Military-Grade Awesome, Uncategorized

Top Gun Day – Behind the Scenes (Visual Effects)

Famous Control Tower at NAS Miramar - aka Top Gun

Famous Control Tower at NAS Miramar – aka Top Gun

 

Today, May 13 marks the 7th annual “Top Gun Day”, where you too have permission to buzz the tower and quote cheesy lines from the megahit 1986 jet-fighter flick.

(or better yet, just mill about yelling “DANGER-ZONE!!” at random)

And in celebration of this “Need for Speed” filled day, may we present to you a behind the scenes look at how the movie was made. The entire series is fascinating, but the visual effects portion is the most intriguing. Be warned however, it’s kinda like peeking behind the screen in the Land of OZ… a little bit of the magic gets revealed in the process… however the technical aspect is still just as cool. Continue reading Top Gun Day – Behind the Scenes (Visual Effects)

Military-Grade Awesome, Uncategorized

Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

USS Ford

This morning the new “Next Generation” aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was christened during ceremonies in the Newport News Shipbuilding facilities, Hampton Roads Virginia… you can watch a replay of the ceremonies here.

At 1,080 feet long, 100 feet high, a beam of 134 feet and 250 feet wide at the Flight-Deck, this behemoth used around 47,000 tons of steel and will have over 90,000 tons of displacement.

Replacing the ex-USS Enterprise, it is the first entirely new class of U.S. aircraft carrier in 45 years since the Nimitz of 1968. The island is 140 feet further aft than previous designs and its three aircraft elevators are electromagnetic – doing away with the traditional cable-hoisting. (I wonder if they are still keeping the old-style warning horns? Those things were cool.)

But the BIG news is the Navy’s new EMALS system, which translates into landlubber speak as the “Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System”. This modern technology does away with the steam-powered catapults that have flung aircraft into the sky for the last half-century, which is both exciting and a little sad. Continue reading Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

Airborne Awesomosity

Cuba of the Skies

There exists a magical land in the mists off of south Florida, where American automobiles from times gone by continue to thrive along the streets. Since the US embargo was enacted in the early 1960, the Cubans have prided themselves on their ability to keep these machines operating.

In a land much farther from the American shores, there exists another place of wonder, where two aircraft that once captivated multiple generations of Americans still rule the skies. Picture a Vietnam-era air superiority fighter, the last US fighter to attain ace status in the 20th century, being flown alongside the ultimate in 1980s aircraft performance, as documented on the silver screen.

Continue reading Cuba of the Skies

Old School Gaming

Retro Games: Jetfighter II

Back in the early days of the home computing boom, just before the Pentium P5 chip set the world on it’s ear, the 66Mhz – 486DX2 processor was king of the MS-DOS gaming era. Paired with a VESA Local Bus card for “mind-blowing” graphic bandwidths, these early home computers represented a huge leap forward in the gaming world at the time.

While primitive by today’s standards, this marked a transition from earlier 2-d games such as Wheel of Fortune, Oregon Trail and Lemmings into the fledgling world of 3-Dimensional gamelay we now take for granted.

Always a popular segment were the flight simulator games, allowing us the curious sensation of flying like the birds without ever leaving the living room, office or den. The most popular flight games have always included some sort of fighting ability, and Jetfighter II represents a hugely popular (and one of my all-time favorite) flight simulators of the day. Continue reading Retro Games: Jetfighter II

Military-Grade Awesome

A ride from Hell in an F-14 Tomcat

Meet Pete Purvis, Grumman Aviation test pilot.

The day was June 20, 1973, the airplane was the US Navy’s Fighter of the Future, pre-production F-14 Tomcat #6, and the story is riveting. While test firing an AIM-7 Sparrow missile underneath the future Top-Gun star, something went terribly, terribly wrong. Continue reading A ride from Hell in an F-14 Tomcat

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