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Wednesday
Jun112014

Videos: Skip Stewart Flies UNDER Jumping Motorcycle... Or Is It Cody Elkins Jumps OVER Flying Airplane!?!


 This well executed stunt last weekend at the Cameron Airshow between airplane (Skip Stewart) and motorcycle (Cody Elkins) is extremely impressive... but I think I like the view of Skip flying over the camera and making a mountain of smoke just as much!

Wow! Awesome pic from Cody Elkins' Instagram page - don't try this at home!
 

 The alternate view video below is from Cody Elkins' Instagram page - YeeHaw! It's always great to see two highly trained professionals put on a perfect performance - Bravo!

 

 

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Monday
Jun092014

Video: Killer Drones - The Future Of Crop Dusting?


 The idea of killer drones is fine with me if they're all about killing insects that hurt crops. In fact, I'd say that the idea of using Quadcopter-style drones for crop dusting is probably the most logical and viable use for these unusual flying machines.


Video screenshot: view from above a crop dusting quadcopter


 The video above shows a quad from the people at armcopters.com demonstrating an electric powered drone with a nice spray rig installed. Their website says they have systems with 22 and 66 pound payload capacities, tho I don't see them available for purchase at the moment. You might think that payload impractical as a crop duster, but the ability to more accurately target the crops, and do so from a much lower altitude greatly reduces the amount of chemical required to be dispensed to be effective. Even more, the powerful downwash from the rotors helps drive that chemical deeper into the crops where it'll be even more effective.


Video screenshot: underneath view of the crop dusting quadcopter


 
While we continue to see electric drone capabilities improve rapidly, their time aloft is often still relatively limited due to battery capacity. That's where an idea like the gas-powered collective pitch quad concept from Curtis Youngblood might be perfectly suited to applications needing higher payloads and much longer durations. 

 Without a doubt, the future of the drone in this world is a sticky wicket, but I gotta say I like 'em as crop dusters!


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Thursday
Jun052014

Superior Pilots: Trimming Trees From A Helicopter! (Video) 


 The first time I viewed a video of a huge 10-blade vertical saw suspended from a helicopter and cutting tree limbs near large power lines was shortly after I launched AirPigz back in 2008. It was crazy and amazing to me back then, an there's no surprise that it remains that way to me still today. It's just much more relevant to me today since I've recently trimmed and cut down some large trees in my neighborhood using a chainsaw. I did not, however, use a helicopter!


 I did use a 60' boom lift tho, which I found to be incredibly enjoyable work (which oddly might lead to a career change here very soon), but it's slow and tedious work even with the lift. I felled an 85' Maple tree that had lots of branches hanging over two houses... hours were spent cutting off limbs from the lift before I could take the saw to the trunk. I can easily understand the massive amount of man-hours and equipment traditionally required to trim trees along a powerline path. The helicopter and the horror-movie-like vertical saw definitely makes quick work of the difficult task of tree trimming! I'm confident however that the pilot would say it's still very tedious from his point of view!



 That's the reason I'm sharing this video, to call attention to the skill and focus these pilots have. Honestly, I'd lean toward calling them crazy if it wasn't for the fact that I've seen lots of videos of this kind of work being done and it always seems to work out just fine. With the right pilot and the proper equipment, it appears to be a completely safe method of tree trimming.

 One of these days I hope to be able to chat with a pilot who has done this and get a better idea of just how challenging it is... and then after that I need to find one of the guys that flies the line-checking helicopters like the one in the video below. Those guys are ARE crazy, even if it seems to work out just fine on a regular basis as well.

 Let's also have a little hat tip to the Hughes 500 since it seems to be the dangerzone helicopter of choice!



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Tuesday
Jun032014

(Recycled) Video: This My Friends, Is How You Land An Airliner! (Must See!)


(yep, full screen is a very good idea)

This is a recycled post originally from January 24, 2011...
it's just way too good not to share again!

 Sometimes you get the feeling that airline pilots are just bus drivers with little passion for the wonder of flight and the intricate relationship between man and machine when the bonds of gravity are broken. But then you see a video like this one that screams as loud as possible: I Love To Fly! Wow.

 First, thanx to youtuber 1970sPlaneSpotter for being at the right place at the right time, and for capturing it beautifully. But mostly, I tip my hat to whoever had their hand on the stick and throttles for this landing. I have several observations to share - see if you agree. First is the fact that they nearly perfectly arrested the rate of descent without having to hunt for where the runway is. In reality, it's not all that hard to reduce the rate of sink to a trickle, but to do it pretty much exactly when and where you want (as in close the the approach end of the runway) is actually rather difficult. But if you look closely, the point of touchdown is not very far down the runway at all. In fact, by my estimation, the point of touchdown was perfectly placed... not too close the the approach end, risking winding up short, and not too far down the runway so as to have wasted valuable rollout room.


Video screenshot from an excellent video of a perfect landing... Bravo!


 Ok, the point of touchdown is excellent. Then, watch how long the tires take to spool up to speed. That's your first clue it's an ultra soft touchdown, but it's followed immediately by your second clue - the front axle on the bogie doesn't come slamming down like usual, in fact, the airplane rides along on just the rear axles for a crazy long time! This is when you notice two things, the airplane is still flying, but it's also on the ground, and the rate of sink is slowed to a crawl. Wow. Again.

 Then as the camera pans the rollout, we get a close-up view of the nose gear. Here's the next interesting point: the nose is being held very high off the ground. Is this a "look at me, I'm cooler than you" 'show-off' move? I don't think so. Well, ok, technically all of this landing is yelling out that this pilot is cooler than me or you... but in reality, the nose appears to be held high as a very effective form of aerodynamic braking. Take all that big wing at a nice high angle of attack and then drag it down the runway at 130 mph and see how much drag it produces. Big, fat buckets of drag! Then, as the rest of the airplane comes back into view, you can see the elevator deflection, which by the time the nose wheels makes contact with the runway, appears to be at full deflection, or very near it. All the aerodynamic braking available was tapped into.

 So what we have here is the passengers arriving at their destination without knowing it because the touchdown was so soft... and then, due to the aerodynamic braking and the loads of runway ahead of us to use for gentle deceleration, nobody was doubled over in their seat from heavy braking and reverse thrust, which is often accompanied by some bobbing and a tad of weaving. Nope, instead, this big hunk of airplane gently strolled rather quietly, smoothly, and very straight down the runway. Now that's how you thank the passengers for flying with you today! Bravo for being easy on the airplane, and easy on the people. That's the way it should be done.

 One last point. Truth is, you can't always apply this collection of techniques when landing 350,000 pounds of airplane. Crosswinds, gusty or turbulent air, or a variety of other factors can demand that you use other tools from the pilots bag of tricks, but when the conditions are right, wow, this is how you land an airliner : )


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Monday
Jun022014

GoPro Video: Crazy Slackline Fun Between Two Hot Air Balloons!


 I'm pretty sure I have no slacklining skills, but with two hot air balloon flying lessons in the books in the last few weeks I can definitely relate somewhat to what's going on here. Actually, what's really going on here is the masterful marketing of the GoPro HERO3+ video cam but I'm guessing you already had that figured out. They've been pushing an even bigger boatload of awesome HD videos here lately in their continuing effort to not go the way of Flip Video... product innovation and hot marketing at GoPro have kept them at the top of the heap for quite a while now, but things sure can change fast. #watchyourback


Video screenshot: Andy Lewis slacklining between two hot air balloons at 4,000 feet


 Anyway, this is Andy Lewis, a highly skilled slackline competitor who also is a BASE jumper and rock climber, and here he's walking the line between two hot air balloons at 4,000 feet. I call it cool stuff, well done.


Video screenshot: the view looking up after falling off the slackline


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Thursday
May292014

Video: 'Whisper' - The Dog That Made A Wingsuit BASE Jump!


 The video above is the short version from Dean Potter's youtube channel showing him making a wingsuit BASE jump in Switzerland with his small dog Whisper tucked securely into pocket between him and his parachute container. The video below is a longer version from the National Geographic youtube channel that offers a little more insight into this rather unusual adventure. 

 I was already planning to post this video on AirPigz when I began reading the youtube comments on both videos. Wow, youtube comments never fail to expose the irrational thinking of a large part of the population here on Earth. After reading the comments claiming that this was animal cruelty I KNEW I had to post this video.



 First, let me add that my wife and I have five miniature Schnauzers in the house (Schnauzers don't shed!) and have been living with these little creatures for the last 10 years... we started with one and then fairly quickly wound up with six in all. A couple years ago one became ill and passed away leaving us with five.

 When you really know a dog it's easy to tell when its uneasy in a given situation... and I would think all of us can tell when a dog is truly scared. A dog owner with any level of intelligence will also know whether a specific dog is of the mindset (or nerve tolerance) to be able to handle adventure, even extreme adventure. I have two Schnauzers that I know would love to BASE jump and I have three that I know would freak out. 

 It's obvious that Whisper, a 22 pound mini Australian cattle dog, was completely up to the task of riding along on this wingsuit jump, AND that she enjoyed it. It really confuses me that rational people could watch the video (especially the long version) and somehow come to the conclusion that Whisper was scared. And then when you add the obvious effort to make this adventure safe and secure for Whisper, I can't see this as being ANY different than someone taking their dog for its first car ride. A tremendous amount of effort went into making the special parachute rig with the space for Whisper, and test jumps were made to verify the safety of the rig with the size and weight of this awesome little dog.

 All you need to do is watch as Whisper looks left and right on the ride down, that's a dog that is taking it all in and doing great! Further research indicates she has made about a dozen jumps but has been taking a break here lately. Dean is working on a re-designed jump rig to advance the art of taking Whisper along on wingsuit flights.


Video screenshot: Whipser the wingsuit BASE jumping dog looking happy in flight!


 You'll be able to learn more about Whisper and her BASE jumps in Potter's 22 minute film When Dogs Fly but I'm not sure when and where you'll be able to see it. I'll update later when I find out... til then, I think Whisper is a true AirPigz at heart and deserves some bacon!

(and please don't go off on me about how bacon is bad for dogs... as an occasional treat in small quantities, bacon is perfectly fine for a dog!)


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Tuesday
May272014

Video: Long-EZ Cloud Skimming (Music Video)


 This fresh and beautiful video of a homebuilt Long-EZ skimming along the edge the clouds sure looks like fun! (note that the airplane is flying IFR to keep things legal and safe)

 I've been familair with Long-EZ history since I was 14 when it's predecessor the VariEze first showed up at Oshkosh in 1975 powered by a Volkswagen engine. But even with years of knowledge and exposure to the design, I've never even had the chance to sit in a Long-EZ... so I especially enjoyed this video because it gives me a great idea of how awesome the view from the front seat is. I just added the Long-EZ to my 'fantasy hangar', but honestly that hangar is really gettin' packed tight!

 So many airplanes. So little money : /


What a view from the front seat of a Long-EZ while cloud skimming!

 

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Monday
May262014

Memorial Day 2014: Remembering Those Who Gave All


 For Americans, Memorial Day shouldn't be about cookouts, family and fun... not that there's anything wrong with any of that, but as a nation of people who are free only because of those who are willing to put their life on the line to defend that freedom, we have a responsibility to remember those who gave all they had.

 Please remember this Memorial Day to honor those who have died in military service to the United States of America.


Friday
May232014

Uh Oh... Texas Police Are After Red Bull Air Racer Kirby Chambliss (Video)


 Texas native Kirby Chambliss gets some promotional love from the Texas Police as they help us all remember that the Red Bull Air Race will be at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on September 6-7, 2014.


Kirby Chambliss flying under a Texas highway overpass!
 

 Three of the eight 2014 races are now done after last weekend's event in Malaysia which saw UK pilot Nigel Lamb come out on top, Hannes Arch from Austria took second and Australia's Matt Hall came in third. This leaves Hannes Arch at the top of the list in the overall rankings so far this season. Watch the video below for a great recap of the Malaysia event.



 There's a break in the action now until July 26-27 when the racing picks up again in Poland. Two races will take place in the USA, the Fort Worth event on September 6-7 and then in Las Vegas on October 11-12. Get the full schedule and loads more info at RedBullAirRace.com.

 
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Wednesday
May212014

Poll: Awesome Or Ugly? The 1960's Era 'Dyke Delta' Homebuilt

Dave Williams' beautifully built Dyke Delta at Oshkosh 2010


 I can still remember being somewhere in the EAA campground at Oshkosh in about 1970 or 1971 and hearing John Dyke talking to someone about his Jetsons-like Dyke Delta. Even as a 10 year old I knew this airplane was something very special. I assumed then that the Dyke Delta would be built in large numbers because of its incredible look, its 3-1/2 place cabin, and the relatively high cruise speed of 170mph+ on 180hp. But for whatever reason, this high-performance flying machine never really caught on with homebuilders... only 50 or so have been built from the plans (no kits were available) despite the fact that the prototype for the JD-2 Delta has accumulated over 2,000 hours of flying time since its first flight in 1966.

Dave Williams' Dyke Delta in flight  (photo: eaa.org)
 

 Maybe the look was just too far into the future for people? I don't think that's it, but I did figure that the Dyke Delta is a perfect subject for an Awesome or Ugly poll. As I mentioned in the last AorU poll, every unusual design I've picked so far is one I personally think is awesome. That continues here with the Dyke Delta, which I think is one of the coolest collection of thoughts to ever wind up sitting on the flightline at Oshkosh. You avgeeks in the AirPigz camp usually agree with me, so let's find out again... please answer the poll question below: is the Dyke Delta awesome or ugly??

read more about John Dyke and his Delta in this EAA experimenter article from 2009





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