Ace photographer Megan Vande Voort was gracious enough to send us a bunch of photos she took this summer. We’ll post them all eventually, but this one stood out…
What’s it take to be a firefighting pilot?
By Frederick A. Johnsen
Single Engine Air Tankers – SEATs – are a flexible tool in the ever-evolving armada of aircraft dedicated to wildfire control.
Everything old is new again – some of the first air tankers were hastily converted single-engine Stearman and N3N biplane crop sprayers in the 1950s. As aerial firefighting gained momentum, larger aircraft, including single-engine TBM torpedo bombers and multi-engine bombers of several species, populated air tanker bases.
Eventually, single-engine firebombers fell out of use. Powerplant redundancy and load-carrying favored multi-engine air tankers.
Air Tractor of Olney, Texas, poured its experience as a key designer and maker of reliable single-engine PT-6 turbine-powered agplanes into the development of the AT-802 air tanker by the early 1990s. Initially, foreign users like Spain and Canada embraced SEATs to a greater extent than in the U.S.
Since that time, variants of the AT-802 have found the sweet spot in SEAT work. [Read more…]
It’s only a matter of time before the harmful algal bloom that has plagued Lake Erie begins to grow along the western basin and elsewhere this summer. This year, however, there will be a new tool employed to monitor the problem and spread the word to residents about toxic cyanobacteria.
Dr. Rafat Ansari, senior scientist at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, has spearheaded a citizen science campaign along with general aviation pilot Terry Schubert, to involve public volunteers to monitor water quality along Lake Erie’s coastline and interior waterways. In this case, they are engaging private pilots to collaborate with researchers to collect scientific data. [Read more…]
Facebook — the ubiquitous social network — is determined to connect the entire population of the world to the internet. For remote areas, where traditional infrastructure isn’t possible, Facebook designed Aquila.
“When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems,” said Jay Parikh, Facebook’s Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure. “Aquila is designed to be hyper efficient, so it can fly for up to three months at a time.” [Read more…]
ASA’s 2017 Test Preps and Test Guides are now shipping, while Prepware Software begins shipping the last week of July. [Read more…]
The pilot, who was the airplane owner, was on a local, pleasure flight near Carrollton, Georgia. Witnesses observed the Skybolt flying low, followed by a rapid pitch down or loss of airplane control.
The plane hit a tree about 60 feet above the ground and continued another 46 feet until it hit the ground. Most of the wreckage was consumed in a post-accident fire and both people aboard were killed in the crash. [Read more…]
Frequent photo contributor Albert L Dyer sent in these photos, taken at Hinckley Airport in Illinois, just outside of Chicago O’Hare airspace.
“It is surrounded by farmlands rich in green crops,” he begins. “It’s a peacefully quiet airport. Hinckley is an airport with golf course smooth turf that primarily operates a glider operation. There are plenty of chairs outside the operations building to sit in for seekers like me to watch. This I found to be a very soothing experience.
Answering questions from the local folks that just stopped by to “set a spell” and watch, to those who fly in, one question seems to always be asked…and perhaps over time answered a thousand times already, “where can you fly if you don’t have an engine?” [Read more…]