Archive for the ‘Aircraft’ Tag

The Crash of National Airlines Flight 102 in Afghanistan   Leave a comment


National Airlines Flight 102 was a cargo flight operated by National Airlines between the British military base Camp Bastion in Afghanistan and Al Maktoum Airport in Dubai, with a refueling stop at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. On 29 April 2013, a Boeing 747-400 operating the flight crashed moments after taking off from Bagram, killing all seven people on board.

The aircraft involved was a Boeing 747-428BCF, registration N949CA, S/N 25630. It was manufactured in 1993 as a passenger aircraft and later modified for service as a freighter. At the time of the crash, the aircraft was flying on behalf of the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command.



National Air Cargo, also operating as National Airlines, is an American airline based in Orlando, Florida. It operates on-demand cargo and passenger charter services. Its main base is Orlando International Airport, Orlando.


At the time of the crash the airline had been operating between Camp Bastion and Dubai for a month. The airline said that the accident aircraft had originated in Camp Bastion, and then refueled at Bagram. The aircraft had taken off from Bagram’s runway 03 at 15:30 local time (11:00 UTC) and was climbing through 1,200 feet (370 m) when its nose rose sharply. According to an unconfirmed claim, a crew member was heard on VHF air-band radio reporting that some of the load of five heavy military vehicles in the cargo hold had shifted; the aircraft then stalled and crashed. The crash site was off the end of runway 03, within the perimeter of the airfield. All seven crew, all of whom were U.S. citizens, died: four pilots, two mechanics and a loadmaster.


Posted December 3, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Super Hornet will do the Job!   1 comment


The Lockheed F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighter undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defense missions.

This is arguably the most sophisticated high-tech fighter jet in the world. It is basically a super powerful 360 degree sensor platform that can fire at enemy aircraft way before the enemy planes would even know it is there. It doesn’t even have to be facing the enemy planes when it fires its missiles. It can be flying away from enemy aircraft and shoot missiles that would pull a 180 and go after the bad guys.

In other words, this jet is way too advanced for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canada doesn’t need a weapon system like this. This jet is made to engage top of the line fighters from China and Russia if all hell was to break loose. In all likelihood Canada would not be involved in such a conflict. Canada gives its token support to Allied operations as it did in the Balkan wars of the 1990’s and as it does today against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Putting such an advanced and incredibly expensive fighter in harms way in these brush wars makes no sense. There are fighters out there that are extremely capable of fulfilling Canada’s strategic and tactical military necessities that are half the price.

F-35 in Canadian mock-up



The current price for a single F-35 jet in Canadian dollars is $120 million.  Canada wants to buy 65 of them. Canada doesn’t need to spend that kind of money on a Lamborghini jet, when there are Cadillac jets out there for half the price that are completely capable. The Boeing F-18 Super Hornet would fit the bill perfectly.  Current single F-18 Super Hornet price is 60-70 million dollars apiece.  For long range patrols over the arctic, the Super Hornet has two engines as opposed to the single engine in the F-35. Better to have two engines when flying thousands of kilometres from an airstrip.

Trudeau said the savings from not buying the F-35 would go to building arctic patrol ships. There we go, more bang for the buck!

F-35 General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 50.5 ft (15.67 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft (10.7 m)
  • Height: 14.2 ft (4.33 m)
  • Wing area: 460 ft² (42.7 m²)
  • Empty weight: 29,098 lb (13,199 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 49,540 lb (22,470 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 70,000 lb (31,800 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan
    • Dry thrust: 28,000 lbf (125 kN)
    • Thrust with afterburner: 43,000 lbf(191 kN)
  • Internal fuel capacity: 18,498 lb (8,382 kg)


  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.6+(1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) (tested to Mach 1.61)
  • Range: 1,200 nmi (2,220 km) on internal fuel
  • Combat radius: 613 nmi (1,135 km) on internal fuel
  • Wing loading: 107.7 lb/ft² (526 kg/m²; 745 kg/m² max loaded)
  • Thrust/weight:
    • With full fuel: 0.87
    • With 50% fuel: 1.07
  • Maximum g-load:g

F-18 Super Hornet


F-18 Super Hornet General characteristics

  • Crew: F/A-18E: 1, F/A-18F: 2
  • Length: 60 ft 1¼ in (18.31 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 8½ in (13.62 m)
  • Height: 16 ft (4.88 m)
  • Wing area: 500 ft² (46.5 m²)
  • Empty weight: 32,081 lb (14,552 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 47,000 lb (21,320 kg) (in fighter configuration))
  • Max. takeoff weight: 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 13,000 lbf (62.3 kN) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 22,000 lbf (97.9 kN) each
  • Internal fuel capacity: F/A-18E: 14,400 lb (6,780 kg), F/A-18F: 13,550 lb (6,354 kg)
  • External fuel capacity: 5 × 480 gal tanks, totaling 16,380 lb (7,381 kg)


  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
  • Range: 1,275 nmi (2,346 km) clean plus two AIM-9s
  • Combat radius: 390 nmi (449 mi, 722 km) for interdiction mission
  • Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,070 mi, 3,330 km)
  • Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,000+ m)
  • Rate of climb: 44,882 ft/min (228 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 94.0 lb/ft² (459 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.93
  • Design load factor: 7.6 g

f-18 hornet

f-18 super


Posted November 22, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Super Stallion   Leave a comment




No not quite.  This post is not about a super stallion horse, but about a super stallion helicopter.  The CH-53E Super Stallion of the United States Marines.  This is one big and versatile chopper.  An aircraft like none other in the world.



The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the United States military. It was developed from the CH-53 Sea Stallion, mainly by adding a third engine, a seventh blade to the main rotor and canting the tail rotor 20 degrees. Sailors commonly refer to the Super Stallion as the “Hurricane Maker” because of the downwash the helicopter generates. It was built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps. The less common MH-53E Sea Dragon fills the United States Navy’s need for long range mine sweeping or Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) missions, and perform heavy-lift duties for the Navy. The CH-53E/MH-53E are designated “S-80” by Sikorsky. Currently under development is the CH-53K, which will be equipped with new engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider cabin.



Role Heavy-lift cargo helicopter
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft
First flight 1 March 1974
Introduction 1981
Status In service
Primary users United States Marine Corps United States Navy Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Number built ≈115
Unit cost US$24.36 million (1992) average
Developed from Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion
Developed into Sikorsky CH-53K Super Stallion



The US Marine Corps had been planning to upgrade most of their CH-53Es to keep them in service, but this plan stalled. Sikorsky then proposed a new version, originally the “CH-53X”, and in April 2006, the USMC signed a contract for 156 aircraft as the “CH-53K”.  The Marines are planning to start retiring CH-53Es in 2009 and need new helicopters very quickly.

In August 2007, the USMC increased its order of CH-53Ks to 227.  First flight was planned for November 2011 with initial operating capability by 2015.



General characteristics

  • Crew: 5: 2 pilots, 1 crew chief/right gunner, 1 left gunner, 1 tail gunner (combat crew)
  • Capacity: 37 troops (55 with centerline seats installed)
  • Payload: internal: 30,000 lb or 13,600 kg (external: 32,000 lb or 14,500 kg)
  • Length: 99 ft 1/2 in (30.2 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 79 ft (24 m)
  • Height: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)
  • Disc area: 4,900 ft² (460 m²)
  • Empty weight: 33,226 lb (15,071 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 73,500 lb (33,300 kg)
  • Powerplant: 3 × General Electric T64-GE-416/416A turboshaft, 4,380 shp (3,270 kW) each
  • Rotor systems: 7 blades on main rotor, 4 blades on anti-torque tail rotor


  • Maximum speed: 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 150 kt (173 mph, 278 km/h)
  • Range: 540 nmi (621 mi, 1,000 km)
  • Ferry range: 990 nmi (1,139 mi, 1,833 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,500 ft (5,640 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (13 m/s)





Super Stallions on board the amphibious carrier U.S.S. Boxer docked in Hong Kong


In air refuelling by a C-130 Hercules

Posted October 30, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Deep penetration nuclear-armed supersonic bomber   3 comments

The United States bomber described below is one of the most remarkable aircraft ever developed.  It could fly very high and very fast.  However, the introduction of high-altitude surface to air missiles (SAM’s)made the deployment of such a bomber impractical.  The project was cancelled with only two prototype aircraft built.  These bombers were the most sleek looking big aircraft ever built.



The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie was the prototype version of the proposed B-70 nuclear-armed deep penetration bomber for the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. Designed by North American Aviation in the late 1950s, the Valkyrie was a large six-engined aircraft able to fly Mach 3+ at an altitude of 70,000 ft (21,000 m), which would have allowed it to avoid interceptors, the only effective anti-bomber weapon at the time.

The introduction of effective high-altitude surface-to-air missiles, the program’s high development costs, and changes in the technological environment with the introduction of ICBMs led to the cancellation of the B-70 program in 1961. Although the proposed fleet of operational B-70 bombers was cancelled, two prototype aircraft were built as the XB-70A and used in supersonic test flights from 1964 to 1969. One prototype crashed following a midair collision in 1966; the other is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio.

Designed for high-altitude flight, the B-70 lost this edge to improved Soviet high-altitude, anti-aircraft missiles.  The aircraft would become increasingly vulnerable at high altitudes as newer missile systems were introduced, and at low altitudes it lost its supersonic performance and range. Using the original Mach 3 high altitude mission profile, the aircraft had a design range of 6,447 nmi (7,419 mi, 11,940 km) without refueling, but flying over the target area “on-the-deck” at Mach 0.95 reduced range to 5,312 nmi (6,113 mi, 9,838 km), even with in-flight refueling.  Realizing that the bomber would not be practical combined with high cost overruns President Eisenhower cancelled the project in 1959.  Both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson subsequently left the program cancelled.

The experimental XB-70As were used for the advanced study of aerodynamics, propulsion, and other subjects related to large supersonic transports. The production order was reduced to three prototypes in March 1961 with the third aircraft to incorporate improvements from the previous prototype.  The crew was reduced to only the pilot and co-pilot for the XB-70; the navigator and bomb-aimer were not needed.  The first XB-70 was completed on 7 May 1964 (the second on 15 October 1964), and XB-70A #1 was displayed on 11 May 1964 in Palmdale, California.  One report claimed “nothing like it existed anywhere“.  The planned third prototype was canceled in July 1964 while being built.  The first XB-70 had its maiden flight in September 1964 and flight testing followed.

The XB-70 flight test data and materials development aided the later Rockwell B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber program, the US supersonic transport program and, through intelligence, the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144.  The development of the US U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft along with the B-70 bomber led the Soviet Union to design and develop the MiG-25 interceptor.


The Valkyrie was designed to be a high-altitude bomber-sized Mach 3 aircraft with six engines. Harrison Storms (engineer who designed the command module for the Apollo program) shaped the aircraft with a canard surface and a delta wing, which was built largely of stainless steel, sandwiched honeycomb panels, and titanium. The XB-70 was designed to use supersonic technologies developed for the Mach 3 Navaho, as well as a modified form of the SM-64 Navaho’s all-inertial guidance system.

The XB-70 used compression lift, which was generated from a prominent wedge at the center of the engine inlets that created a shock wave below the aircraft. The wing included inboard camber to more effectively use the higher pressure field behind the strong shock wave (the airflow at the XB-70 wing’s leading edge was subsonic).  The compression lift increased the lift by five percent.   Unique among aircraft of its size, the outer portions of the wings were hinged, and could be pivoted downward by up to 65 degrees. This increased the aircraft’s directional stability at supersonic speeds, shifted the center of lift to a more favorable position at high speeds, and strengthened the compression lift effect.  With the wingtips drooped downwards, the compression lift shock wave would be further trapped under the wings.

On 8 June 1966, XB-70A #2 was in close formation with four other aircraft (an F-4, F-5, T-38, and F-104) for a photoshoot at the behest of General Electric, manufacturer of the engines of all five aircraft. With the photoshoot complete, the F-104 drifted into contact with the XB-70’s right wing, flipped over and rolled inverted over the top of the Valkyrie, striking the vertical stabilizers and left wing of the bomber. The F-104 exploded, destroying the Valkyrie’s rudders and damaging its left wing. With the loss of both rudders and damage to the wings, the Valkyrie entered an uncontrollable spin and crashed into the ground north of Barstow, California. NASA Chief Test Pilot Joe Walker (F-104 pilot) and Carl Cross (XB-70 co-pilot) were killed. Al White (XB-70 pilot) ejected, sustaining serious injuries, including one arm being crushed as it was caught in the clamshell-like escape capsule as it closed around him just before ejection from the aircraft.

The formation of aircraft shortly after the collision on 8 June 1966.

General characteristics

  • Crew:2
  • Length: 185 ft 10 in(56.6 m)
  • Wingspan:105 ft 0 in (32 m)
  • Height:30 ft 9 in (9.4 m)
  • Wing area:6,296 ft² (585 m²)
  • Airfoil:Hexagonal; 0.30 Hex modified root, 0.70 Hex modified tip
  • Empty weight: 210,000 lb(93,000 kg)
  • Loaded weight:534,700 lb (242,500 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight:550,000 lb (250,000 kg)
  • Powerplant:6 × General Electric YJ93-GE-3 afterburning turbojet
    • Dry thrust: 19,900 lbf (84 kN) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 28,800 lbf (128 kN) each


  • Maximum speed: Mach 3.1 (2,056 mph, 3,309 km/h)
  • Cruise speed:Mach 3.0 (2,000 mph, 3,200 km/h)
  • Range: 3,725 nmi (4,288 mi, 6,900 km) combat
  • Service ceiling:77,350 ft (23,600 m)
  • Wing loading:84.93 lb/ft² (414.7 kg/m²)
  • lift-to-drag: about 6 at Mach 2
  • Thrust/weight: 0.314

Posted October 25, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Jet Aerobatic Teams from around the World   4 comments


Here is a list of some of the top Aerobatic Jet Teams in the world.  Most of these teams are military jet teams, but there are also a few civilian teams.

These teams perform high-speed intricate manoeuvres often involving extremely close precision formations.  It is very dangerous stuff.  The pilots have to know exactly what the other members are doing and where they are at all times.  Accidents have happened with loss of life, but it is very rare.

I have included 10 military teams and 3 civilian teams.  There is no rating as the criteria would not be uniform throughout all the teams.  Some teams, especially the Russian and United States teams, fly top of the line high performance fighters.  While other teams use advanced trainers. 

Lets get this list airborne.

Blue Impulse.  Japan.

Aircraft:  9 Kawasaki T-4’s, Trainer



Turkish Stars.  Turkey.

Aircraft: 10 NF-5A Freedom Fighters.  Fighter.


Patrouille de France

Aircraft:  8 Alpha Jets.  Trainer.


August 1 (aerobatic team).  China.

Aircraft:  6 Chengdu J-10.  Fighter.


Russian Knights

Aircraft:  6 SU-27’s.  Fighter.


Royal Air Force Red Arrows.  United Kingdom.

Aircraft:  9 Hawk T1A’s.  Trainer.


Snowbirds.  Canada.

Aircraft:  11 CT-114 Tutors.  Trainer.


Blue Angels.  United States.

Aircraft:  10 F/A-18 Hornets.  Fighter.



Russian Swifts

Aircraft:  6 Mig-29’s.  Fighter.


Thunderbirds.  United States.

Aircraft:  8 F-16 Fighting Falcons.  Fighter.



Jet aerobatic teams are not exclusive to militaries.  They are several civilian teams from around the world.  Below are two of the most prominent.



Team Breitling.  France.

Aircraft:  5 L-39 Albatross.



Patriots Jet Team.  United States.

Aircraft:  4 L-39 Albatross.


Posted April 17, 2016 by markosun in Aircraft

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NASA says it will build a quieter supersonic passenger jet   Leave a comment


(CNN)The age of supersonic jet travel may be a tiny bit closer to making a comeback.

NASA announced Monday it has awarded a $20 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop a preliminary design for a quiet demonstration passenger aircraft designed to fly faster than the speed of sound.

The piloted test aircraft would use so-called Quiet Supersonic Technology, or QueSST, to create a supersonic “heartbeat,” a kind of soft thump instead of the annoying sonic booms usually associated with supersonic planes.

The planes are aimed at making “flight greener, safer and quieter — all while developing aircraft that travel faster, and building an aviation system that operates more efficiently,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during the official announcement Monday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Sonic booms come from shock waves created as supersonic planes cut through the air. The waves cause sudden air pressure changes, which trigger booming sounds that can be heard for miles.

Last January, sonic booms from new U.S. Navy F-35C fighter jets being tested offshore rattled residents along the U.S. East Coast. Reaction to the booms lit up Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

NASA is calling its quieter sonic boom design “low boom” technology. The agency has been working with engineers from Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works aviation facility in Palmdale, California, birthplace of iconic aircraft designs such as the U.S. Air Force SR-71 Blackbird surveillance plane and the F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft. Together NASA and Lockheed have been learning how to “tune” or “shape” a plane’s sonic boom “signature” through its design.


Posted March 1, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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U.S. Air Force releases artists rendering of proposed new long range bomber   Leave a comment

The Northrop Grumman B-21 is a bomber aircraft under development by Northrop Grumman. As part of the Long Range Strike Bomber program (LRS-B), it is to be a long-range strategic bomber for the United States Air Force, intended to be a heavy-payload stealth aircraft capable of carrying thermonuclear weapons. A request for proposal to develop the aircraft was issued in July 2014. The Air Force plans to purchase 80–100 LRS-B aircraft at a cost of $550 million each (2010 dollars).  A development contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman in October 2015. A Defenseone report states that the bomber could also be used as an intelligence gatherer, battle manager, and interceptor.

At the 2016 Air Warfare Symposium, the LRS-B was formally designated B-21 signifying the aircraft as the 21st century’s first bomber. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James stated that the B-21 is a fifth-generation global precision attack platform that will give the US networked sensor-shoot capability, thus holding targets at risk. The head of the US Air Force Global Strike Command expects that 100 B-21 bombers is the minimum ordered and envisions some 175-200 bombers in service. Initial Operating Capability is expected to be reached in the mid-2020s.


The B-21 very closely resembles the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber below:

B-2 Bomber overhead

21 B-2’s bombers in service.


The B-21 is to replace the B-52 Stratofortress (top). The B-52 has been flying since the 1950’s, it is expected to still be in the USAF inventory into the 2030’s. It will be 80 years old. Constant upgrades keep it flying.

B-52: current inventory 85 airframes.

The B-1 Lancer bomber (middle) is also an integral part of the USAF bomber fleet.

B-1: current inventory 62 airframes.

Posted February 27, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Sensational Drone Footage of Sheep being Herded in New Zealand   Leave a comment


The majesty of nature has been captured via drone footage once again thanks to an aerial photographer in New Zealand.

Tim Whittaker managed to film hundreds of sheep being herded in a field from a perspective that leaves the animals resembling a school of fish or a flock of birds.

The breathtaking film also shows the subtle ways in which their direction can shift due to outside forces such as herding dogs.

To an on-the-ground observer, the movement of the mass of sheep may seem chaotic, but the maneuvers of the animals are revealed to remarkably harmonious when seen from above.


Eerie looking night flock.

Posted February 11, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines   Leave a comment



mig 1


mig 3

mig 31


Love him or hate him, Peter Nygard’s private 727 flying into Winnipeg.







McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.  Notice the unmarked 737 aircraft in the background. That is Janet airlines, the secret airline that flies workers back and forth between Vegas and the Infamous Area 51. 




‘Cause I’m T.N.T., I’m dynamite’





Everything is crowded in China, including runways.









Posted February 10, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Very Unconventional Aircraft   Leave a comment


plane - Copy

Anotov 4-engine double-wing heavy-lifter 


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A480 Triple Decker Humongous


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Double Decker Piggyback


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Oxygen masks optional


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Boeing 888 Stretch Body


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Afghan Ballzy Goat Attack Drone


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Multi-missile Berserker A-1000 Attack Platform


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Fresh Air Airways, lets you roll down the window. Fido gets to enjoy the wind.


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Monty Monkey’s Flying Circus


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What really happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.


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Pet Air has free range cabins where any critter can roam.


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Direct flights from Kingston to Toronto coming soon.



A480 Triple Decker Humongous can haul 880 passengers to Kangaroo Land in one big trans-oceanic jump.



The new Boeing 17777 10 engine Mega-Monster Jumbo can go from 0 to 800 miles an hour in 3 minutes.



Polar Bear Sight-Seeing Airlines bypasses hotels and Tundra-Buggies. It gets you right to the bears upon landing.



The new British Airways Ski-Lander stops periodically at great beaches for some spontaneous R&R.


Posted January 27, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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