Skip to content

The Hanoi Taxi—the Starlifter which brought our POWs home from Hanoi

11 May 2016

39° 47′ 02″ N / 84° 06′ 30″ W

The C-141 Starlifter known as the "Hanoi Taxi" at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — photo by Joseph May

The C-141 Starlifter known as the “Hanoi Taxi” at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — photo by Joseph May

The C-141 Starlifter known as the "Hanoi Taxi" at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — photo by Joseph May

The C-141 Starlifter known as the “Hanoi Taxi” at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — photo by Joseph May

The Hanoi Taxi's cockpit — USAF photo by TSgt Lance Cheung

The Hanoi Taxi’s cockpit — USAF photo by TSgt Lance Cheung

The Hanoi Taxi's cockpit — USAF photo by TSgt Lance Cheung

The Hanoi Taxi’s cockpit — USAF photo by TSgt Lance Cheung

The British Bomber

10 May 2016

The British Bomber since 1914, Francis K. Mason, 1994, ISBN 1-55750-085-1, 416 pp.

The British Bomber Since 1914 by Francis K. Mason

The British Bomber since 1914 by Francis K. Mason

Francis Mason’s British Bombers Since 1914 is a tour through British aviation design for nearly a century. The famous aircraft. The infamous aircraft. The “odd duck” aircraft. Bomber as well as attack aircraft are here, beginning with the Bristol T.B.8 and finishing with the Short S.B.6 Seamew with a tremendous variety of aircraft included along the interesting journey Mason entertainingly leads.

The famous aircraft are not left out. Aircraft such as the Halifax, Mosquito, Lancaster, Victor and Vulcan. Also, the aircraft which carried the load but did not become famous, like the Gannnet, and Shackleton. The historian will be pleased with the plethora of aircraft which were built in limited numbers—surprisingly, perhaps, many of them. The Nimrod is not part of this book but the Panavia Tornado is.

Mason goes well beyond simply cataloging the aircraft types with his grouping by chapters by their historical eras—the best context since the designs, as well as the technology, are driven by the era of the time. Peacetime, wartime, the Cold War, and recent deployments are also well described by Mason so that these aircraft do not exist is technical pieces like a museum display but as part of the history they were used to make.

MD-11 and DC-10 work

9 May 2016

These two aircraft at the Miami International Airport were revisited recently—it appears they are undergoing major overhaul efforts or simply being parted out.

DC-10 or MD-11 work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

DC-10 or MD-11 work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

DC-10 or MD-11 work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

DC-10 or MD-11 work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

DC-10 or MD-11 work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

MD-11F work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

MD-11F work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

MD-11F work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

MD-11F work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

MD-11F work at MIA—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Crane & Co. Aviation Stationery

6 May 2016

Crane & Co. Aviation Themed Stationery

Crane & Co. Aviation Stationery

Crane & Co. Stationery Box Cover

Crane & Co. have been making high quality paper since the U.S. were colonies. High quality paper is made with cotton instead of wood pulp—like paper currency—which gives the paper the “tooth” which a fountain pen’s nib can be used with to render a scintillating writing experience. Though ball points and rollerballs combined with conventional paper have more general utility the fountain pen + high end paper pairing something good is usually left behind whenever we progress. Nothing compares well to the tactility of the fountain pen’s nib scratching (scribing?) ever so lightly across the grain of excellent paper. It is nothing like the feel of a ball point or a rollerball. High end paper is pricey. High end nibs even more so with their rare earth metal alloys and multiple hand prep manufacturing operations.

blog Crane and Co 002

Crane & Co. aviation theme thank you note card—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Ultimately, it is up to the writer to judge if the benefit exceeds the cost, of course—though good writers write for their audience😉 Here is an example of a Crane an Co. product—a thank you note card and mailing envelope. Note the detail of the envelope interior as well as the near machine fit of the card into the envelope. High end products with tight tolerances—taking writing well above the mundane:)

Crane & Co.—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Crane & Co. aviation theme thank you note card envelope interior—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

 

 

Lakota!

4 May 2016
UH-72A Lakota U.S. Army image by Jeff Lenorovitz, EADS Photographer

Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota—U.S. Army image by Jeff Lenorovitz, EADS Photographer

The U.S. Army is replacing the OH-58 Kiowas and UH-1 Huey/Venoms (an evolved Huey) with the Airbus Helicopter UH-72A Lakota as its light utility helicopter. Eurocopter had been the most recent manufacturer until acquired by Airbus Helicopter—the original design firm was Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB). These have often been seen as medevac helicopters for EMS as well as hospitals for two decades. Essentially unmodified civilian helicopters, the Army is purchasing the Lakotas to free up UH-60 Blackhawks for combat missions. Clamshell doors at the rear admit two litters as well as easy cargo access. The twin Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines, of 738 shp each, provide reliability. Cruise speed is 153 mph over 370 miles. Crewed by two its troop capacity is nine (optimistically, perhaps) or two litter cases and medical personnel.

Kevan of the bloc on preserved aircraft Pickled Wings has this interesting note: “…the UH-72 is a development of the Eurocopter EC-145. The EC-145 was developed from the MBB BK-117, itself a development of the BO-105.” As he later sums up, the Lakota is a grandchild of the BO-105. Thank you Kevan for the description of the Lakota’s esteemed lineage:)

blog UH-72A Lakota 2568362758_84a48b7be2_o

Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota—U.S. Army image

The new UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter sits on the tarmac at the National Guard’s Eastern Aviation Training Site at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. The facility will provide all aviator and aircrew training on the new aircraft. Photo by Army Pfc. Coltin Heller see: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=50543

The new Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter sits on the tarmac at the National Guard’s Eastern Aviation Training Site at Fort Indiantown Gap PA—U.S. Army photo by Pfc Coltin Heller

An UH-72A Lakota assigned to “A” Company, 2-151st Security and Support Aviation Battalion, S.C. Army National Guard, flies over South Carolina’s major hurricane escape routes, Beaufort, S.C., June10, 2015. The helicopter provided air support to local, law enforcement and police, agencies and the S.C. Emergency Management Division, during a hurricane evacuation exercise. (US Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Di Giovine/Released)

Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota assigned to “A” Company, 2-151st Security and Support Aviation Battalion, S.C. Army National Guard, flies over South Carolina’s major hurricane escape routes, Beaufort SC on 10 June10 2015—U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt Di Giovine

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mike Eger, a pilot with the Colorado Army Natioanl Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, left, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Troy Parmley, a pilot with the Colorado Army National Guard's D Company, 3rd Battalion, 148th Aviation Regiment, fly a UH-72 Lakota helicopter over flooded areas as part of relief and recovery operations near Fort Collins, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. More than 750 guard members have been working with local, state and federal authorities in response to flooding in central Colorado as a result of heavy rains in the area. Colorado Guard members have evacuated about 700 people by ground and military aerial evacuations currently total 2,394. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mike Eger, a pilot with the Colorado Army Natioanl Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, left, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Troy Parmley, a pilot with the Colorado Army National Guard’s D Company, 3rd Battalion, 148th Aviation Regiment, fly a Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota helicopter over flooded areas as part of relief and recovery operations near Fort Collins CO on 18 Sept 2013—U.S. Army photo by Sgt 1st Class Jon Soucy

 

Bölkhow on the attack

2 May 2016

 

090429-N-2821G-139 ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 29, 2009) A Mexican BO-105 Bolkow helicopter fires 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets at the ex-USS Connolly (DD 979) during the sinking exercise portion of UNITAS Gold. This year marks the 50th iteration of UNITAS, a multinational exercise that provides opportunities for participating nations to increase their collective ability counter illicit maritime activities that threaten regional stability. Participating countries are Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, U.S. and Uruguay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg/Released)

A Mexican Navy BO-105 Bölkow helicopter strafes the ex-USS Connolly (DD 979) with heavy caliber machine gun pods during the sinking exercise portion of UNITAS Gold—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Alan Gragg

MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkhow-Blohm), now owned by Airbus Helicopter, BO-105 making hot runs during training against a target vessel. The U.S. Army is purchasing descendants of these, as the UH-72 Lakota, for its light utility helicopter in an expedient move to improve logistics and free up UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters for combat assignments.

090429-G-6464J-003 ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 29, 2009) A Mexican BO-105 Bolkow helicopter fires 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets at the ex-USS Connolly (DD 979) in a sinking exercise that took place during UNITAS Gold. This year marks the 50th iteration of UNITAS, a multinational exercise that provides opportunities for participating nations to increase their collective ability counter illicit maritime activities that threaten regional stability. Participating countries are Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, U.S. and Uruguay. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer Seth Johnson/Released)

A Mexican Navy BO-105 Bölkow helicopter firing 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets at the ex-USS Connolly (DD 979) during the sinking exercise portion of UNITAS Gold—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Alan Gragg

090429-N-0000X-001 ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 29, 2009) A Mexican BO-105 Bolkow helicopter fires 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets at the ex-USS Connolly (DD 979) during the sinking exercise portion of UNITAS Gold. This year marks the 50th iteration of UNITAS, a multinational exercise that provides opportunities for participating nations to increase their collective ability counter illicit maritime activities that threaten regional stability. Participating countries are Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, U.S. and Uruguay. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Seth Johnson/Released)

A Mexican Navy BO-105 Bölkow helicopter’s 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets on their way to the ex-USS Connolly (DD 979) during the sinking exercise portion of UNITAS Gold—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Alan Gragg

Flying Cats

29 April 2016

Flying Cats: the Catalina in World War II, Andrew Hendrie, 1988, ISBN 0-87021-213-3, 240 pp.

Flying Cats: the Catalina in World War II by Andrew Hendrie

Flying Cats: the Catalina in World War II by Andrew Hendrie

Read Flying Cats: the Catalina Aircraft in Worlds War II to learn of fantastic exploits raiding, U-boat hunting, covert insertions and rescue missions. These tellings are true and incredible, to say the least. Also read Hendrie’s fine book to learn of the solitary nature of the missions which often lasted well over 12 hours. In Flying Cats the reader also gleans finer points on handling the Catalina afloat as well as in the air.

Hendrie writes of flying the Catalina is the wartime services of all the Allied powers which employed them. The Catalina has been most popularized for flying in the tropical Pacific areas but Hendrie rightly exposes readers to the entire climate spectrum experience by the Catalina and PBY crews. His writing aids the reader to experience the bitter cold of the North Sea’s winters as well as the treacherousness of simply surviving the vapid weather of the Aleutians.

Hendrie described many desperate combats between a Catalina and a surface U-boat using its anti-aircraft automatic cannon. Though not explained in the book the Kriegsmarine staff ordered U-boats to stand and fight after a certain period in the war instead of crash diving—odds of survival were better by upsetting the aim of the aircraft’s crew. Descriptions of pilots determining the aim as well as the time interval from one depth charge dropping to the next is riveting—all while under intense fire–and not as clearly explained as in other titles.

No less than 62 Axis submarines are detailed in an appendix as damaged or destroyed by Catalinas with their crews. Other appendices list individual Catalina acquisitions by air force or air arm which purchased them. Hendrie wonderfully, and more than effectively, describes the global importance as well as usage of the PBY Catalina. Whether U-boat patrols, insertions or rescues this book completely tells the tales of the Catalina in World War II, no matter where flown.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 198 other followers