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757 Gear Up Landing | Near Miss at 23,000 Feet | Su-35 Shot Down By Friendly Fire

Your insider view into the latest in aviation, defense, and geopolitics

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"Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute."
-George Bernard Shaw

🎙️ TAP #81 Drops Monday Sam McIntyre.  Sam is a recently retired Special Operations U-28 pilot. Read his Distinguished Flying Cross citation here to get an idea of what is in store. Patrons get early access, ad-free, and “There I was…” exclusives.
🎙️ The Lowdown will return soon…life +travel + sick kiddos + normal podcast = missed Lowdowns.

U-28 Orbiting above an undisclosed location

U-28 Orbiting above an undisclosed location

🎙️ We re-released TAP #57 this week to honor Richard McSpadden, who was tragically killed in a general aviation mishap this week. His “There I was…” story was also re-released for all to listen (Apple and Spotify)

🎙️Thanks for subscribing here are a few free 👉 "There I was…" stories.👈 Hope you enjoy!

Flight Line
Richard McSpadden's Tragic Crash Richard McSpadden, the executive director of AOPA’s Air Safety Institute, tragically died in a plane crash on Sunday October 1st. McSpadden was a seasoned fighter pilot, former USAF Thunderbird Commander, and advocate for aviation safety who left an indelible mark on the aviation community.

The loss of Richard is not only a personal tragedy but also a significant loss to the aviation community. I'm honored to have been able to chat with him in the podcast back on episode 57.

Richard McSpadden

Richard McSpadden

FedEx 757 Gear Up Landing A FedEx Boeing 757-200 freighter made an emergency landing at Chattanooga Airport after experiencing issues with their hydraulics and, subsequently, unsafe gear indication.
No one asked me, but here is my opinion: We won’t know the details for some time but hats off to this crew for getting this plane safely on the ground…it doesn’t always end this positive. Lots of “Kyle’s” out there who have said the crew should have used the alternate gear extension. Thanks for your valuable insight… I guarantee this crew brought into the problem-solving matrix FedEx maintenance, tech pilots, and more via SATCOM etc to try and work this issue. They weren’t making decisions in a vacuum for 85 minutes.

757 Gear Up Landing

757 Gear Up Landing

TCAS Saves the Day An Allegiant A320 was cruising at 23,000 feet when the crew received a TCAS resolution advisory with a co-altitude business jet. The A320 rapidly climbed 700 feet to avoid the collision. Unfortunately, two cabin crew and one passenger were injured. (TCAS - Traffic Collision Avoidance System)
No one asked me, but here is my opinion: Even today, things can go sideways fast. Technology helped save the day on this one.. Operating in Class A airspace (above 18,0000), you are under the control of air traffic control, and even then, planes can end up trying to occupy the same piece of air at the same time…which never works out.

TCAS analyzes data from aircraft transponders, and if it detects a potential collision, it will direct aircraft to maneuver in opposite directions to avoid a conflict. There’s a bit more to it but that’s the big picture. #science

Tell me about it…

The first 757-200 was rolled out of the Renton, Washington factory on January 13, 1982, and it made its maiden flight on February 19, 1982. The production of the 757 ended on November 28, 2005, after the final aircraft was delivered to Shanghai Airlines. A total of 1,050 Boeing 757s were built.

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✈️ Russia Shoots Down Its Own Jet Russian forces accidentally shot down their own Su-35 fighter jet during a military exercise. The pilot safely ejected, and an investigation is underway.
No one asked me, but here is my opinion: I mean….noted. Who knows if this is true or not but given the way things are going over there and rumored or factual protocols from various operational procedures this isn’t too shocking.

✈️  Italian F-35 Intercepts Su-30 An Italian F-35 intercepted a Russian Su-30 fighter jet . The Italian F-35s were scrambled from Poland.

SU-30SM intercepted by Italian F-35

✈️ U.S. F-16 Shoots Down Turkish Drone A U.S. F-16 shot down a Turkish drone over Syria, marking a significant escalation in the region's complex conflict.
No one asked me, but here is my opinion: The downing of a Turkish drone by a U.S. fighter jet underscores the complex and volatile nature of the Syrian conflict. Remember Turkey is a NATO member AND we have bases in Turkey…let that sink in.

✈️ F-15EX Unit Cost A new report reveals the unit cost of the F-15EX at $93 million per jet, up from $80 million.
No one asked me, but here is my opinion: An F-35 currently costs approximately $80 million per unit.

Tell me about it…

To date over 960 F-35s have been delivered to 14 Air Forces across the globe.

Around the Globe
✈️  Sinaloa Cartel Fentanyl Production Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel has ramped up its fentanyl production, leading to a surge in overdose deaths in the United States. The cartel’s increased production capacity poses a significant challenge to both U.S. and Mexican authorities.
No One Asked Me, But Here’s My Opinion: I’m guessing this isn’t out of the goodness of their hearts. There is either another means to higher profitability or trying to take some of the heat off their operations.

✈️ Niger Coup and Cold War Geopolitics The recent coup in Niger is seen as a return to Cold War-era geopolitics in Africa, with external powers influencing internal politics. The coup plotters chanted Russian slogans and waived Russian flags.

Mohamed Toumba, one of the leading figures in the military government that seized power in Niger last month

No one asked me, but here is my opinion: The “coup” in Niger, which US Officials have not officially called it a coup because that would cut millions in aid to Niger. Niger is the world’s 6th largest exporter of uranium and hosts drone bases for the U.S. and France to combat Islamic extremism in the region.

Low Down
Lowdown: A request for the tactical ground picture in an area of interest.
  • Ukrainian Soldier Calls Russian Tech Support when a captured Russian tank wouldn't start. I mean why not?

  • Syrian Military College Drone Strike A drone strike targeted a military college ceremony in Syria.

  • Russian Submarine in Swedish Waters Swedish authorities could not rule out the incursion of a foreign submarine in its waters, raising concerns about potential security breaches.

  • Chinese Satellite Destruction Test China reportedly conducted a test that destroyed a satellite.

  • The U.S. Air Force's Rapid Dragon program, focusing on palletized munitions, has garnered attention from the Chinese Communist Party Central Military Commission, according to the China National Defense News, due to its potential to launch significant firepower quickly.

  • Norway has marked a significant milestone by successfully landing two F-35As on a highway, showcasing enhanced tactical survivability and flexibility of military assets during large-scale conflicts.

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