Posts Tagged ‘flight’

Air America, United Air – How This Tourist Plane Over Frisco Used to Work for the CIA as a Spy Plane a Half Century Ago

Friday, June 16th, 2017

As seen over western SF:

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The yellow floatplane, before it became a floatplane, used to operate out of Thailand as a part of the CIA-owned Air America, Inc a half-century ago.

See? It’s one of these:

“Six Beavers lined up at Udorn, probably in 1962 (UTD/Fink/ photo no. 1-JF25-16-PB1)”

Get all the deets right here:

AIR AMERICA: DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-2 (L-20) BEAVER by Dr. Joe F. Leeker Last updated on 4 March 2013

To wit:

“DHC-2 (L-20) L-202 833 1 March 62 leased from US Army 54-1693

Service history: arrived at Bangkok in crates on 15 February 62, to be operated under the Madriver Contract AF62(531)-1674, based at Vientiane, but maintained at Udorn (Minutes ExCom-AACL of 23 January 62, in: UTD/CIA/B7F1); assembled by Thai Airways according to contract no. BKK 62-001 (Memorandum dated 9 February 62, in: UTD/Fink/B2F16); officially received at Bangkok on 1 March 62 (Aircraft list of June 62, corrected to Sept.1963, in: UTD/Kirkpatrick/B1F1).

Fate: was to be returned to the US Army in October 62 (Minutes ExCom-AACL of 30 October 62, in: UTD/CIA/B7F1); returned on 21 April 63 (Aircraft list of June 62, corrected to Sept.1963, in: UTD/Kirkpatrick/B1F1); sold to R. N. Nelson Earth Movers as N5220G in March 92; sold to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc, Kenmore, WA, in 92; sold to San Francisco Seaplane Tours, Mill Valley, CA, on 13 July 94; current in March 2004 (request submitted to the FAA on 13 March 2004 at http://162.58.35.241/acdatabase/); current in November 2008 (request submitted to the FAA on 23 Nov. 2008 at http://162.58.35.241/acdatabase/).”

So there you have it. Head on up to the Sausalito / Marin City / Mill Valley area and take a ride on a piece of flying history, if you want.

How to Spend $3200 an Hour Above Frisco: Ride Along in this WWII-Era TF-51D Mustang Called “Toulouse Nuts”

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Get it – Two Loose Nuts?

As seen over our Presidio / Richmond District just yesterday:

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This was a WINGS OF FREEDOM FLIGHT EXPERIENCE from the Collings Foundation.

This was the flight path:

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Check the promotional video of a similar Mustang from the Collings Foundation – this could be you:

And here’s the other Mustang I’ve seen over town lately:

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As seen from Ocean Beach. (I don’t know anything about this airplane.)

All right, that’s your 415 Mustang Update for 2017…

Say Good-Bye to Boeing 747 Passenger Jet Service Over Frisco – Only 18 Left at SFO – All Gone by Oct 29, 2017

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The Queen of the Skies above Coyote Point last month:

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United’s old birds flying out of SFO, only 18 left now, are skedded to leave us by the end of October 2017.

Now that’s just the plan, and it depends on United getting enough replacement aircraft. And the cargo version, well those will keep flying until after you’re dead, Gentle Reader, sry. And it’s possible there could be a 747-8 (the unloved replacement for the aging 747-400 seen above) flight in SFO’s future, who knows.

And IDK, Donald Trump’s Air Force One, that’s sort of a 747 – I can’t think of a reason for him to visit, but anything’s possible. And I guess some foreign carriers might still do something with passenger 747’s who knows.

But the fundamental point is that 2017 will mark the End Of An Era, an entire hubsworth of United 747 will disappear, so if you see a four-engined jet near SFO, it’ll be the even larger Airbus A380, (which is, already. becoming a kind of flying dinosaur itself oh well. You see, they made the wings too big, to facilitate the inevitable stretched cabin that was supposed to come in the future, but whoops, no stretch is coming after all. So all these A380 airplanes you see have too much wing for no good reason. Plus the wings are too short, owing to the sort of arbitrary limit of an 80 meter wingspan, which was necessary to limit the amount of re engineering required to get them to fit into airports. And Airbus could have opted for Boeing-style folding wingtips, but no, they didn’t, oh well.)

No fatalities in the long history of 747 jumbos at SFO but there was United 863, which almost plowed into Mount San Bruno in 1998 and also Pan Am 845 – check the YouTube –  video footage starts about halfway through:

I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t have jumped from the front part of a jumbo jet with its tail on the ground, but you have flight crew yelling at you to go go go, so off you go.

Anyway, adieu, 747.

Seen Above Frisco: A Special Emirates A-380 with Wildlife Livery – Living with the Large Electronic Devices Ban

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Seen heading north, which is how you get to Dubai, more or less. And speaking of special, I think this is one of the higher weight versions, the better to make a 16-hour flight:

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1. So this explains the elephants and whatnot on the side.

2. And I don’t know what explains the electronics ban. Maybe it’s mostly protectionism.

And man, just look at that stubby jet. Compare with the twice-stretched Boeing 747:

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Since the A380 was built to be stretched, its wings are too big. If Airbus never ends up doing a cabin stretch, then the extra big wings will just be a waste. And that’s just part of the reason why the big A380 was more of an evolution rather than a revolution.

Anyway, it’s Euro tourist season now, so we have a lot of extra A380’s overhead. Happy Spring.

Recalling (Again) the Close Call United Flight 863 had with Mount San Bruno Back in 1998

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Here’s an excellent report from the WSJ back in 1999.

And here’s a more better photo than I had in back in aught-nine:

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Same mountain, same antennas, same general direction for the plane (except the 1998 incident occurred at night and with fog/clouds).

Anyway, United Airlines took things seriously and aviation is the better for it…

I See This Flight Every Day – Hawaiian 11 SFO-HNL – Everybody’s Going to Hawaii But Me

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Look for this Airbus 330 just after 9:00 AM, over the Financh, heading west with a little south thrown in – that’s what you can see lately:

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Now back in the day, people told me, “Don’t fly Hawaiian.” But geez, zero passenger deaths over the years and decades. Hawaiian is a winner airline and this jet, an Airbus 330-200 widebody, is a winner aircraft – better all around than any stretched-out Boeing 757 narrowbody that, say United, might choose to get you to the 808 State…

Troubled ICON Aircraft Company Sends a Seaplane to Buzz Frisco – But Layoffs Up in Vacaville – A T-Tailed Doctor Killer?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Paying off on the headline:

1. An Icon A5 seaplane as seen yesterday from the Embarcadero, presumably on yet another media joyride. Kind of sounded like an old Subaru.

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2. This year’s big news from ICON, which has an actual aircraft factory up in Vaca [cow] ville [town].

3. And I just don’t know about the kind of person who’d be attracted to flying these planes. I’ll tell you, waybackwhen, the “fork-tailed doctor killer” certainly looked bad-ass, but it appealed to people who prolly shouldn’t have been flying, oh well. Will Icon eventually sell a bunch of planes to people who, similarly, aren’t really / shouldn’t be pilots? IDK.

Not saying it’s not fun to fly about in a tiny seaplane…

LARGE Cessna Caravan Flying LOW Over the Financial

Friday, June 17th, 2016

I was surprised at how low this C208 was flying over Frisco. That’s the side of a skyscraper on the left:

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The landing gear is down (as it always is on this plane) but there’s also something else down there, some kind of sensor / antenna / camera / accessory attachment, one assumes:

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A mystery flight.

Osculate Then Aviate: Aptly Named “Kiss ‘N Fly” Option at SFO Isn’t Actually All That Useful, It Would Seem

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Here it is, for dropping off your “loved ones” at SFO:

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And here’s the map:

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And here’s how things got started, back in aught-seven.

IDK, man. This doesn’t seem like all that great an option, so like I don’t get this, man.

JMO

Press Release: “Asiana suit dismissal vindicates firefighters’ ‘heroic efforts’ in tragic crash, Dennis Herrera says”

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Just released, see below.

I don’t know. The NTSB weighed in and the SFFD certainly DID NOT get an A+ grade, to say the least:

“The overall triage process in this mass casualty incident was effective with the exception of the failure of responders to verify their visual assessments of the condition of passenger 41E.

The San Francisco Fire Department’s aircraft rescue and firefighting staffing level was instrumental in the department’s ability to conduct a successful interior fire attack and successfully rescue five passengers who were unable to self-evacuate amid rapidly deteriorating cabin conditions.

Although no additional injuries or loss of life were attributed to the fire attack supervisor’s lack of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) knowledge and training, the decisions and assumptions he made demonstrate the potential strategic and tactical challenges associated with having non-ARFF trained personnel in positions of command at an airplane accident.

Although some of the communications difficulties encountered during the emergency response, including the lack of radio interoperability, have been remedied, others, such as the breakdown in communications between the airport and city dispatch centers, should be addressed.

The Alert 3 section of the San Francisco International Airport’s emergency procedures manual was not sufficiently robust to anticipate and prevent the problems that occurred in the accident response.”

Here’s some more on Flight 214 from San Francisco Magazine. Some quotes in there from SFFD personnel appeared to show a bit of self deception, IMO.

And there’s this, from the San Jose Mercury News:

San Francisco’s emergency personnel also were criticized. While praising firefighters for rescuing several passengers from the burning wreckage and having more than the required number of personnel on hand, the report said “the arriving incident commander placed an officer in charge of the fire attack” who hadn’t been properly trained. The responders also had communication problems, including being unable “to speak directly with units from the airport on a common radio frequency” and didn’t rush medical buses to the scene, which “delayed the arrival of backboards to treat seriously injured passengers.” In addition, the report said airport emergency officials in general lack policies “for ensuring the safety of passengers and crew at risk of being struck or rolled over by a vehicle” during rescue operations. During the chaotic initial response to the Asiana crash, two firetrucks ran over one of the teenage passengers lying outside the plane. The San Mateo County coroner ruled the girl was alive when she was hit, but the San Francisco Fire Department disputes that finding.

Obviously, this was an aircraft accident that involved pilot error, as most do. Equally obviously, some of the problems on that day showed that the SFFD wasn’t training properly, realistically.

All right, here’s the release:

“Asiana suit dismissal vindicates firefighters’ ‘heroic efforts’ in tragic crash, Herrera says. City Attorney adds, ‘Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives’ in 2013’s Asiana tragedy

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 7, 2015) — Parents of the 16-year-old passenger who was ejected and killed in the crash of Asiana Flight 214 on July 6, 2013 dismissed their civil lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco today. Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorneys appear to have issued a public statement accompanying their dismissal, which was filed in U.S. District Court this afternoon.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement in response:

“Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives in the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214. We’re grateful for a dismissal that will spare everyone involved the added heartache and costs of litigation, which we believed from the beginning to be without legal merit.
“As we remember those who lost their lives in the Asiana crash, I hope we acknowledge, too, the heroic efforts of San Francisco’s firefighters and police who saved hundreds of lives that day. With thousands of gallons of venting jet fuel threatening unimaginable calamity, our firefighters initiated a daring interior search-and-rescue that within minutes extricated trapped passengers, and moved them safely to medical triage. In the face of great danger to their own lives, our emergency responders showed heroism and selflessness that day. They deserve our honor and gratitude.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash of Asiana flight 214 was caused by the Asiana flight crew’s mismanagement in approaching and inadequately monitoring the airspeed of the Boeing 777 on its approach to San Francisco International Airport, according to the NTSB’s June 24, 2014 announcement. The NTSB also found that the flight crew’s misunderstanding of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems contributed to the tragedy.

On July 3, 2014, NTSB Member Mark R. Rosekind issued a concurrent statement that praised San Francisco’s first responders: “The critical role of the emergency response personnel at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department cannot be underestimated. Although certain issues regarding communications, triage, and training became evident from the investigation and must be addressed, emergency responders were faced with the extremely rare situation of having to enter a burning airplane to perform rescue operations. Their quick and professional action in concert with a diligent flight crew evacuated the remaining passengers and prevented this catastrophe from becoming much worse. In addition, the emergency response infrastructure and resources at SFO that supported firefighting and recovery after the crash are admirable, significantly exceeding minimum requirements.”

Asiana Flight 214 struck the seawall short of SFO’s Runway 28L shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, 2013, beginning a violent impact sequence that sheared off the tail assembly, rotated the aircraft approximately 330 degrees, and created a heavy cloud of dust and debris before the aircraft finally came to rest approximately 2300 feet from its initial site of impact. The sheared-off tail assembly and force of rotation resulted in the ejection of five people: two crewmembers still strapped into the rear jump seats, and three passengers seated in the last two passenger rows. All three ejected passengers suffered fatal injuries: two died at the scene, and one died six days later.

With nearly 3,000 gallons of jet fuel venting from fuel lines where two engines detached during the crash sequence, a fire started in one engines that was wedged against the fuselage. A fire also began in the insulation lining the fuselage interior, beginning near the front of the aircraft. The interior fire produced heavy smoke inside the aircraft and posed extremely dangerous conditions given the volatility of leaking jet fuel and its proximity to potentially explosive oxygen tanks. In the face of imminent explosion, the rescue effort safely evacuated and triaged of some 300 people. Asiana flight 214 carried 307 individuals: 4 flight crew, 12 cabin crewmembers and 291 passengers. Three of the 291 passengers were fatally injured.

The case is: Gan Ye and Xiao Yun Zheng, et al v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, case no. C14-04941, filed Aug. 13, 2014. Learn more about the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office at http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”