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B-23 Dragon Walkaround — slow but a first, 1 of 2

11 August 2014

B-23 Dragon Walkaround — slow but a first, 1 of 2

47° 07′ 54″ N / 122° 28′ 57″ W

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

The colorful cowling art on this Douglas B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Douglas designed the B-23 Dragon as the successor to their B-18 Bolo (the search window will bring you to the walkaround as well as other posts). As a bomber it was a non contender as it was quickly eclipsed by other aircraft  — notably the North American B-25 Mitchell, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Martin B-26 Marauder which were all quite a bit faster and carried weightier bomb loads.

The Dragon served during World War II at home in training, patrol as well as utility duties (as the UC-67). It has a niche in history, though, as the first combat aircraft with a tail gun position — a feature soon to become a standard with its contemporaries and successors. Dragon were powered by a pair of Wright R 2600-3 Cyclone reciprocating radial engines and defensively armed with a trio of 0.30 caliber machine guns as well as a single 0.50 caliber machine gun. Dragons could take up to 4000 pounds of bombs to the target at a leisurely cruising speed of 210 mph at altitudes up to 31,600 feet.

This Douglas B-23 Dragon is displayed in perfect condition on Heritage Hill Air Park which is part of the McChord Air Museum. Further detail of this particular aircraft can be found in this fact page with further information and photos of the aircraft type in the fact page of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

The Douglas B-23 Dragon at the McChord Air Museum & Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Left main gear of the B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-23 Dragon — photo by Joseph May

Next Wednesday — more photos :)

No. 100 Group RAF Association gets a good talking to ;)

8 August 2014

RAF No. 100 Group Association gets a good talking to ;)

 

The People's Mosquito

The People’s Mosquito

Apologies for the misleading title but we hope it is amusing — the No. 100 Group Royal Air Force (RAF) holds a unique as well as significant place in aviation’s history and its association (RAF No. 100 Group Association) lives up to that reputation. During World War II it was No. 100 Group — largely flying de Havilland Mosquitos — which was the first to pioneer as well as develop aerial electronic counter warfare. No. 100’s specially equipped Mosquito air crews flew with,or ahead of, the RAF’s nocturnal bomber streams on their missions over Europe to harass Luftwaffe night fighter bases but to especially hunt the night fighters (using radar and equipment to detect Luftwaffe night fighter radar emanations) searching out the Allied heavy bombers. Hence their motto, Confound and Destroy. Nocturnal aerial combat had evolved due to No. 100’s work and would never be the same since hunters could now easily, and quickly, become prey. Though disbanded No. 100 Group’s legacy is alive today in that nearly every fighter aircraft today can fight in the night as well as exhibited in the fine City of Norwich Aviation Museum — a museum which should not be missed.

 

John Lilley at the No. 100 Group 2014 Summer Gala— sincere thanks for Janine Harrington providing this image

John Lilley at the No. 100 Group 2014 Summer Gala— sincere thanks to Janine Harrington for providing this image

RAF No. 100 Group Association recently had their annual reunion last May and among the many fine presentations was one from John Lilly representing The People’s Mosquito – he is also a motive force in its noble task. Lilley is quite knowledgeable about the de Havilland Mosquito’s history, both developmental and combat, as well as a charismatic speaker. His enthusiasm and spontaneous yet sage speaking ability is infectious to hear. No matter how much one reads of the Mosquito, in talking with John Lilley one pleasantly always learns more.

 

RAF No. 100 Group

Crest of No. 100 Group RAF

A motive force on the RAF No. 100 Group Association is Janine Harrington who is avid in general and especially so with regard to her writing. She edits their quarterly newsletter, always well done, and is writing her 21st book (many of them relate to No. 100 Group RAF). This one is RAF 100 Group – Kindred Spirits: personal experiences of the RAF & USAAF on secret Norfolk airfields during WWII. This one will be especially rich and will fittingly be released shortly prior to Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the USA), this year, with the first 100 being collectibles and including original (i.e., not reproduced) signatures of No. 100 Group RAF members. It is books such as this one which place faces to history and are so significant in truly comprehensively understand past events beyond their singularly dimensional dates and statistics.    

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The People’s Mosquito is a project to build an original Mosquito (with original data plate) for the public trust — and will be the sole flying Mosquito that is not privately owned. Check out the website, donate should you think the cause worthy as well as shop the available high-quality merchandise for unique gifts.

B-18 Bolo walkaround — part 2 of 2

6 August 2014

B-18 Bolo walkaround — part 2 of 2

47° 07′ 55″  N / 122° 28′ 56″ W

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

The Douglas B-18 Bolo at the McChord Air Museum & Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Continuing the walkaround of this Douglas B-18 Bolo from the previous Monday we see more detail of this aircraft exhibited at the McChord Air Museum & Heritage Hill Air Park (see the museum review as well as posts of the other aircraft using the search window).

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has this fact sheet with excellent photos as well as this fact sheet also with outstanding images.

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo’s had deep fuselages with mid-mounted wings — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo rear aspect — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo’s dorsal gun position — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo’s pre and early Word War II Army Air Corps national symbol (soon to drop the red dot as it was easily confused with the Japanese rising sun symbol) — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolos would have had a difficult time defending from rear attacks as seen from this perspective — photo by Joseph May

Interior view of the cockpit in the B-18 Bolo on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — U.S. Air Force photo

Interior view of the cockpit in the B-18 Bolo on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — U.S. Air Force photo

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Another view of this Douglas B-18 Bolo’s rudder — photo by Joseph May

 

 

B-18 Bolo walkaround — part 1 of 2

4 August 2014

B-18 Bolo walkaround — part 1 of 2

47° 07′ 55″  N / 122° 28′ 56″ W

 

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo at the McChord Air Museum & Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Douglas and Boeing entered two very different designs to meet an Air Corps requirement for a heavy bomber in the 1930s. Douglas entered a design built from their DC-2 cargo aircraft sharing its wing and rear fuselage. Boeing broke a paradigm with a sleek and graceful aircraft powered by not two but four engines — later becoming known as the B-17 Flying Fortress. But Douglas won the competition as the powers-that-be thought the B-17 as expensive so it was decided that Douglas would be contracted to build 99 B-18s (252 more would subsequently be built) while Boeing would be engaged to construct 13 YB-17 aircraft. Knowing that Boeing had accurate foresight let us look at the Bolo.

Powered by a pair of Wright R-1825-45 radial engines (930 hp/684kW) the Bolo’s crew of six to seven could carry a maximum bomb load 1200 miles (1920km) at a cruise speed of 167 mph (~270kph).  Offensive armament was 4400 pounds (2000kg) of bombs and the defensive armament was a trio of 0.30 caliber machine guns. Underperforming and poorly armed defensively the B-18 was retasked by 1942 to transport and antisubmarine patrolling duties.

This Douglas B-18 Bolo, in factory fresh condition, is on exhibit at the McChord Air Museum & Heritage Hill Air Park (see the museum review as well as posts of the other aircraft using the search window).

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo forward section — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

The Douglas B-18 Bolo had the bombardier above the nose gun position, a convention later reversed on subsequent bombers — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo right side Wright R-1825-45 radial engine — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo right main landing gear — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo crew entry, unit symbol and dorsal hatch/gun position — photo by Joseph May

Douglas B-18 Bolo — photo by Joseph May

This Douglas B-18 Bolo’s colorful rudder — photo by Joseph May

Next Wednesday’s post will be the second half of this walkaround — the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has this fact sheet with excellent photos as well as this fact sheet also with outstanding images.

 

 

Art in The People’s Mosquito

1 August 2014

Art in The People’s Mosquito

 

The People's Mosquito

The People’s Mosquito

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Mosquito NF.II — graphic art by Nick Horrox for The People's Mosquito

Mosquito NF.II — graphic art by Nick Horrox for The People’s Mosquito

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TPM — The People’s Mosquito — is the unique project to build a new de Havilland Mosquito from the original molds up. TPM has been marked by the regular building of momentum and donations (the site has a web button for donations) as well as newly released fund-raising merchandise and air show appearances by its knowledgeable and talkative staff.

Here we have the graphic work by Nick Horrox on a pair of T-shirts available at the fund-raising merchandise web site. The black shirt we purchased recalls the countless Mossie night intruder missions flown during World War II and the white T-shirt we purchased is a silhouette of the beloved and remarkable Mossie with the TPM mission statement.

Both T-shirts use fine quality cotton on light–medium weight as well as the most modern of silk-screening processes and we are quite pleased to wear them.

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To Fly To Educate To Remember — The People's Mosquito — graphic art by Nick Horrox for The People's Mosquito

To Fly • To Educate • To Remember — The People’s Mosquito — graphic art by Nick Horrox for The People’s Mosquito

Screamin’ Sasquatch — the engineering making it a marvel

31 July 2014

Screamin’ Sasquatch — the engineering making it a marvel

 

 

Screamin' Sasquatch and pilot Jeff Boerboon — photo by Stew Milne

Screamin’ Sasquatch and pilot Jeff Boerboon — photo by Stew Milne

Jeff Boerboon — Screamin’s Sasquatch’s pilot — responded to our queries regarding how this rare aircraft came to be, how a 1929 Taperwing Waco became an aerobatic performance aircraft powered by a conventional throaty radial reciprocating engine (P&W  985 Wasp Junior) as well as a powerful raging turbojet (GE CJ610). A description of the engines and aircraft, as well as several other photos, can be found in the previous Monday’s post. Now, here is what Boerboon, who knows the aircraft intimately, has to share with us :)

Screamin’ Sasquatch followed the design philosophy to be  “…a modern day air show machine but still maintain its vintage appearance and appeal.” He gives credit to Jimmy Franklin during 1999 for the idea and Jack Link’s Beef Jerky’s support (Jack Link’s is a huge supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces) to bring this “…one-of-a-kind, jet-powered aerobatic biplane capable of flying straight up at maximum speed.”

The aircraft design changes:

  • The entire aircraft has been substantially reinforced. Notably, the fuselage tubes are now of oversized thick wall steel with the wing ribs as well as spars given the same attention.
  • The top wing’s center section has been reduced nearly four feet, along with the cockpit moved three feet aft, and the tail section has new more modern lines as well — all giving the Waco a “sleeker look” to Boerboon’s eyes, and who is better to judge?
  • The wheel struts have been lengthened to allow for the additional clearance needed for the underling GE CJ610 jet engine with oversized low pressure tires (a bit more suspension)

The 12 minute air show:

  • Inside the aircraft and cockpit there are two of everything with the two vastly different engines with regard to fuel and oil systems as well as throttles (on the same quadrant as you might expect)
  • The 100LL fuel for the P&W 985 is supplied from a 28 gallon tank paired with a 6 gallon oil reservoir, the Jet A fuel for the GE CJ610 is carried in a 56 gallon tank, with a 24 gallon tank providing the smoke oil. [50 gallons Jet A + 10 gallons 100LL + 24 gallons smoke oil = a 12 minute air show performance]

Flying the Screamin’ Sasquatch:

  • The power to weight ratio (P:W) at the beginning of the air show is 4500:4000 and increases as the fuel is burned. Since the ratio is greater than 1:1 Boerboon can bring  Screamin’ Sasquatch to a hover — then accelerate upward quite positively!
  • Pros make hard look easy and Boerboon observes the flip side of the climb is the dive and using control of both engines to produce sufficient drag to keep Screamin’ Sasquatch below the never exceed speed of 250 mph
  • Clever use of engineering has the jet engine’s thrust line traveling through the CG resulting in no elevator trim changes required as speed varies
  • The GL Avionics Stratomaster Odyssey touch screen system addresses cockpit management functions

 

Screamin' Sasquatch being flown by Jeff Boerboon — photo by Steve Schultze

Jeff Boerboon partnering with Jack Link’s bringing Screamin’ Sasquatch, Jack Link’s Jet Waco, to air shows in the U.S. during the 2014 season — photo by Steve Schultze

Our thanks to Jeff for setting aside precious time in answering our questions :)

Seeing Screamin’ Sasquatch couldn’t be easier as it will be performing at the Boeing Seafair Air Show, at Genesee Park, on the 2nd as well as 3rd of August this year :)

The centenary of World War I and what the RAF Museum–London is doing about it

30 July 2014

The centenary of World War I and what the RAF Museum–London is doing about it

The war to end all wars, the war which toppled and remade kingdom and country, the war which has us pause every 11th of November began a century ago this year, 2014.  The Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum–London is making a new exhibit on honor of the WW I century recognition and it is going to be a splendid as well as significant. Perhaps the world’s best assemblage of World War I aircraft are soon to be exhibited in the Graham–White Factory of which a quarter of the UK’s first aircraft factory has been preserved at the RAF Museum–London.

 

 

 

 

Graham–White Factory at the RAF Museum London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (an copyright holder)

Graham–White Factory at the RAF Museum–London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

Claude Graham–White built his factory with the USD$31,000 he won at the 1910 Harvard–Boston Aero Meet. It is a beautiful structure and will be the best of display environments for the museum’s WW I aircraft exhibit — which will begin this December and last four years. Aircraft from other RAF Museum branches have been brought to the Shropshire Restoration Facility to get them into shape for this most special of exhibitions. A Sopwith Pup, Bristol M1c and Sopwith 1½ Strutter are under restoration for the exhibit as this is written.

Graham–White Factory at the RAF Museum London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (an copyright holder)

Graham–White Factory interior prior to March 2013 at the RAF Museum–London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

Fokker D.VIIa at the RAF Museum London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

Fokker D.VIIa at the RAF Museum–London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

Fokker D.VIIa at the RAF Museum London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (an copyright holder)

Fokker D.VIIa at the RAF Museum–London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

Sopwith Camel at the RAF Museum London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (an copyright holder)

Sopwith Camel at the RAF Museum–London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

Crossley Tender at the RAF Museum London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (an copyright holder)

Crossley Tender at the RAF Museum–London — used with permission of Ross Sharp (and copyright holder)

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Ross Sharp, of Shortfinals’s Blog, was onto this story before it broke on the BBC and has also shared a handful of his images for this post.

His post on the Fokker D.VII (see photo above), Fokker D.VII — so dangerous, it was mentioned in the Armistice Agreementis wonderfully informative and should be read :)

Many thanks :)

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