45 years ago today on Sunday, July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first two humans to step foot on another world. Watch the CBS News footage with Walter Cronkite. Video provided by NASA. The 60’s video technology and news graphics are interesting on their own! At 9:30 in the video, CBS shows live shots of crowds at the JFK arrivals terminal and Disneyland watching the events on jumbo screens.
I was 4 years old and remember being at my grandparent’s house in Pittsburgh, PA. My parents woke me up at what seemed like an amazingly late hour (it was shortly before 11 pm EDT).
Where were you when Apollo 11 landed? If you weren’t born yet, do you remember first learning about it?
I was sitting in The Chair as the dentist poked and scraped my freshly cleaned teeth. He was commenting about his upcoming Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix…
Dr. S:Ken, my flight from Louisville to Phoenix is scheduled for 4 hours and 10 minutes… Ken:uhh huh. Dr. S:…and the return flight is 3 hours, 20 minutes. Ken: uhh huh. Dr. S:Is there really that much difference between flying east and west?!? Ken:uhh huh. Wahhn you hlying eassh you hahh a hailwinn. Dr. S:Well, that’s what I thought but I didn’t realize it was that much! Ken:Uhh huh.
Clean teeth and free from the Cavity Creeps. But what about my dentist’s question? His westbound flight takes nearly an hour longer than his flight back home. Why is there so much difference in the flight time? He knew that winds had something to do with it. But an hour difference for a relatively short flight?!
I’m a sucker for funny preflight safety videos. Last year’s Air New Zealand safety vid with Betty White was one of the best of 2013.
Delta Airlines is getting an early start this year with a preflight safety briefing that salutes the 1980’s. Watch it a few times… You’ll see everything that made the eighties great! And not so great.
Keep a sharp eye out for a young “Deltalina,” the No Smoking gal. She makes an appearance along with a plethora of familiar eighties characters, symbols and styles. Delta’s newest co-pilot, Roger Murdock should please aviation movie geeks everywhere.
Modern jets go fast. Typical cruise speeds are close to the speed of sound. Did you realize you were moving that fast? As inevitable as a Black Friday WalMart riot, at the end of every flight we must bring this speeding vehicle to a safe stop on a short length of concrete. Sometimes, that runway is wet, snowy, or even icy. It takes some serious engineering to pull this off routinely. How do pilots stop a jet and steer it to the gate? We use several systems to make it happen. Continue reading →
…or Who do pilots talk to and what are they saying?
When I was a kid, my dad took a small, transistor AM/FM radio, cracked it open and tinkered with the FM tuning coil. Within a couple of minutes, he turned it into an aviation-band receiver. I was probably the first 14 year-old, ever, to think his dad was a genius.
My homemade aviation-band radio.
I spent hours listening to the radio, trying to figure out what the pilots were saying. I could understand most of the words but had no idea what they were talking about. Years later, in flight training, I finally learned the mysterious language of pilots and controllers.
A few airlines now offer a “Flight Deck” audio channel on their entertainment systems. On a long flight you can put on your headphones and hear the crew talking to the controllers. If you understand some of it, you can follow the progress of your flight. Curious to know the secrets?
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.