The Russian Central Air Force Museum at Monino

The Central Air Force Museum, housed at Monino Airfield, 40 km east of Moscow, Russia, is one of the world’s largest aviation museums, and the largest for Russian aircraft. 173 aircraft and 127 aircraft engines are on display, and the museum also features collections of weapons, instruments, uniforms (including captured U2 pilot Gary Powers‘ uniform), other Cold War-era US spy equipment, artwork, and other air-related items. A library containing books, films, and photos is also accessible to visitors. Tours are given by ex-pilots.

The museum opened its doors in 1958. Prior to 1999, the museum was closed to the public, because of the display of classified prototypes from the era of the former Soviet Union.

The museum is located next to the Military Academy named after Yu. A. Gagarin.


This is the museum that was always featured in the Discovery Channel’s Wings of the Red Star, television program of the 1990′s


Gotcha! – Teterboro, NJ (KTEB)



When on the VOR DME-A, Circle 19 into Teterboro (KTEB) watch out for the minimums. While the circling minimums on the approach plate indicate 1000′, you might be surprised to find out that you will be instructed to remain at 1500′ by the tower.  This is usually to provide separation from helicopter traffic,  and can get you in trouble if you are not prepared for it.


The above is intended to be advisory in nature and does not supersede any information contained in the FAR’s or AIM.  Every situation is different and may not apply to every flight.

Gotcha! – Santa Monica, CA (KSMO)

Kimmo 2 KSMO

Kimmo 2 KSMO

While on the Kimmo 2 arrival into Santa Monica (KSMO), be prepared to be dumped in between DARTS and BEVEY on the VOR or GPS-A.  SoCal approach will keep you high (I think 6000′) and vector an intercept between the two fixes and clear you for the approach.  Best to  configure early or at least prepared for it.





The above is intended to be advisory in nature and does not supersede any information contained in the FAR’s or AIM.  Every situation is different and may not apply to every flight.

Gotcha! – Los Angeles, CA (KLAX)

Los Angeles (KLAX) has a surprising gotcha when flying from an arrival and transitioning to an approach.  You should be very aware and know that they will issue an approach clearance while still on the arrival.  A terminating point on the arrival can also be the IAF on the approach.  Trouble is, the assigned runway may not be issued to you until that point and you really need to scramble to punch into the FMS the correct approach.  This can be a very high workload situation to those who are not expecting it and a few may even question its legality, but it is a perfectly acceptable clearance, though.

The above is intended to be advisory in nature and does not supersede any information contained in the FAR’s or AIM.  Every situation is different and may not apply to every flight.

Gotcha! – Hold for release

Did you know that if you receive a “hold for release” IFR clearance at an uncontrolled airfield then decide to depart VFR to pick up your clearance in the air it is a violation? A “hold for release” clearance is just what it says it is, a clearance, and as such you are not authorized to depart without first canceling either your IFR flight plan or clearance.  After, though, you can depart VFR and then pick up your IFR clearance in the air if it is still active.

AIM part 5-2-6. Departure Restrictions, Clearance Void Times, Hold for Release, and Release Times

The above is intended to be advisory in nature and does not supersede any information contained in the FAR’s or AIM.  Every situation is different and may not apply to every flight.

Tornado Totals Defenseless Citation X

A tornado in the Midwest struck just one hangar at the airfield where the Citation X was parked, along with an unauthorized camper.  The camper found itself being used as a plus-sized baseball bat and doing its best to beat the heck out of the hapless Cessna.  For some reason, the insurance company decided  that the $20M jet was worth more in parts than to rebuild it.





Jimmy Franklin and the Jet Waco

Back on the early 2000’s these pictures were taken at the Sussex Airshow in Wantage Township, NJ.  Franklin’s show was spectacular to see anywhere, but I think he took particular joy flying at such a small venue.  He also liked to take full advantage of the  sloping terrain to create breath-taking sight-lines in which he appeared to be flying so low he was going to impact the ground.  He was an unbelievable showman and innovator. His tragic loss in 2005, along with friend and fellow performer Bobby Younkin, was heartbreaking.

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FAA recommends new flight rules for Hudson corridor

Rick Day, Senior Vice President for Operations, Air Traffic Organization unveiled new flight safety and operational enhancements for the VFR flight corridor on New York’s  Hudson river in testimony today.  Mr. Day’s statements, made to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security on Aviation Safety, was in response to the fatal mid-air collision of a Piper PA-32 and a Eurocopter AS 350 on August 8th.

Current Hudson Airspace

Current Hudson Airspace

The Task Force, consisting of FAA air traffic and safety experts and air traffic controllers, with assistance from the  Helicopter Association International, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, was assigned to make recommendations.  These include mandating pilot rules, standardizing charts, create an entry point from Teterboro, and restructuring the airspace in the following manner:

  • It would establish a uniform “floor” for the Class B airspace over the Hudson River at 1,300 feet, which would also serve as the “ceiling” for the exclusionary zone. This removes some confusing complexity that currently exists.
  • Between 1,300-2,000 feet, aircraft will operate in the Class B airspace under visual flight rules but under positive air traffic control and communicate with controllers on the appropriate air traffic frequency.
  • Below 1,300 feet, aircraft must use a single common radio frequency. Mandatory routes for aircraft flying up and down the river will require them to favor the “right side” of the river (i.e. the east side for northbound traffic and the west side for southbound traffic) to provide horizontal separation as well.
  • Coordination of traffic and handoffs between Air Traffic Controllers at the Teterboro tower, Newark tower, and radar control will be improved.
Proposed Hudson Airspace

Proposed Hudson Airspace

FAA Administrator urges professionalism, use of SMS

Randy Babbitt, the FAA Administrator, stressed more cockpit professionalism in the drive for more safety and fewer accidents at US airlines.  In a speech to the International Safety Forum today, Mr. Babbitt stated that the difference between the outcomes of the US Airways Flight 1549 and Colgan Flight 3407 was one of  “textbook greatness, the other a complete inattention to basic details.”

The Administrator was referring to the contrast between the two flights.  The January 15th US Airways flight, which an Airbus 320 was struck by Canada geese after departure from New York’s Laguardia airport and was followed by a successful ditching in the Hudson river.  The other was the February 13th fatal crash of a Colgan DeHavilland Q400 in Buffalo, NY, in which pilot error was largely believed to be the cause.

Babbitt indicated that in addition to a more professional culture, the airlines should better utilize tools and concepts like the Safety Management System (SMS), a set of guidelines and risk management processes designed to increase the safety decision making process. Last month the FAA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF) concerning the SMS for the airline industry and other aviation operators to adopt.

Construction of Spaceport America in NM continues

UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL

The world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport is taking shape in New Mexico as development continues on privately funded, civilian spacecraft which will launch from the facility.  Spaceport America, located in Upham NM, 30 miles east of  Truth or Consequences, has been under construction since 2007 with formal ground breaking  ceremonies occurring in June 2009.

The facility will enable the launching of both manned and unmanned systems with pads for vertical launch capabilities as well as a 10,000 foot concrete runway for horizontal takeoffs and landings for spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnight2/SpaceShipTwocombination.  Three concrete pads were recently completed for use in NASA’s 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Centennial Challenge competition.  Spacecraft will attempt to takeoff and land vertically in a simulated lunar landing.  Several teams are competing for a total of $1.65M in prize money for successfully completing 180 seconds of powered flight followed by a precision landing on one of the pads.

Several launches have occurred at the facility since the project was announced in 2005 with the most recent being a UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL sounding rocket carrying a New Mexico student payload.  The launch, which occurred on May 2nd, 2009, failed to reach its projected altitude.