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The Ramstein airshow disaster was one of the world's deadliest airshow disasters. It took place in front of an audience of about 300,000 people on August 28, 1988, in Ramstein, state of Rheinland-Pfalz, West Germany, near the city of Kaiserslautern at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base airshow Flugtag '88. Sixty-seven spectators and three pilots died, and 346 spectators sustained serious injuries in the resulting explosion and fire. Ten Aermacchi MB-339 PAN jets from the Italian Air Force display team, Frecce Tricolori, were performing their 'pierced heart' (Italian: Cardioide, German: Durchstochenes Herz) formation. In this formation, two groups of aircraft create a heart shape in front of the audience along the runway. In the completion of the lower tip of the heart, the two groups of planes pass each other parallel to the runway. The heart is then pierced, in the direction towards the audience, by a lone aircraft. The mid-air collision took place as the two heart-forming groups passed each other and the heart-piercing aircraft hit them. The piercing aircraft crashed onto the runway and the fuselage and resulting fireball of aviation fuel tumbled into the spectator area, hitting the crowd and coming to rest against a refrigerated trailer being used to dispense ice cream to the various vendor booths in the area. At the same time, one of the damaged aircraft from the heart-forming group crashed into the emergency medical evacuation UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, injuring the pilot, Captain Kim Strader. Captain Strader died weeks later, on September 17, 1988 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, from burns he suffered in the accident. The pilot of the aircraft that hit the helicopter had ejected, but was killed as he hit the runway before his parachute opened. The third aircraft disintegrated in the collision and parts of it were spread along the runway. After the crash, the remaining aircraft regrouped and landed at Sembach Air Base. Large amounts of video were taken of the accident. Upon completing the cardioid figure, the piercing aircraft (Pony 10) came in too low and too fast at the crossing point with the other two groups (5 aircraft on the left and 4 on the right) completing the heart shaped figure. Lt. Col. Ivo Nutarelli, lead pilot and flying Pony 10, was unable to correct his altitude or slow his speed and collided with the leading airplane (Pony 1) of the left formation, destroying the plane's tail section with the front of his aircraft. Lt. Col. Mario Naldini's plane spiralled out of control, hitting another plane in his formation (Pony 2, piloted by Captain Giorgio Alessio) before crashing onto a taxiway near the runway, destroying a Med-Evac helicopter, fatally injuring the pilot (Captain Kim Strader). The third plane to be involved in the disaster, Pony 2, was severely damaged and crashed onto and beside the runway, exploding in a fireball. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

The M1 Garand (officially designated as United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 and later simply Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, and also abbreviated as US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1), was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation. Called "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George S. Patton, the Garand officially replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield as the standard service rifle of the United States Armed Forces in 1936 and was subsequently replaced by the selective fire M14 in 1957. However, the M1 continued to be used in large numbers until 1963 and to a lesser degree until 1966. The M1 was used heavily by U.S. forces in World War II, the Korean War, and, to a limited extent, the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to Army and Marine troops, though many thousands were also lent or provided as foreign aid to America's allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely sought by the civilian population as a hunting rifle, target rifle, and military collectible. According to experts and people who knew John Garand, the weapon's designer, the latter version is preferred. It is now available to civilians in the original .30-06 chambering, as well as in .308 Winchester. United States citizens meeting certain qualifications may purchase U.S. military surplus M1 rifles through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The CMP is run by the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety (CPRPFS), a not-for-profit corporation chartered by the United States Congress in 1996 to instruct citizens in marksmanship and promote practice and safety in the use of firearms. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. From 1903 to 1996, the CMP was sponsored by the Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), a position first within the Department of War and later in the Department of the Army. The DCM was normally an active-duty Army colonel. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAF, NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. It currently holds the official world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft. During the X-15 program, 13 of the flights (by eight pilots) met the USAF spaceflight criteria by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80.47 km, 264,000 ft), thus qualifying the pilots for astronaut status. Three X-15s were built, flying 199 test flights, the last on 24 October 1968. Twelve test pilots flew the X-15; among them were Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon) and Joe Engle (a space shuttle commander). In July and August 1963, pilot Joe Walker crossed the 100 km altitude mark, joining the NASA astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts as the only men to have crossed the barrier into outer space (Alan Shepard was the first American in space, reaching 187 km during suborbital flight, while Soviet Yuri Gagarin was the first human being in space, reaching 327 km in apogee of his orbital flight) and becoming the first to exceed this threshold twice. U.S. Air Force test pilot Major Michael J. Adams was killed on 15 November 1967 in X-15 Flight 191 when his craft (X-15-3) entered a hypersonic spin while descending, then oscillated violently as aerodynamic forces increased after re-entry. As his craft's flight control system operated the control surfaces to their limits, the craft's acceleration built to 15 g vertical and 8 g lateral. The airframe broke apart at 60,000 ft altitude, scattering the craft's wreckage for 50 square miles. On 8 June 2004, a monument was erected at the cockpit's locale, near Randsburg, California. [5] Major Adams was posthumously awarded Air Force astronaut wings for his final flight in craft X-15-3, which had reached 266,000 ft (81.1 km, 50.4 mi.) of altitude. In 1991, his name was added to the Astronaut Memorial. The USAF pilots qualified for USAF astronaut wings, while the civilian pilots were later awarded NASA astronaut wings. Of all the X-15 missions, two flights (by the same pilot) qualified as space flights per the international definition of a spaceflight by exceeding a 100 kilometer (62.137 mi, 328,084 ft) altitude. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

Crotalus adamanteus is a venomous pitviper species found in the southeastern United States. It is the heaviest (though not longest) venomous snake in the Americas and the largest rattlesnake. No subspecies are currently recognized. A 7 ft., 3 in. specimen was caught and killed outside a neighborhood in St. Augustine, FL in Sep. 2009. Found in the southeastern United States from southeastern North Carolina, south along the coastal plain through peninsular Florida to the Florida Keys, and west along the Gulf Coast though southern Mississippi to southeastern Louisiana. The original description for the species does not include a type locality, although Schmidt (1953) proposed that it be restricted to "Charleston, South Carolina" (USA). Inhabits upland dry pine forest, pine and palmetto flatwoods, sandhills and coastal maritime hammocks, Longleaf Pine/Turkey Oak habitats, grass-sedge marshes and swamp forest, mesic hammocks, sandy mixed woodlands, xeric hammocks, salt marshes, as well as wet prairies during dry periods. In many areas it seems to use burrows made by gophers and gopher tortoises during the summer and winter. These snakes frequently shelter in mammal and gopher tortoise burrows, emerging in the early morning or afternoon to bask. Like most rattlesnakes, this species is terrestrial and not adept at climbing. However, they have on occasion been reported in bushes and trees, apparently in search of prey. Even large specimens have been spotted as much as 10 m above the ground. In contrast, they are well known to be excellent swimmers. Specimens have often been spotted crossing stretches of water between barrier islands and the mainland off the Georgia coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Florida Keys, sometimes miles from land. One popular myth is that these snakes must rattle before striking. They are, of course quite capable of striking while remaining completely silent. In fact, according to one hypothesis, individuals that remain silent are less likely to be heard, seen and killed, and therefore more likely to pass on their genes to the next generation, leading to the idea that we are selecting for rattlesnakes that do not rattle. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE] is not affiliated with or endorsed by wikipedia. wikipedia and the wikipedia globe are registered trademarks of
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