In July I visited the NATS tower at Heathrow Airport to interview my guest Adam Spink. We chatted about some of the mechanics of air traffic control at Heathrow and the unique ways of optimizing throughput. A few days later we met again on the tower of Fairford during RIAT 2019 and chatted about the specifics of ATC’ing during an airshow.
In June 2019 I had the pleasure and honor to fly in an F-16D with the USAF Thunderbirds. The episode covers the medical briefing about how to prevent motion sickness and how to deal with Gs, suiting up with flight suit, g-suit, harness, helmet and mask, the briefing with my pilot Maj. Jason Markzon, the flight itself with commentary, an interview about the Thunderbirds with Jason, as well as a reflection on what the flight meant to me, recorded together with Nora.
Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. Flying from Shemya in the Aleutians they used cameras and other sensors. Our guest, Robert Hopkins has been flying the aircraft in the late 1980s. In this episode he tells us about the mission and the flying — Shemya could be quite challenging.
In mid-September I drove to Illesheim Army Airfield to meet with Caleb Marheine who flies the AH-64 Apache helicopter there. We talked about the helicopter’s systems, the cockpit, aspects of flying it as well as some of the missions.
I chat with Daniel Geaslen about bush flying. His (at this time, former) job is to fly Kodiak turbo props for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua Indonesia, supplying remote villages. We cover the airplane, the missions, as well as the flying itself, with a particular focus on weather and challenging airfields.