Classic Aircraft Trivia

Tag Archives: wwii aircraft

Hi, I’m not John King.  Anyway, for my holiday season blog post, I decided to do something for which some of you will think I’m nuts: the Christmas story.  You may be thinking, “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!”  Well, true; however, keep in mind that my family bought our Christmas trees November 23rd.  And even if you do think I’m nuts, and in some ways I am, this isn’t one of them, and I’m a Christian, so I don’t care anyway.  So let’s get started!

What I did here is that I combined the different books to get what I consider about the best possible Christmas story.  So if something looks odd, that’s why.

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.  (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)   All returned to their own towns to register for this census.   And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.   He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.   And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.   She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.   That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep.   Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened,   but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!   The Savior– yes, the Messiah, the Lord– has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!   And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”   Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others– the armies of heaven– praising God:   “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”   When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”   They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.   Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.   All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,   but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.   The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.   Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.  About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,   “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him.”   Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem.   He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. “Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?” he asked them.   “In Bethlehem,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:   ‘O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ”   Then Herod sent a private message to the wise men, asking them to come see him. At this meeting he learned the exact time when they first saw the star.   Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”   After this interview the wise men went their way. Once again the star appeared to them, guiding them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.   When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!   They entered the house where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   But when it was time to leave, they went home another way, because God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.   After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up and flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to try to kill the child.”   That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother,   and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”   Herod was furious when he learned that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, because the wise men had told him the star first appeared to them about two years earlier.   Herod’s brutal action fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah:   “A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah– weeping and mourning unrestrained. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted– for they are dead.”   When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and told him,   “Get up and take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”   So Joseph returned immediately to Israel with Jesus and his mother.   But when he learned that the new ruler was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid. Then, in another dream, he was warned to go to Galilee.   So they went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophets concerning the Messiah: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

 

So that’s the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  And what’s even better is that it’s all true!  Have a great holiday season, and thank God you’ve made it through another year!

 

Keep the pointy end forward, the dirty side down, and by all means, please… stay out of the trees!


Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane Crash, we’ll look at the U.S. Navy’s WW2 top three: the Grumman F6f Hellcat, the Vought F-4U Corsair, and the Grumman F4f Wildcat.

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A painting of a Corsair at Boeing Field.

Wildcat: Before 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 Wildcat had a crew of 1, one 895kW (1200hp) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-66 radial engine, a maximum speed of 512km/h(318mph), a range of 1239km (770 miles), and a service ceiling of 10,638m (34,900ft).

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An excellent photo of a squadron of Wildcats during WW2.

Dimensions are as follows: Wingspan: 11.58m (38ft.). Length: 8.76m (28ft. 9in.).  Height: 3.61m (11ft. 10in.).

Armament: Six 12.77mm (0.50in.) machine guns in wings and an external bomb load of 91kg (200lb.).  Total loaded weight was 3607 kg (7952lb.).

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

Hellcat: The Hellcat flew for the first time on June 26, 1942.  Many of its war abilities had been learned from its predecessor, the Wildcat.  Specifications for this war-changing plane are as follows:

Crew: 1.

Powerplant: one 1492 kW (2000hp) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W radial engine.

Performance: Maximum speed: 612 km/h (380mph).  Range: 1521km (945 miles).  Service ceiling: 11,369m (37,300ft.).

Dimensions: Wingspan: 13.05m (42ft10in.).  Length: 10.24m(33ft.7in.).  Height: 3.99m (13ft.1in.).

Armament: six 12.7mm(0.50ibn.) machine guns in wings, or two 20mm(0.79in.) cannon and four 12.7mm(0.50in) machine guns, provision for two 453kg (1000lb) bombs or six 12.7cm (5in) RPs.

Weight: 7025kg (15,487lb).

In all, the Grumman F6f ran up a 19 to 1 kill ratio.

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As the sun sets over the Pacific, these Corsairs return home.

And now: the Chance Vought F4U Corsair.  The speed, strength, and firepower of the Corsair enabled it to dominate Japanese opposition, shooting down 2140 against a loss of 189.  Its performance and dependability allowed great flight leaders like John Blackburn, John Smith, Marion Carl, Joe Foss, and Pappy Boyington to create legendary fighter squadrons.  It was truly a superior aircraft.

Have a great day!

Isaiah


Classic Aircraft Trivia #2

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane Crash, we’ll do another Classic Aircraft Trivia game.  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.  Rule number one: First team to score wins.  Rule number two: Uh, there is no rule number two.  Rule number three: see rules #1 and #2.  Please send me your results via a “comment” box.

1. What is Britain’s most beloved aircraft?

A. Supermarine Spitfire   B. Hawker Hurricane      C. Curtiss Warhawk

2. What airline is based out of Vancouver BC?

A. Air Canada        B. Canadian          C. Air Force One    D. First Niagara

3. What was the original competitor to the de Havilland Beaver?

A. Cessna 172       B. Cessna 185       C. Noorduyn Norseman    D. None of the above

4. What is North America’s main short range civil aircraft company?

A. Nord        B. de Havilland      C. Maule      D. Boeing     E. Bombardier   F. Cessna

5. What is the greatest floatplane ever?

A. de Havilland Beaver/single otter/ twin otter      B. Cessna 185       C. Noorduyn Norseman

Bonus question: What Canadian squadron is the Winnipeg Jets NHL team named for?

A. 117th        B. 123rd        C. 555th       D. 1st           E. 246th        F. 17th

G. None of the above        H. All of the above           I. Alex Ovechkin            K. Angelica Ragdolls

Have a great day!

Isaiah

Credits: backyard football sudden death overtime rules 1-2-3: Klem Daniels, as Chuck Downfield. Humongous Entertainment.


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


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


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

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


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


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


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