B-23 Dragon Walkaround — slow but a first, 1 of 2
47° 07′ 54″ N / 122° 28′ 57″ W
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.
Next Wednesday — more photos :)
RAF No. 100 Group Association gets a good talking to ;)
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.
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.
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.
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
47° 07′ 55″ N / 122° 28′ 56″ W
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).
B-18 Bolo walkaround — part 1 of 2
47° 07′ 55″ N / 122° 28′ 56″ W
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Agreement, is wonderfully informative and should be read :)
Many thanks :)