Sunday, March 17, 2019

a faint echo

This Panavia Tornado designated IDS registration 43+74 serial number 4074 wears the markings of the German Navy, 1. Marinefliegergeschwader or German 1st Naval Wing. This Panavia Tornado designated IDS registration 43+74 serial number 4074 wears the markings of the German Navy, 1. Marinefliegergeschwader or German 1st Naval Wing. In 1956, the British in response to the Cold War largely helped re-create German Naval Aviation. Birtish Naval Defense meant closing off the treacherous Baltic Sea against the Soviet Navy. A re-armed Germany again served as a buffer state for the West.

At one time, Marineflieger operated 112 Tornados for its anti-shipping and marine reconnaissance roles. The Tornados replaced Starfighter. The heavier Tornado had half the range of the Starfighter but none of the baggage. The German Navy distributed the Tornado between its two air wings.

For the reconnaissance mission, the Tornado fitted pods with panoramic optical cameras and an infrared line scan. The Tornado used AS.34 Kormoran anti-ship missile as well as unguided bombs and BL755 cluster munitions, and later by AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles.

The Berlin Wall fell. Germany, eager for reunification signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe of 1990. Terms of the treaty included the reduction of its armed forces. In 1994 and later in 2005, the first and second German Naval Aviation wings disbanded.

Currently the Marinefliegerkommando or German Naval Aviation Branch has 2,100 personnel stationed in Nordholz Naval Airbase on the North Sea in Lower Saxony. The Marinefliegerkommando operates 55 aircraft. The Marinefliegerkommando has helicopters, unmanned aircraft, prop planes and no jets.

This aircraft represents a faint echo of German Naval Aviation.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

infinitum bellum sexus

The ongoing nonsense of the gender wars where there are no winners only losers has now taken to the skies. In the latest update to the #Metoo montebank misogyny, yet another unnamed damsel in distress accuses Special operations pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Michael B. Black, a C-145A instructor pilot and combat aviation adviser of raping her April 28, 2017 and a second time between May 1-3, 2017, on a deployment in Uganda. Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice forbids sexual assault (without consent).

Lt. Col. James Wilson, spokesman for the 919th Special Operations Wing remains professionally noncommittal “Any allegations of sexual assault are taken seriously [LOL] by leaders at all level[s] in our unit . . . As with any case that is pending trial, the member is considered innocent until proven guilty [yeah right].” The accused sex criminal serves the 919th Special Operations Wing since May 2000, the wing said and “is performing duties in support of the 919 SOW’s global mission and will continue to do so until his trial begins,” the 919th said. The general court-martial will be held at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida beginning May 6.

Pima Air Museum doesn’t have a PZL M28 Skytruck. It looks a lot like our Nomad, designation N22S. From 1975 to 1985, Government Aircraft Factories produced 170 aircraft. The twin-engine turboprop aircraft serves as a light cargo and passenger carrier with the Australian military and several others. Government Aircraft Factories mounted the radar under the nose. Indonesia used this version, called Searchmaster for maritime reconnaissance. The U.S. Customs service purchased several for border patrol duties. This Nomad registration N6328 serial number F163 wears the markings the United States Customs Service circa 1998.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SE-210 SUD AVIATION Caravelle registration N1001U serial number 86

The SE-210 SUD AVIATION Caravelle registration N1001U serial number 86 wears the markings of Aero Service Corporation, Houston, Texas on the day it went into storage in 1990.  Air France needed a medium range airliner. The Caravelle set the standard as the first jet airliner to be designed with the engines mounted on the rear of the fuselage and the first jet airliner produced in Europe outside of England. This design made the cabin quieter and improved single-engine performance. Her clean wing spanned 112 ft 6 in.  Her 2 Rolls Royce Avon Mark 532R turbojets engines provided 12,600 lbs thrust each giving her max speed of 512 mph, a service ceiling of 39,370 ft and a range of 1,450 miles. 105 ft long and 29 ft 7 in high, her crew of 3 carried 80 passengers weighing 110,230 lbs loaded. The later versions introduced thrust reversers and spoilers to improve landing performance. She flew first in 1955 and in 1959 entered service.  Sud Aviation produced 282 planes from 1958–1972 at a per unit cost of $5.5M in 1972 prices.  The Caravelle had civilian and military buyers relying on Air France, Scandinavian Airlines, Swissair and Finnair.  She last flew in 2004. 

Sud Aviation delivered this plane to United in June 10, 1961. In May 19, 1973, she later flew for Aero Service Goodyear Aerospace as a radar testbed aircraft. Established in 1919, the Aero Service Corporation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania led the world in aerial photography, receiving both government and private contracts.  Aero Service Corporation doesn’t exist anymore.  Others bought her and she merged into her into Baker Hughes which GE later bought. This aircraft is the only Caravelle displayed in the United States and the second displayed in North America.  The second Caravelle is Parque Aviacuatico Los Manantiales outside of Mexico City.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Howling Howland

This F-104D (SERIAL NUMBER: 57-1323) wears the markings of 156th Tactical Fighter Group (ANG), San Juan International Airport, Puerto Rico, 1974

The Starfighter uses a General Electric J79. The axial-flow #turbojet engine provides 15,800 lbs thrust and has a max speed of Mach 2, The Starfighter has a range of 1,388 miles and a service ceiling of 57,500 ft.  The J79 is a single-spool turbojet with a seventeen-stage compressor. At the time, the novel arrangement of variable stator blades allowed the engine to develop pressure similar to a twin-spool engine at a much lower weight.

The stainless steel compressor blades are mounted on disks. The first seven stage's disks being made of titanium. Corrosion-resistant (not stainless) steel spacers follow. Early #engines produced smoke at cruise settings which was not good in combat. Later models were "smokeless". Also the J79 makes strange sounds at certain throttle settings. NASA nicknamed F-104B Starfighter, N819NA, Howling Howland.

The fuselage had a high fineness ratio. The Starfighter's slender fuselage tapered towards the sharp nose giving it a small frontal area.  The tightly packed fuselage contained the radar, cockpit, cannon, fuel, landing gear, and engine. The fuselage and wing combination provided low drag.  The Starfighter's high angle of attack (alpha) point induced very high drag. The F-104 had good acceleration, rate of climb, and potential top speed. It's turn performance was poor. In the air, the F-104 proved very effective at high-speed attacks, but less so in dogfighting due to its wide turning radius. The Starfighter won world records in air speed and altitude.

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Saturday, March 02, 2019

Berlin, 1948

Following the end of the Second World War, the Great Powers decided to weaken and parcel Germany among themselves.  Jealousy makes yesterday’s friends today’s enemies.  A good book tells us that  all evil roots itself in the love of money.  The western powers introduced the Deutschmark on June 20, 1948.  Four days later, Stalin moved closed all traffic to West Berlin and moved 40 divisions into Soviet controlled Germany.  History tells us what follows when fellow travelers disagree.  Berlin needed at least 4,500 tons of coal and food per day to survive.  The United States led the airlift.  #Stalin knew it would fail.  Herman Goering boasted his airlift could resupply Stalingrad.  Four months later, 100,000 #Nazi soldiers went into captivity.  #Capturing Germany, the heart of Europe, long since a dream of the Bolsheviks, would finally be in the hidden hand of the crooked seminarian from Tbilisi.  The airlift missed their tonnage requirements.  The C-47s (militarized DC-3s) could not do the job only the C-54 could land every three minutes and unload within 30 minutes and be off again.  Between 1942 – August 1947, Douglas built 12,000 of these aircraft.  But by 1948, the Defense Department had approximately 565.  At its maximum, 312 of the 441 USAF C-54s were committed to the airlift.  On July 28, 1948, General William H. Tunner took over Operation Vittles.  Within 2 weeks, General Tunner broke the back of Stalin’s blockade.   The C-47s and C-54s together flew over 92 million miles, almost the distance from Earth to the Sun.  Despite the logistical problems and the Berlin winter, the airlift flew 300,000 sorties using over 330 aircraft a cost of $224 million delivered 2,323,738 tons of food, fuel, machinery, and other supplies.  Stalin lifted the siege on May 12, 1949, though the flights continued until September 30, 1949.  101 men died including 39 British, 31 American and 13 German civilians.

A partial list of the America dead can be found here:

1st Lt George B. Smith
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Captain James A. Vaughan
New Haven, Connecticut

Cpl Norbert H. Theis
Cunningham, Kansas

1st Lt Leland V. Williams
Abilene, Texas

1st Lt Eugene S. Erickson
Collinsville, Illinois

PFC Ronald E. Stone
Mt. Sterling, Kentucky

Mr Karl V. Hagen
New York, New York

Sgt Richard Winter
Seattle, Washington

1st Lt Ralph H. Boyd
Fort Worth, Texas

1st Lt Charles H. King
Britton, South Dakota

Captain Billy E. Phelps
Long Beach, California

1st Lt Craig B. Ladd
Minneapolis, Minnesota

1st Lt Robert W. Stuber
Arlington, California

1st Lt Willis F. Hargis
Nacogdoches, Texas

TSgt Charles L. Putnam
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Major Edwin C. Diltz
Fayetteville, Texas

TSgt Lloyd G. Wells
San Antonio, Texas

1st Lt Robert P. Weaver
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Captain William R. Howard
Gunnison, Mississippi

AD/3 Harry R. Crites, Jr.
Lafayette, Indiana

1st Lt Royce C. Stephens
San Antonio, Texas

Captain Joel M. DeVolentine
Miami, Florida

1st Lt Richard M. Wurgel
Union City, New Jersey

1st Lt Robert C. von Luehrte
Covington, Kentucky

1st Lt William T. Lucas
Wilson, North Carolina

1st Lt Lowell A. Wheaton, Jr.
Corpus Christi, Texas

2nd Lt Donald J. Leemon
Green Bay, Wisconsin

PFC Johnny T. Orms
Rhein-Main Air Base

Captain William A. Rathgeber
Portland, Oregon

TSgt Herbert F. Heinig
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Sgt Bernard J. Watkins
Lafayette, Indiana

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Friday, March 01, 2019

The DC-4E

In 1935 at the age of 35, William Patterson, President of #UnitedAirlines commissioned the  Donald Douglas of Douglas Aircraft Company in Burbank, California to create aircraft more ambitious than the yet to be released DC-3.  Patterson wanted four-engine transport about twice the size of the DC-3 that could carry 42 passengers by day or 30 by night. The new plane had to have complete sleeping accommodations, including a private bridal room.  United Airlines had Stewardesses the first American Airline to do so.  Other airlines such as #AmericanAirlines, #EasternAirLines, #PanAmerican Airways and Transcontinental and Western Air (T#WA)  joined United, providing $100,000 each toward the cost of developing the new aircraft.

Standing on a aircraft, the DC-4 featured auxiliary power units, power-boosted flight controls, alternating current electrical system, air conditioning, and cabin pressurization.  It’s three low vertical stabilizers meant it could fit into existing hangars. The DC-4 could take off with only two engines on one side operating.  Like the DC-3, the DC-4 had Dihedral angle wings but had a swept leading edge and almost straight trailing edge.  The four 1,450 hp (1,080 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2180-A Twin Hornet 14-cylinder air-cooled radials were all mounted with noticeable toe-out, particularly the outer pair.

Despite all these innovations, the buyers felt the DC-4 underperformed.  It was too heavy and the advantages did not justify the additional maintenance cost.  The plane did not go into production and Douglas sold the prototype to  Imperial #Japanese Airways a year later only to lose the aircraft in crash in Tokyo Bay.  Nakajima reverse engineered the wreckage for a bomber that would have had a range of 2,200 miles and a 20,000 lb pay load never got built.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Super Gooney Bird

The Douglas Super Gooney bird C-117 is the post-war military jacked variant of the DC-3.  Ike called the DC-3 one of 4 most valuable machines (the Atom bomb, the Jeep and the Bazooka) in winning the war that ended all wars (but wait . . . )  Between its plants in Long Beach, Oklahoma City and Santa Monica, Douglas Aircraft Company made over 10,000 DC-3’s for the Army, Navy, the British and our Soviet Allies. War profiteers looked at the end of the war with the same palpable desperation as barfly without a hookup at last call.  As a glut of these surplus airliners collapsed on the market like a fat girl on a hammock, you can always depend on the latent creativity of bureaucrats to stick it to the little guy.  New aviation regulations made many of these serviceable aircraft unserviceable.  Douglas came up with a gimmick to rebrand these DC-3s to conform to the new regs that included new outer wing panels, a longer fuselage and tail unit, engine nacelles that fully enclosed the undercarriage, and more powerful R-1820-80 engines.  The smaller airlines that Douglas target marketed could not afford it.  But with a little fairy dust from rent seekers, the military discovered they wanted the Super Gooney Bird after all.  Born in Oklahoma City, she served in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and the Navy in 1944.  In 1952, she became a Super Gooney.  A Naval Aviator assigned to VRF-32 (a ferry squadron) named Ray Berger claims he flew her in 1952. In 1961, the Marines got her.  In 1974, she retired in 1974.  Photographed in 1991, she looked rough.  by 1996, she looked fine.

Wingspan: 90 ft
Length: 67 ft 9 in
Height: 18 ft 3 in
Weight: 31,000 lbs (loaded)
Max. Speed: 270 mph
Service Ceiling: 22,500 ft
Range: 2,500 miles
Engines: 2 Wright R-1820-80, 1,475 horsepower each
Crew: 3, 35 passengers

They say over 400 DC-3s still fly!

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