Entries Tagged 'Aviation' ↓

When DAM Breaks, the Sound of Palestinian Freedom Gets Unleashed.

Palestinian hip-hop trio DAM, above, wield the power of hip-hop as a force against the Israeli occupation of their homeland—the world’s longest—and their minds as well.

Formed in 1998 by brothers Suhell and Tamer Nafar, center and right (friend Mahmoud Jreri, left, was added later), they initially sought to make party records that would earn them cool points with peers and the ladies. Then it was still “just for fun,” says Tamer. They completed a six-track EP titled Stop Selling Drugs, the first time any Palestinian had ever recorded rap music.

What politicized them, however, was the Second Intifada of 2000…and the music of 2Pac. As Tamer poignantly told me, for my March 2008 piece in VIBE, “Straight Outta Palestine,”

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How I’d Like To Fly the Friendly Skies.


This week, Miramar, FL-based Spirit Airlines announced that, beginning in August, passengers would be charged up to $45 per bag, not to check luggage, but to carry it onto the plane.

Their foul money grab puts a cherry on top of what airline passengers have known, seemingly, for a generation: Unless you’re rollin’ solo, above, flying is the pits.

Not from outside the plane, however. It’s in that world, where flying’s grace and beauty is palpable, that aerial photographer Erik Hildebrandt reigns.

erikHildebrandt, right, has released over half a dozen books of his work through his own company, Cleared Hot Media, Inc. (The title is a military expression meaning one has permission to engage a target.) These include Anytime, Baby: Hail and Farewell to the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat and his Front Row Center: Inside the Great American Air Show series, now up to four volumes.

Erik Hildebrandt is the guest today on this rebroadcast from my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 9, at 2 pm ET. During our talk, we discussed the process of making pictures, how airplanes are built, the notion of warfare and the reasons for it, and more.

As well, in a few weeks, in a never-before-aired, upcoming piece, I’ll talk to him about his work as a self-publisher, that being an increasingly meaningful preoccupation in this era of media independence.

You can learn more about his work by visiting his Vulture’s Row web site, or by tuning in today at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Bombs Away.


320px-ringmaster_goldenstateEver since I was was in 4th grade, watching the older kids in our suburban grade school fly control line model planes, like this one, right, before class, I’ve possessed a soft spot for the sport of flying scale fueled aircraft. I’ve never had the money or the spare time to commit and truly learn, not to mention master, the art, but I’ve always thought, and think, I might, one day, hunker down and do so.

Imagine my surprise, though, when, peeking into the field several years later, I learned of the astounding levels to which skilled would-be flight jocks and plane builders had taken this pastime. See that B-52 in video still, above? Most people, upon spying the image, would conclude some lucky fan had squeezed off a shot of the U.S. Air Force’s workhorse, off on another mission.

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Flight Patterns.


As we post, investigators are still looking for answers to why Air France Flight 447, on its way from Rio de Janiero to Paris, disintegrated, apparently at cruising altitude, off the coast of Brazil Sunday night, certainly killing all 228 people aboard.

In light of the disaster, Mario Freese’s ghostly “Air Lines,” above, serves as either a comfort that these tragedies don’t happen more often, or an alarm as to how likely it is that other calamities may soon follow. Just under 4 feet wide and 3 feet high, the rendering comes either in white on black, as shown, or in extremely limited-edition black on white, printed on heavyweight fine-art paper, and shipped in a mailing tube.

As Freese explains,

Air Lines is an art project showing worldwide airliner routes. Every single scheduled flight on any given day is represented by a fine line from its point of origin to its port of destination. Thereby forming a net of thousands of lines. Hubs like JFK, FRA or DXB turn into dark knots where lines meet, lesser served local services are only are a subtle hint.

673_big02This enlargement, right, of the flight network over Western Europe, gives a sense not only of the larger image’s level of detail, but of the gargantuan energies required to maintain and organize the world’s air traffic. Horrifying as this week’s catastrophe remains, and whether one believes that flying is the safest way to travel or not, one thing all can agree upon is that it could happen a lot more often.

“Air Lines,” 46.8 in. x 33.1 in., $49 postpaid.

[via visualcomplexity.com]

Airplane Fool

Please pee in this cup: Food service at its nadir. Photo by Lena West

Airline service is at a depressing low. As the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index recently noted, Americans are more disastisfied with today’s carriers than they are with the IRS.

But the weight of this didn’t hit me until last week, when I flew round-trip, New York-to-Austin, on Oprah’s favorite carrier, American Airlines (“Something special in the air!”).

During my sojourn, I was charged $15 each way to check a duffle bag; nasally assaulted upon entering Flight 732 to New York—a plane that when boarded smelled like a combination of lavatory sewage, stale cigarette smoke, and moldy jockstraps (something special in the air, indeed); and, with a great deal of fanfare, served the drink in the above photo.

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Protecting Our Skies from Big-Eyed, Prepubescent, Love-Struck Girls in Glasses and Navy-Blue Jumpers

“Fire sugar-coated chocolate candies when ready!”

Thanks to DarkRoastedBlend.com for bringing these groovy, manga-coated supersonic jets to light.


Apparently, they’re from the 2007 video game Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. Downloadable content enables the gamer to change the appearance of these advanced fighters…to something that better matches your 5th grader’s room, but maintains critical in-flight stealth characteristics.

Fly the Photogenic Skies

Stay away from the props….

Typically, if you found yourself this close to the working end of an aerobatic sports plane, not to mention a Boeing 777, below, you’d be in a world of mess.

But if you’re Erik Hildebrandt, you’re, basically, at your desk. (Hey: That rhymes!)

If you’re this close, get outta the way…

One of the today’s most skilled aviation photographers, the Minnesota-based Hildebrandt is the guest on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 18, 2 pm ET.

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Every Day, She Breaks So Much More Than the Sound Barrier…

Black female, comin’ out fightin’

To quote rapper Craig G, from “The Symphony,” mm mm mm, ain’t that somethin’: Maj. Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell is the first African-American female fighter pilot ever in the United States Air Force. (Thanks to Black Spin for the tip.)

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