Monday, November 28, 2005


MC-130 "Talon" De-Clawed!

The outstanding pilots of the American military face danger and adversity every day in Iraq, and face it valiantly. Sometimes, though, danger appears from the most "unlikely" of places, and is totally unexpected, and arrives and attacks in a few fleeting seconds of destruction.

The MC-130 Combat "Talon" aircraft, which are actually modified "Hercules" aircraft, provide infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces and equipment in hostile or denied territory, using unprepared surfaces. Secondary missions include psychological operations and helicopter air refueling. It's terrain-following/avoidance radar allows it to operate at 250 AGL in adverse weather, sometimes performing 8 hr. missions in a "blacked-out" condition. What an amazing piece of "iron", and "ironmen" fly them.

Last December repairs were being done to an airfield operated by the U.S. in Iraq. When repairs are being done to a runway, a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) should be published, but apparently none was, or it wasn't accessible. An aircraft landing during the day saw the construction and landed long, with no difficulties due to the runway length. They filed a report about the unsafe condition, but somehow a NOTAM was still unavailable after their report. On December 29th, at night, an MC-130 Talon landed on the runway, unaware of the repairs being undertaken. After touchdown and roll-out, "danger" attacked in those fleeting seconds.

An overview of the end result. Posted by Picasa

The initial "depression-entering" would've been a rude, "bone-jarring" awakening. Posted by Picasa

The "debris" trail............. Posted by Picasa

Fire consumed part of the aircraft. Posted by Picasa

An embarrassing and unfitting end to a grand old dame. Posted by Picasa


Primary Function: Infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces

Builder: Lockheed

Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines

Thrust: 4,910 shaft horsepower each engine

Length: 99 feet, 9 inches (30.4 meters)

Height: 38 feet, 6 inches (11.7 meters)

Wingspan: 132 feet, 7 inches (40.4 meters)

Speed: 300 mph

Load: 77 troops, 52 paratroopers or 57 litter patients

Ceiling: 33,000 feet (10,000 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight:155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)

Range: 2,700 nautical miles (4,344 kilometers) Inflight refueling extends this to unlimited range

Crew: Officers - two pilots, a navigator and electronic warfare officer; enlisted - flight engineer and two loadmasters

Date Deployed: MC-130E, 1966; MC-130H, June 1991

Unit Cost: $155 million (fiscal 2001 constant dollars)

Inventory: Active force, 38.

Beauty personified! Posted by Picasa


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Windy Day At Wellington!"

Watch some action at Wellington International Airport, in New Zealand, as a "dog's breakfast" of airplanes pitch, roll, and yaw in the wind while attempting to arrive or depart.

VIDEO - "Windy Day At Wellington!"

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Steve's Video Of The Day:"Spitfire" And "C-47 Dakota"

Watch 2 of the aircraft that contributed to ending Hitler's rule and his "Third Reich 1000 Year Reign" before it even started. The Spitfire is in "Invasion" markings, and the sounds coming from these 3 engines is better than music! NOTE: This Spitfire is powered by a Rolls Royce "Griffon" engine.

VIDEO - "Spitfire" And "C-47 Dakota"

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Spitfires" In The Rhododendrons........

Yesterday we had a humourous look as a Spitfire gave a reporter a haircut. We remember what a valuable asset the Spitfire was, and salute her. Today we hear from 2 famous Canadian women, Marion Orr, and Violet Milstead, another couple of great war-time assets, who ferried Spitfires, Mosquitos, Hurricanes, Beaufighters, and other aircraft types to the combat pilots.

Vi and Marion were members of the ATA. The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) was established in 1939 to transport mail and supplies for the British military, but soon expanded to include transporting warplanes. The ATA had 1,300 men and 166 women — five of whom were Canadian. The ATA transported 309,011 aircraft during the war. It was disbanded when the war ended.

Quite an accomplishment for some wide-eyed Canadian girls. They grow the women with solid character and spines in Canada. Let's hear the story from them.

VIDEO - "Spitfires" In The Rhododendrons........

Friday, November 25, 2005


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Supermarine Spitfire" Low Pass (or "Reporter Craps Himself!")

We all know and understand the legend of the Supermarine "Spitfire". The Battle of Britain was fought between 10 July and 31 October 1940. At the beginning, Fighter Command had 27 squadrons of Hawker Hurricanes and 19 squadrons of Spitfires with which to "face-off" against Schicklgruber's (Hitler) Luftwaffe. Between the beginning of July and the end of October, 565 Hurricanes and 352 Spitfires were lost. Both aircraft and their pilots performed valiantly, and went on to help liberate Europe and the world. In a strange twist later, Spitfires actually faced each other in combat during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when the Israeli Air Force faced the Egyptian and British Air Forces, and all 3 were equipped with Spitfires.

Anyways, there are still some operational Spitfires left flying at the present time, and the sound of the Rolls Royce "Merlin" engine sends a tingle down one's spine, and starts the adrenaline pumping. There are a few "curse words" at the end of the video, but they are an instantaneous and honest reaction to what just transpired.

VIDEO - "Supermarine Spitfire" Low Pass (or "Reporter Craps Himself")!

AUDIO - Rolls Royce Merlin Engine!


1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX - Specifications
31 ft. 3½ in.


Standard (F)
36 ft. 10 in.

Clipped (LF)
32 ft. 2 in.

11 ft. 9 in.

Wing Area
242 sq. ft. (F) or 231 sq. ft. (LF)

Empty Weight
5,610 lbs. (2,545 kg)

Max. Takeoff Weight
7,500 lbs. (3,402 kg)

One V-12 Rolls-Royce Merlin 61, 1,515 hp, or Merlin 63, 1,712 hp

Maximum Speed
408 mph (657 kph) at 25,000 ft.

Service Ceiling
40,000 ft.

Range w/o drop tank
434 miles (698 km)

Two Hispano 20mm cannon and either four .303 machine guns or two .50 machine guns; 1,000 lbs of bombs (500 centerline, 250 each wing)

Number built:


All Variants

Gives me a "boner"! Love those "elliptical" wings, and big "paddle" prop! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Saab Gripen", Controlling The Battlefield!

Yesterday we saw a Saab Gripen do a "freestyle" landing, and what was left was carted away on a flat-bed truck. Today, let's watch the Gripen in action. The Gripen is actually a very well-designed aircraft, employing delta wings and canards. It rivals the American F-16, with each having the edge over the other in certain situations. Let's watch it in action, and control the battlefield.


Saab Gripen: "Controlling The Battlefield"

SAAB "GRIPEN" Specifications:

Low-cost, low maintenance multi-role 4th generation fighter jet

Length: 14.1 m

Span: 8.4 m

Height: 4.5 m

Empty weight: 5700 kg

Normal take off weight: 8500 kg in fighter configuration

Payload: 5300 kg

Fuel, internal: 3000 litres approx

External: 3800 litres

Max take off weight: 14000 kg

Range: 3000 km ferry range

Max speed: M 1.15 (1400 km/h) at sea level, close to Mach 2 at altitude

Acceleration: M 0.5 to M 1.1 at low altitude in 30 s

Turn performance: 9 G sustained, G onset rate at least 6 G/s (1-9 G in 1.2 s), min -3 G, 20+ deg/s sustained, 30 deg/s instantaneous

Climb rate: <100 s from brake release to 10 km altitude 180 s approx to 14 km

Ground turn around: <10 min with a crew of six

Engine: Volvo Aero RM12 (developed from GE F404 with the changes being at least new fan, afterburner flame holder and accessories, partly to make it more suitable to a single engine aircraft)

Max thrust: approx 54 kN, 80.5 kN with reheat, airflow 68 kg/s, compression ratio 27.5:1, mass 1055 kg, overall length 4.04 m, diameter 0.884 m, inlet diameter 0.709 m

Radar: Ericsson PS-05/A pulse doppler radar (can count anchored ships and follow road traffic at at least 90 km and detect typical fighter sized targets at 120 km).

The Gripen's built-in armament consists of a single Mauser BK-27 27 millimeter cannon, housed in a fairing on the aircraft's belly, offset to left to the rear of the engine intake. Given the aircraft's relatively small size, it generally carries guided weapons to ensure maximum combat effectiveness.

Possible external stores include:

Air to air missiles (AAMs). The primary AAM is the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM, and the Gripen's PS-05A radar can guide four of these weapons simultaneously.

Antiship missiles, such as the SAAB RBS-15 turbojet-powered sea-skimming missile. A precision land-attack version of the RBS-15 is now in development.

Air to surface missiles, such as the Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick.

A "machine of beauty"! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


"Dispute Settlement".......

Everywhere you look today, locally or internationally, there is some sort of dispute. Wife vs. husband, political party vs. political party, province vs. province, country vs. country, and each side believes "they are right". The "media" never shows anything constructive and decent happening on earth, only "dispute". So, one night a bunch of us pilots got together with a large jug of "rot-gut" and decided to do something locally about these "petty" disputes, as there are many right in our area. We devised a plan that would be fair to both parties. The parties involved would confront each other, discussion and conflict resolvement would take place, and the final outcome of the process would be binding.

Well, it didn't take long for our services to be requested, and our plan put into action. A local northern community was having leadership problems, and we were asked to settle the dispute. Therefore, the Blue Water Aviation Dispute Settlement Team was dispatched with a number of team members and equipment necessary to resolve the conflict. They arrived at the community in the "nick of time" before the dispute became over-heated, solved the conflict, and returned to Base. And how did they accomplish this, you ask?

That is right, the Blue Water Aviation Dispute Settlement Team consists of some crew members, a couple of pool tables, and an airplane! Posted by Picasa

The team arrives, sets up the pool tables, and the adversaries play "best 3 out of 5" to settle the dispute, and the outcome is binding. Posted by Picasa

Hey, dueling, whether "fencing", or "pistols at dawn", isn't legal anymore, and this is a nice "bloodless" way to solve disputes. Do you have a better idea? Posted by Picasa

All in "jest",.........."Adios!"


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Could I Try That Landing Again?"

Watch this Saab Gripen come in for a landing, start to oscillate, dip, and then roll. Helluva' way to start the day! Apparently the pilot only had minor injuries.

VIDEO - "Could I Try That Landing Again?"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


"Things" You See On The "Manitoba Landscape".......

Sunday morning I awakened my daughter Kody at 6 AM, and "conscripted" her to come with me to Silver Falls to retrieve my truck. I had left my truck at Blue Water Aviation's Base, as I used it for transportation during float season. Now, I needed to bring it home to do some "dump runs" and get some "flax bales" to cover my septic system with straw for the "impending" winter. Kody and I hit the road by 7 AM, and it didn't take long before we saw an unusual sight. What the........?

A Whitefish Boat in a farmer's field? Posted by Picasa

"Aaaarrrrggghhhh, Billy, have you ever been to sea?" Posted by Picasa

"Damn, it's the 'Sea Wolf'!" Posted by Picasa

What the "hell" is it doing here? Posted by Picasa

"Ah-hah!" The Sea Wolf is looking for a new Captain. She is a very seaworthy vessel, folks. (Area Code 204) Kody and I continued on. Posted by Picasa

On we drove, down the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, until something caught my eye in the distance.

Those are funny-looking cows. Posted by Picasa

Bison! Posted by Picasa

Images of bison herds thundering across the plains, and the aboriginal people following the herds, just harvesting enough of the animals for food and clothing, fill my head. A much "purer" time in history, as these animals are quite "sluggish-looking", as if they know they will soon be "Buffalo-Burgers". Posted by Picasa

Kody and I continued, and soon we arrived at Silver Falls, and we immediately set to dig my truck from the snowbank. I stuck the key in the ignition, and the old 6 cyl. Dodge sputtered to life. I warmed her up, and we were ready to head back to Riverton, but first I decided I would check out the "landscape" at Silver Falls, starting inside the hangar.

Otter CF-HXY, S/N 67, being stripped and prepped for paint. HXY is owned and operated by Lac Seul Airways, and has the Pezetel 1000 HP engine. Posted by Picasa

HXY's wings.......... Posted by Picasa

Then I went out to search the yard, and I found there was a "de Havilland Convention" in progress, and especially the "Otter" was well-represented.

Otter C-GHYB, owned by Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd.. HYB has the 1000 HP Pezetel engine made in Poland. Posted by Picasa

C-GBTU, owned by Blue Water. BTU has the Czech-made 750 HP Walter turbine engine installed. Posted by Picasa

CF-UKN, owned by Northway Aviation Ltd.. UKN has the Pratt and Whitney 1340 engine. Posted by Picasa

CF-DPW, Huron Air's Beaver, obviously awaiting a new engine. Posted by Picasa

Walter turbine-engined Otter CF-IOF. Posted by Picasa

Last, but not least, Otter CF-YLZ. YLZ has the Pratt and Whitney 1340 engine as a powerplant. Posted by Picasa

Later on, Kody and I headed home with both vehicles. It dawned on me as I drove along what I had seen in one day......."Wolf", "Whitefish", "Buffalo", "Otters", "Beavers", crap, there sure is a lot of wildlife around here! Adios!