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148 – Flying the Harrier

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(average: 4.48)
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In our little series on interesting aircraft, this episode covers the Harrier, the iconic VTOL fighter. Our guests are Joe Anderson and Art Nalls, who both fly Art’s civilian Harrier in airshows. We discussed the history of the Harrier and its predecessors, talked about its use in the military and the advantages of STOVL and then discussed in some details the intricacies of flying a Harrier (compared to other aircraft). We concluded by talking about Art and Joe’s airshow activities.

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144 – Flying from Aircraft Carriers

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(average: 4.18)
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This is the long-awaited episode on flying from aircraft carriers. Our guest is Scotty Bates who flew from US carriers in the 70s. We discuss all aspects of carrier aviation including training, cat shots, arrested landing, pattern work and how all of it changes at night or in bad weather.

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143 – Collision Avoidance with FLARM

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(average: 4.60)
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In this episode we talk with Gerhard Wesp, Development Manager Avionics at Flarm Technology GmbH about FLARM, a collision avoidance system for gliders and general aviation. We talk about the history of the FLARM system as well as about newer developments such as the PowerFlarm. Mostly, however, we talk about how FLARM works and how PowerFlarm integrates with Transponders and ADS-B systems.

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124 – The Concordia Sailplane

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(average: 4.42)
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This episode is a conversation with Dick Butler, pilot and head of design and construction for Concordia, currently the world’s most advanced sailplane. In the episode we discuss the team behind Concordia, the design challenges, the unique aspects of construction as well as Dick’s preliminary experience flying the airplane.

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120 – Flying CAE’s Falcon 50 Simulator

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(average: 4.62)
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This episode covers my flights in CAE‘s Dassault Falcon 50 simulator at CAE’s Dallas/Ft. Worth Training Center. In the episode we first talk to the head of business aviation operations about CAE’s flight training branch in general. The main part of the episode covers my three short flights in the Falcon 50 simulator with my flight instructor Paul Gilbert. In the third part, Paul and I talk about his job as a simulator flight instructor in general. And yes, I managed to land the plane several times :-)

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109 – Flying the U-2 Dragon Lady

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(average: 4.86)
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This is the long-awaited episode about the Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance airplaine, the highest-flying jet-powered airplane currently in use. Our guest in the episode is Carl LaRue who has been flying the U-2C and the U-2R in the 60s and 70s. In the episode we discuss the airplane itself, the challenge of flying it, as well as a number of anecdotes surrounding the Dragon Lady.

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100 – System Health Management

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(average: 4.65)
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In this 100th episode of omega tau we talk to Dr. Stephen B. Johnson about system health management, a set of techniques and processes used to improve system dependability. The episode is based on a book Stephen co-edited, and as a consequence of Stephen’s background, we use aerospace examples in this episode. We discuss the fundamental concepts such as functions, states and the state vector, failures and faults. We then discuss the influence of complexity on failures, as well as human involvement. We discuss means to prevent failures such as fault isolation, redundancy and model adjustment. We conclude the three-hour conversation by looking at the future of systems engineering and system health management with a particular focus on formal methods.

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098 – Kitepower: Airborne Wind Energy

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(average: 4.67)
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This episode is a conversation about airborne wind energy. In particular, we talk to Roland Schmehl who leads a team of researchers and engineers at TU Delft who develop the Kitepower system. In this system, kites are automatically flown in a pumping pattern to extract energy from wind as an alternative to classical ground-based wind turbines. In the conversation we cover the benefits of airborne wind energy in general and of kites in particular and we cover in some detail how the Delft system works technically.

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091 – Flying the SR-71 Blackbird

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(average: 4.75)
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In this episode we discuss the world’s fastest and highest flying jet-powered aircraft ever built, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Our guest is Col. (Ret) Richard Graham, a former SR-71 pilot. Our conversation is loosely based on his book Flying the SR-71, and we discuss the challenge of flying the SR-71. As a consequence of its unique capabilities and its engine and inlet design, the aircraft posed a number of very specific challenges on the pilot.

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076 – The European Transonic Windtunnel

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(average: 4.72)
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This episode is a conversation with Dieter Schimanski, the Manager Test & Operations of the European Transonic Windtunnel. In late June of 2011 I had the chance to visit the facility. The episode starts out with a one hour conversation about aerodynamics and the concepts behind the ETW. The rest of the episode is essentially an audio report of the tour I took of the facility. To better grasp the magnitude of the facility, I recommend you take a look at the picture gallery.