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Fifty Shades of Friction: Combat Climate, B-52 Crews, and the Vietnam War

26 September 2016

Fifty Shades of Friction: Combat Climate, B-52 Crews, and the Vietnam War, Mark Clodfelter, 2016, Case Study/National War College/National Defense University, 46 pp.

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Fifty Shades of Friction: Combat Climate, B-52 Crews, and the Vietnam War by Mark Clodfelter

The weak attempt of humor in the title and the apparently diminutive number of pages may lead historians to dismiss this title—though at their great loss. Clodfelter’s study is thorough, on point, and concise as it addresses the B-52 bomber crews who flew the Arc Light and both Linebacker missions.

Their story has not been told in this comprehensive, intimate and naked way—neither has SACs leadership as well as management failures. It is a testament to the capability and courage of the aircrews and the ground crews. It is a validation of their training and professionalism.

Alas, the same cannot always be said of higher SAC authorities. In the current day trend to centralize all things, with thinking most of all, this is a management lesson in training people and let them do the work. It is also a lesson that professional managers without field experience should not run the enterprise and if there is success it is usually due to the staff and not the management.

In a day where business is treated as war (it is not) and sports as combat (oh please) Clodfelter’s case study is a refreshing bucket of cold water onto the faces of management folks who have the opinion they can color their sky. Fifty Shades of Friction is also the nuts and bolts of what may be the last of the classic heavy bomber raids over heavily defended and contested airspace. Get the PDF here (445 Kb).

Sign of the Times in Miami

24 September 2016
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Miami Beach message—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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The banner pulled by an AirTractor—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

A380

23 September 2016

 

Airbus A380 flown by British Airways--Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Airbus A380 flown by British Airways on final to MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The Airbus A380 is a behemoth that us powerful and agile. Lufthansa has daily flights into and out of Miami using their A380s with and British Airways having daily flights alternating 747s with 380s.

Airbus A380 flown by Lufthansa--Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Airbus A380 flown by Lufthansa departing MIA (clearly, the two main cabin decks are seen)—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Airbus A380 flown by British Airways--Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Airbus A380 flown by British Airways on final (enlarged section of photo taken from ~3 miles away)—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Philippine Clipper exceptionally recalled

22 September 2016
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Plaque installed at the Philippine Clipper crash site—image provided by John Scofield

It was 21 January 1943, in the dire days of WW II for the U.S. and she was en route to San Francisco when she crashed during a descent for landing—losing all 19 souls on board. 19 persons killed while serving the country and the loss of one of the precious handful of Pan Am Airways flying clippers—this one the Martin M-130 Philippine Clipper.

World War II was exciting for her. The Philippine Clipper departed Guam only a single day ahead of the Japanese invasion, later enduring strafing by Japanese aircraft while moored dockside on Wake Island’s lagoon before its fall—after arrival in Hawaii 26 bullet holes would be found. Tragically, on another flight which occurred thirteen months later, she departed Hawaii for California though there was heavy weather at the destination. Learning that San Francisco could not be used for landing, a diversion to San Diego was recommended. Instead she headed to Clearlake, near Ukiah CA, for unknown reasons although it was familiar to PAA clipper captains.  Why did she leave when California was experiencing such foul weather? Was it PAA’s decision, or the military’s who now owned and controlled her? Some of the classified information on board was hard earned—collected on several submarine missions launching and recovering swimmers near Japanese held islands. Vital geological information on beach sediments and slopes needed for the planning of amphibious invasions. Also, information on the US Navy’s torpedo performance, or lack of it to be candid, as well as the new Japanese methods of finding and detecting the U.S. Navy’s submarines.

The clipper was found, finally, after the largest search effort of the day which took nearly a week’s time. Recovery was difficult as the nearest road was six miles away. What was found was gathered but nothing undiscovered could be left to chance for security reasons, so the site was destroyed, the captain assigned the blame and the war moved on. Nineteen souls met their fate in a violent flaming wreck while in service of their country that day—at least nineteen families were dealt a cruel irony since their family members were thought to be “safe” now that they were stateside—and World War II raged on, not taking even a second’s pause. So…think of them as well as others who have died in service … drink a toast or wear a red poppy perhaps…the important thing is to reflect upon and remember them for a moment. They are remembered the memorial is located at the entrance to the Hiller Aircraft Museum in San Carlos CA, very near San Francisco—please see the post Death of the Philippine Clipper for more.

There is another memorial, not as well known or seen as the Hiller Museum’s but hard won by a handful of persons who have an appreciation for the history as well as tragic end of the Philippine Clipper. John Scofield is a member of the party who reached the site and installed the memorial plaque (seen above). Largely unheralded, the effort should be acknowledged for its dedication, perseverance and good form. John provided these photos of their mission to the remote wreck location, which is on private land, near Ukiah CA.

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John Scofield points across the draw to the spot where the Philippine Clipper crashed—image provided by John Scofield

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John Scofield standing amid the crash debris—image provided by John Scofield

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A larger piece of the Philippine Clipper’s crash debris after impact, dynamiting and bulldozing—image provided by John Scofield

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John Scofield and friend rest among the Philippine Clipper’s debris—image provided by John Scofield

Well Remembered—Capt. Harry Butler

21 September 2016

36° 46′ 04″ S / 137° 55′ 32″ E

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Bronze of Capt. Harry Butler in Minlaton Australia—Weekend Notes/Steve Hudson image

Captain Butler was a brave man who fought in the air during World War I but is best recalled for bringing aviation to southern Australia, near Adelaide. More than that, he pioneered air mail as well as aerial photographyand he did so with élan and style. He brought two aircraft with him but it is his Bristol M.1C named Red Devil which is the center of the memorial to him located in Minlaton Australia. Steve Hudson of Weekend Notes has this excellent article on the man as well as the memorial—and our thanks to Ross Sharp for his post of the Bristol M.1C leading us to this knowledge.

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Capt. Harry Butler Memorial panels—Weekend Notes/Steve Hudson image

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The Captain Harry Butler Memorial in Minlaton Australia—Weekend Notes/Steve Hudson image

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Capt. Butler’s Bristol M.1C “Red Devil” (both the man and the aircraft were ahead of their time)—Weekend Notes/Steve Hudson image

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Life sized bronze of Capt. Butler at his memorial in Minlaton Australia—Weekend Notes/Steve Hudson image

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Minlaton mural recalling the events pioneered by Capt. Harry Butler—Weekend Notes/Steve Hudson image

 

HondaJet—fast, light and comfy

20 September 2016

 

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HondaJets in formation flight—image provided by HondaJet

HondaJet is the latest light business jet entering the market. Able to take advantage of conveniently located though small airports it is designed to fly four persons in comfort while facing one another in club style seating—with another seat opposite the entry door (this door is traditionally located at the front left of main cabin) plus the copilot’s seat can be used instead for a passenger. The HondaJet has the range to commute from Miami to New York above airline traffic and quickly. The composite fuselage structure allows for generous lavatory and cabin space as do the above wing mounted engines. The uniquely mounted  engines are located to reduce cabin noise as well as provide constructive interference (in this case not an oxymoron) regarding the wing for a higher and more fuel stingy cruising speed. The cockpit windows are designed to enhance pilot sight lines and generous luggage space is both forward and aft. Honda has made a beautiful jet as good for commuting as it is for recreation.

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HondaJets in formation flight—image provided by HondaJet

 

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The HondaJet specs—image provided by HondaJet

Employees are invited to view the HondaJet today, July 12 in the hangar in Building 1244*. The newly developed small jet, designed by a company better known for cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is one of a relatively new class of airplanes called light jets, designed to carry four to seven passengers and be fast, safe, reliable and able to use very small airports.

HondaJet—the newly developed small business jet from the same company famous for car and lawnmower manufacturing. Designed for seven souls on board and able to take advantage of convenient though small airports—NASA image

Employees are invited to view the HondaJet today, July 12 in the hangar in Building 1244*. The newly developed small jet, designed by a company better known for cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is one of a relatively new class of airplanes called light jets, designed to carry four to seven passengers and be fast, safe, reliable and able to use very small airports.

The HondaJet (note the unique above wing pylon mounted engines)—NASA image

Employees are invited to view the HondaJet today, July 12 in the hangar in Building 1244*. The newly developed small jet, designed by a company better known for cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is one of a relatively new class of airplanes called light jets, designed to carry four to seven passengers and be fast, safe, reliable and able to use very small airports.

The smooth contours of the HondaJet—NASA image

Employees are invited to view the HondaJet today, July 12 in the hangar in Building 1244*. The newly developed small jet, designed by a company better known for cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is one of a relatively new class of airplanes called light jets, designed to carry four to seven passengers and be fast, safe, reliable and able to use very small airports.

The winglets of the HondaJet—NASA image

Employees are invited to view the HondaJet today, July 12 in the hangar in Building 1244*. The newly developed small jet, designed by a company better known for cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is one of a relatively new class of airplanes called light jets, designed to carry four to seven passengers and be fast, safe, reliable and able to use very small airports.

The left engine of the HondaJet—NASA image

Employees are invited to view the HondaJet today, July 12 in the hangar in Building 1244*. The newly developed small jet, designed by a company better known for cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is one of a relatively new class of airplanes called light jets, designed to carry four to seven passengers and be fast, safe, reliable and able to use very small airports.

Rear view of the HondaJet showing the unique engine positioning as well as the fuselage contour—NASA image

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Interior layout of the HondaJet—image provided by HondaJet

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The HondaJet’s all glass cockpit panel—image provided by HondaJet

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HondaJet’s main cabin looking aft. The lav lies behind the pair of panel doors of the aft bulkhead and another single seat is out of view but to the near left, opposite the entry door—image provided by HondaJet

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The lav of the HondaJet—image provided by HondaJet

Biscayne Bay Airspace is Busy!

19 September 2016

 

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LAN Airbus on final over Biscayne Bay to MIA—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Bell Twin Huey heading seaward over Government Cut—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Bell JetRanger orbits Dodge Island—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Bell JetRanger orbits Dodge Island—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Robson R44 over Biscayne Bay—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Robson R44 over Biscayne Bay—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Cape Air Cessna Caravan on base to arrive at the Miami Seaplane Base (Miami Beach in the background)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Cape Air Cessna Caravan over I-395 turning on final for Miami Seaplane Base (wheels up to land on the waters of Government Cut)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft