Category Archives: planes

Sunset for the Phrog

Originally designed for the Army, and first flown in 1962, over 500 would be built in the next 11 years. Think of that. The last Phrog rolled off the line 43 years ago. That’s some loyal service.

File:CH-46 Sea Knight Helicopter.jpg

It would serve with the US Marines, the US Navy, Canada, Sweden, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to several civil operators.

On a personal note, the only aircraft I actually remember seeing my dad fly was a Sea Knight.

About these ads

Leave a comment

Filed under planes


We’ve mentioned operating helicopters from smaller ships. In the US Navy, this mostly means destroyers and frigates. Which, at anywhere from 3000 tons to 9000 tons, that’s a goodly sized ship.

Other navies, like the Royal Danish Navy, often operate helicopters from much smaller ships, such as this Offshore Patrol Vessel. And in heavy seas, it can get downright sporty.

Notice immediately after touchdown, a probe extends from the belly of the Lynx. It engages a grate on the landing deck, to keep the helicopter from sliding off the deck, in spite of the pitching and rolling.

The US Navy uses a somewhat different system, RAST, developed from the Canadian Beartrap device.

1 Comment

Filed under navy, planes

The Hazards of Going on Autopilot – The New Yorker

A 1994 N.T.S.B. review of thirty-seven major accidents between 1978 and 1990 that involved airline crews found that in thirty-one cases faulty or inadequate monitoring were partly to blame. Nothing had failed; the crew had just neglected to properly monitor the controls.The period studied coincided with an era of increased cockpit automation, which was designed to save lives by eliminating the dangers related to human error. The supporting logic was the same in aviation as it was in other fields: humans are highly fallible; systems, much less so. Automation would prevent mistakes caused by inattention, fatigue, and other human shortcomings, and free people to think about big-picture issues and, therefore, make better strategic decisions. Yet, as automation has increased, human error has not gone away: it remains the leading cause of aviation accidents.

via The Hazards of Going on Autopilot – The New Yorker.

I don’t look to The New Yorker for aerospace articles, but I thought this one was interesting enough to share. I welcome comments from the pilots here on whether automation hurts or helps.


Filed under planes

Night Stalkers!

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment was formed initially as Task Force 160, as a result of the debacle at Desert One during Operation Eagle Claw, the failed attempt to rescue Americans held hostage by Iran. The failure of helicopters in that raid convinced the Army, and more importantly, Special Forces, that they needed an aviation unit dedicated to the support of special operations.  With their modified versions of the Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters, as well as the MH-6 and AH-6 Little Birds, the 160th SOAR provides special operations units the ability to deliver forces at long range at night or in bad weather. The Night Stalkers are probably best known to the public for their losses in the Battle of Mogadishu, made famous in the movie Black Hawk Down.

In addition to providing transport, the 160th provides fire support on the ground with AH-6 Little Birds, and with a modified MH-60L know as the Direct Action Penetrator, or DAP. Armed with forward firing miniguns, 30mm cannon, and 70mm rocket pods, it can unleash a hail of fire to support ground forces.


Filed under planes

Fox 2!

“Fox 2” is the radio brevity code for the launch of an infrared homing missile… like the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

And the fine folks at Detail&Scale just reminded me that today is the anniversary of the first successful launch of the Sidewinder. Clear back in 1952, the Navy was well on its way to developing a missile that is still in production and use today.

From this:

Photo: Knox posts: for reasons known only to the FB Genie, it didn't post the referenced picture so here it is again....


To this:


Filed under history, navy, planes

Budapest Airshow 2014

As Tailspin Tommy notes, the Hungarian version of the FAA has a different take on what’s acceptable for an airshow in a downtown area.

1 Comment

Filed under planes

Airbus A400M Atlas

Personally, I’d prefer if our European allies simply bought C-17s and C-130Js from us, but I’ll settle for them producing their own transport aircraft. At least they’re putting money toward some capability.

The Airbus A400M is a turboprop powered transport roughly between the C-17 and the C-130 in size. It’s also a fairly sprightly bird when lightly loaded.

Comments Off

Filed under planes