Harrier’s Arrive For Seafair

Hey people! As I arrived for camp today, I noticed an AV-8B Harrier parked behind the Blue Angels at the Military Flight Center. Harriers are on the schedule for Seafair. Later, two Harriers landed af BFI.

Watching a Harrier land is weird, because it is like a mix of helicopter and jet. It seems to easily glide to a soft landing. Harriers are very cool to watch, but incredibly loud when they hover. Have fun at Seafair!

-Graham

Boeing Field Seafair Arrivals

Hi! Today at Boeing Field, Seafair prep is going into full swing. The Blue Angels got here yesterday, after camp yesterday I saw an EA-6B landing. Today, I have so far seen another F/A-18 (not the Blue Angels), a P-3 Orion, and what looked like an Extra 300S. Another person from Museum of Flight Camp reported seeing a P-8 Poseidon.
That makes 11 Navy aircraft (7 Blue Angels, 2 Maritime Patrol, plus the other F-18 and EA-6B).

I am also expecting an A-10 Warthog, multiple stunt planes (The Oracle Challenger), an AV-8B Harrier, and some Coast Guard choppers. Should be a nice year! I also drove past the USS Bonhomme Richard (USN/USMC Anthibious Assault Ship), the deck was full of MH-53’s, AH-64’s, and V-22’s. Can’t wait! Thanks!

-Graham

(From my Iphone)

Air Mobility Rodeo 2011?

Hi everyone! I recently read a comment on a post about McChord AFB. It was about the Air Expo. I believe the commenter was talking about the Air Rodeo at McChord. I don’t know much about it, but I think it is a meeting at McChord involving many friendly nations and military personnel competing in dozens of different events. I read it is from July 23-27. At night after the competitions they have big parties near the base. It is not a public event (unless you have special media clearance), but I am guessing it will be a busy aviation day. I think I will go check it out on the 22nd or 23rd (arriving aircraft?). Again, I don’t know much about it, but if you like McChord, you should check it out! Thanks!

-Graham

Ultralight Aviation

Hellllo! The first aircraft I ever flew on FSX was an Air Creation Trike Ultralight. It is like a little hang glider but with an engine. I never did look into Ultralight Aviation until recently. Apparently, if the plane is classified as an Ultralight (as opposed to an LSA or “Light Sport Aircraft”) there are no age or training requirements. That means, I could go out and buy an Ultralight go to Boeing Field, and fly one out. Of course, I won’t do that, it is “strongly recommended” that you get training before flying solo. I have found some places were I can learn to fly one and hope to do it soon.

An Ultralight: “a single seat vehicle of less than 5 US gallons (19 L) fuel capacity, empty weight of less than 254 pounds (115 kg), a top speed of 55 knots (102 km/h or 64 mph), and a maximum stall speed not exceeding 24 knots (45 km/h or 27.6 mph).” 

That is the garden variety definition of an Ultralight. You can only fly Ultralights during the day and in good weather, but other than that, you can do whatever you want with it. A fancy and reliable Ultralight will cost between $15,000 and $45,000. You could buy a cheap used one for as much as $4000 but it could be a little sketchy. And “sketchy” could cost you your life.

I want to eventually buy a semi-nice and reliable Ultralight. Then go somewhere for the tiny amount of necessary training (just a few hours), then solo and be able to fly all the time. I have a savings account for it, but I may need to ask Bill Gates for some loans. It would be awesome to own one, but I know I would be a bit nervous flying alone at age 13. My dream Ultralight would be a 2011 Air Creation Skypper Trike.

The problem is, the Skypper is a two seat trike. This makes it no longer an Ultralight but an LSA (Light Sport Aircraft). In that case, I need a Sport Pilot License. This could get expensive and have an age limit. If I can’t get a Sports Pilot License, I will get a single seat trike, and not need any certification. Below are some links:

http://www.aircreation.fr/anglais/Products/Trikes/tabid/101/language/en-US/Default.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultralight_aviation

Feel free to donate to my Ultralight fund! Thanks!

-Graham

Tours Of 787 + Whidbey Island NAS?

Hi. Yesterday at CAP, I heard that the squadron may get to tour the 787 (Boeings newest plane) and Whidbey Island NAS. I have heard that the inside of the 787 is awesome, and we are touring a brand new one. NAS Whidbey Island will be very cool because I have only been on a military base once (Nellis AFB), and it was during a special event. It will be different to be able to see the everyday life on a military base and especially everyday flight ops. These will be my first activities with CAP outside of the regular meetings. Sorry, this is an Iphone post, so I may have bad grammar. Thanks!
-Graham

Busy Day At Boeing Field

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Hello everyone. Today I went to Boeing Field on a planespotting trip. I thought it was going to be a normal day, but the second I arrived I knew it wasn’t. Across from my spot (the first parking lot past the tower) I could see a USAF C-130 Hercules and just next to it was a USN F/A-18 Hornet.

After sitting for a while it seemed like a normal day (lots of corporate jets, the occasional Boeing test flight, and of course private planes) but then I saw a grayish camouflaged private jet. It taxied past and I could see some markings: A large “GA” on the side, “Phoenix Air” written on the fuselage, and some kind of odd equipment under the left wing (I later saw a normal colored private jet with the same equipment).

 At first I thought it was strange to have a civilian aircraft with military camouflage and military style markings (the GA on the side looked like a tail marking on a fighter jet). But when another “Phoenix Air” aircraft taxied past I caught the tail number. Using an app on my Iphone I ran it through a database and found all the info. It was a Gates Learjet, registered to “Phoenix Air Group”. Just after the “Phoenix Air” passed, another Gates Learjet (plain white colors but with the same equipment under the left wing) passed. Out of curiosity I ran the tail number through my Iphone. Although it was not camouflage it was still registered to “Phoenix Air Group”.

After that I searched “Phoenix Air Group” online and on the main page it listed several sub-pages. One of them said “Military Ops”. I went to that page and it talked about its contracting missions with the military and how it is “a world leader in providing real-time threat training to military fighter aircraft, ships and air surveillance units.”

That explained what Phoenix Air Group does with its military camouflage Gates Learjet’s. Now, back to the two military aircraft on the tarmac. I noticed the rotating beacon light (activated when the main electronics are on) on the F-18 was on. The canopy (a fighter jets door) was still open, but I could see people walking around the jet. Several minutes later, I looked over and saw the canopy had closed and then I saw it start to taxi out. I didn’t catch the callsign on my scanner, but I heard something get cleared for takeoff. Then the F-18 came down the runway and lifted off almost directly in front of us. I had a great view and could almost feel the full afterburner being used.

It was very exciting and one of the best sightings I have had at Boeing Field, but the day wasn’t over yet. I had a few more rare sightings. One time, I was sitting on the hood of the car, and heard a piston engine. This one sounded very old, and loud for a piston. I looked up and saw what looked to be a WWII era fighter with US military markings. I barely caught the tail number. After running it through my phone it said that it was an AT-6 Texan, the AT-6 was a US military trainer. One odd fact is that the AT-6 Texan WAS a trainer but the current USAF trainer is the T-6 Texan II. So if this keeps going, then there will only be one name for the USAF basic trainer.

I also spotted several old fashioned biplanes and I spotted a Turkish Air Force 737 Wedgetail (the Wedgetail is… Well a wedged tail, but it is used like an AWAC for electronic warfare and early warning. Techno-stuff). All in all, this was one of the best days at BFI, but I still have un-answered questions. What is that thing under the left wing? (It sounds like an aviation horror movie). When will the C-130 takeoff? Why was the F-18 not with a friend (another F-18)? Oh, well! Thanks!

-Graham

KC-135 At Boeing Field

Hello all! A couple of days ago, I landed at Sea-Tac Airport (KSEA) after my trip to California. On approach to KSEA we flew over Boeing Field (King County International Airport or KBFI). I saw a large military jet parked on the tarmac (it looked like a tanker) so after I landed, I went straight to KBFI. Turns out it was a KC-135 (a large military tanker, but very old and soon to be replaced) Stratotanker. It was parked outside Clay Lacy (an aviation maintenance company) which doesn’t make sense because a civilian company wouldn’t be doing maintenance on a KC-135. I don’t know if it is still parked, but I would like to see it take off. Thanks!

-Graham

Summer and California!

Hey! Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, I just got out of school and took a bit of a break. I visited Oakland, CA and its neighbor San Francisco. It was very warm and fun! Recently I have seen a large increase (just from looking up at the sky) in aviation activity. This is probably due to the warmer weather and sunnier days. I will continue posting regularly over the summer! Thanks!

-Graham

Blimp Goes Down In Germany, Pilot Saves Lives

Hi! I have not heard about this until just now, apparently, a blimp was on a routine flight with journalists in Reichelsheim, Germany when it crashed on landing. The pilot lowered the two journalists to just a couple of meters above the ground and they jumped. The blimp then shot up to a high altitude and crashed. The pilot (an Australian) was killed in the resulting fire, but has been honored for his heroic actions. Details haven’t come out yet, but the passengers “smelled fuel and heard a loud noise from an engine” before the crash. Link below. Thanks!

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/14/blimp-pilot-dies-saving-passengers-from-fiery-crash/?hpt=hp_c2

-Graham

“Liberty Belle” Crashed!

Hey everyone! Sorry to say this, but the B-17 Flying Fortress “Liberty Belle” has been destroyed. I posted about the two B-17’s offering rides. Yeah, Liberty Belle and Aluminum Overcast. Liberty Belle had an in-flight fire and had to set down in a cornfield just outside of Chicago (Oswego, Illinois). Great work from the crew led to the successful landing with no loss of life. But sadly the fire destroyed the aircraft. I have to keep this brief, you can read my older post all about the B-17 tour foundations. Links are below, also a headline in The Seattle Times. Thanks!

http://www.libertyfoundation.org/index.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-bomber-crash-20110614,0,6175429.story

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2015308240_apusbombercrash.html

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/06/13/vo.bomber.crash.WLS?iref=allsearch

Short School Essay On The Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) Fighter Jets

Graham Benedict

Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) Fighter’s

6/14/11

 

Since the USSR was temporarily our enemy, one of the most feared pieces of machinery in the world has been the MiG. The MiG is a Russian fighter, many versions of the MiG were produced, and some are still used today. MiG’s are famous all around the globe, but especially in the USA and Russia. Russia is proud to have created the MiG, while American fighter pilots aspire to shoot down a MiG. When you read anything about the tools of the Cold War, you will hear about MiG’s.

Even in training today, in modern aircraft, pilots still dream of getting into an intense, aggressive dogfight with a MiG. During the Cold War the ultimate achievement was to shoot down a MiG. There were no Soviet-American dogfights; but later in time the military did get their chance at killing MiG’s.

This chance came up after the Cold War and during the Gulf War, when the Iraqi Air Force began to attack the Coalition Air Campaign with MiG’s. The Iraqi’s were completely outnumbered and no match for the USAF’s advanced technology. The ones that were not shot down retreated, causing another problem (more on that later). 38 MiG’s were shot down during the Gulf War.

The problem (tactical-wise) is that the retreating Iraqi Air Force was able to land with extra MiG’s. The US government was concerned that these MiG’s would end up in the wrong hands, so recently the US bought nine MiG-29’s. The MiG-29 is the model still used today by the Russian Air Force. The US said that they were trying to prevent “rogue” countries (Iran) from getting the MiG’s. Now the US has knowledge of the systems in MiG-29’s and has taken some threat from the market.

MiG’s are now mostly a part of history (apart from the MiG-29), and are now a treasured antique. The Historic Flight Foundation (HFF) in Everett recently bought an older version of the MiG-29. The HFF is owned by Paul Allen (local rich guy, involved with Microsoft). The MiG flew right over my house, very low. It was very cool, but at the same time I was kind of wondering why Russian jets were flying around here in Seattle.  

MiG’s contributed to many wars, they are always going to be one of the most notorious fighter jets of all time. With so many variations and so much history, MiG’s are the perfect machine. Unlike aircraft such as the B-17 Flying Fortress, the MiG is not nearly extinct. In fact there are almost too many at times. You can find them in foreign militaries, museums, and who knows where else. Just outside Baghdad, a MiG was discovered buried in the ground!

Used by many nations around the globe, reaching speeds of 1,520 MPH, and flying at 55,000 feet. How could you not like the MiG? Enemy or antique, people will always love the MiG. I hope they will always be flying and I hope they can be used as a tool to help educate people about the Cold War.

 

 

Away In Chicago.

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I have been away in Chicago for my cousins wedding recently. Sorry for the lack of posts. I am just at Sea-Tac waiting for pick-up. The flight back was on a 737-800 and it was very turbulent. I found it fun but my mom hated it. BTW: Midway Airport in Chicago has great food choices. Iphone post (I hope to upgrade to the Iphone 4) sorry for typos. Thanks!
-Graham

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Sightings

Hello all! I was recently away on a school camping trip to Camp Casey (Whidbey Island, WA). We visited many places including the town of Coupeville. Coupeville is 15 miles from NAS Whidbey Island, but is home to Coupeville NOLF (Naval Outlying Field). Coupeville NOLF is not a very active airstrip from what I can tell. No parking spots, one small runway, and no tower. I assume that if NAS Whidbey Island gets congested with traffic, then they can send aircraft to Coupeville to do touch and go’s.

While on a trip to Coupeville I could hear many military jets, but the low cloud cover and slight fog made it very hard to see. Luckily, two EA-6B’s flew low level straight over the main part of the town. They were in formation at an altitude that couldn’t have been more than 1,000 feet. That was all I could see of naval aviation for the trip, though I could hear jets flying around all the time, I could never see them due to the poor weather. On the way to Deception Pass State Park, we drove right past NAS Whidbey, but nothing was flying. I saw the entrance to the base with a big sign and two EA-6B’s on display.

Another cool thing I saw on the trip was a submarine being escorted by several other vessels. I believe it was from the nearby submarine base, and I think it was a nuclear submarine. I would like to go back and find a good place to go planespotting near NAS Whidbey and I think it is very busy with touch and gos, like Luke AFB in Arizona. Although I always prefer the air force, naval aviation is also very cool. Thanks!

-Graham

Military Helicopter Over West Seattle Stadium?

Hey! Today at track and field practice at West Seattle Stadium I spotted a military helicopter. I had a long time to examine it as it passed over, but I still couldn’t be sure what it was. But from what I saw it was a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter, with solid dark green (camo colored) paint, many little antennas sticking out, and no markings. It was circling the stadium then it flew past and circled. I think it may not be a military helicopter, but an ex-military, civilian owned helicopter. I will try to find out what it is, but I am almost positive it was a Bell Jet Ranger. Thanks!

-Graham