Archive for the ‘Aircraft’ Tag

Pam Am Airlines Morphs into Pam Am Railways   Leave a comment


Pan American World Airways, known from its founding until 1950 as Pan American Airways and commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991.




The first Gulf War triggered by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, sent fuel prices skyrocketing, which severely depressed global economic activity. This in turn caused a sharp contraction of worldwide air travel demand, plunging once profitable operations, including Pan Am’s prime transatlantic routes, into steep losses. These unforeseen events constituted a further major blow to Pan Am, which was still reeling from the 1988 Lockerbie disaster.

Pan Am was forced to declare bankruptcy on January 8, 1991. Delta Air Lines purchased the remaining profitable assets of Pan Am, including its remaining European routes and Frankfurt mini hub, the Shuttle operation, 45 jets, and the Pan Am Worldport at John F. Kennedy Airport, for $416 million. Delta also injected $100 million becoming a 45 percent owner of a reorganized but smaller Pan Am serving the Caribbean, Central and South America from a main hub in Miami. The airline’s creditors would hold the other 55 percent.

But the name and logo lives on. From the skies to the rail lines




Pan Am Railways, Inc. (PAR), formerly known as Guilford Rail System (GRS) before March 2006, is an American holding company that owns and operates Class II regional railroads covering northern New England from Mattawamkeag, Maine, to Rotterdam Junction, New York.

Pan Am Railways is headquartered in Iron Horse Park in North Billerica, Massachusetts. It is a subsidiary of Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Pan Am Systems, formerly known as Guilford Transportation Industries (GTI). Guilford bought the name, colors and logo of Pan American World Airways in 1998.




Posted January 26, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winging it south for the winter   Leave a comment

The Arctic temperatures are not kind to things with wings.  Ice and blistering wind can be detrimental to an airborne entity. No wonder they head south.



Canada Goose migration routes


Just like the birds, planes seem to avoid Canada in winter.



Lets get the hell out of here!


Posted January 11, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Air India flight turns back after rat spotted on board   Leave a comment



A plane travelling from Mumbai to London was forced to turn back mid-flight after a rat was spotted on board, local media report.

Flight AI 131 travelling to London on Wednesday was flying over Iran when someone on board said they spotted the rodent, reports said.  Passengers continued their journey on a replacement aircraft some time later.

Air India has said that the plane will be fumigated and the presence of a rodent was being investigated. Rats occasionally get on board aircraft along with catering and other supplies but can pose a serious technical as well as a health hazard if they chew through wires.

The airline said that “though the presence of the rodent was not confirmed,” the decision to abort the flight was precautionary and in the interests of passenger safety.

It is not the first time a rat sighting has been reported on an Air India jet this year, with one of their aircraft forced to return to New Delhi during a flight to Milan in July because of a rodent.

It is the latest setback to hit the state-owned airline, which has had to cut costs to improve its financial health.  Earlier in December, an Air India technician was sucked into an aircraft engine and killed at Mumbai airport.


Posted December 31, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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This is how to fly, if you have the big money.   Leave a comment


In the compendium of complaints about air travel, we have not yet encountered “I do not have an unencumbered, horizon-to-horizon view of the entire planet.” At some point, we surmise, someone must have shared that frustration, because Windspeed Technologies has come up with a solution.

The company’s SkyDeck is a clear bubble that pokes up out of the top of an airplane. One or two passengers access this viewing dome via a staircase, or (rather showily) in an elevator. Once they are head and shoulders above the fuselage, they may rotate their seats to view some particular object — the sunset, or a constellation, or a cloud that looks a lot like a bunny. The bubble is made of the same material as the canopies of a supersonic fighter jet, and it’s a teardrop shape mounted just before the tail to have the smallest possible effect on aerodynamics. Its feasibility has been studied a thousand different ways, patents and trademarks have been applied for, and an aircraft manufacturer has begun offering it as an option on its custom builds — though there are not yet reports of orders taken.






Does the SkyDeck seem a bit… erm… over the top? Yes, but certainly that is the point. Windspeed identifies business and VIP aircraft as their primary market, where amenities like the SkyDeck make sense because airplanes made of solid gold are too heavy to fly. But the company also sees a commercial application, where, they say, “Current in-flight entertainment offerings have not changed much over the decades” (as if SkyDeck were the logical successor to seatback entertainment systems). In this bright future, airlines would charge passengers for a trip up to the SkyDeck, providing an additional revenue stream for beleaguered airlines that have not yet found enough things to charge for.

Still, it’s awesome. To merely propose cutting a hole in the top of a jet — and then actually figuring out how to make it happen — is an admirable engineering feat. And who hasn’t imagined what the view might be like the outside of a plane, rather than through the tiny windows we’re now supposed to keep shuttered so as not to interfere with the seatback entertainment systems? Given the chance, we’d certainly spend a few minutes enjoying a 360° at 36,000 feet — though we admit to having some concerns about the availability of beverage service up there.





Posted December 26, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Santa Tracker   1 comment

NORAD has a Santa tracker. For some unexplained reason the military air defense system lost Santa two hours ago.

Santa from earlier today.


The latest development.



Posted December 24, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Eye-Catching Aircraft   Leave a comment

Like the peacock demonstrates, brightness grabs attention. Some airlines let the artists have fun, a few militaries also do the same.


Not much colour here, but the rain soaked tarmac and sky make it awesome. U.S. Navy F-18’s at Key West Naval Air Station.


The giant Airbus A-380.


Qantas 747


Virgin Atlantic Airbus A-340

air5 mirage

French Mirage fighter

air6 ana

All Nippon Airways Boeing 777

Southwest Airlines Specialty Plane Shamu One.

Southwest 737

air8 bangkok

Bangkok Air Airbus A-319 and A-320

air9 skyteam

 Arik Airlines, Nigerian airline, Airbus A-340


Air New Zealand 777


German Luftwaffe Typhoon fighter


 USAF F-16


Posted December 14, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Boeing 747-8 Private Jet takes Luxury to a Whole New Level   Leave a comment

For most people, private jets such as the $65 million Gulfstream G650 or the Bombardier Global Series are the epitome of luxury air travel, but there are a select few who can afford more than that. They’re converting airliners into private flying palaces. To meet this demand, Airbus and Boeing have begun selling “VIP” versions of their airliners under the Airbus Corporate Jet and Boeing Business Jet brands. While most of these planes are based on smaller Airbus A320 series or Boeing 737 models, one recent VIP conversion took luxury to a new level.

One very lucky, very wealthy, and very confidential client took delivery of a personalized Boeing 747-8, completed by Greenpoint Technologies of Kirkland, Washington. Its incredible 4,786 sq. ft. of space features a stateroom, lounges, an office, and a massive dining room.


Master Bedroom




boeing greenpoint-technologies_747-8_img-3


Upper Deck Lounge

boeing9 hump

Time to relax at 40,000 feet








Big Majestic Beast



Posted December 7, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Nazis UFOs are coming!!   Leave a comment

In Ufology, conspiracy theory, science fiction, and comic book stories, claims or stories have circulated linking UFOs to Nazi Germany. The German UFO theories describe supposedly successful attempts to develop advanced aircraft or spacecraft prior to and during World War II, and further assert the post-war survival of these craft in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America, the United States or the Moon, along with their creators. According to these theories and fictional stories, various potential code-names or sub-classifications of Nazi UFO craft such as Rundflugzeug, Feuerball, Diskus, Haunebu, Hauneburg-Gerät, V7, Vril, Kugelblitz (not related to the self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of the same name), Andromeda-Gerät, Flugkreisel, Kugelwaffe, and Reichsflugscheibe have all been referenced.

Some UFO sightings during World War II, particularly those known as foo fighters, were thought by the Allies to be prototype enemy aircraft designed to harass Allied aircraft through electromagnetic disruption; a technology similar to today’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon.






Posted November 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Supersonic Business Passenger Jet Zooming in Over the Horizon   Leave a comment


Aerion, the supersonic-jet maker backed by Texas billionaire Robert Bass, plans to choose a manufacturing site during the first half of next year as it targets delivering the first faster-than-sound business aircraft in 2023.

The timeline unveiled Monday fleshes out how Aerion and partner Airbus Group SE intend to build a civilian plane capable of trans-sonic travel, a niche left vacant since the retirement of the Concorde in 2003. The team has made preliminary designs for a carbon-fiber wing structure, fuselage, landing gear and a fuel system, among other components.

“We see clear and achievable technical solutions to the design of a supersonic jet, and a realistic road map for helping Aerion proceed toward construction and flight,” Airbus Senior Vice President Ken McKenzie said in a statement.

Airbus will provide major components and Aerion will do the final assembly, the companies said in the statement released at the National Business Aviation Association trade show in Las Vegas. For the production site, Aerion needs a 100-acre (40-hectare) area near a U.S. airport with a runway at least 9,000 feet (2,700 meters) long, The plan is to break ground on the factory in 2018.

Aerion is targeting the first flight of the AS2 for 2021. The project began in 2002 and was put on hold by the 2008-09 financial crisis.


The collaboration with Airbus announced last year increases Aerion’s chances of building a private jet that can break the sound barrier. The AS2 is intended to fly efficiently at lower speeds over land because of flight restrictions related to sonic booms. Over oceans, the aircraft can accelerate to Mach 1.5, which is 1.5 times the speed of sound. At sea level, sound travels at about 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) per hour.


While military jets have had supersonic capabilities for decades, the economics are daunting for civilian operations. High ticket prices helped do in the Concorde after 27 years of service, which slurped twice as much fuel as a Boeing Co. jumbo jet while carrying only one-fourth as many passengers.

In the years since Air France and British Airways parked their Concordes, would-be supersonic jet developers have turned to business aircraft in hopes of putting newer technology in a smaller airframe to attract wealthy buyers and globe-trotting chief executive officers.

Aerion has begun to choose suppliers and plans to pick an engine maker during the first half of next year, CEO Doug Nichols said in the statement. The cabin will be developed by Inairvation, a venture between Lufthansa Technik AG and F. List GmbH.

“We will proceed with an engine that allows us to meet our performance goals with the minimum changes required,” Nichols said. “Solutions are in sight with today’s engine technology.”






Posted November 19, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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When Strange Things Appear in the Sky   Leave a comment


When strange things appear in the sky, many people can’t help but turn their thoughts to extraterrestrials. But there’s usually a more down-to-earth explanation.

That was the case when a bright light in the sky off the Southern California coast last weekend touched off a flurry of excitement about unidentified flying objects.

After news reports the Navy reluctantly confirmed it had been testing a Trident II (D5) missile fired from a submarine. A second and final missile was tested on Monday, The Los Angeles Times reported.

It was one of several recent sightings in the sky to cause talk about U.F.O.s. Others included a group of strangely shaped clouds over Cape Town, also over the weekend, and an Army veteran’s claim that he spotted a “solid, dark-gray triangle-shaped craft” in the sky over Portland, Tenn., last week.

Most of these sightings go unreported in the mainstream news media, though a variety of blogs and sites track them.“The mind abhors a vacuum of explanation,” said Michael Shermer, 61, the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a columnist for Scientific American. “Short of a good explanation, people just turn to the one that most immediately comes to mind which, in pop culture, is extraterrestrials.”

A poll of a random sample of 1,114 American adults conducted by National Geographic in 2012 found that 77 percent believed “there are signs that aliens have visited Earth.” (It also found that President Obama would “handle an alien invasion” better than Mitt Romney, who was running for president at the time.)


Peter Davenport, 67, is the director of a two-person organization called the National U.F.O. Reporting Center in Washington State. He compiles reports on sightings, like one in 2013 that came from a former astronaut, Byron Lichtenberg, who is based in North Texas.

Mr. Lichtenberg confirmed that he did call in the report, though he pointed out by email that a few months after his sighting, details began to emerge about the Lockheed Martin SR-72 aircraft.

“It would make sense if that’s what we saw,” he said.

Mr. Davenport, of the reporting center, was dismissive of the idea that the naval exercise near Los Angeles should even be discussed in the same breath with possible alien sightings.

“We’re struggling with a semantic issue here,” he told me. “The term U.F.O. from my vantage point alludes to a genuine alien craft that has exhibited flight characteristics that are altogether incompatible with terrestrial aircraft or any kind of object of terrestrial origin.”



The popular “X Files” series, due for a six-episode return in January, popularized the idea that the government was hiding secrets about alien technology. Many episodes of the show opened with the tagline, “The Truth Is Out There.”

More likely, the truth is in our heads. Mr. Shermer, who is also the author of a book called “The Believing Brain,” is of the opinion that the possibility of alien life speaks to a spiritual need, calling it ”almost a replacement for mainstream religion.”

“In a way, extraterrestrials are like deities for atheists,” he said. “They’re always described as these vastly superior, almost omnipotent beings coming down from on high, very much like the Christ story, the Mormon story or the Scientology story.”

Although he is about as professional a skeptic as it is possible to be, Mr. Shermer said that he remained interested in the “supernatural, the paranormal, science and religion, God, extraterrestrials, U.F.O.’s, ESP.”

He added, “It is all fascinating and, if it were true, it’d be fantastic.”

Submarine launched missiles could really confuse people. Imagine being on a yacht 500 miles out to sea, then all of a sudden something emerges from the depths and blasts into the sky. It would be exhilarating.

030606-N-0000X-005 Washington, D.C. (Jun. 6, 2003) -- Artist concept of the SSGN conversion program.  Four Ohio-class strategic missile submarines USS Ohio (SSBN 726), USS Michigan (SSBN 727) USS Florida (SSBN 728), and USS Georgia (SSBN 729) have been selected for transformation into a new platform, designated SSGN or Tactical Trident. The SSGNs will have the capability to support and launch up to 154 Tomahawk missiles, a significant increase in capacity as compared to other platforms. The 22 missile tubes will also provide the capability to carry other payloads, such as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces equipment.  This new platform will also have the capability to carry and support more than 66 Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) and insert them clandestinely into potential conflict areas.  U.S. Navy graphic.  (RELEASED)

Posted November 14, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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