Conversation with an SR-71 spy plane pilot, Northrop Grumman wins Long Range Strike Bomber contract, an aerostat breaks loose, Quebec steps in to shore up Bombardier, team forms to produce a “declaration on cyber security” for aviation, and China shows the first COMAC C919 airliner.
Brian Shul served as an Air Force fighter pilot from 1970-1990. Flying close air support during the Viet Nam Conflict, he was shot down near the Cambodian border. Unable to eject, he rode the plane into the jungle and was seriously burned during the ensuing fireball. Lucky to be alive, he spent a year in the hospital and was told his flying days were over.
Miraculously, after many surgeries and months of physical therapy, Brian returned to active flying duty. He went on to fly the A-7D, he was in the first A-10 squadron, he taught at the Air Force’s TopGun school in the F-5B, and his flying career culminated by flying the SR-71 spy plane.
Retiring from the Air Force in 1990, Brian pursued his writing and photography by starting his own business with Gallery One. He was the first man to write a book about flying the SR-71, all illustrated with his own photography. He did a second book, both of which are now the most popular SR-71 books worldwide. Additionally, Brian is the only man in America to fly extensively with both the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels writing books about both of those teams.
The Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman the contract to build the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), over the proposals from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The 80-100 plane fleet is scheduled to enter service in the 2020’s after more than $20 billion in development expenditures. According to Defense News, the component manufacturers have been competitively selected but not announced.
The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, (JLENS) is a pair of tethered balloons meant to detect threats to the U.S. such as missiles and manned or unmanned aircraft. According to Raytheon, JLENS “is a system of two aerostats, or tethered airships, that float 10,000 feet in the air. The helium filled aerostats, each nearly as long as a football field, carry powerful radars that can protect a territory roughly the size of Texas from airborne threats.”
Each of the airships is called an “orbit” and the one at Aberdeen Proving Ground north of Baltimore, Maryland broke loose. It was escorted by F-16’s until it came down in Pennsylvania. The 6,700 foot tether was reported to take out power lines causing outages for more than a few people.
After CSeries and Learjet 85 program writedowns, Bombardier posted a $4.9 billion loss in the third quarter. The Learjet 85 program was canceled and the Quebec government will take a 49 percent stake in the CSeries program. Bombardier is a major Quebec employer.
IATA’s 24th AVSEC World Conference was held October 26 – 28, 2015 in Dublin and addressed many cyber security risks. A team has been formed to produce a “declaration on cyber security” that would go to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in September, 2016. ICAO member states could sign the declaration if they wish, but this doesn’t create mandatory standards.
The United States, Germany and Britain all had overflight warnings in place for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where a Russian passenger plane went down killing all 224 people on board.
China Unveils First Major Homegrown Passenger Jet, Seen As Potential Competitor For Boeing And Airbus
COMAC (the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) rolled out the first C919 airliner which will now undergo ground tests before making its maiden flight in 2016. It is expected to enter service in 2018 or 2019. COMAC said it has orders for 517 of the aircraft.
The Australia News Desk
Steve’s had a good time at the OzRunways fundraiser for Angel Flight with Matt Hall but now it’s back to work and producing the OzDesk.
CASA says it’ll listen to industry:
KC30A refuels E7A over the Middle East:
- KC-30 uses its boom on operations for the first time
- Deployed RAAF Wedgetail gains WW2-style nose art
Tracey Curtis-Taylor is on her way to Sydney, Australia in a Boeing Stearman:
Across the Pond
Pieter reflects back on the iconic Harrier by reviewing the latest book on the subject. Published a few months ago by Grub Street Books, it is a collection of personal stories from RAF and Royal Navy pilots and crewmen. Robert Marston, a Harrier pilot himself, draws together accounts from those who worked with this aircraft. The excitement, camaraderie, and pride shine through in the personal stories of those whose lives were changed by their experience of this iconic aircraft.
Live from the Reno Air Races with SkyChick and Team Darkstar, With Vicky Benzing and L139 owner Dianna Stanger.
Quirky car designer converts light plane into a road-legal vehicle – which he drives his son to school in. You’ve got to love this fun, street-legal, vehicle built using the fuselage of a Cirrus SR22.
Favorite Airplane Paint Jobs
Listeners answered the call to suggest their favorite airline liveries…
From A.V., the Nokair 737’s:
From Jeffrey, the Short SC.7 Skyvan:
Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.