AE Current Events

Per CAPP-15, the squadron AEO, "conducts weekly updates of AE current events."

These current events will be updated prior to each MAWG Wing Staff meeting (normally held first Wednesday of the month).  Please feel free to use them at your own units, and forward any interesting current events you might have to
me to include here.

The following are current events for the August 2016 staff meeting:

1.  One better than Tatooine:  Astronomers discovered a gas giant planet in a TRIPLE-star system.  This planet is orbiting the brightest star in the system (about 10 times brighter than our Sun) about 7 billion miles away from that star.  Another pair of stars circle the brightest one, about 30 billion miles away.  (This is as opposed to Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, which circles a binary star system.)

2.  Hybrid-electric plane  successfully completes first test flight:  The Extra 300, usually found as a staple on the airshow circuit, is the test platform for a hybrid-electric plane powered by a Siemens 260 kW electric motor.  The hope is that this type of motor could power a four-seat General Aviation aircraft soon.

3.  New dwarf planet found outside Pluto’s orbit:  Another astronomical discovery – this time RR245, a small (~400 miles in diameter) dwarf planet far beyond Pluto in the “Kuiper Belt” region.  It has a very elliptical orbit, varying from 3 billion to 11 billion miles from the Sun, taking 700 years to orbit once.  By comparison, Pluto is about 1400 miles in diameter, and orbits the Sun every 248 years.  Although astronomers have discovered other KBO (Kuiper Belt Objects), this is the first one large enough to be classified as a dwarf planet (massive enough to be crushed into a sphere by its own gravity; but unlike “regular” planets, it has not cleared and coalesced its orbital path of other debris) since the designator was created.  Of course, Pluto was recently downgraded from a regular planet to a dwarf planet in 2006.

4.  USAF may build “Super Warthog”:  The Air Force is studying requirements for a new Close-Air Support (CAS) aircraft.  This would take the place of the A-10 Warthog, which will be retired soon.  The new Super Warthog would include the capability to use laser-guided and precision bombs, and would upgrade the engine.  It may be based upon the Raytheon T-X or the A-29 Embraer EMB Super Tucano aircraft.

5.  Mars 2020 Rover to proceed with final design:  NASA stated that they will complete design and begin constructing the Mars 2020 Rover, a space probe that will be launched sometime in the summer of 2020.  This rover will be looking for signs of life (both past signs, as well as current), and will return Martian rock and soil samples to Earth.  Additionally, it will have a set of microphones, so for the first time we can hear the sounds from the red planet.  There’s a possibility that the rover would also contain “helicopter drones” which would make short flights away from the rover base.

6.  EPA says aircraft emissions dangerous:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to reduce aircraft carbon emissions, which it says account for about 2% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.  Any regulation would depend on the result of the Presidential election (since the regulation wouldn’t be implemented until January, and would have to be coordinated with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

7.  “Parachutist” jumps out of plane without ‘chute:  Luke Aikens, a skydiver with more than 18,000 jumps under his belt tried something different:  he jumped out of a plane over Simi Valley (CA) at 25,000’ without a parachute, landing successfully in a 100’ x 100’ net.  Well, okay, he was WEARING a parachute (since this was being broadcast live, the Screen Actors’ Guild required him to wear it), but he didn’t use it.  Aikens was the backup to Felix Baumgartner (who set the record for highest skydive in 2012).

8.  Forget about Amazon, 7-11 makes first commercial drone delivery:  A 7-11 convenience store in Reno, NV did a trial run of a delivery from their store to a customer’s home a mile away.  The drone delivered a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy and Slurpees in about 5 minutes.  The customer reported that the coffee was still hot, and the Slurpees still frozen.

9.  Is the end in sight for the B747?  The Boeing-747, the first wide-body jumbo jet (first flown in 1970) may be approaching the end of its production run.  Boeing will be reducing production from 12 per year to six, as airlines look to save costs by using twin-engine aircraft (the 747 has four engines).

Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman,
Aug 9, 2016, 12:42 PM