‘Senior Wish’ Sends Veteran to WWII Museum


Abe ShamisAlmost seven decades has passed but Abe Shamis has lived with a constant reminder of the day his B-17 was shot down over Austria during World War II. Shamis was a navigator on the U.S. Army bomber, and he was forced to jump when one of its engines was hit by enemy fire. He landed in a tree, injuring his right arm, and spent the next six months as a prisoner of war.

To this day, his arm and wrist remain contorted. But they don’t hurt, he said, and the 94-year-old Pine Ridge at Delray resident doesn’t consider himself a hero. “The heroes came back in pine boxes,” he said.

Shamis grins when asked about his deployment, especially his experiences flying the B-17. As he clenches his National WW II Museum Charter Member dog tags, Shamis talks with excitement about the museum, which is located in New Orleans; just a few weeks ago, the Boeing Section opened to the public featuring B-17s and B-24s.

Shamis’ daughter-in-law Ivy Shamis recently found out about the Jeremy Bloom Foundation, which grants “Senior Wishes.” Bloom is an Olympic skier and former National Football League player who started his organization in order to support seniors via the Wish of a Lifetime Foundation. More

Pentagon Grounds F-35B Due to Faulty Fuel Lines


The F-35 Lighting II is not the only aircraft facing problems. The F-35B used by the Marine Corps are grounded after a fuel line detached and caused a propulsion system leak that led to an aborted take-off.

The F-35B is the most complicated design in the Pentagon’s F-35 program. It is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings. The test flights of the fifth generation jet plane conducted by the Marine Corps were immediately suspended after the incident.

The Pentagon’s investigation revealed a quality discrepancy resulting in a crimped line in the plane’s fueldraulic system was at fault. The propulsion system was made by Pratt & Whitney unit of the United Technologies Corp. (UTX).

Initially, the faulty fuel lines were planned to be sent to Europe, but in order to save time and money, it will be scanned in the U.S. The components will undergo a CT scan in order to detect the flaws.

Replacement fuel lines are already available and Marine Corps test flying are likely to resume soon.

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News Source: www.bloomberg.com, article.chicagotribune.com

With F-35 Delays, Air Force Turns to Older Jet Planes

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The production of F-35 Lightning II has encountered another setback. The fuel tank of the JSF was found to be problematic, casting another gloom to the most controversial and expensive defense program of Pentagon.

To make up for the late arrival of the F-35s, the US Air Force is spending nearly $6 billion to upgrade and refurbish its F-15 jet planes. Almost half of the money allocated for the F-15s will be spent on new electronics. The remaining budget will be spent on older F-15s. Introduced 30 years ago, the F-15 was originally designed to fly for just 8,000 hours. The Air Force is looking forward to adding another 10 thousand hours with internal and external improvements to the F-15.

The US Air Force is also looking forward to upgrade its fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon Aggressors. The improvement involves equipping the jet planes with an electronic system that will improve the accuracy of replicating enemy fighters.

“To date, generally, it is considered that the aggressors under-replicate the current threat,” says Major Gary Barker, the ACC training operations division’s F-16 functional area and realistic training manager. “It’s very difficult for the aggressors to provide the threat picture that we think we would see in near-peer combat.”

The Air Force sees the System Capabilities Upgrade-8 (SCU-8) configuration as the solution. With the SCU-8, older Blocks 30 and 32 F-16s will have a helmet-mounted cueing system and a new center display unit, which Barker describes as having functionality similar to an Apple iPad

“With that, you can simulate missile WEZs [weapons employment zones] and provide more accurate cueing real-time that can aid in kill removal and weapons assessment airborne,” Barker says.

As of now, the current F-15s and F-16s are well-suited to deal with fourth-generation enemy fighters. But with the emergence of new warplanes such as the Chinese Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31 or Russian Sukhoi PAK-FA, the Air Force has to take measures to keep up while waiting for the fifth-generation F-35 jet fighters.

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News Source: www.flightglobal.com, www.strategypage.com

Lightning Can Make F-35 Lightning II Explode

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The production of F-35 has been derailed once again. In an ironic turn, engineers discovered that the fuel tank of the jet known as the Lightning II can explode of struck by lightning. This is the latest setback for the Pentagon’s controversial and most expensive defense program

A report from Pentagon’s Operational Test and Evaluation Office disclosed that a fault in the Joint Strike Fighter’s engine can lead to a catastrophic explosion when struck by lightning. The report also states that all test flights are prohibited within 25 miles of thunderstorm until the device in the fuel tank responsible for maintaining correct oxygen levels is redesigned. Another design fault in the fuel tank was revealed in the report. The fault prevents the F-35 to rapidly descend to low altitude. According to the report, both failings are unacceptable for combat and training.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman explained: “The F-35 program has yet to formally test for lightning protection. We still have four years of Developmental Test ahead of us, before we actually begin formal Operational Testing. There is a plan in place for lightning testing to be completed in the future test plan, and for the jet to be appropriately equipped to fly in all weather. The plan is to conduct lightning test towards the end of the flight test program. Because the testing has not been completed to date, we therefore have a lightning restriction of 25 miles at present for flight operations – this is obviously the safe, and sensible way to do business and supported by all involved in the program.”

The F-35 Lightning II is one of the most sophisticated stealth aircraft ever built. It is designed to be able to flt into enemy’s territory, attack its target, and return to safety without being detected. It is also deemed to be the most expensive defense program as the total cost of buying, operating, and maintaining the aircraft over 30 years is estimated to be around $1 trillion.

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News Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

NASA Devise Method for Making Fuel-Efficient Large Jet Planes

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NASA was successful in demonstrating a manufacturing technique to make large hybrid aircraft possible. Compared to the conventional jet planes, a hybrid aircraft is more fuel-efficient and produce less noise.

Before the NASA demonstration, there were four generally known airplane shapes – a tube with wings, a blended wing body, a hybrid wing, and a flying wing. The last three discard the use of the tube for a flatter chassis that has an almost rectangular cross-section. The body on these three designs also act like wings giving additional lift to the aircraft. It gives the advantages of reduced weight and drag resulting to higher top speeds and less fuel consumption. However, aerospace engineers have always faced the dilemma that flying wings cannot transport large number of people. The US military use a dozen of flying wings aircraft, but these are generally small aircraft that do not necessarily consider that comfort of the soldiers that use it. The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber of Northrop Grumman is the probably the most popular example of a hybrid aircraft.

In the space agency’s demonstration, NASA showed a manufacturing method of making a hybrid flying wing aircraft that can be big and comfortable enough for commercial travel. The new technique can reduce up to 25 percent of the aircraft’s structural weight. NASA hopes that in a decade or two, this manufacturing technique can be use to build commercial jet planes.

The hybrid flying wing is part of NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project. The project started in 2009 and aims to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

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News Source: www.extremetech.com

U.S. Marine Corps Receives 100th H-1 Helicopter from Bell Helicopter

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Bell Helicopter delivered the 100th unit of H-1 Helicopters for the U.S. Marine Corps during a ceremony at Amarillo Assembly Center. A Textron Inc. Company, Bell Helicopter is in contract to make 349 helicopters for the H-1 Helicopter program of the Marine Corps. The H-1 Helicopter program is made up of UH-1Y utility helicopter and the AH-1Z attack helicopter.

John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter said: “We are deeply proud to be the marine corp’s partner in these aircraft. They are among the most advanced, capable and affordable attack and utility helicopters serving today.”

The UH-1 Helicopters have a strong lineage of military service that started in the Army back in 1958. Popularly known as the “Huey,” the Marines Corps first use these during the Vietnam War in 1963, as the UH-1E. The Huey helicopters are also the foundation for the AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters.

Bell Helicopters has the help of major supplier to make the H-1 helicopters. Northrop Grumman supplies the integrated avionics suite while Thales provides the helmet mounted sight and display system. Lockheed Martin Orlando supplies the AH-1Z target sight system (TSS), FLIR Inc. with the UH-1Y BRITE Star II forward-looking infrared sensor, the UH-1Y cabin structure is provided by L-3 Crestview Aerospace, and the T700 engines are from General Electric Aviation.

Apart from the U.S. Marine Corps, Bell Helicopter is also planning to supply their helicopters to foreign military.

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News Source: www.verticalmag.com

LCS Freedom Gets Camouflage Paint Job Before Deployment

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The Littoral Combat Ship USS freedom is scheduled to be deployed to Singapore on March 2013. Before its deployment, it acquired a paint job that is reminiscent of the World War II ships.

As confirmed by Naval Surface Command in Sand Diego, the first LCS of the US Navy being painted a four-color camouflage look, making it stand out from the other ships in San Diego Bay. Freedom now has a combination of flat black, haze gray, haze white and ocean gray. The US Navy did not elaborate the reasons for the new paint job. But a Navy Times story quoted Cmdr. Patrick Thien, “I want my ship to look like a warship. … If we’re going to paint it, we might as well go all the way.” Cmdr. Patrick Thien is the commanding officer of one of two crew of the USS Freedom.

The new look of the LCS Freedom are similarly worn by the warships during the World War II as can be seen on the pictures from Naval History Center. Aircraft carriers of the CVL-22 class has the same camo look. Belleau Wood (CVL-24) and Monterey (CVL-26) also have the same color scheme.

World War II airplanes also carried a four-color camouflage look like the Brewster F2A-1 fighter.

The LCS Freedom will start its eight-month deployment this spring amid numerous detraction.

The US Navy believes that the LCS are valued addition to its fleet. Create your won fleet of warships with the model ships from Warplanes. Get a museum-quality replica of your favorite airplanes, ships, helicopters and diecast models at affordable prices.

News Source: www.utsandiego.com

NASA Announce Plans to Launch Inflatable Spacecraft

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NASA announced that a prototype inflatable space module, designed by Bigelow Aerospace will be tested aboard the International Space Station.

The inflatable space module is predicted to play an important role in future space research and exploration. Lori Garver, NASA’s deputy administrator hailed the concept of inflatable spacecraft as both cutting-edge and affordable.

‘This partnership agreement for the use of expandable habitats represents a step forward in cutting-edge technology that can allow humans to thrive in space safely and affordably, and heralds important progress in U.S. commercial space innovation,’ she said.

‘The International Space Station is a unique laboratory that enables important discoveries that benefit humanity and vastly increase understanding of how humans can live and work in space for long periods.’

The inflatable technology also has the potential to into deep space, a quality that greatly interests NASA.

The experimental unit, Bigelow Expendable Activity Module, is designed to be launched easily as it is smaller than conventional spacecraft and then it can inflate to a bigger size when in space. Aside from being a practical solution to space research, Bigelow also hopes that the modules can serve as accommodation and workspace for astronauts while in orbit.

Bigelow had previously launched two inflatable spacecraft – Genesis 1 in 2006 and Genesis 2 in 2007. It was used to test if the spacecraft can maintain a constant temperature and pressure.

Among the potential plans of Bigelow is to create a moon base using the inflatable modules. It can be used for research as well as space hotels for companies planning to take tourists into orbit.

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News Source: www.dailymail.com.uk


Experts Say Problems Encountered by 787 Dreamliner are Normal

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Boeing’s next-generation aircraft 787 Dreamliner is experiencing some growing pains. In December, a United Airlines 787 diverted its flight due to mechanical problems. Last week, a Japan Airlines 787 delayed its flight after a pilot on another aircraft saw that the 787 was leaking fuel, then a maintenance worker discovered an electrical fire in another Japan Airlines 787. These reports may make the passengers uneasy boarding the 787 which debuted in 2011, but aviation experts say new aircraft usually encounter such problems.

Every new airplane is going to have these kinds of “teething problems,” said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and former airline mechanic. The manufacturers usually “get a handle on it quickly and fix it.”

According to Boeing Vice-President and Chief Project Engineer for 787 Mike Sinnett, “There are issues we have seen that we will need to work through and just like any new airplane program we work through those issues and we move on.”

Sinnett added that the on-time departure rate of the Dreamliner has been in the high 90 percents in the first 15 months it has been flying.

“These are best-in-class airplanes and their performance has been best in class,” he said. “But we are not happy until we are perfect.”

Goglia added that new airplanes are much safer than ever before.

The Dreamliner is not the only aircraft that experienced some issues in the its first months of flying. Janet Bednarek, an aviation history professor, said that the Airbus A380 that debuted in 2007 had cracks in the wings. Aviation consultant Michael Boyd shared that the Boeing 747, an avant-garde aircraft during the 70s, experienced some engine problems when it was new. Boyd added that the operational advantages of 787 is enough that the orders for the aircraft will stick even if faced with these issues.

The flying on the 787 Dreamliner remains to be an exciting prospect for air enthusiasts. Do you love flying? Get your own fleet of popular airlines only from Warplanes. You can also fleet your own fleet of helicopter models from the wide range of museum-quality products offered by Warplanes.

News Source: edition.cnn.com

US Submarine Collides with a Merchant Vessel in Gulf


A US nuclear submarine’s periscope hits an unnamed merchant vessel in the Persian Gulf. There were no major damages and injuries according to a statement by the US Navy Fifth Fleet.

The USS Jacksonville (SSn-669), a Los Angeles-class sub, “struck a vessel while operating in the Persian Gulf” at about 5:00 am local time (0200 GMT), the statement said, adding “Jacksonville then surfaced from periscope depth to ascertain if there was any damage to the unidentified vessel. The vessel continued on a consistent course and speed offering no indication of distress or acknowledgment of a collision.”

According to the statement, only one of the submarine’s two periscope was damaged by the clash. The nuclear reactor and the propulsion plant of the submarine remain safe and unharmed.

A P-3 aircraft of the US Navy searched and secure the area and found no debris or distressed vessels in the water.

Ships and submarines of the US Navy patrols in different parts of the world. Build your own fleet of model ships from Warplanes. Get a museum-quality replica of your favorite airplanes, ships, helicopters and diecast models at affordable prices.

Source: AFP

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