Will The Next Jet Airliner You Fly Be Obsolete, And Ready for Early Retirement?

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Multimedia eLearning program authored by: David Anthony Johanson ©  – All written & graphic content on this site (unless noted) was produced by the author. Add: 2.0  For an alternative graphic format presentation, please visit: https://sciencetechtablet.wordpress.com/tag/commercial-jet-airliner-obsolescence/ 

This multimedia essay includes an eLearning program for secondary/post secondary education and community learning. Assessment tool: A quiz and answer key is located at the end of the program. Learning content covered: aerospace/airliner— aerospace engineering, avionics, economics & business, environmental footprint, financing, manufacturing, marketing, obsolescence management, technology. Learning concepts used: Applied Learning, Adult Learning, Competency-based Learning, Critical Thinking, Integrative Learning.Key: Words or phrases italicized are used to focus on essential concepts or terms for enhanced learning and retention.

[ Disclaimer: David Johanson is a former Boeing scientific photographer and currently has no stock holdings or a financial interest in: Boeing, Airbus or any other companies referenced in this program. Research in this article has been cross referenced using at least three sources, however, all perspectives and opinions represent only the viewpoints of the author.]

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Like seeing a mirage in the distance, shimmering sunlight reflects off rows of metal fuselages densely packed in the summer light. A surreal scene of Boeing jet airliners dominates the view, while forming a metallic wall around sections of a regional airport.

Boeing_Paine_Field_747_ae3013Billions of dollars worth of jet airliners are now double parked around Paine Field, Snohomish County Airport, in Everett, Washington. “This development indicates the current success, Boeing is having at landing airliner orders and the result you’re seeing represents a record amount of aircraft production,”said Terrance Scott, a spokesman for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

He said the Company is leasing this space from Paine Field so that planes can have the remaining work completed and be ready for delivery to their customers — also, this isn’t unique to Everett, but is happening at Boeing manufacturing facilities at Renton Field and at Boeing Field in Seattle.

“Boeing has always been a good neighbor and a fine customer for the airport, they are currently leasing areas to park their aircraft and the revenue generated is appreciated.” said Dave Waggoner, Airport Director at Snohomish County Airport — Paine Field.

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The global economy’s steady growth has increased passenger traffic, which puts pressure on the airlines to purchase new aircraft for satisfying demand. Continued drops in jet fuel prices benefits air travel industry profits, giving further incentives for fleet investments. Additionally, with historically low-interest rates, lending institutions find new opportunities in aviation financing, enabling expansion of corporate sales. However, financing for used planes is another matter. Cash is drying up for previously owned jetliners — which puts pressure to part-out, then scrap relatively newer-used aircraft. Boeing_Paine_Field_BPP_ae3009

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Could The New Normal Be Shorter Aircraft Service-Life For Airliner Fleets?

Recently, published reports noted a shift towards an assumed obsolescence and accelerated scraping of newer airliners — well before structural integrity or air worthiness becomes a problem, middle-aged aircraft are experiencing vulnerability to an early end-of-life. Clearly, accelerated scraping of newer aircraft is not due to any structural concerns, but rather, cyclical conditions of the industry. To appreciate these concerns a review of an airliner’s operational lifespan may help clarify some of the issues.
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Aircraft manufactures use pressurization cycles to determine an airliner’s operational lifespan. A pressurizing cycle includes three distinct aircraft flight activities — takeoff, climbing until it reaches a cruise altitude and then landing. During this process, air is pumped into the fuselage to pressurize the cabin for passenger comfort. This repeated pressurization flexes or expands the fuselage — consequently stress is put on various connecting components, including fasteners and rivets — which helps to hold the structural integrity of the plane together. After a certain number of landing pressurization cycles, stress or metal fatigue can begin to develop, eventually causing small cracks around the fasteners. Pressurization/landing cycles mainly concern the life of an aircraft’s fuselage, wings and landing gear.

The interior of fuselage section, showing perpendicular rings, which are called frames.

The interior of fuselage section, showing perpendicular rings, which are called frames.


The interior of fuselage section, showing perpendicular rings, which are called frames.

Maintenance schedules and lifespan of jet engines are measured in the number of flight hours. Aircraft engines, followed by landing gear and then avionics are the most valuable components for part-out and dismantling specialist operations. Ultimately, engine condition is the major factor in an owner’s decision to part-out an aircraft.

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For short flights, single or smaller double aisle craft are used to carry passengers, which may go through many landing or pressurization cycles for everyday operations. The more takeoffs and landings, means a shorter operational lifespan for the plane. On long overseas flights, wide body or jumbo jets such as 747s experience fewer landing cycles. These larger airliners, especially ones use for cargo operations can have longer lifespans of upwards of 20 or 30 years. In the U.S., the FAA requires an initial inspection on Boeing 737s, which have 30,000 takeoffs and landings using electromagnetic testing. Mandatory inspections are required for finding cracks in the fuselage or metal fasteners.

Dreamliner_BPP_e2121Boeing has a history of ‘over-engineering’ components of its aircraft, which is actually a good thing for ensuring passenger safety and for an extended service-life of the aircraft. Historical evidence of this conservative engineering practice is documented in WWII archival film footage of blown-apart B-17s returning from a mission and safely landing. There are more recent examples of Boeing commercial aircraft surviving dramatic inflight catastrophic failures, with most of the passengers and crew landing safely.

Photo-illustration of an aircraft end-of-life center (aircraft boneyard.)

Photo-illustration of an aircraft end-of-life center (aircraft boneyard.)

Compound Forces Working Against Long-Life-Cycle Aircraft

What are the current forces, which hasten the end-of-life of a commercial jet airliner? Recurring cycles or patterns of economic and technological events influences the commercial aircraft industry on a daily basis. Various ripple-effects of these cycles can quickly alter new and used aircraft asset valuation. Airline leasing companies have a major influence, in providing their customers with the aircraft assets they need. Unless the buying customer has solid credit, it’s doubtful they can secure financing for previously-owned airliners. Also, tax incentives exist for Airline companies to use depreciation right-offs by decommissioning all but the most advance aircraft assets. photo illustration

Maintenance requirements are a long-term, yet fluid, financial concern for a company’s airline fleet. The newer designed aircraft are manufactured with significantly fewer parts than previous models. Consequently, reduction in parts has an impact on reducing maintenance expenditures — including smaller service crews, hours spent on inspection and a reduction of overall repairs. Also, spare parts inventories for maintaining the aircraft’s optimum performance can substantially be reduced compared to an older aircraft. The cost savings benefits are compelling incentives for eliminating older, higher maintenance, aircraft assets.

Boeing_Flt_Line_BPP_bg0187As mentioned previously, the considerable reduction of parts used in manufacturing newer aircraft provides an immediate benefit of up to 20 percent weight reduction. Without compromising strength or aircraft structural integrity, the cost savings from less weight begins the day an airliner is put into service. Traditionally, fuel-efficiency is the “holy grail” used for selecting an aircraft — the amount of fuel-burn affects the daily operational cost of an airline company. After a decade of service an older airliner reaches mid-life, it may require upgraded and modification conversions to the aircraft’s wings (winglets) or need new fuel-efficient jet engines. However, these conversions reach a threshold of diminishing returns from such investments. As a result, keeping an older aircraft competitive with newer models may not pay off at a certain point. That’s when permanent retirement and parting-out the airliner begins to make economic sense and the aircraft’s end-of-life management begins.Boeing_Paine_Field_BPP_ae3134

Inevitable Problems Facing Aircraft Electronic Systems (Avionics) Obsolescence

The most perplexing problem facing all commercial aircraft is how to ensure its critical avionics systems continue to evolve and stay up-to-date. Avionics provides the central nervous system or a central processing unit (CPU) framework for a commercial aircraft. It’s a marvelous matrix of advanced electronic systems technology, which constantly communicates with itself, the pilots and the outside world. More so than any other components making up an aircraft’s technological system, its management and functionality duties are beyond comparison. Each year avionics components physically contract in size, yet they expand immensely in functionality and system management. 

Cell_Phone_Tlk_BPP_et82Here’s an example to help clarify this dichotomy of physical contraction and expansion of technical functionality. Your smartphone can be used as a basic representational model for avionics obsolescence. The phone you’re holding in your hand has a superior mobile graphics processor and sheer number-crunching power advantage over IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer of the late 1990s. Yet, you can hold your phone in hand, compared to Deep Blue, which was the size of a large refrigerator. However, advanced your smartphone is today, a year from now it’ll be obsolete and two years from now… a quaint antique.  If you grabbed your smartphone and considered the example, you just experienced Moore’s law of observation — ‘over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.Man_micro_chip_BPP_et169

Now, imagine trying to update a complex system such as an airliner’s avionics bay, in five-years, 10-years or 15-years. The installation and the majority of electronic systems are not made by the Aircraft’s original equipment manufacturer Mars Frontier series(OEM) such as Boeing or Airbus. Moreover, the vendors or suppliers 10 or 15-years from now who were the OEM, may be out of business.  In the meantime, new replacement components may have to substitute the obsolete equipment. However, the aircraft industry is highly regulated by government agencies, which require strict certification of equipment modifications. As a result of these constraints, aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, developed obsolescence management strategies to help mitigate these ongoing concerns. But there are always unforeseen obstacles and many moving parts to coordinate before the necessary electronic components are available when needed. Clear, transparent communication is necessary between internal engineering and purchasing departments. Successful collaboration at all levels can present major challenges, especially if the objectives and timetables are not each group’s priority.

So aircraft avionics are the vulnerable underbelly of airliner obsolescence — with financial consequences associated with accelerated, technology — necessitating complex and expensive electronic upgrades.

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Airspace Navigation Service Providers (ANSP), which includes the FAA and the European counterpart EASA — have established new mandate requirements for avionic component upgrades. The purpose of this technology is for enhanced data link digital communication, which interacts instantly with aircraft Flight Management Systems (FMS). These requirements include, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), Controller-Pilot Data Link (CPDLC) and the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) enables text messaging and global position through satellite communications. The new civil aviation mandates are part of the next generation air traffic computer technology called NextGen, which represents air traffic infrastructure’s future for the next 10 to 15 years.

Used Aircraft Components, Harvested For Premium Returns, Is The Retired Airliners Last Call In Service Before Its Final Destination.

Perhaps aircraft boneyards are flying under the radar as virtual gold mines, as refurbished parts are easily sold at market value. The savings of buying used, over new aircraft parts is incentive for expanding the market. Engines, landing gear and avionics are the most expensive components of an aircraft. These prized components are a highly valued commodity and are quickly snapped up. Specialized systems are not manufactured by companies such as Boeing or Airbus, but by outside OEM. Parts sold brand new by the manufacturer are considerably more expensive than buying used.

Money_int _BPP_a223Next Generation aircraft such as the Boeing 737-600 and even a 737-800, which was reported to have had a hard-landing, reached their end-of-life as scrap.  Also, Airbus has had similar, newer single-aisle aircraft models reached their final destination in the aviation boneyard.  Aircraft Fleet receivable Association (AFRA) estimates 600 commercial jet airliners are scrapped yearly. By 2023 it’s estimated the number of commercial airliners scrapped will reach 1000 per-year.

Efforts Of The Aviation Industry To Leave A Smaller Environmental Footprint.

In 2008, the Boeing Company reached out to Airbus in collaboration, with the goal to vastly improve aircraft recycling technology. Airbus estimates they are recycling 85 percent of the entire aircraft, the remaining cabin interior amounted to 15 percent and was the only materials added to landfills.     Earth Day 2010

The best takeaway from the issues surrounding accelerated airliner service-life is that less fuel is consumed by the newer fleets. As older, less efficient aircraft are replaced — a 20 percent reduction in fuel emissions will not enter the atmosphere from the next generation aircraft replacements. If the world’s commercial airline manufactures continue to devote more effort towards efficient recycling of past generation aircraft, we can look forward to clearer skies ahead.         ~
photo illustration

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Special thanks to The Future of Flight Museum, for allowing photos to be taken from their excellent observation deck.

http://www.futureofflight.org                       A surprise appearance of a Boeing Dreamlifter has photographers scrambling to be ready.

 

Aerial view of Paine Field Airport looking north.

Aerial view of Paine Field Airport looking north.

Airliner Obsolescence Quiz    (Read the entire question before answering.)

1. ) What three economic incentives are currently influencing airlines to purchase new aircraft for satisfying travel demand? ______________________________________ _________________________________ & _________________________________
2. ) (True or False) Structural integrity or air worthiness of current generation airliners is the main issue why these aircraft are being retired early. _______ If you answered false, give at least one other reason why this is occurring. ____________________________ _____________________________________________________________________
3. ) Aircraft manufactures use, what type of  ___________ cycles to determine an airliner’s operational lifespan?
4. ) Name the three distinct aircraft flight activities used to determine an airliner’s operation lifespan? _________________________ __________________________ ____________________________________________
5. ) Maintenance schedules and lifespan of jet engines are measured in the ________________ hours.
6. ) Aircraft _________ followed by ____________ and then ___________ are the most valuable components for the part-out and dismantling specialist operations. Fill in the blanks above by selecting the proper order of component value, using the following list: (bulk heads) (wire bundles) (avionics) (engines) (landing gear)
7. ) Selecting from the choices listed below, which aircraft will typically experience more pressurization cycles and why? A or B ____________  A. Jumbo jet (larger, multi isle aircraft) which is used for longer, overseas flights. B. Smaller, single isle jet airliners, which are used more for shorter, domestic flights.  Now explain why? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________    8. ) Multi-isle airliners or jumbo jets, used for longer international flights or for cargo operations can have life cycles of upwards of ____ – ____ years. Select the best match from these sets: 5 − 15, 10 − 15, 20 − 30, 30 − 40 years. 

9. ) Explain why a larger commercial jet airliner, which flies longer over-sea routes, would have a longer operational life than a smaller aircraft, which is used on much shorter routes? __________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
10. ) What procedure is required by the FAA for a Boeing 737 airliner, which completes 30,000 takeoffs and landings? _______________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
11. ) The newer designed aircraft are manufactured with significantly fewer parts than previous models, list at least two reasons why this is an advantage and would make older aircraft obsolete? _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________
12. ) What aircraft component traditionally has been considered the “holy grail” used by the airline industry for selecting an aircraft? _____________________________________
13. ) When permanent retirement and parting-out the of an airliner begins to make economic sense, what form of management begins for that aircraft? ____________________ Select one of the following: end-of-days, end-of-life, retirement cycle, recycle phase.
14. ) What critical system of an airliner is considered its “central nervous system” or CPU for overall control of the aircraft? ________________________________ Give at least two reasons why this system contributes to a jet becoming obsolete? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
15. ) Approximately how many aircraft are permanently retired or scrapped in a year? __________________ By 2023, how many aircraft are expected to be scrapped? _____________________
16. ) Regarding commercial aircraft recycling technology, what percentage does Airbus estimate it is recycling of the entire airliner ___ 40 %, 65 %, 75 % or 85 % What percent of the aircraft is not recyclable ___ 60 %, 50 %, 25 %, or 15 %  What part of the airliner is not recyclable ____________________ and where does it end up? _______________
Answer key is located at the very bottom, after program sources & related links

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Sources & Related Subject Matter Links

This link shows live air traffic anywhere in the world. View how congested the sky’s are over the world’s busiest airports.

http://www.flightradar24.com/47.79,-122.31/7

Aircraft Bluebook – Used for aviation asset valuation

http://www.boeing.com/assets/pdf/commercial/aircraft_economic_life_whitepaper.pdf

http://marketline.squarespace.com
http://www.boeing.com/boeing/companyoffices/aboutus/brief/commercial.page

http://www.airbus.com/innovation/eco-efficiency/aircraft-end-of-life/

http://www.airspacemag.com/need-to-know/what-determines-an-airplanes-lifespan-29533465/?no-ist

http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/design_approvals/air_software/media/ObsolescenceFinalReport.pdf

http://aviationweek.com/awin/nextgen-obsolescence-driving-avionics-refurbs

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jun/11/boeing-commercial-planes-double-asia-pacific

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/5740876/

http://avolon.aero/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Aircraft_Retirement_Trends_Outlook_Sep_2012.pdf

Article & photos on U.S. aircraft boneyards

http://www.johnweeks.com/boneyard/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2336804/The-great-aviation-graveyard-New-aerial-images-hundreds-planes-left-die-American-deserts.html

Article, photos & interactive map of U.S. aircraft boneyards

http://www.airplaneboneyards.com/commercial-aviation-airplane-boneyards-storage.htm

Excellent aerial video of Airplane Graveyard (Mojave Airport, California)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RjaoR7Zk2s

 

Airliner Obsolescence Quiz Answer Key

1.  ) Satisfying increased travel demand   Fuel cost savings & Historically, low-interest rates for financing new aircraft

2.  ) True    Newer aircraft are replacing airworthy, older aircraft due to much less operating cost, including fuel savings and maintenance issues.

3.  ) Pressurization or Landing cycles

4.  ) Takeoff    Climbing to cruise altitude    Landing

5.  ) Number of flight hours

6. ) Engines  landing  gear avionics

7. )       Shorter service routes typically involve more landing and takeoffs as the airliner satisfies domestic travel demand

8.  )   2030 

9.  )  An airliner flying overseas route would most likely have fewer takeoffs and landings, due to the longer flight time required to reach its destination

10.)  Electromagnetic testing for finding cracks in the fuselage or related components

11.)   Fewer parts can result in an airliner weighing up to 20 percent less than older models, which can correlate to the same percentage of fuel savings. The maintenance cost is substantially lower allowing for more savings over older aircraft with more component parts.  

12.)  Fuel-efficiency

13.)  End-of-life

14.)  Avionics   electronic components used for avionics may not be available or upgradeable due to obsolescence   upgrading obsolete avionics may require expensive redesign

15. )   Up to 600   1000

16. ) 85 %   15 %   Cabin interiors   Landfills

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Big Picture One – Directory Of Multimedia eLearning Posts

Multimedia essays & eLearning programs by: David Anthony Johanson  © All Rights 

To quickly view sites of interest, just click on the white text to the right of the feature photo & above the program’s description. You also have the option to navigate to each essay by simply scrolling down past the end of this directory.

Essays are listed in chronological order from when they were first published.

You’ll find in each program essay, a spectrum of resources to help better understand & appreciate the subject matter. To enhance your experience, a variety of carefully considered dynamic content is used, including: photographs, videos, graphics, text & hyperlinks to other sites. Every effort is made to assure the information presented is factually correct by cross referencing content & giving proper credit for creative work used in the stories & essays.

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The author of these sites is a multimedia photographer, CTE instructor and a former Boeing scientific photographer.

For an alternative graphic format of these programs, please visit — www.ScienceTechTablet.wordpress.com 

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An eLearning program for secondary/post secondary education and community learning content covered: — aerospace/astronautic engineering, avionics, economics & business, environmental footprint, financing, manufacturing, marketing, obsolescence management, technology& Space Law. Learning concepts used: Applied Learning, Adult Learning, Competency-based Learning, Critical Thinking, Integrative Learning. Key: Words or phrases italicized are used to focus on essential concepts or terms for enhanced learning and retention.

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https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/tag/david-a-johanson-historian/  Will The Next Jet Airliner You Fly Be Obsolete, And Ready for Early Retirement?  This multimedia essay examines the evolving financing strategies and technological developments affecting older generation commercial aircraft. An eLearning program for secondary/post secondary education and community learning. Assessment tool: A quiz and answer key is located at the end of the program. Learning content covered: aerospace/airliner— aerospace engineering, avionics, economics & business, environmental footprint, financing, manufacturing, marketing, obsolescence management, technology. Learning concepts used: Applied Learning, Adult Learning, Competency-based Learning, Critical Thinking, Integrative Learning. Key: Words or phrases italicized are used to focus on essential concepts or terms for enhanced learning and retention.

[ Disclaimer: David Johanson is a former Boeing scientific photographer and currently has no stock holdings or a financial interest in: Boeing, Airbus or any other companies referenced in this program. Research in this article has been cross referenced using at least three sources, however, all perspectives and opinions represent only the viewpoints of the author.]

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Photo-illustration: David Johanson Vasquez © All RightsReflections From A Future Hawaii. Can A Tropical Paradise Become A Portal To Deep Space? | bigpictureone   Futuristic Hawaii in the year 2054 as it’s transformed into a space port & gateway to space. — Multimedia essay, eLearning, links

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EPSON scanner imageA Glimpse Into Havana’s Legendary Watering Hole | bigpictureone Family photo taken in 1941 at Havana’s Sloppy Joe’s, inspired this photo essay of events shortly before & after the start of WWII. Family chronicled as they arrive in Panama for reunion with my grandfather, evacuated & survive being stalked by German wolf-pack U-boat submarine. — multimedia essay – eLearning

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Star_Showr_Ref_Lk_BPP_e616https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/blinded-by-the-light-in-the-middle-of-night/  Photo essay on light pollution’s effects on night photography, astronomy, animal migrations & quality of life. Mount Rainier National Park & long exposure photographs of landscape & star constellations are featured in this essay. — multimedia, eLearning, STEM related content,  quizzes, resource links

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Aurora_Bor_BPP_il_0011_1https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/theres-nothing-new-under-the-sun-or-is-there/  Multimedia essay introduction to solar storms (including historical perspective), CME’s, effects of geomagnetic disturbances & potential threats to global electrical power grids. The connection between solar storm activity & aurora Borealis — eLearning, STEM related content, quizzes, resource links

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Orvi_Italy_BPP_E0412https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/exploring-etruscan-ruins-beneath-the-cliffs-of-medieval-orvieto-italy/ Multimedia essay on one of Europe’s best kept secrets — the medieval fortress citadel, Orvieto. Explores Etruscan ruins, grottos, medieval architecture, massive cathedrals & nearby Umbria countryside. Examines Etruscan art & its misunderstood cultural traditions under the shadow of the Roman Empire. — Critical thinking, World history & culture, travel, e-Learning, extensive photo gallery, quizzes, resource links

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Paint_Hills, BPP__42https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/1382/ Multimedia essay includes video interview with a National Park Service’s ranger on the unique geology & wildlife qualities of John Day National Monument’s Painted Hills. Video features exclusive walking tour, which occurs only once per year. — night photography, resource links

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Boe_ing_787_First_Flt_BPP_Bg404Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Historic First Flight From Paine Field, Everett, WA. | bigpictureone Historic first flight video of Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Everett facilities by BigPictureOne. Multimedia of Boeing Scientific photography experience related to aircraft structures & test engineering. — ELearning, STEM & CTE Ed, large photo gallery, quizzes, resource links

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SeaSPNed_BP_90_MRhttps://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/the-world-event-which-launched-seattle-into-a-post-modern-orbit-50-years-ago-today/  Multimedia essay explores an early postmodern World’s fair — known as Seattle’s Century 21 Worlds Fair, opened in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  e-Learning, STEM related content, quizzes, extensive photos

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twinT_WTC_NYC BPP_arl_44https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/the-day-after-911-ten-years-after/ Multimedia narrative of a 1998 visit to the NYC World Trade Center Towers & the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Seattle architect Minoru Yamasaki’s designs of the NYC Trade Centers are compared with his Seattle Science Center design for the Century 21 Worlds Fair —eLearning, critical thinking, extensive photo gallery, quizzes, resource links

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Snoqu_almie_Falls_BPP_Ae_6174Luminous Beauty of Low-light Photography | bigpictureone Photo essay tutorial on low-light photography. Strategies & techniques of using low noise sensors in digital cameras. Terms such as magic hour & HDR photography are explained. — eLearning, CTE related content, photo gallery

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Kingdome Demo_BPP_ 2KIngdome demolition March 26 2000 | bigpictureone Video multimedia essay of one of the World’s largest demolitions of Seattle Kingdome. E-learning, video tutorial (featured slow-motion & high-speed video effects), essay of event & aftermath from dust storm. Reference links included.

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Tech_abst_BPP__3ea1Will The Current Solar Storms Hitting Earth, Lead To Lights-out for us by 2013-2014? | bigpictureone A multimedia essay introduction to solar storms, history of geomagnetic effects on industrial & postmodern societies. Civil preparedness, Photos & videos of Aurora Borealis. STEM & solar physics undergraduate content, extensive photos, resource links

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Is Space Law Really That Far Over Your Head?

Sky_look_ BPP_ae208
  Multimedia Essay By: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights  

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 Part 1 of 2 Editions  – To view an alternative graphic format see: 
Science Tech Tablet | A site dedicated to technology, science and learning.
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Look upwards toward the sky on the next clear day or cloudless night and behold the new legal frontier unfold before your eyes. A mere 65 miles above sea-level, our atmosphere and gravity dwindles into space, where satellites begin to glide silently over Earth’s thin atmosphere. Only a fraction of human history has passed since man-made satellites were far and few between — but that time has since slipped away, replaced by an ever tightening metal jacket of used and disregarded manufactured, celestial artifacts. Almost at the start of the space race, “Space Law” was launched and it’s had an uphill battle to catchup with the unforeseen consequences of humanity’s reach for the heavens.

The German V-2 rocket was a sophisticated liquid propellant rocket, which first entered outer-space in 1942.
The German V-2 rocket was a sophisticated liquid propellant rocket, which first entered outer-space in 1942.

At times, defining what Space Law is or does is a nebulous task. This new form of law can be so abstract and full of contradictions that it resembles an art, rather than a science. Like creating a massive sculpture, it’s often a process which involves slow progress — developing over time through stages of careful analysis and discernment. Space Law will continue to transform itself by maturing, developing refinements and taking on new dimensions as needed.

There are basically three forms of law, which make up Space Law: 1.) Regulatory Law – sets standards which must be met for securing authority to launch a rocket vehicle.  2.) Tort Law – concerns damages which occur as a result of debris from rocket launch accidents or space and terrestrial impacts from orbital debris. 3.) Common Law – could be applied to circumstances relating to a private entity’s negligence, which causes damage from its orbital debris.

Back To Rocket Science Basics.

The basic blueprint for all modern rockets used in today’s space programs originated from the American physicist, Dr. Robert Goddard, who is considered the father of modern rockets. By the late 1930s, Goddard had tested a liquid propellant rocket — the rocket used vanes or fins near the thrust nozzle to help initial launch guidance and a gyro control for flight over the desert in New Mexico. The German scientist, Wernher von Braun’s V-2 rocket borrowed Goddard’s basic design for refinement and increased its scale for later mass productionUsed by the German military towards the end of World War II, V-2 or Aggreat-4 ( A-4) was successfully launched in 1942, making it the first human made object to enter outer space.

The V-2 was a sophisticated liquid propellant, single stage rocket, which had a top speed of 5,760 km/h (3,580 mph) and could reach an altitude of 206km (128 miles.) At the end of the war, the Americans, British and Russians took possession of all remaining V-2 rockets, along with German engineers, technicians and scientists working on the program. A high priority was placed on researching its capabilities, re-engineering and developing it for national security.

— The Paul Allen Flying Heritage Museum, located at Paine Field, Everett, WA, recently added an authentic V2 rocket for display.

American scientists James Van Allen and Sydney Chapman were able to convince the U.S. Government of the scientific value for launching rockets carrying satellites into space. A scientific effort in the early 1950s was begun, with the plan to launch American satellites by 1957 or 1958. The Russians surprised the World by launching the first satellite into orbit in 1957 named Sputnik.

First photograph from space & of the Earth, from a V-2 rocket in 1946 byU.S scientist.
First photograph from space & of the Earth in 1946, from a V-2 rocket at an altitude of 65 miles, by U.S. scientist. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Army
A modified V-2 rocket being launch on July 24, 1950. General Electric Company was prime contractor for the launch, Douglas Aircraft Company manufactured the second stage of the rocket & Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had major rocket design roles & test instrumentation. This was the first launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
A modified V-2 rocket being launch on July 24, 1950. General Electric Company was prime contractor for the launch, Douglas Aircraft Company manufactured the second stage of the rocket & the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had major rocket design roles & test instrumentation. This was the first launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo: courtesy of NASA/U.S. Army
Most major space portals or rocket launch site are located next to oceans or remote location to limit legal liability in case of failed launch. It's estimated 10 % of rocket launches end in failure. Photo illustration: David Johanson Vasquez ©
Most major space portals and rocket launch sites are located next to oceans or remote locations to limit legal liability in case of a failed launch. It’s estimated 8 % of rocket launches end in failure. Photo illustration: David Johanson Vasquez ©
What Goes Up Must Come Down.

Rocket launch programs have always had to contend with Newton’s law of gravity, today, these programs face new challenges with liability laws, to protect individuals and property from unexpected accidents.

Case Study:  The first time a major issue of liability occurred was in 1962, on a street within Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Apparently, a three-kilogram metal artifact from the Russian’s 1960, Sputnik 4 satellite launch, reentered the atmosphere unannounced, over an unsuspecting Midwest. The Russian’s denied it was theirs, fearing liability under international law. This event, helped set in motion, the 1963 Declaration on Legal Principals Governing the Activities of State in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. As an international agreement, it puts forth the responsibility to the State which launches or engages the launching of objects into space as internationally responsible for damages caused on Earth. In 1967, the agreement was slightly modified and was titled “Outer Space Treaty 1967.” 

A photo illustration of space debris from a low Earth orbit reentering the atmosphere over a city. Earth has water covering 70% of its surface — when attempts fail to guide space debris towards open oceans, the chance for these falling objects to hit a populated area increase. Space Law sets the liability for damages caused by the space debris to the nation or agency responsible responsible to its original rocket launch.
A photo illustration of space debris from a low Earth orbit reentering the atmosphere over a city. Earth has water covering 70% of its surface — when attempts fail to guide space debris towards open oceans, the chance for these falling objects to hit a populated area increase. Space Law sets the liability for damages caused by the space debris to the nation or agency responsible for its original rocket launch.

By 1984, the United Nations General Assembly, had adopted five sets of legal principles governing international law and cooperation in space activities. The principles include the following agreements and conventions.“Outer Space Treaty” – the use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (1967 – resolution 2222.) “Rescue Agreement” – the  agreement to rescue Astronauts/Cosmonauts, the Return of Astronauts/Cosmonauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space (1968 – resolution 2345.) “Liability Convention” – the Convention on International Liability for Damaged Caused by Space Objects (1972 – resolution 2777.) “Registration Convention” – the registration of  Objects Launched into Outer Space (1975 – resolution 3235.) “Moon Agreement” – the agreement Governing the Activities of  States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1979 – resolution 34/68.)

Because so many languages are involved with these international agreements, terms used in Space Law, often gets lost in translation. There are linguistic limitations and general lack of necessary definitions to adequately cover specific space concepts and activities using Space Law. Each Nation has its own agenda and vision concerning the development of space — then throw in multinational companies and things get really diluted when it comes to working out agreements regarding laws governing space.

Although most large "space junk" is monitored and efforts are made for reentry over uninhabited areas, satellites or sections of rockets can potentially fall anywhere.
Although most large “space debris” is monitored and great efforts are made for reentry to take place over uninhabited areas – satellites or sections of rockets can potentially fall anywhere.
Cuba Gives A New Meaning To A Cash Cow.

Case Study:  In November of 1960, the second stage of a U.S. A Thor rocket fell back to Earth and killed a cow grazing in Eastern Cuba. The final settlement required the U.S. Government to pay Cuba $2 million dollars in compensation — creating the world’s first “Cuban Cash Cow.”

Dramatic Rocket Launch Failures Associated With Space Exploration.

It’s estimated since the 1950s, of the nearly 8,000 rockets launched for space related missions, 8 % of rocket launches ended in failure (2012 spacelaunchreport.com.) The resulting anomalies have cost the lives of hundreds of astronauts, cosmonauts and civilians along with billions of dollars in losses. Here’s an abbreviated list of dramatic and tragic events associated with rocket launch failures. WA Okang SatDshBP_e1103

Vanguard TV3, December 9, 1957 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida (U.S.) was the first U.S. attempt at sending a satellite into orbit.  A first event of its kind to use a live televised broadcast, which ended by witnessing Vanguard’s explosive failure. Unfortunately this launch was a rushed reaction to the Soviet Union’s surprise success of launching the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, on October 23, 1957.

Vostok rocket, March 18, 1980, launched from Plesetsk, Russia (the world’s busiest spaceport). While being refueled the rocket exploded on the launch pad, killing 50, mostly young soldiers. (Source: New York Times article, published September 28, 1989)

Challenger STS-51-L Space Shuttle disaster, January 28, 1986, launched from Kennedy Space Center (U.S.) marked the first U.S. in-flight fatalities. After only 73 seconds from lift-off, faulty O-ring seals failed, releasing hot gases from the solid propellant rocket booster (SRB), which led to a catastrophic failure. Seven crew members were lost, including Christy McAullife,  selected by NASA’s Teacher in Space Program. McAullife was the first civilian to be trained as an astronaut — she would have been the first civilian to enter space, but tragically, the flight ended a short distance before reaching the edge of space. Recovery efforts for Challenger were the most expensive of any rocket launch disaster to date.

Long Mark 3B rocket launch, payload: American communication satellite, built by Space Systems Loral – February 14, 1996 in Xichang (China) – two seconds into launch, rocket pitched over just after clearing the launch tower and accelerated  horizontally a few hundred feet off the ground, before hitting a hill 22 seconds into its flight. The rocket slammed into a hillside exploding in a fireball above a nearby town, it’s estimated at least 100 people died in the resulting aftermath. Click on this link to read the complete eyewitness story. →    Disaster at Xichang | History of Flight | Air & Space Magazine

Delta 2, rocket launch – January 1997, Cape Canaveral (U.S.) – this rocket carried a new GPS satellite and ends in a spectacular explosion. Video link included to show examples of  worst case scenario of a rocket exploding only seconds after launch (note brightly burning rocket propellant cascading to the ground is known as “firebrand”.)  The short video has an interview with Chester Whitehair, former VP of Space Launch Operations Aerospace Corporation, who describes how the burning debris and toxic hydrochloric gas cloud fell into the Atlantic Ocean from the rocket explosion. Rocket launch sites and Spaceports are geographically chosen to mitigate rocket launch accidents . Click on this video link to see the rocket mishap. →    US rocket disasters – YouTube

Titan 4, rocket launch – August 1998, Cape Canaveral (U.S.) the last launch of a Titan rocket – with a military, top-secret satellite payload, was the most expensive rocket disaster to date – estimated loss of $ 1.3 Billion dollars.

VLS-3 rocket, launch  – August 2003, Alcantara (Brazil) – rocket exploded on the launch pad when the rocket booster was accidentally initiated during test 72 hours before its scheduled launch. Reports of at least 21 people were killed at the site.

World_spaceport-InterAf_Map

Global location, GPS coordinates & rocket debris fields of major Spaceports & launch sites. ( Click on map to enlarge)
Quiz ??? – Do you see any similarities in the geographic locations used for these launch sites? What advantages do these locations have regarding “Space Law?” For most rocket launches, which site has the greatest geographic advantage & why; which has the least advantage & why?
Location, Location, Location Benefits Rocket Launch Sites.

If you zoom into the above World map with its rocket launch sites, you’ll notice all the locations gravitate toward remote regions. Another feature most Spaceports share is large bodies of water located to the east, with the exception of the U.S. Vandenberg site. Less likely hood of people or property being harmed by a rocket which could experience a catastrophic failure is why oceans make a great safety barrier.  The legal liability for a launch vehicle is why all ships and aircraft are restricted from being anywhere near a rocket’s flight path. The rocket debris fields are marked with red highlights, this fallen debris is a highly toxic form of unspent fuel and oxidizers.

Most rockets are launched towards an easterly direction due to the Earth’s eastern rotation, which aids the rocket with extra momentum. An exception for an east directional launch is Vandenberg site in California, which launches most of its rockets south for polar orbits used by communication and mapping satellites.

Launching rockets closer to the equator gives a launch vehicle one more advantage — extra velocity gained from the Earth’s rotation near its equator. At the equator, our planet spins at a speed of 1675 kph (1040 mph,) compared to a spot near the Arctic Circle, which moves at a slower, 736 kph (457 mph.) Even the smallest advantage gained in velocity means a rocket requires less fuel to reach “escape velocity.” This fuel savings translates to a lighter launch vehicle, making the critical transition of leaving Earth’s gravitational field quicker.

The next edition of the Space Law series includes:
Potential Minefield Effects From Space Debris And The Regulatory Laws To Help Clean It Up.
Will Asteroid Mining Become The Next Big Gold Rush And What Laws Will Keep The Frontier Order?
Links And Resources For Space Law.

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International space law is emerging from its infancy, attempting to more clearly define itself from a nebulous amalgam of; agreements, amendments, codes, rules, regulations, jurisdictions, treaties and non-binding measures. There exists today, enough legal framework for commercial interest to move cautiously towards developing outer space. However, with the unforeseen variables & dynamics of space activities, exceptions will be made and rules will be stretched, if not broken to accommodate necessity, justification or exculpation. ~

Surprise space mission featured videos: Click → Boards of Canada – Dawn Chorus – YouTube   

→     Boards of Canada – Music is Math (HD)

→     Boards of Canada – Gemini – Fan Video on Vimeo
WA Okang SatDshBP_e1103
Links And Resources For Space Law.

The Space Review: International space law and commercial space activities: the rules do apply

Outlook on Space Law Over the Next 30 Years: Essays Published for the 30th … – Google Books

“SPACE FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MECHANISMS – DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM” by Frans G. von der Dunk

Asteroid mining: US company looks to space for precious metal | Science | The Guardian

Planetary Resources – The Asteroid Mining Company – News

5 of the Worst Space Launch Failures | Wired Science | Wired.com

Orbital Debris: A Technical Assessment

NASA Orbital Debris FAQs

‎orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/library/IAR_95_Document.pdf

A Minefield in Earth Orbit: How Space Debris Is Spinning Out of Control [Interactive]: Scientific American

SpaceX signs lease agreement at spaceport to test reusable rocket – latimes.com

Earth’s rotation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Space Review: Spacecraft stats and insights

Space Launch Report

V-2 rocket – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Billionaire Paul Allen gets V-2 rocket for aviation museum near Seattle – Science

Germany conducts first successful V-2 rocket test — History.com This Day in History — 10/3/1942

Part 1 of 2 editions – please check back soon for the conclusion of this essay. 
Photo illustration by: David Johanson Vasquez, using a NASA photo of Skylab.

Photo illustration of space debris by: David Johanson Vasquez, using a NASA photo of Skylab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG9LUSf_qK8 

 WA Okang SatDshBP_e1103

Reflecting on the 36th Anniversary of Mount Saint Helens Eruption

Observing the 33rd anniversary of Mount Saint Helens

Observing the 33rd anniversary of the Mount Saint Helens eruption, which had occurred on Sunday 18th of May 1980 at 8:32 a.m. on a clear sunny morning.

 

Photo essay by: David A Johanson © All Rights

Flying off from Seattle to see family in San Francisco, I peered out my window to catch a sunrise falling on the north face of Mt. Saint Helens. In the photograph, a fresh plume of ash is seen spewing near the center of the crater after some renewed volcanic activity. Spirit Lake, partially frozen in the foreground sits at the base of an active volcano. I’m humbled every time I see this famous stratovolcano, because of a close encounter I nearly had with it on the weekend it violently erupted.

After graduating from college, I received a job offer from KING Broadcasting’s KREM TV, in Spokane. While working at the station, Mount Saint Helens dramatically awoke, focusing the world’s media attention on her mysterious activity. The volcano’s rumblings increased sharply over a few weeks and was building momentum, just before I was planning a weekend visit to Seattle to stay with friends. Having access to the station’s motion picture cameras, I made preparations to use part of the weekend for filming Spirit Lake, which sat under the shadow of the volcano. A feisty character, named Harry R. Truman, operated a lodge on the lake and I imagined it would be a great human-interest story to interview him in regards to all the Mountain’s activity.

The art director at the TV station, Bob Takeshita, was a good friend, so we made plans to work on the project together. The weekend arrived for going to Seattle, and the weather had cleared, making it ideal for filming at Spirit Lake. To my disappointment, the art director informed me his wife didn’t want him to go that weekend. Since the plan was for us to work as a team, I let him know, I wasn’t going to hall all the camera gear up the mountain by myself—so we would have to postpone the shoot for another time.

Arriving back in Seattle, I was still disheartened by not going to film at Spirit Lake with such ideal weather. That night, I had this strange dream of being back in Spokane, where I was at my favorite lookout point, getting ready to take some photographic panoramas of the skyline. As I put the camera on the tripod, a clear spring sky turned suddenly dark. It was all vivid and so strange, but what made it even more surreal is… it began snowing gray powder flakes in the warm air as the ground disappeared underneath deposits of gray powder dust. Waking up in the morning I though how odd that dream was from the night before, but soon forgot about it as I had a busy day ahead of me.

As fate would have it, the following morning on May 18, 1980, Mt. Saint Helen’s, erupted with the force of several atomic bombs… burying my intended interviewee, Harry Truman and his lodge under hundreds of feet of volcanic debris. And the dream I had, was a premonition of ash from the eruption, which did make it to Spokane and deposited a blanket of ash, just as I had seen. Interestingly, no geologist or scientist had predicted if an eruption did occur, the result would be…a massive cloud of ash, blanketing hundreds of square miles in gray ash.  It was several days before I could get back to KREM TV, because the mountain passes were closed due to hazardous driving conditions caused from falling ash, which deposited ash on 11 states and parts of western Canada.

I never got a chance to thank my friend’s wife for not allowing him to go with me on that fateful weekend. If I get over to the Spokane area again, I’m going to look my friend up and bring his wife a belated bouquet of flowers for inadvertently saving our lives. ~

Video of Mount St. Helens Eruption

usda Forest Services Video

Interviews with Harry Truman at Spirit Lake

Computer animated video of Mount St. Helens Eruption

Click on the link bellow to view the largest volcanic eruption recorded in history

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ARBjmoHAII

Kradatoa – the largest volcanic eruption recorded in history,

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Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Historic First Flight From Paine Field, Everett, WA.

Multimedia and video essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

The presentation includes: Video of a 787 Dreamliner first flight, aerospace structural testing practices, aerospace engineering design practices, aerospace manufacturing, fiber composite materials.  

My video camera kit had been prepared months in advance, ready at a moment’s notice for the first maiden flight of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner—21st Century entry airliner.  Finally, Dave Waggoner, the director of Paine Field Airport, queued me into the date to witness an evolutionary advance in commercial aviation.

Cameras Packed And Ready To Go

My home is only a short drive from Boeing’s production facilities at Paine Field, Everett; so I was motivated to video record this “making of 21st century aviation history.”  Due to initial production delays, an entire year went by before I received reliable news of the 787-8 wide-body, long-range airliner was ready for her much-anticipated maiden flight. The 787 Dreamliner’s first flight was at 10:27 a.m. PST, December 15, 2009.

Experienced As A Boeing Scientific Photographer

The 787, first flight video project brought back some great memories from my former career as an aerospace photographer with the Boeing Company.  When first hired on by the iconic aviation leader, my assignment involved providing video support for the Everett plant’s test engineering groups, who were conducting bulkhead fatigue test on airline fuselages. In preceding years, some airlines began experiencing inflight catastrophic failures related to metal fatigue. Tragically  the determined cause was from the age of the aircraft, specifically, stresses created when interior cabins went through an excessive number of pressurization cycles.

BOE 747 skin_BP_Pbgl747

An event in the 1980s, of a Boeing 737 was dramatically documented as it safely landed with a massive section of the fuselage missing. The Aloha Airlines, 737 jetliner experienced a catastrophic failure due to metal fatigue. The metal fatigue issues caused from pressurization cycles on the aircraft were not clearly understood, so the FAA required engineering test to research the potential safety threat.A series of highly documented Test were conducted over a period of months; going through thousands of pressurized cycles.  The purpose was to recreate what a jet airliner physically experiences when the cabin is repeatedly pressured and unpressurized — as in every-time an airliner takes-off, gains altitude and eventually returns for its landing. Our team of scientific photographers had series of video cameras, strategically placed within the test bulkhead, which sat shrouded in layers of protective coatings, in a remote section of the Everett facilities. Over-pressurizing the bulkhead eventually caused the anticipated failure, announced  by a thunderous sound of cracking metal. The  bulkhead  test was well documented using various engineering test methods and imaging equipment. Valuable test data gathered was immediately analyzed, studied and put to methodical use for redesigning, engineering and manufacturing safer jet airlines.

Examining a fuselage section of the 787 which uses composite carbon fiber materials.

Boeing’s Traditional Practice Of Over-Engineering

It’s been my experience, which confirms for me, what commercial pilots and engineers claim regarding Boeing’s reputation with its conservative practice of “over-engineering” their aircraft.  Historically, an over-engineering approach has proven itself as a life saving benefit — with countless Boeing aircraft surviving horrific damage… yet, still landing safely. Documentaries on WWII aircraft feature  shot-up Boeing aircraft returning safely, is an example of over-engineering.

For teams performing test  monitoring, with elaborate configured structures,  attached string gauges and actuators trying to force a break of an airplane part — the aerospace test may go on for days, or even months — the experience feels like sitting in bleachers for hours while watching slow-motion glacier races in progress.  All the invested resources of  time and effort, which goes into these aerospace component test,  helps to assure the flying public’s safety and the airlines performance records.

Engineers enjoy seeing how much torturous abuse their designed support systems will take before they bend, crack or break.  At the instant  a component does finally fail [normally, after far exceeding the range of what the it was designed to do] you’ll hear a loud noise caused from a test-object going beyond its limit. The sound of a breaking part, ends the tension of monitoring a test for hours or days — in an instant, the group of test engineers and technicians start cheering like a goal was scored by a home team in a stadium full of their fans.

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner taxiing for its historic, maiden flight on December 15, 2009 from Paine Field Airport, Everett, WA.

Carbon Fiber Future In Aviation

One of many significant technological improvements for the new long-range, wide-body 787 Dreamliner, is a high percentage of composite, carbon fiber materials used in its construction. The amount of composite, materials employed in today’s aircraft have substantially increased from when it was initially developed  and used in military aircraft.  I recall, how amazingly light wing spares made of carbon fiber composite materials are, when moving them under lighting setups at Boeing’s Gateway studio.  It was fascinating observing and photographing the manufacturing of composite materials, as the process involves using massive heated autoclaves to form predesigned sections for aircraft structures.Now, remember the bulkhead test from a previous paragraph?  Carbon fiber composites eliminates the issue of metal fatigue associated with pressurizing  passenger cabin space.  Less concerns over metal fatigue allows for more pressurization  in the cabin for passenger comfort  — more importantly, the  integrated use of composite materials ensures greater safety, with substantially less risk to the structural integrity of the airliner.

Is Boeing’s Reliance On Outsourcing The Main Culprit For The 787 Dreamliner Being Grounded In A Global Lockdown?

In the past 15 years, Boeing’s upper management has broken formation from its traditional engineering leadership and replaced it by promoting executives with business and marketing backgrounds. The current Boeing regime embraces an outsourcing strategy, unfortunately, this trend of maximizing profits for shareholders has been on going with U.S. companies for the past two decades. Negative consequences of replacing an engineering management with a business one is clearly apparent in the power transmission industry — deregulation & marketing-driven-management  in the electric power industry has significantly placed this essential infrastructure at risk [overstretched power grid, vulnerable outdated high-power transformers.] Please see my multimedia essay – Will the Last People Remaining In America, Turn the Lights Back On? :http://sciencetechtablet.wordpress.com/tag/solar-storm-testimony-to-u-s-senate/                                           

                                                 Money_int _BPP_a223                                                                                                                                                 

A heavy dependence  on  foreign outsourcing is cited as a cause for unforeseen 787 production delays. Consistent, quality control monitoring becomes problematic when components are manufactured offsite, as result these issues can sometimes lead to extended,  unanticipated problems.photo illustration

Outside vendors are capable of producing equal, if not superior quality components to that of Boeing in some technical areas. In fact, there are legions of aerospace companies in the Puget Sound region, which supply critical parts to the 787 Dreamliner’s manufacturer. Some outsourcing is absolutely necessary for Boeing to compete with Airbus. The concern is outsourcing critical components in a new airplane program, which is attempting to use technology never used in a commercial airliner. It’s ironic, li-ion batteries are at the center of the 787’s grounding — lithium batteries have been a concern for over a decade to the FAA, TSA & NTSB, even leading to bans & restrictions for passenger’s to bring on commercial flights. It’s almost hubris or a form of high-risk gambling, to “initially” rely so heavily on outside vendors [GS Yuasa, the Japanese firm making the li-ion & Thales, the French corporation making the batteries’ control systems] for producing an unproven, prototype system. L PI CRTBD BPP et99

While working as a Boeing employee in the 1990s, I recall an incident with a vendor supplying thousands of counterfeit aircraft quality fasteners made in China. Fortunately, the fiasco was caught early — but not before many hours and dollars were lost, going back to inspect wings on the production line, to remove and replace the defective fasteners. Unless solid

photo illustration

 metrics are emplaced to assure critical standards are met for each component, it’s only a matter of time before a failure will occur. Boeing has traditionally been an aerospace company, which “over engineers” it airplanes & errors on the side of safety. Hopefully the company has maintained & continues to practice these quality assurances. Outsourcing is practical both economically and politically for companies with international sells. It’s a successful strategy Boeing has used for many years; outsourcing has proven to provide incentives for foreign airline companies to buy Boeing aircraft, in order to support their own domestic aerospace industries.            World_box_BPP_et424The American auto manufacture Tesla, had similar “thermal runaway” issues when first using li-ion batteries to power its Roadster. Tesla Motors, benefited from its learning curve by switching to Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, which run at cooler temperatures. The innovative auto manufacture also developed its own battery pack architecture, with proprietary liquid cooling system packs — for controlling battery cell temperatures within self-contained, metal lined enclosures.  The nontoxic, Tesla battery packs are manufactured domestically in Northern California. Perhaps Boeing should be considering manufacturing all critical systems in-house and domestically as Tesla has done.  Boe_ing_747_stock_BPP_E221

According to MIT Technology review’s – Kevin Bullis, who points to Boeing’s battery manufacture,  GS Yuasa’s web site ,  the 787 is using Lithium Cobalt Oxide batteries, which it also manufactures for the International Space Station. These batteries are categorized  as “high-energy storage capacity,” but are not considered resistant to heat as other battery chemistry. Another issue I’m speculating could contribute to the  787 li-ion batteries overheating relates to Boeing reintroduction of an [electrical compressing system] to provide higher pressurization for the cabin environment. This type of cabin pressurization system requires more electrical energy than standard systems, so could this be putting additional demands on the batteries? Part of the advantage to using more composite materials in the 787 was to reduce metal fatigue caused from the cabin pressurization cycles. The Dreamliner uses higher cabin pressure than most aircraft to make it more comfortable for passengers — however, li-ion battery manufactures specifically warns against over-pressurizing these batteries. Is the cabin pressure contributing to pushing the li-ion beyond their tolerance?

Whether or not the stated technical issues are of a real concern for the onboard battery system packs, can only be determined by thorough testing.L TEC ELMICROS BPP et211

Again, it’s to early to know the exact extent of the problem with the 787’s battery systems. The issue will soon be isolated, as Boeing has long history of thoroughly testing and over-engineering its aircraft systems. One thing is certain, it’s rare for Boeing to experience a new aircraft being grounded simultaneously by  Japan’s transport ministry and by the FAA.

Ultimately,  A Bright Future Awaits The 787 Dreamliner

Gaining profitable fuel savings by developing a lighter, wide-body aircraft, combined with the fuel-efficient, GE or Rolls Royce engines, produces a major advance for airliner capabilities.  The tangible benefits in comfort, interior lighting and convenience  contribute to a remarkable passenger experience.  All the evolutionary, technical advances in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, creates a remarkable new development  for commercial aviation. ~

Future of Flight Museum - Mount Rainier & Paine Field in background - Everett, WA

Future of Flight Museum – Mount Rainier & Paine Field in background – Everett, WA

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Maiden Flight – December 15, 2009 – Paine Field, Everett, WA.  Video by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights Reserved

Will The Current Solar Storms Hitting Earth, Lead To Lights-out for us by 2013-2014?

Essay and photos by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

 Solar Storm forecast & updates are located above the essay’s first paragraph. These updates will be posted anytime a major solar disturbance is cited. Please read the essay first and return at anytime to view posted updates.

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity
SDF Number 197 Issued at 2200Z on 15 Jul 2012

IA.  Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from  14/2100Z
to 15/2100Z:  Solar activity has been at low levels for the past 24
hours. Region 1520 (S17W48) remains the largest and most
magnetically complex region on the disk, however it has remained
rather stable and quiet. Regions 1521 (S21W60) and 1519 (S17W68) 
have been the most active regions producing low-level C-class
events. Both regions have shown moderate growth in sunspot area and
magnetic complexity. No Earth directed CMEs were observed during
the period.

IB.  Solar Activity Forecast:  Solar activity is expected to be at
low levels with a chance for M-class events for the next three days
(16-18 July).

Friday 13th, 2012— A massive X-Class Solar Flare, which occurred yesterday, is hurling  a coronal mass ejection (CME) towards Earth and will arrive approximately 5:17 A.M. EST according to NASA.  Several events involving this latest solar storm are unusual and are cause for concern: it’s the second massive X-Class (X is the most powerful class of Solar Flares) to take place within a week, the angle of the CME is pointed directly at Earth, potential sighting for the Northern Lights within the southern U.S., NOAA’s forecast is for a mild to moderate  geomagnetic storm on Earth, while NASA predicts a medium to severe storm to occur.

Earlier today, The Washington Post reported  of the conflicting geomagnetic forecast from the leading Federal agencies who monitor solar storms. Today’s events concerning solar storms are matching those cited in the featured February 2012 BPI  essay, indicating early warning of a destructive CME.

NOAA /   Prepared jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,
 Space Weather Prediction Center and the U.S. Air Force. 3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast issued Jul 08 22:00 UTC   http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/today.html

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be moderate with a chance for X-class events for the next three days (09-11 July).

Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly quiet on day one (09 July). Quiet to unsettled conditions are expected on day two (10 July), with a chance for isolated active periods due to possible weak effects from the CME observed on 06 July. A return to mostly quiet conditions is expected for day three (11 July).

This year has seen a steady influx of news reports on increased solar storm activity hitting  Earth. Most broadcasts concerning this development is of a less serious kind, featuring its spectacular visual effects, which creates the unworldly, “Northern Lights” or “Aurora Borealis.”  However, a few reports have mentioned necessary cancellations of airline flights using trans-polar flight routes—due to the sun’s disruptive solar flares. Intense solar activity is nothing new, but a recurring event—which has taken place countless times before civilization ever existed on Earth. What’s of concern today is the 11-year peak cycle, of which the sun now is entering, resulting in extreme solar storm activity.  Some solar physicists predict the current cycle of storms may have greater magnitude than any before, including the record solar maximum, chronicled over 150 years ago, in the year of 1859.

Why should anyone care if the solar storm activity becomes more intense than any other time in recorded history?  Simply stated‑‑‑civilization as we know it, could be stopped in its tracks or altered to resemble something not recognizable.

Imagine not being able to turn on lights for illuminating your home or office—communication by phone, email and social media all gone, with no guarantees as to when it could or would be back online. There’s other more challenging issues regarding basic food production and distribution. The cited scenarios are extreme, but are possible consequences from a major solar storm. These intense solar disruptions are known as a “coronal mass ejection” (CME), which could knockout virtually any technology, requiring electricity.  This event could take away most of the technology we depend on and ironically transport our way of life back to the time when the last great CME hit.

If you had a window, which peered back-in-time to the end of August, 1859; you’d see a developing western society on track with an industrial revolution in full-motion.  Harnessing the new wonders of steam energy was nearly complete, however, electrical energy barely had reached its first phase of infancy.  Few applications for electricity existed, except for a remarkable one in the form of instant communication.  By sending electrical pulses through copper wires to a remote electromagnetic receiver, messages were transmitted instantly over great distances. The telegraph could be considered a 19th century equivalent of today’s Internet. This system used a basic, universal binary code developed primarily by the American artist, Samuel F.B. Mores.  By the mid 19th century, scientist demystified electricity’s secrets, and inventors found ways to harness it for communication using “direct current.”

As the summer heat of September approached the northern hemisphere: a series of solar storms increased with startling intensity; producing extreme Northern Lights, which appeared in unlikely places, such as the Caribbean near the equator.  Inhabitants reported in Northeastern America of using the intense Northern Lights to read newspapers with, during the dark hours of night.  Other stories mention groups of people being awakened by this strange, bright light and believing it was actually morning.  All over the World, compasses used for navigation (the rough equivalent of today’s GPS) were no longer giving accurate readings as the Earth’s geomagnetic forces were being distorted by the solar storms energy.

Sunspots were first documented by Galileo in the 17th century, these solar disturbances contribute to solar storms.

Sunspots on the sun’s surface, contributes to forming solar storms, of which Galileo had first observed in the 17th century and by 1745 solar flares were well documented.  Up until 1859, the solar storms only known effects on humans were in producing dazzling display of cosmic fireworks, located far into the northern and southern hemispheres.

The uninformed, industrial age public had no reason for concern as the peak of the solar storm began arriving on September 1st and 2nd.  These extreme, violent sun flares, hurled enormous magnetic clouds of plasma into space, known as a—coronal mass ejection (CME). This CME solar storm became known as the Carrington Event, named for a British astronomer, who first recognized and identified its geomagnetic effects on Earth.

Solar ejections normally take three to four days before reaching Earth, but this extreme burst had a hyper-velocity, which took less than 18-hours for the shock waves to compress the Earth’s protective magnetic field.

 As a surge of solar electromagnetic energy overpowered and broke through part of the Earth’s own protective magnetic field, alarming events began happening.  First, came a series of random, garbled telegraph signals being picked up—which mysteriously, had not been sent by an operator—then reports of telegraph receivers violently bursting into flames —setting secondary fires to office papers along with telegraph lines themselves. Jolts of electricity nearly electrocuted some operators while attempting to disconnect the system’s electrical batteries; even with their disconnection, frenetic signals continued out-of-control from massive energy overflows—the geomagnetic super-storm was sending dangerous charges of electricity through a vast network of copper lines. The geomagnetic storm caused by the sun, devastated an emerging communication infrastructure and severely set back its development.

This record solar storm event appeared on the scene, well before societies and industries realized electricity’s great potential—unlike today with electricity as an essential necessity in just about every part of the technology we use and take for granted today.

Until recently, I’ve always looked forward to the Northern Lights dazzling arrival. I recall my first  Aurora Borealis encounter shortly after graduating from college, while on a road trip to the Olympic Rain Forest. Camping out in the Olympic Mountains, the northern sky began glowing at twilight with vivid illuminating curtains moving until they were flashing directly overhead. I kept watching the surreal specters until they exited out of view an hour later.

The next time I viewed these mysterious lights happened on a photography assignment to the “North Slope” oil fields, located above Alaska’s arctic circle. The Earth’s natural magnetic field, which protects the planet from much of the sun’s solar radiation, is weakest near the Earth’s polar regions; allowing for solar winds to enter and interact with our atmosphere to create the Aurora—this is why the cosmic lights are viewed while looking north, in the northern hemisphere and the reverse for the southern hemisphere.  

Captivated by the up-close experience of the Aurora’s light; I endured the extreme outside temperature which was minus 40 degrees.  Facing frigid arctic weather, I photographed the light show, until the springs controlling my camera’s shutter began to freeze up.

Actually today’s digital cameras make it easier to photograph the northern lights.  Digital cameras, especially high-end, professional versions are much more low light-sensitive than film camera were and have a better tonal-dynamic-range.  My all-time-favorite Northern Lights experience was in Eastern Washington, where I was at a ranch in the Okanogan region.  This encounter was so full of effervescent bright light, it woke up birds from a night sleep as they began to take flight while making loud, chirping sounds as if dawn had arrived. In this environment, with no light-pollution from a city, while located at a 5,000 foot elevation, made for an ideal night-sky photography experience.

In 2003 was one of the greatest solar flare events in contemporary history —the Northern Lights were so intense, I easily photographed them from my home in Western Washington.   Despite the bright lights coming from a nearby city, they did not obscure the luminous Aurora Borealis view. The referenced photos of the Northern Lights were taken from my home, are featured in this essay.  In these images you can see the glowing transient—green, red and purple color produced, as the sun’s energy interacts with various gas elements which comprise the Earth’s atmosphere.

The reason for solar flare events to peak in 2013 or possibly in early 2014, is due to the sun’s magnetic field reversing polarity within an 11-year cycle.  It takes a full 22-years for the sun’s magnetic fields to return to their original pole positions, which then completes a full cycle. Apparently, near the 11-year cycle, which our sun has entered, the solar flare activity becomes more intense.

The 1859 record solar maxim was on one of these 11 years cycles. Another theory connected with returning mammoth CMEs is the high quantity of sunspots recorded over the past couple of decades.  Sunspots appear when portions of our star’s internal superheated matter, mixes with cooler regions above the surface; creating intense magnetic fields. These magnetic fields are swept up, and then forced below the surface, where they become recycled by the sun’s complex quantum mechanics.  Energy from sunspots becomes amplified, creating even more extreme magnetic fields as they resurface form a four or five-year subsurface journey.  These magnetic disturbance interact to create concentrated arcs of solar energy, which are so powerful they are ejected outward in the form of solar flares.

Other methods scientist use for estimating the potential scale of this year’s solar storms is to examine recent solar cycles—looking for progressive trends or patterns for their projections.

In 1989 a CME hit the Earth with intense energy particles, causing the electrical grid in Quebec, Canada, to crash, which plunged millions of people into darkness.  This event took place during the “cold war” and it caused severe shortwave radio disruptions with Aurora Borealis sightings in south Texas.  Some believed the disruption was the beginning of a Soviet nuclear first strike, using intense electromagnetic energy to disrupt communications and electric grid infrastructure.  In reality the blackout was caused by a CME, created from the  sun’s own nuclear energy.  Acting like a giant teetering domino, the event triggered a chain reaction, taking down interconnecting electric networks within a large region of North America—but even this event was not on a scale with the mega storm of 1859.  That’s why some scientist view the 30-year old, Hydro-Quebec solar storm as a telegraphed alarm warning.

With demand for power growing even faster than the grids themselves, modern networks are sprawling, interconnected, and stressed to the limit—a recipe for trouble, according to the National Academy of Sciences:The scale and speed of problems that could occur on [these modern grids] have the potential to impact the power system in ways not previously experienced.” There’s fear the expanded network of lines creates a bigger antenna enabling it channel a geomagnetic induced current (GIC.)  NASA has become alarmed with how much more vulnerable the North American power grid has become, it co-developed an experimental program called “Solar Shield” to help warn utilities of impending geomagnetic storms.

Since 1989 we have become much more dependent on microelectronics, with their intricate architecture of high density, compressed components.  Having unshielded microcircuits squeezed tightly together increases the odds of severe damaged caused from geomagnetically induced currents (GICs).  The 1989 solar storm event damage at least 30 satellites, some  of which were beyond repair.  Solar storms can easily scramble the intricate digital components of low-orbit satellites and disorient them from knowing which way is up or down.

In theory, with enough warning, orbiting satellites are safely switched off or pointed away from the sun’s destructive radiation.  Early warning satellites are now positioned at a L1 point, geostationary orbit to monitor solar storms and announce threatening CME activity.  Solar Shield Project is a collaboration between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  The purpose of this project is for establishing a forecasting system, which can be used to lessen the impact of geomagnetically induced current (GIC) on high-voltage power transmission systems. (Please see associated link bellow for more information.)

The Earths atmosphere and magnetic fields normally protects us from the harmful solar storm’s radiation.  Higher exposure to the sun’s powerful energy becomes a factor once you start climbing in elevation. Radiation exposure is a secondary reason why airlines must divert from their trans-polar routes, to avoid excessive exposure.

Disruption of GPS and radio communication from the solar storms is the primary reason for flight diversions.  Astronauts working above Earth’s protective atmosphere face the greatest risk from such effects caused from solar flares. These stellar storms have shortened or alter a number of space missions in the past. The Russian’s space station MIR in 1993 had an unfortunate encounter with a solar storm, exposing the cosmonauts to dangerous levels of over 10 times the normal allowable radiation limits.                              

What could be warning signs or likely indicators of an impending maxim solar disturbance?  So far, NASA and NOAA are the only government agencies I’m aware of who’s keeping the public informed with the most current status of solar flares.

At the end of this essay are links, which give important information on this year’s solar storms including: NASA and NOAA sites, which monitor hourly conditions. If solar storm activity becomes alarming, NASA will most likely be out front with the reports and major news networks will probably soon follow.  If a certain threshold of (x-rays) is reached within the first phase of a major solar storm, the FAA will order cancellations of airlines with trans-polar flights.  Disruption of shortwave radio communication is the earliest indicator of a severe storm.  If conditions become dire, all but emergency flights would be grounded indefinitely.

 - Image courtesy of NASA

– Image courtesy of NASA

If NASA issued orders to evacuate astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS), this would probably be a strong indicator the radiation levels from the second phase of a storm are severe. Supposedly the center of the Space Station has enough mass to offer some protection from this type of event, but NASA would probably play it safe and order emergency return flights, that is, if there was enough time. Seeing the Northern Lights close to the equator would be a strong indicator the Earth’s geomagnetic fields were being overrun, meaning the big one might be arriving.  If a major CME  (the particle phase of a storm) 752830main_iss036e002224_fullcomes our way, there may be 18 hours or less to prepare.  On the positive side, unlike a major earthquake or other natural disasters we at least would have some time to prepare and be ready to brace for a worst case scenario.

.

It would be an unfortunate irony if the sun made our world go dark, but here’s how it could happen. The National Academy of Science produced a 2008 report warning, if we had another major solar storm like the 1859 Carrington event, we would have extensive blackouts with the loss of key transformers.  Our Nation’s electrical utilities have in all total, less than 400 major transformers to supply all the power we use. There are no longer any companies within the U.S., which make massive sized transformers. If an extreme solar maxim arrives, we’ll probably be on a long waiting list (along with the rest of the world) for key replacements. Given enough time, these massive electrical components can be built domestically, but it could take years — a major obstacle and a catch-22 — transformers require huge amounts of electricity for their construction.

Even without a disaster happening, electric utilities face a minimum of two-years from when a major transformer (average cost 4 million dollars) is ordered and finally installed (according to a global, equipment insurance company.) Critical shortages of raw materials and trained workforce for transformer installation contribute to this problem. Hopefully the utility company supplying your community power, learned a lesson from the 1989 Hydro-Quebec blackout. There are preventive strategies to guard against geomagnetic induced current (GIC)—such as a “solid ground system;” which is an industry design to help protect electrical infrastructure from a nuclear induced: electromagnetic pulse (EMP.)

An EMP creates a tremendous amount of electromagnetic energy, similar in some ways to a naturally occurring solar storm CME.  The next best plan for the electric utilities will be to disconnect the power lines from any plant’s key equipment threatened by massive surges of electromagnetic energy.  Just disconnecting lines could prove ineffective if a surge was big enough. The  connecting leads to a transformer could possibly be used as an antenna for attracting the surge of electromagnetic energy.

There is something you can do to protect your own electrical devices from the devastating effects of either a solar CME or a nuclear EMP.  You can easily, with very little cost, build what is known as a Faraday cage to protect your equipment.  For instance for: a radio, cell phone or batteries (all of which are vulnerable to massive electrical surges;) you first wrap the devices in thick plastic like a freezer bag or bubble wrap, then use three layers of aluminum foil to completely wrap the devices so there are no gaps. The plastic acts as an insulator from the metal foil which intern deflects energy.

I’ve include a web link to an electrical engineer’s website who explains the procedures and others for protecting against Solar CMEs or EMPs. You can also do a google search for Faraday cage.  Unplugging your electrical equipment from outlets is a good safety precaution, which ordinarily could protect you against a lighting storms, but will probably not prevent your electronics from being fried from a major CME.  If you remembered what happen to the telegraph system, which was hit by the largest CME in history in 1859, the electromagnetic energy used the unconnected wires from the telegraph as an antenna to channel its force through. Tesla, the great Hungarian born inventor who championed AC electrical power, proved electrical transmission could efficiently be sent through air without using power lines.

One other critical infrastructure which could be devastated from an CME or EMP is major pipelines.  The metal in power-lines an pipelines is a great conductor for geomagnetic energy. Testing has shown electromagnetic surges can effect the controls for monitoring pressure and flow of buried high-pressure pipelines. In Russia, it was found past solar storms have caused severe corrosion effects on some of its pipeline.  Apparently, the corrosion effects is not as much of an issue in the North America because the pipes are manufactured using a more advanced process.

For most civil preparedness involving impending emergencies, it’s best to listen to experts who advise: always have enough: food, water and flashlights on hand to survive what happens after a major natural disaster event occurs.  A good plan for how to keep in contact with family members will be critical if a major solar storm event occurs; especially with an extreme maxim CME, as communication equipment will be toast unless it was properly shielded from the event. Self-reliance is a good policy to help sustain individuals and families from the effects due to a major solar storm or catastrophe. Most  common-sense preparations mentioned in this essay are basics ones every family should have in-place, in case of an earthquake or any major disaster occurrence.

Will a decimating solar storm hit in 2013 or 2014?  No one can forecast for certain how severe this solar maxim will or will not be—however, if there’s enough strength behind the solar storm and its path becomes directly aimed towards Earth, then it could be the greatest challenge civilization has ever faced. Learning from the lessons of history has been an essential part of the human experience—we successfully thrive in the moment by learning from histories past events. This seems so obvious for self-preservation, but it involves a fine-tuned balancing process—between what we carefully choose to forget of painful tragedies, versus remembering our own inspirational triumphs. Ideally, the value of any-type of learning, produces confidence and preparedness for future encounters, situations and events.

Given a solar CMEs disruptive potential, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to judge the potential risk; then have an action-plan to help lessen the life-altering impact from an extreme-act-of-nature.  Personally, I don’t sense any impending doom with this year’s solar maxim.  By doing basic research, to become educated on solar events, I gained knowledge on the potential for some disruption to our infrastructure. With informed awareness, I’m confident I’ve taken the necessary precautions for my family to best be ready for this and any future natural disasters, which may arrive from over the horizon. ~

The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights have been revered and feared by ancient and prehistoric cultures. The phenomena are created from solar winds colliding and interacting with Earth’s atmosphere

Bellow are useful links related to the subject solar storms including official government agencies including: NASA and NOAA.  Other sites and articles include those from: National Geographic, Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor.

You’re encouraged to click on the links below to learn more about solar storms. ↓

A most beautiful video time-lapse of the Aurora Borealis  http://vimeo.com/11407018

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

http:science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/23oct_superstorm/

Solar Shield Project is a collaborative project between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  http://ccmc.gsfc.nasa.govAn electrical engineer, who gives great information on how to protect your electrical components from EMP blast, produces this site. He also offers an expert opinion of what to expect will happen to our Nation’s electrical grid, if such an event occurs. http://www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-protection.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/Cool-Astronomy/2010/0809/Could-a-solar-storm-send-us-back-to-the-Stone-Age

http://www.flixxy.com/solar-storm-1859.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/120308-solar-flare-storm-sun-space-weather-science-aurora/

auroras-flights-sun-earth-space-science

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Paine Field in the Pacific Northwest is becoming an aviation mecca.

  

In
Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid-May, located next to a vast aviation center— including the world largest building (by volume), where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of its commercial aircraft. Included in the aviation center is an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport.

General Aviation Day 2013, is on, Saturday, May 18th, Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For details please visit:  http://www.painefield.com/

General Aviation Day 2012, is on, Saturday, May 19th, for details please visit:  http://www.painefield.com/    

 

Photos & story by: David Johanson Vasquez  © All Rights

    Wow, I knew to expect a great event from the warbirds appearing at the General Aviation Day, but I had known idea it would be so fantastic! This dynamic annual aircraft exhibition held at Paine Field in Everett, WA has one of the best settings for such an event and is becoming a major “aviation mecca.”

A surprise appearance of a Boeing Dreamlifter has photographers scrambling to get a shot.

Aerial view of Paine Field Airport, in Everett, WA, looking north. The airfield in managed by Snohomish County.

Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid May, located next to a vast aviation center; including the world largest building (by volume), where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of it’s commercial aircraft, along with an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport.  Located next to these aviation assets are Paul Allen’s, (cofounder of Microsoft and commercial space visionary/developer) Flying Heritage Collection and John T. Session’s (Seattle attorney and entrepreneur) Historic Flight Foundation.

    It’s remarkable this quality of event has such minimal admission fees, yet it offers the public a rare opportunity to walk right next to these historic World War II airplanes; to look inside at flight controls and touch the aircraft aluminum skin of these fierce flying machines. Only minutes later these same vintage World War II fighters, bombers and scout planes are beginning to fire up their inline and radial engines; which sounds like a monstrous dragon clearing it’s throat until there’s just a steady roar that grabs everyone’s attention. As one airplane after another takes off and returns making multiple passes, spectators are lining the edge of the airfield and to watch in awe.

Formation flying over a navy blue warbird with her mighty wings folded.

    At midday the participating, Historic Flight Foundation open house began. Within the Foundation’s grounds were scores of World War II aircraft, along with dozens of people in army uniforms of the era; I had to remind myself… this was not a movie I was watching, nor a dream… but an actual live event. Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have outdone the staging or realism for this assortment of warbirds, soldiers in uniform and military equipment of the era.

Is that Steven Spielberg

Is that Steven Spielberg wearing an aviation hat in the background? No, it’s John T. Sessions, founder of Historic Flight Foundation.

Having taught history of photography courses,  I added some postmodern sepia to photos from the event.

Constructed in 1936, Paine Field was a works progress administration project during the great depression. Most of the vintage collections began flying shortly after the Field started operating, so it’s fitting the warbirds are now roosting here. Inspired by history and the original purpose for these aircraft; I employed digital post production techniques for the images in an attempt to recreate a photographic “look” of the 1930’s and 1940’s. In particular, sepia-tone as well as early Kodachrome transparencies inspired my recreated images.

This image looks so authentic, as if it could’ve been taken 60 years ago.

Another birds-eye view of the warbirds.

It’s rare to see such multigenerational enthusiasm for a public event. Especially seen within children and adolescent’s eyes were  genuine looks of awe and wonder from what these aircraft inspire. Seeing the kids excitement resonated with my own memories about aviation when I was a youth. The fact that these historic fighters and bombers were not just static displays — but actually flying at “tree-top-levels”  — whose roaring, rumbling engines you could feel, hear, and smell –captivated every age-group’s attention.

Cub Scouts enjoying the day, viewing vintage aircraft making fly-overs.

One particular image in the photomontage series below, captures the wonder within faces of a group of youth standing underneath the wing of a Historic Flight Foundation bomber, just as an aircraft roars nearby. The adage –“a picture, tells a thousand words” applies to this one; but also simply put…  a face can sum it up with just one… wow!

Hope for the future, by remembering the past.

Female pilot inspects the B25 she’s ready to take into the sky.

Here’s my flying quote of the day — “Both optimist and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” ~ Gil Ster

Look, up in the sky it’s a tight formation of warbirds.

Yes, that tough cat really does have claws.

“Navy blue” ready for takeoff with a ribbon of Cascade Mountains in background.

Looking and touching is encouraged for a great live interactive experience.

An awesome flyby with two fighters accompanying a B25 bomber.

Up close and personal views of warbird taxing for takeoff.

Plane spotting groupie at Paine Field’s GAD vintage airshow.

This warbird isn’t shy and knows how to be a crowd pleaser!

Never a dull moment for a full house, and plenty of flybys to see.

For over three generations these warbirds still inspire awe on the faces of youth and elders alike.

Something for the entire family to enjoy, learn and share from.

Another target rich environment for photographers.

Inspired by the wings of flight.

A target rich environment for airplane spotting photographers.

This vintage navy warbird gets ready to fly by modern Boeing airliners.

Mom and dad with kids in tow to see a great show.

A sunshine halo encircles vintage warbirds returning home from a successful flight.

Father and son with a birds-eye view from top of the world.