AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 2a

January 9, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
A Life Insurance Policy That Returns All of Your Premiums? — YES
The Return of Premium Term policy available through Pilot Insurance Center features fixed premiums and guarantees to return the total of all premiums at the end of the policy. No aviation exclusions. Call (800) 380‑8376 or visit PICLife.com.
AVflash Cirrus 'Chutes in Action back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
AeroExpo || 25-27 May in Sywell, UK || 22-24 June 
in Bitburg, DE

Successful Parachute Ditching Off Bahamas

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

A combination of good weather, good equipment and maybe a little good luck resulted in little more than some wet clothes for two Alabama residents who ditched off the coast of the Bahamas on Saturday. Richard McGlaughlin, 59, and Elaine McGlaughlin, 25, of Birmingham, were in a Cirrus SR22 just after noon when they reported engine trouble off Andros, southeast of Miami. From there, as is evident in this video by Petty Officer Third Class Sabrina Elgammal, everything seemed to go like clockwork.

The pilot made a distress call and deployed the aircraft's parachute. The two occupants then inflated their life raft and were spotted by Coast Guard crews bobbing gently in the calm, shallow azure water. They were met by a Coast Guard swimmer who helped them onto a helicopter hoist for a quick flight to Nassau. There were no injuries but the future of the aircraft is less certain after its thorough dunking in warm salt water. Richard McGlaughlin is a gastroenterologist who uses the Cirrus to commute to Haiti once a month to help out with the cholera outbreak that followed the 2010 earthquake. He's an experienced pilot and member of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.

Related Content:

AVweb Insider Blog: Cirrus Parachute -- A Successful Failure?

The full airframe Cirrus CAPS system by BRS has definitely saved lives. When deployed properly, it seems to work as advertised. But on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli points out that it hasn't been successful enough to have given the Cirrus aircraft anything other than a barely average safety record. Why not?

Read more and join the conversation.

Legal Aspects of Aircraft Lease 
Agreements || February 10, 2012 || Washington, DC || Register Now
Aircraft Leasing and Financing Workshop to Be
Hosted by Cozen O'Connor in Washington, DC

The Legal Aviation Workshop (LAW) on Aircraft Leasing and Financing is returning to Washington, DC in 2012 in order to address legal issues and answer critical questions. The workshop will cover themes such as Principles of Contract Law, Operating Leases ("Dry"), Aircraft Finance, Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance & Insurance ("WET") Leases, and Aviation Insurance. A practical exercise is included in order for the participants to debate the results of the day. Click here to learn more and register.
Skyraider's Homecoming back to top 

Seized Skyraider Heading To Museum

A federal judge has ordered an Alabama man to forfeit his AD-4N Skyraider after siding with the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch of the Department of Homeland Security that the Vietnam-era close support aircraft was illegally imported to the U.S. ICE is turning the Skyraider over to the Navy for display in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. As we reported in 2009, ICE agents seized the aircraft, which is in good flying condition, from Claude Hendrickson. In a news release, ICE said the aircraft and parts, including four 20-mm cannons, were "smuggled" into the U.S. because the plane is a "defense article" and Hendrickson hadn't done the required paperwork to import it and his hired pilot lied about it to customs agents. "The Skyraider aircraft, its cannons and parts are all subject to import licensing requirements as 'defense articles' under the Arms Export Control Act. Federal law prohibits the importation of defense articles without a license or permit," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New Orleans. "ICE aggressively investigates these cases in order to deter this type of illegal activity and protect those who abide by our nation's laws." When the feds initially took the aircraft, Hendrickson started a website. The site does not make reference to the Dec. 21 court ruling and Hendrickson did not immediately respond to an e-mail inquiry Sunday evening.

According to ICE, the pilot of the aircraft gave false information to border agents at Buffalo, N.Y., during the ferry flight from France. ICE agents also searched a shipping container being sent to Hendrickson's business and found the four cannons along with other parts. "The 20-mm cannons arrived at the Port of Savannah, Ga., on Oct. 8, 2008, inside two 40-foot shipping containers being imported by Dixie Equipment. CBP officers discovered the cannons concealed in a wooden box, hidden under aircraft parts in the nose of one of the containers, although the cannons were not listed on the entry form, bill of lading, invoice or any other documentation submitted by Dixie Equipment," ICE said in its news release.

Lightspeed Trade-Up Program || 
We'll Put Our Money Where Your Headset Is
Lightspeed Aviation Trade-Up Program
Your old less-than-perfect headset has trade-in value on our new Zulu.2 or Sierra headsets. Just visit us online at LightspeedAviation.com, click on our Trade-Up Program, and discover how easy it is to own the headset most pilots prefer. Quiet and clarity never felt so comfortable. You get an incredible headset at a great price from a company that is totally committed to aviation. Headsets for aviation is our only passion.

Click here to learn more and to find a dealer near you.
Lithium Batteries and Cargo Fires back to top 

Cost Benefit Of Cargo Hold Fires

The FAA believes lithium batteries can pose a threat to flight safety and bans them from the cargo holds of passenger aircraft, which carry fire-suppression systems, but that's not the case for cargo aircraft and the disparity is not sitting well with cargo pilots. The Independent Pilots Association (IPA), which represents UPS pilots, is seeking standards that will provide cargo crews with a reasonable expectation of survival should a lithium battery fire break out on board a cargo flight. Cargo carriers can carry thousands of batteries on one flight and each battery can burn at thousands of degrees. But without regulatory guidance each carrier is left to balance safety investments against short-term competitive interests.

AVweb spoke with Independent Pilots Association President Robert Travis about the dangers and where in the mix that leaves pilots. Click here for that podcast.

Podcast: The IPA's Captain Robert Travis on the Dangers of Cargo Fires

File Size 9.3 MB / Running Time 10:08

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Lithium battery fires can burn hotter and faster than other electrical or cargo fires, rapidly destroying an aircraft's structure and systems. The FAA realizes the threat and bans the batteries from the cargo holds of passenger-carrying aircraft. It treats cargo aircraft very differently, and the differences are staggering. Glenn Pew speaks with Captain Robert Travis, president of the Independent Pilots Association, about the FAA's position and the union's plans to make substantive changes.

Click here to listen. (9.3 MB, 10:08)

IFD540 GPS/NAV/COM from Avidyne
Introducing Avidyne's IFD540 Touchscreen FMS/GPS/NAV/COM
As a slide-in replacement for existing 530 Series navigators, the new IFD540 sets a new standard for user interface simplicity. Leveraging the award-winning interface of our Entegra Release 9 system along with a highly intuitive touchscreen control, the IFD540 makes it much easier to access the information you want when you want it. Now you have a choice. And the choice is easy. Avidyne.

Learn more at IFD540.com.
News Briefs back to top 

Light Attack Contract In Limbo

Hawker Beechcraft, which is suing the Air Force, over its plan to go with a Brazilian aircraft for its proposed light attack and support aircraft, has ramped up the publicity campaign to get back in the running. At a news conference on Friday, Hawker Beech CEO Bill Boisture told reporters the company's AT-6B was tossed out of the bidding improperly in favor of the Embraer Super Tucano, which is being developed with Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp. "We believe there's been a flaw in the acquisition process," Boisture was quoted by the Wichita Eagle as saying. Boisture was accompanied by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who also said the process was flawed in that the Air Force and the Government Accountability Office have used procedural arguments to avoid explaining the decision and delayed the announcement of the contract award to Embraer by a week when it should have been made public the same day. "That is highly unusual," Pompeo said. The increasing pressure has caught the attention of Air Force brass and they've put the contract award on hold.

On Wednesday, the Air Force halted all work on the project, citing Hawker Beech's lawsuit but predicting a speedy resumption of the deal, which will see the Super Tucanos assembled in Jacksonville from parts made in Brazil. "The Air Force is confident in the merits of the contract award decision and we expect the litigation will be quickly resolved," Lt. Col Wesley P. Miller told The Associated Press on Thursday. "We are trying to do everything we can to do this right and make sure that it is done because the thing to keep in mind is that this contract is a wartime support contract for a partner in conflict -- and so involves a sense of urgency and mission accomplishment." The aircraft are destined for Afghanistan where they will be used in a counterinsurgency role.

The Return Of Microsoft Flight

Microsoft shut down the group responsible for its popular Flight Simulator X (FSX) in 2009 and by 2010 announced that a new game, "Flight," was in the works -- now it says that game will arrive this spring and it will be free (with limits). Microsoft Flight will be available free via download and will include "flying challenges," and "a variety of exciting missions" limited to a setting that mimics the Hawaiian islands. Extra content, including "new aircraft, regions and customization options," will be made available through an upgrade at a price yet to be announced. According to Microsoft, "players" will experience "authentic piloting procedures" and can "tailor the flight controls to match their skill level." Microsoft has posted some online samples of the Flight experience.

When Microsoft's FSX in 2009 left the active upgrade world, it fell into the hands of third-party support. Primary competitor X-Plane recently released its latest version, X-Plane 10, that includes 1,400 aircraft, 33,000 airports and claims to have the most realistic flight modeling of commercially available personal computer-based flight simulators. That may appeal to a different audience than Microsoft's offering. The target audience for Microsoft Flight remains to be seen. According to Microsoft, Flight will be easy enough to encourage casual participation from people who prefer their flying to be more like a game. But it also appears the software's upgrade options will make an effort to meet expectations for realism set by serious computer pilots. The program can be made "challenging for the most accomplished PC pilots," according to the company. As for its usefulness for real-world pilots, we'll find out this spring.

U.S. Sport Aviation Expo || Sebring, FL || January 19-22, 2012
Sebring Regional Airport Hosts U.S. Sport Aviation Expo!
January 19-22 get ready to see what's new in the LSA world. Conventional aircraft, kitplanes, powered parachutes, trikes, gyros, amphibians, and innovative designs such as electrically powered aircraft — 150+ aircraft on display. Plus demonstration flights, educational forums, food and wine pairing events, a live aircraft auction, and more. Visit Sport-Aviation-Expo.com for details.
Aviation Safety back to top 

New Zealand Balloon Crash Kills 11

A fiery hot air balloon crash in New Zealand Saturday morning killed 11 people, making it the country's worst aviation accident in more than 30 years. Witnesses said the balloon, carrying five couples and the pilot, was on fire and some reported a 30-foot jet of flame coming from the basket as it came down in farmland near the town of Cartertown, about 50 miles northeast of Wellington on the country's North Island. Authorities said the balloon hit power lines before it caught fire and caused a brief power outage.

Weather was reported to be ideal for ballooning when the accident occurred about 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The crash victims were reported to be a mix of locals and tourists. The owner of the balloon is well known in the local LTA community. Names have not been officially released.

Qantas: A380 Cracking Not A Problem

Singapore Airlines and Qantas have found "small cracks" in the wing-rib feet of at least three of their Airbus A380 super-jumbo aircraft; both say the cracks are not a safety issue. The two carriers operate at least 24 A380s between them with about 25 more on order. One of the affected aircraft is the Qantas jet that in November 2010 suffered an en route uncontained engine failure. A Qantas spokesman said the company believes the cracking is unrelated to that event, according to investigators. Both carriers said Friday that repairs have been made.

The cracks were found on the wing rib feet during inspections last year. Regulatory authorities have been made a part of the process and will be part of future inspection and repair processes as needed. A380 operators are not required to take any action at this time because the cracking has not been deemed a risk to flight safety. Airbus says it has traced the problem, developed inspection and repair procedures and that those should be performed during routine scheduled maintenance at four-year intervals.

Mike Busch || CEO & Found of Savvy Aircraft Maintenance Management || 2008 
National Aviation Maintenance Tech of the Year
Finally! Professional Maintenance Management
For Your Piston Aircraft ... Like Bizjets Get.
Don't You Deserve the Best?

Mike Busch and his team of world-class maintenance professionals provide the kind of professional maintenance management for hundreds of owner-flown piston singles and twins that used to be available only for corporate jets. No stress, no hassle, no wasting your time — and you'll save money to boot! Learn how they do it.
Security Snags back to top 

Woman Sneaks Into Russian Rocket Plant, Takes Photos

Lana Sator may be something of a real-life Lara Croft (played in the film Tomb Raider by Angelina Jolie), in that she managed unauthorized access to very unique places -- in this case, a Russian liquid-fueled rocket plant. Sator apparently first studied the plant, NPO Energomash Academician, located on the outskirts of Moscow, from the outside -- both online and on foot before gaining access through a fence. The plant is an active facility owned by a company (NPO) that has participated in some of the leading rocket activities of our time.

Sator's online blog postings about her unauthorized experiences include amazing photographs (click the image) and have elicited letters from authorities warning her to stop posting them. A recent Sator blog post gives thanks in part to NPO for its (loosely translated) "irresponsible approach to the protection of its plant." Sator described her entry as facilitated by repairs being made to a fence at the facility's perimeter and open doors. Sator appears to argue that if the fence is not intact, and doors are not secured, then, by law, entry can not be considered trespassing. Her motives appear to be a long-time dream to see the inside of the plant and climb the tower used to ventilate exhaust during rocket tests. It seems her adventure provoked "unforgettable feelings" that "make life worth living." She writes about crossing the expanse of the plant in poetic terms; "Silence. Beauty. Snow falls... ." And her photography reveals as much. Click on the image at right to reach Sator's blog and photo gallery of her unauthorized tour of the NPO Energomash facility.

Green Beret "Forgot" Explosives In Bag

A Green Beret demolitions expert who twice had explosives confiscated by the TSA before he tried to board airliners over the holidays has been released to the supervision of his superiors at Fort Bragg on $50,000 bail. As we reported Jan. 1, Sgt. Trey Scott Atwater was arrested and charged with trying to bring explosives onto an aircraft after TSA screeners in Midland, Texas, found military-grade explosives in his carry-on. According to the Los Angeles Times, court documents revealed the explosives to be C-4 and also noted that Atwater had a smoke grenade taken from him before he boarded a Dec. 24 flight from Fayetteville, N.C., for the trip to Texas to visit relatives. In that case, he was given a stern talking to by the TSA and allowed to continue his trip. Other details revealed by the documents raise the question of whether the Fayetteville screeners may have missed the C-4 when they discovered the grenade, however.

The Times says the court documents indicate Atwater told investigators he was surprised to see the C-4, which he said he brought home with him from his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He reportedly told them the high explosive sat in the bag in his garage until he used the bag to pack children's items for the Christmas trip. He also said he forgot to mention the grenade incident in Fayetteville when he was interviewed by the FBI in Midland. Atwater has been ordered to undergo a mental examination, not drink alcohol and not possess firearms or explosives while he's on bail. No further court dates have been set.

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
Fly More for Less
Visit the AVbuys page for discounts, rebates, incentives, bargains, special offers, bonus depreciation, or tax benefits to help stretch your budget. We're helping you to locate and view current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.

Click for the resource page.
New on AVweb.com back to top 

Forty-Seven Years in Aviation: A Memoir; Chapter 9: Strategic Air Command, Part 1

Finally joining the Air Force's Strategic Air Command, Dick Taylor and his wife move to Florida, and Dick begins training in air-refueling techniques in the KC-97 Stratotanker.

Click here to read the seventh chapter.

We arrived in Tampa, Fla., home of MacDill Air Force Base, with the expectation that our household goods would follow soon thereafter, but we were not prepared for the several weeks we had to live with what we were able to carry with us from Oklahoma. Our "portable inventory" consisted of an ironing board, a TV set and as much clothing and other necessities as we could stuff into our little station wagon. We arranged a lease on a small, two-bedroom house about eight miles from the base and after a week or two without any furniture to speak of, the neighbors took pity on us and provided a card table and a couple of chairs ... a big improvement over the ironing board. Wife Nancy was very pregnant by this time, so we rented a bed to ease her discomfort. Lesson learned: When accomplishing a permanent change of station, never trust a moving company's estimate of a delivery date for your household goods.

At that time, MacDill AFB hosted two complete bomb wings (305th and 306th), each comprised of several bomber squadrons equipped with B-47s and an aerial-refueling squadron flying KC-97 tankers. I was assigned initially to the 305th Wing air-refueling squadron; shortly after signing in, I asked to be transferred to one of the bomber squadrons with the hope of acquiring some heavy-jet time in the next three years. My request held up for only a few days, whereupon I was re-assigned to the 306th refueling squadron. I never did find out what prompted the sudden relocation but it was likely due to the inescapable fact that brand-new, recently-arrived, 2nd lieutenants always occupy the bottom rung on the ladder of squadron privileges.

When I reported, the CO of the 306th offered a warm welcome to the squadron, but laid down the law on two things I'll never forget: First, a bounced personal check was very near the top of the list of officer no-no's; and second, an offense of any kind committed "in town" (even something as innocuous as a parking ticket) would result in equal or worse punishment inside the gate ... somewhat like the double jeopardy when you got into trouble at school and had to pay for your misdeeds again when you got home. Welcome to SAC and General Curtis LeMay's no-nonsense rules.

Tampa's relationship with the military goes back to 1898 and the Spanish-American War. The city's strategic location made it the logical choice for a rendezvous point for troops heading south to help Cuba gain independence from Spain. Approximately 10,000 troops (including Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders) -- waiting for ships headed to Cuba -- set up camp in Port Tampa City, a village on the western shore of the peninsula.

MacDill AFB occupies the southern portion of the Interbay Peninsula that runs due south from downtown Tampa, with Hillsborough Bay on the east and Tampa Bay on the west. This parcel of palmetto-covered land that lay barely 10 feet or so above sea level was apparently considered worthless in 1939, when it was donated to the U.S. War Department by the state of Florida and Hillsborough County.

Originally established as "Southeast Air Base, Tampa" (how generic can an airfield name be?), the facility was later named in honor of Col. Leslie MacDill, a WWI aviator. Construction began shortly thereafter and the airfield was dedicated in April 1941, just in time for the Army Air Forces to start ramping up training for WWII. The location and layout were ideal for flight operations, with open water east, west and south of the field and virtually no obstacles to the north.

(Read more about MacDill and its B-26 Marauders in the sidebar at right.)

When I joined the 306th Air Refueling Squadron in the spring of 1956, the concept of inflight refueling had been around for nearly four decades thanks to Russian aviator Alexander de Seversky, who had proposed such a procedure in 1917. Four years later, a California wingwalker strapped a can of gasoline to his back, climbed out of a Lincoln Standard and onto a Curtiss Jenny, and proceeded to pour the fuel into the Jenny's gas tank ... that was aerial refueling by definition, but it was more stunt than anything else.

A more practical demonstration of this procedure took place in 1923 when the crews of a pair of DeHavilland DH-4s proved that, given a strong hose, the force of gravity and some good formation flying, fuel could be transferred successfully from one airplane to another in flight.

This was a bare-bones application of the probe-and-drogue method that was applied to a number of modified B-29s in the post-WWII years, when extending the range of the recip-powered bomber fleet was of critical importance.

The next step in the progression toward larger, faster and more efficient tanker airplanes involved the Boeing B-50 Superfortress. As these airplanes were released from their assignments as bombers, a number of them were modified for use as tankers; the KB-50 still employed the probe-and-drogue system, but was capable of simultaneously refueling three fighters.

Three major developments in the early 1950s enabled SAC to take a giant step toward fulfilling its stated mission of providing long-range bombing capability: The first was the initial delivery of Boeing B-47s to the 306th Bomb Wing at MacDill AFB; the second was the near-concurrent delivery of the first Boeing KC-97 tankers to the 306th Air Refueling Squadron, also located at MacDill; and the third development was the flying boom. This combination of aircraft -- with tankers at strategic locations -- held the Russian bear at arm's-length by permitting SAC to maintain a nuclear-armed bomber force in the air 24/7 with enough fuel to reach their targets in the Soviet Union.

The flying boom -- a rigid, telescoping, fuel-delivery line, maneuvered into position by a boom operator in the tail of the tanker -- was an integral part of a refueling pod installed in place of the rear cargo doors of the C-97 cargo aircraft; a receptacle in the receiver airplane locked the fuel nozzle in place during refueling.

My introduction to the KC-97 consisted of a considerable amount of classroom training in aircraft systems and procedures, a lot of sitting-in-the-airplane familiarization and three flights; the first lasted a bit more than four hours (all of it after dark), the second went on for nine hours (half of it at night) and the third was four and a half hours. This was a portent of things to come: A typical refueling mission averaged four to five hours and about half of the flights took place after the sun went down ... SAC flew a lot at night. There was the occasional local flight set aside for transition training and currency.

Shortly after my three "dollar rides," I was sent to West Palm Beach AFB (long since deactivated) to attend the C-97 simulator program operated by the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). At that time, the term "simulator" was rather loosely interpreted as any sort of device that was capable of providing instrument indications and control responses to help aircrews familiarize themselves with a particular aircraft's flight characteristics; today, the MATS simulator at West Palm Beach -- with no motion and no visuals, just frosted cockpit windows to simulate flying in clouds -- would probably be classified as a "training device." I remember a couple of airmen standing outside the sim, one shaking a sheet of metal to simulate thunder, the other producing simulated lightning by flashing a bright light on and off. Its shortcomings notwithstanding, this was state-of-the-simulator-art in 1956 and provided valuable training with zero hazard and much less expense than actual flight. The C-97 (cargo version) was nearly identical to the tanker in almost all respects, so we were able to acquire a good understanding of airplane systems and procedures.

The Palm Beach simulator program was very busy, operating nearly 24 hours a day, which meant students would inevitably be scheduled for early morning classes. On one such occasion I showed up at 5 a.m. for the first sim session of the day, settled myself in the left seat, started all four engines and prepared for takeoff. The engine-noise generators did their thing, the airspeed indicators came to life and at the proper speed my mate in the right seat called out "rotate." I applied a bit of back pressure on the yoke, at which point red lights came on all over the instrument panel, all four engines quit and everything died. The instructor reset the sim for takeoff and said, "Let's try that again," whereupon we got the same result when I tried to raise the nose. Totally confused, I quickly reviewed the takeoff procedure but couldn't find anything out of order. Now the instructor made his point: "Lieutenant, I don't know what else I can do to wake you up; take a look at your attitude indicator."

Something did indeed look different; under the wings of the airplane symbol on the attitude indicator were two little projections intended to represent the landing gear; but instead of being under the wings they were on top. I don't know if my instructor set me up or if the previous instructor had rolled the sim inverted and put it to bed upside down; either way, it proved that clever instructors could do amazing things with the simulator, that one should pay more attention to the flight instruments (especially at 5 o'clock in the morning) and that applying normal flight control pressures to an inverted airplane was not a good way to get off the ground. I still wonder what would have happened if I had realized what was going on and pushed forward on the yoke.

[Continued next month.]

To send a note to Richard and AVweb about this story, please click here.
More articles, stories and fiction about the joy of aviation are found in AVweb's Skywritings section.
// -->

Aviation Safety || The Journal of Risk Management and 
Accident Prevention || Click Here and Save 60% Now
Parts Break; Weather Builds — Are You Ready?
With Aviation Safety, you're prepared for anything — and we mean anything — that can happen in the air. Click here and save 60% now.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Got an Oily Hangar Floor? This Stuff Can Spruce It Up

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Many of us dream of a gleaming gray expoxy-coated hangar floor illuminated by the glare of bright lights. But most of us actually have oil-stained concrete, dingy from years of abuse. If your floor is stained badly, a product called ReKrete can help improve it. Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli demonstrates the product in this brief video.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video: F-106 Corn Field Bomber, Convair Delta Dart

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

This is an unusual story. The jet you're looking at is an F-106 Delta Dart. A storied interceptor in its day, it was built to exceed an Air Force requirement for 1.9 mach and continuous flight at 57,000 feet. It did both. And in December 1959, it set a speed record, of 1,525 mph, or about 2.3 mach, while flying at 40,000 feet. Its pilot at the time, Major Joseph Rogers, claimed the record might not be accurate. He was still accelerating, he said, at the time.

But this particular jet is famous for a different reason.

As the story goes, the aircraft you see here on February 2, 1970 flew itself into the ground -- a snowy field in Montana, where its engine continued to run for another hour and 45 minutes. Grounded, pilotless and still under power, with its radar still sweeping, the jet sometimes crept forward foot by foot through the snow as a small collection of onlookers watched. Its pilot, 1st Lieutenant Gary Foust, had ejected roughly two hours before that show was over. Foust's trip was just as interesting. He'd lost control of the jet while flying a mock engagement that led his and two other jets into harsh maneuvers in the thin, unforgiving air at 38,000 feet. Attempting to match a high-g reversal by another pilot, Foust's jet bucked. He entered a flat spin, and the jet fell, spinning slowly like a model on a turntable. The flight's two other pilots came to his aid, calling out recovery procedures. But by 15,000 feet the result seemed certain, and an instructor in one of the other jets ordered Foust to eject. Foust obeyed.

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and it could be it's that law that saved the jet. As Foust shot up, the jet's condition changed -- just enough for it to recover on its own and head off for the horizon. Legend has it that one of the observing pilots said on frequency, "Gary, you better get back in."

In the end, the jet was recovered, rebuilt and put back to work as tail number 80787. But it was forever known as the Corn Field bomber. Delta Darts were phased out in the 1980s.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Advertising Director, Associate Publisher
Tom Bliss

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.