Sophistication and Practicality Meet in Military Aviation

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

The use of aircraft in warfare dates as far back as the 1790s when French forces used an observation balloon to watch the movements of Austrian troops in the Battle of Fleurus. A similar type of “lighter than air” flyer was also used during the U.S. Civil War and in World Wars I and II.

However, with the development and perfection of “heavier than air” flying machines during World War II, military aviation has become a crucial and sophisticated part of modern warfare. This in turn has created great advantages for the U.S. military and its contractors.

Today’s military aircraft are broken down into seven main categories, each with its own specific attributes and distinct role in battle.

Ground-Attack Aircraft – These planes provide support for friendly ground troops. They carry either conventional or nuclear weapons behind enemy lines to attack enemy ground targets. Attack helicopters are a prime example of ground-attack aircraft.

Fighters – Destroying enemy aircraft during air-to-air combat is the main role of a fighter. These planes are fast, very maneuverable, and can carry a variety of weapons such as machine guns and guided missiles. Some of the modern fighters can attack even while a great distance away from the enemy.

Bombers – Heavier and less maneuverable than fighters, bombers generally carry large supplies of weapons to be dropped on ground targets. Some single-engine bombers can be operated by a single pilot while those with two or more engines are operated by crews of two or more.

Multirole Combat Aircraft – These are fixed-wing aircraft that can operate in the role of a bomber or fighter, depending on what is needed.

Reconnaissance Aircraft – The role of these planes is to gather intelligence about enemy troops and their movements through the use of special electronic gear. This includes photographic and infrared sensors, radar, and sonar—all of which can warn of an enemy’s approach. Along with reconnaissance aircraft, intelligence is now also gathered by spy satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones.

Transports – As the name implies, this type of plane moves troops and supplies to where they are needed. Cargo can be unloaded either on the ground or dropped by parachute. This category also includes aerial tankers that refuel other planes in flight as well as helicopters and gliders that can bring human or mechanical cargo where other planes cannot.

Experimental Aircraft – From these designs, the aircraft of the future will grow. Experimental planes are built to test advanced concepts in aviation and propulsion as well as aerodynamics and structure.

Throughout the remainder of the 21st century, the use of aviation in the military will continue to expand with the development of ever more sophisticated aircraft and weaponry, leading to the ultimate goal of keeping our troops safe in all situations. Governments and international agencies can depend upon private contractors like including DynCorp, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Boeing to both service and operate those aircraft at home and abroad.

Article Contributed by: Tanya Smith

The Museum of Aviation in Georgia

January 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

The Museum of Aviation, located at the Robins Air Force Base outside Warner Robins in Georgia, is the second-largest museum run by the United States Air Force. It consists of five buildings on a 51-acre piece of ground and boasts close to one hundred aircraft and an impressive range of aviation-related memorabilia. In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers guided tours, team-building exercises, educational events and summer camps.

Guided tours offer options for every age group and are led by knowledgeable staff who can offer insight into both the history and technical aspects of the museum’s aircraft. In addition to viewing the aircraft on display, visitors will have the opportunity to enter the C-130 Hercules where they can view a film highlighting the skills of the Fort Benning Paratroopers. Guided tours must be booked, but visitors can explore the museum on self-guided tours at any time during museum hours.

The Museum of Aviation lists a number of exhibits that all visitors should be sure not to miss. These include the RAFB & WWII Commemorative exhibit which features the establishment of the Robins Air Force Base and commemorates World War II. The exhibit on the Korean War highlights the advancement in technology, as well as changes in tactics used by the USAF, with the highlight being a superbly restored F-84 Thunderjet. A cut-away of a B-17 Flying Fortress dominates the 43rd Bombardment Group exhibit, with the 14th Air Force Flying Tigers exhibit telling the story of Claire Chennault and featuring a P-40 Warhawk and replica of a squadron briefing room. The Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame honors more than sixty men and women for their contributions to aviation history and has on display a Skylab spacesuit and a reproduction of the 1907 Epps Flyer. The exhibit entitled Down to Earth highlights a C-47 cutaway equipped with pilots, paratroopers and their gear, detailing how the cooperation of airborne, glider and troop carrier units resulted in the success of D-Day at Normandy.

A number of events have been scheduled for 2012 by the Museum of Aviation, kicking off with the Runway Marathon on January 14 where it is anticipated that last year’s record of 1,244 runners and walkers will be exceeded. Visit the Museum of Aviation Website for more information.

Candy Canes and Airplanes

November 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

This fantastic fly-in event will see aviation enthusiasts celebrating Christmas amidst aircraft at Salina Airport. Civilian and military aircraft will be on display. Children can welcome Santa as he arrives in the “Santa One” which will be piloted by Capt. Elvin T. Elf. Those attending the event can also bring along items for the Toys for Tots collection. There will be plenty of entertainment, prizes and fun!

Date: 3 December 2011
Time: 2:00 pm till late
Venue: Hangar 600 at Salina Airport
State: Kansas
Country United States of America

Innovative New Aircraft From South Africa

October 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

South African companies Aerosud Holdings and Paramount Group have unveiled what is believed to be the first all-African produced defense aircraft. Dubbed the Ahrlac – Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft – its developers believe that it will fill a gap in the market for an aircraft that can undertake military and civilian surveillance work. Managing Director of Aerosud, Paul Potgieter, noted in a statement that there is nothing quite like the Ahrlac in the marketplace, and it will primarily cater to African governments undertaking peacekeeping and humanitarian work, as well as serving a role in combat situations.

The compact, two-person Ahrlac features a rear-mounted propeller and bulbous cockpit to facilitate an unobstructed view which is essential for reconnaissance. Group Chairman of Paramount Group, Ivor Ichikowitz, expressed his view that the future of peacekeeping and defense in Africa will be airborne, and with the ability to fly at different speeds and remain airborne for up to seven hours, the Ahrlac will be ideal for African governments which have to deal with vast distances and unsecured borders. Moreover, most African countries do not have the financial resources to avail themselves of jet and helicopter technology, and the Ahrlac will be marketed as a more affordable alternative.

The marketing of the Ahrlac will not be restricted to defense ministries, but will include border patrols, policing authorities and forestry agencies in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The aircraft will be produced at Aerosud’s premises based in Centurion near Johannesburg. The company already manufactures wing components, galleys and seats for European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co.

By concentrating their efforts in Africa, Paramount and Aerosud will have the advantage over Western contractors, and with the South African defense industry reportedly poised to overhaul the armed forces, the market appears ready for this innovative aircraft. While the developers are keeping tight-lipped about who their customer is, Ichikowitz has been reported as saying that they have received an order for fifty aircraft at a cost up just under $10 million each. Production of two to three Ahrlac aircraft per month is expected to start in late 2012 or at the beginning of 2013.

Nellis Air Force Base – Aviation Nation 2011

September 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Aviation Nation at Nellis Air Force Base is Nevada’s largest free public event. This year the event will celebrate 70 years of air power in Las Vegas, dating back to the gunnery school opened at Nellis in 1941. Headlining the event will be the US Air Force Thunderbirds, along with other military air demonstration teams and civilian air performers. The event focusses on America’s aviation history and celebrates the efforts of the country’s military forces. About 100 aircraft of all types will be on display. In addition there will be a number of food, beverage and novelty stalls.

Dates: 12 to 13 November 2011
Venue: Nellis Air Force Base
City: Las Vegas
State: Nevada
Country: United States of America

Warriors and Warbirds Air Show

September 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Hosted by Warriors and Warbirds Inc. and City of Monroe, the Warriors & Warbirds Veterans Celebration and Air Show has become a massive event, honoring those who served. The Air Show takes aviation enthusiast back in time to major events such as D-Day and Pearl Harbor. There will be fascinating static displays by the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilot’s Association and North Carolina National Guard. Historic military aircraft will take to the sky, offering unforgettable performances. Included in the program is the WWII Hangar Dance on Saturday, daily Vets Program, and a variety of air show vendors.

Dates: 4 to 6 November 2011
Time: 09:00 am
Venue: Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport
City: Monroe
State: North Carolina
Country: United States of America

Wings Over Houston Airshow

September 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Aviation enthusiasts can look forward to an exciting schedule for the Wings Over Houston Airshow in 2011. Featured performers will include the Canadian Snowbirds, F-16 Fighting Falcon, USAF Heritage Flight, US Coast Guard HH-65C Dauphine Helicopter Demo, Navy Legacy Flight, US Navy F/A-18C Hornet Demo Team, Heavy Metal Jet Team, Chuck Aaron, Kirby Chambliss, The Horsemen F-86’s, Red Bull Air Force Parachute Team and much more. There will also be a number of static displays of both civilian and military aircraft. You also won’t want to miss the Autograph Tent and exciting Airplane Rides.

Dates: 15 to 16 October 2011
Venue: Ellington Airport
City: Houston
State: Texas
Country: United States of America

College Park Aviation Museum

September 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Affiliated with the renowned Smithsonian Institution, the College Park Aviation Museum in the State of Maryland provides educational exhibits, programs, tours, and special events for the general public, school groups and tourists. Located on the grounds of the airport where Wilbur Wright gave flight instruction to the very first military aviators in 1909, the museum was opened in 1998 and is dedicated to researching and promoting the history of the development of aviation.

The state-of-the art building covers an area of 27,000 square feet, with areas large enough to display original and replicated historic aircraft along with a host of artifacts and multi-media information – making the world of aviation both entertaining and educational. Interpretive areas and hands-on activities ensure that children of all ages come to appreciate the wonders of flight, and exhibits change on a monthly basis to keep visitors coming back time and again. The museum offers a venue with a difference for children’s birthday parties, and events such as the Model Rocket Workshop can be enjoyed by all ages.

With more than a century of aviation history, College Park Airport is the oldest continually operating airport in the world. In addition to its association with the famous Wright Brothers, the airport has been home to some significant milestones in aviation history. For example, in October 1909, Lieutenant Frederic Humphreys was the first military pilot to fly solo in a military airplane after receiving flight instruction from Wilbur Wright. In 1911 the first Army Aviation School was opened at the airport, and in the same year the first bomb-aiming device was tested when inert bombs were dropped from the air, using a bomb-sight invented by Riley E. Scott. In 1912, a Lewis Machine Gun was fired from a Wright B airplane, and Lieutenant Henry “Hap” Arnold achieved the first mile-high flight. The first US Postal Air Mail Service operated from College Park Airport between 1918 and 1921, and in 1924 the first controlled helicopter flight was successfully carried out. Between 1927 and 1935 the Bureau of Standards developed and tested the first radio navigational aids.

Today aviation seems to know no bounds, with new innovations taking place at breath-taking speed. The College Park Aviation Museum recognizes these innovations, while paying tribute to the pioneering adventurers who first took to the skies.

2011 Vintage Aircraft Weekend

September 6, 2011 by  
Filed under News

The Historic Flight Foundation’s restoration centre was the host of the 2011 Vintage Aircraft weekend, which was held for the fourth time. The restoration centre is located at the Paine Field, which is situated just outside of Washington. It was a wonderful opportunity for aviation enthusiasts to get to know aircraft of the past, watch them fly and even hear from a number of celebrity guests of honor. It was a weekend for the entire family to enjoy, filled with education and excitement.

One of the main guests was William Boeing Jr., who is the son of the founder of Boeing. He spoke to the audience about an aircraft called the Model 40, which assisted the company to survive very hard times during 1929. There is only one of these historic aircraft still in working order in the world, and it was on display at the Vintage Aircraft Weekend, also performing a demonstration flight for spectators. Over and above this magnificent aircraft being on display, there was also another fifty aircraft on display, including the EA-6B Prowler, Beechcraft “Swaggerwing”, Grumman F-4F “Wildcat”, EA-18G Growler and B-25D Mitchell. There was aircraft from 1927 straight through to 1957. The flybys not only featured vintage civilian aircraft but military aircraft as well. Vehicle enthusiasts also had something to look forward to, as there were vintage vehicles on display. There was twenty restored military vehicles, as well as the Pacific Northwest Studebaker Club’s eight vehicles at the Vintage Aircraft Weekend, including the President, Commander and the Studebaker Champion.

Entire families enjoyed this outing as there was live music to entertain the crowds, dancing, demonstrations, World War II re-inactions, presentations and many more activities and entertainment. There were also food vendors and wonderful displays of historical uniforms and memorabilia. It was a magnificent trip back in history for aviation enthusiasts.

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale

July 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Founded in the year 1905, the head office of Federation Aeronautique Internationale, a governing body in the world of aviation, is located in Switzerland. It keeps record of achievements within the aviation industry, and it does not limit itself to airplanes, but records aeronautics, astronautics and even air sports that include everything from air balloons and unmanned aviation vehicles to spacecrafts. The Federation Aeronautique Internationale therefore regulates the sport of flying as set out by the Olympic Congress, and rewards the achievements in various disciplines.

Some of the activities that are governed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale include aeromodelling, aerobatics, ballooning, rotocraft, gliding, hang gliding, general aviation, parachuting and microlighting. The Yuri A. Gargarin Gold Medal was created in 1968 by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, and has been awarded to aircraft in various classes. The classes are as follows: Class A – Free Balloons, Class B – Airships, Class C – Aeroplanes, Class CS – Solar Powered Aeroplanes, Class D Gliders & Motorgliders, Class E – Rotorcraft and Class F – Model Aircraft. Class F has five subdivisions that consist of Class F1 – Free Flight, Class F2 – Control Line, Class F3 – Radio Control and Class F5 – Electronically Powered Model Aircraft. The remaining classes include Class G – Parachuting, Class H – Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aeroplanes, Class I – Manpowered Aircraft, Class K – Spacecraft, Class M – Tilt-Wing / Tilt Engine Aircraft, Class N – Short Take Off and Landing Aeroplanes, Class O – Hang Gliding & Paragliding, Class P – Aerospacecraft, Class R – Microlights and Paramotors, Class S – Space Models and Class U – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Most of the record breaking events that have been recorded by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale have been made by military aircraft, and all records have to exceed standing results by a predetermined percentage. Military aircraft seem to perform well when looking at height, speed, payload and distance, while civilian aircraft take over other divisions. Even though some records are not officially recognized by the organization, they are recorded by their individual countries. To have an achievement recorded by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, records have to meet strict standards set by the federation, and thus all records on their list are of world class standards.

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