Classic Aircraft Trivia

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

The Beaver Bites the Floatplane Tree

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The De Havilland DHC-3 Single Otter which I flew on while visiting Victoria in September 2012.

The Beaver Bites the Floatplane Tree

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane Crash, you’ll find out about the De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, DHC-3 Single Otter, and the DHC-6 Twin Otter.  Also, we’ll take a look at one of Canada’s 50 best managed companies: Harbour Air.

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A beautiful view of the island from the Single Otter.

Well, yes, it wasn’t much of a Super Bowl.  The best part was when the Superdome had a power failure.  And it took THAT to make it any type of game.  It almost looks like the referees were taking a nap until they thought that San Francisco needed to be penalized.  They were only awake for a call against Baltimore that shouldn’t have been called: When David Akers missed the field goal to end the half- even though he ran into the defender, they still gave it to San Francisco with 00:03 left to play in the 2nd quarter.  Well, at least he made it the second time, not that it mattered.  Because on the opening kick of the second half, they let the Ravens’ kick returner bring it back for six.  At least the 49’ers made it 31-34.  Bummer!  Of course this is a very early prediction, but I smell a Denver vs. Seattle Super Bowl XLVIII.

Rugged and reliable, the Beaver dominated the float plane market.  Let’s take a look at some of the specifications.  The Beaver has a crew of one, along with one Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B/-16B Wasp Junior radial piston engine rated at 336kW(450hp), and the high-wing configuration.  The performance is a maximum speed of 262km/h(163M.P.H.) with a cruise speed of 180km/h(110M.P.H.), a range of 794 miles, and a service ceiling of 3,000m(9,842.52 feet).  The dimensions are as follows: a wingspan of 14.63m(48 feet), a length of 9.22m(30ft 3in), and a height of 2.74m(9ft.).  It has 6 passenger seats.  Twenty-five are used by Harbour Air, which operates out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and flies to Whistler seasonally, as well as Nanaimo, Vancouver (B.C.), Richmond (B.C.), Maple Bay, Sechelt, Comox, and two of the Gulf Islands.  They share Victoria’s Harbour along with Westcoast Air (part of Harbour Air), Kenmore Air, which flies between Victoria and Seattle, and a few other companies.

The DHC-3 has similar characteristics to that of the DHC-2, except for a few modifications.  The engine is different, now being a Turbine, the cruise speed is 210km/h(130M.P.H.), and the passenger seats number 14, resulting in a longer, more streamlined aircraft.  And yes, I have flown on one before.  There are 18 in Harbour Air’s fleet.

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Me at the gate before flight.

Lastly, we shall look at the De Havilland DHC-6 Turbine Twin Otter.  It has a crew of three, and two 429kW(575hp) Pratt & Whitney R-1860 Hornet radial piston engines.  The cruise speed is 320km/h(226 M.P.H.), a range of 1609km(1,000miles), and a service ceiling of 7,620m(25,000ft.)  Only four are in Harbour Air’s fleet; actually Westcoast Air’s fleet, but along with 18 passenger seats, this aircraft provides exactly what Harbour Air needs for some of the longer flights, such as the Comox, Vancouver, Richmond, and Sechelt flights.  If I knew more about it, I could also tell you if the Turbine Twin Otter also did some of the Whistler flights.  Indeed, the Twin Otter is a vital addition to Harbour Air.

To find out more about Harbour Air, just go to: harbourair.com or westcoastair.com.  And no, if you are wondering by now, Harbour Air did not pay me to write this blog post.  Also, don’t forget that this is my blog post and not a Harbour Air advertisement.  For recommendations about films or other things about Harbour Air, please leave a comment.  I will get back to you as soon as I am back in my website.

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Well, not related to this blog post, Oak Bay was one of the highlights of the trip.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

The Lockheed P-38 Lighting

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane Crash, you’ll find out about the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which was one of the greatest aircraft of WWII.  Get ready, because as of Super Bowl week, I’m going to be writing a football blog post.  So everybody root for San Francisco, and rejoice that the Patriots won’t make it to Super Bowl XLVIIJack Harbaugh must be pretty darn excited.

On January 20th, 1939, one of the greatest aircraft of all time, had its first test flight.  The programme had begun in 1937, due to a USAAC requirement.  This aircraft could go an amazing 360 M.P.H. at 20,000 feet, and 290 M.P.H. at sea level.  It had a crew number of one, a maximum speed of 414 M.P.H., a range of 2,260 miles, a service ceiling of 44,000 feet, and a weight of 21,600 pounds (loaded).  It had an outstanding armament of one 20mm cannon, four 12.7mm machine guns; along with a bomb and rocket load of 4,000 pounds.  Despite its superiority, it has always tended to be overshadowed by Republic’s P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang of North American.  That is mainly because both other aircraft did best in both theatres of the war, but the P-38 was mainly used in the Pacific Theatre.  But there were still those pilots like Robin Olds.

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A dramatic war painting of the Pacific Theatre.

The Lightning was adequately named, for it immediately set speed records.  A loopy pilot Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) Benjamin S. Kelsey had logged just 7 hours in the XP-38 when he decided to try to break Howard Hughes’s transcontinental flight time record of seven hours, twenty-eight minutes, and thirty seconds.  Kelsey took-off on February 11th, 1939, and the aircraft blazed across the country.  But on his descent to Mitchell Army Air Field on Long Island, New York, disaster struck.  After seven hours and two minutes of flight, carburetor icing took away both engine’s power, and the aerocraft crashed on a golf course.  Kelsey came out splendidly, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.  Despite the tragedy, it brought the government’s and the public’s attention to their new 414-M.P.H. fighter.

There were only a few downsides with the P-38, them being maneuverability, engine number, and the two 1063kW (1425hp) Allison V-1710-91 12-cylinder Vee-type unreliable engines.  Even though the two engines were crucial to speed, descent had to be started much earlier than in most other aircraft.  The Allison engines were hard to operate in cold weather, but the P-38 was still used often flying from Normandy or other Allied bases, including Andover in Hampshire, down to the Deutschland region of Europe.

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A P-38 Lightning at Boeing Field.

Lockheed surprisingly made the only U.S. fighter that was in production before and after the war.  Major Richard I. Bong, the highest-scoring pilot in U.S.A.F. history, shot down a total of 40 aircraft; while Tommy McGuire shot down 38 before being shot down over the Philippines in 1945.  Also, the amazing feat of killing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was flown by P-38s.  They flew from Guadalcanal to destroy Yamamoto’s aircraft over Kahili Atoll.  Making the 1,100 round-trip was no easy feat.  It was truly a WWII classic.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

North American P-51 Mustang

                                       The North American P-51 Mustang: Classic Aviation

Hi there, aircraft fans!  I’ve been sick lately, so that is the cause of the delay.  Hope you’ve all had a great start to 2013!

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A splendid painting of a P-51 shooting down a German aircraft.

In 1940, the RAF sent the U.S. a request for a fighter.  First, they had talked with the president of Curtiss, but they had their hands full with how the P-40 Warhawk was in such high demand.  The job was taken on by North American.  When the British first got it, they loved the aircraft and hated the Allison engine.  After many requests, the North American company finally agreed to stick in the finest engine of the time: the 1112kW (1490hp) Packard Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650-7 Vee-type engine.  The RAF then used it extensively, and the pilots loved it.  As the fastest fighter of its time, it could fly at up to 505 M.P.H. when diving, and 437 M.P.H. in level flight.  In some ways the Supermarine Spitfire was better, as it was more forgiving than the Mustang, but the P-51 still did have some advantages.  The P-51 could go 905 miles, and with drop tanks it could go up to 2,080 miles.  The armament is as follows: Six 12.7 mm (0.50inch) machine guns, and up to two 454kg(1,000 pound) bombs or six 12.7 cm (5inch) rockets.  It could fly up to 41,900 feet, and had a wingspan of 37 feet, a length of 32 feet 3 inches, a height of 12 feet 2 inches, and a loaded weight of 12,100 pounds.  The P-51A was designed for the ground-attack role, so it was rarer than some of the other models.

The British already flew the famous Spitfire and Hurricane, splendid for the short-range Battle of Britain, but for long-range bomber escort, they needed a fighter with long range and immense speed.  The Hawker Hurricane had a fantastic range of 900 miles, but it could only fly at 322 M.P.H., inferior to the P-51.  There are always range-to-armament ratios, as having long range means poor or mediocre armament.  That was the story with Supermarine’s Spitfire.  It had a small amount of fly time, but for its time had good speed and incredible firepower.

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The famous “Old Crow” flown by Bud Anderson in formation with an F-15.

A series of test flights were conducted by pilots Vance Breese, Paul Balfour, and R C “Bob” Chilton.  In addition, North American started production of the A-36A Apache (not the helicopter), for dive-bombing and was immensely successful.  The RAF pilots preferred a 3-blade propeller, but the USAAC chose the more popular 4-blade configuration.  America, the UK, and Canada were the main countries that used the P-51.

The “Football War” occurred between El Salvador and Honduras when the World Cup qualifier match score was disputed.  Fortunately for El Salvador, they had Mustangs.  But disaster struck when two crashed into each other, two had fuel shortages and one was shot down.

This is the story of an amazing rescue.  Mac McKennon was part of one of the perhaps two most daring rescues in WWII.  Leading his squadron over Germany in his “Ridge Runner”, he was hit by flak and had to jump out and make use of his parachute.  Since hundreds of miles into enemy territory, he decided it was time to become a POW.  But his other pilots had a better idea.  Lieutenant George Green landed in the field where his confused leader was standing, and the CO decided to get in.  Of course, some place-swapping occurred, as the Mustang is only a one-seat fighter.  Green had to sit on McKennon’s lap and proceed with the most difficult take-off of his career.  Then, the entire squadron flew back to Debden, where they safely landed around three hours later.

There are numerous other splendid Mustang stories, but since I’m not writing a book, I think that I’d better stop while I’m ahead.  North American’s P-51 Mustang is truly an aircraft classic.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Hello, aircraft fans!

This report is on the Attack on Pearl Harbor, due to the recent holiday, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.    Hope you enjoy reading it!

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Two aircraft are visible in the attack.

It was said by many men such as General Billy Mitchell that early some Sunday morning, the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor.  On December 7th, 1941, disaster struck.  American commanders were Husband Kimmel and Walter Short, and the Japanese had Chuichi Nagumo and Isoroku Yamamoto.  In the American mobile unit, there were 8 battleships, 8 cruisers, 30 destroyers, 4 submarines, 1 USCG (United States Coast Guard) Cutter, 49 other ships, and 390 aircraft.  But the Japanese had 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 9 destroyers, 8 tankers, 23 fleet submarines, 5 midget submarines, and 414 aircraft.  The American losses were 4 battleships sunk, 3 battleships damaged, 1 battleship grounded, 2 other ships sunk, 3 cruisers damaged, 3 destroyers damaged, 3 other ships damaged, 188 aircraft destroyed, 159 aircraft damaged, 2,402 killed, and 1,282 wounded.  Japan still had major losses: 4 midget submarines sunk, 1 midget submarine grounded, 29 aircraft destroyed, 64 killed, and 1 captured.  Of course, that was a 4,065 to 99 casualty ratio.  The Japanese used 353 aircraft.  Unfortunately for the Japanese, all 5 midget submarines were destroyed.

A Gallup Poll before the attack found that 52% of Americans expected war, 27% did not expect war, and 21% had no opinion.  The downside of attacking Pearl Harbor was that none of the American aircraft carriers were in the bay.  Due to Japanese expansion into French Indochina, the USA stopped oil exports to Japan in July of 1941.  Then, the Japanese planned to take over Dutch East Indies, which was very oil-rich.  Japan was forced to either withdraw from China and lose face or take over the European controlled countries of Southeast Asia.  On November 26th, 1941, the Japanese Striking Force of the aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku  left northern Japan towards a position northwest of Hawaii.  They hoped to use aircraft to attack Pearl Harbor easily, as they had 408 aircraft.

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These were Japanese Zeros before attack. : (

The first of the two waves was to take out all primary targets, with the second finishing them off.  At 3:42 AM Hawaiian Time, the American minesweeper Condor  spotted a midget submarine periscope west of Pearl Harbor entrance buoy and radioed this to the destroyer Ward.  It may have entered the harbor; however, Ward sank a midget submarine at 6:37 AM in the first American shots in the Pacific Theatre.  A midget submarine north of Ford Island missed the seaplane tender Curtiss  with her first torpedo and then missed the destroyer Monaghan  with her other before being sunk by the Monaghan  at 8:43 AM.  Another midget submarine grounded two times, with one member swimming ashore to become the first prisoner of war from Japan.  The boat was captured on December 8th.  The USS West Virginia  may have been hit by a midget submarine’s torpedo.

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The USS West Virginia was the most heavily damaged US ship in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Slow, vulnerable torpedo bombers led the first wave, exploiting the first moments of surprise to attack the most important ships present (the battleships), while dive bombers attacked U.S. air bases across Oahu, starting with Hickam Field, the largest, and Wheeler Field, the main U.S. Army Air Force fighter base. The 171 planes in the second wave attacked the Air Corps’ Bellows Field near Kaneohe on the windward side of the island, and Ford Island. The only aerial opposition came from a handful of P-36 Hawks, P-40 Warhawks and some SBD Dauntless dive bombers from the carrier USS Enterprise.  Most of the ships had crews that were asleep, so they showed little resistance.  The entire attack lasted a stunningly short ninety minutes. Of the 402 American aircraft in Hawaii, 188 were destroyed, and 159 damaged, with 155 of them on the ground. Almost none were actually ready to take off to defend the base. Eight Army Air Corps (Air Force) pilots managed to get airborne during the battle and six were credited with downing at least one Japanese aircraft during the attack, 1st Lt. Lewis M. Sanders, 2nd Lt. Philip M. Rasmussen, 2nd Lt. Kenneth M. Taylor, 2nd Lt. George S. Welch, 2nd Lt. Harry W. Brown, and 2nd Lt. Gordon H. Sterling Jr.  Sterling was shot down and killed by friendly fire returning from the fight. Of 33 PBY Catalinas in Hawaii, 24 were destroyed, and six others damaged beyond repair. The three on patrol returned undamaged. Friendly Fire brought down some U.S. planes on top of that, including five from an inbound flight from Enterprise.  Japanese attacks on barracks killed additional personnel.

Fifty-five Japanese airmen and nine submariners were killed in the action, and one was captured.  Of Japan’s 414 available planes, 29 were lost during the battle, with nine in the first attack wave, and 20 in the second.  Another 74 were damaged by antiaircraft fire from the ground.  Despite many of the Japanese crewmen’s wishes, a third wave was not carried out.

Here is a list of some of the main aircraft.  The Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” torpedo bomber was actually the 2nd most important Japanese aircraft of the fight, only surpassed by the “Betty” bomber.

The Aichi D3A “Val” dive bomber was also important, but many were destroyed later in Kamikaze missions.

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But on the American side, the main aircraft were the Curtiss P-36, Curtiss P-40, and the Douglas SBD Dauntless.  The Dauntless was one of 4 aircraft that turned the war in the Pacific around, with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Curtiss P-40, and the Grumman F6f Hellcat.  Here are some photos of the American ships after the attack.

The USS Arizona Memorial on the island of Oahu honors lives lost during the attack.  Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day , December 7th,is perhaps the largest holiday in the Hawaiian Islands.  Hawaii is still the largest military disaster on a land to become American.

Have a great day!

Isaiah  S. Casey

The Aeronca Model 7 Champion

Hello, Ya’ll!

Today, I’ll be writing about the 2nd standard lightweight airplane of the post-WWII era – the Aeronca Model 7 Champion.  I hope you enjoy reading this blog post!

Similar to the Piper J-3 Cub and Super Cub, the Champion was a post-war 1945 Aeronca creation.  It was produced in large numbers; in fact, ten-thousand were built.  A military variant was the L-16.  Despite ending production in 1951, in was incredibly popular during its time.  Below are the aircraft specifications.

First Marketed: November 1945

Crew: 1 or 2

Engine: one 48kW (65hp) Continental A-65-8 or A-68-8F flat-four piston engine

Max. Speed: 100m.p.h.

Range: 270 miles

Service Ceiling: 12,600 feet

Wingspan: 35 feet 2 inches

Length: 21 feet 6 inches

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 1,240 pounds maximum take-off weight

Payload: 2

War Service: Korean War

Used by: Private pilots, military, agricultural pilots, CAP (Civil Air Patrol)

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This is another great shot of the Aeronca Model 7 Champion.

It was the standard light aircraft used apart from the Piper J-3 Cub for nearly a decade after WWII.  Certain companies after 1951 also produced the aeroplane that acquired the manufacturing rights.  Not commonly known, this splendid airplane is still an aircraft classic.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Hello, airplane fans!

The SR-71 Blackbird was the main secret service aircraft in controlling Communism, and was greatly loved by its pilots.  It was used mainly during the Cold War.  Many air museums will have it, such as Evergreen, The Museum of Flight, National Air and Space Museum, and perhaps Udvar Hazy.

Blackbird for web

Airplane Characteristics:

Maker of Aircraft: Lockheed

First Flown: 1964

Crew: 2

Flown in Combat?: Vietnam War, Operation Eldorado Canyon, Cold War

Maximum Speed: 2000 m.p.h.

Range: 2,983 miles

Service Ceiling: 80,000 feet

Dimensions: Wingspan 55 feet 7 inches, wing area 1,605 square feet, length 107 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 6 inches.

Used in Countries: USA, Okinawa, UK

Designated the RS-71 Blackbird, it was called the SR-71 Blackbird after President Lyndon B. Johnson accidentally called it the wrong thing.  The aircraft is still often remembered as the main spyplane that helped the U.S. defeat the Soviet Union.

Forty-eight years have passed since it was first flown, and most are still in tip-top shape, despite being retired.  Now, the main aircraft patrolling enemy skies are such airplanes as the Global Hawk, and now even satellites are being largely used for such matters.  Once thought to be the greatest aircraft invention during the free-spending Reagan years, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is now being forced to go through many changes.  One main problem is that the pilots don’t have good enough G-suits, so many were passing out.  But many are still patrolling home skies.  Other main aerocraft in home skies is the now retiring McDonnell Douglas (later changed to Boeing) F-15 Eagle, the General Dynamics (later Lockheed Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon (a.k.a. Viper), the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F-18 Hornet/Super Hornet, and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.  Many great airplanes are still in the sky.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Have a great day!

Isaiah