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Keeping Airports Birds-Free w/ Birds

Birds have always been one of a plane's worst enemies, why? It's because even a bird as small as a starlet can break the windshield of a plane taking-off or landing. Birds can also be sucked into engines causing severe damage. What makes it even worse is that an airport is paradise for birds. The flat land and wide expanses of mowed down grass fields can reveal many otherwise unseen prey.

Many airports use different methods to try to prevent an accident like what happened in October of 1960 when a passenger turboprop (a Lockheed Electra) flew into a flock of starlings shortly after departing from Boston's Logan International Airport, shutting down 3 out of the 4 engines and the Electra, without adequate power, crashed into Boston Harbor. Only 10 of the 72 on board survived, the most fatalities from a bird accident to date.

Surprisingly, one of the most effective ways of prevent birds straying into the skies above an airport is through other birds. That's right, many airports use falconers who have trained birds-of-prey as a way to prevent a bird accident. One of them, Canada's busiest airport, Toronto's Pearson Internaitonal Airport, even has a bald eagle named Ivan to scare off Canadian geese.


Russia’s new MiG-35 (NATO reporting name “Fulcrum-F” is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB technology. The plane is classified as a 4++ generation jet fighter by Mikoyan. The plane is still under development and as of 2008, there are 10 prototypes built. The MiG-35 was first officially presented by MiG Corporation during the Aero India 2007 air show.


The MiG-35 is classed as a medium-weight aircraft that can perform multiple roles. Among its many counterparts are the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

This new and vastly improved version of the MiG-29 uses the new Phazotron Zhuk-AE Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the more powerful RD-33MK engines, and a new designed Optical Locator System (OLS). There is also a reduction in analog electronics in the MiG-35 cockpit.

Airborne Laser

The modern U.S. military has a huge range of high tech weapons in its arsenal. From robotic reconnaissance drones to stealth bombers invisible to radar, it is the most formidable force in the world. Then came the ABL (Airborne Laser), which completely revolutionized warfare.

This weapon is a megawatt chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) mounted on a modified Boeing 747-400F. It weighs 6 500 pounds (3 000 kg) and the laser’s main purpose is to defend against incoming tactical ballistic missiles (TBM). The aircraft was designated YAL-1A in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Defense and has successfully passed several tests, including the shooting down of a simulated missile in 2009.

How does it Work?

The YAL-1A does not destroy the target directly but heats the missile skin, weakening it so as to cause failure from high speed flight stress.

Other Targets?

The ABL could be used against fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, and even low-earth-orbit satellites but with less efficiency as it is not what the laser was primarily designed to do.

The use of the ABL on ground targets is highly unlikely as the beam weakens when it passes through the atmosphere and armoured vehicles such as tanks are unaffected by a megawatt-class laser.

Future of the ABL…

The ABL, originally set to enter service in 2008, was delayed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new military budget. However, when the ABL proves its worth it to the politicians, 7 ABL-armed 747s will be built and assigned to two combat theatres.

Why mercury themometers are not allowed on planes

Mercury thermometers are not allowed on planes is because of how the mercury would react to aluminum, which is the material used for an airplane's frame. First of all, why is aluminum used?

When aluminum rusts, it produces a protective coating of aluminum oxide that protects the metal from further rusting. Also, aluminum is light, strong and cheap.

However, when mercury meets the aluminum, the mercury will break through the aluminum oxide which creates a lot of heat and then eat away the aluminum under.

Terminal Event- The Book

Terminal Event is a famous thriller novel that explores the world of NTSB investigators. In this novel, James Thayer brings into light the grim realities facing NTSB investigators everyday. This book will teach you a lot about how the organization operates and how they solve mysterious plane crashes.

The storyline follows a former-NTSB investigator who's trying to find out the cause of a tragic plane crash which killed his wife. As he searches through the wreckage and the black boxes, the evidence keeps pointing to a mid-air explosion probably caused by a bomb that had slipped pass security. However, higher authorities are insisting that the crash was caused by pilot error. What Durant also learns is that the bomber was going to strike again, and soon. Durant has to stop him at all costs before more lives are taken.

The Boeing 797- What the...

The rumor is that the new Boeing airliner would be a giant "blended wing" passenger airliner. However, according to, they have went directly to Boeing to find the truth about the rumors, and Boeing replied that they are researching on blended-wing aircraft as a potential military aircraft. Boeing has built a scale model as well as plans (as of 7/13/07) to flight test a scale model. Even so, imagine flying to New York in that aircraft.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 "Fishbed"

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21), named "Fishbed" by NATO, is a supersonic jet fighter developed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was introduced in 1959, and is still being used by many countries to date (2009). In fact, the MiG-21 was used by some 50 countries spread out over 4 continents. The MiG-21 holds the record of the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and the longest production run of a combat aircraft, from 1959-1985.

Technical Description...

Probably the reason for the MiG-21s wide use is its low field costs. There was hardly any maintenance required after a flight so mission after could mission could be flown with little or no maintenance at all. However, the MiGs produced by Russia were of low quality.


The MiG-21 had a delta wing. The sweep angle of the leading edge is 57 degrees. The angle of incidence is 0 degrees. The dihedral angle is -2 degrees.


The MiG-21s fuselage is semi-monocoque with an elliptical profile. The air intake has a cone that regulates the air flow to the engine, and it is three-staged up until the MiG-21PF. When the MiG-21 reaches speeds of Mach 1.5 to Mach 1.9, it is in the middle position and as the speed goes over 1.9, it is in the maximum forward position. Both sides of the nose have gills that supply the engines with more air while in the ground. The pitot tube is located on the bottom of the nose, but after the MiG-21P and every other version after that, it is located on the top of the air intake. There are three air brakes on the bottom of the plane. However, when there is an external fuel tank, the last air brake can't be used. Behind the brakes are the bays for the main landing gear. Under the fuselage, just behind the trailing edge of the wing, 2 Jet-fuel Assisted Take Off (J.A.T.O.) rockets can be attached.

The MiG-21 has a tricycle type undercarriage with a nose gear.

The Invisible Barrier of Sound

The invisible barrier of sound was overcome on October 14th, 1947, by a United States Air Force test pilot, Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager, in a Bell X-1, which he christened 'Glamorous Glennis', after his wife. It was a remarkable achievement, and many future planes started to have the ability to reach Mach 1, which was equivalent to the speed of sound multiplied by 1, through the help of an afterburner, which consumed a lot of fuel, but after fifty years of technological advancement, the ability to supercruise, which is to fly at the speed of sound without afterburners and without consuming immense quantities of fuel, was made available. One such example is the F-22 Raptor.

The Speed of Sound is not a fixed constant, and varies at different air temperatures. However, it is commonly accepted that the general speed of sound is 1 234.8 kilometers per hour (767 miles per hour), which means about 1 mile in five seconds. This is only true when dry air is at 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

When an aircraft reaches the speed of sound, a vapor cone forms around the fuselage and a sonic boom is heard. Some planes can even achieve over Mach 3, such as the SR-71 Blackbird.


The AIM-120 AMRAAM, manufactured by Hughes/Raytheon, is commonly known as the Slammer in the United States Air Force. It is an all-weather day-and-night capable Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile. When an AMRAAM is launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code "FOXTHREE". Introduced operationally in 1991, the AMRAAM was the replacement for the AIM-7 Sparrow and made its first appearance on September as an operational missile on board United States Air Force F-15 Eagle Squadrons. It was designed so that a fighter can take on multiple targets at once, no matter the manoeuverability or speed of the target. is commonly mistaken as a pure fire-and-forget missile, like the AIM-9 Sidewinder, but that depends on the range of the target. Only when the missile reaches a range where its small active homing radar is able to find the target, then it can be "forgotten".

Guidance System...

First of all, the AMRAAM has a built-in Inertial Navigation System (INS). It uses this to fly an interception course to the target with information usually from the launching aircraft. It can also be obtained from a data link from another fighter aircraft, or a Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

When the firing aircraft, AWACS, or another fighter aircraft continues to track the target, periodic updates are sent to the missile that consists of any changes in the target's heading and speed. This way, the AMRAAM would be able to keep the target in its radar seeker's field of view, or basket. However, not all operators have purchased this mid-course update option which might have negative effects on the AMRAAM's effectiveness in some scenarios. In fact, the RAF, which was testing the AMRAAM without the mid-course update for its Tornado F3 force, discovered that its is even less effective than the older semi-active radar homing BAE Skyflash missile.

The only time when the AMRAAM is truly a fire-and-forget weapon is when its fired at close range, which is assumed to be visual range, to the target. At that distance, the AMRAAM's own active radar seeker is automatically turned on and it will start guiding itself to the target. When the active radar seeker is turned on, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) brevity code "PITBULL" would be called on the radio, just like when "FOXTHREE" is used to announce the launch of an AIM-120.

The de Havilland Comet

The de Havilland Comet, the world's first ever commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland, the Comet was considered a landmark British aeronautical design. It not only revolutionised air travel but also brought the world closer together with its high speed, compared to older turbo prop planes.

Although not used in the commercial world, the Comet's military derivative, Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, is still in service and is expected to serve the Royal Air Force until the 2020s, almsot 70 years after its first flight.

Design and Development...

The Comet was designed to fulfill the need for a transatlantic airliner and Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, head of the de Havilland company, used his power and influence, plus his company's expertise with jets, to persuade the Brabazon Commitee that a transatlantic jet mailplane is needed after the war. Subsequently, the Commitee accepted de Havilland's proposal, calling it the Type IV (of five designs), and awarded the production contract to de Havilland's DH.106. The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) found the Type IV rather attractive and in the last month of 1945, agreed to buy ten aircraft.

The Type IV was officially christened Comet in December 1947. First deliveries were expected five years later. The first flight of the Comet was held on July 27th, 1949, and lasted for 31 minutes, by de Havilland Chief Test Pilot John Cunningham, a famous wartime night-fighter pilot. It was then publicly displayed at the 1949 Farnborough Airshow before beginning flight trials. A second prototype made its maiden flight a year later.

The Comet has an all-metal low-wing cantilever monoplane, and was powered by four jet engines. About the size of a Boeing 737, the Comet was quite luxurious for the first jet airliner. There was lots of room, with 36 seats to each aircraft, and each had its own ashtray. The galley served hot and cold food and drinks, and there was even a bar. Men's and Women's washrooms were seperate, which is something you don't see on modern airliners, and the passenger cabin was much quieter compared to its propeller-driven airliners counter-parts. The Comet's four-man cockpit held two pilots, a navigator and flight engineer. The Comet was also the first pressurised jet-propelled commercial aircraft.

de Havilland's clean, low-drag design featured many unique or innovative design elements, including a swept leading edge, integral wing fuel tanks and four wheel bogie main undercarriage units. Emergencies were countered with lift rafts, which were storeed in the wings near the engines and every seat had a life vest stowed under each seat bottom.

The Comet was powered by two de Havilland Ghost 50 Mk1 turbojet engines buried in the wings close to the fuselage. British engineers chose this configuration as it avoided the drag created by podded engines and allowed fin and rudder, since the hazards of asymmetric, or non-balanced thrust, were reduced. The engines' higher mounting on the wings also lessened the risk of ingestion damage, which is a major problem for turbine engines. However, this design does have its setbacks, such as increased structural weight and complexity of the air frame, as well as a higher chance for wing failure when an engine is on fire, which was cited as the main reason Boeing Aircraft Company chose podded engines over engines buried in the wings.

The Comet's skin is a composition of new and advanced alloys, chemically bonded together with Redux, which is a type of epoxy adhesive, and riveted. It saved weight and reduced the risk of fatigue cracks spreading from the rivets.


When the Comet went into service on May 2nd, 1952, it was the most exhaustively tested airliner in history. Water tanks were used to test airframe for metal fatigue by repeatedly pressuring and depressuring the airframe through more than 16 000 cycles, which is equivalent to about 40 000 hours of airline service. The windows were also tested to their max capabilities, and one window frame survived a massive 100 psi, which about 1 250% over the maximum pressure it would encounter in service.

Early Comet disasters...

Early versions of the Comet suffered from catastrophic metal fatigue, which was the root cause of a string of well-publicised accidents. The first of these occured on January 10th, 1954 when Comet G-ALYP ("Yoke Peter"), BOAC Flight 781, broke up in flight mysteriously and crashed into the Mediterranean off the coast of the Italian island Elba. There were no survivors. The entirely Comet fleet was subsequently grounded while the Abell Commitee met to determine the cause of the crash. The conclusion was fire, and modifications were made to the aircraft to protect the engines and wings from damage which might start another fire. However, three months later, another crash of the sort occured in the waters near Naples. Investigators were extremely puzzled and a large investigation board was formed under the direction of the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE). They subjected Comet airframes to pressurisation cycles and found the cause of the crashes was metal fatigue. The Comets were redesigned and most served with the military, until 1958 when it resumed commercial service, by which time the much-improved Comet 4 was introduced, and became the first jet airliner to enter transatlantic service. However, by then, United States aircraft manufacturers caught up with Boeing's 707 jetliner and Douglas' DC-8, which were both faster and cost effective, rendering the Comet less profitable. De Havilland later went on to long-range missiles, and in 1962 went back to the airline world with the three-engine jetliner, Trident, but was beat again by Boeing with its 727, also a tri-jet.

De Havilland's hard-learned lessons benefited aircraft manufacturers all over the world, and according to John Cunningham, representatives from Boeing and Douglas "admitted that if it had not been for our problems, it would have happened to them." [Faith 1996, pp. 158-165]

Specifications... (Comet 4)

General characteristics

Crew: 4
Capacity: 56-109 passengers
Length: 34 m (112 ft)
Wingspan: 35 m (115 ft)
Height: 9 m (30 ft)
Wing area: 2,120 ft² (197 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 63A116 mod root, NACA 63A112 mod tip
Empty weight: 75,400 lb (34,200 kg)
Loaded weight: 162,000 lb (73,470 kg)
Powerplant: 4× Rolls-Royce Avon Mk 524 turbojets, 10,500 lbf (46.8 kN) each


Maximum speed: 500 mph (430 kn, 810 km/h)
Range: 2,800 nmi (3,225 mi, 5,190 km)
Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,000 m)