French Navy fighters and their pilots at play

The YouTube channel Chasse Embarquée hosts numerous videos of French Navy Rafale fighters aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.  Here’s the latest in their series, released just a few days ago.  It contains some of the best air-to-air photography I’ve seen for a long time. Looks like French fighter pilots enjoy themselves just as much as any other nation’s. Peter

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B-2’s and U-2’s at play in England

The USAF has sent three B-2 stealth bombers to England for exercises, along with a U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft.  Courtesy of The Aviationist and photographer Daffyd Phillips, here’s a high-resolution video clip of the aircraft taking off and landing over there.  It includes some of the closest, clearest shots of the B-2 I’ve yet seen. Note the U-2 “chase car” that follows the aircraft during takeoff and landing.  It’s a vital part of the support crew.  Details at the link. Peter

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Fascinating background information on the Bin Laden attack in 2011

The “flight lead” of the helicopters on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, recently retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Douglas Englen, has provided more information about that mission, with encouragement from his superior officers. It was just 30 seconds into the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when special operations Chinook pilot Chief Warrant Officer 5 Douglas Englen heard the call of “Black Hawk down” come over his radio. Black Hawk 2′s pilot alerted Englen — the pilot in charge of the air operation that night — that Black Hawk-1 had just crashed inside the 9/11 mastermind’s

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Doofus Of The Day #1,060

Today’s award goes to the pilot of a Airbus A330 airliner of Thai Airways.  It clipped a Gulfstream IV corporate aircraft with its wing at the airport in Vientiane, Laos the other day.  The results were catastrophic for the smaller plane. The much larger airliner suffered only minor damage to its wing, and will be repaired before resuming scheduled flights;  but with damage like that, I daresay the Gulfstream is a write-off.  It certainly can’t be flown anywhere for repairs, and I doubt that a minor third-world airport can handle what’s needed, even if parts and equipment were flown in. Used Gulfstream IV aircraft appear to

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Another interesting Russian aviation video

Yesterday we had a look at the “blended wing body” Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber.  This morning, here’s a Russian Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor training with an Ilyushin Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft.  They’re flying over the Kamchatka Peninsula, which has some spectacular scenery. Sadly for Russia, her Air Force is reliant on far too many old designs.  The Il-38 first flew in the 1960’s, and the MiG-31 in the 1970’s.  Their systems have been modernized since then, but their basic design is well and truly outdated.  Russia currently can’t afford to replace them, either.  (That’s no grounds to sneer, of course:  the USAF has the same problem.  In 2015,

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A close-up look at a blended wing body

Here’s some interesting footage of a Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber refueling in flight from an Ilyushin Il-78 tanker.  Note the so-called “blended wing body” of the Tu-160, where the wings blend seamlessly into the fuselage in an unbroken lifting surface. Although the design bureau would almost certainly deny it, the physical resemblance between the Tu-160 and the US Rockwell B-1 bomber is striking, almost certainly because the Soviet Union copied the early B-1 blended wing body design.  Here’s a B-1 bomber refueling in mid-air, to give you a similar perspective;  note the similarities in design. Peter

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A very wet takeoff

Here’s footage taken a few days ago of a US Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy transport taking off from Prestwick in the UK during a heavy rainstorm.  It kicks up a lot of spray. I wonder what landing would be like, with that much water on the runway?  I suppose the Galaxy is heavy enough that it wouldn’t aquaplane, but a lighter aircraft might be a different story. Peter

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Great air-to-air footage of F-16’s at play

Courtesy of The Aviationist, we find this video clip of two F-16 fighters in the skies over Arizona. The video below was filmed by Swedish aerial specialist, Peter Degerfeldt at Blue Sky Aerial, from a Sabreliner 65, a “High Veocity Aerial Platform” capable to film up to 45,000 feet and Mach 0.82 with a GSS Cinema Pro. The GSS is a camera system for high velocity that can shoot stabilized footage in 5 axis up to 400 knots. The wireless system allows remote control of any camera and lens suspended in the Gyro and transmission of the HD picture back to the

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OK, warbird fans, you can geek out now

A treasure trove of World War II-era aviation blueprints have been saved for posterity.  Warbird Digest reports: AirCorps Aviation of Bemidji, Minnesota has just announced that they have acquired a massive trove of original manufacturing drawings for North American Aviation (NAA) covering types such as the P-51, T-6, B-25 and P-82. Ken Jungeberg was the head of the Master Dimensions department at Columbus in 1988 when the factory closed its doors. When he heard that North American was planning to burn all the WWII era drawings in their archive, he knew he had to do something. He began writing letters and making calls to his superiors, advocating to save

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SOCOM and the USAF: the internal politics could get interesting, to put it mildly

I was intrigued to read that the US Special Operations Command is looking into fielding up to 75 light attack aircraft. The US Special Operations Command plans on buying 75 fixed-wing aircraft for its just-announced Armed Overwatch program. The aircraft are intended for close air support of special operations troops, according to a notice announcing an upcoming industry day posted online 3 February. “Armed Overwatch will provide Special Operations Forces deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems fulfilling close air support, precision strike, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in austere and permissive environments,” says the notice. The program is similar to a faltering light attack

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