Thursday, December 26, 2013

EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2013: Piaggio P180 Avanti II

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo aircraft catch the eye like the Piaggio Aero P180 Avanti II.  The concept of a "beautiful" or "sexy" airplane has been redefined by the sleek lines of the Italian design.  The spaceship-like shape has been appearing at more airports in the U.S. thanks to aggressive sales efforts by Piaggio America, located in West Palm Beach, Florida.

MPA (Piaggio Aero graphic)
The northwest Italy-based Piaggio Aero Industries, whose slogan is aptly "Fly Different," has a long history in the  aeronautics industry, dating back to 1915 when Rinaldo Piaggio added aero engines to his railroad projects.  He and his sons expanded the business in later years to include Vespa scooters and aircraft, culminating in the P180 in 1990.  The company also produces the P166 light utility aircraft and performs manufacturing and maintenance of aircraft engines.  The Avanti II airframe is also employed in military special missions as the Multirole Patrol Aircraft (MPA) in partnership with Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments.  The newest program, the P1HH Hammerhead Unmanned Aerial System, is based on the Avanti II airframe and is designed to perform long-range patrol and electronic surveillance missions. 

Hammerhead (Piaggio Aero graphic)
Piaggio Aero Industries investors have included the Ferrari family, and currently include the Abu-Dhabi-based Mubadala Aerospace and the British Tata Ltd.  Today, Piaggio America, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, handles U.S. sales and service for North American customers.

The P180 Avanti II (Avanti meaning "forward") arrived early in the week of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 and was displayed outside the Piaggio Aero tent.  The sleek but roomy cabin  design, combined with the pusher turboprop configuration, provides comfortable travel at 450mph for 1500 miles at 30,000 feet at much less cost than a comparable jet.  Here is a walk-around tour of the Avanti II:   

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter Arrives for Old and Cold Warriors at St. Louis Museum of Transportation

By Fred Harl
Winter in the Midwest is difficult to predict, and a distance of just a few miles can make the difference between a foot or an inch of snow.  On a recent foray north following a significant snowfall, it was a little easier to catch the aircraft outside of the St. Louis Museum of Transportation with just a few inches of snow for this photo shoot.  Although mostly a haven for historic trains, the museum also features two aircraft - a C-47A Skytrain and T-33A Shooting Star.   The Douglas C-47A Skytrain, s/n 43-15635, on display served in World War II, commercial service, and again with the military in the 131st TFW of the Missouri Air National Guard.  The T-33A, s/n 52-9446, is marked as 52-9564 from the 438th FIS.  The 438th was home to interceptors including the F-94B, F-89D, F-102A and F-106A based at Kincheloe  AFB, Michigan before being moved to Griffiss AFB, New York and renamed the 49th FIS.   T-33s provided target support for interceptor training missions.  Both aircraft are featured here after a light overnight snowfall.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa Hitches a Ride at Farmington, MO Regional Airport

Merry Christmas From The Aero Experience Team!
Here are some candid photos of Santa looking for faster transportation!
Thanks, Fred Harl and our friends at Farmington Regional Airport.


Book Review: Unknown Rider by Major Scott D. Anderson, USAF

By Carmelo Turdo
(Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame)
Unknown Rider, by Major Scott Anderson, USAF (1965-1999)
1996, Dennoch Press, Duluth, MN

The Late Scott D. Anderson was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum is honored to offer the book, Unknown Rider, while supplies last.

Unknown Rider is the fictional manifestation of Major Scott D. Anderson's experience of achieving the title, "Fighter Pilot."  Anderson sums up his writing process in the Acknowledgements page: "When I was training to fly the F-16 at Kingsley Field in Oregon, each evening, after a day of flying fighters, I sat down and typed a little bit of this book...All I had to do was invent a few characters, put them in an airplane, and make them the heroes of the stories that filled the air."  He wasted no time introducing USAF Lt. Rick Wedan, a Minnesota Air National Guard F-16 pilot on detachment to Tyndall AFB, Florida, as he scrambles into his F-16 to intercept an "Unknown Rider."  However, just as his F-16 lifts off the runway, a flashback to pilot training takes the reader on an exhilarating experience through the ups and downs of flying around the country in a jury-rigged Aeronca Champ and then through primary and secondary training the USAF way.  After receiving his silver wings, Lt. Rick Wedan relives his adventures by finding the old Champ and flying to out of the way places.  The final chapter rejoins the intercept of the "Unknown Rider" off Florida and fulfillment of the young Lt. Wedan's dream of defending the nation at the pointy end of an Air Force fighter.

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum is pleased to offer a limited number of books available through the museum website as well as several copies in the museum library. 

Major Scott D. Anderson

Anderson and his family moved to Duluth, MN when he was six years old. He went through school there and attended the University of Minnesota. Continuing later at Stanford University, he earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and History. Anderson lived the life of an adventurer, building a two-man submarine; making a marathon canoe trip from Duluth to Hudson’s Bay and writing a book about it; writing and co-authoring several other books; playing saxophone in jazz bands and playing professional football in Salzburg, Austria. He returned to Duluth and joined the Air National Guard. He flew F-16s, becoming an instructor pilot with Duluth’s 179th Fighter Squadron. His career path led him to the role of test pilot with the Cirrus Design Corporation where he gave his life testing the first production model Cirrus SR20. The Scott D. Anderson Leadership Foundation was created in his honor.
Inducted 2009

(Biography of Major Scott D. Anderson provided by the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Physics of Santa's Flight Confirms Annual Sightings

Have you even wondered about the physics behind Santa's annual round-the-world flight? Check the link below, and you may be surprised at how he pulls it off! (OK, a little magic may be needed to get things rolling). Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

He might also get little help now and then!

( photo)
...and the real story (?)
The Physics of Santa      
Jamie Allman's Electric Stove


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013: EAA Wright 1903 Flyer Replica

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo 110th anniversary of the Wright Brothers 1903 flight provides a backdrop for a look at the EAA AirVenture Museum's  Wright 1903 Flyer Replica as seen during our visit for the Young Eagles Banquet at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013.  The full-scale replica of the Wright 1903 Flyer was completed by the EAA with the Blackhawk Technical Institute of Janseville, WI in 1978.  The replica was constructed using plans made from the "original" Wright Flyer displayed in the Smithsonian Institute National Air & Space Museum.  However, that Flyer was reconstructed in 1928 from parts of the aircraft wrecked in the third flight on December 17, 1903 with additional parts needed to complete the aircraft.  EAA states that the replica is as authentic as possible, considering it was based on the most original example since the Wright Brothers did not leave their engineering documents for public use.  The current display of the Wright 1903 Flyer replica at the EAA AirVenture Museum is very impressive: