Wings Over Houston 2014

October 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Events

Highlights of the program for the Wings Over Houston 2014 air show include the US Navy Blue Angels, MV-22 Osprey, the US Navy ‘Fat Albert’ C-130, and a Vietnam Demo featuring F-4, F-100, A-4, Hueys, Cobra, Mig-17, Mig-21, Skyraider and more. The Air Force Heritage Flight, which is flown by military and civilian pilots, will demonstrate the characteristics of vintage prop-driven warbirds and modern jets. The reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor – Tora! Tora! Tora! – is another of the many highlights visitors can look forward to. For more information visit

Date: November 1 & 2, 2014
Venue: Ellington Field
City: Houston
State: Texas

Wings of Freedom Tour – Promoting Aviation History

October 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

Founded in 1979 the Collings Foundation undertakes to organize and support what they describe as ‘living history’ events to encourage Americans to discover more about their heritage through the various exhibitions and events arranged by this non-profit organization. Events organized by the foundation include airshows, historical reunions, barnstorming, joint museum displays, Vietnam Memorial Flights and the ever-popular Wings of Freedom Tour which travels to numerous destinations in the United States, bringing ‘living history’ to the public.

The Wings of Freedom Tour started in 1989 with the goal of honoring the sacrifices made by war veterans on behalf of American citizens, as well as educating the public, with the emphasis on young people, about American national history and aviation heritage. In its 22 years of operation, the Wings of Freedom Tour has made more than 2,600 visits to airports throughout the US, including Alaska. With an estimated 3.5 to 4 million people viewing the warbirds each year, the Wings of Freedom Tour is certainly keeping American aviation history alive.

Visitors to any of the Wings of Freedom Tour events have the opportunity to enjoy a Flight Experience on the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25 Mitchell, or the B-24 Liberator, spending 30 minutes aboard one of these classic airplanes from start-up to shut-down. Flight Experience bookings should be made in advance and participants should arrive at the venue one hour prior to the scheduled flight to allow time to get acquainted with the crew and the aircraft. Following a briefing on aircraft safety, passengers will be seat-belted for takeoff and once airborne will have the opportunity to walk about the aircraft and view its various features, with the crew on hand to answer questions. Passengers must be seated for landing and must remain so until the engines have been shut down.

Apart from the Wings of Freedom Tour, the Collings Foundation has a number of aircraft that can be booked as part of other airshows or events. These include a Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk, Grumman TBM Avenger, North American B-25 Mitchell, Cessna UC-78 Bobcat, Boeing PT-17 Kaydet, McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator.

Located in Stow, MA, the Collings Foundation coordinates the Wings of Freedom Tour and the Vietnam Memorial flights and oversees the onsite aviation museum and vintage automobile and racecar collection which can be viewed by appointment. Up to 25 events are hosted at the foundation each year, many of which are fund-raising events for non-profit organizations. The foundation is actively involved in restoration projects and relies heavily upon volunteer participation and donations. So check the Wings of Freedom Tour schedule on the Collings Foundation website and be sure to support the event if it lands near you.

A6 Intruder

February 9, 2009 by  
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In 1960, the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft made its first flight and by 1963, the EA-6 Intruder went into flight carrier service as a naval attack aircraft. It was the world’s first all-weather attack bomber. The A-6 Intruder had the ability to deliver nuclear and conventional ordnance on target in zero-visibility due to bad weather or darkness. This was primarily due to the cockpit integrated electronic display that made the aircraft ideal for locating and destroying the enemy under almost any circumstances. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, both the Marine Corps and Navy used the A-6 Intruder as an attack bomber. The Intruder played a major role in the bombing of Libya by U.S. forces in 1986.

The A-6 Intruder was capable of flying at low altitudes and for extended distances with a long-range strike capability. Its long-range strike capability made it extremely versatile for a wide range of missions. It could accurately reach and identify a target, then destroy it with a range of weaponry. With five external store stations, it had the ability to carry all NATO and U.S. air-to-ground weapons.

The last version of the A-6 was the A-6E that featured new versions of its advanced radar and computer system. The A-6 continued its impressive record of accurately delivering laser-guided missiles on target in any kind of weather and in daylight or nighttime operations. On December 19, 1996, the A-6E Intruder launched from an aircraft carrier (the USS Enterprise) for the last time. Though it had served its mission well, the F/A-18 Hornet replaced the A-6E Intruder in 1997 and the Intruder was retired from service.

Maximum speed: 647 mph
Cruise speed: 476 mph
Range: 2,380 nautical miles (ferry), 878 nautical miles (maximum military load)
Ceiling: 42,400 feet
Length: 55 feet
Wingspan: 53 feet
Height: 16 feet
Maximum weight: 58,600 pounds
Empty weight: 26,746 pounds
Engine(s): Two Pratt and Whitney J52-P-8B turbojets
Crew: Two seated side by side (pilot and bombardier-navigator)
Armament: Conventional and nuclear air-to-ground weapons in five external store stations. 18,000 pound payload.
Contractor: Grumman Aerospace

If you are a current or former military pilot and would like to submit an article about your experience or a story about the A-6 then please contact us at and we would like to hear from you.

Vietnam Airports

February 9, 2009 by  
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More famous for war-related tragedies than for it’s own natural splendor and lovely people, Vietnam is a great place to consider visiting if you are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. The country has a bit of everything – from visually stunning world heritage sites like Ha Long Bay to the many colorful temples and creative theatrical performances. There are developed shopping districts and poorer villages, bustling cities and vast expanses of natural landscapes. The Vietnamese people have been strongly influenced by the Chinese culture and this certainly shows. However, they are distinctly different and when you try their food or visit some of the many attractions around the country, you will recognize that Vietnam is a wonderfully different place. There are at least 32 different airports in Vietnam, although most of them are fairly small and would only be an appropriate choice if you are using an air charter or flying your own small aircraft.

Currently one of the most popular landing choices for visitors to Vietnam is that of Noi Bai International Airport. This airport is classified as being the biggest in the country in terms of volume and runway length but the actual buildings are somewhat smaller than those found at other international airports. The reason Noi Bai is so popular is that it serves the country’s capital city, Hanoi, and because it is the newest and most modern of Vietnam’s airports. It currently has only one paved runway which measures 3 800 meters in length but a second runway is currently under construction. If you do not land at Noi Bai, then you will most likely touch down at Da  Nang International Airport or Tan Sot Nhat International Airport. Tan Son Nhat is the country’s second biggest and is located in Ho Chi Minh City while Da Nang is the country’s third largest international airport. Da  Nang is considered to be an important access point to central Vietnam and it recieves a lot of traffic.

The airport you choose to use will largely depend on where you are going and what your needs are. If you are flying with one of the many public airline companies that support these airports, you will simply need to decide which part of the country you want to visit. However, if you are piloting a smaller airplane, you will have much more choice in the matter and should consider using on the of the smaller airports which may well be closer to your final destination.

Airports in Vietnam:

Da Nang International Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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The city of Da Nang is a beautiful place to visit, with diverse geography ranging from plains to mountains, forests, rivers, seas and islands, making the center of Vietnam a must to see. Here you can also find a variety of transport as you tour the country.

The Da Nang International Airport is operated by the Central Airports Authority. The airport is found in Da Nang in central Vietnam in the Hai Chau District and is both a civil and military airport. The Vietnamese Air Force shares in the use of the asphalt runways that are only 10 meters or 33 feet above the mean sea level. In Vietnam the Da Nang Airport is one of three international airports, the others being Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Noi Bai International Airport.

The Da Nang International Airport is probably the airport you will use if you want to explore central Vietnam. The airport has quite a bit of military history as it was used by the United States Air Force as well as the South Vietnamese Air Force during the Vietnam War. The Da Nang International Airport’s coordinates are 16 degrees 02’38″N and 108 degrees 11’58″E. The two runways that the airport has are both of equal length totaling 3,048 meters or 10,000 feet. Da Nang can handle 100 to 150 flights each day and has modern aviation equipment to navigate large aircraft that land there.

Each year the airport sees between 800,000 and 1 million passengers. By 2015 the airport hopes to have increased to as many as four million passengers. Da Nang International Airport can take on 400,000 tonnes of cargo each year. The intended growth of the airport is vital as the city increases its importance as an economic center.

Chuck Yeager

February 9, 2009 by  
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Chuck Yeager‘s most recognized achievement is being the first man to break the sound barrier, which he did on October 14, 1947 as a test pilot for the U.S. Air Force.

Much earlier in his career, Yeager flew for the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. Shortly after he claimed his first kill, he was shot down over enemy territory. The French resistance assisted him in his escape to Spain, and he subsequently returned to active duty. Before the war ended, Yeager had flown 64 combat missions with 13 enemy kills to his credit.

During the Korean War, Yeager set a new record by flying more than double the speed of sound with an airspeed of 1,650 mph. In addition to his duties as a test pilot in Korea, he also led a fighter squadron based in Europe.

Yeager was promoted to full colonel in time for the Vietnam War, during which he commanded the 405th fighter wing. In addition to also training bomber pilots, hew flew 127 air-support missions.

Yeager received a promotion to brigadier general in 1968, a rare achievement for someone who began his military career as an enlisted man. In 1976, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Some of his other numerous decorations include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, the Bronze Star with V device, the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with ten clusters, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Air Force Commendation medal. In 1973, he became the first military pilot inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame.

In 1979, Tom Wolfe immortalized Chuck Yeager in his best selling book, The Right Stuff which was later made into a movie.

Noi Bai International Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Noi Bai International Airport in Vietnam is a situated roughly 45 kilometers from downtown Hanoi. It is the biggest airport in the northern part of the country and enjoys a light and airy feel as well as wonderfully modern interiors. Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and while the airport is relatively small when compared to the country’s other two international airports, it is the newest and most modern so many people prefer it over the other two.

When you arrive at Noi Bai, you might notice that there are some military aircraft in the vicinity. That is because the airport caters to both military and public aircraft. It is operated by the Northern Airports Authority (NAA) and is situated at an elevation of 39 ft (12 m). The Noi Bai Airport has two runways both with concrete surfaces. The 11L/29R runway measures 10 497 ft (3 200 m), while the 11R/29L runway measures 12 466ft (3 800 m). There is only one terminal building, although there are seven different boarding gates and the building is fairly large and well utilized. There are several lounges to cater to the various classes of passenger and all are well furnished and freely available for use to those with the required boarding pass. The airport is serviced by two Hanoi city buses, which provide transport to the city center. These buses run from five in the morning to 10 in the evening and the trip takes approximately one hour. You can also arrange to have a taxi collect you or use the airport minibus which may take a while to get ready for departure.

As with all airports, certain baggage restrictions apply at Noi Bai International Airport. Only one bag may be carried on board with you and this should not be placed in the isle or by your feet but rather under your seat or in the overhead compartments. It is suggested that valuables are not packed into checked luggage but rather carried on your person and, of course, all sharp objects are prohibited in the passenger cabin and should be packed into your checked luggage. You should also note that use of electronic equipment, such as radios and cellular phones, is prohibited once you have boarded your flight.