RIAT is the Royal International Air Tatoo — simply Europe’s biggest of air shows and takes place at RAF Fairford near Gloucestershire UK. More than 150,000 attended last week to see antique aircraft, historical airplanes, the newest in aviation technology, one of the last flights of the sole flying Avro Vulcan as well as premier flight demonstration teams. Nick Horrox and Bill Ramsey provided observation as well as insight for this post while Alex Horrox lent his excellent images.
Bill Ramsey, retired RAF and Red Arrow pilot, was on the Vulcan flight crew at RIAT 2015. He advises the Red Arrows fly with air brakes (speed brakes as they are known in the U.S.) extended at lower air speeds for two significant reasons. First, the aircraft can be flown at higher power settings which increase throttle responsiveness (formation flying calls for large and quick power changes). Second, the turbulence aft of the panel distributes the smoke favorably (favourably in the UK). Bill is also Technical Project Research and Development Consultant with The People’s Mosquito.
Bill Ramsey was piloting the Vulcan during the formation flypast (fly by in the U.S.) with Kev Rumens acting copilot — with a flypast air speed of 270 knots. The Red Arrows used their air brakes while the Vulcan did not require its air brakes (and he jests they would make for a worse image if extended). Vastly dissimilar aircraft are a wonder to witness flying in formation, are they not!
The People’s Mosquito (TPM) is the innovative project to rebuild a de Havilland Mosquito — “The Wooden Wonder” — and place it in the public trust — making it the only non privately owned flying Mossie. TPM was well represented and well received at the air show which is unsurprising since fund raising is accelerating though only in its second year. Progress is significant as was shown in TPM’s display tent with some of the remains of Mosquito RL249 (the specific aircraft being built anew from the ground up as the data plate survives), the donor airframe and new wing ribs cut by Aerowood Ltd. [See much more information by using “Peoples Mosquito” in the search window. Information on the wing ribs, the wood and the cutting for example.]
Readers at Travel for Aircraft may be interested in a raffle that the MedEvac Foundation is having for two muscle cars. These show-grade cars are being auctioned as part of MedEvac’s Great American Safety Drive. The Drive is the MedEvac Foundation’s major fund raising initiative for 2015, a philanthropic event designed specifically to promote safety with medical transport programs and their valued partner organizations across the country.
First prize is the 1969 blue GTO. Second prize is the 2015 cherry red Chevy Camaro. The MedEvac Foundation will sell a maximum of 5,000 tickets at $50.00 per ticket, with each ticket having a chance to win one of the cars. Pictures of the cars are available here: http://medevacfoundation.org/its-on-great-american-safety-drive-raffle-win-a-restored-1969-pontiac-gto-or-a-2015-camaro-convertible/.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2015
MedEvac Foundation International Announces 2nd Great American Safety Drive
Alexandria, VA – The 2nd Great American Safety Drive, featuring two separate routes, officially got underway last month. The Drive is the MedEvac Foundation’s major fund raising initiative for 2015, a philanthropic event designed specifically to promote safety with our medical transport programs, and their valued partner organizations across the country.
The Northern Route, featuring a 1969 blue GTO, will kick off on June 6th with an event in Denver, CO, sponsored by Air Methods Corporation.
The Southern Route, featuring a 2015 red Camaro convertible, will kick off on June 10th in Shreveport, LA at an event sponsored by Metro Aviation, Inc.
The two routes will crisscross the U.S. bringing the message of safety “on the road” to more than 60 different host program locations. There are also a few special locations planned along the way including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Each “safety stop” location will feature presentations focused on Technology, Training, Human Factors, and Safety Culture.
As SAFETY remains a top priority for the MedEvac Foundation International, this year’s fund raising goal is to raise at least $250,000 specifically to:
- Promote safety with our medical transport programs, and their valued partner organizations across the country
- Fund safety-related research projects, educational opportunities and outreach initiatives.
- Both GASD routes will converge and come to an end at the 2015 Air Medical Transport Conference in beautiful Long Beach, California where the GASD vehicles will be on display in the exhibit hall for the duration of the conference – October 19-21, 2015.
There are many ways for the industry to get involved – be that as a potential host program location, a featured speaker, a volunteer driver, a safety stop attendee, or a GASD sponsor. For up to date information, visit the GASD event page.
About MedEvac Foundation International – Founded by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), the MedEvac Foundation International is dedicated to identifying and promoting air medical and critical care transport best practices and improvements worldwide. The Foundation funds research and disseminates safety, patient care, and operational resources throughout the industry via the web, educational presentations, and printed publications. For additional information, visit the Foundation’s web site at www.medevacfoundation.org.
Caledonian Skies, Hugh Wilson, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4808-055-2, 159 pp.
Hugh Wilson is first generation U.S. citizen descending from Scotland born and raised parents. He has written an intriguing as well as entertaining story of how World War II in Europe may have been prevented in Caledonian Skies. His love for his ancestral country shines through in the description of Scotland as well as its brand of English. Aviation loving readers will also welcome the aircraft and piloting touches which run through this novel.
Starting with World War I aircraft, his characters, full of depth and individuality but without stereotyping, the tale segues to one of the sleekest aircraft designs ever to fly in the Heinkel He 119 during late 1939.
Wilson’s writing makes for easy reading but not because of lack of depth or range. The Nazi military-politico strategy is made evident as are the reactions of Denmark, Great Britain, the United States and Ireland among others and all in their turn. Wilson does not shy from social mores or cultural differences in this fast paced story marked by desperation and chance.
Pilots, as well as those who love flying, will welcome the aviation insights woven into the novel. Adventurers, too, will smile warmly at the chance occurrences which drop in on the story arc like random events always do.
This is a pleasant novel to read on a short trip or on the balcony enjoying an evening or two of air. Soon the reader will be experiencing the lives of the characters and their decisions having to be made in those dodgy days leading to war in Europe.
39° 59′ 31″ N / 75° 34′ 44″ W
The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center is one of only three museums in the World specializing in helicopters and vertical flight. It also does not disappoint! An easy road and brief trip from Philadelphia the museum greats visitors with no less than five helicopters on the front grounds with plenty more in the hangar building and a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey prototype on the rear grounds. (one of only two Ospreys exhibited in a museum).
Two collages, the upper showing a handful of the museum’s interior display space and the lower of the Sikorsky R-6 in restoration with photographic effects added. Individual helicopters of the museum will be addressed in future posts as will the WW II era R-6 (yes, helicopters in WW II).
The museum has a dedicated snack room (snacks are available in vending machines as well as the gift shop) as well as a picnic table on the rear ground (where one can watch private air traffic on the adjacent runway).
Docents are plentiful, energetic and informed — equally able to engage with children as well as informed adults. Docent Frank Zook was instrumental in my visit as we chatted about our favorite flying machines. He noted the Osprey was the only machine on exhibit which had been flown to the museum (likely the easiest way to deliver a large flying machine). He also allowed special access to one of the museum’s restoration project of a Sikorsky R-6 (more on that in a later post) which was a wonderful opportunity.
365 Aircraft You Must Fly, Robert F. Dorr, 2015, ISBN 978-0-7063-4763-8, 320 pp.
Dorr has done it again. His ability to write informatively with an easily readable style enables him to capture the essences of no less than 365 aircraft in a handy, fun book. Each page covers one or two aircraft using photos, a bit a text and a wry observation here or there.
The gamut is covered regarding what is flying today and what has flown back in the day — from the world’s largest aircraft to the smallest. Fighters, bombers, cargo and one-off aircraft are all included in 365 Aircraft You Must Fly and this is the value of this book. People new to aviation can marvel at whichever aircraft capture their imaginations while people familiar with aviation can see the span of aviation from first fighters to the behemoth Mriya as well as Galaxy. Historical aircraft are noted, some not well known but nonetheless significant — and all in a tablet sized treasure.
Dorr has done his work well with aircraft organized by country of origin and a complete index. 365 Aircraft You Must Fly is well worth the small asking price from Zenith Press, Amazon or the local book shop (go there!).
As is the publishing business custom, Zenith Press and On-line Bookstore provided a copy of this book for an objective review.
40° 12′ 07″ N / 75° 08′ 23″ W
The Harold F. Pitcairn Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum is a brief drive from Philadelphia and a pleasure to visit. What is not to like about a building with state-of-the-art architecture and Convair Sea Dart? There is so much more to experience with so many aircraft displayed on the perfectly kept grass grounds, displays within the building (including a Pitcairn Mailwing) and dozens of superb models constructed by Joe Smith (his work is professional in caliber). Posts reflecting aircraft in the museum will be published over the near term future.
The museum has two primary foci:
- Harold Pitcairn and his work with aircraft, autogiros and aviation manufacture in the area
- Aircraft of the U.S. Navy which is especially fitting as the museum property adjoins a navy air base
Restroom facilities are available as is a large covered picnic area though take care to plan as the museum hours are somewhat restricted. Docents are informed and motivated though one advised they begin clearing the museum of visitors 45 minutes prior to closing (the museum is open 4–5½ hours depending on open days so check their website for the hours)—meaning a gentle reminder will be given to late arrivals leaving plenty of time to complete the visit. An hour or two is enough time for most to enjoy the museum’s offerings at an unhurried pace while the grassed grounds and picnic area invite longer stays as well as opportunity for children to burn off calories. Our thanks to the museum’s editor for clarifications and corrections.
N904AR is a cargo variant of the Boeing 747-400, known as the B 747-400 ERF — ERF for Extended Range Freighter. The ERF is purpose-built for air cargo duty lacking passenger windows save a few on each side of the upper deck. The main deck can have seats fitted should they be required. The most notable feature is the upwardly swinging nose for speedier loading of the main deck or for long cargo items. The aircraft featured in this post was recently at MIA and is operated by Centurion Cargo.