Wright Savers

They were ex-fishermen mostly, but to say they’d chosen a safer life ashore would be a lie. The Surfmen of the 19th century United States Life Saving Service were the forerunners of today’s US Coast Guard, a service that’s still renowned for helping aviators in need. History’s first ground crew A hundred years ago, those brave men lived in windswept stations along the worst stretches … Continue reading Wright Savers

Death of an airliner

It came up during a documentary on the jumbo jet. While reviewing the handful of 747 accidents caused by airframe failings, the narrator mentioned that the United Airlines 747-122 – which had lost its cargo door out of Honolulu on February 24th, 1989 – was repaired and returned to service. That’s not surprising in itself. Alarming as the post-accident images appear, the actual damage to the … Continue reading Death of an airliner

Fast company

It was always a matter of “when, not if”, according to Aerion Chairman Robert Bass. He was speaking after the September 2014 announcement that Airbus Group was staking significant resources in the development of his Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet. That backing, and a firm $2.4 billion order for 20 aircraft by FlexJet LLC certainly gives the high speed limousine a real air of inevitability. … Continue reading Fast company

the Lift Equation

Feature image: © Ivan Cholakov | Dreamstime.com Like so many ‘first times’, my initial encounter with the lift equation was a fairly short and messy affair. My flying instructor wasn’t given to long preflight briefings in any case – and, to be fair, we’d agreed I would mostly do my own theory study. A wave of panic So imagine my surprise when I found myself facing … Continue reading the Lift Equation

Back to looking forward

    I’m delighted to share a couple of fantastic film clips from 1960s Britain with you. Shot on glowing 35mm Eastmancolor film, the Rank Organisation’s Look At Life series was designed as a lighter replacement for traditional cinema newsreels, as TV gave people easier access to visual news. Flying to work From 1959 to 1969, Look At Life crews roamed the UK (and beyond) documenting lifestyles, … Continue reading Back to looking forward

Triple Tale

Feature image courtesy of Zoggavia.com Every airplane has a life story. I couldn’t possibly tell them all, but I can trace the star of my Connie Crossing article, G-AHEL Bangor II, thanks largely to the remarkable research and image collecting of Paul Zogg at zoggavia.com   A new world order G-AHEL started life on Lockheed’s Burbank production line in 1944, as just the 17th C-69 laid … Continue reading Triple Tale

Big Pig

  While it’s easy to be unkind about the big, heavy and expensive F-111 Aardvark, it was definitely a multi-tonne Mach 2 marvel for its time. So as a special treat, here’s a bit of a walk-around of the Royal Australian Air Force’s A8-134, now thoroughly ‘de-fanged’ and permanently retired. #134 (cn D1-10) is a General Dynamics F-111C on long term loan from the RAAF to the … Continue reading Big Pig

Missing …reprise

People are still moved by the loss of VH-UMF ‘Southern Cloud’ in 1931 – with all eight souls aboard – and especially the agonising 27-year wait to discover their fate. Following my March 21st article on the crash, airscape was contacted by Ken Watson who is affiliated with Australia’s Civil Aviation Historical Society and Airways Museum at Essendon, Victoria. As the repository of our civil airways and … Continue reading Missing …reprise