Monthly Archives: June 2009

American Airlines Birdstrike at La Guardia

An American Airlines Boeing 737 (like the one below) reportedly struck a bird descending through 900-feet on approach to La Guardia today.

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Speculation is the bird or birds are smaller than the Canadian Geese which downed the US Airways jet into the Hudson River earlier this year, since the geese are not migrating through the area this time of year.

There were no reports of injuries or significant damage to the aircraft.

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Yemini Airbus Crashes

2006_slide_gnd_firstRescuers safely plucked a 14-year-old survivor from the Indian Ocean, after a Yemini Airbus 310 crashed with some 150 people aboard near the island of Comorros.

The aircraft reportedly rejected a landing attempt under very windy conditions, but crashed while maneuvering in the go-around.

This marks the second Airbus crash in a month.  However, aside from the common manufacturer; experts so far see little similarity between this crash and the recent Air France disaster in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Brazil.  The aircraft are different models, and the Air France mishap happened during cruise, while this one happened during the landing phase.  On the other hand, both aircraft went down apparently flying under turbulent conditions.

More pertinently, some observers are growing concerned that over the past eleven years, the majority of airline crashes have occurred with Airbus aircraft.  But more noteworthy is the fact that French officials denied permission for the specific aircraft involved in this crash to fly through French airspace over maintenance concerns.

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Original “Stealth” Bomber Seen as “Game-Changer”

Go229Given more time, and Nazi Germany may have deployed the world’s first “stealth” bomber during WW II.

The Horten Ho 229, the 75-foot flying wing design, prototype jet (shown left) was built largely of wood, but experts say the aircraft would have been a “game-changer” had the German’s deployed it before the war ended.

There are conflicting reports whether America’s B-2 Stealth Bomber design was influenced by the German fore-runner.

National Geographic is airing a documentary on the aircraft on July 5.

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High-Def Moonwalk Video Discovered

MoonwalkNASA is looking into reports Australia scientists may have stumbled across high-def video of America’s moonwalks, circa 1970.

At that time, man’s walks on the moon were beamed directly to a facility in Australia, compressed and then transmitted to the USA to be distributed to the news media.

The originals should have been shipped later, but became lost.  Now officials believe the recordings have been found in basement storage.  If true, the grainy moonwalk video we see may soon be replaced by a much higher quality version.

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USA Launches Most Powerful Weapon

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The US Air Force launched its most devastating weapon today: the Minuteman III inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenburg AFB in California.

Observers believe the timing of the test is meant as a warning to North Korea, as it reportedly prepares to test-launch its own long-range missile; widely expected on or about the USA’s Independence Day, July 4.

While North Korea threatens Hawaii with what it hopes will be its first successful long-range missile flight, the USA maintains some 450 land-based, long-range missiles capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads over a distance up to 7000 miles.

wminute3In this test, Air Force officials report the Minuteman traveled 4,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean at speeds up to 15,000 mph, and successfully hitting multiple targets in the vicinity of the Marshall Islands.

In addition to land-based ICBMs (left), the USA holds many more submarine-based nuclear missiles, and its Air Force maintains a fleet of bombers, which can also be outfitted with nuclear bombs.

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“High-Rise” Runway Opens in Portugal

A short runway built between the sea and steep, mountainous terrain made for a dangerous runway at Funchal; a city situated along the southern coast of the Portuguese island of Madeira.

At first glance, extending the runway appeared impractical, because the strip seemed “locked” by mountains on one side and water on the remaining three.  But the Portuguese took to the bold idea of extending the runway by using 17-story pylons, and this is what they got:

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Highly impressive, but is the runway any safer?  Extending the runway certainly helps, but it cannot solve potentially treacherous wind conditions wherever runways are in close proximity to mountains.

Check this You-Tube Video said to show airliners on approach, and judge for yourself:

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NASA Launches Rocket to the Moon

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Today NASA fired an unmanned Atlas V rocket to the moon for the first time in a decade.

The mission includes a detailed mapping of the moon in an effort to determine possible landing sites for the day mankind returns to the moon tentatively planned for 2020.

The second part of the mission will crash the second stage of the rocket into the lunar surface, hopefully creating a huge dust cloud.  Scientists will then analyze the cloud to better determine whether water, ice, or hydrogen may be present.  Scientists believe locating lunar supplies of water and hydrogen will make it far easier to establish a long-term presence on the moon.

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