platform like this.  What other uses can you think of for the Phantom Eye, or other similar platforms?  Please share in the comments below.

February 12, 2014 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Twelve Days of Avgeek Christmas: Day 1 Aviation Toys

Christmas is such a fun time of year.  All of the good food, friends, family, and beautiful weather.  Okay, so having your travel plans ruined because of the weather sucks, but once you get home and you can enjoy it from inside your warm house it is one of the most beautiful times of the year.

One of my favorite parts of the year is shopping.  I actually hate shopping, but there is just something awesome about coming up with gifts for people that you know they will love.  Some people are easier than others, and my wife will tell you that I am one of those difficult people.

I don’t really know why she feels that way.  As you will see over the next twelve wonderful days of Avgeek Christmas, there are plenty of gifts big/small, cheap/expensive, practical/fun that would bring joy to just about any avgeek.  I will do my best to provide gifts at various cost levels, as well as various levels of practicality because, let’s be honest, sometimes it is just fun to dream about that really expensive stuff.

On the first day of Avgeek Christmas my true love gave to me: Aviation Toys.  Tons of fun for all the girls and boys.  Sorry, I promise I won’t try to keep rhyming.

Man the options for aviation toys are almost limitless.  There are models that can be built, die-cast models that look nice, and RC aircraft that can provide hours of fun.  The last two are where I would focus for most of the avgeeks out there.

There are tons of different models out there for just about every type of aircraft and every airline that exists, or has existed.  If your avgeek has a favorite that you know of then a simple search of Google or Amazon may find you what you are looking for.  If you aren’t sure may I make a few suggestions of my favorites.

While I have grown to like airliners more in my recent years, I have always been a sucker for military planes new and old, but especially old.  As far as military planes go, I would argue that there is no plane more iconic than the P-51 Mustang.  It was the premier fighter of WWII and is often the first aircraft from that era to come to mind.  It was also the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in their historic actions.  For a fighter that is a little more modern you can’t go wrong with the F/A-18 Hornet, F-35 Lightning II, or F-15E Strike Eagle.

P-51 Mustang flown by the Tuskegee Airmen

P-51 Mustang like those flown by the Tuskegee Airmen

F/A-18 Hornet Flown by The Blue Angels

F/A-18 Hornet Flown by The Blue Angels

F-35 Lightning II

F-35 Lightning II

F-15E Strike Eagle

F-15E Strike Eagle









Maybe fighters aren’t your thing, and you prefer the big heavy military aircraft.  Once again going with military aircraft the most iconic bomber would have to be the B-17 Flying Fortress of Memphis Belle fame.  Though equally impressive is the B-25 Mitchell Bombers used by Jimmy Doolittle on his famous raid of Japan.  For more modern military heavies and bombers I of course am biased towards the C-130H model, but I am also always in awe of the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers.

B-17 Super Fortress

B-17 Super Fortress

B-25 Mitchell flown by the Doolittle Raiders

B-25 Mitchell flown by the Doolittle Raiders

C-130H Hercules

C-130H Hercules

B-1B Lancer

B-1B Lancer

B-2 Spirit

B-2 Spirit


As I mentioned before, there are countless different models of commercial aircraft for just about every airline, but here are my two favorites.  The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is simply a beautiful piece of American engineering.  It looks and sounds incredible.  I look forward to the day I actually get to fly on one.  The Boeing 747 is arguably the most iconic airliner of the modern era.  Even an inexperienced avgeek can pick out a 747, and they are simply wonderful.  They are also the favorite of the AvQueen herself Benet Wilson.  For the older airliners my favorite is the DC-3 because of how it embodies aviation of that era.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing 747 w/ cutaway

Boeing 747 w/ cutaway

DC-3 in Delta Livery

DC-3 in Delta Livery








Now having some nice models for the display case or mantle is great, but if your avgeek is more of a hands-on type of guy or gal than you may be better served by something that actually flies.  I will admit that there is a dramatic range of prices in this area so make sure you pick something that they will actually use, and if you aren’t sure, then stick with something cheaper.

One of the most prevalent aviation toys that has become extremely commonplace in recent years are remote-controlled helicopters.  As I mentioned, these can range in price from $20 all the way up to hundreds, and probably even thousands of dollars if you are looking to go all-in.  They even have some that shoot water and others that shoot little missiles.  For a little extra challenge you can buy a set that comes with a helo and anti-aircraft missiles that can be controlled by itself or by another player.  Or go for the ultimate challenge with these helos that have lasers that render your opponents aircraft inoperable.  Like I said, hours of fun and entertainment.

Remote Control helos like this go for as little as $20

Helos like this go for as little as $20

This helo has a little water cannon.

This helo has a water cannon.

This AH-1 Cobra shoots two missiles.

This AH-1 Cobra shoots two missiles.

Control the helo or Anti-aircraft missiles.

Control the helo or Anti-aircraft missiles.

Dogfight with a laser.








When it comes to RC airplanes there are really too many options to list, and all levels of quality and ability.  I would once again suggest either a Google search, or browsing around Amazon’s RC Airplane section.  Just don’t go too crazy without really knowing what your avgeek can handle.

No matter how old or young your avgeek is, there is bound to be a toy that they would enjoy.  It is amazing how much enjoyment you can get from some of these simple toys.  If you have trouble finding a particular model or livery, let me know and I will do my best to help.

In the coming days I will take you through some of the more serious Avgeek Christmas gifts so please come back every day between now and Christmas and see what else there is out there to make this Christmas the merriest one yet for your avgeek.

12 Days of Avgeek Christmas:

Day 1: Aircraft Models and RC Toys
Day 2: Aviation Books and Guides
Day 3: Aviation Apps and Flight Simulators
Day 4: Flight Lessons
Day 5: Headsets
Day 6: Bags and Kneeboards
Day 7: Sunglasses and Watches
Day 8: Handheld GPS
Day 9: Handheld Radio
Day 10: Cameras and Video Recorders
Day 11: Random Aviation Accessories
Day 12: Airplane

December 14, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Jetairfly Takes Delivery of Their First 787 Dreamliner

The Jetairfly 787 during a test flight in Washington.

The Jetairfly 787 during a test flight in Washington.

Despite the problems that continue to arise with the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing continues to deliver the technologically advanced aircraft.  Jetairfly took delivery of its first 787 today which brings the number of operators up to 17 by my count.

Jetairfly is part of the TUI Travel group which includes another 787 customer, Thomson Airlines.  Jetairfly is the first airline in the Benelux region to take delivery of the Dreamliner.  According to the press release below Jetairfly will start revenue flights early this month on short and medium haul routes, with long haul routes starting closer to Christmas and New Years.

Personally, I don’t understand all of the bad press the 787 is getting.  Every aircraft ever developed has gone through growing pains, and the Dreamliner is no different.  In a lot of ways it was even more to be expected because of the massive leap in technology that Boeing is taking.

The biggest problem is the advent of social media and instant news coverage that instantly blows everything out of proportion.  I am sure that in a matter of years we will be looking back at all of this as just small stumbling blocks during the early days of an extremely successful airliner.

Press Release
Jetairfly becomes first airline in Benelux to operate Dreamliner

EVERETT, Wash., Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Jetairfly today celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 787. The airplane departed Paine Field in Everett on Tuesday on its delivery flight to Brussels.

“We are very excited about the Jetairfly Dreamliner entering service as the first and only 787 operated by a Belgian airline,” said Elie Bruyninckx, CEO TUI Belgium. “This aircraft isn’t only a perfect match with our innovative and sustainable philosophy. It is also a great asset in our strategy of offering unique holiday experiences to our passengers, especially when they fly between Europe and the Caribbean.”

The 787 is scheduled to begin flying short and medium haul Jetairfly routes in early December and long haul routes between Christmas and the New Year.

“We are very excited that Jetairfly will be flying the 787 Dreamliner,” said, Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 787 will replace the airline’s 767 and offer the best possible flying and cabin experience.”

Passengers traveling on Jetairfly’s 787 will experience the passenger-pleasing features of the Dreamliner such as larger, electronically-dimmable windows and larger overhead luggage bins. During flight the 787 is pressurized to a lower cabin altitude, has higher humidity levels, advanced air filtration and smoother ride technology to make the flying experience more comfortable and allow passengers to arrive at their destination more refreshed.

The 787 is the most technologically advanced airplane in the sky with composite materials making up 50 percent of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wing. This allows the Dreamliner to use 20 percent less fuel and emit 20 percent fewer CO2 emissions than similarly sized airplanes.

Jetairfly is part of the TUI Travel PLC, the largest tourism group in the world.

December 4, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

All Boeing 787 Airlines Have Aircraft Back in Service

LN86 owned by LOT Polish Airlines performed many of the flight tests while the 787 was grounded around the world.

LN86 owned by LOT Polish Airlines performed many of the flight tests while the 787 was grounded around the world.

On January 16th of this year all 50 of the delivered Boeing 787 Dreamliners was grounded by the FAA and other regulators due to a couple of battery fires that occurred within days of each other.  After much drama, and a ridiculous amount of work by engineers from Boeing and their partners, all of the Dreamliners have been retrofitted with the necessary repairs, and all of the airlines have officially put them back in service.

Just to give you an idea of what’s going on, below you will find a list of the airlines currently operating the 787 and when they went back into service.

Ethiopian Airlines

Number of 787s delivered: 4 (6 more on order)

Returned to service: April 27

Ethiopian was the first airline to put the 787 back into service after a little more than three months.


Qatar Airways provides the only 787 service to England currently.

Qatar Airways provides the only 787 service to England currently.

Qatar Airways

Number of 787s delivered: 5 (25 more on order)

Returned to service: May 16

Qatar Airways was the first, and currently the only, carrier to offer service on the 787 to England, but with Thomson Air receiving their first 787 over the weekend, and British Airways having their first three come off the line recently, it will have some competition soon in England.

Air India

Number of 787s delivered: 6 (21 more on order)

Returned to service: May 15

Air India resumed domestic service May 15 and followed that up with international service on May 22.

United Airlines

Number of 787s delivered: 6 ( 44 more on order)

Returned to service: May 20

United is the first US based carrier to take delivery of the 787. wrote a great piece about the United return to service including lots of good background information and tons of pictures.

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Number of 787s delivered: 19 (47 more on order)

Returned to service: June 1

ANA was the launch customer for the 787, currently has the most delivered, and also has the most on order.  They obviously have a lot on the line with the 787 and are probably more happy than anyone to have them back in the air.  You can find the full description of where and when they will be back in service on their website.

LAN Airlines

Number of 787s delivered: 3 (23 more on order)

Returned to service: June 1

LAN was the only airline that I couldn’t find a specific release saying they had returned to service, but they did finish certification on May 15, and announced they would resume on June 1 so I see no reason why it would not have happened.


The first JAL 787 to resume service from San Diego departs to the waves of its ground crew.  Photo by Howard Lipin / U-T San Diego

The first JAL 787 to resume service from San Diego departs to the waves of its ground crew. Photo by Howard Lipin / U-T San Diego

Japan Airlines (JAL)

Number of 787s delivered: 8 (37 more on order)

Returned to service: June 1

JAL was one of four airlines to resume service June 1.  However, they experienced some sort of issue with an air pressure sensor in the battery area the very next day.  It appears to be a minor problem that will be easily fixed.  Let’s hope for Boeing’s sake that it is just a small issue with no real repercussions.

LOT Polish Airlines

Number of 787s delivered: 3 (5 more on order)

Returned to service: June 1

LOT resumed service with their flight between Warsaw and JFK.  They also just took delivery of their third 787, LN 86 which was one of the aircraft that did a ton of work getting the 787 fix certified as well as numerous other tests while the 787 was grounded.

It is great to see all of these airlines back in service, as well as two new airlines that received their first 787s this last week.  Thomson Airlines actually took delivery of their first two 787s which are set to start service July 8, and China Southern Airlines received their first 787 that they plan to put into service June 6.

June 2, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Every AvGeek’s Dream: My Adventures in Everett: Part 4 Dreamlifter

We avgeeks are a funny group of people.  We take great pleasure in seeing, or even talking about planes.  They don’t have to be rare planes, though that is fun.  They just have to have wings, an engine, and a cockpit.  Come to think about it, they don’t have to have any of that, they just have to fly in some way shape or form, or at least used to fly, or were intended to fly.  According to my wife, it is crazy to sit around for five hours in cold, drizzly, Seattle weather, just to see a plane take off, but that is just the price of admission for an avgeek.

When I was planning my trip to Paine Field I had only two aircraft that I was really dying to see fly, the 787, and the Dreamlifter.  Trouble was, when I left home the 787 was grounded, which meant the factory had slowed a little and the Dreamlifters didn’t need to be quite as busy.  But even if I didn’t see those, I would be happy just relaxing and checking out some planes.

When I got to the field on my first day I saw a Dreamlifter for the very first time in person, parked on the ramp in all of its hugeness.  For those unfamiliar with the Dreamlifter, it is a retrofitted 747 that was designed to carry parts for the 787.  It kind of looks like a 747 marshmallow that got put in a microwave and blown up throughout the fuselage.  It looks weird and awesome all at the same time.

I kept watching Flight Aware throughout the week hoping to see one actually land or take off, but to no avail.  On my last day there I looked at the schedule before leaving home and there was one on the schedule for that afternoon.  I didn’t really get my hopes up as there had been many on the schedule, none of which I had actually seen fly.  I went anyways, as it was my last day and I just wanted to see planes.

As it turned out there wasn’t much of anything flying that day other than a few little GA aircraft, but it was still nice to be at the airport and just read my book.  Right as I was about to leave my new friend from earlier in the week showed up so I decided to stay for a little while and chat with him.  While chatting we were joined by another avgeek who can also be found on Twitter: @pilot_ngb.  Once again it was awesome to meet someone who loved planes as much as me.

Just as I was about to leave, again, the lights on the Dreamlifter came on.  Was I actually going to see it fly right before I was going to leave.  Sure enough the tug pushed the plane back and it started to taxi out.  Our new friend pulled out his radio and we heard that they would be taxiing down to the other end to take off.  Once we saw the plane make the turn South on the taxiway we jumped in our cars and sped off to the windsock to get a better view.

We made it just in time to watch the Dreamlifter taxi by, and then line up on the runway.  Then I finally got to see this:

Dreamlifter take off

I got to fly on a 747 once about 12 years ago, and it was incredible.  However, standing next to the runway about 200 feet away from it taking off was even more incredible.  I honestly don’t think I can put into words how much I loved it.  It was the perfect ending to my week, and well worth the five-hour wait.

There are a few big things that I took away from my week at Paine Field.

  1. I need to get a better camera so I can take better pictures.
  2. It doesn’t matter if planes are old or young, I love them all.
  3. As awesome as the planes are, and as much as I love the airport, the people are what truly make aviation special.  It is a unique bond that you can’t find in many places.

I am so grateful for the people who I met on my trip, and I look forward to having even more such experiences in the years ahead.  If we ever happen to be in the same neighborhood, hit me up and I would love to talk planes while watching them, or waiting for them to show up.

May 5, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing X-51A WaveRider Sets Record with Successful 4th Flight

Supersonic combustion scramjet-powered vehicle makes longest hypersonic flight to date

X-51 Hypersonic final flightEDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., May 3, 2013 – A Boeing [NYSE: BA] X-51A WaveRider unmanned hypersonic vehicle achieved the longest air-breathing, scramjet-powered hypersonic flight in history May 1, flying for three and a half minutes on scramjet power at a top speed of Mach 5.1. The vehicle flew for a total time of more than six minutes.

“This demonstration of a practical hypersonic scramjet engine is a historic achievement that has been years in the making,” said Darryl Davis, president, Boeing Phantom Works. “This test proves the technology has matured to the point that it opens the door to practical applications, such as advanced defense systems and more cost-effective access to space.”

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress from Edwards Air Force Base released the X-51A from 50,000 feet above the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range at 10:55 a.m. Pacific time. After the B-52 released the X-51A, a solid rocket booster accelerated the vehicle to about Mach 4.8 before the booster and a connecting interstage were jettisoned. The vehicle reached Mach 5.1 powered by its supersonic combustion scramjet engine, which burned all its JP-7 jet fuel. The X-51A made a controlled dive into the Pacific Ocean at the conclusion of its mission. The test fulfilled all mission objectives.

The flight was the fourth X-51A test flight completed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. It exceeded the previous record set by the program in 2010.

The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with industry partners Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Boeing performed program management, design and integration in Huntington Beach, Calif.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $33 billion business with 59,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

May 4, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.