One of the gorgeous MD520Ns of the Burbank Glendale Police Air Support Unit, resting on the ramp after an evening sortie. #mdhelicopters #notar #alea #glandalepd #burbankpolice #airsupport#lawenforcement #lawenforcementaviation #flir #md520n #heliweb #helicopter #rotarywing #whirlybird #heli #instahelicopter #instaheli #airbornelawenforcement #police #fly_bur #police #internationalsocietyforaviationphotography #aviation #avgeek#avgeeks#aviationphotography #heliphotos (at Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR))
three separate off duty commercial aviators photographed cumulonimbus clouds illuminated by flashes of lightning from their planes.
otherwise known as thunderclouds, cumulonimbus are the only cloud type that can produce hail, thunder and lighting. the base of the cloud is often flat with a very dark wall like feature hanging underneath, and may only lie a few hundred feet above the earth’s surface.
cumulonimbus clouds are created through convection, often growing from small cumulus clouds over a hot surface.they get increasingly big until they represent huge powerhouses, storing the same amount of energy as ten hiroshima sized atom bombs.
although the storm looks formidable, today’s airliners have advanced equipment to circle around storms this big without entering any dangerous zones.
On September 21st, 1956 Grumman test pilot and World War II veteran Thomas W. Attridge Jr. took off in a F11F Tiger fighter plane on a test flight over the Atlantic. His mission was simple, to do a weapons test by strafing an part of the ocean. Once in the designated area,
Attridge entered a shallow dive from an altitude of 20,000 feet and readied his cannon. The F11F was armed with four Colt Mark 12 20mm cannon, which were capable of firing at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. Once he reached 13,000 feet, he fired a four second burst from his guns. He then kicked in his afterburners, steepened his dive, and fired another burst from his guns at 7,000 feet, then pulled out of the dive. It was then that Attridge was alerted to a loud series of clangs and his windshield buckled inward.
Attridge believed that he had struck birds, and thus decided to return to base. However, as he made his way back to the airfield, he began to lose engine power. A half mile short of the runway the engine gave out entirely. Attridge was forced to make an emergency landing in the forest below, crashing into the trees and shearing off the aircraft’s wings. The fuel of the jet ignited, but Attridge was able to scramble out of the cockpit despite suffering a broken leg and three fractured vertebrae.
After the crash an investigation into the incident revealed what had happened. It was no a bird strike as Attridge had believed, rather the jet was found to be peppered with 20mm dummy training rounds, some of which were lodged in the engine. As it turns out, when Attridge first fired his guns then accelerated, he outran his own stream of cannon projectiles, which had slowed due to air friction. Once Attridge pulled out of the dive, the cannon projectiles caught up with him, and in a one in a million shot managed to strike his aircraft.
The story of Attridge’s self shoot down became water cooler talk among combat aviators around the world. Today, pilots are taught to either pull up or turn off course to avoid a similar accident.