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Oshkosh 2014 And The AirPigz Bacon Parties! (Hog Heaven : )

AirPigz OSH14 Bacon Parties:
Wednesday (7-30) and Thursday (7-31) from 6pm to 8pm

#CampBacon location map (pdf)

 Oshkosh 2014 is almost here! That means the widest variety of airplanes, the coolest collection of aviators, and of course... a side order of bacon! The Bacon Parties are on different days this year so take note that you can swing by CampBacon between 6pm and 8pm on either Wednesday or Thursday this year (link to location map above) to chew some free crunch pig AND talk airplanes. And hey, you can definitely talk with your mouth full at CampBacon : )

B-25 Lady Luck at OSH11

 I'm bringing a full size household oven this year to cook the bacon, and I'm expecting this will increase my output significantly, so please spread the word about free bacon from AirPigz at CampBacon. Attendance has been growing the last few years, and I'd love to see 75 or 100 people at each party, so be sure to tell your friends.

Beautiful Wittman Tailwind from OSH13

 Download the CampBacon location map and then mark your schedule for either Wednesday evening or Thursday evening (or both) from 6pm until 8pm for great airplane chat and free bacon. And thanx for being part of the crazy AirPigz world!

North American FJ-4B at OSH13


My Oh My, The 9 Is Fine! Boeing 787-9 Videos At Farnborough (Before & During)

 You've probably already seen the Boeing video of the practice flight for the Farnborough aerial display of the new -9 version of the 787 (20' stretch, 40 more pax plus 350 mile range increase) - it's been a very popular video around the internets the last few days with already over 1 million views. Since it was so readily available by the time I had a chance to do anything with it, I never got around to posting it. I have however added it at the bottom of the page tho in case you are one of the 12 avgeeks who hasn't seen it.

 The video above is from PlanesTV Live and shows the actual Farnborough -9 display flight. It's all the same maneuvers as the practice flight but from a ground-based perspective. Great video. Great flight. Great airplane. (I'm prepared to declare the 787 the most beautiful and the most graceful jet airliner ever!)

 The video above is from TopFelya and shows the same flight from a different perspective. There's always something new to observe from a different point of view.

 This video is another from Boeing of the actual demonstration flight... it's not the full demo but still has some views of the -9 that are simply amazing to see.

 And here's that 'practice' flight video released by Boeing several days ago. The airborne views are simply stunning, which is no surprise since they were done by Wolfe Air (check this out). It's also interesting that lots of people thought this whole video was CGI instead of real. I admit that at times it has that look, but c'mon, this is the real deal. And wow, so is the 787-9... this is gonna be one popular airliner - Bravo Boeing!

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For Sale: Joe Kittinger's Book 'The Long, Lonely Leap' - $999 (Rare, Signed, Great Shape!)

(click pic to enlarge - this is a composite pic of the same book, front and back)

$999 - Free Shipping, Satisfaction Guaranteed

* To purchase this book, send me an email at telling me you want it

* I'll then mark the picture for it as 'sold'

* You can pay via PayPal or check (we can discuss details via email)

* Price includes shipping and packing 

* I'll send the book the same day I receive payment

* You must be 100% satisfied or you can return the book immediately for full refund

 If you followed any aspect of the worldwide phenomena that was the Red Bull Stratos project in 2012, where Felix Baumgartner went supersonic in freefall after jumping from a balloon at 127,851 feet, then you should be familiar with USAF Colonel Joseph Kittinger. Not only did Felix break Joe's record for the highest jump ever (set August 16, 1960 from 102,800 feet) but Joe was a technical advisor and mentor to Felix for the Red Bull Stratos project.

(see AirPigz posts covering Red Bull Stratos)

(click pic to enlarge)

Joe Kittinger signed this book July 28, 2013 at Oshkosh

 After Joe Kittinger made that incredible 1960 high altitude record jump, he wrote the book The Long, Lonely Leap. This book has been regarded as one of the most interesting to read, and most difficult to find in aviation circles for years. My dad acquired a copy early in the 1960's since he related to Joe from both the flying and the parachute jumping. When I sold several books from my dad's old collection last year to raise money to make it to Oshkosh 2013, I kept The Long, Lonely Leap because I remember it as an icon in the house when I was growing up. Then I found out Joe was to speak at Oshkosh 2013 about the Red Bull Stratos project and I realized it might make a great opportunity to have him sign the book.

Joe, the day after his 85th birthday, just after signing the book at Oshkosh 2013

 Joe was one of the speakers at 'An Evening With Champions' at the Theater in the Woods at Oshkosh 2013 on Sunday July 28th, the day before the event officially opened. This was the day after his 85th birthday. Art Thompson (to Joe's left in the pic above) the Red Bull Stratos technical project director joined Joe on stage for his presentation about the successful effort to eclipse his 1960 high-altitude jump record. It was amazing to hear him speak to the audience, but it was when I was able to visit with him backstage that I was most impressed. His mind is remarkably sharp and vibrant, and he really is a nice man. I was also extremely impressed with Art Thompson. These two men have a lot to do with the success of the Stratos project. (I took the pic above with my phone after Joe has signed the book for me)

(click pic to enlarge)

 Now, with Oshkosh 2014 fast approaching, I find myself scrambling to make the financial pieces fit once again. I figured that making the book available for purchase would relieve all the stress of surviving OSH once again. I also figure that if the book does indeed sell, I will take a portion of the money and make 100% sure that I get myself a flight review with an instructor and become a current pilot for the first time in about 18 years. So if you buy my copy of The Long, Lonely Leap, you'll be an important part of getting me back in the sky where I belong!

Click to read more ...


Video: The Hostile World Of F-18's On A Carrier's 'Pitching Deck' (Must See)

 This 20 minute video from the 2008 PBS series 'Carrier' is about the most must see video I've ever experienced. Maybe you saw the series, but I never did... and this segment, that chronicles the extreme hazards of flying off an aircraft carrier's 'pitching deck' (due to the swelling seas) in both day and night operations, is simply incredible.

Screenshot: F-18's launch and land on a wild 'pitching deck'

 I'm sure you're like me and have huge respect for the people who live and work on aircraft carriers, especially the pilots... but your respect for these pilots after seeing this video will be off-the-scale. Truly amazing.

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My First Landing At Oshkosh Was In A Citabria In 1974... At Age 13 (8 Pix)

Here was the Oshkosh 74 campsite with the Citabria in the North 40

3-seat Citabria?

 With OSH14 being just weeks away now, I got to thinking about the first time I made a landing at Oshkosh. I guess I dream about the past since once again I won't be flying into Oshkosh... it'll all be ground-bound again this time around. Nothing wrong with driving in, but of course it's always better to be able to fly in. While things are indeed better for me now than most of the last 5 years, I still seem to have crazy strong headwinds in my life. No matter what direction I go, strong winds are on my nose. It gets tiring, the fuel burn is high, and the ground covered is greatly reduced. Oh well, this is my life.

 Back to that first OSH landing. It was Oshkosh 1974, I was just 13 years old, and I made a nice wheel landing on runway 27. If I remember correctly there was a little light rain at the time, and I know the tail was riding just a little lower than on most of my wheel landings. More on that in a minute. I was in the front seat of our still-smells-new 7KCAB Citabria, which we had picked up at the Bellanca factory in northwest Wisconsin earlier in the year. My dad had taught me early on to fly the Citabria out of the Elgin Illinois airport. The north/south runway there was very narrow and there always seemed to be a crosswind. And I learned in the winter. It was a perfect place to learn to fly a taildragger! By Oshkosh time, still 13, I was quite proficient with the airplane and felt comfortable flying it in various conditions.

 This trip to Oshkosh was a bit unusual. My dad was in the back seat for our flight from Elgin to Oshkosh, which was about an hour and a half long. But today, he was really in the middle seat. My dad had a habit of bending rules whenever it suited him, and for this trip, our Citabria was a 3-seater. My sorta girlfriend/neighbor Cindy, who was also 13, was riding in the baggage compartment along with a small tent and some basic Oshkosh supplies. I think we were still within the CG limits since she was probably only about 80 pounds, but I'm guessing the lack of a seat and seatbelt made this trip a little on the outside of the FAR's.

 Me at 13 with my sorta girlfriend/neighbor (Cindy) in the donut tent at Oshkosh 1974

 Since we had left Elgin with quite a bit of fuel onboard, and with Cindy in the baggage compartment, the airplane definitely was heavier on the tail. If I had been really thinking I would have added 5 mph to the approach speed to compensate, but I didn't. No worries tho, the tail was just a little low as I squeaked the mains on the nice big and very wide runway 27 at Oshkosh.

 I should probably mention that the view from the baggage area in a Citabria is fantastic. The large rear windows extend all the way to the back so Cindy had a great view for the ride. However, the trip back home a few days later was pretty bumpy and she wound up tossing her cookies. It wasn't a big mess tho and we continued on with her feeling better after the upchucking. She was a great friend back in those days and a real trooper for being willing to sit in the back seat of our 3-seat Citabria!

 Below are more pix I found from that Oshkosh 74 trip. There's some pretty cool stuff to see. And of course by now you should now that OSH14 will be the best Oshkosh ever... because the best Oshkosh ever is the one you are at right now! (previous best OSH ever posts: OSH09 / OSH10 / OSH11 / OSH12 / OSH13)

Oshkosh 1974 the day we arrived when I made my first landing at Wittman Field

First year for the War Aircraft Replicas (W.A.R.) and the VW powered FW190

Click to read more ...


CoolPix: Precious Metal Shines In A Perfect Blue Sky - Reno 2013 Gold Race

(click pic for hi-res)  Thom Richard and Precious Metal in the Gold race at Reno 2013

 I'm a big fan of Thom Richard and his Griffon powered mixmaster P-51 Precious Metal because he's got a team moving forward making great progress on getter faster every year... and because he's a really nice guy. Follow Thom on facebook and also the Precious Metal Air Racing Fan page on facebook.

 I had the chance to prep up some hi-res pix for him to possibly use and in the process found this one from the Gold race at last year's Reno Air Races and realized I'd never done anything with it. So I prepped it up this morning for him, and I'm sharing it with you as a CoolPix. Enjoy!

Reno Air Races

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Poll: Is The Northrop T-38 Talon One Of The Most Beautiful Airplanes Ever Built?

Can't get much better... T-38 in Thunderbirds paint! (photo: unknown)

 There are some creations of mankind that are so far ahead of their time, and so perfect in their design that it's hard to believe they are the work of mere mortals. The Northrop T-38, first flown in 1959, is one of them. 1959? Really? It still looks so awesome that you could totally believe is was something fresh for 2015 from the sharpest designers in the world.

The T-38 has been a valuable asset to NASA... and a fun toy too!   (photo: NASA) 

 So you can tell where I stand on the T-38, it's about as close to avgeek perfect as we get. But I wondered if you agree with me, so I put this poll together to see what your thoughts are. Often I find that about 70% of you agree with my line of thinking, but I'm pretty sure the numbers will be much higher this time around : )

Lean, mean, supersonic machine... the Northrop T-38 Talon  (photo: Air Force)

 So, what do YOU think? Is the Northrop T-38 Talon one of the most beautiful airplanes ever built?

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Videos: Boeing Goes Public With 7 Pax 'Space Station Taxi'... The CST-100

 I admit that I don't follow modern manned-spacecraft development very closely, and you can tell because I didn't even realize Boeing was developing a 7 seat spacecraft to serve as a low Earth orbit taxi!

 This video released yesterday gives a nice overview of the CST-100 project... and the one I found below shows a capsule drop-test from an Air-Crane where systems like the very critical parachute system and the air bag cushioning system used for terra firma landings were put to the test.

Video screenshot: Boeing CST-100 manned spacecraft capsule recovery drop test

 If I understand the information correctly, these drop tests actually took place in 2012, and they appear to have been very successful. The CST-100 is part of the NASA Commercial Crew Development program which is investing money in various projects from several manufacturers, and it shows that at the very least America is headed the right direction in having some form of successor to the Space Shuttle for getting our people up into space and back. Looks like I need to be paying more attention to what's going on!

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Video: Hey, The Harrier Jump Jet Don't Need No Stinkin' Nose Gear!

 This recently released video shows the details behind a unique vertical landing conducted earlier in the month by U.S. Marine Corps Capt. William Mahoney in an AV-8B Harrier II aboard the USS Bataan. Turns out when your Harrier nose gear won't extend - there's and app for that! They've got a stool designed to catch the aircraft nose, and as is seen in the video it works great. Capt. Mahoney explains that he never saw the stool at any time during the approach which certainly makes it an exciting event not knowing if it's really there and if you've got the aircraft, for certain, in the correct position.

USMC Capt. William Mahoney landing an AV-8B Harrier II without a nose gear

 I'm not sure how much damage would have been incurred even without the cradle since it appears that it would have made contact in pretty much the same spot on the fuselage without it, and with no additional damage to the area behind the engine intake. Regardless tho, the stool seems to have insured no damage, and put the aircraft in a position where work to get the nose gear down could be fairly easily accomplished. Job well done all the way around!

The USS Bataan in 2003 with a full compliment of AV-8B Harrier II jump jets

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Video: Fascinating Historical Account Of The 1965 Reno Air Races (Progress In The Air)

 This recently uploaded gem of a video is an old-school professionally produced film that chronicled the wide variety of aviation related activities taking place during the 1965 Reno Air Races. It's 21 minutes long but very well worth your time if you have any interest in the era that defined so much of what modern aviation is all about today.

A young Bob Hoover talks about how the 23 year old P-51 design still flies beautifully

 National air racing had just returned the year before in 1964 when the first Reno Air Races took place at the Sky Ranch airport just north of Sparks Nevada. Bill Stead was the driving force behind the rebirth of national air racing and it's great to see him in this video.

 Lots of dirt and a short runway were pretty much all they had, but the event included aerobatics, parachuting, hot air ballooning, the US Air Force Thunderbirds in the F-100D Super Sabre, and of course various classes of air racing. Those first two years of the Reno Air Races were an amazing celebration of a love for flight no matter the machine used to accomplish it.

Before the Red Devils, before the Eagles Aerobatic Team... a young Charlie Hillard

 I was fortunate as a young kid to experience Reno from 1967 thru 1970, and much of what is seen at the Sky Ranch in this video reminds me of the early years at Stead Airfield. It's interesting to note several things about the Stead name as it relates to these early Reno years. Bill Stead, a late 1950's world speed boat champion, pulled the first two events together after retiring from boats and moving on to racing airplanes. The location for these first two years was the Sky Ranch, but the airport was barely up to the task of handling the larger aircraft. Tragically, Bill Stead was killed a short time later in 1966 in a Florida crash of his midget racer in preparation for the St Petersburg races. The airplane was the newly acquired Deer Fly racer that had been the winner in the 1965 races at Sky ranch, as seen in the video.

A fascinating look at the early days of the modern hot air balloon movement

 For 1966, the National Air Races moved from Sky Ranch to what had been Stead Air Force base, named in honor of Bill Stead's brother Croston Stead who had been killed in a P-51 training accident at the base in 1951. When the base was deactivated in 1966 and turned over to the city of Reno, it was renamed Stead Airfield. Today it's known as Reno Stead Airport. The excellent facilities of Reno Stead have served the races well for nearly all of the 50 year history of the modern National Championship Air Races, known simply as the Reno Air Races... and the memory of two Reno brothers lives on.

Mira Slovak trying to win again, but Darryl Greenamyer started his win streak instead

This is definitely a must see video if you're interested in sport aviation history!

The Thunderbirds after replacing the short run F-105's with the F-100D Super Sabre

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