The OrbitAir Ultralight

A friend of mine has been trying to get me to go in on an ultralight aircraft with him. I'm sort of against it because of the high likelihood of death. Still I might consider an OrbitAir.

I was going to write about it, but the poster on the ground next to it provides as good an aircraft briefing as I've ever seen.

The Mossad’s Robot Sharks

The Middle East has almost as many Israel-related spy animal conspiracies as grains of sand. Three years ago, I reported that the Saudis believed that the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence agency, was using vultures to spy on them. Around the same time, an official in Sharm el-Sheikh asserted that a flurry of shark attacks in the Red Sea were part of an Israeli plot to harm Egyptian tourism. Israel refuted the allegations, which Since then, seldom does a day go by without someone posting or tweeting new "evidence" of Mossad robot sharks. Here's some of it. You decide.

Exhibit A (photo above, video below) is the Swimways R/C Cyborg Shark ($79.95 in toy stores), which acts like a real-life shark, capable of moving forward, backward, left, right, up, and down. Runs on four AA batteries. So how hard would it be for the Mossad, the Hogwarts of intelligence agencies, to build a life-size cyborg shark?

Then this photo surfaced. But is it just a photo of a guy and a real shark?

A better roboshark, albeit corded:

Photos of Bruce are often submitted as evidence.

And then there are these:

And finally, this release went viral (still not totally sure about it's authenticity):

The Most Amazing Crashes that Pilots Walked Away From

After his B17 crash-landed in 1944, U.S. Air Force photographer Gerald R. Massie famously said, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good one." The following compilation might have given him pause.

Leading off, a Canadian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet loses all control while conducting an air-show practice flight at an Alberta airport. As it happened, the Bee Gees' song Staying Alive was playing over the public address system at the time.

The pilot, who had the good sense to eject, lands safely. His account, along with an NBC news video clip of the account, are here:

Next up, a helicopter crash that you'd dismiss as over the top of you saw it in a Michael Bay movie. It took place February 8 in the mountainous Paktika province of Afghanistan…

An AH-64 Apache helicopter was overwatching patrols retrieving airdropped supplies…

Then—well, you just have to see it:

"Thankfully," according to an International Security Assistance Force official, "no one on the ground was injured and both members of the aircrew survived.

Next, ever wonder what would happen if you're swimming in the ocean and a hovering Harrier jet experiences catastrophic mechanical failure and plunges in with you? There's a good case study, from the 2002 Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in Suffolk, England. An RAF GR-7 was hovering feet above the water and…

Then…

The pilot was fine—a lifeboat picked him up. He even got his ejection seat back in tact, courtesy of fisherman. In it was a—bonus—crab.

 

 

Batting cleanup, the tale of the one-winged Eagle, as in a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter that is, to say the least, durable. During a 1983 training exercise in Israel, an Israeli Air Force F-15 collided midair with an A-4. The A-4 burst into a fireball instantly. The F-15 flew away with one wing. But could it keep flying with one wing? Let alone land?  Physics says no. But truth is stranger than physics.

Here's a History Channel clip with pilot Zivi Nedivi's account:

In the subsequent investigation, McDonnell Douglas officials believed the plane to have been involved in a taxiing accident. A flight with just one wing was impossible, they said. Then they were shown video. The official conclusion: The damaged Eagle had been able to return to base and land on account of the lift generated by both its engine intakes and its fuselage.

They put on a new wing and the Eagle returned to work.

Last, a spectator snapped the following Swift S-1 glider sequence at a 2010 English air show:

As you can see, the pilot crawled out of the wreckage. He suffered three broken vertebrae, but made a full recovery. You'd take three broken vertebrae in this scenario.

RELATED LINKS: Great Aerial Badasses: Godefroy Tries to Thread the Arc de Triomphe

And if you like stories (albeit made-up) with plane and helicopter crashes and explosions, check out these novels:


Microcars

More astonishing than the fact that Peel P 50s are actual street-legal automobiles, as opposed to go-karts, is that they were mass-produced. The Isle of Man's Peel Engineering Company manufactured them from 1962 to 1965, marketing them as city cars able to accommodate "one adult and a shopping bag." At 54 inches long, 39 wide and 39 tall, the Peel P 50 ranks as the smallest production car of all time. But it's hardly an outlier, particularly among cars produced in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Below are some photos of Peels and other microcars, with links to more legitimate sources of information.

130 Lbs (empty), Peel 50s could touch 40 mph (going downhill helped)

130 Lbs (empty), Peel 50s could touch 40 mph (going downhill helped)

The Peel P 50 and Peel's relatively large Trident

The Peel P 50 and Peel's relatively large Trident

Hungarian micros Alba Regia and Balaton

Hungarian micros Alba Regia and Balaton

BMW's Isetta, the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world—161,728 units sold in '55. Still around, they get 90 mpg.

BMW's Isetta, the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world—161,728 units sold in '55. Still around, they get 90 mpg.

Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (yes, the aircraft company, prohibited from making planes post-WW2…

Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (yes, the aircraft company, prohibited from making planes post-WW2…

Subaru 360 a.k.a. the Ladybug

Subaru 360 a.k.a. the Ladybug

One more Peel P 50

One more Peel P 50

For more info, or to see microcars, check out the Microcar Museum in Madison, GA:

ISIS vs. Warthog

Our story begins with US A-10 Warthogs over Syria.

One is sent to check out an ISIS artillery unit just over the Syrian border, in Iraq.

The artillery unit a wide variety of artillery including a massive Russian M-46 M1954, a 130-mm artillery piece manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Probably ISIS borrowed the gun from the Syrian government without asking. It can turn a tank to shrapnel from 27 km away.

The Warthog gets off the first shot…

…a GBU-12 Paveway II, an 11-foot-long, 500-pound general purpose aerial bomb with a nose-mounted laser seeker and fins for guidance.

What happens? Let's go to the videotape…

Related link: Birdwatching (pix of a few hundred of my favorite planes)

The Flying Saucer Seen in Houston: in Fact a Flying Saucer

There have been a ton of reports of flying saucers over Houston, which in and of itself is no news. The news is that many of the reports are accurate. Houston-based NASA has built a supersonic flying saucer known as a Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, part of an effort to get larger payloads—as heavy as 100 tons—to Mars in support of human missions.

The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator first flew on June 28 at the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

A high altitude balloon raised it, releasing it at 120,000 feet.

At that point the saucer fired its own rocket traveling it higher still, at about Mach 3.8.

[illustration]

[illustration]

For more information, see NASA's site. IF you think NASA is just part of the government conspiracy to cover up the existence of aliens, TexasUFOsightings.com.

Related: My True Area 51 UFO Story