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 April 2018 staff meeting:

1.  USAF retires Predator:  The MQ-1B Predator, the first drone aircraft to be used in warfare, was retired from service on 9 Mar.  Predators have been used since 1995, and were extensively used during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001.  The Predators’ workload will now be taken up by the MQ-9 Reapers.

2.  Zombie Supernova:  A star has seemed to have exploded as a supernova multiple times, at least five times since 2014 (and possibly more times extending to 60 years ago).  This is unusual because a supernova is considered to be a death knell of a star.  Astronomers believe this star has a mass of 50 to 100 times that of our Sun; it’s rare to see a star that massive, and it may date back to the beginning of the universe.

3.  Professor uses augmented reality to teach aircraft systems:  At Western Michigan College of Aviation, Professor Lori Brown has created a holographic system for students to learn aircraft systems, familiarize themselves with cockpit design, etc.  Students can even “preflight” an aircraft using this system.

4.  Here’s why you need to secure cargo in an aircraft:  An AN-12 cargo plane lost over 33% of its cargo just after taking off from a Russian airport.  The cargo (10 tons of gold, platinum and diamond) scattered over the runway as well as up to 16 miles away from the airport, after the cargo apparently shifted and took out the aft cargo door.  Apparently, though, the authorities have recovered all the missing precious minerals.

5.  New way to remove paint and corrosion from aircraft:  The USAF Air Mobility Command (AMC) is testing a new way to remove paint and corrosion from aircraft:  lasers.  Traditionally, maintainers will use a sander or a blasting machine, but that can cause too much material to be removed, and also requires the maintainers to wear protective equipment.

6.  Flying car is an autogyro, not a plane:  Dutch company PAL-V has debuted its Liberty flying car at the Geneva Auto Show.  It is an autogyro, not a traditional airplane that’s used in such “hybrids.”  (Autogyros are like helicopters, but the main rotor is not powered but instead lets the forward speed from its conventional propeller rotate the blades.)  Be prepared to shell out nearly $400,000 for it, though.

7.  Tiangong-1 plunges back to Earth:  China lost control several years ago over its space station Tiangong-1 (meaning, “heavenly palace”).  The schoolbus-size space station’s orbit finally decayed sufficiently that the Earth’s atmosphere caused the spacecraft to fall back to Earth.  Although it was not known ahead of time where it would land, it fortunately re-entered over the south Pacific Ocean.  (Most of it likely burned up on re-entry.)

8.  Stratolaunch has successful taxi tests:  The huge Stratolaunch airplane (with TWO fuselages, powered by six B-747 jet engines, and containing 28 wheels) has undergone taxi tests, reaching a top speed of 40 knots.  Although the initial purpose of the plane was to launch satellites, now Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder and Stratolaunch funder) says he wants to use it to launch a new space shuttle the company is considering, called “Black Ice.”

Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman,
Apr 4, 2018, 4:59 PM