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Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 — the airplane

1 April 2015

Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 — the airplane

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall — photo by Joseph May

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall as seen in 2009 — photo by Joseph May

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall — photo by Joseph May

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall as seen in 2009 — photo by Joseph May

The airplane selected by the U.S. Army Air Service was precedent setting for the aviation industry of the United States in the eyes of the world. The four aircraft, later three with the crash of the Seattle, made their way around the world stopping in several countries. Crowds and military experts gathered at nearly every stop (stops often lasted days or weeks) to see the remarkable aircraft — the Douglas World Cruiser — to see the aircraft doing what had not been done, flying around the world. Less than a decade since the end of World War I, where U.S. aviation entered woefully behind in aviation design, the U.S. Army Air Service were flying a robust and reliable aircraft for the day pushing limits of endurance for both human and vehicle.

Based upon the Douglas built torpedo bomber, known as DT for the U.S. Navy, the World Cruiser had the same liquid cooled Liberty 12 engine of 420 hp though there were significant modifications, a few of which were:

  • The cockpits for the pilot and mechanic were moved closer together for better crew communication which was by voice tube and hand signals
  • A 460% increase in fuel as well as extra water and oil reservoirs
  • Two radiator sizes with the larger one installed for hot weather operations
  • Easier mechanism to switch between wheeled landing gear and floats

 

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser in 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo at nearly every stop

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser fitted with floats — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser on floats — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser float detail — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 Liberty 12 Engine — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser Liberty 12 Engine — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruisers had hardly a vacant space which could be made useful, here a handy cargo compartment — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 on its grass field element — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

One of the aircraft exists, the one christened Chicago, and is on display in the National Aviation and Space Museum on the Mall. Excitingly a flying replica has been built, named the Seattle II, and in known under The Seattle World Cruiser Project.

First Flight Around the World — a great book about a fantastic achievement

30 March 2015

First Flight Around the World — a great book about a fantastic achievement

First Flight Around the World: the adventures of the American fliers who won the race, Tim Grove in association with the National Air and Space Museum, ISBN 1-4197-1482-1, 96 pp.

First Flight Around the World: the adventures of the American fliers who won the race, Tim Grove in association with the National Air and Space Museum photo provided by Abrams Books for Young Readers

First Flight Around the World: the adventures of the American fliers who won the race, Tim Grove in association with the National Air and Space Museum — photo provided by Abrams Books for Young Readers

1924.

Aircraft engines which overheat, eat oil and throw connecting rods.

Inadequate maps, poor weather forecasting and few airfields.

Open cockpits, unreliable radios in an unglobalized world.

A chance to set the first record of a flight around the world.

The perfect formula of adventure, history and a great story!

Tim Grove, a significant person in the National Air & Space Museum, has written this story the way Disney makes animated movies since his writing appeals to children as well as adults. Never getting mired in detail, Grove’s approach is perfect for learning of this remarkable adventure and for insight into worlds which no longer exist. The reader learns of the planning and hardships which had to be planned for (exposure to elements, high likelihood of forced landings in remote territories filled with hostile wildlife, route finding with poor maps and poorer weather predication capabilities) but also learns of India, Japan and Vietnam before globalization which erased much of their culture and ways. Pictures abound as do special inserts regarding particular insights.

Grove’s book keeps the adult interested with its description of the persons and machines and his book kindles the mind of child with his vivid depiction of the times, the people and the life — as well as the significance of flight in the world of communication, business and exploration. First Flight Around the World is well written, well crafted, and well worth purchasing.

 

First Flight Around the World: the adventures of the American fliers who won the race, Tim Grove in association with the National Air and Space Museum (back cover) — Abrams Books for Young Readers

First Flight Around the World: the adventures of the American fliers who won the race, Tim Grove in association with the National Air and Space Museum (back cover) — Abrams Books for Young Readers

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Abrams Books for Young Readers provided a copy of First Flight Around the World: the adventures of the American fliers who won the race for an objective review.

AirCam Taking Flight

25 March 2015

AirCam Taking Flight

AirCam — photo by Joseph May

Lockwood AirCam taking off for adventure? — photo by Joseph May

Lockwood Aircraft’s AirCam was designed to explore in undeveloped regions. Designed by Phil Lockwood for a National Geographic exploration into the Congo Basin it has the security of two engines, a tandem arrangement so the pilot can fly the aircraft’s photographer (sitting up front) with a nearly unobstructed 270° view, and detachable wings making the AirCam easy to trailer down single track trails. Later, floats were fitted. The cost is in the neighborhood of US$100,000 and performs as well as it looks — as seen in these recent photos.

AirCam — photo by Joseph May

Lockwood AirCam flying provides outstanding views above, below and to each side — photo by Joseph May

Trudeau Warbird Enterprises — spiffy Trojans

23 March 2015

Trudeau Warbird Enterprises — spiffy Trojans

26° 54′ 57″ N / 81° 59′ 51″ W

Trudeau Warbird Enterprises — photo by Joseph May

Trudeau Warbird Enterprises — photo by Joseph May

A pleasing discovery made while dropping in on the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda FL was finding Trudeau Warbird Enterprises. Specializing in North American T-28 Trojan aircraft but capable of other aircraft types, as well. Seen were no less than four T-28s in the inside (one in USN WW II deepwater blue) and outside the hangar, and all looking spectacular!

Northrop T-28 Trojan — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan in classic orange and white — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan undergoing engine work — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan in yellow — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan — photo by Joseph May

Northrop T-28 Trojan in camo — photo by Joseph May

 

Flying cars: the future from the past

18 March 2015

travelforaircraft:

Nicely coincidental with the post on the Taylor Aerocar III our friends at Apron 6 posted on flying cars :)

Originally posted on Apron 6:

In the forties there were high hopes that soon everybody would go to work in their very own flying car or flying saucers. Things did turn out a little different than expected as even today some people try to turn this dream into reality. Below are 3 very futuristic designs from the past and one that was actually real. Even though only a handful of flying cars took the skies.

Feel free to leave a comment or post your own vintage flying car or saucer photo. We might make a post about the evolution of actual flying cars. You could help us make it.

View original

Around Punta Gorda’s Airport — more than you might think

18 March 2015

Around Punta Gorda’s Airport — more than you might think

26° 54′ 57″ N / 81° 59′ 51″ W

Bailey Brothers of Bailey Terminal — photo by Joseph May

The Bailey Brothers of Bailey Terminal honored in this large bronze plaque — photo by Joseph May

Charlotte County Airport serves Punta Gorda Florida and is small. One terminal serves, primarily, Allegiant Air, but there are plenty of rental cars as well as the pleasant SkyView Cafe with its view of the runway. The terminal is named after seven remarkable brothers, the Bailey Brothers, all from Punta Gorda and all served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Passengers embark and disembark on exposed ramps but sunshine is so plentiful here that adverse weather is hardly an issue. Parking is also free for the first two hours and the terminal is only a five minute walk — welcome change compared to its larger cousins :)

P-51D model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

P-51D model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

P-51D model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

P-51D model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

View from the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

View from the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

SBD-5 Dauntless model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

SBD-5 Dauntless model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

SBD-5 Dauntless model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

SBD-5 Dauntless model by Jim Deutsch in the SkyView Cafe — photo by Joseph May

Trudeau Warbird Enterprises — photo by Joseph May

Trudeau Warbird Enterprises is located at the Charlotte County Airport — photo by Joseph May

DC-3s alive and well — photo by Joseph May

DC-3s alive and well at the Charlotte County Airport — photo by Joseph May

ERCO Ercoupe — classic and a beauty

16 March 2015

ERCO Ercoupe — classic and a beauty

ERCO Ercoupe — photo by Joseph May

ERCO Ercoupe  vintage 1946 — photo by Joseph May

Fred Weick’s timeless aircraft design, manufactured by ERCO as the Ercoupe, this one was made in 1946 — but looks modern today. Weick did his best to reduce pilot error induced fatalities by making the Ercoupe as stall proof and spin proof as possible. This was done by limiting up elevator deflection as well as coordinating the rudder with the control wheel. It was novel to have tricycle gear back in the day, as well, but made for better ground handling and less tasking landings.

ERCO Ercoupe — photo by Joseph May

ERCO Ercoupe  pilot and passenger have excellent visibility from their side-by-side seating — photo by Joseph May

For an excellent post rich in the Ercoupe’s history please see this post on G-COUP which is in Shortfinals’s Blog.

 

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