Fifty Shades of Friction: Combat Climate, B-52 Crews, and the Vietnam War, Mark Clodfelter, 2016, Case Study/National War College/National Defense University, 46 pp.
The weak attempt of humor in the title and the apparently diminutive number of pages may lead historians to dismiss this title—though at their great loss. Clodfelter’s study is thorough, on point, and concise as it addresses the B-52 bomber crews who flew the Arc Light and both Linebacker missions.
Their story has not been told in this comprehensive, intimate and naked way—neither has SACs leadership as well as management failures. It is a testament to the capability and courage of the aircrews and the ground crews. It is a validation of their training and professionalism.
Alas, the same cannot always be said of higher SAC authorities. In the current day trend to centralize all things, with thinking most of all, this is a management lesson in training people and let them do the work. It is also a lesson that professional managers without field experience should not run the enterprise and if there is success it is usually due to the staff and not the management.
In a day where business is treated as war (it is not) and sports as combat (oh please) Clodfelter’s case study is a refreshing bucket of cold water onto the faces of management folks who have the opinion they can color their sky. Fifty Shades of Friction is also the nuts and bolts of what may be the last of the classic heavy bomber raids over heavily defended and contested airspace. Get the PDF here (445 Kb).
The Airbus A380 is a behemoth that us powerful and agile. Lufthansa has daily flights into and out of Miami using their A380s with and British Airways having daily flights alternating 747s with 380s.
HondaJet is the latest light business jet entering the market. Able to take advantage of conveniently located though small airports it is designed to fly four persons in comfort while facing one another in club style seating—with another seat opposite the entry door (this door is traditionally located at the front left of main cabin) plus the copilot’s seat can be used instead for a passenger. The HondaJet has the range to commute from Miami to New York above airline traffic and quickly. The composite fuselage structure allows for generous lavatory and cabin space as do the above wing mounted engines. The uniquely mounted engines are located to reduce cabin noise as well as provide constructive interference (in this case not an oxymoron) regarding the wing for a higher and more fuel stingy cruising speed. The cockpit windows are designed to enhance pilot sight lines and generous luggage space is both forward and aft. Honda has made a beautiful jet as good for commuting as it is for recreation.