The F-104 Flies Again (in Norway)

7 10 2016

This week The Aviationist ran a cool article documenting the first flight of a newly restored CF-104 Starfighter, in RNoAF livery.  It was the culmination of a 13-year-long restoration project – talk about heart!


For those unfamiliar, the F-104 Starfighter was a Cold War-era interceptor designed to fly at high speeds from air bases in the Arctic, to intercept Soviet nuclear bombers.  It could reach 48,000 feet in altitude within one minute after takeoff.  Compare that to the usual 30 minutes or so that it generally takes a modern commercial airliner to reach 30,000 feet (granted, they could do so quicker if they wanted to).



The flight took place in Bodø, Norway.  The videos linked from the Aviationist article have some stunning shots, from which we took some still screen-grabs.  Enjoy.

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-9-54-09-am screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-9-44-23-am


Check out the smoke trail it leaves behind, especially compared to the F-16 chase plane!





Evidently more is in store for the F-104, overall. In August of 2016, the BBC ran an article stating that a cubist company, CubeCab, is teaming up with Starfighters, Inc. to launch microsatellites into orbit!  What a cool concept!  We will be watching for updates on this topic.


Here are the extraordinary videos that were in the Aviationist article:


This one is for the hardcore aviation buffs (long video taken from the ground, with some great sounds as the planes fly overhead):


Friday Cold War Update

7 06 2013

It’s been a while since we’ve posted some Cold War history stuff.  Let’s have a look at a couple of items recently discovered by the RttRL staff.

First up, we have a very unusual tourist destination in Ukraine:  Chernobyl.  As in, THAT Chernobyl (is there any other?).

On 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what is now Ukraine but was formerly and at the time known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic suffered a catastrophic explosion during a planned systems test.  The rupture of the reactor caused a fire which spread radioactive smoke across the local region and parts of Europe.

Curious what the long-abandoned nearby town of Pripyat looks like these days? Well now you can take a tour of parts of it.  Check out the pictures from the Chernobyl tour website:


I’m sure this was posed for effect – it works:







Next up we have a nice vintage clip or two of a C-130 Hercules, of the aerial refueler tanker variety, landing on an aircraft carrier without the usual benefits of the arresting hook and wire system to slow the aircraft down, or the steam-driven catapult system which usually launches them airborne:

The Carbon Cub SS

7 03 2013

We recently bought one of these – strictly for medicinal purposes.  It’s called a Carbon  Cub SS and it is amazing:

carbon cub ss photo

This is the real version that it’s based on an experimental light sport airplane from CubCrafters.


carbon cub ss photo


carbon cub ss photo

This airplane can take off within several of its length (4 to 7).  Can you believe that?

See for yourself.  Peep the video:



Buried WWII British Spitfire Airplanes in Burma/Myanmar

23 10 2012


This story was recently spotted by our Paris bureau chief. In Myanmar, it is said that in the waning days of the second World War, American army bulldozers buried dozens of brand-new British Spitfire fighter aircraft, packed in grease and wax paper from the factory, in their original shipping containers. This was done to prevent the fighters from falling into the possession if the advancing Japanese forces. The Japanese surrendered before they made their way up into this part of the world, but the British never showed up to reclaim their buried Spitfires. Over the past 20 years, a British farmer and businessman named David Cundall overheard the story from veterans, and went to Myanmar to pursue the buried aircraft. Using magnometers and ground-penetrating radar, he was able to locate the likely positions of several of the containers. Recent political happenings in Myanmar have paved the way for him to receive permission to excavate the airplanes. We will eagerly follow this developing story, and will hopefully have some pictures to share next month, when the digging is set to commence.

Space Shuttle Endeavour – In-Flight Video

5 10 2012

This video was taken by the backseater in one of the NASA F-18 chase planes. Great shots, very close up, as Endeavor and the SCA 747 flying past many notable SoCal landmarks:

C-47 Underwater

1 10 2012


I found this quite randomly on Imagur.  It belongs to Rico Besserdich, who has lots of great stuff.  I believe this is in Kas/Antalya, Turkey.

Extremely Low Flyby of the Santa Monica Pier

27 06 2012

Somehow, I missed this news item back in 2008.

Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of aircraft and jets in particular.  Their design, the engineering history behind their development, their performance capabilities all appeal to a visceral part of me that is otherwise untouchable.  There is something impressive and terrifying about that much metal and fire hurtling through the heavens faster than any bird on Earth.

Well, back in November of 2008 some jackass felt that he was above not only FAA rules that regulate the safe operation of aircraft in American airspace, but also any sense of decency or common sense.  One has to wonder, “what was he thinking?”

At this altitude and speed, things can go wrong VERY quickly:

I’ll admit that there is a certain bent amusement that I see in this as well.  *Some* of the people standing on the pier shared in this amazement, as evidenced by their not running for the parking lot when these guys began buzzing the Pier (who was the other pilot? the LA Times article doesn’t say).  Then again, the video shows that some people clearly did run for their lives.

The aircraft is a Aero L-39 Albatros, a Czech-designed two-place (2 seat) Cold War-era trainer. Pretty bad-ass little jet.


The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article stating that his probation for the incident was recently revoked due to noncompliance with the public service conditions he had agreed to.  Shockingly, the monetary fine was only $900!  I wonder if his pilot’s license is in jeopardy due to this stunt.  Indeed, his license was revoked but evidently not permanently.

There is some interesting stuff out there about this pilot, if one is in the Google kind of mood.


The Fleet

16 05 2012

Time for an update on what’s hanging out in RttRL’s hanger.

Here is a nice picture of most of the planes posing together:

2 T-28s and a Champ

My first was the HobbyZone Champ, the little orange one.  It’s based on an actual plane called the Aeronca Champ, built mostly in the mid-1940’s to ’50s.  It was a great trainer and I still enjoy flying it, although it doesn’t get as much flying time as it once did.

More recently I bought an aftermarket custom LED light kit, and I do enjoy flying it at night.  It is very relaxing and fun.


Here’s what the real airplane looks like:

The other two are more Horizon products, the micro and sport scale North American T-28 Trojan trainer aircraft:



I recently installed lights on the micro T-28 as well.


I also picked up one of these recently:

It’s a Great Planes F-86, after the North American F-86 Saber

The little antenna with the plug wires coming out of it actually attaches to the trainer port of my remote control (radio), and it is a self-contained transmitter in and of itself, which piggybacks on the controller’s inputs.

The jet is tough to fly, I am getting the hang of it still.  It moves a lot faster and requires a lot more focus.






I told you to keep your arms inside!

7 05 2012

Stop crying, for God’s sake!

Jerez from the Air

4 05 2012


From this past weekend’s MotoGP round in Jerez, Spain.  Thanks to for the image.