• 109 Apremont Way, Westfield, MA 01085

April 5th, 2017

“That gun is loaded.”

Our Barnestormers score 41-1 kill ratio against Red Air at Combat Archer exercise, and post a mission capable rate of 83%.      

While recently deployed to the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program (WESP) at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, 9 F-15s and over 250 Airmen of our backyard neighbor Barnestormers 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusettes ANG got to load out live ordnance and pull the trigger on real targets in training missions over the Gulf of Mexico.

“It feeds Combat Air Force’s (CAF) training and readiness. We get air crew experience for the first time subsequent to the events, sounds, sights, smells, and noise of a real missile coming off the jet in a realistic scenario they would find normally in training but now it is with real weapons and real targets to shoot at.”  – Col. Jeffrey Rivers, Commander of the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron, WESP, Tyndall AFB Florida.

Beyond 17 missile shots, the Barnestormers also had rare opportunity to use their guns, shooting off more than 14,000 rounds of 20mm ammunition at aerial targets, something they could never do over home skies.

Barnes airmen kept them flying and hitting targets

“You load the aircraft up and the missiles are gone when they return back to the base,” said Staff Sgt. Nick Albert. “We don’t get to see that every day. It’s cool to see the jets come back without the missiles and know we were a part of making it happen.”  – Staff Sgt. Nick Albert, 104th Fighter Wing

Everything from maintenance, to air crew maintenance, ops, uploading, downloading, arming, and using their equipment appropriately, properly in accordance with technical orders to load and execute a live fire on an air to air weapon mission was evaluated.

Rivers added “The maintenance piece is also their ability to generate aircraft per our tasking just like you would in combat. Combat tasking problem for them is a little more aggressive than their home station schedules.”

During WESP, Massachusetts ANG posted an impressive 83% Mission Capable rate with 212 sorties out of 221 sorties flown, with those nine sorties scrubbed due to weather.


“Combat Archer”: Barnes vs. Red Air

“The second piece of the deployment was large force exercises and 4-ship training which is the core fighting force in the Eagle,” said 104th’s Operations Group Commander Col. William Bladen. “With several other fighter airframes on the Gulf Coast, we were able to put together daily outnumbered scenarios that we cannot produce up here at Barnes. The last day of the trip we flew 4 F-15s and 4 F-22s against 14 “red air” fighters. For our training, we allowed the red air to regenerate after being killed by a blue air fighter. The final results of that mission: Blue Air killed 41 enemy aircraft and lost just one. While pretty phenomenal, perfection is our goal so the debrief focused on how we could have had a 41-0 ratio.”

“WESP tested our people and our machines and both performed exceptionally well” Col. Bladen added.


Photos and original coverage/reporting by Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, Mass ANG. 

March 8th, 2017

Embraer E195-E2 Roll Out Ceremony Photo: Embraer Media Center (modified)

Embraer rolls out their E195-E2, as the new mid-market segment really heats up.    

“Brazil’s biggest-ever jet” was rolled out for employees only at the company’s facilities in São José dos Campos yesterday.  With 120-146 seat capacity and a range of 2,450 nm, this largest ever jet out of Brazil is being aimed squarely at the North American market, positioned as a replacement for mainlines flying B737s/A319s, as well as presenting a solution for low-cost carriers.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1900 engines, and being in the new mid-market (NMA) sweet spot for seats/range, Embraer is promoting the E195-E2’s 20% lower cost per trip and lower cost per seat advantages over larger aircraft.

With Boeing recently revealing imagery of the final stretch version of the 737 MAX family, and last month’s absolutely gushing Pilot Report article in Aviation Week about the Bombardier C300, the market push in this burgeoning segment is full on.

February 27th, 2017

‘Graduation Day’: A five-minute YT video

The F-35 continues to make friends in high places.

With five stars between them, a Marine General and an Air Force General speak on their results with the first operational F-35 units.  They seem pleased.


February 19th, 2017

Boeing rolls out first 787-10, the longest Dreamliner variant.   

On Friday Boeing rolled out the first of the 787-10 series.  Compared to the 9 Series, the 10 Series sacrifices range for capacity, with legs around 2,000 nautical miles less than the 9 series, but with 18 more feet in length and up to 330 seats capacity. Boeing has 149 orders from nine airlines so far for the 787-10.

This type has many imaginative features and like the latest from rival Airbus speaks to genuine leaps in progress over previous B7(X)7 and A3(X)0 generations.  And if you haven’t checked out the wing flex on the B787 you really should see it in flight.  Aloft it embodies an almost organic form, and it speaks to a twenty-first century of commercial flight that promises to be as exciting and transformative as was the latter twentieth.  To all that have played a role in enabling this latest generation, well done everyone.  As the new mid market (NMA segment) heats up, it will be amazing to see what we do next…


NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 17, 2017 – The Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787-10 Dreamliner, the third member of the 787 Dreamliner family, made its debut today at Boeing South Carolina. Thousands of employees at the North Charleston, S.C. site celebrated the event, along with U.S. President Donald Trump and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

Read more here: http://boeing.mediaroom.com/news-releases-statements?item=129854

February 17th, 2017

Eaton awarded U.S. Army Corps Hydropower Modernization Contract 

PITTSBURGH, PA — Power management company Eaton today announced contracts to lead life extension and electrical modernization projects at four hydropower facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee. Eaton received the contracts from Aponte Power Services, which is working directly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District. The projects will help the dams along the Cumberland River continue generating sustainable electricity to meet residential and industrial electrical needs, while also supporting flood control and water supply. Many hydroelectric generating plants in the U.S. have surpassed typical design life and can benefit greatly from the implementation of modern power management strategies,” said John Stampfel, vice president and general manager, Electrical Engineering Services and Systems Division, at Eaton… Read more at: http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/OurCompany/NewsEvents/NewsReleases/PCT_3060721

February 16th, 2017

787-10 Dreamliner Photo: Boeing Media Advisory

Machinists Union won’t organize South Carolina 787 plant.    

The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) failed in their second bid to organize the workers of Boeing South Carolina yesterday. Production workers at the North Charleston, S.C. plant voted 74 percent against joining the union.  It will be at least a year before the union could try again under NLRB rules.

The plant hosts the rollout of the first completed 787-10 Dreamliner tomorrow, February 17th.

February 15th, 2017

Photo of Pratt and Whitney Columbus Engine Center in Columbus, Georgia Photo: P&W Media Center

Pratt & Whitney creates 500 new aerospace jobs with $386 million investment in their Columbus, Georgia facility.  

Pratt & Whitney made a major Valentine’s Day announcement yesterday from East Hartford, Conn., stating that they are investing $386 Million into their Columbus, Georgia operations.  The money is going towards higher production tech and two new buildings, comprising a 200,000 sq ft engine overhaul facility for their PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engines, and a 20,000 sq ft specialized space to house a new isothermal forge press for the manufacture of turbine disks and compressor rotors.

Pratt and Whitney are also committing to more than 500 new hires, with training and skills development supported by a partnering with the Columbus Technical College.  New and existing employees will receive training and skills development in advanced manufacturing technologies and aerospace mechanics.

Pratt & Whitney’s Columbus Engine Center maintains  PW1100G-JM, V2500, PW2000, F117 and F100 engines. Columbus Forge produces compressor airfoils and nickel and titanium forgings, which are machined into critical rotating components for Pratt & Whitney’s military and commercial engines.

See more at: http://www.pw.utc.com/Press/Story/20170214-1415/30/All%20Categories#sthash.bCN2CwXj.dpuf

Isothermal Forging at Pratt & Whitney. Forged parts are then machined into final form, . Photo: Pratt & Whitney Media Center

February 14th, 2017

A M-346 of the Italian Air Force on display at Farnborough 2016. Photo: MilborneOne - Own work

Leonardo taps DRS to drive on with their T-X bid 

Subsequent to Leonardo’s recent ‘uncoupling’ with Raytheon on their joint bid for the Air Force’s T-X program, American subsidiary DRS Technologies has been tapped by Leonardo to drive on with the bid, assuming a leadership role.

Their T-1oo offering is a tailored variant of the successful Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainer currently earning high praise as the “Lavi” with the Isreali Air Force, where 30 are in operation. Extreme agility and twin F124 engines to establish and maintain high energy levels and angles of attack make the type a natural training bed for 4th and even 5th generation jets.  This, and high fidelity programming to simulate the handling of multiple front-line types and battlefield situations promise to make the T-100 a strong contender.

The $16.3 billion program to supply 350 new jet trainers to the U.S. Air Force will be hotly contested by up to five competing bids including offerings from Lockheed Martin (T-50) and a new Boeing/Saab type; both of which are single-engine jets.

A quick laugh for your coffee break:

In other aviation news…

Get these guys a Garmin:  Lost Kazak helicopter lands on highway to ask for directions.   

Not your average Russian dashcam video, RT’s military affairs page has posted a 2-minute viral video of a MI-8 helicopter crew having landed on a highway to stop to ask for directions.   Somehow reminiscent of the border guards in the movie Stripes, a ushanka-wearing crew member jumps out of the ground idling ‘Hip’ and runs to a puzzled truck driver to make the inquiries necessary to get them back to base.  

Russian speakers please note, the inter-truck radio language used is apparently NSFW.

February 10th, 2017

Honeywell to Upgrade Engines in BK117 Fleet

The venerable BK117s of the Canadian STARS Helicopter Air Ambulance operator are having their BK117’s twin engines updated by Honeywell to the LTS101-850B2 standard.  These new turboshaft engines will provide more power, enhanced serviceability, and better fuel efficiency.   Being a charitable, non-profit organization, STARS will particularly enjoy their new Honeywells.

Read the press release here:  https://aerospace.honeywell.com/en/news-listing/2017/february/honeywell-engines-to-upgrade-stars-bk117-fleet

February 8th, 2017

Bets paying off on the other Vegas strip

Nellis AFB:  The F-35 is reported to have demonstrated a 92% mission capable rate during Red Flag 17-01 as well as zero losses against Red Air.  Though still in the initial stages of operational capability, 13 participants from the first operational wings of F-35A’s (388 & 419th Hill AFB) were put through a gauntlet of highly challenging exercises involving surface-to-air threats combined with greater numbers of Red Air… scenarios that would reportedly have been ‘impossible to survive’ in 4th Gen legacy platforms.   Prove out in both operations and combat appear well underway.

Read the article on Hill Air Force Base’s website here:  http://www.hill.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1071238/f-35a-proving-its-worth-at-red-flag-combat-exercise

An operational F-35A touches down at Nellis AFB after a Red Flag sortie. Credit Hill AFB

February 6th, 2017

Preparing for the 2017 Airshow Season – Blue Angels Practice Session

The United States Navy Flight Demonstration squadron gets to work in this recent winter training session in preparation for the 2017 air show season.    Their first show is March 11th, at the NAF El Centro Annual Air Show.   https://www.blueangels.navy.mil

Yes, they had two number seven ships flying this day.  Something we’re sure they’ll sort out before the start of the season.