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The Boomerang (Burt's Favorite Creation) And The Oregon Aero Custom Interior (12 Pix)

(click pic for hi-res)  The Boomerang: nearly ready to fly at Mojave in 1996

Burt’s favorite creation:

 When world-famous aircraft designer Burt Rutan completed the Boomerang in 1996, the design looked wildly unusual, even for one from a designer who was well known for shattering conventional thought. But while aircraft from Burt like the VariViggen (his first design) and the Long-EZ (his most popular) and SpaceShipOne (his most widely known) were all very different than what we used to seeing, they all were at least symmetrical designs... meaning, if you cut them in half down the middle, the left and right sides had the same shape. But with the Boomerang, even deciding where the middle was might leave you confused!  And once you decided where you were going make that cut, you sure weren’t going to get a left and a right that looked anything alike.

 Interestingly, it was a desire to create a design that ‘flew’ symmetrically that gave the Boomerang such an unusual look. Burt wanted to create an efficient twin engine aircraft that flew nearly as well with an engine out as it did with both running, and would do so regardless of which engine was no longer running. Traditional twin-engine aircraft with an engine on each wing can be very difficult to fly safely on just one engine. Push/pull centerline thrust designs had addressed this in the past, but mounting an engine on either end of the passenger cabin doesn’t create the most comfortable environment to spend 3 to 6 hours. So, using his out-of-the-box creativity and strong engineering skills, Burt designed one of the most unusual airplanes we’ve ever seen. In the process he created his own personal favorite aircraft, and one that accomplished his very safe flying qualities on one engine goal.

One of the world's most unusual airplanes: Burt Rutan's Boomerang

 The Boomerang is built largely of carbon fiber and is pressurized to 4.6 psi. The engines are Lycoming TIO-360’s with the one on the main fuselage making 210hp and the one on the boom making 200hp. It carries about 170 gallons of fuel which gives the potential for economy cruise at 24,000 feet of 240 mph for up to 10 hours making a range of about 2,400 miles! There are five seats total, with the three seats in the back providing excellent stretch-out leg room.


 Burt flew the Boomerang for several years as his personal aircraft, but some heart surgeries in 2002 changed his ability to fly and the Boomerang was parked. When Burt retired from Scaled Composites in 2010 he was looking for something good to do with the Boomerang, a way for its existence to have an impact on the future. Putting it in a museum would have some affect on the future, but if the airplane was restored to flying condition (from having sat parked for several years) its impact could be far greater. That’s where Tres Clements comes into the picture. Tres is an engineer at Scaled Composites who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to answer ’yes’ to Burt when he asked if Tres wanted the Boomerang. By becoming the leader of a group of people to restore the Boomerang and then fly it as well, Tres could give Burt’s favorite baby the care it needed while helping the world stay in contact with one of the most interesting aircraft ever built.

The Boomerang during restoration by Tres Clements and crew at Mojave

 Interior by Oregon Aero:

 You might already know that the Boomerang was a big hit at Oshkosh 2011 when Tres brought it out from California for its first public exposure in over 10 years. Thousands of people looked the airplane over closely with the opportunity to walk right up to it and even see inside with the unique cockpit windshield plug door being open along with the right side fold-down step/door open much of the time as well. If you happened to be there, then like me, you probably noticed that while the outside of the Boomerang was nicely painted and looked great for a 15 year old prototype, the inside looked like an experimental spaceship that didn’t care if you were comfortable or not. This is where Oregon Aero from Scappoose, Oregon comes into the picture. In late 2011, Tres flew the Boomerang up to Scappoose to have Oregon Aero install a complete custom-built interior system in the Boomerang… for the first time since its completion in 1996, the Boomerang was going to be a complete aircraft. (see Boomerang pix before the interior installation at the bottom of this post)

The Boomerang at OSH11 attracting attention before the week had even started

 Oregon Aero was started in 1989 by Mike Dennis and his wife Jude to help people fly pain-free by engineering and manufacturing comfortable, safer and quieter products that meet a wide range of customer needs. What started with just one product designed to make headsets more comfortable has grown into a company that offers various headset and helmet comfort products, as well as being a premier supplier of enhanced-comfort and improved-safety seat cushions and seating systems. And, as is shown by the stunning custom work accomplished on the Boomerang, Oregon Aero is an expert at producing interiors for production aircraft, or even one-of-a-kind homebuilts. They’ve reached a level of expertise that they are a significant supplier of enhanced-comfort/low-fatigue ejection seat cushions for U.S. military aircraft like the F-22 Raptor. They are also a supplier of helmet liners, ear seals, and microphone covers for military aircraft, including the F-22.

 Customers wanting an Oregon Aero interior can bring their aircraft to their facilities on the Scappoose Industrial Airpark (KSPB) just north of Portland, or for many interior projects you can ship your interior to them for upgrade. They have customers from all across the country who get seat upgrades or entire interior upgrades without ever having their airplane leave home. And their facilities and staff are up to the challenge of handling whatever aircraft interior need you have. They do work on small aircraft like Cubs and RV-12’s, all the way thru to cabin-class twins.

(click pic for hi-res)  Gorgeous interior by Oregon Aero in the one-of-a-kind Boomerang

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Video: 20 Foot Span RC B-25 With 2 Moki 400's! (First Flight)

 Really big RC models are intriguing because they can look so real in their getting-close-to-life-size dimensions. You also know that they have taken an enormous amount of work and dedication to reach completion. But for me, the biggest payoff comes with how real they look in the air. Small models are just too twitchy to look real.

 This 20 foot wingspan B-25, built in Germany over 5-1/2 years and powered by two Moki 400 5-cylinder radials looks incredibly real in the air. And while the Moki engines don't convince you that they're Wright R-2600's, they have unique radial sound all their own that is truly awesome. The music that two of them make, well, it's just perfect.

 Congratulations to the team in Germany on their amazing piece of work!

Video screenshot of this amazing 30% scale B-25 RC model

Check out the build page for the B-25 build team:


 Engine run of the real Apache Princess from Kermit Weeks' collection of flying aircraft. Check out the Fantasy of Flight page with info on this B-25.

Hat tip to my friend Christian for the link on the B-25 model.

Like this post? Tell your friends... use the 'share' or 'email' article links below - thanx : )


Video: Sean Tucker And The Extreme Machine!

 I listened to Sean Tucker talk at an event in the Theater in the Woods at Oshkosh last year and I went from being a guy impressed with Sean's flying to being a guy impressed with Sean as a person.

 This short but extremely well done video on vimeo shows why you should be impressed with his flying... and if you haven't already, hopefully you'll get to hear him talk or even have a chat with him yourself someday to see what an interesting man he really is.

 And he gets extra points from me since his extreme machine has two wings. Enjoy!

Sean Tucker pushing it hard and lovin' every minute of it

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Part 3: Blue Angels Mega Post  (Video+CoolPix+Desktop)

(click pic for hi-res)  Pensacola Beach airshow pic from 2012 #awesome

 The Blue Angels mega-post comes to an end today, but I hope it has served to drive you to their airshow schedule to see when and where you can experience them live and in person. I see several dates that will potentially work for me this summer and look forward to it!

 You might remember that when the Navy released the image above from the 2012 Pensacola Beach airshow, it was flipped over with the world upside-down, which is the way it was captured... and while that was very impressive to view, I had a feeling that it might be more powerful when flipped over with the world right-side-up. So I flipped it over in photoshop and it came alive for me. Then I decided to see if I was just a weirdo or if more of you agreed with me. The poll I put up showed over 70% agreed that it was a more powerful image when flipped over as seen above, so that's how I made it available as a desktop pic. Here it is again in four popular desktop sizes in case you didn't snag it before:

Pensacola Beach 2012 Blue Angels inverted pass:


 Here's a very nice compilation video from a few years back that shows the Blue Angels in some truly beautiful views. It can be watched in HD and it has a non-offensive soundtrack... go full screen and enjoy!


 This excellent video from the KPIX (San Francisco) Evening Magazine is from back in 1985 and gives some background into the Blue Angels A4 Skyhawk training camp. It's fascinating to hear Blue Angels pilot Mike Gershon say that after his year with the team as narrator he assumed he understood the level of effort required to be one of the guys inside the cockpit... yet he realized when he made that transition to the cockpit that he had no idea of the physical and mental effort required to put a show on. Imagine how unaware you and I are.

 It's important to note that shortly after this program was recorded, Mike Gershon was killed when he and the other solo A4 flown by Andy Caputi collided at the crossover on the top of a loop. Andy Caputi ejected safely but Mike lost his life in the accident. You can learn more in a very respectful follow up video here.

 The risks are real for the Blue Angels, but then life is full of risk at every turn for each and every one of us. The challenge for us all is to seek wisdom and knowledge, making the best decisions we can in every situation. The Blue Angels serve as one of the greatest examples of this way of life.

 If you think about it, the extreme skill displayed by the Blue Angels is meant to represent a willingness and capability in defending the United States of America... and ultimately, the USA is only defended when men and women join the military (any branch) and prepare to fight if needed. So when you see the Blue Angels (or the USAF Thunderbirds) please remember that Americans (you and me) owe a lot to all the people willing to fight for this nation.

 This last video is from the Blue Angels era before the A4 Skyhawk. It's an old Super 8mm film shot in 1970 of the Blues in F-4 Phantom's at Suffolk County AFB in Long Island New York. There's an honest nostalgia in it that makes a guy like me, who lived as a kid thru that time frame, ache with a desire for the good ole days. But even if you weren't alive back then, I'm guessing you'll have no trouble agreeing with me that the F-4's look fantastic in that great paint.

 An alternate way to experience the video above is to first mute the audio (simply click the speaker icon next to the start button)... then click this link which will open a new tab and start an audio-only video... then come back to this tab and hit the play button as soon as you can. It's a beautiful experience.

Thank you Blue Angels... past, present, and future.

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Part 2: Blue Angels Mega Post  (Video+CoolPix+Desktop)

 Here's more fabulous Blue Angels content to help you and me both feel a little more like we're at Vero Beach Florida today and tomorrow enjoying a performance from the world's greatest aerobatic team. You're seeing Baltimore back in 2012 behind the blue and gold here in the CoolPix above... the Navy does a great job of making awesome images like this available, but if you don't know where to look it's easy to miss out. I take it all a little farther down the road then too by sizing up some desktop images for you and passing them around for free.

Blue Angels over Baltimore on 6-15-12:


 This short video gives you a great view of the Blues in a tight diamond formation as they slide in right behind Sean Tucker in his Oracle Challenger over Seattle back in 2010. What a sight to see these very different aircraft looking quite comfortable in formation... too bad there wasn't a GoPro on the tailwheel of the Challenger, that would have made for such a wonderful view of the Blues.

 This 33 minute video will make you feel like you're right there enjoying a full Blue Angels performance, which is exactly what it is. It's a broadcast-quality recording of the 2012 Miramar Air Show... from taxi-out thru til taxi-in, with the full show in between. It's also viewable in 1080p HD, which means this would be a great video to stream into a big flat TV, or at least full screen on your computer. There's no music, no talking, just pure Blue Angels all in high quality!

(click pic for hi-res)  Up close in formation showing how close they are!

 The CoolPix above is from 2011 over Pensacola Florida... imagine yourself inside about 30,000 pounds of jet going 300mph THIS close to another pretty blue 30,000 pound hunk of metal! And then imagine that the tolerance for how far you can be from the exact correct position is about 18 inches... and hold that tolerance for much of a 30 minute performance. The observe-decide-act frequency going on in their heads must be staggering. It's. Just. Awesome.

 Here's hoping you have a very Blue weekend! Watch for part 3 tomorrow.

 Like this post? Tell your friends... use the 'share' or 'email' article links below - thanx : )


Blue Angels 3-Part Mega Post! Fri-Sat-Sun (Video+CoolPix+Desktop) Part 1

(click pic for hi-res) Awesome Blue Angels pic from 2010 (Navy photo by Ron Trevino)

 The AWESOME Blue Angels are in Vero Beach Florida this weekend to wow airshow fans with what hard work, discipline, and pure dedication can produce... the world's greatest aerobatic team! But if you're like me, it doesn't look like Vero Beach out your window. So, I thought I'd do what I can to bring the Blue Angels experience to you in a 3-part Fri-Sat-Sun mega post. The pic above is a CoolPix so you can open it up big, or you can download one of the free desktop sizes I put together for you below.

Blue Angels Jax show 2010:


 This first video is a short one uploaded to youtube just a few weeks ago and shows a backseat view during a Blue Angels practice. It's simply unimaginable that these guys can fly this close together, at these speeds, AND doing maneuvers! The Navy consistently finds (and trains) these super humans capable of doing what honestly seems impossible. It would be one thing to be able to perform at this level for a few minutes, but to put on a full show week after week requires a focus and disciple that boggles the mind. Bravo Blues!

 The second video is an older one that runs almost 10 minutes and is full of incredible backseat views of the team performing. Even if you see it before it's ALWAYS worth seeing again.

(click pic for hi-res)  The Blue Angels diamond formation at Reno back in 2009

 The CoolPix above is one that I captured at Reno back in 2009. It's another graphic example of just how close together these F/A-18's fly during a Blue's performance. Even better, they flew several days in a row that year... I never ever get tired of seeing and hearing the Blue Angels own the sky!


 This last video for the Blue Angels mega-post part 1 is one of the most impressive Blue Angels videos I've ever seen, and it doesn't even have a single F/A-18 in it. It's all about Fat Albert with a cockpit view of a 2009 performance of the C-130 at an airshow at Barksdale AFB. The cockpit crew communication and cooperation is outstanding! It's a great way to see the kind of discipline that makes the entire Blue Angels experience the best in the world.

 Enjoy, my avgeek friends, and watch for part 2 coming tomorrow!

Like this post? Tell your friends... use the 'share' or 'email' article links below - thanx : )


CoolPix On AirPigz... Over 160 Awesome Hi-Res Aircraft Images! 

(click pic for hi-res) Precious Metal in the Gold Race final at Reno 2013 (posted 11-6-13) 

 The CoolPix category on AirPigz has grown to over 160 hi-res images. It's a mix of photos I've captured at events in the last five years along with either current military or older public domain photos... but the point is that they should all make you think or say something between wow and OMGosh when you open them up big to fill your screen! I try to make sure there's something special or very interesting about each one them.

 It's easy for this category to go unnoticed tho, so I've decided every now and then I'll give y'all a little reminder... so go now and spend a little time scrolling thru a fabulous batch of visual avgeekery!

CoolPix on AirPigz

Like this post? Tell your friends... use the 'share' or 'email' article links below - thanx : ) 


CoolPix: The Beauty Of Biplanes - Antique Airfield 2013 (+Desktop Pix)

(click pic for hi-res) Meyers OTW with a Stearman in the background at Antique Airfield

 Today is the first full day of the new AirPigz! The fine people at Oregon Aero have partnered up with me to give me the opportunity to make AirPigz sizzle once again... more on all that later, but right now I hope you'll check out their website (or the catalog download to the upper left below the AirPigz logo) and get to know the products and services they offer. You should also note the 10% discount coupon in the right column! I'm hoping you'll do business with Oregon Aero which will in turn keep AirPigz in the revenue-generating world : )

 The CoolPix image above is another from the 2013 Antique Airplane Association invitational fly-in in Blakesburg Iowa last year. The fabulous Ryan SCW CoolPix from the other day was from the same event. I think you can see that Antique Airfield is an amazing place to experience the beauty and majesty of the golden age of aviation. I'm just now realizing that I have several awesome images from the event that I should be sharing with you, so now I am!

 The Meyers OTW (Out To Win) in the foreground looks classic and timeless, but if you're not familiar with the airplane you might be surprised to note that the fuselage is actually aluminum instead of tube and fabric like most biplanes from the 1930's. When you click the pic to enlarge it (or download a desktop size below) you'll really be able to see the rivets. And of course the yellow Stearman in the background is a true icon of the era.

 I hope you enjoy the free desktop pix and the new 'sponsored' look of!

Biplanes at Antique Airfield 2013:


 Like this post? Tell your friends... use the 'share' or 'email' article links below - thanx : )


Video: Seriously Awesome RC XC-142 VTOL (Must See!)

 If you're short on time and just need an under-a-minute avgeek experience, you'll wanna go here instead of watching the video above... but if you like awesome, cool, and truly amazing examples of modern tech being used to make extremely difficult aircraft designs fly great in model form, then please take 15 minutes to watch this.

 The real XC-142 was a remarkably successful VTOL design from the early 1960's. However, even tho it proved capable of vertical takeoffs and landings along with over 400mph maximum speed, mechanical complexities and aerodynamic problems in certain phases of flight prevented it from moving beyond the prototype stage. Five XC-142's were built, and the only remaining example is the one turned over to NASA in 1966. It's on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and I have spend quite a lot of time looking this unique aircraft over on each trip I've made to Dayton.

 The December 2013 video above of the all-electric RC model XC-142 begins with northern California builder and pilot Ran D. St. Clair explaining a little about the design, then sharing some details on the open-source OpenAero2 flight controller software, and then showing the wing pivot process and interconnect with the horizontal tail. The first of the flying begins at the 3:10 mark. The flying footage is very impressive.


 As the inflight pic above shows, this model is extremely well built, but the really impressive work is how well the programming has been done to create a very controlled VTOL flying machine. Transitions from vertical to slow-forward-flight and then full-forward-flight and then back to vertical for landing are done with relative ease. The video is also very well done which gives you a really great opportunity to see this remarkable little model at its best.

 And in case you think that little vertical prop in the rear is a nod to the pitch-control tail rotor found on modern electric toy helicopters, think again... the real XC-142 has one there too for pitch control when in vertical mode.

 Bravo Ran D. St. Clair for some very impressive work! 

Like this post? Tell your friends... use the 'share' or 'email' article links below - thanx : ) 


CoolPix: Ryan SCW At Antique Airfield 2013 (Perfection!)

(click pic for hi-res)  The incredibly beautiful Ryan SCW owned by Russell Williams

 AirPigz is indeed back! I probably won't be posting everyday but you can expect several posts each week. You'll also soon see an update to the look with an exclusive sponsor of AirPigz... it's all pretty exciting stuff : )

 One thing I'd really like to ask of you all... if you like what you see here, if a post specifically connects with you or you thinks it's worthy of sharing with your avgeek friends, then please use the 'email article' feature at the bottom of the post. Or, if you see the link to the post on facebook or twitter, please share it with your followers. The time is right for AirPigz to increase its reach, but that happens most effectively when you let others know about what's going on here. Your help this way would be greatly appreciated!

 The CoolPix here today is of the Ryan SCW owned and flown by Russell Williams from the Seattle area. I had first seen his SCW at the Antique Airplane Association fly-in at Antique Airfield in 2012. It was one of the first airplanes I saw when I arrived onsite, which was the first time I'd been to an AAA fly-in since I was a kid over 40 years ago. But I have been a fan of the relatively rare SCW since I was very young... that long tapered wing is easy to fall in love with! I included some pix of Russell's in that first post about the 2012 event and then later in the year when we connected via facebook, Russell saw that I had an interest in his glistening beauty and offered a ride at the 2013 event. (more AirPigz SCW posts here and here)

 The pic above is from the day I got my ride at Antique Airfield in 2013. What a perfect day and such a wondeful airplane to experience. Russell let me fly it about 10 minutes over the beautiful Iowa contryside on our evening flight... it was everything I had hoped it would be. Thanks Russell! I look forward to seeing you and the SCW at Antique Airfield again : )


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