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Archive for the ‘Oh Wilbur . . .’ Category

Chivalry Amongst Enemies

June 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Aviation Trails

On December 20th 1943, high above war-torn Europe, the lives of a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and the crew of an American B-17 would collide in an event that has become famous around the aviation world.

On that day, a B-17, “Ye Olde Pub“, of the 379th BG based at RAF Kimbolton (USAAF Station 117) , would be so severely damaged it would defy the laws of gravity and somehow remain airborne as it departed Bremen, Germany, having valiantly carried out its mission. In the skies over the freezing waters of the North Sea, the bomber hanging by a thread, with two engines out, all but one of its guns but the top turret empty or frozen, its rudder and left horizontal stabiliser torn to pieces, a dead crew member and several others wounded;  “The Pub”, as its crew affectionately nicknamed her, seemed destined to fall from the skies…

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Warbirds – B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber

May 24, 2017 Leave a comment

A supporting character in my story, Lodging…

The Clockwork Conservative

December 29th marks the anniversary of the first-flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.  Designed by Consolidated under the name Model 32, in 1939 the proposal was offered to the War Department as the highest flying, fastest, and most advanced heavy bomber that American forces would have at their disposal.  Though having a shorter hull and less wing area, the innovative design features of the B-24 resulted in a lighter aircraft with substantially greater carrying capacity.  Only nine months after the awarding of the contract, the first prototype took flight.

b-24 liberator line drawing

Often forgotten alongside the more famous B-17 Flying Fortress, the Liberator is still the most produced American military aircraft of all time.  More than 18,400 units were delivered by war’s end; over half coming produced at the Ford Motor Company Willow Run plant at Belleville, Michigan.  At peak, this purpose-built production plant rolled out B-24s at a rate of one per hour.  Over 1000 crewmen slept in cots at the facility…

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Heads Up–I Mean Down! Yikes!

April 12, 2017 Leave a comment

F**king f**k! I know you’ve probably seen this clip before (and if you haven’t you’re in for a treat!) but I just couldn’t spend a month celebrating Spitfires and not include it. It never gets old. I’m sure the presenter, noted racing driver Alain de Cadenet, has never forgotten his brush with that high-performance vehicle! It’s […]

via The inimitable Mr. Hanna — airscape Magazine

Book Reviews: A Wright Brothers Twofer

March 14, 2017 Leave a comment

The Wright Brothers on Amazon.com

I was cruising along in this bio and unexpectedly slammed head-on into the epilogue–well before Wilbur died and all of the patent hassles with Glenn Curtiss, et al.  This book is less a history than an outstanding tribute to the Wright Brothers’ accomplishment, ending in 1910 with the first and only flight Wilbur and Orville ever made together at the pinnacle of their acclaim, having showcased their Flyer in Europe and America. Being familiar with their story, what McCullough really captured for me was the impact on the times had by an invention we now take for granted.  (5 of 5 Stars)

 

I started my reading journey through the history of aviation with Orville Wright’s first hand account of how he and Wilbur invented the airplane. It is an amazingly clear and concise telling of how the airplane came to be.  A great read for both pilots and ground pounders with lots of drawings and pics that I had to see again after reading McCullough’s book.  (5 of 5 Stars)

 


 

“On July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong, another American born and raised in western Ohio, stepped onto the moon, he carried with him, in tribute to the Wright brothers, a small swatch of the muslin from a wing of their 1903 Flyer. “

 

Excerpt From: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.

 

 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.III

March 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Defence of the Realm

Spitfire III 2

The legend of the Supermarine Spitfire was forged in the skies over Britain during the summer of 1940. The graceful looking aircraft made it easy for the British media spindoctors to turn R.J. Mitchell’s design in to an unbeatable weapon of war as far as the public image was concerned but this hid the truth that already its shortcomings were becoming obvious even before the Battle of Britain and the early Spitfire Mk.I and the slightly improved Mk.II would need replacing by 1941.

The Supermarine engineers returned to the drawing board and looked at almost every aspect of the aircraft taking in to account the lessons learned from the early experiences in service. Assigned the in-house designation of Supermarine Type 330 the Spitfire Mk.III would need to be faster than its predecessors in order to allow it to keep up with the latest German fighters and to achieve that the…

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More than love

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

airscape Magazine

Ernest K. Gann (1920 – 1981)

Of course Ernest K. Gann should need no introduction to the aviation enthusiast ( – in every pilot, or the pilot in every enthusiast). But time marches on and knowledge falls off, so it’s worth making sure Fate Is The Hunter remains at the top of the ‘must read’ lists.

For many years, tattered copies of Fate lived in countless flight bags; even more so than battered copies of Top Gun lived in the lockers of Naval aviators.

It always was essential reading for pilots, and it still is.

Ernest K Gann Quote

Here, Gann is describing his class of already qualified commercial pilots who are filling hard-won places on a United Airlines induction course. They will suffer, they will sweat; they would starve and they would sleep rough – but they wouldn’t consider any other line of work.

And, while the setting is 1930s America, the full…

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Georgie’s Girl

January 27, 2017 Leave a comment
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