Classic Aircraft Trivia

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane Crash, we’ll take a look at the aircraft of the BBMF, or ‘Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ of the RAF.

Now, we will take a look at the Avro Lancaster.  Specifications are as follows:  A crew of seven; four 1233kW (1640hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin 28 or 38 12-cylinder V-type engines; a maximum speed of 462km/h (287mph), a range of 2784km(1730miles), a service ceiling of 5790m(19,000ft); a wingspan of 31.09m(102 ft), a length of 21.18m(69ft 6in), and a height of 6.25m(20 ft 6 in), all adding up to a total loaded weight of 229,484kg(65,000lb).  In addition, the armament was two 7.7mm (0.303in) machine guns in nose turret, two in dorsal turret and four in tail turret, and a maximum internal bomb load of 8165kg (18,000lb).  It was a splendid aircraft, and the BBMF’s Lanc is still flying and is coded ‘PA474’.

The Hawker Hurricanes:  coded LF363 and PZ865.  Well, despite all of its Battle of Britain fame, the two Hurricanes, Night Reaper and The Last of the Many, have both seen numerous disasters since rolling off the factory lines.  Despite this, the little 1-seat, 1460hp Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered 322 mph fighter is still in use in air shows.

Boeing Field's Supermarine Spitfire.

Boeing Field’s Supermarine Spitfire.

Supermarine Spitfires P7350, AB910, MK356, PM631 and PS915 make up the most important part of the Flight.  They had not nearly as many disasters as the Hawkers, and all of them, especially ‘THE LAST’, PS915, have been a great part of RAF history.  With a crew of one; one 1074kW(1440hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin 45/46/50 V-12 engine; a maximum speed of 602km/h(374mph), range of 756km (470 miles), a service ceiling of 11280m(37,000ft); as well as two 20mm(0.79in) cannon and four 7.7mm(0.303in) machine guns.  This all added up to a total loaded weight of 3078kg (6785lb).

And now: The Douglas DC-3 Dakota (or C-47 Skytrain)-ZA947.  The Flight’s DC-3 succeeded the de Havilland Devon as the main support in 1993.  The Flight also uses the de Havilland Chipmunk.

A Douglas DC-3 at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.The BBMF is still in use and is highly honored among all Commonwealth countries.

 
A Douglas DC-3 at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

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Grumman Aircraft

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane View, we’ll take a look at the long line of Grumman aircraft.  From the ’31 FF-1 to the EA-6, we will see how Grumman has one of the longest lines, and also is one of the best.

A painting of a Grumman at Boeing Field.

A painting of a Grumman at Boeing Field.

And now: The Grumman FF-1.  The FF-1 was a Golden Age aircraft, and still served in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side.  It had a crew of one, a 709kW(950hp) Wright R-1820-22 Cyclone 9-cylinder radial engine, a maximum speed of 418km/h(260mph), a range of 1819km(1130 miles), a service ceiling of 9845m(32,300ft), as well as a wingspan of 9.75m(32ft.), a length of 7.01m(23ft), and a height of 2.84m(9ft.4in.).  The weight was2155kg(4750lb) loaded; an armament of one 12.7mm(0.50in) and one 7.62mm(0.30in) machine gun in upper forward fuselage, as well as an external bomb load of 105kg(232lb.).

The Grumman G-12 Goose was a high-winged, amphibious aircraft with retractable landing gear, as well as a crew of 2, and a variable payload, changing depending on whether passengers or freight was being carried.  A few are still in service today, as they are a grand old plane, first built in 1937.

Although the greatness of aircraft like the Grumman Hellcat and Vought Corsair, the Grumman F4f Wildcat was a fine aircraft.  First built in 1939, this rugged mid-wing 318-mph six machine-gun aircraft held a critical point in the U.S. Navy until better aircraft were supplied.  For instance, Lieutenant Butch O’Hare destroyed five Japanese bombers in six minutes.  Later, despite being shot down in the Pacific, the Chicago-O’Hare airport was named for him.

The Grumman TBF Avenger was an effective dive-bomber, being second only to the Douglas SBD Dauntless.  On the fighter side, the Grumman F6f Hellcat, which won the war in the Pacific, the F7f Tigercat, and the F8f all proved to be at least worthy aircraft.

Search and Rescue:  The SA-16 Albatross of ‘47 and the S-2 of ’52 both were excellent, the SA-16 being S&R and the S-2 being submarine-killer.  But the E-2 of ’60 surpassed both, in the way of searching for enemy aircraft.

Back to fighters: the F9f, F11f, and F-14 all proved to be sufficient for their time.  The F-14 Tomcat had more than 30 years of service, but has now been replaced by the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet.

Lastly: the Grumman A-6 Intruder and EA-6 Prowler are the best attack-radar jamming aircraft ever.  The current Prowler is greatly needed, as skies are again becoming hostile (get ready for World War III!

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The Grumman F6f Hellcat at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

Aicraft Trivia #1

Classic Aircraft Trivia

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane View, we’ll do something a bit different this time.  Instead of me writing about one or more aircraft, it’s sort of a trivia game on aircraft.  The rules are as follows, anyone who breaks them will lose… or something like that.  CHEATING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, as according to the Backyard Football Sudden Death Overtime Rules.  Please send me your results via a “comment” box.

1. Who bought out Northwest Airlines?

A: Delta       B: Alaska     C: United

2. What airline is based out of Denver?

A: Delta       B: Alaska     C: Frontier

3: What is Air Force One?

A: the President’s plane   B: the code for the president’s plane   C: a Golfstream aircraft

4: What does the president fly in from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base?

A: Marine One       B: Air Force One    C: a North American P-51 Mustang     D: a hang glider

5: When is the president’s aircraft officially Air Force One?

A: all the time       B: as soon as the president goes on board     C: when it is airborne

BONUS QUESTION!: Who shot down the Red Baron?

A: Eddie Rickenbacker     B: Roy Brown         C: Wop May            D: Richard Bong

Have a great day!

Isaiah

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The North American P-51 Mustang at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

British aircraft history

British Aircraft History

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane View, we’ll take a look at the British hero aircraft.  As the British “royal baby” has recently been born, I thought it would be fitting to do a post on the British aircraft fame.

Dating back to World War 1, England has been a world leader in the aircraft industry, with such greats as the Sopwith Pup, Sopwith Camel, Sopwith Snipe, the age-opening Sopwith Triplane, Royal Aircraft Factory FE.2b, and Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5.  The famous Sopwith Camel, flown by such greats as William Barker, Roy Brown, Wilfred “Wop” May, and Snoopy (on his doghouse), was much like the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 Gustav, in the fact that both were feared by the enemy and the pilots.  On the other hand, the Sopwith Pup was arguably the sweetest of all World War 1 aircraft to fly.  The Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5 was the Supermarine Spitfire of World War 1, about as high of praise as a plane could get.

A picture of Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel

A picture of Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel

In World War 2, England was still on top.  The enemies were mostly the same, with Germany as the main, but Italy was Axis, as was Japan.  France, who had been the second toughest country of WWI, was now disgustingly crummy, and Canada was rapidly rising, never to drop.  But despite the Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, Supermarine Seafire, Hawker Typhoon, Hawker Tempest, Grumman Wildcat, North American P-51 Mustang, Blackburn Skua, Bristol Beaufort, Bristol Beaufighter, Avro Lancaster, and de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, the Germans had the Messerschmitt Bf 109 Gustav, Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, Junkers Ju 88, and Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor; the Italians had the Fiat Falco and Macchi MC.202 Folgore; and the Japanese had the Nakajima B5N Kate, Nakajima Ki.43 Oscar, Mitsubishi A6M Zero, Mitsubishi G4M Betty, Kawanishi N1K1-J George, and Kawasaki Ki-45 Nick.  But in the end the workhorse Hawker Hurricane, and the greatest fighter in history, the beautiful little Supermarine Spitfire, surpassed them all.

Boeing Field's Supermarine Spitfire.

Boeing Field’s Supermarine Spitfire.

And now, Britain still is one of the top airpowers, as the Panavia Tornado, the most radical current aircraft, has been accepted widely and is in the country category of INTERNATIONAL(as said by Robert Jackson).  It could be the greatest aircraft of the coming years, currently hardly surpassed.

Have a great day!

 

Isaiah

PS- this picture below is from a trip my family went on 7-22.

My family in Cannon Beach.

My family in Cannon Beach.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

600 Independence Ave SW

Washington, DC 20560

Hello, aircraft fans!

As I have recently come home from a vacation from April 11th to the 14th, I do believe that I should write about it.  I hadn’t been to Washington, D.C. in eight years.  In this edition of the Plane View, (which I had a bit too much of while flying), we’ll take a look at the world’s two largest air museums: The well-known Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on The Mall, and the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Museum in Chantilly, right by the Washington-Dulles airport.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is quite splendid, and it is in my top three favorite air museums.  As my camera was not working well, I was only able to get a few pictures.  Here’s the only one that turned out.

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Me in front of the Smithsonian National Air+Space Museum.

The Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Museum is also in my top three favorites.  I do believe that I have enough pictures for this.

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Colonel Tibbets’ Enola Gay, which he named for his mother.

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The Space Shuttle Discovery, at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center

They have most of my favorite aircraft, including the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, North American P-51 Mustang, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (famous by Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers), Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Grumman F6f Hellcat, and the Piper Cub.

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Piper J-3 Cub at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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The P-40 Warhawk at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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The Grumman F6f Hellcat at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt at the Udvar-Hazy Museum.

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Me in front of the Udvar Hazy’s Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

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The North American P-51 Mustang at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

They also have such brilliant aircraft like the now replaced Intruder, Phantom II, and the state-of-the-art Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

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The Intruder at the Stephen F. Udvar- Hazy Center.

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The F-4 Phantom II at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at the Udvar-Hazy museum.

We did indeed have a splendid time in D.C.  My sister Katrina (www.edelweisspatterns.com) had us on the list to tour the White House, but when the tours closed, due to things like golf trips costing millions of OUR tax dollars, that of course, stopped.  In the Denver International Airport at about 4:20PM on Thursday, April 11th, my sister Katrina received an email from a senator’s (not Ottawa Senators) assistant giving us the option of the Spring Garden Tour.  On Saturday, April 13th, we got the tickets, and went straight to the tour at 12:30.  It was most splendid, along with the Army Band.

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The White House.

Speaking of the Ottawa Senators, my dad and I went to watch a Washington Capitals game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Capitals were ahead 3-0 at the end of Period 1, 5-2 at the end of Period 2, and 5-5 at the end of regulation.  Washington won 6-5 in overtime.  Yes, another glorious moment in NHL history.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals.

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The Piper Grasshopper of the Stephen F. Udvar -Hazy Center.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

Classic Bombers: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

In this edition of the Plane View, we’ll take a look at the world’s favorite WWII bomber: The Boeing B-17.  Aptly named, the Flying Fortress was almost just as deadly for the Allies than for the Axis Powers.

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A beautiful photo of a post-war B-17. It might have been used for air/sea rescue or firefighting after the war.

The rugged aircraft was first flown on July 18, 1935.  On June 27, 1939, after a delay of nearly four years, the Flying Fortress finally was accepted.  Despite clear superiority over its twin-engined competitors, the penny-pinching U.S. government refused the plane until war was nearly certain.

One main survival story of the B-17 was on a normal bombing mission.  The pilot was Lieutenant Kendrick R. Bragg, the navigator was Harry C. Nuessle, the bombardier (not Bombardier) was Ralph Burbridge, the engineer was Joe C. James, the radio operator was Paul A. Galloway, the ball turret gunner was Elton Conda, the waist gunner was Michael Zuk, and the tail gunner was Sam T. Sarpolus.  Also, the ground crew chief was Hank Hyland.  On February 1st, 1943, a B-17 collision with a German fighter aircraft over the Tunis dock area became just another disaster for Germany.  The fighter was attacking a 97th Bomber Group flight, and flew out of control.  It crashed into “All American”, and broke apart, but left pieces in the aircraft.  The left horizontal stabilizer and the left elevator were completely torn away.  Both right engines were out, and one of the left engines had a major oil leak.  The vertical tail fin and the rudder were damaged, and the fuselage had been destroyed and was only connected by two small parts of the frame and the radios.  Electrical and oxygen systems were damaged, and there was a hole in the top which was over sixteen feet long and up to four feet wide.  The split in the fuselage went up to the top gunner’s turret.  The tail bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned.  None of the cables were still in one piece except for one elevator cable, but the aircraft still flew!  The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the body of the aircraft.  The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their parachutes and harnesses to keep the tail from falling off.  Also, it aided to keep the fuselage in one piece.  During all of this, the pilot kept flying on the mission and released his bombs successfully over the target.  When the bomb bay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so great that one of the waist gunners was blown into the broken tail.  It took several minutes to pass him ropes to get him back to his spot.  When they tried the same for the tail gunner, the tail began to break off.  The weight of the gunner was adding stability, so he went back to his position.  The turn toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off, and they actually covered nearly seventy miles to make the turn home.  The bomber was so badly damaged that it was losing altitude and speed and was quickly alone in the sky.  Then two more Messerschmitt Bf (or in this case Me)-109 fighters attacked “All American”.  But the gunners drove the two aircraft off and continued flying.  The waist gunners had their heads sticking up out of the 16’ by 4’ hole to fire their machine guns.  The tail gunner was forced to shoot in short bursts as the recoil was causing the plane to turn.  North American P-51 Mustangs intercepted the bomber when it was crossing the English Channel and took a few pictures.  They also radioed to the base that the plane would not make it back and to send boats to catch the crew when they bailed out.  The fighters stayed alongside the B-17 for any attacks.  They also took hand signals from Bragg and relayed them to the base.  Bragg signaled that 5 parachutes had been used to keep the plane going and that five of the crew could not bail out.  He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely, he would land the plane.  Two and a half hours after being hit, “All American” made its final turn to line up with runway despite being over forty miles away.  It descended for an emergency landing and made a normal roll-out on its landing gear.  When the ambulance pulled up, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew was injured.  The Flying Fortress sat placidly until all the crew had exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which point the entire tail section collapsed onto the ground.

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A WWII shot of B-17s on a bombing mission to Germany.

Even though many stories such as that tell of the B-17 in Europe, the Flying Fortress still did well in the Pacific Theatre.  Although the B-17s that flew on schedule into Pearl Harbor during the attack suffered badly, the B-17 crews quickly learned how to be successful in the Pacific Theatre.  Along with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the B-17 helped knock Japan onto its face.

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A splendid World War Two picture of a bombing mission.

After the war, the B-17 went on for many years, in war service for a few more years and then various support roles.  Yes, it was a bomber classic.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

Bombarding the Aircraft Industry

Bombarding the Aircraft Industry

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane View, we’ll take a look at the most popular short-range aircraft company in North America: Bombardier.  Operating mainly from Canada, this company has made one of the most used short range jets (the CRJ700) and one of the best turboprop airliners available (being the Dash-8).  It also has created a fine firefighter aircraft.

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The Dash-8 has worked beautifully for Horizon, Air Canada, and Alaska.

Back in 1965, Bombardier, along with De Havilland Canada, formed a plan to create a turboprop airliner.  They did so, and the result was the Dash-7.  It was indeed a major progressive step towards the Dash-8.

Meanwhile, Bombardier teamed up with Canadair design the CL-215/CL-415.  Firefighting has always been its main role, and has been used by a number of operators in North America and Europe.  It has been used since 1967, which was important as the Grumman G-21 Goose and Consolidated PBY Catalina had both become obsolete.

Again with Canadair, Bombardier created the CL-600 Challenger.  It turned out to be a whole series of aircraft, but it had such a small load of only 19 passengers that it was not much more successful than the aircraft that it countered: the LearStar 600.  Since 1978, it has not had as many sales, but is indeed a superior aircraft.

By 1983, the 1965 Dash-7 was rather obsolete, so Bombardier again teamed with De Havilland Canada to create the Dash-8.  It has been extremely successful, and would have been even more so if the regional jet had been preferred over the regional turboprop.  Over 600 have been sold, and the main users are Alaska, Horizon, and Air Canada.

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A Horizon Dash-8 flying in for a landing.

In 1991, Bombardier and Canadair joined to make their most famous aircraft: the CRJ.  The entire series has “bombarded” (get it?) the regional jet market.  Airlines such as Alaska and Horizon have found it just perfect for regional flights, and the Boeings have put away for the long flights.  But a few Boeings still remain in the regional service.

And now, one of Bombardier’s greatest feats: the BD-700 Global Express.  Yes, the name is very fitting, as this aircraft can fly at 678 M.P.H. for 7,485 miles with 8 passengers at up to 51,000 feet.  It can still fly with up to 19 passengers, but with a shorter range.  It was designed to create a new meaning to speed, range, and comfort while on aircraft flights.  It is capable of the New York to Tokyo run.  And over 70 have been sold already.

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Another variant of the Dash-8.

The aircraft mentioned are Bombardier’s most successful airplanes.  I’m also glad to hear that the Boeing 787 Dreamliners were grounded.

Have a great day!

Isaiah