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Chinese Fighter Intercepts | 757 Hydraulic Failure | Charges Dropped Against Army Colonel

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

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The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee.”
-Gunter’s Second Law of Air Travel

🎙️ Listen to The Lowdown on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. We dive a bit deeper and share some “bonus” thoughts.

🎙️ TAP #83 Drops Thursday with MSgt Brett Yoakum who shares his experience as a C-17 loadmaster during the evacuation of Afghanistan and his time in law enforcement.  Patrons get early access, ad-free, and “There I was…” exclusives.

Lowdown: 3-1 Brevity communication for a request for the tactical ground picture in an area of interest.


✈️ The preliminary report from the NTSB for the FedEx 757 was released on October 20th. The aircraft experienced a left system hydraulic failure, which ultimately resulted in the failure of the gear to extend both normally and attempting to extend using the alternate method (and the keyboards fell silent. 👈 all the internet warriors who chimed in with “They should have alternate gear extended).  

FedEx 1376 After Gear up Landing in Chattanooga,TN

FedEx 1376 After Gear up Landing in Chattanooga,TN

✈️ An American Airlines Boeing 737-800, flight AA575, faced an issue of unreliable airspeed shortly after taking off from Washington National to Miami. The crew halted the climb at approximately 11,000 feet and diverted to Washington Dulles Airport. While this might sound mundane, this can quickly cause confusion and easily lead to a significant mishap.

Of Note: The 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 resulted in the deaths of all 228 souls on board. The aircraft encountered icing that clogged the pitot tubes, resulting in erroneous airspeed indications. Unfortunately, the pilot’s flying did not recognize the erroneous indication and subsequently stalled the aircraft which fell, fully stalled, 38,000 to the ocean below.

✈️ The U.S. Air Force is preparing to fly its first T-7A Red Hawk trainer to Edwards Air Force Base in California for further testing, following initial tests at Boeing's facility in St. Louis, Missouri. The T-7A, designed to emulate fifth-generation fighters, is set to replace the aging T-38 Talon , though it has faced delays due to issues with its escape system and flight control software. The aircraft is expected to reach initial operational capability by spring 2027.

T-7 Taking Off

Fun Fact: 1,100 T-38’s were delivered to the USAF between 1961 and 1972 at a cost of $756,000 (or roughly $7.8 million in 2023 dollars). Currently, the USAF has a little over 540 T-38s in inventory.

✈️ The Reno Air Racing Association is evaluating six cities as the next host for the National Championship Air Races, with a decision expected early next year. The cities were shortlisted based on their potential to meet the event's logistical and infrastructural needs.
Shortlisted Cities:
- Casper, WY
- Buckeye, AZ
- Pueblo, CO
- Roswell, NM
- Thermal, CA
- Wendover, UT

In Partnership with Bogidope.com


🎯 The Pentagon has disclosed footage of over 180 intercepts of U.S. warplanes by Chinese aircraft in the past two years, a number exceeding the total intercepts of the previous decade. This revelation, part of an upcoming annual report on China's military power and potential security threats to Indo-Pacific partners, underscores a concerning trend. The Chinese flights, described as risky and aggressive, are seen as part of China's broader pattern of regional intimidation that could inadvertently lead to conflict. See more photos here

Chinese J-11

🎯 All charges against Col. Jon Meredith, previously accused of sexual assault and conduct unbecoming of an officer, have been dropped by the Army. The pivotal turn in the case was the discovery of text messages between the accuser and her husband, whom Meredith had given an unfavorable performance report, conspiring to make the assault allegation. While the criminal charges are dismissed, he still faces administrative action for conduct unbecoming.

🎯 In response to escalating actions by Iran and its proxies in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has announced Saturday enhanced military measures to strengthen regional security and protect U.S. forces and allies. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group has been redirected to join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group in the Central Command area, amplifying naval presence and response capabilities. Additionally, a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and extra Patriot battalions are being deployed for increased force protection. Austin emphasizes ongoing assessments to determine the need for additional military deployments in the region.

🎯 The U.S. Navy’s USS Carney intercepted three missiles and several drones launched by Houthi forces in Yemen, marking a significant escalation in the Middle East. The missiles, potentially headed towards Israel, were taken down over the northern Red Sea. This incident follows a series of drone attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.v


🌎 Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing to strengthen their "no-limits" partnership amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine. Putin, under an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court due to accusations related to Ukraine, was warmly received by Xi, marking his second trip abroad since the warrant was issued. The visit highlighted the deepening ties between Russia and China, undeterred by Western criticism. Both leaders are set to speak at the third Belt and Road Forum, an international cooperation initiative led by Xi, emphasizing their robust alliance and mutual support on the global stage. 

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping shaking hands

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping

🌎 Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warned of expected preemptive action against Israel due to its bombing of Gaza, as reported by Iranian state TV. The warning comes amidst Israel's ongoing air campaign against Hamas in Gaza, with the conflict having claimed over 4,000 lives. Amirabdollahian stated that all options are open and that the resistance front is prepared for a long-term war with Israel. U.S. officials are concerned about the potential involvement of the Iran-backed Hezbollah in the conflict.

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