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Japan Airlines Collision | B-1 Crew Ejects | TSA Director Arrested | Houthi Drone Boats

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

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“Pilots take no special joy in walking”
-Neil Armstrong

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

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


January 3rd, 1944 - VMF-214 - Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, was the commander of the VMF-214, known as the "Black Sheep." In January 1944, he scored his 26th aerial victory, tying WWI ace Eddie Rickenbacker.

Colonel “Pappy” Boyington

At 0800L 48 U.S. Fighters were to conduct a sweep mission of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. During the engagement, he downed three enemy fighters. During the engagement both he and his wingman would be shot down. Boyinton was captured by a Japanese submarine and spent the remainder of the war in captivity. According to Boyington, he was never issued POW status by the Japanese, nor was the Red Cross notified. Boyinton was awarded the Medal of Honor in March of 1944 (while in captivity), the Medal of Honor was held for him in the Capital until his return.


✈️ Runway Incursion A Japan Airlines A-350, flight number 516, from Sapporo to Tokyo Haneda, collided with a Japanese Coast Guard Dash-8. 367 passengers and 12 crew from the A-350 successfully egressed. All five crew on board the Dash 8 perished.

✈️ Emergency Exit Blows Open Alaskan Air flight 1282, a 737-900 Max, from Portland,OR to Ontario, CA, had one of its emergency exit windows depart the aircraft on climb out. The seat was unoccupied but it was reported a nearby passenger had his shirt sucked out the aircraft.  

Row 26, Alaskan Air Flight 1282

✈️ B-1 Bomber Crash | Crew Ejects - A B-1 bomber crashed at Ellsworth AFB while attempting to land on January 4th at approximately 5:50 pm local time. Weather conditions were reported poor at the time with low-visibility and freezing conditions.

✈️ AerSale SkyLens | FAA Green Light - AerSale's SkyLens has received FAA Supplemental Type Certificate approval for a wearable display for pilots in Boeing B737NG aircraft. The HWD provides a 180-degree, which enhances visibility and situational awareness in challenging conditions.

✈️ TSA Director | Arrested - Maxine McManaman, TSA Assistant Federal Security Director, was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta. Charged with assisting in forging documents to transfer property from a relative with dementia to herself and an accomplice, McManaman faces a third-degree felony charge of forgery.

In Partnership with Bogidope.com


🎯 DOD Releases Extremism Report - The “Study on Extremist Activity within the Total Force” completed in July 2022 was finally released after a USA Today effort to have the data released.

“But the report appears to offer almost nothing in terms of new data on the scope of the military’s extremism problem.” - USA Today

“IDA’s review found no evidence that the number of violent extremists in the military is disproportionate to the number of violent extremists∗ in the United States as a whole, although there is some indication that the rate of participation by former service members is slightly higher and may be growing.” - Institute for Defense Analysis

🎯 Fat Leonard is Back - Leonard Glenn Francis, who is nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” is back in the U.S. after a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Venezuela. Last year, he cut his ankle monitor and disappeared. Francis stands at the center of one of the largest bribery scandals in DoD history. More than two dozen Navy officials have been convicted in cases related to the scandal.

🎯 General Brown & China’s PLA Chief Speak - For the first time in over a year defense leadership from the U.S. and China have spoken. The silence grew louder last August with Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Secretary of Defense Austin spoke briefly, without “substance,” to his counterpart, Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu, in June during a meeting in Singapore. Shortly after, Shangfu “disappeared” and was fired.

🎯 Houthi Drone Attack Boat - The Houthis launched an unmanned surface vessel (USV) just a few short hours after the White House, along with Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom issued a final warning to stop the incessant attacks. The USV maneuvered within a few miles of U.S. Navy and commercial vessels before detonating.

🎯 Chinese Spy Ballon -  It has been released that the infamous Chinese spy ballon that crossed the U.S. last year used a commercial internet service provider to data burst info back to the motherland.

“…it was a weather balloon that accidentally drifted into American airspace.”

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington

🎯 Al Udeid Air Base Lives on -  The U.S. and Qatar struck a deal to keep Al Udeid Air Base open for another decade. The base hosts the Combined Air Operations Center as well as key for military operations in the region.


🌎 Reunification Cancelled in 2024 - Kim Jong Un instructed “the country’s army, munitions industry, nuclear weapons and civil defense sectors to accelerate war preparations…” Kim announced he would end reunification efforts while announcing North Korea would launch three new spy satellites in 2024.

🌎 Iran Deploys Warship -  In response to the “excitement” in the Red Sea, Iran has moved a destroyer to operate in and around the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. The move occurred on 1 Jan, following the U.S. Navy sinking three Houthi boats.

🌎 ISIS Claims Responsibility -  Over 100 people were killed in an ISIS attack in Iran. A double suicide bomber attack was carried out at the memorial for Iranian General Qassem Soleimani who was dispatched by a drone strike in January of 2020.

Border Crisis-   House Republicans are moving forward with an effort to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border crisis. In the first 11 months of 2023, 3 million illegal immigrants crossed the U.S. border. In October, two Iranian individuals were captured who were on the terror watch list. How many more were missed?


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