2013 National Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

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Home of the legendary Wright Brothers, and widely considered to be the “birthplace of aviation”, Dayton is the perfect location for the National Aviation Hall of Fame – a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the pioneering and innovative people who have been behind the development of aviation in America. Situated at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Aviation Hall of Fame recently announced the names of the four individuals who will be joining the ranks of other inductees at the prestigious annual ceremony taking place in October 2013. They are Major General Patrick H. Brady, Captain Robert L. Gibson, the late Charles Alfred Anderson and the late Dwane L. Wallace.

Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady of the USAF (now retired) accrued a number of noteworthy achievements in his more than 34 years in the army. He developed tactical techniques for helicopter air ambulance rescue in combat and during his two Vietnam combat tours, Brady flew more than 2,500 missions and participated in the rescue of more than 5,000 wounded. As a highly decorated member of the armed forces, Brady’s service awards include the Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor.

Retired Capt. Robert L. “Hoot” Gibson flew combat in Southeast Asia as a Navy fighter pilot and was a flight test pilot before he joined NASA in 1978. Of his five Shuttle missions, he was Commander of four. As an aeronautical engineer Gibson was a member of the Challenger accident investigation team. In his aviation career Capt. Gibson has logged in excess of 14,000 hours in more than 130 types of aircraft.

Widely acknowledged as “the father of African-American aviation”, the late Charles Alfred Anderson played a major role in developing a civilian-pilot training program for blacks in 1940. His historical flight in 1941, with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt aboard, is considered to have been the stepping stone leading to the training of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots, with Anderson as the chief instructor.

The late Dwane L. Wallace spent 41 years with the Cessna Aircraft Company before retiring in 1975 as the company’s Chairman and CEO. His dedication to the company was so strong that during the Great Depression, he used money he won by air racing to ensure employees were paid. Following WWII, Wallace directed the company’s development away from military into corporate and general aviation products, with much success. Wallace was also a founding member and the first chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

The induction ceremony, referred to as “America’s Oscar Night of Aviation”, will take place at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center on Friday, October 4, 2013, and is open to the public, with advance reservations to be made with the NAHF.

Valkaria Air Fest 2013

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With general admission starting at 8am the Valkaria Air Fest has a program jam-packed with action on April 20, 2013. In addition to viewing two air shows, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy rides on a variety of aircraft. The day starts with powered paraglider and parachute fly-in at 7am, followed by formation flying, airboat velocity demonstration, photos and autographs with NASA astronaut Winston Scott, Valkaria Bob’s Bi-Plan wing walking show and the first air show beginning at 1pm. For more information visit www.valkariaairfest.org

Date: 20 April 2013
Venue: Valkaria Airport
City: Valkaria
State: Florida
Country: United States

Pipistrel Virus-SW914 to Circumnavigate Globe

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In a collaborative project between Penn State University and Slovenian aircraft manufacturer, Pipistrel, the Virus-SW914 aircraft was launched on 8 January this year from Ljubljana, with the aim of circumnavigating the globe, a distance of around 62,000 miles, over the next two months. As the winner of NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge, Pipistrel aims to demonstrate that small aircraft can play an important role in climate science. One of the functions the aircraft will serve is to study the effect of light-absorbing aerosols and black carbon on the earth’s atmosphere as it travels through areas that are not currently being monitored by sensors. Because of the altitude the light aircraft will be traveling at, it will be in the position to obtain three-dimensional images of the atmosphere in predetermined areas.

The aircraft which won the 2011 Green Flight Challenge for Pipistrel, is the Taurus, which covered a distance of 400 miles on a single gallon of gas as it was primarily electric-powered. Specializing in ultra-light aircraft, Pipistrel holds ten FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) world records.

The Virus-SW914 has a fuel consumption figure of 36 miles per gallon travelling at a speed of around 170 miles per hour. The aircraft being used in the global circumnavigation attempt has extra fuel tanks in its wings and all-electronic instruments. The airplane weighs 640 pounds, has a maximum take-off weight of 1,500 pounds and can climb to an altitude of 30,000 feet.

With pilot Matevz Lenarcic behind the controls, the Virus-SW914 will travel to Morocco, followed by Senegal, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to South America. The route will then travel down the coast of South America before crossing the Antarctic and the Pacific Ocean heading for New Zealand, Australia and southeast Asia and traveling back to Africa. When crossing Mount Everest in the Himalayas, Lenarcic will take photographs and gather data at different altitudes in areas that have not yet been monitored for climate change. The aerosol inlet feature of the Virus-SW914 is designed to measure aerosol optical properties at different wavelengths, providing valuable data for scientists and climate change research.

Electric-Powered Aircraft Designers Awarded $1.35 Million

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Encouraging eco-friendly innovation, the Google sponsored Green Flight Challenge that was conducted by the CAFE Foundation culminated in the $1.35 million prize being awarded by NASA to Pennsylvania-based Pipistrel-USA for their electric-powered airplane. The award ceremony took place on 25 September at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa following a week of finalists putting their aircraft through their paces.

Pipistrel-USA consists of a team of dedicated industry professionals, who not only managed to meet the fuel efficiency requirement set out in the Green Flight Challenge competition, but doubled it by flying a distance of 200 miles in under two hours, with electricity equivalent fuel consumption measured at just over half a gallon per passenger. The team to come in at second place was California-based EGenius, which was awarded $120,000.

Created to inspire the aviation sector to develop fuel-efficient aircraft the Green Flight Challenge started two years ago, with fourteen teams registering to take part. NASA estimates that collectively the teams invested over $4 million in their efforts to win the competition. Three teams met the requirements set out in the competition and participated in the week-long series of tests. NASA is known for using competitions to stimulate innovative thinking to overcome specific challenges in the aerospace industry, but the Green Flight Challenge prize is the largest to be awarded in the history of aviation.

In an interview, Pipistrel-USA team leader Jack Langelaan, noted that two years ago the concept of flying a distance of 200 miles at 100 mph would have been in the realms of science fiction, but having become a reality, we can look forward to the future of electric aviation. Certainly, NASA is hopeful that the competition will inspire a host of innovations in electric powered aircraft, leading the world into an era of quiet, clean air travel.

As noted in its mission statement, the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation aims to create and advance the understanding of personal aircraft technologies through research, analysis and education. With a keen understanding of the forces of gravity and the challenges aircraft face in moving through the earth’s atmosphere, the CAFE Foundation team continues to pioneer new ways of studying aerodynamics and improving aircraft. The team’s test flight expertise is recognized by prominent aviation authorities, including NASA, EAA and AOPA.

NASA Goes Green

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The Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate of NASA has funded a large scale project that will search for the solution to producing fixed wing aircraft that are more fuel efficient, are quieter and emit fewer emissions into the air. Four teams have been approached to participate in the project, and each team has been allocated funds to develop their designs and for construction. The prototypes will be tested in laboratories, wind tunnels and computer simulation to establish their viability. It is a massive undertaking, and with each team focused on different projects, the time limitations on the contracts do vary.

The first team is Northrop Grumman Systems Incorporated. They are located in California, and have been allocated fourteen months for their project and funding of $1.2 million. The role they will play in the project is to test wing prototypes. They will be looking at the wings as they are crucial to aerodynamics, due to the airflow over the wings, which in turn affects the fuel efficiency of the aircraft as well as the noise levels.

MIT, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was awarded a three year contract worth $4.6 million to design and develop a dual fuselage, which incorporates the use of partial cylinders, two placed next to each other, to create a larger structure. It is referred to as the Double Bubble design.

Boeing, which is the defense contractor, was also brought on board to manage the SUGAR (Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research) project. The three year project was funded with $8.8 million and requires Boeing to design and build sufficient wind tunnels for testing, as well as airplane models to study and explore the use of lightweight materials and various engines, such as the hybrid electric engine.

Last but not least, the Cessna Aircraft Company-Cessna Citation will be dealing with aircraft structure, more specifically, what is referred to as Magic Skin, or Star-C2 Protective Skins. It is hoped that engineers will be able to create a skin that would be able to insulate the aircraft cabin, repair itself in the event that it would get damaged and to protect the aircraft itself against nature, in regard to impacts, lightning, electromagnetic intervention and even temperatures. It is NASA’s objective to see that this project makes a notable impact on the aviation industry, and create an environmentally safe aircraft that can take to the skies as soon as 2040.

Drone Aerial Refueling Project Progresses

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A flight test conducted at an altitude of 45,000 feet, during which a piloted Proteus test aircraft approached to within 40 feet of a NASA Global Hawk drone, was hailed as a success by engineers and is seen as another step closer to the goal of aerial refueling between unmanned aircraft. The approach of the Northrop Grumman Proteus to the Global Hawk tested its performance in the presence of wake turbulence, and although no actual refueling took placing during the flight test, the data gathered regarding flight control responsiveness and engine performance will prove invaluable in preparation for the real thing. Moreover, the two aircraft undertook simulated breakaway maneuvers essential for stealth surveillance tactics.

The Global Hawk, also manufactured by Northrop Grumman, is proving its value in high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) flight, offering the science community the means to measure, monitor and observe remote locations unattainable previously. The Global Hawk currently boasts an 11,000 nautical mile range and 30-hour endurance. Aerial refueling will extend this capability tremendously, with the initial aim of remaining airborne for a week. As part of the $33 million Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) KQ-X project, the goal is to have successful aerial refueling between two Global Hawk drones by spring 2012.

From a military and defense point of view, having drones with HALE capabilities opens up the opportunities for surveillance beyond current capacity, while reducing the risk factor of piloted flights. From a science standpoint these aircraft make it possible to gather information relating to Earth System Science, defined as the study of global environmental changes involving interactions between land, water, atmosphere, ice, biosphere, societies, economies and technologies.

The Global Hawk is 44 foot long, with a wingspan of over 116 feet and a height of 15 feet. Powered by a single Rolls Royce AE3007H turbofan engine, its gross takeoff weight is 25,600 pounds including 2,000 pound payload capability. Northrop Grumman is working in conjunction with NASA Dryden and is responsible for the design and modification of the Global Hawk Aircraft. Other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) being developed at this time include the Phantom Eye by Boeing and Northrop Grumman’s X-47B and Fire-X.

MIT-Designed Planes Aim for 70% Fuel Reduction

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With possible fuel shortages in the future being a very real cause for concern, coupled with dire observations on the damage fossil fuels are doing to our environment on a world-wide scale right now, much emphasis is being placed on developing alternative, ‘green’ energy sources, as well as finding ways to use the fuel we have in the most efficient way possible. In a project that forms part of a $2.1 million NASA grant, a team led by researchers from MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics have come up with designs for commercial aircraft that will use up to 70 percent less fuel than airliners are currently using, while at the same time reducing noise and nitrogen oxide emissions. Referred to as an ‘N+3’ airplane, denoting three generations from now, its design will incorporate new technologies, such as advanced propulsion systems and innovative airframe configurations, in order to cut back drastically on fuel consumption.

Two designs have been developed by the MIT team: Model D 180-passenger series, which would replace the current Boeing 737 class of aircraft aimed at domestic flights; and the Model H 350-passenger series to replace the Boeing 777 class of aircraft used for international flights. Referred to as the ‘double bubble’ series, the Model D could burn around 50 percent less fuel than the current 737, however, using advanced technology and materials, fuel savings could be as high as 70 percent. Further beneficial features will be the use of bio-fuels as opposed to fossil-fuels, and a slimmer wing design along with a smaller tail resulting in reduced drag.

As the larger of the two models, the Model H makes use of a triangular-shaped hybrid wing body, creating a forward lift and eliminating the need for a tail to balance the airliner, thereby reducing drag. It is calculated that the Model H will also meet the 70 percent fuel reduction target set by NASA, with a reduction of 75 percent in nitrogen oxide emissions. Upon NASA’s approval of the project thus far, researchers will move ahead with the goal of having the new designs in commercial service by 2035, in an effort to meet increasing air travel demands.

Puffin: NASA’s Concept Vehicle

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It seems that the days of climbing into an air vehicle and jetting down to the shops is getting closer. The jet pack may have paved the way for the latest concept vehicle released by NASA, known as the Puffin. Bridging the gap between conventional motor vehicles and personal air travel is becoming a reality and it might just be that Puffins are the new generation of transport for the public. But NASA has also made it very clear that it is developing the Puffin not as a future product but it is only a project to create a new technology.

The Puffin is a breakthrough in transportation, as NASA sees this aircraft to be the technology that will bridge the gap between today and the future. It has not achieved long flight as yet, as it is still in various stages of design and testing. The flight system that has been selected for the Puffin is very similar to what is found on the V-22 Osprey. Two rotors provide the Puffin with power to take to flight, and it has a wingspan of thirteen feet, or 4.1 meters. In total the Puffin weighs approximately a hundred and thirty five kilograms, without including the weight of its batteries. To reduce noise levels the aircraft was designed to be electric, and therefore has lithium phosphate batteries that are rechargeable and add an extra forty-five kilograms to the Puffin. Due to the Puffin lifting off and landing in the same way a helicopter would, it will be fitted with spring legs and it is believed that the aircraft will be able to reach speeds of approximately 140 miles per hour, or 240 kilometers per hour. As the Puffin is an electric aircraft, it is seen as an environmentally friendly aircraft, and engineers have managed to make the Puffin even quieter than the present day low-noise helicopters, emitting approximately fifty decibels.

It has been built to only accommodate one person. The Puffin prototype was designed and engineered by the National Institute of Aerospace, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M-DOT Aerospace and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Puffin is a step into a new direction, where technology, dreams and environmentally friendly alternatives can be explored.

Gulfstream 3

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Grumman Aerospace developed the C-20D Gulfstream III primarily as a business jet, though the airplane has also fulfilled many other roles, including those on behalf of the United States military and NASA. The C-20D Gulfstream III’s all-weather capability, combined with its speed and extensive range have made it very popular for businesses and government agencies that have mission-critical requirements.

The C-20D Gulfstream III prototype completed its first flight on February 12, 1979. Four years later, the final version entered production. Depending on how the interior compartments are arranged, the C-20D Gulfstream III can carry up to eight passengers.

In 2003, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center needed an aerial research platform for testing and research, one that was capable of performing subsonic flight. They found their solution in a modified C-20A Gulfstream III which was supplied to them by the United States Air Force. All Gulfstream III aircraft sold to the military received the C-20A designation. Those used for transporting important government officials or special air missions were designated C-20B. The C-20B versions of the Gulfstream III came standard with high-tech communications equipment.

In case of nuclear war or other national catastrophe, the military keeps a fleet of Gulfstream III aircraft on hand, designated as C-20C Gulfstream IIIs. The United States Army and Navy versions of the Gulfstream III transport are the C-20D and C-20E. The C-20B Gulfstream III has been used extensively by American forces during both wars in Iraq and the Middle East.

Maximum speed: Mach 0.85
Cruise speed: 459 knots
Range: 3,767 nm
Ceiling: 45,000
Length: 88 ft 4
Wingspan: 77 ft 10
Height: 24 ft 6
Maximum weight: 69,700
Empty weight: 38,000 lb
Engine(s): Two SPEY-MK511-8 Turbofan engines with 11,400 pounds of thrust each
Rate of climb: 4,049′ per minute
Crew: Three, including pilot, first officer, and crew chief.
Passengers: Up to 12

Though Gulfstream no longer manufactures the C-20 Gulfstream III or any of its variations, the Grumman continues to produce mid-size business jets, some of which are based on the technology developed for the Gulfstream III. Many of the original C-20 Gulfstream III jets remain in service both in the corporate and military sectors.

C-5 Galaxy

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The C-5 Galaxy entered service in June 1970 when Lockheed-Georgia Co. delivered the aircraft to the United States Air Force. The USAF has retained exclusive purchasing rights to the Galaxy. The primary purpose of the Lockheed C-5 is to support heavy airlift missions on behalf of the U.S. military. The airplane is capable of transporting oversized cargo long distances and can land within a mere 4,900′. With a maximum load, the C-5 requires only an 8,300′ runway for takeoff. Its nose and aft cargo doors easily accommodate the loading and unloading of cargo and they’re wide enough to permit two vehicles to drive side-by-side onto the Galaxy. The landing gear will “kneel” or lower the airplane for ease of loading or unloading. The upper deck is spacious enough to seat 73 passengers.

Though it looks very much like the C-141 Starlifter, the C-5 Galaxy is bigger and can transport a heavier payload than the C-141. In recent years, the C-5 Galaxy planes continue to be upgraded with modern avionics. The Galaxy fleet’s autopilot system as well as the safety and navigation equipment is presently being upgraded. In addition, new landing gear, engines, auxiliary power units, pylons, and other parts will be installed on the Galaxy aircraft. Because the planes are expected to remain in service for many years to come, these upgrades are not only necessary but are also considered to be cost-effective as compared to purchasing new planes. The U.S. Air Force estimates the savings for upgrading rather than replacing the planes to be around $20 billion.

The C-5C Galaxy is designed to accommodate even larger cargo than the standard C-5. NASA has made use of the larger Galaxy to transport satellites and other equipment. Two of these modified Galaxy planes fly for NASA though U.S. Air Force crews fly both of them.

Speed: 518 mph
Range: 6,320 nm
Ceiling: 34,000′
Length: 247.1′
Wingspan: 222.9′
Height: 65.1′
Maximum weight: 769,000 lbs
Empty weight: 380,000 lb
Engine(s): Four General Electric TF-39 engines
Takeoff roll: 8,400′
Landing roll: 3,600′
Rate of climb: 1,800′ per minute
Crew: Seven, including a pilot, co-pilot, two flight engineers, and three loadmasters

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