Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Blog

The Cold War Air Museum blog is one year old!

We are happy that we can share this video (originally created for one of our associates) for our birthday and for this holiday weekend. It portrays both the fun and the seriousness, of our work.

As we end our first year with 243 posts, we are happy to see our list of visitors rapidly growing. We want to extend to each and every one of you, a wish for a happy, safe and prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cold War Air Museum, Visitors Welcome

The Cold War Air Museum is located at Lancaster Airport (KLNC), south of Downtown Dallas, Texas. The Cold War Air Museum is open every Saturday from 10 until 4 and admission is free (tours and special events may be arranged at other times and visitor donations are gladly accepted).

The airport is also home to the Commemorative Air Force Museum and there are a number of businesses and places of interest nearby. The City, Airport and Museums host a number of events at the airport every year. Check our Current Events page from time to time for special event postings, especially during flying season. Driving directions can be obtained from the local area map page.

The following links may also be of interest to our local and long distance visitors.

The Cold War Air Museum is a member of the North Texas Association of Aviation Museums (NOTAAM). For a list of area museums and links to their web sites, visit the NOTAAM web site.

For information about places of interest and events in the City of Lancaster (a suburb of Dallas), visit the Lancaster Visitor's Information Center.

For information about things to do and see in Dallas, visit the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A partial list of places to stay near the airport includes:

Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Super 8 Motel
MCM Grande Hotel
Spanish Trails Inn
Red Roof Inn

Thanks for visiting our web site. We hope to see you in person soon!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two Changs a'Flying

On the second day of Cold War Air Museum Christmas,
Jon and Miles gave to me,
"two CJs flying".

(With apologies to The Twelve days of Christmas Song)...

Christmas eve and Christmas day saw a rare sight in Dallas - SNOW. But as you can see from these pictures, by the next day it was all gone. With the weather cold, clear and calm, Jon and Miles took the opportunity to take to the air. Miguel had a chance to go along with them and we thank him for these pictures. You can see more of his photos on his Flikr pages. Without much narration, this post is simply dedicated to the fun of flying.

The day was beautifully clear and the moon was visible in the sky.

The long lens on Miguel's camera makes the aircraft appear much closer than they are.

Miles smiles, looks like they had a good day of flying.

In the calm air, the vortices from the propwash are clearly visible when Jon turns on the smoke.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cold War Christmas

During the Cold War, the U.S. created an extensive network of radar
stations to warn of approaching aircraft.

Reports from these stations, including coverage over the North Pole, were combined and analyzed at the Continental Air Defense Command (the predecessor of NORAD) at Colorado Springs.

On Christmas eve 1955, the commander was unamused to receive a call on the facility "hotline" from a six year old boy who started reciting his Christmas wish list. Colonel Shoup soon learned that a misprint in the newspaper had directed children to call America's most secure facility, instead of the local Sears store "Santa line". By electing to answer the children calling with reports and updates on Santa's "flight" from the North Pole, the Air Force created a Christmas tradition.

In the early years, TV networks would interrupt their broadcasts with an announcement that an unidentified intruder had been reported by the early warning system. As the announcer continued to report with increasing concern, the intruder would be tracked closer and closer to U.S. air space, where it was intercepted by fighter jets. Upon identifying the intruder as Santa Claus, the pilots allowed him to pass (to the great relief of children nationwide). In early years, volunteers at the facility answered thousands of phone calls and the event was reported in the news on Christmas day.

In 1997 this program was extended to the internet where it receives more than a BILLION hits annually., assisted by global mapping and video clips, transmits an image of worldwide satellite tracking capability and air support for Santa's mission each year.

Christmas, in secular or religious form is celebrated in most countries of the world. In ideal times, in an ideal world, Christmas is a time for families and friends to be together. In the imperfect world in which we live, wars and hardships bring separation and loss. The staff and members of the Cold War Air Museum extend their thanks to the men and women in service who are separated from their families this season.

Wherever you may be, however you may celebrate Christmas and the New Year, we want to wish you the very best and invite you to reflect for a moment on where we have been, where we are now and where we are going. In both the U.S. and Russia you will encounter various forms of the phrase "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (1). We appreciate your continued support for the Cold War Air Museum and its mission of preserving and "remembering" the past.

(1) More quotes attributed to George Santayana (1863-1952).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Exercising the Mil Mi-24D Hind

The weather was perfect last Saturday and it's been a while since the Cold War Air Museum has taken the Mi-24 helicopter out for a walk.

One of the many impressive things about the Hind is its AI-9 Safire starter, which often makes an impressive display during start. Its important to position the main rotor blades so that they don't get cooked by the starter.

Sean, sitting in the doorway, probably wishes he had an AK-47 to pose with for authenticity.

Bruce and Mike discuss the co-pilot's controls. The front seat of the Hind has a collective, cyclic and torque pedals in case the pilot is unable to control the aircraft. Interestingly, it's possible for the flight engineer (who sits in the gangway behind the pilot) to pull a pin and tilt the pilot's seat backwards, making it possible to remove the pilot by pulling him backwards. While the front cockpit doesn't have full controls (for example, there is no throttle control), there are enough for operational purposes.

After getting the helicopter started, Mike, Bruce and our mechanic Johnny (who also holds a rotor pilot's certificate) took Bord 118 out for a spin (so to speak).

The three pilots on board have considerable flight time in our Mi-2 and all three sets of hands, feet and eyeballs were closely monitoring and evaluating Bord 118 as we get her ready for U.S certification.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Party time for the Hornets

The resourcefulness of the American Aviator should never be underestimated. A case in point is the effort put forth by the men of the 116th. The base was a typical Viet Nam facility, but the needs of the service overcame the rustic facilities.

Soon after this picture was taken, an all hands effort was begun to improve "morale". A "deal" with an engineering company resulted in a big hole in the ground and after a lot of labor and scrounging, the company had the picture below.

With a MASH unit just "down the street", the pool was frequented by nurses in their off time. Pool parties were well attended.

With temperatures in excess of 100 degrees every day, the pool saw year-round use, even on Christmas, a "stand down" day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MiGs, Pigs and Uncontrolled Flight

No insult is intended to Pigs (or MiGs for that matter), but the old saying "When Pig's Fly" is intended to invoke an image of absurdity. The German version, "Wenn Schweine fliegen könnten!"... is essentially identical, while the Russian version "когда рак на горе свистнет"... "when the crawfish whistles on the mountain" uses a different image for the same result.

Unfortunately, during the last year, two of our Cold War Air Museum adventurers had the misfortune of taking a fall (from a ladder and a wing) while working on the MiGs. Needless to say, such excursions from controlled airspace brought about a serious response from the Museum Safety Officer (in his case, after he recovered) as well as cautions from others at the Museum (not to mention those at home). Therein lies the MiG tie-in for this post.

The safety reviews, not surprisingly, concluded that it was not so much the fall, as the sudden stop at the end and things encountered along the way, that created the potential for significant damage or injury. To focus attention on maintenance safety, an image or award based on "Pigs (or people) Can't Fly" was explored. When this concept was checked by the engineering staff however, we got a surprising (but perhaps to be expected) response:

"Certainly pigs can fly, it is simply a matter of applying sufficient thrust. The problems lie with the lack of effective flight controls, landing systems and waste containment. For these reasons, pig flight over populated areas is not recommended.

Regardless of such musings, we do emphasize safety and we considered creating an emblem or badge for that purpose. The statue above is located at the Cincinnati airport. In the 1800's, Cincinnati was the hog processing center of the U.S., As pigs arrived in railroad cars for the slaughterhouse, it was said that they were packed so tightly they would "fly" out of the cars when the doors were opened. Cincinnati thus became know as the "City of Flying Pigs", perhaps a better moniker than its other nickname of the time, "Porkopolis".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

F.A.S.T. Formation

With midnight, December 31st fast approaching it was time to double-check F.A.S.T. (Formation And Safety Training) credentials for everybody. It wasn't enough to have flown during the prior year, paperwork needed to be completed. Which, of course, it hadn't been. So it was necessary for Mustang, Crash, Duck, and Pig Pen to take to the sky to keep their F.A.S.T. cards from turning into pumpkins when the New Years ball drops in Times Square.

F.A.S.T. is a committee, recognized by the FAA to ensure that a certain level of training and proficiency is maintained by all pilots wishing to fly in formation in the waivered airspace at at an airshow. F.A.S.T. member organizations, such as the Red Star Pilot's Association (RPA) manage their own training programs to F.A.S.T. standards and maintain records on training and proficiency through the "Wingman", "Lead Pilot", "Instructor", and "Check Airman" levels.

At least once a year a Lead Pilot must sign off paperwork saying that another lead or wingman has flown in or conducted a four-ship formation.

Communication is accomplished in formation with minimum radio traffic; in fact, an entire flight can be flown — beginning to end — without a single radio call.

Shown here is what the "cross under" signal looks like from the lead pilot...

And what it looks like from the wingman's point of view.

The RPA manual's guidelines on accomplishing the cross-under.

An echelon turn, where all aircraft remain at the same altitude (vice "stacking up").

The beginning of a "B&R" — breakup and rendezvous.

What started off as an overcast day (ceilings less than 100 feet) turned into a great day for some of our Cold War Air Museum associates to go flying and take pictures. Thanks to the RPA for the formation graphics and thanks to Miguel for the pictures, more can be found on his page on Flikr.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cold War Air Flight, with Yaks and Changs

Jon and Miguel took the Cold War Air Museum CJ-6 out for some exercise last weekend. Jon needed to keep his formation skills current and Miguel needed an excuse to fly and take pictures.

Yaks often fly with CJ's but there are some distinctive differences on view. The rounded tail is noticeable on the ground or in the air as different from the CJ's more squared tail. In flight the nose gear of the Yaks hangs lower and the main gear comes forward rather than folding into the wing as the CJ's does. No matter the differences, aircraft in flight are lovely to behold. Miguell's picture of a red and white plane against a blue sky is beautiful and the colors are appropriate whether you think of them as belonging to its original home in Russia or its current home in the U.S.

The Yaks in the exercise are seen here in formation. Our next post will feature more pictures and Jon talking about formation flying and the pilots and ships involved.

Another well restored, painted and maintained CJ was part of this flight. We all look forward to the times we can fly together.

No matter how much fun you are having, at the end of the day coming in for a landing is a welcome sight.

Credit and thanks for the pictures in this post go to our friend and associate, Miguel Relayze. For more pictures of this flight, visit Miguel's latest postings on Flikr

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cold War Air Museum - DFW Expo

DFW Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration and American Airlines recently invited Elementary, High School and College students to their Career Expo at KDFW.

Thousands of students were brought together with modern and vintage aircraft as well as college and career recruiters and advisers.

The Cold War Air Museum was pleased to fly their Mi-2 and participate in the event.

This year, as in previous years, we have taken part in Career Events at Lancaster, (KLNC) and other local airports. Although numbers were down at DFW from the prior year, the students in attendance brought our total for such events for this year to over 4,000.

December 12, 1991 - Following a failed military coup aimed at preserving the Soviet Union, the USSR was dissolved into fifteen independent states.

December 12, 1993 - The Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Shopping

Looking for a few last-minute items for the aviation fans on your shopping list?

We'd like to point out a few items in our eBay and Zazzle storefronts.

Mousepad featuring the museum's Mi-24. $10.95

Shirt with museum logo on front and large Mi-24 Hind Graphic on the back. $22.75

Copy of the L-39 patch worn by factory pilots. $5.95

Proceeds go to support the museum's mission of restoring and maintaining our historic aircraft.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mil Mi24, Startup Video

It's back to business as usual at the Cold War Air Museum after the MiGs, Mils and Models photo shoot.

Our friend Ziggie stepped us through starting an Mi-24 helicopter. While we've had this video "in the can" waiting to post, it has received more than 3,000 views on YouTube.

We know that, in addition to our museum visitors, there is a large gaming community that follows our MiG and Mil videos. If you post comments about something different in your experience, please let everyone know if you are relating to a game sequence or an actual airframe.

If you are sharing actual experience with an aircraft, please provide enough specifics about the model, engine hours and revisions along with your standard procedures, time hacks and temperatures to make your comments meaningful and helpful to us all.

Thank you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

MiGs, Mils and Models

Miguel Relayze from Lima, Peru, recently visited the Cold War Air Museum and decided to schedule a photo shoot with us.

Miguel works for American Airlines and enjoys photography. His work at the museum will be posted soon on his pages at Pbase and Flikr. While he was taking pictures with his professional grade equipment, he and the models graciously allowed us to take some snapshots to share on our museum website. Thank you Miguel and Ladies, you are certainly welcome back anytime!

Our first job was cordoning off the restrooms for use as dressing and makeup rooms. Marie helped the ladies and kept them fresh during the session that lasted into the night.

With the temperature outside hovering at +5 Celsius (we consider that cold in Texas) and the dew point the same, it was good flying weather only for Ducks and Helicopters. The Mi-2 was unable to blow the crud away, so the ground crew fired up the heaters in the hangers to keep the models warm (or at least not as cold).

The ladies brought a number of outfits and we furnished some hats and other items to use as props, but when the photographer called for one more prop, the best we could do was offer Jon. Surrounded by Marinda, Rashell and Leslie, Jon appears afraid to move. We know this museum work is tough, but someone has to do it. We are accepting applications for more volunteers, in case anyone is interested.

The ladies were totally professional about their work. But because I was simply taking snapshots, I was able to catch some fun and funny moments with them. I did note some things that, as our society becomes truly egalitarian, desperately need to be passed on to aircraft and flight equipment designers. (#1) Aircraft steps and control pedals need to be redesigned to accommodate high heels (#2) More variety needs to be offered in flight boots, including heels and more choice of colors and stripes and oh yes, (#3) A good flight helmet should NOT mess up your hair.

All kidding aside, we wish to thank Miguel, Marie, Rashell, Leslie and Marinda for visiting and allowing us to share some snapshots with our on-line visitors. The additional snapshots below do not do full justice to these lovely ladies and Miguel's work. Please visit his page at Flikr for his processed pics from this shoot. Shots from the museum will be posted after he has time to process them.