Tag Archives: Aviation

Aeroscholar Talks with the AiplaneGeeks

Discovery Space Shuttle at Smithsonian

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of recording a podcast with some amazing aerospace buffs at www.airplanegeeks.com. One of their viewers was interested in learning more about http://www.aeroscholar.com, the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering department, and AIAA. I was extremely happy to oblige them 🙂

I highly recommend the show to those of you interested in aviation, especially if you have a long commute to work where you’ll have plenty of time to listen.

The episode that I was a guest speaker on can be listened to here.

Highlights of the show:

  • Aeroscholar talks about the state of education in the aerospace industry, aeroscholar.com, advice for people interested in aerospace engineering and aviation, and the cool tours that the AIAA at Michigan have been on.
  • David Vanderhoof gives us a report on the Space Shuttle swap-out at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. He spoke with NASA Director Charles F. “Charlie” Bolden, NASM Curator Dr. Helen Morill, and Senator John Glenn.
  • Dan spoke with Virgin Galactic’s CEO and President George Whitesides aboard Virgin America’s inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.
  • Warbirds Facing Doom?
  • American Airlines unions, US Airways announce deal to support merger
  • Merged airline would be called American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth
  • Bates: US Airways has a good plan, American Airlines doesn’t
  • A JET FLIGHT PASSENGER’S NIGHTMARE: Delta flight forced to emergency land after bird strike takes out a 757 jet engine
  • Business Expert Videos Delta 1063 Mid Air Bird Strike

The hosts were great, consisting of:

A full bio for each of these airplane geeks can be found on the Airplanegeeks.com About page.


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Filed under Aerospace Careers, AIAA, Industry Tours

Funchal, Madeira Airport (FNC): 9th Most Dangerous Airport

Landing at Madeira FNC Airport

Half of my family is from Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the coast of northwestern Africa. The island offers amazing beaches, beautiful year-around weather, and majestic mountains. I’m a little different than most tourists though, since I love their airport the best! Ranked by Discovery Channel as one of the top 10 most dangerous airports in the world, you could literally just watch the planes come in and have yourself a great day (and get a great sun tan while doing it).

Its been a few years since I’ve been to Madeira (though I hope to be back within the next year now that I’m about finished with school), but there really isn’t anything like landing there. To put things in perspective, to be able fly from Madeira at all, the pilot in command must have a minimum of 200 hours as captain on the aircraft type in use, and a minimum of one take-off and landing at Madeira in the last six months, or one supervised flight accompanied by a pilot qualified to land there.

FNC Approach

Approach info for flying into Funchal's airport.

Incidents & Accidents at FNC

  • On 5 March 1973, an Aviaco Sud Caravelle 10R (Registration EC-BID) crashed into the sea during approach, losing the aircraft and three crew.
  • On 19 November 1977, TAP Portugal Flight TP425, a Boeing 727-200 (Registration CS-TBR) was traveling from Brussels to Madeira via Lisbon. After a go around, the aircraft attempted to land in poor weather conditions, of which it landed long on runway 24 (now runway 23) and plunged over a steep bank. It then struck a stone bridge and the right wing was torn off, and then crashing hard onto a beach. A fire then broke out, setting the aircraft alight. Out of the 164 on board, 131 lost their lives.
  • On 18 December 1977, SA de Transport AĂ©rien Flight 730, a Sud Caravelle 10R (registration HB-ICK) was cleared for approach on runway 06 (now runway 05), but descended below 720 ft (220 m) causing the aircraft to crash into the sea. 36 people died out of the 57 on board.

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Filed under Airports, Flying

Nice insight into problems facing American Airlines

The Stengel Angle

I grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, somewhere that probably does not ring a bell to most people. However, if you’re at all familiar with the steel industry, you might recognize the name Bethlehem Steel, once the second-largest steelmaker in the United States. Founded in 1857, Bethlehem was a titan that had large influences on the steel industry, like shipbuilding during World War II and the mass production of the ubiquitous I-Beam (which placed the company as the leading supplier to the construction industry and led to the skyscraper era).

Unfortunately, if you know the story of Bethlehem Steel, you also know about their demise. Plagued by the increasing market share of cheaper foreign steel in the U.S., mismanagement, and labor issues, the company closed its iconic Bethlehem plant in 1995, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, and finally sold all remaining assets to the International Steel Group in 2003. According to

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Filed under Airlines

The Beauty of First Flight

This weekend I got the chance to do something that I’ve always dreamed of. I piloted my first aircraft! Like most aerospace fanatics, ever since I was a child all I wanted to do was be a pilot. Having family all over Europe, I was constantly traveling and I loved it. I got to fly on planes all the time.

When the time came to choose my career path I tried to make the best decision between becoming a pilot or being an aerospace engineer. Eventually the decision was made to follow engineering and I’m extremely happy that I did! Being able to help design and build beautiful flying machines gives a level of satisfaction that I wouldn’t give up for anything. I did however make myself a promise that I would one day become a pilot, even if only as a hobby. This post outlines the beginning of a dream that will hopefully consume endless beautiful weekends for the rest of my life.

The Michigan Flyers did a phenomenal job of hosting the AIAA event for us this year! Thanks again!!

Cessna Planes

Discovery flights for the AIAA University of Michigan. I'm flying in the Cessna 172, but we also had a 162 and 152 at our disposal.

Ann Arbor Airport

Shortly after takeoff you can see the Ann Arbor Airport

Big House

Flying over the Big House and Crisler Arena

Whitmore Lake

Whitmore Lake from the sky

Landing Ann Arbor Airport

Flaps deployed for landing at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport

Landing Tower Ann Arbor Airport

With a little help from the flight instructor we made it safely back on the ground

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Filed under Flying

F-35 Review Video


This is the video I was shown while touring Edwards Air Force Base In early April. Truly a great plane, even among all the skepticism.

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Filed under F-35

Worlds First 3D Printed Airplane Flies

I can’t wait to get myself one of these 3d printers! CAD up your model and go flying! I love it.

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Filed under Airplane Construction

Jet Engine Heaven at Williams International Tour

On Friday March 16th, the AIAA University of Michigan Student section brought 10 students to Williams International in Walled Lake Michigan. If you like jet engines than this was the tour you should have been on! This is also the 10th aerospace engineering company that our AIAA section has visited since January. I’m pretty sure we have the monopoly on cool tours! Go Blue!

The Tour is About to Begin!

Our tour started with some quick seminars to learn a little bit more about Williams. For those of you that haven’t heard of Williams Int., they are the world’s leader in small jet engines. Their jets can be found on many Cessna and Cirrus models, but their main claim to fame was for producing an engine for the U.S. cruise missile.

We had some great lectures from various engineers on the topics of work cycles, combustion, material properties, and testing. The real fun started with a live test of the Williams International F107-WR-105 turbofan engine. After putting on our eye and ear protection, one of the test engineers, who was a recent UofM graduate started up the beautiful little engine. The purpose of the test was to get a final inspection of operation of the engine before sending it out to the customer. We really couldn’t be happier. As you can tell from the picture above this engine is SMALL! Since there isn’t any bypass air to speak of in this gas turbine, this little guy screamed! It was awesome! As we watched the test engineer ramp up the RPMs and take data we were all fixated on the computer screens, which displayed a plethora of information such as exhaust temperature, compressor RPM, and a bunch of other vitals.

Williams FJ44-3ATW

After 10 minutes of drooling, we moved on to yet another test cell! This time we were going to watch the startup of a Williams International FJ44-3A. The previous engine we saw could produce a max thrust of 607 lbf., this much larger engine is capable of 2820 lbf. We were ready for some power! We were in a much larger test room this time, as the engine was much larger. As the engineer ramped the power up to full, we were amazed and the noise and rumbling vibrations, but due to this engines larger bypass ratio, we were spared from the high pitch noises that the F-107 engine produced.

After the live engine tests we were completely satisfied and could have easily left with the fullest of appreciation and enthusiasm, but there was indeed more to see! We were lucky enough to go through most of the manufacturing rooms, where we got our fair share of lathes, presses, and welding machines. We must have seen over 100 engines scattered throughout the facility, most of them being small F-107 engines.

Thank You Williams International for hosting such a great tour. As an engine enthusiast myself, I was extremely satisfied with everything I was able to see. Cheers to you!

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Filed under AIAA, Industry Tours