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Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 29, 2012 - 12:11pm PT
TGT, interesting that. When I lived up there in '84 or so a Herc or a KC-135
crashed outside Valdez. It was during a typical lengthy winter storm and by
the end of the storm they couldn't find the wreckage. They notified everybody
in SC Alaska they were going to send a Blackbird up from Beale to look for
it with its side-scan radar. They also warned the residents north of Anchorage,
that would be us, that due to the Blackbird's 135 mile turning radius we would
get a double pass, which we did. It did pinpoint the wreckage but it wasn't
until late summer that they could safely access it.

Social climber
Jul 6, 2012 - 08:44pm PT
NICE snake!!! Did you run into Amazing Amanda?
photo not found
Missing photo ID#254451

Jul 26, 2012 - 09:45am PT
1913 Etrich Taube

Glider over Mt. Washington


Jul 26, 2012 - 10:49am PT

yes, I saw her doing all sorts of acrobatics, but did not chat it up.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jul 30, 2012 - 09:16pm PT

Apollo Moon Landing Flags Still Standing, Photos Reveal

Credit: TomCochrane

An enduring question ever since the manned moon landings of the 1960s has been: Are the flags planted by the astronauts still standing?

Now, lunar scientists say the verdict is in from the latest photos of the moon taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC): Most do, in fact, still stand.

"From the LROC images it is now certain that the American flags are still standing and casting shadows at all of the sites, except Apollo 11," LROC principal investigator Mark Robinson wrote in a recent blog post. "Astronaut Buzz Aldrin reported that the flag was blown over by the exhaust from the ascent engine during liftoff of Apollo 11, and it looks like he was correct!"

Each of the six manned Apollo missions that landed on the moon planted an American flag in the lunar dirt.

Scientists have examined images of the Apollo landing sites before for signs of the flags, and seen hints of what might be shadows cast by the flags. However, this wasn't considered strong evidence that the flags were still standing. Now, researchers have examined photos taken of the same spots at various points in the day, and observed shadows circling the point where the flag is thought to be. [Video: Moon Photos Prove Apollo Flags Still Stand]

Robinson calls these photos "convincing."

"Personally I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did," Robinson wrote. "What they look like is another question (badly faded?)."

Most scientists had assumed the flags hadn't survived more than four decades of harsh conditions on the moon.

"Intuitively, experts mostly think it highly unlikely the Apollo flags could have endured the 42 years of exposure to vacuum, about 500 temperature swings from 242 F during the day to -280 F during the night, micrometeorites, radiation and ultraviolet light, some thinking the flags have all but disintegrated under such an assault of the environment," scientist James Fincannon, of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, wrote in the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.

In recent years, photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have also shown other unprecedented details of the Apollo landing sites, such as views of the lunar landers, rovers, scientific instruments left behind on the surface, and even the astronauts' boot prints. These details are visible in photos snapped by the probe while it was skimming just 15 miles (24 kilometers) above the moon's surface.

LRO launched in June 2009, and first captured close-up images of the Apollo landing sites in July of that year. The $504 million car-size spacecraft is currently on an extended mission through at least September 2012.

Follow Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Photos: New Views of Apollo Moon Landing Sites
Driving on the Moon: Photos of NASA's Lunar Cars
NASA's 17 Apollo Moon Missions in Pictures

Copyright 2012, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Jul 30, 2012 - 09:47pm PT

I've seen some of the early photos from the LRO showing the shadows cast by the remaining descent stages, but it's now been several years. Post them up here, please!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 30, 2012 - 10:37pm PT
Don't nobody tell Klimmer.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Aug 2, 2012 - 06:38pm PT
New Private Space Plane Has NASA Roots -

Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceDev's new Dream Chaser, evolved from NASA HL-20, and Soviet BOR-4, and what might have been

We're spreading rumors about a old yet new Russian Space Plane on your Spacevidcast for April 28th, 2010.It seems that unmanned space planes are all the rage these days. The Air Force recently launched their X-37B and last Friday Russia hinted that they may revive one of their long dead space plane programs. The Russian Multipurpose Aerospace System or MAKS is an innovative space plane that had its development frozen in 1991. In response to the US Air Force's recent launch of the X-37B, the Russian aerospace designer Vladimir Skorodelov has said that this could spur Russia to restart their own defunct Space Plane program.The Russian Shuttle is much like the X-37B, about the same size, same style, it is unmanned and can't get to orbit on its own. Back when it was designed in the 80's the Russian shuttle would launch aboard an An-225 airplane carrier, much like Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnight carrier. Unlike Virgin Galactic the MAKS vehicle will sit atop the airplane, not below it.The interesting thing about MAKS is that there is both an unmanned and manned configuration of the vehicle. Actually, there are three versions of MAKS on the table: MAKS-OS which is the manned orbital plane. MAKS-T which is designed to inject heavy payloads in to orbit. And finally MAKS-M which is a completely reusable unmanned space plane.

Decades ago Russia (or Soviet Union) and the US could have had small, relatively low-cost, reusable lifting body vehicles launched on expendable boosters and capable of taking 3 or 4 people to orbit. In the US such a vehicle could have been sold as a compliment/backup to the Shuttle, especially after Challenger, for support of the planned space station. Subsequent development of a reusable booster would have resulted in a fully reusable system by now. Woulda, coulda, shoulda....

What you see here is what had to be the first space shuttle ever. Twenty two years before first Russian space shuttle “Buran” or 10 years before the first American shuttle Soviets projected and built manned spaceship aircraft that could land from the orbit by itself. It had space only for one pilot and was more rather a proof of concept for the spacecraft that can land as a normal plane. It is not very clear these days if this one had any successful launches and landings just because all the projects was classified, but still there are photos of it now and then.

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane


The SPIRAL Orbital Plane and the BOR-4 and BOR-5 Flying Models

General Mikoyan S.A.
The paper tells about the SPIRAL system and flight tests of its analogue. It is explained the usage of the BOR-4 model of the SPIRAL Orbiter for creation of the BURAN orbiter’s Heat Protection. Problems, course of tests of the BOR-4 and BOR-5 flying models and main results are described.

Since the middle of 1960s in the Design Bureau, headed by General Designer Mikoyan A.I., it has been developing the SPIRAL aerospace system, consisted of an orbital manned plane with a rocket booster and a hypersonic booster-plane.

The Head Designer under this project was Dr. Lozino-Lozinsky G.E. Among leaders were Mr.: Seletsky Ya.I., Dementyev G.P., Voinov L.P. and Samsonov E.A. and later, at the stage of production and tests, also Mr.: Shuster P.A. and Blokhin Y.D.

The SPIRAL orbital plane is a single-seat aircraft of a lifting body configuration with fuselage nose of big radius. The 50* sweep wings with the noses of little radius had longitudinal axis of rotation and before transition to the atmospheric flight should have been deflected up thus excluding their direct flow by heated stream when flying through plasma formation leg.

When a velocity decreased approximately down to value M = 2, the wings opened and the angle of attack decreased down to usual plane’s values. The angular attitude control of the plane in orbit should have been ensured by means of the low-thrust jet control engines (RCS) and in the atmosphere dense layers – by means of the elevons, rudder and balancing flap.

An undercarriage of the plane was retractable, four-legs with round skis – ‘plates’. The rear skis were equipped with ‘knifes’ to provide stability at landing run.

During testing and on the first phase of usage, before creation of the carrier-plane it was supposed that the orbital plane would be injected into an orbit by means of a ballistic rocket. The orbital plane should have glided on the legs of atmospheric descent and landing on the airdrome, but the turbo-jet engine should have been used to define landing approach.

The subsonic piloted prototype of the SPIRAL orbital plane (105 Vehicle) was developed to test the landing approach and landing legs as well as to determine the aerodynamic and controllability characteristics.

To test taxiing and hop flight (flight at low height) the skis front legs were exchanged for the wheel ones.

The 105 Vehicle has been slung beneath a fuselage of the TU-95 (specially modified) bomber and then it should have been uncoupled at 5500-meters altitude above the airdrome. The first flight took place on 27-th October, 1977 and in 1978 additional five flights were fulfilled. The flights were performed by the test pilots from Mikoyan design bureau Mr.: Fastovets A.G., Ostapenko P. and pilot from the Air Force scientific research institute Mr. Uryadov V.E.

The government resolution draft about creation of the SPIRAL orbiter plane has never been signed due to negative decision made by the Minister of Defense Mr. Grechko A.A. though the signatures of all interested commanders-in-chief of different armed forces as well as the Ministers of Defense industries were presented. All works were conducted in accordance with decision of the Ministry of the Aircraft Industry.

The major participants of the SPIRAL project from the Mikoyan design bureau and its department placed in Dubna city as well as some participants of this project from other organizations have passed to NPO MOLNIYA Scientific & Industrial Enterprise which was specially-organized for creation of the reusable space vehicle in 1976. NPO MOLNIYA under the direction of Dr. Lozino-Lozinsky G.E included the Bisnovat M.R design bureau, the Potopalov A.V. design bureau and the Myasischev V.M. Experimental Machine-Building (EMZ) plant.

The General Designer of NPO ENERGIA – the major system designer in spite of the intentions and preliminary developmental works of the NPO MOLNIYA, based on the SPIRAL project, has decided to use the configuration similar to the American Shuttle, excluding the main engine (ME) replaced to the rocket-launcher. By the decision of the Ministry of the Aircraft Industry all works on the SPIRAL project was stopped.

The experience resulted from the works on the SPIRAL project was used in the development of the BURAN orbiter and the ideas of the SPIRAL project have been enhanced further in new projects of the aerospace systems.

Now the SPIRAL analogue is presented in the Air Force museum in Monino, near Moscow.

The BOR-4 Flying Orbital Model

The BOR-4 flying model was designed during studies on the SPIRAL project. It was the orbiter’s prototype on 2:1 scale. It was used for experimental launches into an orbit for the interest of SPIRAL project development. The previous models (BOR-2 and BOR-3) of less dimensions were used to research the aerodynamic characteristics, heat exchange and elements of the Thermal Protection System (TPS) at altitudes up to 100 km and velocity up to M = 13.

During development of reusable space vehicle BURAN in NPO MOLNIYA the BOR-4 flying model was supposed to be used for the heat protection test. So, for the first time before BURAN Orbiter’s flight the BOR-4 model allowed to test capacity for work of the materials and the construction elements of TPS in real descent through atmosphere along the trajectory similar to the trajectory BURAN. Such decision was made because the outlines of model nose was equal to BURAN Orbiter’s nose outlines, including the ventral fuselage (Figure 1).

The BOR-4 model was equipped with the heat protection in accordance with the heat protection of the BURAN vehicle (above the panels of usual ablation TPS of the original project left for emergency). The general surface consisted of panels made on the base of a quartz fiber. On the top surface of the body a flexible TPS on the basis of nonwoven fabric of organic fiber was used. The nose cowling was made from carbon-carbonic composite material.

The BOR-4 model was equipped with remote telemetric system. The information has been received from 150 thermocouples located generally on a duralumin sheathing of model under the heat protection panels. Besides, several dozens of temperature and pressure sensors were built in as well as thermal indicator paint and melting indicators.

The information from accelerometers, rate sensors, pressure sensors and position sensors of wing panels was also transmitted into the telemetric system. The information was recorded on the board and transmitted in packets when pass through two special measuring ships and when descend also to the on-ground receiving station.

The BOR-4 model weight is approximately 1450 kg. The model was being injected into an orbit by a K-65M-RB5 ballistic rocket and fulfilled the Earth single-orbit flight at 225 km altitude. It was controlled by micro jet engines (RCS) in accordance with a program of on-board autonomous control system, which was receiving information from the inertial navigation system.

The wing panels of the BOR-4 model as well as the SPIRAL plane wing panels could deflect up. At that, the angle of deflection (the angle of dihedral) of the wing panels determined the angle of attack when the model was self-balanced during upper-air flight. When the BOR-4 model was located under the rocket nose cone, the wing panels were completely folded. After separation, they were transferred into a position which ensured the model’s balancing in the atmosphere at 60…70 km altitude and with 57* angle of attack in the first flight and 52…54* in the following flights. In vacuum the model was controlled by eight micro jet engines of angular orientation. The differential deflection from balance position was used for the roll control.

After braking, gliding at the upper-air and passing through a plasma formation zone, at approximately 30-km altitude the model was being forced by the control system into a tight spiral. This was done to decrease the flight velocity, and then (at approximately 7500-m altitude) a parachute was being developed to provide an alighting on water with 7-8 m/s vertical velocity.

The first model copy with TPS made of ablation materials was launched into sub-orbital trajectory to test the whole system. This flight was done from the Kapustin Yar test range in the Balkhash lake direction on the 5-th December, 1980.

The first orbital flight of the model (KOSMOS 1374 satellite) took place on the 4-th June, 1982. The second launch (KOSMOS 1445) was on the 16-th March, 1983. The third launch (KOSMOS 1517) – on the 27-th December, 1983 and the fourth launch (KOSMOS 1616) – on the 19-th December, 1984. The tests confirmed efficiency of TPS as well as considerable heat decrease due to the catalytic neutrality of the surface. It allowed to decrease cover thickness and as a result a total mass of the BURAN orbiter. The received real characteristics have confirmed adequacy of technique used for recalculation of results received in a wind tunnel for nature conditions.

The planned launch of the fifth BOR-4 orbital model became unnecessary.

In the first two flights the model alighted on water in the Indian Ocean approximately 900 km to the west from Australia and after searching one were being lifted aboard. During the next two flights alighting on water took place in the Black Sea to the west of Sevastopol. The ships of USSR Navy performed the searching and evacuation. One of the model alighted on water in the Black Sea was not found.

The BOR-4 orbital model was created in the Flight-Research Institute (Ministry of Aircraft Industry) under the leaders of Dr. Utkin V.V., Shogin U.N. and Fedorovich F.F. on the basis of the existing original project. Manufacturing model with gluing of heat protection panels was done in the TUSHINSKY Machine Building Plant under the leader of Mr. Zverev I.K. and Vostrikov M.N..

The Deputy Chief Designer of the BOR-4 model from NPO MOLNIYA was Mr. Mikoyan S.A., the leading designer was Mr. Gress V.U.

In the creation of the model from NPO MOLNIYA took part Mr.: Ezhov V.P., Rozanov I.G., Mikrukov I.F. and other.

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

The BOR-5 Sub-Orbital Flying Model

To receive the experimental aerodynamic characteristics during development of the BURAN space vehicle, the BOR-5 flying model was designed. It presented geometrically similar copy of the BURAN reusable space vehicle made in the 8:1 scale.

The model weight was approximately 1450 kg.

The model development and tests were the parts of general program on BURAN creation.
The BOR-5 purposes were:

to determine major aerodynamic characteristics in real flight conditions at high velocities;
to determine aerodynamic coefficients, lift-to-drag ratio, balancing characteristics, roll, pitch stability and to compare them with calculated characteristics;
to investigate pressure distribution along model surface;
to determine heat loads;
to determine acoustic loads;
to check adequacy of techniques for calculation of aerodynamic characteristics.

The launch of the model into sub-orbit was being fulfilled by the K65M-RB5 ballistic rocket from the launch pad located in the Kapustin Yar test range in Balkhash lake direction. The rocket with the model was being approaching maximal altitude, approximately 210 km, and after separation the model continued its way along ballistic trajectory with approximately 5 km/s velocity. In atmosphere, from approximately 50 km altitude the model flight was being done with programmed variation of bank angle and angle of attack at trajectory, chosen to provide optimal dependence Reynolds number from Mach number corresponded to the flight path of the BURAN space vehicle. It demanded greater indicated speed - from approximately 1070 km/h in the beginning of test leg to 850 km/h in the end (while maximum speed of the BURAN orbiter on this leg is 650 km/h).

As a result the temperature on the vehicle’s surface was greater on 1000 degrees than for the full-scale BURAN vehicle. That’s why the heat protection of quartz tiles similar to the protection of the BURAN orbiter could not be used there. On the model ablation heat protection was made of materials on the basis of mineral fiberglass plastic and the nose cone was made of tungsten-molybdenum alloy. The radioparent heat protection material (fiberglass plastic with silica filling) was tested too.

The model’s programmed control was performed by the on-board autonomous control system, which was receiving information from inertial navigation system.

On sub-orbital trajectory the model angular orientation of the model was ensured by micro jet engines and after upper-air descending the model was controlled by plane-like control surfaces, which for the first time were used in our country at such great velocity and such great kinetic heating of material.

The flight range of the BOR-5 model from starting point to landing was approximately 2000 km. At 7…8-km altitude the on-board program control system forced the model by means of rudders into the tight spiral for decreasing of the flight velocity. And at approximately 3-km altitude the parachute was being developed to provide landing with 7*8 m/s vertical speed (Figure 2).

The on-board telemetry system recorded all information internally and then transmitted it to the Earth for analyzing of aerodynamic characteristics. The information was received from several accelerometers, rate and acceleration sensors, free gyroscopes, pressure indicators, ailerons and rudder deviation sensors and sensor for measuring hinge moment on rudders. Besides, the information was transmitted from temperature thermocouples, calorimetric sensors and other temperature sensors.

The thermal indicator paint and the melting indicators were also used.
From 1984 five launchings have been fulfilled:

501 model – on 6th July, 1984;
502 model - on 17th April , 1985;
503 model - on 27th December, 1986;
504 model - on 27th August, 1987;
505 model – on 22nd June, 1988.

The first two launching were performed in accordance with a program of flight-design tests of launcher rocket specially modified for the BOR-5 model. They included tests of model system functionality.

During the first launching the separation of the model from rocket launcher didn’t appear because of electrical failure and they fell down together while the second launching was absolutely successful.

Three launching according to the program of the BOR-5 model test appeared to be successful, were passed and they provided specialists with the full amount of data needed. The actual lift-to-drag ratio of the model appeared to be greater than calculated one.

The BOR-5 model was designed in NPO MOLNIYA under the direction of Deputy Chief Designer Dr. Samsonov E.A. The leading designers were Mr. Bogov U.P. and then Grachev I.G.. The construction design was made under the direction of Mr. Kavunovsky N.P. by Mr.: Chistov V.A., Khorev D.M., Glotov V.I., Mendzilo V.V., Frolkov V.M., Kiryanov I.V and other.

The models were produced on the Myasischev V.M. Experimental Machine-Building Plant under the direction of Mr.: I.M. Lipkin I.M. and Tvorogov N.G..

The BOR-4 and BOR-5 models were equipped with autopilots with a computer and on-board measure system. These systems were produced by the Flight Research Institute (Ministry of Aircraft Industry) under the leaderships of Dr. Vladychin G.P., Dr. Kondratov A.A., Dr. Fedorovich A.A., Mr. Khanov I.K. and Tishenko V.V.
documentation, work, book, scientific study, political analysis, buran, energiya, spiral, USSR

Figure 2. The scheme of the BOR-5 model’s sub-orbital flight

The tests of both model versions (BOR-4 and BOR-5) were performed by the representatives of LII under the direction of Dr. Vladychin G.P. and Dr. Kondratov A.A. The specialists of the Military-Research Institute, NPO MOLNIYA and other organization under general supervision of the State Commission, headed by the first Deputy Director of GUKOS, General of aviation, Mr. Titov G.S. also took part in testing.

The Conclusion

The application of orbital and sub-orbital flying models for the confirmation by experimental data of the heat protection efficiency and reliability of aerodynamic calculation became a news in developing of the aerospace systems (ASSs) and was fulfilled for the first time in the world. Such models will find the application in further researches of aerospace systems (ASS).

The tests results of the BOR-4 flying model were used not only in the BURAN program, but also in development of the MAKS Multipurpose aerospace system with the AN-225 MRIA subsonic carrier aircraft. The orbital plane in this system as well as the SPIRAL plane and BOR-4 experimental plane have identical aerodynamic scheme ‘lifting body’ with deflected wing panels.

Wide experience of experimental researches in natural conditions of the BOR-5 model’s orbital and sub-orbital flight and SPIRAL analogue’s launching allowed to choose a well-founded aerodynamic configuration of orbital plane of the MAKS advanced system. In the nearest future this system will allow to decrease the cost of space missions and open new possibilities for fulfilling different tasks due to the advantages of air launch from the subsonic carrier-plane.

Social climber
Aug 2, 2012 - 11:09pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#257591

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Aug 2, 2012 - 11:57pm PT
we are being deprived...


Get ready to fly at 186 mph.

By Michael Abrams

Want to soar like an eagle? Then go with a parasail or a hang glider. But for those who dream of screaming through the air like a superhero, there's the Skyray - a solid, triangular, carbon-fiber contraption that lets skydivers shoot above the clouds at 186 mph for two exhilarating minutes. That's quadruple the air time of the usual free fall and almost twice the speed of the world's fastest bird, the spine-tailed swift.

Nearly ready for mass production, the 9-pound Skyray is the brainchild of Munich-based inventor Alban Geissler, who has designed earthbound objects from hot rods to hot-water pumps. His innovation: delta wings, like those on an F-102 fighter jet. Instead of sticking out perpendicular to the body, the Skyray's wings are angled back, eliminating the need for a stabilizing tail and making any kind of spin - the fatal flaw of many a wing suit - impossible. When the high-speed joyride is over, the jumper pulls a rip cord and parachutes in for landing - wings still attached.

Geissler had never skydived before he came up with his invention, and since then he's managed just 25 jumps. (His girlfriend gets jealous when he flirts with death.) So he turns to Christoph Aarns, part owner of Dädalus, one of Germany's four drop zones. Aarns has a wife and two kids and is obsessed with safety. For playing guinea pig, Aarns gets 10 percent of Geissler's company, Freesky, and, of course, he can take a Skyray out whenever he likes. (Geissler has recently added a second test flier, Patrick Barton.)

After Aarns' first flight in 1999, he had a few suggestions for Geissler. "Velcro is not a good idea when you're flying at 200 miles per hour," he says dryly. The wings also had no handles, and Aarns had to eject from the suit after the turbulent ride. A few prototypes later, Aarns is now able to fly the Skyray "instead of it flying me." After squeezing diagonally out the door of a twin-prop plane at 13,500 feet, he dives straight down to pick up speed, then grabs onto the wings' handles and zooms across the horizon. "The Skyray is like a bullet," he says. "It's like an arrow." Bull's-eye.

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

Gryphon Single-Man Flying Wing

At first we thought this was a joke—didn't Batman have a pair of wings like this? But no, this Gryphon Single-Man Flying Wing is a parachute system whose 4.9-foot Delta wing has two jet engines on board that can carry a paratrooper 110 miles on a half gallon of jet fuel. The device will be tested in an third quarter of next year, but we'd hate to be the first guy to try it. He'll have to be pretty hefty, too, because the thing weighs 66 pounds.

The mission starts when the brave soul wearing this birdman outfit takes a flying leap out of an airplane at 33,000 feet—hopefully equipped with warm clothes and oxygen—and flies the jet wing wherever he's going until he gets to an altitude of about a mile. At that point, somehow our intrepid hero sheds his wing and opens a parachute, letting that wing dangle below him as he floats to the ground. Better you than me, buddy. Tailwinds. – Charlie White

A parachute system equipped with a 1.5m (4.9ft)-span delta wing and two micro-turbojets which could propel a paratrooper 200km (110nm) from a drop point could be tested from third-quarter 2007.

The wing has aileron- and flap-like control surfaces along its trailing edge, and around 2 litres (0.5USgal) of jet fuel housed in flexible containers in its leading edge. The surfaces would be controlled by the parachutist using handles linked to servomechanisms.

The engines are likely to be built into the wing, which also has a cargo compartment. The turbojets are expected to weigh around 7kg (15.4lb) each and could be model aircraft engines, industrial impellers or a new design. The wing system will weigh approximately 30kg with engines but no cargo.

“We have a lot of interest from special forces. Jumping from 4,000m [13,000ft] with the propelled system you could fly for 200km,” says civilian skydiving instructor and wing-parachute system test pilot Frank Carreras.

A parachutist could jump from up to 33,000ft using the system, with oxygen equipment and thermal clothing. On reaching an altitude of 3,000-5,000ft, the parachute is opened and the wing lowered on a cord to hang several metres below the user.

Carreras has been working for the parachute system’s developers, German electronics and technology companies ESG and Dräger, which originally developed an unpowered version for the German army. Flight testing of this 14kg system is expected to finish by year-end, after which the prototype will be used for marketing. With the unpowered system a soldier could glide for 50km from a 33,000ft jump.

per a phone conversation i had with the inventor, Alban Geisler:

helmet mounted avionics display
fly-by-wire stabilization system
oxygen system and pressure suit
120 mile range with mini jet engines
ripple-fired solid rocket boosters in wing trailing edge for suborbital space flights

Special Parachute and Logistics Consortium (SPELCO), a German venture between two companies, produces a variety of parachute systems, helmets, oxygen supplies, and other gear and services. One of their most interesting products is the Gryphon attack wing, a modular upgrade for parachute systems for use in “high-altitude, high-opening” (HAHO) jump missions, typically carried out by Special Forces. The 6-foot wing gives a glide ratio of 5:1, which means that a drop from 30,000 feet will allow the jumper to glide about 30 miles. SPELCO estimates that this would take around 15 minutes, giving an average speed of about 60 miles an hour.

“All equipment is hidden in a lifting body optimized for stealth, the radar-signature is extremely low,” says the Gryphon data sheet (PDF). “Detection of incoming Gryphon soldiers by airborne or ground radar will be extremely difficult.”

Gryphon has a guidance system and heads-up display navigation. With the addition of small turbojets used in UAVs, range is increased to more than 60 miles.

Source: "Look Out Below! Wingsuits Pushed for Airborne Assaults" by David Hambling on the Danger Room blog

Gryphon data sheet:[/quote]!

Credit: TomCochrane

A top-secret one-man jet-wing that can fly over 150-miles, at low-level NOE (nap-of-the=earth)penetration missions, undetected by even the most sophisticated air defense systems. An independent inventor and commercial airline pilot designed and built a prototype, and the US military Special Operations folks picked up on it very quickly for use as a covert insertion platform for operators. Rumor has it that it has been operational for some time in Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan

think what you could do if you are not carrying all that military baggage!

would you like to skydive like this (just make one a little bigger)??:

SkyRay and Gryphon wwere originally designed by Alban Geisler in Munich as a toy for skydivers. Is it such a surprise that this disappeared into the black hole of the military before it could be brought to the open market??

Spelco used to sell the Gryphon from their web page. They still have a picture of it on their home page, but don't list this as one of their products

and is it such a stretch to solo space flight?? (if you always really wanted to be an astronaut, then build one in your garage!)

here's where you get the engines:

Credit: TomCochrane

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2012 - 12:25am PT
Awesome additions to the thread Tom!

Love the picture you put in as well Hank, one of my favorites.

I've been doing a lot of wreckchasing this year, searching out old crash sites in the Vegas area. Hopefully I will get motivated one of these days and post all my pics in one place. So far this year I have surveyed the following types:

F-100 (2)
Piper PA-28 (2)
P-80 (2)

Going after an F-15 site this weekend, and perhaps a B-25 depending on how things go. Next spring, I will be searching for the remains of the F-4 that Dean Martin, Jr. perished in.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Aug 3, 2012 - 01:55am PT
Jet Powered Parachute

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Aug 3, 2012 - 02:04am PT
Chinese farmer builds flying saucer

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 3, 2012 - 11:49am PT
Looks more to me like he built a piloted Cuisinart.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 5, 2012 - 08:01pm PT
I had a rare treat at the airport in Casper yesterday afternoon; after flying for 1.6 hours and landing, there was a very rare old airplane on the ramp. It was a 1929 Travel Air biplane, registration number NC689C. I also met the owner in the pilot's lounge, and he described what he was doing here. On the way back home to California from the big fly-in in Oshkosh, WI. I'm planning on stopping at the airport again tomorrow, since he was doing a multiday layover...maybe I can get a few pictures!

The 1929 Travel Air actually put Wichita, KS on the aviation map, since it sold quite well at the time (over 6000 aircraft of all different models). The Travel Air Company was later sold to Curtis-Wright and the airplane continued in production from that company. The original owners and management team were impressive: Clyde Cessna, Floyd Stearman, and Walter Beech. These gentlemen went on to found Cessna, Stearman, and Beech Aircraft (Beechcraft). These 3 companies remained in Wichita, KS, and became the nexus of General Aviation aircraft manufacture to this day. Stearman Aircraft, in particular, produced something of an upgraded and improved version of this airplane that became THE primary trainer for most Army and Navy pilots during W.W. II.

The particular speciman on the ramp at KCPR is one of only 6 airworthy and flyable model 4000 Travel Airs left from a production of over 2000 aircraft.

Aug 5, 2012 - 08:51pm PT


Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 5, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
Here's a link to the Travel Air:

I tried the complete link, but Internet Explorer doesn't take one there...directly. Go to the site, and then follow collections, airplanes, and then travel Air 4000.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 6, 2012 - 05:26pm PT
Really nice shots Perswig..and a Travel Air, a nice thing to see.

I got a rare treat this weekend, a friend of mine that works for Zappos offered us seats on their jet flying from Vegas to Scottsdale, so we jumped on the chance. Was an Embraer Phenom 100 with a full glass Garmin 1000 panel, which I haven't used before and enjoyed getting to play with a little en route.

Rented a car and drove to Sedona for some camping. Quite a nice weekend, and the jet was awesome.

Wow, 400 posts in this thread. Really happy that I chose a topic that has gotten so much attention and great posts - keep up the good work!

Aug 7, 2012 - 07:21pm PT
Wow, 400 posts in this thread. Really happy that I chose a topic that has gotten so much attention and great posts - keep up the good work!

Forgot that you started this thread - many thanks, Vegas!
I love the variety - wingsuits, combat airframes, weird commie planes, dope and wire, crashes.
Keep up the submissions everyone, please.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Aug 12, 2012 - 07:46pm PT
President Obama signs Pilot’s Bill of Rights

AOPA commends President Barack Obama for signing into law the Pilot’s Bill of Rights on Aug. 3. The legislation guarantees pilots under investigation by the FAA expanded protection against enforcement actions via access to investigative reports and air traffic control and flight service recordings, and it also requires the FAA to provide the evidence being used as the basis of enforcement at least 30 days in advance of action.
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