Aviation History Miniatures
ttyymmnn last edited by ttyymmnn
Resplendent in American Bicentennial livery, a Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk of Pacific aggressor squadron VF-126 and a Lockheed S-3A Viking operated by VS-41 "Shamrocks" fly in formation. Aside from the obvious red, white, and blue colors, the Skyhawk is adorned with the Bicentennial logo, while the tail of the Viking features the First Navy Jack and 13 stars. These two aircraft were selected by the Navy as finalists to be the US Navy's Official Bicentennial Jet.
499th Bomb Squadron North American B-25 Mitchell Ruthless Ruth, piloted by USAAF Lieutenant Louie A. Mikell, pulls up after a skip-bombing attack on a Japanese Kaibōkan coastal and convoy defense ship on April 6, 1945. Subsequent attacks sank the ship with a reported loss of 44 crewmen. In order to improve the chances of hitting the ship, skip-bombing is carried out from an altitude of 200-300 feet, with bombs dropped a similar distance from the target. The bombs then skip along the surface of the water before impacting the target. This technique is effective, though it does put the aircraft at greater risk from accurate antiaircraft fire.
F-14 ace Jalil Zandi of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Zandi claimed 11 victories (eight confirmed, three probable) over a mix of Soviet- and French-made aircraft, making him one of the top Iranian aces of all time and the world's top ace flying the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Iran, the only other nation in the world to operate the Tomcat, obtained 80 aircraft during the reign of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, at a time when Iran was still a US ally. Following the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979, retired American Tomcats were destroyed rather than put in storage to prevent spare parts from making their way to Iran. Nevertheless, Iran still has about 40 Tomcats flying today.
McDonnell F2H Banshee. The early days of the jet fighter development was a period marked by extremely rapid development, when newer, more advanced designs were in the works even before the aircraft they were meant to replace had entered production. Such was the case with the Banshee, which was developed as a replacement to the McDonnell FH Phantom, the first pure jet-powered fighter to land on an American aircraft carrier. More powerful engines in the Banshee almost doubled the thrust of its predecessor, and it was enlarged to carry more weapons and fuel. The F2H-2 served both the US Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the Royal Canadian Navy, and was one of the primary jet fighters of the Korean War where it served as a fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance aircraft. Nearly 900 were built, and the Banshee was retired by 1962.
A Vultee BT-13 Valiant Pepsi Skywriter. During the 1930s and 1940s, Pepsi operated a fleet of skywriters for advertising purposes. The first ad, "Drink Pepsi Cola," appeared over New York City on May 1, 1931. The advertising became so popular that Pepsi Skywriters carried out more than 2,225 advertisements across the United States in 1940 alone. Skywriting letters are typically created by injecting hot, pressurized oil into the airplane's exhaust manifold, causing it to vaporize into a dense, white smoke. It is then up to the pilot to fly an accurate course to spell words. The BT-13 took its maiden flight in 1939, and served in large numbers as a primary flight trainer during WWII. Due to the way it shook in flight, pilots referred to it as the Vultee Vibrator.
Saab 35 Draken in flight. The Draken (kite, or dragon) was developed in Sweden as a replacement for the first generation of jet fighters, which included the Saab Tunnen and Saab Lansen. With its distinctive double delta wing and powered by a Svenska Flygmotor RM6C afterburning turbojet engine, the Draken was the first fighter aircraft in Western Europe to be fully supersonic. The purpose of the double delta was to provide good performance in both high-speed and low-speed flight. Introduced in 1960, the Draken served for air forces of Sweden, Austria, Finland, and Denmark, with a total of 651 being produced. The type was retired in 1995.
An early concept for a fully reusable Space Shuttle booster. By the time NASA settled on a final Space Shuttle design, they opted for reusable solid rocket boosters and an expendable external tank to fuel the Shuttle's main engines during launch. Thus, two-thirds of the system was reusable. One early concept, however, suggested a booster that would itself be piloted. After the launch phase and following the release of the orbiter, the booster would return to Earth powered by its own air-breathing jet engines and land, to be reused at a later date. Engineers had doubts, though, about the ability of the straight wings to withstand the launch, and the concept was abandoned in favor of a less complex arrangement.
A Convair 880 airliner in US Navy livery. The 880 was Convair's entrant into the four-engine narrow-body airliner race, competing against the already-established Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. Coming late to the game, Convair tried to compete against Boeing and Douglas by emphasizing the higher top speed, and therefore shorter flight time, of the 880. It didn't work. Only 65 880s were ever built, along with 35 of the stretched Convair 990 Coronado. The Navy acquired this aircraft from the FAA in 1980 and assigned it the designation UC-880. The airliner was converted into a tanker and flown in support of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet testing, and it also took part in tests for the Tomahawk cruise missile. The sole UC-880 was destroyed intentionally as part of a cargo hold explosion test in 1995.
A Westinghouse J34 turbojet engine destined for the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket. The Skyrocket was the second part of a planned three-phase program to explore transonic and supersonic flight. Following on from the straight-winged Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak, the swept-wing Skyrocket was initially powered by both a J34 turbojet and a Reaction Motors XLR8-RM-5 rocket. The jet engine was used to take off from the ground and explore basic flight and handling characteristics, while the rocket was used to propel the Skyrocket to speeds approaching and beyond the sound barrier. Three were built, and the jet engine and ground takeoff were eventually abandoned in favor of a pure rocket-powered aircraft that was dropped from a mothership. On November 20, 1953, pilot Scott Crossfield became the first to exceed Mach 2 while flying the Skyrocket.
Eject! Eject! While recovering onboard USS Shangri-La (CVS 38) on July 2, 1970, LTJG William Belden experienced a failure of the right landing gear brake of his Douglas A-4E Skyhawk which caused him to veer towards the port side edge of the deck. Fearing he might end up in the water, Belden ejected and was quickly rescued by the carrier's Kamen SH-2 Seasprite helicopter, which was hovering on station near the carrier during takeoff and recovery operations. The crewman to the right, ABC Joe Hammond, had attempted to grab the aircraft as it veered towards the side of the ship, and received a badly bruised and cut arm from debris due to the ejection. The aircraft came to rest on the carrier's catwalk, was recovered, and flight operations continued.
To find more stories about aviation and aviation history, set your course for Wingspan.
facw last edited by
@ttyymmnn Some photos of the Navy's 880 actually doing tanking:
Can't blame the A-4 pilot for punching out, wouldn't want to end up like this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1965_Philippine_Sea_A-4_incident
ttyymmnn last edited by
If we had to change the livery of AF 1, I'd vote for that Navy UC-880 livery. It's really sharp.
As for the A-4, yes, very luck. Could have been much worse. This is hard to watch.
BicycleBuck last edited by BicycleBuck
Skywriting in the digital age takes much less pilot skill.
facw last edited by
@bicyclebuck Digital skywriting has it's own challenges:
MM54 last edited by
@bicyclebuck Please keep Political statements in the Politics category
BicycleBuck last edited by
ttyymmnn last edited by