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https://fliegermuseum.ch/ What is Fliegermuseum Altenrhein exactly? The Fliegermuseum Altenrhein (FMA) was founded as an association in 1994 by private persons. The main purpose of the FMA is to save ex Swiss Air Force jets from being scrapped or sold. Furthermore, the FMA has the mission to maintain, exhibit, and of course, demonstrate historic and other ex-Swiss Air Force aircraft but also aircraft concerning modern and historic Swiss aviation in the air. The FMA and responsible units of the Swiss Air Force respectively the Swiss Armed Forces have a very good partnership. The FMA developed also into a known and still private institution for forming and training display and formation flight pilots with professional structures and Syllabi. Thanks to this effort and fact, the Fliegermuseum Altenrhein can keep its pilots to a very high level of display and formation flight skills and present the fleet with solo displays or with its teams showing nice aerobatic formations. The FMA has since the beginning its maintenance capacity that is specialized in maintaining most of our historic aircraft.  How did you guys come in contact? How was the team created? Founded by former air force pilots, air force mechanics, and jet enthusiasts the group of members has been growing every year. In the meantime, we have groups of members supporting us by being members, mechanics, and volunteers helping to maintain our historic hangars, military pilots, commercial pilots, private pilots, and many more. photo credit to Flieger Museum What were the biggest challenges to create the impressive fleet FMA has?  It has been a challenge to convince our FOCA to “civilize” the former historic air force jets. The reason is that most of these airplanes have never been registered as civil airplanes. But in the end, we succeeded and like this our historic airplanes got their civil airworthiness license. The most challenging task at the moment is to find mechanics with the requested license for the maintenance of historic ex-military jets. There are simply no more mechanics in Switzerland that can maintain the Hawker Hunter. We are currently searching for solutions together with British mechanics and the Swiss FOCA.  Furthermore, the insurance fees are increasing as they are all over General Aviation, to new record values.  Generally spoken, to keep historic ex-air force jets in the air is getting more expensive every year. So we are always looking out for new partners and sponsors having the same passion and assignment we have. Is FMA a foundation? We, the FMA, are an association. The other entities are either companies or also associations.  photo credit to Flieger Museum FMA is a training facility. What kind of training do you offer and what are the requirements to take part in it?  First of all, we have requirements and an assessment which interested pilots have to fulfill and pass respectively. Also, we only accept pilots intending to be long-term FMA member pilots. Successfully assessed pilots have the following possibilities: Class Ratings (Single Engine Land, Difference Training, Familiarizations, Pilatus PC7 SET, Vampire, Hunter), Aerobatic Rating, NIT, and, of course, the demanding and finally costly display and formation flight education/training. We offer this training with our Flight Instructors and with a great and very important partnership with AVILÙ SA (www.avilu.ch), a flight school located in Lugano. Do you perform also as an acrobatic team for the Swiss Airforce next to the Patrouille Suisse? We as a private operating group have never the same possibilities as the Swiss Air Force Teams have. But we work closely together. Our Hawker Hunter often flies displays together with the Patrouille Suisse.  The SUBITO Team trains a lot and has developed into an interesting formation aerobatic team showing a very dynamic display.  The Swiss Hunter Team shows formations with Hawker Hunter and De Havilland Vampire. The spectator loves this view and the fantastic sound! Why the name ‘Subito’ for the Pilatus PC7 team? SUBITO stands for fast, quick, immediate, which means the SUBITO Team is showing a dynamic and interesting aerobatic formation display photo credit to Flieger Museum Top 3 elements, according to you, for a successful acrobatic display team. Trust Skills Training/discipline Do you consider trust the most important factor in an acrobatic display team? Yes as you can see in the previous question it is the first and most important point. You must be able to trust blindly your buddy on your side otherwise you will not become an old pilot.  The most demanding acrobatic figure for you as a pilot Personally, during formation aerobatics, it is simply the correct and safe positioning. If you are two planes this is better manageable but as soon as you are three or more planes every plane must exactly keep the same reference position! Very challenging. During competition aerobatics, it is the P-loop that can be very complicated about energy management if you add some snaps and rolls. photo credit to Flieger Museum Did you already try the Extra NG? Not yet. Would love to do so. You are an airline pilot on Airbus A330. How difficult is it to combine your job with the big engagement for FMA flying? At the moment it is not very difficult. Due to the Corona crisis, a big part of the A330 fleet of SWISS is on the ground, unfortunately. But even during non-Corona times, my fleet chiefs are very patient and we always find the “Variante Optima”. Your dream airframe FMA: Hawker Hunter and Pilatus PC-7 Aerobatics: Extra 330 SC photo credit to Flieger Museum - Article by Enzina Calascione - FMA pilot - Manuel Blatter - We thank you FMA Museum and the FMA flying group for the cooperation and support.

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The Swiss Air Knights: SUBITO Team & FMA

https://fliegermuseum.ch/ What is Fliegermuseum Altenrhein exactly? The Fliegermuseum Altenrhein (FMA) was founded as an association in 1994 by private persons. The main purpose of the FMA is to save ex Swiss Air Force jets from being scrapped or sold. Furthermore, the FMA has the mission to maintain, exhibit, and of course, demonstrate historic and other ex-Swiss Air Force aircraft but also aircraft concerning modern and historic Swiss aviation in the air. The FMA and responsible units of the Swiss Air Force respectively the Swiss Armed Forces have a very good partnership. The FMA developed also into a known and still private institution for forming and training display and formation flight pilots with professional structures and Syllabi. Thanks to this effort and fact, the Fliegermuseum Altenrhein can keep its pilots to a very high level of display and formation flight skills and present the fleet with solo displays or with its teams showing nice aerobatic formations. The FMA has since the beginning its maintenance capacity that is specialized in maintaining most of our historic aircraft.  How did you guys come in contact? How was the team created? Founded by former air force pilots, air force mechanics, and jet enthusiasts the group of members has been growing every year. In the meantime, we have groups of members supporting us by being members, mechanics, and volunteers helping to maintain our historic hangars, military pilots, commercial pilots, private pilots, and many more. photo credit to Flieger Museum What were the biggest challenges to create the impressive fleet FMA has?  It has been a challenge to convince our FOCA to “civilize” the former historic air force jets. The reason is that most of these airplanes have never been registered as civil airplanes. But in the end, we succeeded and like this our historic airplanes got their civil airworthiness license. The most challenging task at the moment is to find mechanics with the requested license for the maintenance of historic ex-military jets. There are simply no more mechanics in Switzerland that can maintain the Hawker Hunter. We are currently searching for solutions together with British mechanics and the Swiss FOCA.  Furthermore, the insurance fees are increasing as they are all over General Aviation, to new record values.  Generally spoken, to keep historic ex-air force jets in the air is getting more expensive every year. So we are always looking out for new partners and sponsors having the same passion and assignment we have. Is FMA a foundation? We, the FMA, are an association. The other entities are either companies or also associations.  photo credit to Flieger Museum FMA is a training facility. What kind of training do you offer and what are the requirements to take part in it?  First of all, we have requirements and an assessment which interested pilots have to fulfill and pass respectively. Also, we only accept pilots intending to be long-term FMA member pilots. Successfully assessed pilots have the following possibilities: Class Ratings (Single Engine Land, Difference Training, Familiarizations, Pilatus PC7 SET, Vampire, Hunter), Aerobatic Rating, NIT, and, of course, the demanding and finally costly display and formation flight education/training. We offer this training with our Flight Instructors and with a great and very important partnership with AVILÙ SA (www.avilu.ch), a flight school located in Lugano. Do you perform also as an acrobatic team for the Swiss Airforce next to the Patrouille Suisse? We as a private operating group have never the same possibilities as the Swiss Air Force Teams have. But we work closely together. Our Hawker Hunter often flies displays together with the Patrouille Suisse.  The SUBITO Team trains a lot and has developed into an interesting formation aerobatic team showing a very dynamic display.  The Swiss Hunter Team shows formations with Hawker Hunter and De Havilland Vampire. The spectator loves this view and the fantastic sound! Why the name ‘Subito’ for the Pilatus PC7 team? SUBITO stands for fast, quick, immediate, which means the SUBITO Team is showing a dynamic and interesting aerobatic formation display photo credit to Flieger Museum Top 3 elements, according to you, for a successful acrobatic display team. Trust Skills Training/discipline Do you consider trust the most important factor in an acrobatic display team? Yes as you can see in the previous question it is the first and most important point. You must be able to trust blindly your buddy on your side otherwise you will not become an old pilot.  The most demanding acrobatic figure for you as a pilot Personally, during formation aerobatics, it is simply the correct and safe positioning. If you are two planes this is better manageable but as soon as you are three or more planes every plane must exactly keep the same reference position! Very challenging. During competition aerobatics, it is the P-loop that can be very complicated about energy management if you add some snaps and rolls. photo credit to Flieger Museum Did you already try the Extra NG? Not yet. Would love to do so. You are an airline pilot on Airbus A330. How difficult is it to combine your job with the big engagement for FMA flying? At the moment it is not very difficult. Due to the Corona crisis, a big part of the A330 fleet of SWISS is on the ground, unfortunately. But even during non-Corona times, my fleet chiefs are very patient and we always find the “Variante Optima”. Your dream airframe FMA: Hawker Hunter and Pilatus PC-7 Aerobatics: Extra 330 SC photo credit to Flieger Museum - Article by Enzina Calascione - FMA pilot - Manuel Blatter - We thank you FMA Museum and the FMA flying group for the cooperation and support.

Elisa Bretterebner and the Skytexters

Who is Elisa Bretterebner? A short bio to present yourself, I am a female aerobatic pilot from Aigen im Ennstal, Austria. I fell in love with aviation since I could reach the rudder pedals of our Blaník glider :-) I started gliding at the of 15, followed by my private pilot license, ultralight license, and aerobatic license, and flight instructor license. I love to share my passion and my experience with our student pilots and even more to do aerobatics and formation flights with my friends. It is true that women have been involved in aviation since its dawn, though it is also true that aviation is a business with a strong male presence.  How challenging was it for you in order to get to the top? Of course, there has been skepticism when there is a young girl, not even having a driving license, but soloing gliders at the age of 15.  However, within a short period of time, they took note of my enthusiasm and my talent.  The respect came by itself after that. How did you guys come in contact? How was the team created? Our team leader, Tim Tibo, saw Skytexting in international airshows and thought “That ́s so cool, I got do this at home with my friends”.  His friend, Kai Joppich, is also a member of the team.  I have known Kai for years and we have been friends for a long time.  During one of our flights, last summer, Kai told me about the cool idea behind The Skytexter. We did some test flights together and now, after all, I am really happy and proud to be part of this team!  In addition to our exciting moments in the air, we also share a strong team spirit on the ground. Are you all Austrian Nationals? Besides me, only Stefan Walch, who shares the Extra with me, is Austrian.  My other colleagues are all German. Trust is probably the most important element in an air-acrobatic team, can you name another one? In my opinion, reliability is very important and also not taking unnecessary risks.  Many pilots want to impress others by doing stupid things.  My credo is to stay focused and fly high but with "your feet on the ground'. Do you work in the air also when you don't fly with the Skytexters? No, I run a small company when not airborne. Having a clear, blue sky seems to be an essential premise in order to write effectively with the smoke,  could you guys also write with other colors than white? Yes, we could use colored smoke, but we don't want to because the planes would look like a mess. You have also experience in flying the Super Decathlon, could you Skytext with one? Indeed, I did my aerobatic license on a Super Decathlon, but honestly speaking, I fell in love when flying the Extra for the first time.  The performance of the Extra is not only a pleasure for aerobatics but also for reaching fast high altitudes for sky-texting.  We usually text at FL100 or FL110, therefore high rates of climb and cruising are very important. Plans for upgrades to the Extra NG. At the moment I am quite happy with my Extra 300L. The most demanding acrobatic figure for an aerobatic pilot. One of the best things about aerobatics is that you always keep improving yourself in order to stay sharp for new challenges. A Looping can be as challenging as a rolling turn later on.  With the increase of experience, there is always the tendency to push our own limits every time a little further, though in general it never gets boring. There so many combinations of rolls and figures that a pilot can perform the overall axis of the plane.

James Darcy

James Darcy leads external communications in North America for a global aerospace company and is also a seasoned aerial photographer whose work has appeared on the covers of publications around the world, including Aviation Week, Rotor & Wing, Aviation News, Flug Revue and Air et Cosmos. He posts some of his work on Instagram @jsd_photography. Prior to moving to the corporate sector, Darcy was Director of Communications for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs. James’ career with the Navy spanned ten years and included work as communications lead for the V-22 Osprey, F/A-18 Super Hornet and X-31 VECTOR, among others. Prior to working for the Navy, he was a writer and photographer for a U.S. Army newspaper. James lives in Virginia, and is the father of two boys, ages 19 and 21. When he is not riding in helicopters, he enjoys building them out of Legos with his sons. How did James Darcy become James Darcy? The track of my career has involved a lot of unexpected turns and a fair amount of luck. When I was a student, I never would have imagined I would be working either in communications or in aviation. I studied developmental psychology in college and graduate school. When I was a kid, my father helped me build a model of a P-51D Mustang, so maybe that planted some sort of seed. And in kindergarten, I earned the nickname “Motormouth” because I talked so much, so I suppose it should have been obvious that communications would eventually become my career. You have a very extensive experience in military communication. How did you come in contact with it? My communications career began with a job as a photojournalist for an Army newspaper (despite being a civilian) way back in 1998. I didn’t know anything about photography, but I had to learn fast. After a couple years, I took a similar job at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps conduct developmental testing for all their aircraft and aircraft systems. It’s also home to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, whose graduates include the likes of Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell, to name a few. My job evolved into public affairs, which is the military equivalent of corporate communications. I was a civilian but got to be public affairs officer for programs such as the V-22 Osprey and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, that’s also where I learned aerial photography. By the time I left for a corporate job in 2009, I was overseeing public affairs for all Naval aviation program offices, and I also had the test wing’s photo and video shop as one of my divisions. I got to work with some amazingly talented and dedicated people, supporting an important cause. Your assignments cover mainly aviation-related topics. How demanding is this topic when it comes to effectively interact with key-audiences? Because my company is involved in both commercial and military aviation, both fixed wing and rotary, our key audiences are extremely varied: The flying public, the military, the airlines, elected officials, investors and so on. The key is understanding that each of these groups has widely different interests, needs and perspectives, with different cultures and different nomenclatures. Sometimes listening to your audiences is just as important as talking to them. What do you think are the biggest challenges your field of work is facing in the coming years? The COVID pandemic has impacted our industry in profound ways, and much of our efforts across the industry over this past year have revolved around restoring public trust in air travel. At the same time, we have had to conserve cash while maintaining the health and wellbeing of global supply chains, on which the livelihoods of millions of people depend. The focus in coming years will be on emerging from this crisis stronger than we went into it. At the same time, we have aggressive plans for the gradual decarbonization of aviation over the coming decades, and our commitment to that cause is deeply felt at every level of our company. Top 3 elements, according to you, for a successful external communication campaign. A communication campaign has to begin with a business strategy. If you don’t have a clearly defined objective, you can fall into the trap of communicating just for the sake of it, or what a mentor of mine calls “tactics in search of a strategy.” The second key is understanding your audience at a fundamental level and tailoring both your messages and your ways of delivering them to each individual audience. If I had to choose just one more key element, I would say that it is not underestimating the roll of emotion in people’s decision-making. Effective corporate communication isn’t just about impacting what people think, it’s about influencing what people feel. Corporations that fail to see the value of human connection often find themselves wondering why the message they are trying to transmit is not the message people actually receive. The most helpful technological platforms you have used in your career. The keyboard. The ability to write well is the foundational skill in any field of communications. Visual, multimedia storytelling is more important than ever of course, but to succeed in business and in communications, you still need to be able to express yourself well with the written word. Do you believe in achieving new records in terms of performances with non-combustion-powered aircrafts?  One of the most rewarding experiences of my career has been working with Perlan Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to soaring a glider into the stratosphere using nothing more than the energy found in the atmosphere itself. In 2018, they set the world subsonic altitude record for level, wing borne flight, reaching 76,124 feet without an engine. Our next ambition is to reach the service ceiling of the pressurized Perlan 2 glider, which is 90,000 feet. That would exceed the official record of the SR-71 and do so without an engine. It really is the ultimate zero emission aircraft, and it is also an ideal research platform for atmospheric research, since it doesn’t contaminate the air around it in any way. To reach those altitudes, we rely on “stratospheric mountain waves,” rising air currents only found a few places on earth. We conduct our flights in the Patagonian region of Argentina, soaring above the Andes mountains during the winter. It’s a challenging environment for aerial photography, but the aircraft and the scenery are absolutely beautiful together. Environmentally friendly propulsion and unmanned-flight technologies are a key-element for the future of Aerospace and Defense Industry. Do you identify yourself with this vision? I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that is very committed to making aerospace kinder to the environment, and we’ve set some very ambitious goals for ourselves. It’s a great feeling to see so many people working on this priority with a real passion for it. We are exploring alternate propulsion technologies such as hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels, and ways of making airframes more fuel efficient regardless of the fuel type. The Osprey as the future Presidential ‘helicopter’ to replace the Seaking?  When I worked for the Navy, I got quite involved with the Presidential Helicopter program, and I had a chance to fly on both the EH-101 and the S-92. I was also public affairs officer for the V-22 Osprey, and I loved every flight hour in that amazing airframe, with both the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command. As for the UH-3H Sea King, it was the first helicopter I ever flew in (or dangled under at the end of a rope), so it will always have a special place in my heart. In other words, I am too biased to offer an objective opinion on this topic. You are, on a regular base, an aircrew member, do you also fly by yourself? My secret shame is that I have never gotten my pilot’s license. I’ve had a few hours of stick/yoke time over the years (including in a blimp and in an aerobatic plane) but getting my license has always been something I’ve told myself I will do “one of these days.” Now that my kids are in college (and I’m not getting any younger), I think it’s in my near future. Living in a time in human history when it is actually possible to learn to fly, it seems like a shame not to do so. Shooting pictures from an aircraft is not really the easiest task for a photographer. What are according to you the 3 essential tools an aeronautical photographer has to have in his/her bag in order to take-up the challenge? The first priority – and the number one thing I look for if I’m hiring an aerial photographer instead of shooting something myself – is a focus on safety. The photographer is an integral member of the aircrew with responsibilities for the safe conduct of the operation. That begins with extremely thorough preparation on the ground, and it continues throughout the flight. Photo shoots often involve flying dissimilar aircraft in close formation with dynamic maneuvering, and it only takes one moment of inattention -- or a little poor planning -- for that to end badly. Photographers also need to look after their own personal safety. I’m always amazed to see a photographer show up with $20,000 worth of camera gear and a $30 safety harness. Those people don’t get hired, at least not by us. The second essential piece is an understanding of the limits of the aircraft and the pilots. It includes everything from engine performance to visibility to wake turbulence and extends to the pilots’ experience with formation flying and photography work. I have flown with excellent pilots who could not fly formation well, and it’s important to recognize that and never ask pilots to go beyond their comfort levels. And the final piece is the photography itself. This mostly comes down to the technical elements: What shutter speed do you need to get motion blur on the rotors or propellers? Is that shutter speed viable given the vibration of your own aircraft? How will the windblast in the open door of your chase aircraft affect your camera’s stabilization or your gyro? Will the outside air temperature be so low that it kills your batteries, or just gives you frostbite? (I’ve had both happen). Taking photos from an airplane, in flight, requires a very detailed preparation and meticulous planning. What is the biggest challenge you face with time management during a shoot? You never have as much time as you want, so the more detailed your planning, the more efficient you can be in the air. In flight testing, test pilots use a test card that proscribes what test maneuvers will be flow in which order. I create something very similar for my shoots. Every minute in the air, you are spending money and burning gas (and which of them runs out first varies based on the project). When chasing gliders, you have the additional challenge of their lack of propulsion to maintain altitude. Your dream airframe you haven’t worked on yet. There are too many to name. I once asked Einar Enevoldson, the famous NASA test pilot who founded the Perlan Project, how many different aircraft he had flown over the decades of his career. After a minute’s thought, he said, “It was about 350, maybe a little more.” When I’ve flown with and photographed as many kinds of aircraft as Einar, I’ll be satisfied. What advice would you give to young people who want to follow your career path? When I was a small child, I wanted to be an astronaut. As I grew up, I thought of all kinds of reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t be an astronaut; it seemed like something that other people did. What I’ve come to realize over the years is that the people who becomes astronauts are the ones who just refuse to accept that it is for other people. If you have a dream career, hold tight to that idea, and then do the really hard work to get you there. Also, the best steps I’ve taken in my career have been the scariest ones, the ones where I thought I was in over my head and I didn’t know if I could succeed. With a lot of hard work, a fair amount of luck and a little daring, all things are possible.

BIRD STRIKES!

“Never underestimate the possibility and danger of bird strikes during a flight.”