Blog Articles airship, hindenburg, lz 129, zeppelin
The giant floating airships that once carried passengers and dropped bombs until the 1930s have been MIA for over 70 years. Now a California company is bringing the zeppelin back to the United States, with plans to offer aerial tours of the San Francisco Bay area.
The newly built 246-foot Zeppelin NT (New Technology) of Airship Ventures Inc. arrived in the Bay Area October 26. One of only three in the world, it was constructed in Hamburg, Germany, and transported by container ship to Beaumont, Texas. It then passed over the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to its new home at Moffett Field, a former naval air station in Mountain View.
Beginning October 31, Airship Ventures will offer rides that provide a bird’s-eye view of Napa and Sonoma wine country, the Big Sur coastline, San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.
“It’s a way to see the world in a way that you haven’t experienced it before,” said Brian Hall, who started the company last year with his wife Alexandra. “In a zeppelin, you’re flying low and slow. You’re going at a leisurely pace. You’re seeing things that you wouldn’t see from the road.”
While they may look like blimps, zeppelins have rigid internal frames covered with a canvas hull. The Zeppelin NT’s cabin holds 12 passengers and two crew members. Tickets start at $495 per person for a one-hour ride.
The zeppelin was invented by Ferdinand von Zeppelin of Germany in the late 19th century and was used for commercial passenger transport and military operations until the start of World War II. Its golden age ended in 1937 when the LZ 129 Hindenburg, the largest ship ever built, caught fire and burst into flames, killing 35 of 97 people on board.
While the Hindenburg was fueled by flammable hydrogen, the modern version uses nonflammable helium. According to Hall, more than 80,000 passengers have ridden without a safety problem.
Airship Ventures has ordered two more zeppelins and plans to offer tours on the East Coast starting in 2010.
huey, uh-1 airplane, uh-1 huey, uh-1 model, uh1 huey
Marine Medium Helicopter (HMM) Squadron 163 (Reinforced), embarked aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), is among the first squadrons to operate the new Bell UH-1Y “Huey” helicopter, which was tested as part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) integration exercise last October 7-16.
The most modern tactical utility helicopter available, the Huey is the latest version of one of the Marine Corps’ most durable and versatile helicopters, with many improvements on the previous UH-1N.
“This ‘Yankee’ version of the classic UH-1 ‘November’ is making the Huey applicable to today’s war,” said Marine Capt. Tara Russell, an HMM 163 (Rein.) “Evil Eyes” pilot. “Everything has been improved, from the lift capability and flying time to situational awareness systems like a glass cockpit with a moving map display.”
Boxer is the first ship to have the new helicopter aboard as part of its rotary wing aircraft augmentation for deployment. With a new composite four bladed rotor system, two powerful T700-GE 401C engines and decreased maintenance requirements, it provides BOXESG a more advanced ability to provide humanitarian aid or to take the fight to the enemy wherever needed.
“With the resources to carry both personnel and a full arsenal of weapons we have an expanded capability to support groups on the ground and participate in a greater range of missions,” said Marine Capt. Brian Hensarling, an “Evil Eyes” pilot.
Upgraded features also include increased survivability from enemy attack with a laser warning receiver, radar warning receiver, “smart” countermeasure dispenser and a missile warning device.
Improved safety systems include energy-absorbing landing gear, self sealing fuel systems and a fuel vapor inerting system.
“The upgrades that are among the most beneficial for the crew and passengers are the energy attenuating seats that reduce the effects of G-forces in the event of a crash,” said Russell. “Before this, the passengers just had to sit on the deck.”
The new Huey also features greater operational flexibility due to 50 percent increased range, faster maximum speed, a stronger airframe design, advanced electronic warfare self protection and 125 percent greater payload than the previous UH-1N.
The BOXESG is scheduled for more training exercises this fall prior to a deployment scheduled for early next year.
BOXESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Boxer, USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.
The 13th MEU is comprised of HMM 163 (Rein.), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.
Blog Articles Chandrayaan, Chandrayaan-1, India, moon, moon mission
India launched its first mission to the moon on October 22, with hopes of achieving high resolution images of the moon’s topography and joining the international space race. The unmanned lunar orbiter is called Chandrayaan-1, which means “moon craft” in ancient Sanskrit.
Scientists clapped and cheered as Chandrayaan ascended from the Sriharikota space center in southern India.
Indian Space Research Organization chairman G. Madhavan Nair said the purpose of the mission is to “unravel the mystery of the moon.”
The two-year mission seeks high resolution imaging of the moon’s surface, especially the permanently shadowed polar regions. It will also search for evidence of water or ice and attempt to identify the chemical breakdown of certain lunar rocks.
To date only the US, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China have sent missions to the moon.
Until now, India’s space launches have mainly carried weather warning satellites and communication systems. The country is hoping that the moon mission will further enhance its status as a political and military clout.
While the technology involved in reaching the moon has not changed much since the Soviet Union and US did it over four decades ago, analysts say that new mapping equipment allows the exploration of new areas, including below the surface.
India plans to use the 3,080-pound lunar probe to create a high resolution map of the lunar surface and minerals below. Two of the mapping instruments are a joint project with NASA.
Last year, Japan sent up the Kaguya spacecraft and China’s Chang’e-1 entered lunar orbit. While those missions took high resolution pictures of the moon, they are not as comprehensive as those that will be taken by Chandrayaan-1 or NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which is scheduled to be launched next year, according to former NASA associate administrator Scott Pace, director of space policy at the George Washington University.
The 40-year-old Cunard ship sailed out of New York harbor for the last time this week accompanied by the far larger Queen Mary 2 en route to Dubai where she will live out her years as a hotel.
“She will always be remembered as the best loved ship in the world and we are delighted that she will be cherished by future generations of travelers at her new home in Dubai” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.
“Her mantle as flagship of the British merchant fleet has proudly been bestowed upon Queen Mary 2, a ship recognized as the grandest ocean liner ever built and surely destined to continue Cunard’s legacy,” she added.
The Queen Elizabeth 2, which bridged the period between the heyday of opulent luxury liners like the Queen Mary and the more recent trend toward bigger, more democratic megaships, has carried more than 2.5 million passengers.
The QE2, which also served as a hospital ship transporting injured troops during the 1982 Falkland War, will complete service in November.
The Queen Mary has enjoyed a similar “afterlife” as a hotel and tourist attraction based in Long Beach, California.
Cunard expects to debut yet another Queen in 2010 when the Queen Elizabeth is slated for completion.
CVN-72, CVN-72 model ship, USS Abraham Lincoln, USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72 model ship, USS Lincoln CVN-72, USS Lincoln CVN-72 model ship
USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72 returns to its homeport of Washington, last Sunday October 12. The seven-month deployment was a success, supporting Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and maritime security and coalition operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR). While supporting OEF and OIF from the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea, Lincoln and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 flew approximately 7,100 sorties — including 2,307 combat sorties, providing more than 22,000 flight hours — and dropped 255,963 pounds of ordnance.
“We traveled over 60,000 miles, 2.3 times around the world. We flew over 7,000 sorties — 26,000 hours total — and supported Sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines on the ground in both Afghanistan and Iraq”, said USS Abraham Lincoln’s CVN 72 Commanding Officer Capt. Patrick Hall.
“With all the miles traveled and missions flown, Lincoln’s crew always had safety in mind. The good thing is that all the Sailors who left on deployment with us are coming back off deployment”, he added.
Lincoln CVN 72 also re-enlisted more than 180 Sailors, collectively equaling more than 700 years of new service to the Navy. Other individual achievements include 749 Sailors completing 20 different college classes.
Along with five months of combat operations, Lincoln hosted Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and dignitaries and military officials from Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, France, Bahrain and Pakistan. Lincoln’s embarked distinguished visitors totaled more than 230 from 20 different countries.
During deployment, Lincoln conducted two burials at sea for 40 veterans and family members.
After successfully completing operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR where Sailors enjoyed port visits in the Persian Gulf region, Lincoln sailed to the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR and participated in 16 community relations projects with 400 volunteers, contributing more than 2,000 hours to communities in Singapore and Thailand.
With the deployment completed, Lincoln and its crew will enjoy some time off before heading out to sea again for an upcoming sustainment period.
Hall said the returning Sailors have earned some well-deserved time off from the 214 days at sea.
“It’s tremendous coming home to all the friends and families, they’re all so excited and looking forward to going home and relaxing” he said.
Blog Articles EC-130, EC130
Members of the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan have surpassed 10,000 combat hours in the EC-130H Compass Call, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in September.
The squadron’s 10,000 hours were accumulated over a period of four years, beginning with their first Operation Enduring Freedom deployment in March 2004 from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
“Our primary mission is to support the ground troops at the (forward operating bases) with communications jamming,” said operations officer Maj. James Bands. “For this aircraft it is extremely difficult (to reach such a milestone). There are only 14 of these aircraft in the Air Force. So it’s taken four years of constant flying at about 2-3,000 hours on one aircraft a year, in order to accomplish this.”
Many of the Airmen with the 41st EECS have deployed multiple times, as there are only two operational EC-130H squadrons in the Air Force.
Capt. Jared Howard is on his fourth Operation Enduring Freedom deployment and has more than 900 combat hours under his belt. “It’s all pretty much the same mission. The sorties seem to be getting longer and longer. When we first started off, we were just doing one thing, because everybody didn’t know all our capabilities. So now we’ve told people about our abilities, and they are employing us much more.”
While a typical fighter squadron will deploy with about a dozen aircraft, the 41st EECS deploys with only one or two EC-130s. The 41st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit Airmen makes sure that those aircraft are mission ready every day.
“The 10,000 flying hours are probably represented by 80,000 maintenance hours,” said Master Sgt. Carla West, the production superintendent.
“Having one or two airplanes can be easier because there is less work to do, but it also doesn’t allow for much maintenance down-time,” said Staff Sgt. Alex Rosales. “If it breaks we have to fix it. We don’t have another plane to fly. It’s a little more stressful.”
The 41st EECS staff boasts a mission capable rate exceeding many other airframes in US Air Forces Central Command.
Senior Master Sgt. Mike Zielinski, the maintenance superintendent, credits this accomplishment to teamwork. “Without everybody pitching in as a team, this mission would not happen. I’ve been here since June and every week something surprises me. We continue to hit new plateaus. When I think we are not going to be able to fly, we manage to come up with something and are able to fly.”
A Soyuz spacecraft lifted off from Kazakhstan with two Americans and a Russian on board on Sunday for the International Space Station. The Soyuz TMA-13 capsule carrying American computer game millionaire Richard Garriott soared into a clear sky atop Russian rocket as the latest paying space traveler’s family watched from a viewing platform. Together with Garriott were US astronaut Michael Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov.
The rocket lifted off on schedule 1:01 p.m. sending an orange flare behind it as it streaked upward. The craft entered orbit around 10 minutes later.
Richard Garriott’s father, Owen, a former US astronaut witnessed his child follow his footsteps and reach space. Garriott’s mother Eve and his girlfriend, Kelly Miller shed tears of joy and relief at the successful launch.
The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One detainee was transferred to Algeria and one detainee was transfered to Sudan. These detainees were determined to be eligible for transfer following a comprehensive series of review processes.
The transfer is a demonstration of the United States’ desire not to hold detainees any longer than necessary. It also underscores the processes put in place to assess each individual and make a determination about their detention while hostilities are ongoing — an unprecedented step in the history of warfare.
The Department of Defense has determined — through its comprehensive review processes — that more than 60 detainees at Guantanamo are eligible for transfer or release. Departure of these detainees is subject to ongoing discussions between the United States and other nations.
Since 2002, approximately 520 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.
There are approximately 255 detainees currently at Guantanamo.
Blog Articles airport, airports, world's best airport, world's best airports
Hong Kong International Airport bags the title World’s Best Airport for 2008, in a worldwide passenger survey conducted by Skytrax. This is the airport’s seventh win in ten years, definitely a notable achievement.
Singapore Changi Airport, which placed second in 2007, firmly remains in the same position. It is followed by Seoul Incheon International Airport in third place. Rounding up the top four is another Asian airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“We congratulate Hong Kong for their repeated success in winning the World’s Best Airport title,” said Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax. “In recent years, the whole air travel experience has become much more focused on the time customers spend in the airport environment, and Hong Kong has established itself as a clear passenger favorite in this respect.
“The World Airport Survey evaluates a broad spectrum of product and service touch points across the airport experience, covering a wide spectrum of passenger types. Hong Kong was particularly notable for gaining highest satisfaction ratings in such a diverse market. Like any other business, an airport is striving to deliver world-class standards that will make a customer want to use it again, and achieving this level of loyalty requires the highest levels of quality consistency – something where Hong Kong was singled out again and again during the survey.
“Over the last ten years, the Skytrax World Airport Awards have become recognized as the trusted, global symbol of quality for airports. Our survey participants represent the most experienced, diverse and discerning travelers in the marketplace, and airports throughout the world recognize the inherent value that comes with their endorsement.”
Munich Airport, which ranked fifth worldwide, won the Best Airport in Europe title. San Francisco was named Best Airport in North America, while Tel Aviv is the Best Airport in the Middle East. World top ten first timer Cape Town is the Best Airport in Africa, beating Johannesburg and Addis Ababa, which ranked second and third, respectively.
The World Airport Survey is conducted by Skytrax, a UK-based aviation research organization. More than 8.2 million questionnaires were completed by passengers across the world during the ten-month survey period.
Passenger interviews include a detailed appraisal for more than 40 categories of product and service quality, such as terminal cleanliness, terminal signage, staff courtesy, staff efficiency, security processing, walking distances, immigration and customers, shopping, dining options, and internet services.
The 2008 Top 10 Airports in the World
1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore Changi
3. Seoul Incheon
4. Kuala Lumpur KLIA
10. Cape Town
Who would have thought that long-forgotten, mothballed ships could still be of use? Well, David Kreamer has. A geoscientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Kreamer would like to have old ships transformed into desalination facilities that will turn seawater into drinking water.
The supply of these old military ships and private ships is enough to do the task, according to him. Kreamer finds no problem in getting them to actually become mobile desalination plants as he believes that hundreds of these ships are very well capable of performing their new purpose.
According to Kreamer, these ships could serve coastal communities, where water is badly needed. An estimated half of the world’s residents live within about 100 miles of a coast. The ships could cruise away to avoid a hurricane, if need be, returning afterward to supply a city lacking water and power.
At a meeting of the Geological Society of America in Houston, Texas, Kreamer said that mobile desalination facilities will alleviate many of the environmental problems that hinder their development on land, and pointing out that these renewable energy solutions could power the oceangoing desalination plants.
Both solar and wind are possible energy sources that could utilize the into the power of the sea itself: turbines that turn using wave or tidal power, or techniques that extract power from differences in the density or temperature of seawater at different depths.
Kreamer will be making these plans a reality after he and the Water Standard, a Houston-based company have purchased a ship that will modified to serve as a desalination plant that is targeted to be up and running by late 2009.
Although mobile desalination offers the environmental benefits, Kreamer and the Water Stardard noted that the price of water made this way will be competitive with that made by land-based desalination.
Their vessel, a former vegetable oil tanker that will be rechristened the H2Ocean Cristina, is expected to produce more than 13 million gallons of water a day. So far, the plan is going smoothly, however, the consumers of the water generated by this “new mission” have yet to be determined.