Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday Music "Goodnight Saigon " by Billy Joel

 I am continuing my run of "Vietnam songs" this one was on Billy Joels "Nylon Curtain" album.  I heard the song and was quite familiar with it and it was ironic when I went to North Georgia College in 1984-1985(I joined the Army when I ran out of money.)  I and 2 other cadets stood up along with the piano guy and sang the background lyrics like in the song because no one else knew the long, which was ironic because NGC was the Military College for Georgia and one of the 4 military colleges for the U.S Military, kinda like Norwich, VMI, the Citadel and of course NGC.

     Vietnam was a taboo subject for a while the wounds that the conflict left on the American Psyche was deep.  We had won the battles but lost the war because we as a nation had lost the will to fight it thanks to the media and the hippies and the antiwar movement that was funded by the communist party and liberal donors.  it took several years before Vietnam could be discussed outside of the veterans.  My Dad is a Vietnam Veteran, he did a tour in 1968 and dealt with the tunnels of Cu-Chi and the Tet Offensive, then he returned in 1972 for a second tour.   For a while especially in the 1970's, the Vietnam vet was portrayed as crazy or dangerous.  The specter of Vietnam dogged every use of the Military or any support during the 1980's, from Grenada, to Beirut, to Honduras and Nicaragua.  The Ghost of Vietnam were finally laid to rest during Desert Storm.


 

There is no sound like a 2 bladed Huey.  Ask any G.I from the Vietnam era to the 1980's. 



"Goodnight Saigon" is a song written by Billy Joel, originally appearing on his 1982 album The Nylon Curtain, about the Vietnam War. It depicts the situation and attitude of United States Marines beginning with their military training on Parris Island and then into different aspects of Vietnam combat.

The lyrics of "Goodnight Saigon" are about Marines in battle bonding together, fighting their fears and trying to figure out how to survive. The singer, a United States Marine, sings of "we" rather than "I," emphasizing that the Marines are all in the situation together. In the bridge Joel sings of the darkness and the fear it induced in the Marines . This leads into the refrain, which has multiple voices coming together to sing that the Marines will "all go down together", emphasizing their camaraderie. Images from the war captured in the song include reading Playboy Magazine, seeing Bob Hope, listening to The Doors, smoking from a hash pipe, praying to Jesus, remembering Charlie and John F. Baker and those who died in the fighting. Joel has said that he "wasn't trying to make a comment on the war, but writing about the soldier as a person." According to Rolling Stone Magazine critic Stephen Holden, "As the song unfolds, Joel's "we" becomes every American soldier, living and dead, who fought in Southeast Asia."
The song begins with the sound of crickets chirping, providing the feeling of evening coming. This leads into the sound of helicopters, which conjures up images of helicopters fighting in the Vietnam War or picking up wounded Marines. Then Joel plays a figure on the piano before beginning to sing. The opening is reversed at the end of the song, as the piano figure returns, followed by the sound of helicopters, and finally the crickets, before the song comes to an end.
The song shows a great similarity to "Airwaves", a song originally recorded by Thomas Dolby in 1981.


 Holden describes the song as possibly "the ultimate pop-music epitaph to the Vietnam War." He also praises the way Joel's voice captures the emotions of a nineteen-year-old soldier. However, fellow Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh considers it bordering on "obscenity" that the song "refuses to take sides." Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine considers it part of a suite on side one of The Nylon Curtain that represents "layered, successful, mature pop that brings Joel tantalizingly close to his ultimate goal of sophisticated pop/rock for mature audiences." Musician Garth Brooks has identified "Goodnight Saigon" as his favorite Billy Joel song. Producer Phil Ramone has stated that the song's symbolism "resonates with many people—especially musicians

 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Russia using "NonApproved" parts on their commercial fleet.

 Anybody that has any dealings with commercial aviation or aviation at all know that to replace a part on an airframe requires a "certified" part with an "8130" certificate or equivalent to maintain the Airworthiness of the airframe so the plane would be legal to fly in the airspace of the home country and other countries that have reciprocating agreements.  With Russia doing this, it may stretch the legality of the airframe, but when the planes are eventually returned to the lessors, the papertrail will be so murky nobody will want these planes because they will be suspect by everyone else, even a freighter conversion is out of the question because of the sheer amount of parts will be suspect.  These planes will be written off, parked in the desert and harvested. And good luck getting the Russians to pay the lessors for the loss,   

   I got this from a 3rd party in my email from work.

 

Russia

Credit: Russian Look Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo

Russian authorities have again adjusted the domestic continuing airworthiness procedures to help operators cope with sanctions.

The Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) has formally given approval to aircraft cannibalization, meaning that parts from grounded airframes can be re-installed on in-service aircraft.

The legislative amendments were approved Dec. 26, 2022, although the provisions related directly to cannibalization remain classified. Citing sources from Russian airlines, Moscow-based newspaper Izvestia reported that a part taken from a grounded aircraft should be tested in order to receive airworthiness approval tags, and then tested again after being installed on a different aircraft.

Rosaviatsia is now allowing the installation of non-original spare parts on Russian-operated foreign-made commercial aircraft, without seeking approval from the type-certificate holders.

The new provisions mark another step in the reorganization of the country’s continued airworthiness standards, moving it further away from Western norms. 

For decades, Western-made commercial aircraft operated in Russia have been registered in foreign jurisdictions, mostly Bermuda and Ireland. The airworthiness maintenance of the aircraft was regulated by the authorities in those countries.

The situation changed in March 2022 when Western countries banned aircraft deliveries and services to Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24. In response, the Kremlin transferred about 600 Western-made aircraft to the local registry, entrusting Rosaviatsia to take care of their continued airworthiness.

The agency automatically extended the airworthiness certificates of these aircraft until the end of 2022. It also expanded the list of Russian MRO providers which could maintain and repair Western-made jets to replace suspended EASA and Bermuda Part 145 certificates. 

Russian carriers appear to have found alternative ways to obtain aircraft spare parts, while Rosaviatsia allowed the installation of parts approved by two dozen foreign authorities, including FAA and EASA, as well as Aruba, Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and Uzbekistan.

From September to December 2022, Rosaviatsia inspected 90% of the Russian-operated aircraft that were previously registered abroad to prolong their airworthiness certificates for another term.

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Possible Labor unrest with the new Pilot contracts in the works.

  I have experiences with "Unions" especially as a "Union Rep" and it was a common union tactic to pick one company, get a contract or strike to get a more favorable labor agreement, then use the template to settle with the others. This normally worked with the big 3 automotive companies, but the airlines are a bit different, their debt to income is a lot different so the boilerplate contract that they get with one may not work with another so there is a possibility of labor unrest with a major carrier this spring or summer, something to think about in your travel plans.  Keep in mind that there is a huge demand for pilots, with a lot of the older ones that took "packages" during covid and the training standards are very strict for a Western based pilot, the FAA really oversees that pretty good and the companies don't want the FAA all in their business for hiring an incompetent pilot.   I don't mention who my employer is for obvious reasons, I do like my job and I don't want to get fired because someone gets offended by something I said when I do a rant and tries to get me cancelled....Yes, some of my former Ford Peeps had TDS(Trump Derangement Syndrome) and tried to get me canned from my present employer. plus I have heard in news reports of other people losing their jobs because some mob in social media gets spooled up and the modern left believe in punishing unbelievers, especially people like me that they believe left the democratic plantation especially with my union background.   

   I pulled this off a 3rd party source off my work email.

 

American Airlines pilots

                                                   Credit: American Airlines


Voting campaigns for new pilot collective bargaining agreements (CBA) are beginning to gain momentum at Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines

American Airlines and United Airlines are next, but all parties are bracing for increasingly bumpy labor talks.

On Jan. 18, the Delta Master Executive Council (MEC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), voted to send a new tentative agreement (TA)—Contract 2019—to Delta’s 15,000 pilots for ratification. Fourteen voted in favor and three against. Balloting for the new pilot working agreement (PWA) to be ratified opens Jan. 31 and closes March 1. The MEC is conducting a series of road shows at seven Delta bases beginning Jan. 23 in Salt Lake City.

The contract calls for baseline composite hourly pay increases of 18% retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023, with built in increases of 5%, 4%, and 5% on Jan. 1 of 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. Under terms of the new PWA, pilots will receive a one-time payment based on eligible earnings of 4% in calendar year (CY) CY2020, 4% of CY2021, and 14% of CY2022.

“I appreciate the magnitude of the decision facing each Delta pilot,” Delta Master Executive Council Darren Hartmann Chairman said in a letter to membership.

“While the Contract 2019 TA vote was not unanimous, a majority of the MEC believe the agreements contain significant value for the Delta pilots across-the-board. Delta is poised to be an industry-leader this year and the new PWA, if ratified, will be industry-leading,” Negotiations for Contract 2019 first commenced prior to the pandemic in April 2019. The talks eventually wound up in mediation in February 2020 but were put on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Talks for the new CBA resumed in January 2022.

Simultaneously, Delta’s MEC also voted to recommend a separate standalone clause letter of agreement on international “Global Scope” clause job protections to be put up for ratification. This covers Delta pilot flying “relating to profit/loss sharing agreements, equity investments, codeshare partners, interline agreement subsidiaries, fee-for-departure regional carriers, and affiliated operators.” With Delta’s ambitious joint ventures, alliances, and equity investments in foreign-domiciled carriers, this issue has gained even more traction for the attention of the union and its membership.

Hawaiian Airlines pilots are also considering a new four-year TA for its 1,000 pilots, with two weeks of voting set to begin Jan. 27. If ratified, what its MEC calls “an industry standard agreement” would take effect March 2. The agreement stipulates an average 32.9% pay increase plus a signing bonus, increased company retirement contributions, and quality of life enhancements. The union secured rates for Hawaiian’s future fleet of Airbus A330 freighters operating under the Amazon contract, that it termed “the highest in the industry, surpassing existing rates at cargo giants UPS and FedEx Express.” 

“Hard-fought negotiations between the Negotiating Committee and the company have now yielded what the MEC believes to be an agreement that accomplishes the goals our pilots set for us when we opened talks two years ago,” Hawaiian ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) Chair Larry Payne said.

Contract Envy

The Delta agreement and strong earnings reports have added fuel to the fiery negotiations at Delta and Hawaiian’s two other U.S. legacy carrier peers. Hundreds of United Airlines pilots picketed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on Jan. 18 displaying their frustration with negotiations as United announced $843 million in fourth quarter net income.

Following United’s strong earnings results, acting United MEC chairman Capt. Mike Harrison said, “We are aware of management’s public comments about the impact of the Delta AIP, now a Tentative Agreement, and that they roughly know what a deal will look like. The company has said that there is no reason this new contract cannot be finished in a couple of weeks. The United MEC will send an industry-leading proposal that includes the concerns of our members and reflects the contract hard-working pilots of United Airlines deserve.”

American Airlines’ 15,000 Allied Pilots Association (APA)-represented pilots are in their fourth year of contract negotiations. Following better than expected earnings, American’s pilots leverage is only expected to increase. On Dec. 8, 2022, American’s APA board said, “American Airlines management has consistently shown an unwillingness to lead the industry, and ultimately an unwillingness to invest in one of their most important assets—our pilot group ... Delta Air Lines management has demonstrated a visionary understanding of the current state of the marketplace for professional pilots. Working with the Delta ALPA MEC, they have ushered in a new standard for pay, benefits, and work rules befitting of the pilots of the world’s safest and largest airlines.”

In an emailed statement on Jan. 20, American’s APA board said, “our Board of Directors and Negotiating Committee will meet next week to review the details of the tentative agreement approved by the Delta ALPA Master Executive Council.”

APA is also alleging American is now four weeks late in paying holiday premium pay over Thanksgiving. “It also appears they haven’t gotten their act together in time to properly account for Christmas and New Year’s,” said the APA’s Jan. 13th News Digest.

Spirit Airlines’ ALPA pilots voted Jan. 10 to ratify a new two-year TA representing an average 27% increase over the next two years, with zero concessions. Alaska’ Airlines’ ALPA-represented pilots secured a new three-year contract back in October 2022.

On Jan. 18, Southwest Airlines’ pilot union SWAPA issued a call for a Strike Authorization Vote from the membership. “This historic action on the part of the pilot union comes in the wake of Southwest’s largest meltdown and the utter lack of meaningful progress on a contract negotiation,” said SWAPA chairman Captain Casey Murray in a statement. “It was the lack of discussion or commitment by our leadership team to rectify these issues for our passengers and our pilots that drove us to make the decision to carry forward on this path,” Murray added. 

The vote will take place beginning on May 1 and will ultimately give the pilots the ability to strike once released under the Railway Labor Act.

In an effort to appease its pilots, the hobbled carrier on Jan. 20 announced it is giving what it is calling “gratitude pay”—bonuses to several workgroups affected by the meltdown, including the 10,000 strong pilot group. They will receive approximately $45 million in additional compensation equaling nearly $4,500 per pilot, on top of extra pay that was already awarded over the holidays. SWAPA voted to accept the pay bonus on Jan. 19. The bonuses should appear in Southwest employees’ paychecks starting in late February.

“We implemented gratitude pay for several workgroups during the operational disruptions in December and that ran through early January as SWAPA noted,” Southwest said in comments provided to Aviation Daily. “Salaries, wages and benefits expenses are recognized in the period incurred; therefore, we would have included our estimate for all gratitude pay through Dec. 31 in our financial impact estimate provided in our 8-K filing on Jan. 6. We will cover this in more detail as part of our upcoming financial results release and call on Jan. 26.”

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The 5.8 Million Dollar Lufthansa in 1978 that actually inspired the movie "GoodFellas"

 

 

 


 I read about this and it caught me eye and I recall this hitting the news back in 1978 and it was a big deal because of the amount of money that was snagged.

On December 11, 1978, six masked, armed men burst into the Lufthansa Airlines cargo terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport during a graveyard shift and robbed $5.8 million in cash and jewels, the largest heist in U.S. history at the time.

No shots were fired. No one was seriously hurt or killed. It took just 64 minutes for a crew of low-level crooks linked to the Lucchese crime family to steal $5 million in untraceable bills (worth $22.4 million in 2022) and $800,000 in jewels (worth 3.6 million in 2022).

It seemed like the perfect crime—until it wasn’t. Authorities never recovered the cash or the jewels, but a trail of at least a dozen bodies and disappearances of people tied to the heist kept them busy. Some were shot in the head, execution style. Another’s hogtied frozen body was found in a meat refrigeration truck. A woman’s headless torso washed ashore in New Jersey.

After a decades-long investigation, only one person was ever convicted in the heist. The story of the crew that pulled it off inspired Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas. Two mob figures who led the caper—and the subsequent killing spree aimed at muzzling those involved—ended up in prison for other crimes and died behind bars.

The idea for the huge heist came from a pudgy Lufthansa cargo supervisor named Louis Werner, who ultimately served as the inside man on the job. Sweating a $20,000 gambling debt, Werner approached bookmaker and wig shop owner Martin Krugman about the huge stacks of untraceable bills frequently flown in from Germany and temporarily stored at the airline’s JFK vault. Werner asked Krugman to shop around for men who could pull off the heist.

Krugman passed the tip to mid-level drug-dealing gangster Henry Hill, who pulled in his mentor Jimmy “the Gent” Burke, whose crew was known for hijacking and robbing cargo trucks coming from the airport. Burke answered to Paul Vario, a fearsome capo of the Lucchese crime family. Vario, who needed cash quick after losing a cocaine shipment to authorities, greenlit the Lufthansa caper.

According to Wiseguy, Nicholas Pileggi’s book about Hill that inspired Scorsese’s movie, Hill said he helped Burke plan the heist in Robert’s Lounge, Burke’s gambling and criminal hangout in the Ozone park section of Queens. As they pored over cargo warehouse floor plans and sized up inside information, Burke assembled the crew of hijackers, killers, loan sharks and thieves who would pull off the heist.

A Brink's truck seen parked outside the Lufthansa cargo terminal, near the pickup and delivery platform, at JFK Airport the day after the heist. On the Friday before the crime, a Brink's truck was to have picked up a large sum of cash at the building, but the driver left the money behind when he was informed that a Lufthansa foreman he was supposed to meet was busy, police said. On 12/11, a band of masked raiders stormed into the cargo terminal and bagged a reported $5.8 million. The U.S. currency, all used bills for which authorities have no serial numbers, was being shipped to the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York from Commerz Bank in Frankfurt, West Germany.

A Brink's truck seen parked outside the Lufthansa cargo terminal at JFK Airport the day after the heist. On the Friday before the crime, a Brink's truck was to have picked up a large sum of cash at the building, but the driver left the money behind when he was informed that a Lufthansa foreman he was supposed to meet was busy, police said. On 12/11, a band of masked raiders stormed into the cargo terminal and bagged a reported $5 million. The U.S. currency, all used bills for which authorities have no serial numbers, was being shipped to the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York from Commerz Bank in Frankfurt, West Germany.

According to court documents, Werner alerted the crew that a large shipment of cash had arrived on Friday, December 9 and would be in cargo storage all weekend because he kept the cash from being transferred to the bank right away via the Brinks armored trucks. At 3 a.m. on Monday the 11th, six men in ski masks pulled up to the Lufthansa cargo warehouse in a black Ford Econoline 150 van. The crew sliced the gate padlock with bolt cutters, and some of the six went in.

After herding employees to the break room at gunpoint, the thieves forced the night shift manager to disable the alarm and open the double-door storage vault, which their inside contact had told them how to operate. They hauled forty 15-pound cartons of cash and jewels into the van, and two of the thieves got in. The others got into a waiting Buick, and they all zoomed away at 4:21 a.m. Employees were told not to call for help until 4:30 a.m., when police got the first call. The whole caper took just 64 minutes.

The thieves met Burke and transferred the loot to the trunks of two other cars at a warehouse owned by John Gotti, a captain of the Gambino crime family that shared the airport turf with the Lucchese family. In Wiseguy, Hill said Gotti also offered to have the black getaway van crushed at an auto salvage yard he controlled in Brooklyn.

But that didn’t happen, giving authorities their first break in the case. Two days after the heist, police found the black van parked at a fire hydrant in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood. Parnell “Stacks” Edwards, a longtime gofer for Burke’s crew, failed to take the van to the Gotti-controlled junkyard.

Afraid the van could lead police to Edwards and then to him, Burke, with Vario’s blessing, decided Edwards had to go. On his orders, two experienced killers in the heist crew, Tommy “Two Guns” DeSimone and Angelo Sepe, shot Edwards in the head in the middle of dinner with a piece of chicken still in his mouth.

Edwards was the first victim in Burke’s violent push for silence. By the summer of 1979, seven months after the robbery, Burke had carried out or ordered the execution of nine people, all of whom were either at the heist, laundered heist money or were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Rather than give everyone $400,000 or $500,000 apiece, it was easier to put a quarter bullet in their head,” Hill said in a History Channel documentary. “So, he started eliminating everyone at that point.”

Krugman, the bookie who first approached Hill with the heist idea, complained too loudly and too often that he needed a large cut of the stolen cash. Hill said Burke and Sepe killed and dismembered Krugman a month after the robbery, fearing he would squeal. His body was never found.

James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke, arrested and taken to Federal Court

James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke, arrested and taken to Federal Court—but not for the Lufthansa crime.

At the end of February, Werner, the inside man, was the only person convicted in the Lufthansa affair and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. That spiked Burke’s paranoia.

Weeks later, Burke targeted his former cellmate, 300-pound Louis "Roast Beef" Cafora, who was laundering heist money through his Brooklyn parking lot business. Told to lay low, Cafora instead bought his wife Joanna a custom pink Cadillac, drove it near the JFK cargo area where the FBI was investigating, and told her about the heist and other mob business. They disappeared, and their bodies were never found.

Robert McMahon and Joe “Buddha” Manri, both cargo thieves who worked for Air France at JFK, refused to cooperate with the FBI in exchange for witness protection. In May, both were found shot in the back of the head, execution style, sitting together in a parked car.

A month later, the burned, naked and bullet-riddled corpse of Sicilian drug trafficker Paolo LiCastri was found on a burning trash heap in Brooklyn. LiCastri oversaw the caper for the Gambino crime family and was tasked with ensuring they got a $200,000 cut.

Also murdered: Florida restaurant and club owners Richard Eaton and Tom Monteleone, accused of skimming from the heist cash laundered through their businesses. Children discovered Eaton’s hogtied, frozen body in a refrigerated meat truck. The headless torso of Theresa Ferrara, the occasional mistress of some in Burke’s crew who was accused of being in on the skimming scheme, washed ashore in New Jersey.

Two others in the heist died for breaking crime family code. The hothead DeSimone, nicknamed “Tommy Two Guns” for his matching pearl-handled pistols, was shot in the head by Gotti in retaliation for murdering two Gambino crime family members without permission. In July 1984, more than five years after the robbery, Sepe’s own Lucchese crime family killed him for stealing thousands of dollars in cash and cocaine from a Lucchese-affiliated drug dealer.

Convinced by Burke’s wiretapped conversation that he was “going to get whacked,” Hill entered witness protection with his family. In exchange, he ratted on dozens of crimes by mob associates, including his gangster mentors Burke and Vario.

 

Burke was convicted for Eaton’s murder and a scandalous Boston College point-shaving scheme. Vario was jailed for extortion of freight companies. Both died of lung cancer while in jail.

“Little by little, the more people got killed,” said Hill in the documentary, “the more I started to realize that I just might be one of them eventually.”

 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

More information on the "Liberty Lifter" Initiave

 

Back in June I did a "Post" about the Liberty Lifter, well more information came out about it from DARPA,

    I snagged this from my 3rd party email again.

Liberty Lifter concept

Concept art of DARPA’s future Liberty Lifter vehicle. (Image provided by DARPA.)

Updated 12/1/2022 at 1:27 pm ET with comment from DARPA.

WASHINGTON — One of the Pentagon’s key research and development agencies has tapped General Atomics ASI to work on its “Liberty Lifter” program, a relatively new initiative aimed at transforming the military’s airlift and sealift capabilities.

The contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is worth $8 million, according to the Pentagon’s daily contract announcement for Nov. 25. The Pentagon statement did not elaborate on the type of work included in the contract, but said $6.2 million of the award would come from “fiscal 2022 research and development funds.”

On Thursday, a DARPA spokesman confirmed the contract is for conceptual design work related to the program. A General Atomics ASI spokesman declined to comment.

The Liberty Lifter program, announced earlier this year, aims to design a “long-range, low-cost X-plane capable of seaborne strategic and tactical lift,” DARPA said at the time. It’s envisioned to be similar in size to a C-17 Globemaster, weighing between 500,000 and 600,000 pounds, and cost roughly $340 million per plane.

Alexander Walan, a DARPA official overseeing the program, told Breaking Defense in an interview in May that a concept known as the “wing-in-ground” effect is critical to its design.

“If you’ve ever been on an airliner or watched a 737 land, sometimes they come in close, and then they almost kind of like go to a hover,” he said. During those moments of low altitude updraft, the aircraft experiences less drag and can more easily maintain its remaining altitude — a phenomenon DARPA hopes to stretch for long distances. “For very long-range operations, a few percentage points [of increased lift and reduced drag] actually start really adding up” in terms of fuel efficiency.

For the Pentagon’s purposes, DARPA thinks this physics trick could result in an aircraft capable of operating more efficiently than traditional cargo planes while traveling overseas as well as being able to land in large bodies of water rather than established runways.


There are a variety of challenges in pulling off the Liberty Lifter concept, however. For example, rough waves could result in turbulence on the plane, which would eat into any fuel efficiencies being gained through the “wing-in-ground” effect.

Although the WIG concept has been known for some time, it has proven difficult to master. The Soviet Union made multiple attempts at such a craft, but largely came up short of designing a vehicle ready for mass production.

“The Soviets really showed how not to do this, like a lot of things, right?” Walan told Breaking Defense.

One of those mistakes was the fact the Soviets designed a plane only capable of flying using the “wing-in-ground” effect. Walan said DARPA would not make the same mistake and envisions Liberty Lifter as capable of flying at traditional altitudes when necessary.