If anyone wants to get good thrills, then head to the South of France during October as there will be a jet fighter available to take you up in the air, and spin your head like you’ve never had it before! The jet fighter rides specialist Tematis is stationing an aircraft for the full month of October to benefit from better weather conditions in the South of France. We can add that a bit of sun, good food and wine does not harm either. Flights start at 1950 euros for 30mn, and you fly up to one hour, if you have the strength. Check out their website directly for more info: http://uk.tematis.com/fly-jet-fighter-south-france.html
Summer is here and we have more time to fly. And when the weather is crappy or not as good as we wished for, we can always watch some cool movies where aviation plays a central part. We’ve decided to give you a list of the movies we like where aviation is fully part of the story, and some movies have great shots too. Here it goes, in no particular order:
Battle of Britain (1969)
A great cast features in this epic account of the RAF’s fight for Britain’s survival. Some terrific aerial footage (although quite a lot of models were used too).
The Dam Busters (1955)
One of the very best. Great story, great flying scenes. Incomparable theme tune. There’s talk of a remake. I hope it happens. I hope it’s good. And, people, if they do change the name of the dog, it really doesn’t matter.
Played deadpan, this comedy classic spawned a glut of imitators. The original and best feels exactly like the disaster movies it so brilliantly spoofed.
Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
“It’s not a party, there is no booze,’said the trailer for no particularly good reason. James Stewart, Richard Attenborough and Ernest Borgnine lead an all-star cast, stranded in the desert, trying to build a new aircraft out of the wreckage of their old one.
The Right Stuff(1983)
An epic ﬁlm of Tom Wolfe’s classic account of the birth of the space race in America. Real care was taken to make sure the flying looked right. And Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager? Perfect.
The Sound Barrier (1952)
David Lean, director of Lawrence of Arabia, turns his attention to the dawn of the jet age - a mouth-watering prospect. Beautifully made, it features great footage of early 1950s British jets.
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)
Great fun. The brilliant Terry-Thomas leads a who’s-who of British character actors in this fabulous comedy about a pre-First World War air race involving an amazing collection of machines, some of them built specially for the movie.
Top Gun (1986)
With pretty much every line being quotable, this is a pop-culture classic. You know the story: Tom Cruise aims to be best of the best. Made with full US Navy cooperation, the aerial footage of duelling F-14 Tomcats won’t be bettered
“Actually filmed in space” was a line they couldn’t even use for Apollo 13. Narrated by James Stewart, this semi-documentary features real footage of the X-15 and stars Charles Bronson. Amazingly, it was directed by Richard
Donner, who later made Lethal Weapon
The Final Countdown (1980)
A nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier slips back in time to the build-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. You’ve got to love any movie that has Kirk Douglas ordering a pair of F-14 Tomcats to “Splash the Zeros’.
The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
It’s clear why this Robert Redford movie is a favourite with pilots. It’s about veteran First World War fighter pilots barnstorming their way across America and includes incredible stunt-flying.
For once I am not going to give you some news or analysis about jet fighters, as I want to pay tribute to an amazing aircraft manufacturer, who never even held a pilot licence. He built aircrafts that have changed the world. This is all about Cessna! Clyde Cessna died in 1954 at age 74 after spending most of his life in the aviation business. He never held a pilot’s license and had a rudimentary education, but he was driven to succeed in whatever he turned his hand to and he was a genius when it came to flying machines. Until 191 1, Cessna sold cars in Enid, Oklahoma, but he was fascinated by the story of Louis Blériotis flight across the English Channel in 1909. At the age of 31 he built a copy of Blériot’s Type X1 that he called Silverwing. On the plain near Jet, Oklahoma, he taught himself to fly, suffering many accidents in the process. His perseverance was rewarded in December 1911 when he made a successful 5-mile flight near Enid that included turns and a safe landing. Cessna now enjoyed a period of exhibition flying, but during the years 1912 to 1915 he built several monoplanes, and discovered that what he really wanted to do was manufacture and sell aircraft of his own design.
In 1916, Cessna took over a vacant building in Wichita, Kansas, and built a new aircraft for the 1917 season. He also established a flight school, but the U.S. intervention in WW1 brought his enterprise to an end and he became a farmer for a few years. His interest in aeronautics never waned, however, and he flew a Laird Swallow during the early 1920s. In 1924, Cessna was approached by Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech, who were planning to start a new business to be known as the Travel Air Manufacturing Company and wanted Cessna to join them. In return for his agreement, he was named president. Travel Air produced several excellent aircraft in the next two years, but in 1927 Cessna broke away to form the Cessna Aircraft Company. Between 1927 and 1929, the company marketed a succession of four- and six-seat monoplanes, but the Wall Street collapse in 1929 brought Cessna the prospect of bankruptcy, and in 1931 the board of Cessna Aircraft voted to oust Clyde Cessna and close the factory. Undaunted, he rented facilities in the abandoned Travel Air complex and created the C.V. Cessna Aircraft Co., which specialized in building racing aircraft. In 1933, however, Cessna was dealt another blow when his close friend Roy Liggett died in the crash of the CR-2 racer. A grief-stricken Cessna withdrew from aviation and retreated to his farm. In 1934, Cessna’s nephew Dwane Wallace wrested control of the defunct Cessna Aircraft Company from the stockholders and introduced the Cessna C-34 monoplane. Clyde agreed to participate in the new venture only as a figurehead. The C-34 was a success and was named the world’s most efficient light aircraft. Wallace guided the company through the 19305 and oversaw the development of the T-50, which became the Cessna Bobcat of VVVVII. With the end of the war, a boom was forecast in the U.S. private aviation industry. It proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy - for a While. In 1946, there Was a bustle of activity, With the impressive total of over 31,000 light planes built. The overproduction was serious, however, and a rash of failures and mergers followed a collapse in demand. By 1948, total industry production was down to little more than 7,000. At this low volume of production it was impossible to keep prices down and the idea of private flying for everyone faded. The “Big Three” survivors of the postwar mayhem were Cessna, Beech and Piper. Wallace introduced the classic taildragger Cessna I. Model 190/ 195, and launched the Model 120/ 140, founding a line that would grow to dominate the light aircraft market and become a familiar sight at flying clubs the world over. The growth of the Big Three was marked by their continually improving products. Cessna rolled on through higher and higher model numbers - 150, 170 (1948 base price $5,400), 172 Skyhawk, 175 Skylark, 180, 182, and 185 Skylane.
In May 1972 the success of these machines was evidenced when Cessna became the first manufacturer to exceed a total production of 100,000 aircraft. In the 1980s the light aircraft industry went rapidly downhill, and one particularly significant reason for the decline in the United States was the problem of product liability. Insurance became a necessity, markedly increasing production costs. By the late 1980s, the effects of litigation had helped to almost double the price of each aircraft built. Independent operation became difficult for even large companies to sustain, and Cessna was made a subsidiary of General Dynamics in 1985, at the same time suspending single-engine production “until the product liability laws are reformed” In 1992 Cessna changed allegiance again when it was bought by Textron. Some relief came in 1994 when the General Aviation Revitalization Act came into effect in the U.S., establishing an 18-year statute of repose against makers of general aviation aircraft and parts. Cessna announced its return, and by the late 1990s the company’s popular high-Wing single-engine models were back in production. The Cessna 172 Skyhawk was among those that reappeared, suitably updated but still recognizable as the descendant of the original 172 manufactured almost 50 years before. It was one of the most successful aircraft designs ever conceived; by the end of the century over 37,000 individuals of the Skyhawk family had been built. This extraordinary achievement ref1ects the dominance of both Cessna and the United States generally in the field of general aviation. Some 80 percent of the World’s general aviation aircraft are in the U.S., and Cessna has built a total of more than 180,000 aircraft of all models. It has been estimated that perhaps half of the aircraft being flown in the world are from a Cessna factory.
Pilots are fun, and when they get bored they take a bit of time for some “selfie” action. Here are some that we like.
As demonstrated by the recent crash of a Mirage 2000 in Niger, the ejection seat saves lives. Here is the story of the people who made this life saving equipment a reality. Bernard Lynch is not generally well known as one of aviation’s pioneers or heroes, but there’s no doubt that he belongs on the list. His unsung bravery has helped to save the lives of extraordinary numbers of military aircrew. During the latter years of the Second World War, it became clear that increasing performance meant that unassisted escape from a stricken aircraft was becoming less and less practical. After the death during a test flight of his business partner, Captain Valentine Baker, James Martin of the Martin-Baker aircraft company made it his mission to bring into service a successful ejection seat, and reorganized the company to achieve it. While the US military was experimenting with spring-loaded downward ejection seats, research conducted by the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Great Britain suggested that the use of an explosive charge to ﬁre the seat upwards was better. The trouble was that there was simply no information about what sort of upward acceleration the human body could stand. And that was where Bernard Lynch, a fitter in the Martin-Baker factory, came into the picture. In January 1945, for the first time, an experimental rig ﬁred a chair carrying a 200lb dummy into the air along two vertical guide rails. Just four days afterwards, Lynch strapped himself in and the trigger was pulled.
With admirable restraint, the engineers arrested Lynch’s ascent just 4 feet 8 inches from where he’d left, but that wasn’t enough to ensure escape from the cockpit of a failing aircraft. Consequently, having survived that first shot in one piece, Lynch got back into the hot seat for further tests. With each ﬁring, the power of the gun’s cartridge was increased. On the fourth ﬁring, after reaching a height of over 10 feet, the stoic fitter reported “considerable physical discomfort”. I’ll bet. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop Lynch from climbing into the back seat of a Gloster Meteor jet fighter in July 1946 and being ejected as the aircraft streaked across Chalgrove Airfield in Oxfordshire at 8000 feet and 320mph. Two years later he was even ejecting from the company’s Meteor for the beneﬁt of cheering crowds during an air pageant at Gatwick Airport. It’s possible that by this time Lynch Was no longer quite the man he once was, for the force of an ejection compresses the spine. A number of Martin-Baker clients lost an inch or more of height after pulling the handle. Today, if aircrew eject more than once, they’re not allowed to strap into an ejection seat again. Often they’ll transfer to flying helicopters, which tend not to have ejection seats. Obviously. But for all the inherent physical stress and danger in using ejection seats, they have made a dramatic impact on military flight safety. And, since James Martin’s response to his partner’s death and Bernard Lynch’s bravery, Martin-Baker has become the market leader. Its seats are used by military aircraft from ninety-three countries across the World, including, most recently, in America’s new Joint Strike Fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. At the time of writing, Martin-Baker’s seats have saved nearly 7500 lives.
A military coup is generally a sign of change. People are fed up with the ongoing situation, and usually it leads to the people or the army taking power. And after a coup, all is supposed to change. Usually the people taking power will change the situation so that everyday Joe and Norman can finally be happy. That’s the theory. Because there was a military coup in Thailand recently, and absolutely nothing changed. Not even the contract of Swedish manufacturer Gripen. Despite all the disagreements, the Thai, each one of them, want the Gripen. That’s amazing. “It needs continuous deliveries for maintenance and such,” Jan-Erik Lövgren of the Swedish Agency for non-proliferation and export controls (ISP) told the TT news agency. ISP is the government body that controls Sweden’s defence exports. The deal to sell 12 Gripen aircraft to the Thais was inked in 2008 with the last three jets handed over recently. In addition to the aircraft the Thais also snapped up two SAAB 340 AEW, radar and other systems as well as benefiting from Swedish training and on-site support. The project was called Peace Suvarnabhumi according to Saab on its website. On May 22nd the Thai army gained control of the country and locked up several high-ranking politicians, journalists and scholars. Mass protests have since followed with the military arguing it was a necessary measure to return stability to Thailand after a turbulent few months. “When these things happen we look at what is going on and we can verify that we don’t have any current commissions in Thailand. So we don’t have any matters to consider but if something like that came up then naturally we would have to consider it,” added Lövgren. The change of power in Bangkok could have a knock-on effect for ISP particularly if a mooted trade embargo becomes a reality. Lövgren said the current situation was not an immediate grounds for concern. Thailand snapped up six Gripen aircraft in 2013 making the nation one of the biggest customers for Swedish military equipment. I am sure the Swedes love the linearity of their orders and the fact that a contract is a contract, wherever you are in the world.
Where is the love… Apparently the US Air Force is suffering… because it not loved as much as it should be. True. Sources within the Air Force are complaining that pilots and ground support troops are not getting enough good vibes. They don’t get the recognition and respect they deserve, so they say. So I am asking where is the new Maverick to stimulate the image? Because when you check out the facts, the US Air Force should be truly proud. The U.S. military has enjoyed the benefits of air superiority for more than sixty years. And each time some congressman tries to cut their budget, the Secretary of Defense goes on the line to protect the Air Force. But the real truth is that the Air Force is feared. And it is feared by its enemies. And this is what counts. No other Air Force in the world deploys the same wealth of capabilities, conducts such sophisticated, integrated operations, provides so much support for the joint force or is developing the range of advanced technologies. This is the force that has the world’s best air superiority fighter, the F-22, the only stealth bomber, the B-2, the most network-capable mid-range tactical platform, the F-35, and even the best close air support aircraft, the A-10. The Iraqi Air Force buried itself in the sand in 2003 rather than fly and face U.S. fighters. In the event of war, China doesn’t want to go mano-a-mano with the U.S. fighter force but plans instead to attack our airfields and aircraft carriers. The Air Force is also perfecting the so-called kill chain. This was described to me by a senior Air Force official this way: If you hide, we will find you; if you move, we will track you and; if we want to, we will kill you. Any adversary will think twice about going against the Air Force, unless mentally deranged. That alone should please the force. And they should know that love can be silent, and sometimes you never speak about true love, as you do not need to, you know it’s there.
This is just a brilliant video of a jet fighter ride done by the team in France.
So they said “it’s going to be a fantastic aircraft, it’s going to be number 1, and it’s going to be stealthy”. Well, this is great. The price tag is quite expensive, about £100Mio each, but then for sure it’s going to be worth it. Well, the Brits are now voicing their concern that they are not quite getting the deal they hoped for. Of course the aircraft is expensive, but the problem lies elsewhere. In fact, Britain purchased an aircraft, which is not so stealthy. The so-called stealth jet costing the MoD billions of pounds can, in fact, be seen by the radar of potential enemies, it has been revealed. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been designed at huge expense to fly unnoticed through enemy airspace and attack targets without being detected. Taxpayers have already spent £1.3 billion developing the jet, while the MoD plans to buy 48 of them at a cost of up to £100 million each. But now, defence experts have revealed that the aircraft can be spotted by Russian and Chinese radar systems. Elizabeth Quintana, from the Royal United Services Institute, confirmed the stealth capability has been compromised and that the UK’s foes are poised to take advantage. She said: ‘There has been an evolution of radar technology and yes, we should be worried. The Russian air defence system might be able to spot the F-35 while the technology fitted to Chinese destroyers is concerning because you will have greater resolution and you will be able to tell with greater certainty what the plane is. ‘The key question is whether the F-35 would be able to engage first, before being spotted. How the aircraft is operated in combat will come into play. ‘The Russians are making a big push in anti-aircraft technology while the combination of technologies being used by the Chinese is interesting.’ Mrs Quintana agreed that the F-35’s stealth capability had been one of its main assets. Asked how much of a blow the stealth problems are, she added: ‘It depends what you think you’re going to come up against. You take your chances. ‘The Army will argue that there is no point spending all this money and that we should be spending more on body armour and tanks.’
Well that’s funny. Did they really think stealth technology is here to stay for ever? Evidently technology evolves, and what is unconceivable somehow becomes conceivable in the future. After all, we have aircrafts, and at one point it seemed impossible to fly in the air. That’s why I am always getting a bit confused when people focus solely on technology as evidently, each smartphone owner will tell you that in six months it is rubbish. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is committed to buying 48 of the jump-jet variants of the aircraft to fly from the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers from 2018, at an estimated total cost of £4.8 billion. Until now the F-35’s invisibility – called ‘Very Low Observable’ or VLO stealth – had been achieved through its shape and paintwork, the formula for which is highly classified. Stealth aircraft use flat surfaces and sharp edges to deflect radar signals and evade detection. The new threat to the F-35 comes from a new system called AESA – Active Electronically Scanned Array – which works by emitting separate radio waves on different frequencies. By rapidly changing frequencies, the radar is more difficult to fool. China has incorporated AESA into a new radar system which it is fitting to its latest warships. The system is apparently capable of locating a stealth aircraft within 220 miles. In this situation, one should ask why Britain and many other countries have not gone for a simple aircraft, cheaper, that can also be seen from radar ?
I think the future lies with drone. You can spot them, and it will be fun to engage as there is no one inside. Better, it will keep the workers in the factories busy as we will need more and more of them as we keep fighting each other. What do you think ?