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Looking Back: Project FICON

Sep 02, 2015 No Comments

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers are a dominant presence in waters around the world, and interestingly enough, the Air Force once tried to make a flying version. During World War II, bomber aircraft could fly thousands of miles to their targets, unlike gas-guzzling fighters, which had much shorter ranges. This was a big problem for bombers, since they were sitting [...]

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The Ever-Present Sidewinder

Sep 01, 2015 No Comments

Kern County, California, 1952: a 1949 Kaiser raced down a desert runway with a streamlined object fitted to a crude bracket on the right side. Lacking a wind tunnel, the passengers — engineers in the front and back seats — took notes on the model’s aerodynamic performance. They were testing the XAAM-N-7, the world’s first [...]

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On This Day in Aviation History

Sep 01, 2015 No Comments

1937 – First flight of the Bell YFM-1 Airacuda, an American heavy fighter and the first such airplane built by Bell Aircraft Corp. 1961 – Birth of Christopher J. Ferguson, U.S. Navy fighter and test pilot as well as NASA astronaut. 1967 – The U. S. Navy’s first dedicated search-and-rescue squadron, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 7 (HC-7), is commissioned at Atsugi, Japan; it operates [...]

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Students, Profs Build Record-Setting Plane

Sep 01, 2015 No Comments

​The Anequim Project Team, a group of students and professors from Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), recently brought their slick new plane to Rio de Janeiro to put it through its paces. When they were done with the high-speed flights out of the Santa Cruz Air Force Base this past weekend, they’d set [...]

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A-10 Set to Compete with F-35

Aug 28, 2015 No Comments

Opponents of U.S. Air Force efforts to retire its Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II have said the 40-year-old close-air support plane can outperform the Pentagon’s most advanced aircraft. It turns out the lumbering old plane, nicknamed the Warthog, will get a chance to prove it. The Air Force’s top general and the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester [...]

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Saving a Burning Jet

Aug 27, 2015 No Comments

On April 30, 2015, a Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint belonging to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, suffered a major incident at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. As the aircraft, using radio call sign “Snoop 71,” began the takeoff roll to start its mission in support of a special-operations training exercise, fire erupted behind the galley. Described [...]

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On This Day in Aviation History

Aug 26, 2015 No Comments

1883 – Birth of Otto Splitgerber, German World War I flying ace. 1939 – The Messerschmitt Me 209 sets a new world speed record of 469 mph. 1952 – The prototype English Electric Canberra B5 makes the first double transatlantic crossing by a jet, with a total time of just over 10 hours. 1975 – First flight of the McDonnell [...]

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USS Macon Crash Site Explored

Aug 25, 2015 No Comments

Off the California coast lies the sunken wreckage of the U.S. Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier. The idea that the Navy had flying aircraft carriers is probably new to a lot of people. Imagine a nearly 800-foot “blimp” where five military airplanes can land and take off in midair.  Last week, a team of oceanographers got [...]

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