China is moving to push its claims over disputed islands with Japan and is making it known by restricting its airspace. As a result, the U.S. moved forcefully to try to counter China’s bid for influence over increasingly jittery Asian neighbors by sending a pair of B-52 bombers over disputed islands in the East China Sea, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The B-52s took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and flew more than 1,500 miles northwest, crossing into what China has declared as its new air-defense identification zone, at about 7 p.m. ET Monday. The U.S. deliberately violated rules set by China by refusing to inform Beijing about the flight, officials said. China had warned of military action against aircraft entering the zone without notification, but didn’t respond to the B-52s, which weren’t armed and were part of a long-planned military exercise. A U.S. official said there was no attempt by the Chinese military to contact the B-52s. “The flight was without incident,” a U.S. official said. The ministry said the U.S. military aircraft had flown on the eastern edge of the new Chinese zone, about 120 miles from the disputed islands.
China is going at drones as well! This morning has seen the maiden flight of the first Chinese stealth drone. The first Chinese stealth unmanned combat drone conducted a successful maiden flight according to accounts by Chinese media and photos taken from a popular Chinese military website. Lijian, or “sharp sword” in English, aced its first test flight in southwest China, making the People’s Republic of China the fourth nation to successfully fly a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle. The test flight lasted nearly 20 minutes, according to accounts on cjdby.net, a Chinese military forum, and later picked up by the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and the South China Morning Post.
Declassified CIA documents finally acknowledges area 51.Groom Lake finally exists and is recognized. This has been one of the most and longest US national security denials. The revelation has come to light thanks to a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (GWU). Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, was only publicly acknowledged by the CIA in July of this year. By that time it had already become the nation’s worst-kept secret. Yet the not-so-secret base did a pretty good job covering up its actual day-to-day operations which led to wild conspiracy theories and rumors about what actually happened there. For the public imagination, Area 51 was an ultra-secret facility that tested alien technology from recovered UFOs. Some stories even claimed alien bodies, or live aliens were housed there and interacted with government agents. Area 51 became a staple of science fiction. As early as the 1950s, the site was used to test advanced aircraft technology, particularly reconnaissance and stealth technology. Today, the past product of the work at Area 51 is mostly public knowledge. The U2 and SR-71 spy planes, which warranted great secrecy until the 1980s, are now retired. Incidentally, those aircraft flew so high, and the SR-71 so fast, that they prompted many UFO sightings in the Western U.S. Reports of high flying, fast moving UFOs were actually spy planes flying much higher and faster than the public thought possible at the time. It didn’t help that their shapes were unconventional too. Stealth technology, which became public only in the late 1980s, was pioneered there. Today, stealth is becoming commonplace and three decades behind Area 51, nations such as China and Russia are finally developing their own stealth aircraft. More than 60 declassified documents in an Area 51 file were posted on the Internet by the National Security Archive late last month, compiled and edited by archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson. The archive is located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. A number of documents focus on the quest to develop stealth capability in aircraft. Others report on another type of activity at Area 51 — the exploitation of covertly acquired Soviet MiG fighter jets. So Area 51 has been for development, testing, and benchmarking.
This strange acronym stands for Vertical and/or Short Take-Off and Landing aircraft. It actually describes a system whereby the aircraft is designed to take-off and land on very short runways, and air strips. The technology has been developed in the 1950s, and pushed today to aircrafts capable of hovering to take off and land. Helicopters are not considered under the V/STOL classification as the classification is only used for airplanes, aircraft that achieve lift in forward flight by planing the air, thereby achieving speed and fuel efficiency that is typically greater than helicopters are capable of. Most V/STOL aircraft types were experiments or outright failures from the 1950s to 1970s. V/STOL aircraft types that have been produced in large numbers include the Harrier, Yak-38 Forger and V-22 Osprey. V/STOL was developed to allow fast jets to be operated from clearings in forests, from very short runways, and from small aircraft carriers that would previously only have been able to carry helicopters. The main advantage of V/STOL aircraft is closer basing to the enemy, which reduces response time and tanker support requirements. In the case of the Falklands War, it also permitted high performance fighter air cover and ground attack without a large aircraft carrier equipped with a catapult. A rolling takeoff, sometimes with a ramp (ski-jump), reduces the amount of thrust required to lift an aircraft from the ground (compared with vertical takeoff), and hence increases the payload and range that can be achieved for a given thrust. For instance, the Harrier is incapable of taking off vertically with a full weapons and fuel load. Hence V/STOL aircraft generally use a runway if it is available. I.e. short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) or conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) operation is preferred to VTOL operation.
Check out the latest F-35 jet fighter landing on the aircraft carrier and demonstrating perfectly what a VSTOL aircraft is.
We love jet fighters, we fly them, and one of the greatest of all time is the F-35. Implemented with all forces, stealthy and truly able, the F-35 is one of those aircraft any pilot would dream of flying. However, a new report tends to demonstrate that the F-35 has a few problems, 719 to be precise… A recent report from the Pentagon’s internal watchdog reveals that the next gen fighter jet is plagued with hundreds of issues. The Defense Department’s Inspector General conducted a series of quality assurance assessments that found the Joint Program Office and Defense Contract Management Agency performed “inadequate oversight,” failing to adhere to widely adopted quality management protocols while losing control of contractors that have already sunk an estimated$400 billion taxpayer dollars into what is the most expensive weapons system ever developed by the U.S. government. The IG’s 126-page report concluded that prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, L-3 Display Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and United Technologies Corporation “did not follow disciplined AS9100 Quality Management System practices,” citing 363 findings, which documented 719 issues that could “adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability, and ultimately cost.”
Among the numerous oversight shortcomings, the IG found that JPO failed to:
• Ensure that Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors were applying rigor to design, manufacturing, and quality assurance processes.
• Flow down critical safety item requirements.
• Ensure that Lockheed Martin flowed down quality assurance and technical requirements to subcontractors.
• Establish an effective quality assurance organization.
• Ensure that the Defense Contract Management Agency perform adequate quality assurance oversight.
• In addition, the Defense Contract Management Agency did not sufficiently perform Government quality assurance oversight of F-35 contractors.
Summer has already gone and we are now looking at fall with some great experiences. First on the agenda, we will be flying in the South of France in Clermont Ferrand from the 11th October to the 15th October. We will take part in Cervolix, which is one of the best aerial festivals in the South of France. The Patrouille de France, the national display team should be there too, along with thousands of fans. Not to be missed, the paragliding parade where the gliders dress up in weird costumes and decorated sails. It’s always very funny.
Next stop will be Cuers in the South of France from 17th October to 23rd October. We will be taking off and after one minute, will be flying over the Mediterranean. Could be worse… We already have many confirmed bookings but there are a few rides available. So contact us fairly soon if you are interested, they tend to go quickly. After Cuers, we will be resting the aircraft for winter before starting the 2014 season early March.
We have been lazy on the blog front this summer primarily because we have been sooooo busy flying. What a great summer it has been. Great weather, good temperatures and a nice cold ice tea at the end of the day. We have met fantastic people during this past two months and it has been a great satisfaction to get you in the air and enjoy our jet fighter rides. We have also teamed up with our friends in the South to deliver air combat experiences, a unique experience in Europe. Here are a few pics of our summer!
That’s the end of the A-10 Thunderbolt operations in Europe as the last squadron was deactivated last June. For 71 years, the men and women of this fine squadron have ensured America’s security. The 81st Fighter Squadron piloted many of the most iconic and legendary aircraft the world has ever seen. Fiscal constraints stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011, and reduced defense funding outlined in the 2013 presidential budget required the Air Force to develop a strategic vision for future operations during this financial crisis. This led to the deactivation of the 81st Squadron operations. The decision was further approved by the US Congress. The 52nd Fighter Wing now employs only the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft since the inactivation of the 81st FS and the removal of the A-10s. The F-16 is a multipurpose fighter, meaning it can fight air-to-air and air-to-ground, whereas the A-10 provided only close-air support to ground forces. Today, the climate has changed in this part of the world. And so has the need for conventional forces like the A-10. At one time there were six squadrons of A-10s in Europe with over 140 aircraft and tens of thousands of Cold War ground forces preparing for battle.
Are we getting closer and closer to a world of aviation without pilots ? Recent tests have been carried out on a civilian airliner, and more currently, drones are setting up the pace in the Middle East. Now, on July 10th, the Navy moved one step closer to integrating unmanned aircraft into carrier-based operations today, when the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator landed aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This was the first time an unmanned aircraft has made an arrested landing aboard a modern aircraft carrier. The X-47B completed the 35-minute transit from Pax River to the carrier and caught the 3 wire with the aircraft’s tailhook. The arrested landing effectively brought the aircraft from approximately 145 knots to stop in less than 350 feet. Shortly after the initial landing, the aircraft was launched off the ship using the carrier’s catapult. The X-47B then proceeded to execute one more arrested landing. Check out the video: