My engine is bigger than yours

(Overheard on GE 747 testbed flightdeck) Unidentified aircraft: "Is that the big 100,000lb engine on your wing?" GE Testbed: "115,000lb actually." Unidentified: "Jimminy Christmas!" ATC: "Lima Golf clear to cross taxiway Golf behind 747. Caution jet blast." Lima Golf: "You're not kidding!"

Test pilot report

Our test flight experts Max Cue and Norbert Tailspin report from the latest test pilots' meeting in Los Angeles, where the closing talk was by the "test pilot's test pilot", X-15 veteran Scott Crossfield. Showing footage of recent hops in a reconstructed 1902 Wright Flyer glider, one of which showed the 81-year-old Crossfield being tossed violently out of the contraption like a rag doll on contact with the ground, Crossfield said the tests showed the Wright brothers "had an indifference to, rather than ignorance of, stability". Crossfield, who took the chance to deny he had "flown air cover for General Custer", said his sudden exit proved "this was the first vehicle to have an operational ejection seat". He also had the chance to chat about the project with aerobatic champion and aviatrix Patti Wagstaff. "She said she liked new aircraft and older men. I suggested we could run away together, but she declined, saying she was thinking more of 'classic' than 'antique'!"

Lessons learned

1 Testing enhanced vision systems can be difficult if the weather is nice. Lessons learned - fog doesn't always stick around. "We could never find it - unless of course we were running out of gas and we HAD to land. Most people wouldn't understand that we wanted bad weather. They'd say 'hey...good's cleared up for you - that's nice!'," recalls Gulfstream EVS tester Gary Freeman. 2 Testing a satellite navigation dependent system near a big military base which, without telling you, suddenly decides to test a GPS jamming system. 3 On high-altitude, weight critical tests of a terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) - don't take half the FAA along with you. Avoid maximum gross weight take-off TAWS test flights!


What's the difference between an extrovert and introverted flight test engineer. According to Boeing's Ricardo Traven, "an extrovert stares at your shoes when answering tough questions, while an introvert stares at their own!"

Underwater tests of the Scruggs Aeroscrape Sea Harrier Mk 3 are progressing well, says the company, with maximum depth reached being around 2m (1 fathom). "The aircraft sinks to cruise depth virtually by itself," says project director Cdr Troy "Mad Jack" McLooney. Trouble spots to date appear to be persistent engine flame-out problems, fish-strikes, pond weed ingestion and poor pilot visibility. The team is pleased, however, with the performance of the innovative snorkel (seen to right in this picture) which provides a back-up air supply in case of a failure of the on-board oxygen generating system (OBOGS). "The spike on the fin is also jolly useful for spearing the odd fish," adds McLooney who says similar development plans are in the pipeline for the next great "transformational" aircraft, the JSF (Joint Submarine Fighter).

Source: Flight International