Flight Journal http://www.flightjournal.com Tue, 01 Sep 2015 05:31:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 On This Day in Aviation History http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/09/01/on-this-day-in-aviation-history-524/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/09/01/on-this-day-in-aviation-history-524/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 05:30:05 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=217016

1937 – First flight of the Bell YFM-1 Airacuda, an American heavy fighter and the first such airplane built by Bell Aircraft Corp. 1961 – Birth of Christopher J. Ferguson, U.S. Navy fighter and test pilot as well as NASA astronaut. 1967 – The U. S. Navy’s first dedicated search-and-rescue squadron, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 7 (HC-7), is commissioned at Atsugi, Japan; it operates [...]

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1937 – First flight of the Bell YFM-1 Airacuda, an American heavy fighter and the first such airplane built by Bell Aircraft Corp.

1961 – Birth of Christopher J. Ferguson, U.S. Navy fighter and test pilot as well as NASA astronaut.

1967 – The U. S. Navy’s first dedicated search-and-rescue squadron, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 7 (HC-7), is commissioned at Atsugi, Japan; it operates UH-2 Seasprite helicopters (shown). Previously, all Navy search-and-rescue had been performed by helicopter antisubmarine squadrons. HC-7 will make its first rescue on Oct. 3 in Haiphong Harbor, North Vietnam.

1975 – The fourth production Concorde, British Airways’ G-BOAC, makes two return flights from London to Gander, Newfoundland, becoming the first aircraft to make four Atlantic crossings in a single day.

1977 – Death of Mario Fucini, Italian World War I flying ace.

2006 – Iran Air Tours Flight 945, a Tupolev Tu-154, crashes while attempting to land in Mashad, Iran, killing 28 of 154 on board.

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Students, Profs Build Record-Setting Plane http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/09/01/students-profs-build-record-setting-plane/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/09/01/students-profs-build-record-setting-plane/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 04:35:32 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=217011

​The Anequim Project Team, a group of students and professors from Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), recently brought their slick new plane to Rio de Janeiro to put it through its paces. When they were done with the high-speed flights out of the Santa Cruz Air Force Base this past weekend, they’d set [...]

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​The Anequim Project Team, a group of students and professors from Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), recently brought their slick new plane to Rio de Janeiro to put it through its paces. When they were done with the high-speed flights out of the Santa Cruz Air Force Base this past weekend, they’d set five new world records. Not bad for a student project.

Paulo Iscold, who created the project and is now one of the professors, spent the better part of a decade building his first race plane. With the help of Brazilian aerobatic pilot Gunar Armin, his CE-308 would break four world records in 2010. Not content to quit while he was ahead, Iscold assembled a group of students to begin building the newly designed Anequim, named for the mako shark, the fastest in the ocean.

Using 3-D modeling software, Iscold and his aeronautical engineering students analyzed the aerodynamics around the wing and fuselage. This same software also enabled them to use CNC machining to craft custom molds, which they would need to fabricate complex composite pieces that are lightweight and efficient. This process let them design and build a unique and complete airframe in just more than a year. Another year was dedicated to engine and systems installation, plus surface preparation and paint. By mid-2014, Anequim was airworthy, though paperwork and red tape would leave it grounded until November.

For the complete story by Chris Clarke of Popular Mechanics, click here.

Photo via Popular Mechanics

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A-10 Set to Compete with F-35 http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/28/a-10s-to-fight-f-35s/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/28/a-10s-to-fight-f-35s/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 03:43:20 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=217005

Opponents of U.S. Air Force efforts to retire its Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II have said the 40-year-old close-air support plane can outperform the Pentagon’s most advanced aircraft. It turns out the lumbering old plane, nicknamed the Warthog, will get a chance to prove it. The Air Force’s top general and the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester [...]

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Opponents of U.S. Air Force efforts to retire its Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II have said the 40-year-old close-air support plane can outperform the Pentagon’s most advanced aircraft.

It turns out the lumbering old plane, nicknamed the Warthog, will get a chance to prove it.

The Air Force’s top general and the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester confirmed Thursday that Lockheed Martin Corp.’s new F-35 Lightning II fighter, equipped with its most modern software, will be tested against the A-10 in 2018 in a comparative evaluation of their capabilities for close-air support, as well as other missions such as air-to-air combat.

Photo by U.S. Air Force

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Saving a Burning Jet http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/27/saving-a-burning-jet/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/27/saving-a-burning-jet/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:52:59 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216989

On April 30, 2015, a Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint belonging to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, suffered a major incident at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. As the aircraft, using radio call sign “Snoop 71,” began the takeoff roll to start its mission in support of a special-operations training exercise, fire erupted behind the galley. Described [...]

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On April 30, 2015, a Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint belonging to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, suffered a major incident at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

As the aircraft, using radio call sign “Snoop 71,” began the takeoff roll to start its mission in support of a special-operations training exercise, fire erupted behind the galley. Described by one crew member as a “flamethrower,” the fire quickly filled the intelligence-gathering plane with dense smoke and burned a hole in the aft fuselage. The aircraft commander (on his first flight, no less) quickly stopped the airplane and the crew egressed as fire fighters extinguished the blaze.

Total damage to the Rivet Joint: $62.4 million.

For the complete story by David Cenciotti of The Aviationist, click here.

Photo by U.S. Air Force

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On This Day in Aviation History http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/26/on-this-day-in-aviation-history-523/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/26/on-this-day-in-aviation-history-523/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 04:04:48 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216983

1883 – Birth of Otto Splitgerber, German World War I flying ace. 1939 – The Messerschmitt Me 209 sets a new world speed record of 469 mph. 1952 – The prototype English Electric Canberra B5 makes the first double transatlantic crossing by a jet, with a total time of just over 10 hours. 1975 – First flight of the McDonnell [...]

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1883 – Birth of Otto Splitgerber, German World War I flying ace.

1939 – The Messerschmitt Me 209 sets a new world speed record of 469 mph.

1952 – The prototype English Electric Canberra B5 makes the first double transatlantic crossing by a jet, with a total time of just over 10 hours.

1975 – First flight of the McDonnell Douglas YC-15 (shown), a four-engine short take-off and landing (STOL) tactical transport. It is McDonnell Douglas’ entrant into the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Medium STOL Transport (AMST) competition to replace the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

1979 – Death of Philip Gerald Cochran, American World War II pilot who developed many tactical air combat, air transport, and air assault techniques.

2008 – A Sun Air 737-200 carrying 109 passengers and crew is hijacked after takeoff of a flight from Nyala, Sudan, to Cairo, and demand to be flown to France. The plane ends up landing in Libya, where the passengers would be released the next day later and the hijackers would surrender two days later.

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USS Macon Crash Site Explored http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/uss-macon-crash-site-explored/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/uss-macon-crash-site-explored/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 03:21:37 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216978

Off the California coast lies the sunken wreckage of the U.S. Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier. The idea that the Navy had flying aircraft carriers is probably new to a lot of people. Imagine a nearly 800-foot “blimp” where five military airplanes can land and take off in midair.  Last week, a team of oceanographers got [...]

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Off the California coast lies the sunken wreckage of the U.S. Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier.

The idea that the Navy had flying aircraft carriers is probably new to a lot of people. Imagine a nearly 800-foot “blimp” where five military airplanes can land and take off in midair.  Last week, a team of oceanographers got a close look at the airship USS Macon. More than 1,400 feet under the sea, robots from the exploration ship E/V Nautilus examined the Macon with cameras and other equipment.

The Macon — technically not a blimp, but a rigid airship — crashed into the water off Point Sur during a storm in 1935, killing two of its 83 crewmen. Outfitted with four deployable Sparrowhawk biplanes, it was the last of its kind in the U.S. military. The crash spelled the end of the U.S. military’s flying aircraft carrier program.

For video and the complete story by Thom Patterson of CNN, click here.

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In Theater: Operation Magic Carpet http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/in-theater-operation-magic-carpet/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/in-theater-operation-magic-carpet/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 13:33:43 +0000 Flight Journal http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216944

In the summer of 1945, the U.S. military spawned a generation of poets who shared one sentiment: “Those who want to be a hero, They number almost zero. Those who want to be civilians… Gee—they number in the millions!” As early as 1943, the Pentagon began contingency planning for returning millions of personnel from overseas [...]

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In the summer of 1945, the U.S. military spawned a generation of poets who shared one sentiment:
“Those who want to be a hero,
They number almost zero.
Those who want to be civilians…
Gee—they number in the millions!”
As early as 1943, the Pentagon began contingency planning for returning millions of personnel from overseas whenever victory was won. It was an enormous task, sardonically cited by cartoonist Bill Mauldin who showed the everyman GIs Willie and Joe sulking at an embarkation port: “I don’t remember no delays getting us over here.”
The first “Magic Carpet” ships left Europe in June 1945, barely a month after VE Day. With the Navy fully committed to the Pacific, most of the shipping came from the Merchant Marine or the U.S. Army, carrying some 430,000 men to the East Coast per month.

Fleet aircraft carrier Magic Carpet ship

Photo via Stan Piet.

Fleet aircraft carriers were popular Magic Carpet rides, as they could accommodate 3,000 or more returnees. The brand new Essex class ship, Lake Champlain (CV-39), was modified for Atlantic use, and the battle-scarred, invaluable Enterprise (CV-6) made Carpet cruises in both directions.
After Japan’s unexpected capitulation in September, the Navy swung into action with ships to spare. Some 350 Pacific Fleet vessels were employed, everything from transports and hospital ships to battleships and cruisers. Meanwhile, 29 transports shuttled from the Far East, delivering China-Burma-India veterans to loved ones.
Whatever the type of ship, the accommodations were steerage class. Bunks were welded three, four, and even five high, with round the clock meal schedules. Water—always at a premium aboard ship—was strictly rationed. Said more than one serviceman, “When we walked off that boat we were pretty rank—but nobody cared!”
The transatlantic movement went both ways. With Magic Carpet ships being empty eastbound, more than 400,000 German and Italian prisoners were repatriated, however rubble-strewn their nations may have been. The task was completed by early 1946.

By Barrett Tillman

pow

Photo via Stan Peet

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Ending The Greatest War http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/ending-the-greatest-war/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/ending-the-greatest-war/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 13:06:04 +0000 Flight Journal http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216932

In the 70 years since VJ-Day, few wars have ended in outright victory. America tied in Korea, abandoned South Vietnam, quit while ahead on points in Iraq in 1991, declared victory there in 2011, and now plans to flee Afghanistan. The current global war against radical Islam is likely to last for generations. Israel won [...]

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In the 70 years since VJ-Day, few wars have ended in outright victory. America tied in Korea, abandoned South Vietnam, quit while ahead on points in Iraq in 1991, declared victory there in 2011, and now plans to flee Afghanistan. The current global war against radical Islam is likely to last for generations.
Israel won significant victories in 1967 and 1973, but the region remains a powder keg. Eastern Europe and Africa still endure warfare.
So what was different about the Second World War?
Historians approximately concur that European timidity ensured that Adolf Hitler’s Germany would launch the Blitzkrieg that overwhelmed most of the continent in 1939-40. The Axis powers, including Italy and Japan, were outnumbered six to one and out-produced by something approaching infinity, but still they tied the world in knots for six years. The combined might of the United States, the British Empire, the Soviet Union and China was necessary to end the world’s greatest conflagration.

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Victory was bought at a staggering price. The actual toll is unknowable but probably exceeds 55 million people, military and civilian. Nations were crushed, empires dissolved, and the global map redrawn. The world lived with the immediate result—the Cold War—for the next 46 years.
Unlike the horrific effects of the Great War, which spawned a naive global pacifism, WW II reminded humans that powerful aggression cannot be argued, managed or convinced. It must be defeated—decisively.
With time, historic Allied victories reversed the Axis floodtide: Midway, Guadalcanal, and El Alamein in 1942, Stalingrad, Kursk, and Sicily in 1943. By New Year’s 1944 the outcome was beyond doubt, but the bloodletting continued.
No WW II event stirs controversy like the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For 30 years the argument existed in a vacuum, until code decrypts were available in the 1970s proving Tokyo’s resolve. Yet even today we hear pacifists argue “Japan was about to surrender.” Well, no it wasn’t, which is why the emperor took the unprecedented step of over-riding his doom-laden war cabinet.
Yet other arguments persist, with critics condemning the Allied bombing offensives that razed urban-industrial areas in so many Axis cities. The RAF incinerated Hamburg in July 1943 with some 46,000 dead. In one night in March 1945, B-29s burned out one-sixth of Tokyo and killed at least 85,000 people.
Still the Axis persisted.
Critics of strategic bombing are not new. In 1944, the benighted Bishop of Chichester claimed that Britain was “losing the moral high ground” by bombing German cities.
How you lose the moral high ground to Adolf Hitler is unknown.
The fact remains: civilians produce the weapons of war, which is why urban-industrial areas were targeted. Even the still-controversial U.S.-UK bombing of Dresden in February 1945 often ignores that it sat astride supply routes to the Eastern Front.
Were civilians unnecessarily killed? Yes, of course: sometimes unintentionally, sometimes from spite. For much of the Combined Bomber Offensive, the RAF continued punishing the German population. But by then, the hope of a morale collapse was long gone. After WW I, airpower theorists held that bombing civilians would bring an early end to a war by populations forcing their governments to surrender. But it would only work against an industrial democracy, and in those days the only such nations within range of each other were Britain and France.
History is ill served when bombing critics limit their complaints to the victors, casting aggressors as victims. The fact remains, by late 1943, when the outcome was inevitable, those who started the war had the power to end it overnight.
That none of them did should never be forgotten.

by Barrett Tillman

 

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In Theater: Game Changer http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/in-theater-game-changer/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/in-theater-game-changer/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:17:05 +0000 Flight Journal http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216939

In the world’s largest theater of war, three aircraft proved decisive: a Navy dive bomber, a Navy fighter, and an Army bomber. The Douglas SBD Dauntless won essential victories in the year after Pearl Harbor: Coral Sea, Midway, and the Guadalcanal battles. Thereafter, Japan never regained the strategic initiative. Grumman’s F6F Hellcat defeated Japanese airpower. [...]

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In the world’s largest theater of war, three aircraft proved decisive: a Navy dive bomber, a Navy fighter, and an Army bomber. The Douglas SBD Dauntless won essential victories in the year after Pearl Harbor: Coral Sea, Midway, and the Guadalcanal battles. Thereafter, Japan never regained the strategic initiative.
Grumman’s F6F Hellcat defeated Japanese airpower. Hellcats represented the tip of the spear in America’s Central Pacific Offensive between 1943 and 1945, destroying nearly as many Japanese aircraft as all Army fighters in the Pacific and China-Burma-India Theaters combined.

B29 Flying Fortress

Photo via Stan Piet.

Then there was Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress. The B-29 was unlike anything else flying, a half-generation leap from the B-17 and its contemporaries. Pressurized for 30,000-foot cruising at high speed with a large bomb load and a 1,500-mile mission radius, it was in many ways the world’s most advanced aircraft. The AAF ordered 14 evaluation samples and 250 production aircraft in May 1941, long before the first flight.
But there were problems. Lots of them.
Leading the long list of technical gremlins was the Wright R3350. Though delivering 2,200 hp, the twin-bank Duplex Cyclone suffered serious heating problems that were only cured late in the program. If the magnesium case caught fire, the crew had a 13% chance of saving the airplane.
The prototype flew in September 1942, but five months later Boeing’s chief test pilot Eddie Allen and 10 others died trying to land with a fire. Nonetheless, the Army Air Force persisted.
Eventually nearly 4,000 Superforts were built, a massive effort expanding well beyond Boeing’s home in Seattle. Factories in three other states contributed to the effort while the AAF struggled to deal with a myriad of problems. “The Battle of Kansas” was fought in early 1944 when the Wichita plant overcame most of the 29’s problems.
Meanwhile, Gen. Hap Arnold insisted on deploying the new bomber prematurely. The first B-29 wing went to India in early 1944, at the end of the war’s longest supply line. Eventually Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay produced results, but logistics forced the CBI units to move to the Marianas Islands in early 1945. There, with XXI Bomber Command, the Superfort showed its worth.
From November 1944 to August 1945, B-29s destroyed most of Japan’s urban-industrial areas. The awesome effectiveness of incendiary weapons was demonstrated one night in March 1945 when LeMay’s crews razed one-sixth of Tokyo. The nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki finally convinced Emperor Hirohito to “bear the unbearable” and over-ride his war cabinet.
Superforts flew again in Korea from 1950-53, mainly limited to night missions owing to the MiG threat. With improved engines the B-29D became the B-50, which soldiered on as a tanker until the 1960s.
Seven decades later, the Superfortress remains high atop the pyramid of strategic game changers.

by Barrett Tillman

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On This Day in Aviation History http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/on-this-day-in-aviation-history-522/ http://www.flightjournal.com/blog/2015/08/25/on-this-day-in-aviation-history-522/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 04:28:41 +0000 Mike Harbour http://www.flightjournal.com/?p=216963

1912 – Royal Navy aviator Wilfred Parke becomes the first pilot ever to recover from a spin when he regains control of his Avro Type G biplane 50 feet from the ground at Larkhill, England. 1916 – Birth of Saburo Sakai, Japanese naval aviator and World War II fighter ace. 1929 – First flight of [...]

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1912 – Royal Navy aviator Wilfred Parke becomes the first pilot ever to recover from a spin when he regains control of his Avro Type G biplane 50 feet from the ground at Larkhill, England.

1916 – Birth of Saburo Sakai, Japanese naval aviator and World War II fighter ace.

1929 – First flight of the Gloster VI (shown), a British racing seaplane developed as a contestant for the 1929 Schneider Trophy.

1946 – The U.S. Navy’s Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the “Blue Angels,” upgrades their aircraft to the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat.

2010 – A Filair Let L-410 crashes on approach to Bandundu Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 20. Both fuel starvation and an escaped crocodile are blamed for the accident.

2012 – Death of Neil Alden Armstrong, U.S. Navy pilot, NASA astronaut, aerospace engineer, test pilot, and university professor and the first person to walk on the Moon.

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