14 February 2012: Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser Test Bed, serial number 00-0001, departed Edwards AFB for the last time as it headed for The Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona.
The Boeing YAL-1A was built from a 747-4G4F, a converted 747-400F freighter, serial number 30201, formerly operated by Japan Air Lines and registered JA402J. It carried two solid state lasers and a megawatt-class oxygen iodine directed energy weapon system (COIL).
On 3 February 2010, it destroyed a Terrier Black Brant two-stage sounding rocket in the boost phase as it was launched from San Nicolas Island, off the coast of Southern California.
The 747-400 was a major development of the 747 series. It had many structural and electronics improvements over the earlier models, which had debuted 18 years earlier. New systems, such as a “glass cockpit”, flight management computers, and new engines allowed it to be flown with a crew of just two pilots, and the position of Flight Engineer became unnecessary.
The most visible features of the –400 are its longer upper deck and the six-foot tall “winglets” at the end of each wing, which improve aerodynamic efficiency be limiting the formation of wing-tip vortices.
The Boeing 747-400F is the freighter version of the 747-400 airliner. It has a shorter upper deck, no passenger windows and the nose can swing upward to allow cargo pallets or containers to be loaded. It is 231 feet, 10 inches (70.663 meters) long with a wingspan of 211 feet, 5 inches (64.440 meters) and overall height of 63 feet, 8 inches (19.406 meters). Empty weight is 394,100 pounds (178,761 kilograms). Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 875,000 pounds (396,893 kilograms).
The YAL-1A was powered by four General Electric CF6-80C2B5F turbofan engines, producing 62,100 pounds of thrust (276.235 kilonewtons), each. The CF6-80C2B5F is a two-spool, high-bypass-ratio turbofan engine. It has a single-stage fan section, 18-stage compressor (4 low- and 14 high-pressure stages) and 7-stage turbine section (2 high- and 5 low-pressure stages). The fan diameter is 7 feet, 9.0 inches (2.362 meters). The engine is 13 feet, 4.9 inches (4.087 meters) long with a maximum diameter of 8 feet, 10.0 inches (2.692 meters). It weighs 9,760 pounds (4,427 kilograms).
It had a cruise speed of 0.84 Mach (555 miles per hour, 893 kilometers per hour) at 35,000 feet (10,668 meters) and maximum speed of 0.92 Mach (608 miles per hour, 978 kilometers hour). Maximum range at maximum payload weight is 7,260 nautical miles (13,446 kilometers).
14 February 1991: An unusual incident occurred during Desert Storm, when Captains Tim Bennett and Dan Bakke, United States Air Force, flying the airplane in the above photograph, McDonnell Douglas F-15E-47-MC Strike Eagle, 89-0487, used a 2,000-pound (907.2 kilogram) GBU-10 Paveway II laser-guided bomb to “shoot down” an Iraqi Mil Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter. This airplane is still in service with the Air Force, and on 13 January 2012 became the first F-15E to have logged over 10,000 flight hours.
Captain Bennett (Pilot) and Captain Bakke (Weapons Systems Officer) were leading a two-ship flight on a anti-Scud missile patrol, waiting for a target to be assigned by their Boeing E-3 AWACS controller. 89-0487 was armed with four laser-guided GBU-10 bombs and four AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles. Their wingman was carrying 12 Mk. 82 500 pound (227 kilogram) bombs.
The AWACS controller called Bennett’s flight and told them that a Special Forces team on the ground searching for Scud launching sites had been located by Iraqi forces and was in need of help. They headed in from 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) away, descending though 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) of clouds as the went. They came out of the clouds at 2,500 feet (762 meters), 15–20 miles (24.1– 32.2 kilometers) from the Special Forces team. With the Strike Eagle’s infrared targeting pod they picked up five helicopters and identified them as enemy Mi-24s. It appeared that the helicopters were trying to drive the U.S. soldiers into a waiting Iraqi blocking force.
Their Strike Eagle was inbound at 600 knots (1,111.2 kilometers per hour) and both the FLIR (infrared) targeting pod and search radar were locked on to the Iraqi helicopters. Dan Bakke aimed the laser targeting designator at the lead helicopter preparing to drop a GBU-10 while Tim Bennett was getting a Sidewinder missile ready to fire. At four miles (6.44 kilometers) they released the GBU-10. At this time, the helicopter, which had been either on the ground or in a hover, began to accelerate and climb. The Eagle’s radar showed the helicopter’s ground speed at 100 knots. Bakke struggled to keep the laser designator on the fast-moving target. Bennett was about to fire the Sidewinder at the helicopter when the 2,000-pound (907.2 kilogram) bomb hit and detonated. The helicopter ceased to exist. The other four helicopters scattered. Soon after, additional fighter bombers arrived to defend the U.S. Special Forces team. They were later extracted and were able to confirm the Strike Eagle’s kill.
The Strike Eagle was begun as a private venture by McDonnell Douglas. Designed to be operated by a pilot and a weapons system officer (WSO), the airplane can carry bombs, missiles and guns for a ground attack role, while maintaining its capability as an air superiority fighter. It’s airframe was a strengthened and its service life doubled to 16,000 flight hours. The Strike Eagle became an Air Force project in March 1981, and went into production as the F-15E. The first production model, 86-0183, made its first flight 11 December 1986.
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is a two-place twin-engine multi-role fighter. It is 63 feet, 9 inches (19.431 meters) long with a wingspan of 42 feet, 9¾ inches (13.049 meters) and height of 18 feet, 5½ inches (5.626 meters). It weighs 31,700 pounds (14,379 kilograms) empty and has a maximum takeoff weight of 81,000 pounds (36,741 kilograms). The F-15E is powered by two Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-229 turbofan engines which produce 17,800 pounds of thrust (79.178 kilonewtons) each, or 29,100 pounds (129.443 kilonewtons) with afterburner.
The Strike Eagle has a maximum speed of Mach 2.54 (1,676 miles per hour, (2,697 kilometers per hour) at 40,000 feet (12,192 meters) and is capable of sustained speed at Mach 2.3 (1,520 miles per hour, 2,446 kilometers per hour). Its service ceiling is 60,000 feet (18,288 meters). The fighter-bomber has a combat radius of 790 miles (1,271 kilometers) and a maximum ferry range of 2,765 miles (4,450 kilometers).
Though optimized as a fighter-bomber, the F-15E Strike Eagle retains an air-to-air combat capability. The F-15E is armed with one 20mm M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel rotary cannon with 512 rounds of ammunition, and can carry four AIM-9M Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles and four AIM-7M Sparrow radar-guided missiles, or a combination of Sidewinders, Sparrows and AIM-120 AMRAAM long range missiles. It can carry a maximum load of 24,500 pounds (11,113 kilograms) of bombs and missiles for ground attack.
The Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name “Hind”) is a large, heavily-armed attack helicopter that can also carry up to eight troops. It is flown by two pilots and a gunner.
It is 57 feet, 4 inches (17.475 meters) long and the five-bladed main rotor has a diameter of 56 feet, 7 inches (17.247 meters). The helicopter has an overall height of 21 feet, 3 inches (6.477 meters). The empty weight is 18,740 pounds (8,378 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight is 26,500 pounds (12,020 kilograms).
The helicopter is powered by two Isotov TV3-117 turboshaft engines which produce 2,200 horsepower, each. The Mil-24 has a maximum speed of 208 miles per hour (335 kilometers per hour) and a range of 280 miles (451 kilometers). Its service ceiling is 14,750 feet (4,496 meters).
The helicopter is armed with a 12.7 mm Yakushev-Borzov Yak-B four-barreled Gatling gun with 1,470 rounds of ammunition; a twin-barrel GSh-30K 30 mm autocannon with 750 rounds; a twin-barrel GSh-23L 23 mm autocannon with 450 rounds. The Mi-24 can also carry a wide range of bombs, rockets and missiles.
The Mil Mi-24 first flew in 1969 and is still in production. More than 2,300 have been built and they have served the militaries of forty countries.
14 February 1979: Flying her Grob G102 Astir CS glider from the Black Forest Gliderport, north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sabrina Patricia Jackintell soared to an altitude of 12,637 meters (41,460 feet) over Pikes Peak, setting a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record and Soaring Society of America National Record for Absolute Altitude.¹ This record still stands. The duration of this flight was 3 hours, 18 minutes.
Pike’s Peak is the highest mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The 14,115 foot (4,267 meters) summit is located 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) west of Colorado Springs.
Sabrina Jackintell’s aircraft was a 1976 Grob G102 Astir CS glider (or sailplane), serial number 1171, FAA registration N75SW. The Astir CS is registered in the experimental category. It is approved for Day VFR Flight and may perform simple aerobatics.
The Astir CS (“Club Standard”) is a single-seat performance sailplane, designed by Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Burkhart Grob e.K. and built by Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau, Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany. The glider is built primarily of fiberglass. It has retractable landing gear and a T-tail.
The Astir CS was produced from 1974 to 1977. The current production variant of the G102 is the Astir III.
The Astir III is 6,75 meters (22 feet, 1¾ inches) long with a wingspan of 15,0 meters (49 feet, 2½ inches) and height of 1,26 meters (4 feet, 1½ inches). Empty weight is approximately 380 kilograms (838 pounds). The maximum flying weight, with water ballast, is 450 kilograms (992 pounds). The minimum pilot weight is 70 kilograms (154 pounds.) (Lighter pilots must carry ballast.) The Astir III has a maximum speed (Vne) of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour).
N75SW is currently owned by Eagle Rock Soaring, Peyton, Colorado.
Sabrina Jackintell (née Sadie Patricia Paluga) was born at Youngstown, Ohio, 31 January 1940, the second child of John and Sadie M. Skvarka Paluga. Her father was a steel worker who had emigrated from Chekoslovakia. She attended Wilson High School in Youngstown. Miss Paluga was a member of the Art Students League at the school. One of her paintings was exhibited at the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, Ohio, in 1956. She was voted “Best Dancer” in 1957.
Miss Paluga graduated from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 1960. While in college she began modeling and was featured on the cover of the fashion magazine, VOGUE.
In 1965 she drove Art Arfon’s jet-powered Green Monster land speed record car at the Bonneville Salt Flats, exceeding 300 miles per hour (483 kilometers per hour). Mechanical problems prevented the LSR machine from making a second pass in the opposite direction within the required time limit, so an official Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Land Speed Record was not set.
During her life, she lived in Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Southern California. She was married to Jerry E. Jackintell, also from Youngstown, and a fellow student at the University of Florida. They had a son, Jerry, and daughter, Lori. They divorced in 1982.
Sabrina Jackintell died at Sebring, Florida, 15 January 2012 at the age of 71 years.
14 February 1932: Taking off from Floyd Bennett Field, Ruth Rowland Nichols flew Miss Teaneck, a Lockheed Vega 1 owned by Clarence Duncan Chamberlin, to an altitude of 19,928 feet (6,074 meters).¹
The airplane’s owner had flown it to 19,393 feet (5,911 meters) on 24 January 1932.
A contemporary newspaper reported:
RUTH NICHOLS SETS NEW ALTITUDE RECORD
Ruth Nichols’ flight in a Lockheed monoplane powered with a 225 horsepower Packard Diesel motor to an altitude of 21,350 feet [6,507 meters] Friday had been credited to the Rye girl unofficially as a new altitude record for Diesel engines. A sealed barograph, removed from the plane, has been sent to Washington to the Bureau of Standards to determine the exact altitude figure.
—The Bronxville Press, Vol. VIII, No. 14, Tuesday, February 15, 1932, Columns 1 and 2
RUTH NICHOLS SENDS ‘FLYING FURNACE’ TO HEIGHT OF FOUR MILES
New York, Feb. 14—(AP)—Ruth Nichols, society aviatrix, flew Clarence Chamberlain’s [sic] “Flying Furnace” to a new altitude record, on the basis of an unofficial reading of her altimeter. When she landed it registered 21,300 feet, while Chamberlain’s [sic] official record for the Diesel-motored craft was 19,363 feet.
Miss Nichols took off at 4:15 p.m. from Floyd Bennett airport and landed an hour and one minute later after an exciting flight.
She encountered temperatures of 15 degrees below zero, she said, and at 20,000 feet two of her cylinders blew out. At that height, too, she was forced to the use of her oxygen tank.
In addition to the sealed barograph, which was taken from the plane at once to be sent to Washington for official calibration, Miss Nichols had three altimeters, two of which went out of commission in the upper atmosphere. The unofficial reading was taken from the third altimeter.
Despite her crippled engine and the fact that she had no brakes, she made a perfect landing and announced she had enjoyed the flight.
He unofficial altimeter reading was greater than that of Chamberlin after his flight and it is believed the official calibration would establish the new record for planes of this type.
Chamberlin was present as her technical advisor, and he gave last-minute instructions as she stepped into the cockpit, wearing a heavy flying suit, lined boots, and a purple scarf wound about her head instead of a helmet.
The plane carried 13 gallons of furnace oil, and one tank of oxygen. The regular wheels were changed smaller, lighter ones before the flight.
Miss Nichols hold several records and has reached an altitude of 28,743 feet in a gasoline plane.
—The Kokomo Tribune, Volume XLIV, No, 123, Monday, 15 February 1932, Page 7 at Columns 6 and 7
Miss Teaneck had been modified. The original engine Wright Whirlwind engine had been replaced by an air-cooled, 982.26-cubic-inch-displacement (16.096 liter) Packard DR-980 nine-cylinder radial diesel-cycle (or “compression-ignition”) engine. The DR-980 had one valve per cylinder and a compression ratio of 16:1. It had a continuous power rating of 225 horsepower at 1,950 r.p.m., and 240 horsepower at 2,000 r.p.m. for takeoff. The DR-980 was 3 feet, ¾-inch (0.933 meters) long, 3 feet, 9-11/16 inches (1.160 meters) in diameter, and weighed 510 pounds (231 kilograms). The Packard Motor Car Company built approximately 100 DR-980s, and a single DR-980B which used two valves per cylinder and was rated at 280 horsepower at 2,100 r.p.m. The Colllier Trophy was awarded to Packard for its work on this engine.
The Lockheed Vega was a very state-of-the-art aircraft for its time. The prototype flew for the first time 4 July 1927 at Mines Field, Los Angeles, California. It used a streamlined monocoque fuselage made of molded plywood. The wing and tail surfaces were fully cantilevered, requiring no bracing wires or struts to support them.
The Vega was flown by one pilot in an open cockpit and could carry four passengers in the cabin. It was 27 feet, 6 inches (8.382 meters) long with a wingspan of 41 feet, 0 inches (12.497 meters) and overall height of 8 feet, 2 inches (2.489 meters). The airplane had an empty weight of 1,875 pounds (851 kilograms) and a gross weight of 3,470 pounds (1,574 kilograms).
The early Vegas were powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 787.26-cubic-inch-displacement (12.901 liter) Wright J-5C Whirlwind nine-cylinder radial engine producing 200 horsepower at 1,800 r.p.m., and 225 horsepower at 2,000 r.p.m. This was a direct-drive engine which turned a two-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller. The Wright J-5C was 2 feet, 10 inches (0.864 meters) long and 3 feet, 9 inches (1.143 meters) in diameter. It weighed 508 pounds (230.4 kilograms).
The Vega had a cruising speed of 118 miles per hour (190 kilometers per hour) and atop speed of 138 miles per hour (222 kilometers per hour)—very fast for its time. The airplane’s range was 900 miles (1,448.4 kilometers). It could fly at an altitude 15,000 feet (4,572 meters).
¹ Virtually every source located by TDiA states that Ruth Nichols established an altitude record with this flight. Many state that it was a “world altitude record” and many also say that this record “still stands today.” A check with the National Aeronautics Association did not find such a record. Also, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale lists three world records credited to Ruth Nichols. This is flight is not listed. A very few sources called this an “unofficial record.”