Category: Funny

Pentagon requests new advanced fighter aircraft for Russia

Image: BAE Systems

THE PENTAGON — The Pentagon released a report today requesting Congressional authorization for the allocation of funds to develop a new air superiority fighter for the Russian Federation. Parlor Banjo reports.

The aircraft project known as Military Air Counterable Grade Unassailable Foreign Fighter Increasement Node (MACGUFFIN) would see an initial $102 billion spent on developing a mass-produced fighter aircraft with greater capability than the ‘Flanker’, ‘Felon’ and nascent ‘Fleabag’ combat aircraft. According to USAF Colonel Tilch Willdergande, “We would like fighter aircraft and funding for future fighter projects, but this will require a credible air-to-air threat. China is at least twenty years behind us and Russia is broke. In the face of such a paucity of threatening air-to-air platforms we propose that we develop a new Russian fighter aircraft with US levels of stealth and situational awareness. In the absence of this project we would be forced to export F-35s to Russia, and possibly China, which would be a huge breach of export protocol and would threaten our global security. For this reason alone, MACGUFFIN is vital for regional dominance.

The Russian Minister of Defence Sergey Figniya released a counter statement on Wednesday, “We are offering to build a new fighter aircraft for the United States in order to leverage funding for a larger Su-57 and Su-75 force. The current mess of prehistoric F-15 and F-16s is a greater throwback to the 70s than Russian Gay rights. The F-22 and F-35 were designed to give IT guys maintenance work uninterrupted by flying hours. We’ve spent lots on really good surface-to-air missiles and the Government won’t give us Rubles for planes, which is annoying as planes are cooler.”

Death Star | StarWars.com

The Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China representative Gǔn Dàn has also recently spoken on the subject, “I forgot to write down which combat aircraft we’re working on so I have no idea on our current air power ranking. Every Monday they email me to tell me we’re building something new. Do the US still build aeroplanes or is that just a Chinese thing now? I think we might have a stealth bomber, or a new naval stealth fighter – is the Death Star ours?”

Meanwhile, European defence planners are planning to have a plan in place by 2045. The United Kingdom, who are currently in their own continent, are actively seeking a ‘sexual unicorn’ for their dysfunctional marriage but thinks their wife is not 100% behind the idea, but maybe Sweden.

Swedish defence company Saab AB is currently collaborating with every future combat aircraft project everywhere. A spokesperson for Saab, Nils Wallerius, described the company’s current dilemma, “As the last company allegedly able to run a fighter project with some degree of fiscal responsibility, we are currently involved in 456 international combat aircraft projects, but this is one higher than the Swedish population of 455 people. My sister has had to give up her Monday badminton club to run a Brazilian UCAV program.”

Image: BAE Systems

Hipster’s guide to aircraft

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OK, I know the word ‘hipster’ is terrible and used by your Tory uncle to describe anyone under 50, but bear with me. What I really mean is ‘snob’, for I am referring to the kind of aviation aficionado who will snort derisively at anyone who dares to say that their favourite aeroplane is the Spitfire or Concorde. For these snooty individuals you might as well have said your favourite album is the Greatest Hits of the Beatles. And yes, they judge you! Now I have planted the seed of insecurity, I will tell you the right thing to say to bluff your way into being accepted by this elitist group of fuck-nuts. Never again will you say anything as obvious or gauche as admitting love for the Vulcan or F-15 Eagle. 

World War II fighter

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Do say: Westland Whirlwind, Martin-Baker MB 5

Don’t say: North American P-51 Mustang, Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, Messerschmitt Bf 109

A mere 116 Whirlwinds were built, which makes even the Raptor appear common. To steal a  P. J. R. Moyes quote from Wikipedia, “The basic feature of the Whirlwind was its concentration of firepower: its four closely-grouped heavy cannon in the nose had a rate of fire of 600 lb./minute – which, until the introduction of the Beaufighter, placed it ahead of any fighter in the world. Hand in hand with this dense firepower went a first-rate speed and climb performance, excellent manoeuvrability, and a fighting view hitherto unsurpassed. The Whirlwind was, in its day, faster than the Spitfire down low and, with lighter lateral control, was considered to be one of the nicest “twins” ever built… From the flying viewpoint, the Whirlwind was considered magnificent.”

It also looked fantastic. OK, so it had a high landing speed and test pilot Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown thought that it was underpowered and disappointing, but down and dirty at low level it was formidable.

Martin-Baker MB.5

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The best British piston-engined fighter ever flown. Well armed, very fast and easy to maintain. Flight trials proved it be truly exceptional, with a top speed of 460mph, brisk acceleration and docile handling. Its cockpit layout set a gold standard that Boscombe Down recommended should be followed by all piston-engined fighters. A multitude of access panels made it far easier to maintain than its contemporaries, and its tough structure (a more advanced version of the load-bearing tubular box type favoured by Hawker) would have given it greater survivability. The only thing the MB5 lacked was good timing, it first flew two weeks before the Allied Invasion of Normandy. Born at the birth of the jet age, with readily available Spitfires and Tempests this masterpiece of British engineering didn’t stand a chance. The fact it never entered service makes it even cooler.

Jetliner 

Do say: Tu-134, the Russian ‘Crusty’

Don’t say: Concorde, 747

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New Year’s Eve, and vodka-sozzled Zhenya Lukashin departs Moscow in a Tupolev Tu-134. Zhenya is the central character in the 1976 soviet romantic comedy The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!). Zhenya has left the snowy concrete jungle of Moscow for the identical snowy concrete jungle of St. Petersburg. The brief external shots of the aircraft in flight, with their distinctly dodgy special effects, have a certain magic about them. Though his destination maybe have been as dire as his point of departure, and his journey a soporific flight of drunkenness, the aircraft itself is decidedly (at least the exterior) otherworldly. The Tu-134, a twin-engined airliner in the same category as the equally attractive Caravelle. Its racy appearance is largely due to dramatically raked back wings which are set at an even more extreme angle than Britain’s exceptionally fast VC10. The 35 degrees of sweep was a ‘magic angle’ recommended by the central aerohydrodynamic institute (TsAGI) that was also adopted by the Tu-95 bomber.Best of all, the Tu-134 had a drag ‘chute! This very unusual feature, shared with its Tu-144 stablemate, was replaced with thrust reversers in later models.
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Do say: Chengdu J-20, Chengdu J-10B, AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo or Mitsubishi F-2
Don’t say: Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F-15 Eagle , LM F-16 Viper, LM F-22 Raptor

Asia is very much the vogue continent for modern fighters. Europe’s Typhoon is too plasticy, the US’ F-35 is too F-35 and Sweden’s Gripen too sensible. France’s Rafale is too beautiful and Russia’s Su-57 a cool aircraft in the making. This is why Asian fighters are undeniably on trend. Let’s start with China’s J-20, which despite being named after an over-priced fruit drink, is excellent. Think stealth Viggen or Firefox reboot (talking Eastwood films not browsers) and you almost have it. It’s big, mean and defiantly evil. The J-10B is nicely weird, like a Lavi that’s midway through digesting an X-32 — and so has to make the list.

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The exquisitely rare and expensive Mitsubishi F-2 is the best looking member of the F-16 family (bar the abortive XL) with a more elegant canopy, cooler tail and a camo scheme to die for (or not to die for as modern Japan is pretty cool at not starting wars). The AIDC F-CK-1 is dorky in that it’s a bit of a Frankenstein’s mashup of US fighters but it is rare (131 aircraft in total), Taiwanese (bonus points) and is basically called the ‘Fuck’ (big bonus points). Nice pair of intakes too.

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Cold War Fighter

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Do say: Grumman Panther, Saab Viggen

Don’t say: F-4 Phantom II, Dassault Mirage III, English Electric Lightning

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The F-4 Phantom was (and is) weird, ugly and charismatic – but familiarity breeds contempt and thus is not a hipster choice. Similarly, having a guy called Mike prattle on about the Lightning in your local pub has robbed the ‘Frightening’ of a position it deserves. The Mirage is too much a part of French national identity and therefore too ‘establishment’.

Panther Burns

As ‘George the soundman’ pointed out in his guide to US aircraft , It’s got a bum like a dolphin, nature’s smartest and most fuckable mammal. The colour scheme is like a shiny pair of Nikes and the livery is tastefully understated. It also looks surprisingly good sitting on the tarmac which usually knocks a good few points off a plane’s attractiveness. This is the warplane to pick up a date in.”

The Saab Viggen lived in a cave like Batman, had a camouflage scheme better than the jacket of any rapper and was Swedish so must make the list.

 

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Business jet

Business jets are for twats. That is not a Bill Gunston quote as such, but I stand by it.

Cancelled Aircraft 

Do say: Anything other than the ones below.

Don’t say: BAC TSR.2, Avro Arrow

Helicopter

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Do say: Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne

Don’t say: Boeing AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Blackhawk, Bell 206

Wondering how you can get a guilt-free pass to appreciate a gunship helicopter? Just choose one that never got built, like the supremely bananas Cheyenne. Oh, and the original Blackhawk, the tragic S-67.

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Transport 

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Do say: Antonov An-22, Antonov An-225 and C-160 Transall

Don’t Say: Lockheed C-130 Hercules

The A400M Atlas is problematic – as a massive good-looking turboprop-powered transport it should score as a hit but it’s pan-European (with all the bland connotations of production sharing meetings in Toulouse), too new and too expensive. The An-22 is massive and crazy, the An-225 even more massive and can carry a space shuttle and the C-160 has the quaint left-field appeal of an old Renault 12.

Modern bomber 

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Do say: none

While our cognitive dissonance can stretch as far as enjoying modern fighters, modern bombers are just too depressing. Even the Russian bombers lost their cool when they began being used in combat. This leaves only the Chinese Xian H-6 , which is a little too sensible-looking.

Firebomber 

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Do say: Any

They pick up water from lakes, fly through actual fire and save lives. They’re all brilliant. Even the BAe 146, the Coldplay of feedliners, is cool as a firebomber. water-bomber.jpg

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10 amazing things you didn’t know about Air Force One

 

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Air Force One is the most important aircraft in the world, as this heavily modified airliner is used to carry the US President and his friends. The ultra high-tech jet can transport the Commander-In-Chief to any airport in the world in luxury and safety, and has some startling and unique features. Here are 10 astonishing facts you didn’t know about Air Force One. 

 

10. The aircraft is able to communicate with nuclear submarines. The communication pipe is over 120 miles long and is trailed from the aircraft’s main door. One end goes to the President’s chair, the other through the snorkel and onto the command deck of every Ohio Class Submarine.

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9. Like all airliners, sickbags are provided. In AF1 they are made from the flags of vanquished enemies.

Google reveals F-35 is overexposed here.

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It is customary for the President and First Lady to honour the ‘Lift-a-loft’ step on exiting the aircraft. The first couple will stay an average of one hour on this step to celebrate the achievements of the American company that makes it possible to exit large aircraft. Before Lift-a-a-loft was established (in 1962) many passengers starved to death, unable to leave their aircraft.

8. The aircraft is equipped with over 500 miles of Scalextric track.

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Dick Cheney’s favourite car to play on the onboard Scalextric track was a custom-made gold AMC Gremlin. Trump has a red Pontiac Firebird.

10 worst US aircraft here

7. On a hostile radar the aircraft appears as a mighty eagle holding lightning in its claws.

 

6. Legally the interior of the Air Force One is considered the interior of the President’s mind, therefore US law and dreams are in force there, wherever the aeroplane is. The President’s nightmares are filtered out by a series of state-of-the-art ‘dreamcatchers’ developed by engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.

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5. Over two litres of the President’s sperm is stored in a refrigerated unit in the rear fuselage. In the case of nuclear war, this will aid repopulation efforts.

4. The skull of President Nixon is given its own seat on all flights. This tradition was started by George W Bush, and has been continued by subsequent Presidents. It is said by the famously superstitious pilots that Washington will fall if Nixon’s skull is not carried aboard.

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3. In 2006 AF1 (then occupied by George W Bush) met Putin’s equivalent aircraft (the Ilyushin IL-96-300-PU) in the sky above Tokyo. Both leaders being competitive men, insisted that their own aircraft should reach Narita International Airport first. The details of the ad hoc drag-race that ensued were until recently a state secret. During the 20 minute race, AF1 reached an astonishing speed of twice the speed of sound (aided by two escorting F-22 Raptors pushing it). Though AF1 reached the airport perimeter first, Bush was despondent to seeing the Russian leader landing ahead of him…by parachute!

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2. There is a strict ‘no political chat’ rule on AF1; the President has designated it an official chill-out zone.

1. The President’s overhead luggage bin, is a whopping 10% bigger than a regular one. He is also allowed to bring on a generous two items of hand luggage.

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Find out 10 amazing things you didn’t know about the Spitfire here.

Want to see more stories like this: Follow my vapour trail on Twitter: @Hush_kit

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Have a look at How to kill a RaptorAn Idiot’s Guide to Chinese Flankers, the 10 worst British military aircraftThe 10 worst French aircraft,  Su-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes.Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

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Airshow review: RIAT 2017

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The Air Tattoo, at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, is one of the best places to find emotionally immature dads and angry men with huge zoom lenses. Our Man at RIAT reports on this year’s most exciting air show. 

Best thing? 

Knackered looking U-2. Good F-22 display obvs.

Best swag? 

Leonardo die cast T-346 model.

Worst swag? 

Israeli emoji stickers for kids.

Best cocktails? 

Discovery Air Defence

Worst display?

Thunderbores (USAF Thunderbird team).

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Best thing you bought? 

Belgian Mirage 5 coffee table book.

Best static display? 

French Alpha Jet with special tail markings to commemorate Eugene Bullard (first African-American military pilot). 

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Best vintage flying item? 

Hangar 11’s P-51D. You can keep your Spitfires. Special mention to Austrian Air Force Saab 105s- almost as old!

Best example of UK-US cooperation in field of air warfare?

Use of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ to accompany F-22 display.

Most missed display item? 

B-1 or B-52 as part of the USAF 70th celebration. B-2 is fairly ‘meh’ in comparison.

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Was the commentator like Alan Partridge? 

No, Ben’s (Ben Dunnell) commentary was very good, as ever.

Worst item of clothing? 

Take your pick from almost any of the journos in the chalets on Sunday.

 

Best entrepreneurs? 

Ukrainian Air Force selling hollowed out grenades as salt and pepper shakers.

Worst haircut? 

Obviously the Flygvapnet Gripen pilot’s man bun – although it could find limited uptake in Dalston this Summer.

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Gripen (model?) at RIAT 1997.

Gone AWOL award? 

Discovery Air Defence A-4. Big shame it didn’t make it to the static.

Worst use of social media? 

Carol Vorderman. Reinforcing her profile as a societal menace.

(That better be sarcasm, she reads Hush-Kit and is lovely.)

Fashion must-have?

Saab complementary Panama hat. Better build quality than the Marshall Aerospace equivalent.

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Worst static display item?

Pakistan Air Force C-130 (look at that tail!). But bonus points for mattresses below the ramp so kids could do ‘para jumps’.

 

Coolest sounding plane?

Italian Air Force Tornado. Been too long since these were doing solo displays.

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Hottest pilots? 

Axel and Pastif from Couteau Delta. Although U-2 pilot Kevin gets recognition for use of his RayBans.

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10 incredible facts they don’t want you to know about aviation

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It would be beyond the wildest imagination of our parents to believe that one day every journey would take place in an actual flying machine, but today this fact has become mundane. From the helicopter that takes you to work, to the hypersonic airliner that takes us away for our weekend city-break, the aircraft is universal. Yet much remains unknown about these majestic ‘sky boats’. Here are 10 facts they didn’t want you to know: 

10. The world’s first aeroplane original.jpg

In 1986 Russian hunters discovered these preserved remains on Russia’s Arctic coast. The aircraft is dated as having lived around 30,000BC, making it the oldest ever found. The aircraft, dubbed ‘Thora’, is the common ancestor of all extant variable geometry types from the Su-17s to the mighty Tu-160.

9. Why was the B-25 bomber called the ‘Sixer’? 

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Due to a design flaw, the B-25 Mitchell had six shadows.

8. The modern Airport 

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Air travel is more popular than ever. Passengers must arrive at the airport two hours before departure to ensure they have time to spray perfume on their arms, and marvel at how ugly modern watches are. Despite the automation of modern airports, it is impossible for airlines to know which gate your aircraft will be at in advance. No one knows why this is.

7. Airport security 10-Tips-for-Getting-Through-Airport-Security-Fast-and-Efficiently.jpg

Terrorists are everywhere. Despite it being more likely you’ll win the lottery than be killed by terrorists, it’s important that you take your shoes and belt off to humble yourself to the god of safety.

6. Defensive systems 

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Tinfoil not only protects your mind from CIA intervention, it also protects military aircraft from radar-guided missiles. ‘Chaff’ are strips of tinfoil dispensed from paranoid aircraft. When the seeker-head of the missiles sees the chaff it realises its target is a troubled soul, so leaves it alone.

5. Light aircraft 

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When not cheating on their wives, middle-aged right-wing men collect in fields to complain about how expensive their unnecessary light aircraft is.

4. Helicopters 

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It is a popular misconception that all helicopters feed on human blood; in reality it is only the females, and they only do it to feed their offspring.

Pitt.

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3. Bombers

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Bombers are large multi-engined aeroplanes that carry high explosive or nuclear weapons to drop on cities. Cities are the natural habitat of many humans, so an unfortunate byproduct of this hands-on town-planning is the killing of people. Fortunately, the only nations with bombers are very powerful.

2. Ejection seats 

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When the aeroplane embryo is ready to leave the aircraft’s pouch it has yet to have wings of its own, so it is projected into the sky on a rocket-powered chair. As an encouragement to carry out such a stressful and perilous endeavour, the embryo is given a tie following a successful ejection.

  1. The Wright Brothers brothers

As can be seen by their clothes, the Wright Brothers were cocktails waiters from 2009. They built the very first aircraft as a way to publicise their new bar ‘The Kitty Hawk’.

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10 amazing things you didn’t know about the Supermarine Spitfire

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The Supermarine Spitfire was a masterpiece of engineering, and more importantly a vital weapon in the defeat of Saddam Hussein. Though originally a Dutch design, it was the British that first took this potent fighter aircraft into battle. Think you know the Spitfire? Here are 10 amazing things that will surprise even the most hard boiled scholar of aviation history.

  1. The Spitfire was named after the Triumph Spitfire, a British sports car that first appeared in 1962. Zastava_Yugo_311.jpg

2. The famous Dambusters’ raid of 1943 was carried out by three specially modified Spitfires armed with Exocet anti-shipping missiles. Of the three aircraft sent, four returned.

3. Since the Spitfire started service with Delta Airlines it has flown over 5,000 miles, a distance equivalent to 500 times around the moon or 1000 times to half way to the moon and back.

4. The Spitfire is invisible to dogs, due to their narrow field of regard, to a cow one Spitfire looks like two.

5. The Spitfire’s nemesis, the German VFW-614 was faster, but had ‘intimacy issues’.

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The unmistakable Supermarine Spitfire.

6. Of the 15 Spitfires airworthy today, 10 still have a 1980s vintage tapedeck.

7. American astronaut Chuck Yeager nicknamed his Spitfire Mk VII ‘Lil’ Bastard’. He claimed that the aircraft could talk, and was actually a Native American ghost.

8. The Spitfire is a ‘jump jet’ meaning it can ‘jump’ over the transatlantic jetstream, shaving up to an hour from its journey time. Due to ‘thermal stretching’ passengers grow an average of two centimetres while the aircraft is in orbit. On landing they return to their regular heights and partners.

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Top scoring Spitfire pilot Dr. Ray Mears. Mears shot down 32 helicopters during the 1987 Pentonville Prison riots.

9. The Spitfire’s original name was Shirley Crabtree Jr.

10. Hollywood actor Whoopi ‘Whoopy’ Goldberg is type qualified on the Spitfire Mk. I and claims she can dive inverted without stalling. She was in the 1990 motion picture ‘Ghost’

Fact checking by The Daily M**l editorial team.

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You may also enjoy A B-52 pilot’s guide to modern fighters, Flying and fighting in the Lightning: a pilot’s guideInterview with a Super Hornet pilot, Trump’s Air Force Plan, 11 Worst Soviet Aircraft, 10 worst US aircraft, and 10 worst British aircraftMiG-21s, MC-21s and the overrated Typhoon: In conversation with FlightGlobal’s Stephen TrimbleThe F-35 will fail, until the US learns to shareAn air force of my own #1Top 8 Mach 3 fighters

The secret life of aircraft

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Looking up at an aeroplane in the sky, have you ever wondered where it originally came from- and where it will end its life? We take a fascinating look at the secret life of aeroplanes. 

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  1. Conception

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The mating rituals of aeroplanes are one of nature’s greatest wonders. Though these machines weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds, their intimate ‘sky-dances’ are balletic feats of erotic intimacy.

As with most vehicles, aeroplane copulation involves the male mounting the female from above (or in some cases behind). When a male aeroplane is interested in mounting a female, he waggles his wings and activate his foglights. If the female is receptive, she will either extend her drogue, sometimes called a basket, or in the case of many inland aeroplanes species, the male will extend his boom. Once coupled, the aircraft will exchange vital liquids that contain the blueprint for a new aircraft. If fertilisation is successful, the female aircraft will gestate for between ten and twenty years.

2. Birth

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Birth traditionally took place at 25,000 feet, but modern birthing techniques can be as low as 500 or as high as 30,000 feet. The process takes place at great speeds to avoid Predators or other Unmanned Air Vehicles. Litters vary in size, this F-111 is giving birth to four young (young F-111s are known as piglets). Note that the young have yet to develop full-size wings.

3. Childhood

11390h.jpgAs can be seen in this photograph of a young Bell X-1, young aeroplanes seldom stray far from their protective mothers. Note that the mother has four visible engines, whereas the X-1 has none. Engines are developed during puberty. A young aircraft often has neither the software, weapons integration or spare parts to make it in the world by itself.

4. Adolescence 

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Juvenile delinquents gangs are responsible for many anti-social acts, including flying under bridges and buzzing picnic areas.

After sexual maturation aeroplanes are forced to leave their family nests. Badly tempered- and highly hormonal male aeroplanes often form gangs (as seen above).

5. Sexual orientation 

Though these terms are now highly contentious, traditionally three types of aeroplane sexual orientation were understood:

A. Monocoque

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A monocoque aircraft relationship involves at least one mailplane in a monogamous relationship.

B. Biplane

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The following pun is exceptionally lazy.

Biplanes are more versatile than monocoque aircraft, but some (especially in the monocoque community) have expressed doubt on their existence.

C. Triplane

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This aircraft was made by splicing the DNA of three bus shelters with a steam fair. It is powered by the bonemeal of steampunks.

Very popular in the hedonistic 1910s, especially in German aristocratic circles – today there are few self-designated ‘triplanes’. Triplanes were famous for their flamboyant ‘drag culture’ – later replaced by the Lift-to-Drag culture.

6. Finding a job

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In life you can have gloves or a tray, but not both.

Though originally it was considered enough that aeroplanes could fly -today they are forced to earn their keep. Some are employed by budget airlines to act as prisons for humans, the hapless detainees are not allowed to leave until they have bought a thirty Euro teddy bear and a four-Euro Coke. Other aircraft are forced to perform in circuses flying unnaturally low or to fight to the death for the entertainment of national leaders.

7. Middle Age

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Many aircraft put on weight in their middle years. This once beautiful MiG-29 is now forced to drop its young dreams and accept it will never become a Su-30.

During middle-age, aircraft become more emotionally maintenance heavy. Aware that they are half way through their service life many, like this German Tornado ECR, start to wear gaudy costumes in an attempt to recapture the ghost of their youth.

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Though now wealthy enough to wear this extravagant outfit, the Tornado has not received export orders since the 1980s.

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8. Old Age 

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The average aeroplane lives to around 7,000 flight hours. By 6,500, the aeroplane will be suffering from embarrassing coolant leaks, a general feeling of fatigue and appalling unreliability. Belts, hoses and gaskets — and anything else that rubs against something else — will need frequent attention. On the positive side, most elderly aeroplanes are thoroughly loved by both humans and other ‘planes. Particularly charismatic geriatrics may even become stars, performing before millions of spectators.

9. Death 1461203297783321.jpg

One day an aeroplane will die. Its turbines or pistons will splutter and give up, and it will be hauled away, melted down and turned into sporks. Many aeroplanes, as Zoroastrians, request an open ground-level burial. A ‘tower of silence’ is built – where the bodies are left exposed so their aluminium can be picked from their bones by Vulture UAVs. 

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You may also enjoy A B-52 pilot’s guide to modern fighters, Flying and fighting in the Lightning: a pilot’s guide,Interview with a Super Hornet pilot, Trump’s Air Force Plan, 11 Worst Soviet Aircraft, 10 worst US aircraft, and10 worst British aircraft

You may also enjoy Ten incredible cancelled Soviet fighter aircraftTen worst Soviet aircraftTen incredible cancelled military aircraftFighter aircraft news round-up,  11 Cancelled French aircraft or the 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versusTyphoon10 Best fighters of World War II , Su-35 versus Typhoontop WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Flying and fighting in the Tornado. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? Try Sigmund Freud’s Guide to Spyplanes. The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 10 great aircraft stymied by the US

Why the Mach3 razor annoys aviation addicts

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Sleek as your face, the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird. Image: USAF

Martin Cloe investigates the link between razors and planes and decides he’s not happy.

Apart from the excellent treatments for testicular cancer, the best thing about being a man in the modern age is the Mach3 razor. Though its blades couldn’t be more expensive if they were made by Lockheed Martin, it lives up to the hype: it is a superb razor. It is alleged that developing the razor, which reached the shelves in 1998, cost $570 million in research and development. The razor took around the same time as the F-35 to develop; the manufacturer Gillette started development of a three blade razor in the 1970s and took years to master one that didn’t cause increased skin irritation. The name was well-chosen, putting glamorous images of the SR-71 Blackbird into many men’s heads. What I didn’t like was an ‘improved’ version, the ‘Mach3 Turbo’. Ignoring the relative merits or demerits of the razor (in my opinion the attempt to improve on perfection was unnecessary and cynical – like Silent Eagle, and was a less pleasant shave) and instead look at the name ‘Mach3 Turbo’.

Technically the SR-71 was the fastest turbojet-engined aircraft. In 1976 the aircraft smashed the performance records for C-1 (Landplanes) in Group 3 (turbo-jet) reaching a terrifying speed of 2,193 miles per hour.  But calling it a turbojet-powered aircraft is rather misleading- at these speeds the spinning bits are causing more drag than thrust; at the higher end of the Blackbird’s performance spectrum the aircraft is effectively powered by ramjets. I know, it could be said that the MiG-25, with its turbojets, was Mach 3 capable, but it was Mach 3-capable in the same as my mountain bike is 150 mph-capable: it can do it if you’re willing to change the wheels and tyres afterwards (and allow three miles of braking distance). So suggesting that a Mach3 Turbo would have more grunt than a simple Mach3 seems a bit of a confused message. In fact it’s even more confused as it seems to have been borrowed from the automobile lexicon. I know how I can make my Mach3 car faster, I’ll stick a supercharger on it! This is a bit insulting to men. Oh wait, before I explain why, I should explain some of the silliness in the difference between the marketing of men’s and women’s razors: change the colour, change the name, change the slogan. I’ll give an example: the same razor in both sex-assigned versions was once advertised in the same break. The women’s version had its ‘blades behind silky-fine wires’, the men’s ‘was so sharp it had to be kept behind bars’. The reason I brought this up was my disappointment at the forced marriage between Mach3 and Turbo as words. It’s like there was a meeting to generate ‘words men like‘ and two were just thrown
together without rhyme or reason. I mean why not go the whole hog and call it the Titty-burger, the Football-Barbecue or the relationship-without-commitment-Cornish-Pasty.

Rant over.

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Kick the tyres and light the fires.. pilots and their cliches

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Tired old cliches are standard issue to every pilot. Here are some of the old groaners that will have you banging your head against the table in exasperation. Remove 100 hours from your logbook for each offence you have made.

Mark-One Eyeball  refers tlooking out of the window rather than relying on the instruments. Mainly used by airline pilots who wish they were flying a Piper Cub… to Australia.

Hot and High…...in reference to flying a Mooney or in more recent years a Cirrus SR22 and failing to slow it down before landingThe equivalent of walking into a nightclub with a younger girlfriend (or boyfriend) and knocking a table over.

Turning and Burning Indeed, the engines are functioning as we expected

Clockwork or Steam-powered instruments A sentimental or arrogant (depending on the orator) reference to the fact that times have changed.

Gear down and welded An unnecessary allusion to the standard downwind check that reminds the hirer that he/she is paying £160 per hour for an unsophisticated aircraft.

Kick the tyres and light the fires.. An irreverent nod to to pre-flight walkaround

Fill it with go juice...Once said by an instructor. I could never forgive her.

When it all goes quiet up front...I’m losing my patience now. An engine failure would be a relief.

Old pilots and bold pilots…. .Anyone who ever said these things has reduced their minima..that’s my contribution.

Runway behind you….blah blah blah…

Dorian Crook, proud co-owner of a Maule

 

Thank you for reading Hush-Kit. Our site is absolutely free and we have no advertisements. If you’ve enjoyed an article you can donate here. At the moment our contributors do not receive any payment but we’re hoping to reward them for their fascinating stories in the future.

Have a look at 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

What the hell is wrong with aviation nerds?

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I get it. Some people find aircraft and aviation all-consuming and fascinating. They cream their keks over the physics of it all. The turbines, the atmospheric pressures and gravitational forces at work on the fuselage at speed and altitude. The engineering and science that made it possible to send tons and tons of metal into the sky and keep it there – and even control it to get from A to B without incident (eventually). All this progress within, what, 30 years of the 20th century? Yes, it’s staggering. Yes, there is beauty and wonder in it all. But that’s what makes the whole nerd thing a bit weird to me: it’s all entirely subjective.

I love to look at aircraft as aesthetic pieces. Creatures, if you like – each with a humble, unquestioning work ethic – that reluctantly took their forms to serve a higher purpose. Sleek or lumbering, monolithic or slight and nimble – all had their origins in human agendas. Agendas like ‘being the first’, ‘puffing chests out to potential enemies’, and if we’re lending humanity any faith: ‘to discover what’s possible and improve life on earth’.

Pipes and clap

I’ll quite happily shuffle around a museum and look at engines, cockpits and pretend payloads, and gasp at the size of wings. I’ll readily read the stories of the scientists and test pilots who, albeit under the wagging finger of wealthy governments, put their lives on the line for progress. I love to imagine myself born into those innocent, pioneering times, and I wish we could still gather at air shows with hampers and pipes and clap at the achievements that fly by.

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Kettle-face transvestite 

What I don’t get, is the obsession. The submersion, the insatiable thirst to know everything about a particular model – its inner workings, how much it weighs, how much its riveted panels shrink or expand in extreme environments. Why Jerry ‘Kettle-Face’ Johnson insisted on wearing ladies’ underwear on every third testing mission he flew from Edwards Air Force base after 13 December 1974 (or some insist, 22 January the following year).

 

Nor do I understand why those afflicted with such passion (in its true sense – i.e. emotionally driven madness) think you’re a weirdo and a heretic if you’re not wearing a flak jacket, baseball cap and oversize training shoes laced up way too tight – and don’t spend at least ten minutes at every exhibit, rocking back and forth with your hands behind your back.

 

vintage airplane travelSure, for some, there is greater meaning and emotional attachment to a lost era. Lost colleagues, the tension of the Cold War, the reality behind the TV soap, Vietnam. But I don’t want to feel guilt or inadequacy for just looking at aircraft and being bowled over for my own inexplicable reasons. Reasons I wouldn’t want to decipher or disseminate through deeper knowledge, because that often spoils the wonder. We can’t yet explain love, and hopefully we never will. And often, when you nail something to the floor, it withers and dies. Our appreciation for beauty and awe is only common in the language we use to express it, which will never be sufficient. Evocative, maybe. But defining? No.

The end of an affair?

So stop it. Stop it at once. Empty your study of all the literature you’ve amassed in your pursuit of what will essentially be the end of your love affair: defining why you’ve amassed them in the first place. Erase your hard drive of all but the images and schematic diagrams that simply inspire you, and leave it at that. Put your hands up in the air, and shout, ‘I don’t know why, I just fucking love B-52s, and I don’t care who knows my knowledge on the matter is incomplete!’

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I went to Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona – and its boneyard – in 2010. I’m not an aviation enthusiast; I just know that some aircraft, up close, move me in mysterious ways. I don’t need to know why, or chase that feeling down – it’s enough in itself. I bought a coffee mug that says, ‘I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning’ and moved on.

 

Perhaps some people thrive on obsession – but the ones I’ve met didn’t look too good on it.

By George Caveney musician, writer, cynic and firefighter.