Category Archives: Aerospace Vehicles

Check Out This Water Bomber!

Canadair CL-415

Canadair CL-415

I love to watch fancy flying. Especially when it’s done in the name of public safety or to preserve our natural resources. Early in my aviation career I had a job flying aerial surveillance for the Department of Forestry. We surveyed the forests for damage inflicted by Southern Pine beetles (not to be confused with the damage inflicted by The Beatles from Liverpool). It was a lot of fun, but it certainly didn’t require the skills of a water bomber pilot!

Water bombers are an interesting breed of aircraft. They are designed to haul large quantities of water to forest fires and dump it with precision. This particular bomber, a Canadair CL-415, fills its 1500 (gal US) tank by skimming the water from the top of rivers and lakes. This guy gets the Fancy Flying Award of the week. The video was shot back in July of 2012 near Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

This CL-415 belongs to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Here are the Specs for the CL-415.

Earthrise: The 45th Anniversary

This video is spreading in typical viral fashion. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s just awesome.

In December of 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon and became the first humans to view an “Earthrise.”  Using a combination of Apollo 8 data and data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the rocket scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center show us exactly what the astronauts were seeing and saying when the iconic earthrise images were taken. Trust me; if you’re a space geek, you’ll want to see this.

Get crafty: Cut and glue a paper 3D rocket!

Hey kids, build this cool paper rocket!

Hey kids, build this cool paper rocket!

The FAA (yes, the U.S. government agency tasked with aviation safety) has a fun craft project for the kids. It might keep them busy long enough for you to put the slice-&-bake cookies in the oven.

The FAA’s “Santa Story 2013” page has paper rocket plans, as well as a countdown to Santa’s flight. The site’s theme is a kid-friendly explanation about how Santa uses GPS to navigate his sleigh. The GPS lesson is also perfect for adults wondering how the GPS gadget in your car or phone knows where it’s at.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the rocket plans, download the PDF pattern and instructions.  It wouldn’t be right to mention paper rocket plans without including a time lapse construction video, right? I spared no expense (and nearly 10 whole minutes) to produce the following for your viewing pleasure!

Anniversary of flight – And a video you probably haven’t seen.

December 17, 1903 – Kill Devil Hills, NC

On December 17, 1903, at 10:35 am, Orville Wright successfully flew the first powered aircraft. The flight distance was 120 feet (37 m) and lasted 12 seconds. The top speed was only 6.8 miles per hour (10.9 km/h) over the ground. The airspeed was substantially higher due to winds gusting to 27 miles per hour.

NOT used by the Wrights!

Did you know that the very first video taken from a powered aircraft was shot onboard a Wright brothers aircraft? No, kids; they did not use a GoPro Hero to make the movie. The film, titled: Wilbur Wright und seine Flugmaschine,” was made in 1909 near Rome and lasts about 3 1/2 minutes. It was made to end skepticism that the airplane could really fly. Here’s the film, in it’s entirety.

You’ve never seen the Earth & Moon like this!

Juno & Jupiter – NASA JPL

On October 9th, NASA JPL’s Juno spacecraft did something really cool.  In order to reach Jupiter in 2016, Juno did a close fly by of earth to boost its speed by nearly 9000 mph. During this gravitational slingshot, Juno’s Magnetic Field Investigation cameras caught a time-lapse of the Big Blue Marble and its moon.

From NASA’s JPL Juno page:

“If Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise said, ‘Take us home, Scotty,’ this is what the crew would see,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio. “In the movie, you ride aboard Juno as it approaches Earth and then soars off into the blackness of space. No previous view of our world has ever captured the heavenly waltz of Earth and moon.”

Yep. It’s pretty cool.

NASA’s Project Morpheus test flight – Success

Project Morpheus - NASA JSC

Project Morpheus – NASA JSC

NASA scored a win yesterday as their Morpheus Lander prototype successfully flew without a tether. Morpheus is being designed to land on the moon, Mars and even asteroids.

This successful test took place as the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility.

Project Morpheus website

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Boeing’s Ultimate RC Airplane & The 777X


Boeing 777X Cockpit – Source: Boeing

Two cool Boeing videos for today.

RC buffs are going to drool when they see what Boeing has done to six previously mothballed F16 fighters. The new unmanned F-16 variant, now designated the QF-16, will be used as a realistic target for training exercises. It took some sophisticated engineering to convert the jets into remote control targets; the F-16’s had been in storage for over 15 years. While they are still pretty high-tech, these jets aren’t exactly spring chickens…

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