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A Hellcat and a Bearcat and a Hornet

16 March 2017

 

Cmdr. Frank Weisser (Blue Angles lead solo) with an F6F Hellcat and an F8F Bearcat over the Salton Sea (The Hellcat and Bearcat were the first two aircraft models used by The Blue Angels after their beginning in 1946)—U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Cotter

Cmdr. Frank Weisser (Blue Angles lead solo) with an F6F Hellcat and an F8F Bearcat over the Imperial Valley (The Hellcat and Bearcat were the first two aircraft models used by The Blue Angels after their beginning in 1946)—U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Cotter

Cmdr. Frank Weisser (Blue Angles lead solo) with an F6F Hellcat and an F8F Bearcat over the Salton Sea (The Hellcat and Bearcat were the first two aircraft models used by The Blue Angels after their beginning in 1946)—U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Cotter

National War Museum of Scotland

15 March 2017

55° 56′ 57″ N / 3° 12′ 06″ W

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The National War Museum of Scotland has the air screw from the Sopwith Baby seaplane flown by Flight Lt. Ronald Graham of the Royal Naval Air Service to shoot down a German seaplane (note the self-inflicted bullet holes due to lack of an interruption mechanism)—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The National War Museum of Scotland is a multiple threat institutions since visitors also explore Edinburgh Castle as well as other museums (including one with Scotland’s Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny.

The National War Museum of Scotland is charming and quaint as well as being a world class facility. Artifacts from on as well as off the battlefield are displayed with art and grace but it is the large paintings which set this museum apart. It’s not that large painting, even murals, cannot be seen in other museum of course—it’s that visitors can stand so near them, near enough to see each brush stroke. It is breathtaking to observe the minute detail in these artworks, the combat illustration of the day, as well as where the artists purposefully obscured detail for effect. Individual facial expressions, odd body posturing, smoke, confusion and emotion are all there to see and get a thing of vicarious experience.

The largest artifact is a field cannon so most artifacts are light weapons, medals and the like—along with a fantastic amount of art. Many of the objects are hundreds of years in age but look absolutely pristine and amazingly so.

Entry is free and children are welcomed with most displays at their sighting level. An immensely enjoyable café is nearby that has a gorgeous vista of Edinburgh as well as the 105mm howitzer used at the 1pm signaling so that ship captains may set their chronometers.

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The painting entitled Short Stirlings: The Return of MacRobert’s Reply by Colin Cundall in 1941 at the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Short Stirlings: The Return of MacRobert’s Reply detail by Colin Cundall National War Museum of Scotland (the MacRobert clan lost two sons while serving in Bomber Command of the RAF during WW II)—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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7.62mm calibre machine gun recovered from a shot down He 111 bomber in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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A compass and cigarette tin recovered from shot down he 111 bombers as well as a gun site from a downed Luftwaffe Bf 109 fighter at the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Only a few of the India pattern muskets provided by Sir James Grant in 1794 and displayed beautifully in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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A variety of muzzle loading black powder pistols in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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A brace of muzzle loading pistols in a custom kit as exhibited in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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A cap and ball pistol kit displayed in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Closing of the Gates at Hougoumont by artist Robert Gibbs in 1903 displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Closing of the Gates at Hougoumont by artist Robert Gibbs detail at the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Closing of the Gates at Hougoumont by artist Robert Gibbs detail in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Closing of the Gates at Hougoumont by Scotland’s Robert Gibb shows the closely run moment during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 when British soldiers rushed to close the gates at the fortified farmhouse occupying a key position protecting Wellington’s right flank and was the first action at Waterloo.

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Storming of Tel-el Kebir by the painter Alphonse Marie de Neuville on exhibit in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Storming of Tel-el Kebir by the painter Alphonse Marie de Neuville detail in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Storming of Tel-el Kebir by the painter Alphonse Marie de Neuville detail in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Storming of Tel-el Kebir by Alphonse Marie de Neuville showing the decisive moment when, after a night march, the British forces stormed the Egyptian defenses in 1882. The artist studied the faces of many of the soldiers after the battle so that their faces would be accurately portrayed in this painting.

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The Battle of Camperdown by painter William Adolphus Knell illustrates the naval action between the British and Dutch navies in 1797 where the Royal Navy was overwhelmingly victorious and is in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Battle of Camperdown by painter William Adolphus Knell detail in the National War Museum of Scotland showing sailors abandoning their sinking vessel—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Battle of Camperdown by painter William Adolphus Knell detail in the National War Museum of Scotland showing one of the wrecked Dutch ships—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Thin Red Line by artist Robert Gibb illustrating the 1854 Crimean War action between the British forces and the Russian forces. Though the Russian cavalry approached only to with a hundred yards or so the artists made them closer so the individual figures could be recognizable. What became known as “The Thin Red Line” was formed of only two ranks (multiple ranks were required to maintain a volume of fire) to cover the breadth the high ground and so few soldiers indicated to the Russians that a larger force must have been reserved. The point became moot when the Russians withdrew to meet the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. This painting is in the galleries of the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Thin Red Line by artist Robert Gibb detail of the Russian cavalry forces in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Thin Red Line by artist Robert Gibb detail in the National War Museum of Scotland—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

H.A.M.M. adds a Cougar to its Frescos

14 March 2017

 

The brand new restoration of the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum’s Grumman F9F-8 Cougar which is intended for display as if in-flight—H.A.M.M. image and copyright

Warren Moore of the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum shared great news as well as photos with us and that is their completions of their Grumman F9F-8 Cougar restoration (shown above). Historic Aviation Memorial Museum is impressive and full of energy with its flying MiG-17 aircraft and more—it is a rewarding stop to make.

MiG-17 (NATO identifier: Fresco) getting new paint and looking nice—H.A.M.M. image and copyright

He also shared images of H.A.M.M.’s MiGs—yes, MiGs in the heart of Texas!

H.A.M.M. provides a home to this pair flying MiG-17 Frescos used on the airshow circuit and has the airport in Tyler TX looking like a MiG base—H.A.M.M. image and copyright

Another view of H.A.M.M.’s MiG-17 fighters—H.A.M.M. image and copyright

Imperial War Museum-London

13 March 2017

51° 29′ 45″ N / 0° 6′ 31″ W

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The Imperial War Museum–London’s front entry is hosted by a pair of 15-inch battleship guns vintage early 1900s with the HMS Ramillies gun on the left and the HMS Resolution’s on the right—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The Imperial War Museum of London, IWM–London, is the preeminent museum for British military history. The newly revamped building is modern and sophisticated with several floors creatively exhibiting historical artifacts from the unique to the ordinary. Visitors can see the hardships of civilians, the desperation of a country set back on its heels, the creativity and initiative of a world power—all in a delightful visit which is free of charge, a well stocked café and in central London just a stone’s throw from the former apartment of Capt. Bligh that is still in use as an abode today. Walk in from historic Lambeth Street, purchase the excellent guidebook for £5 and proceed to experience as well as enjoy.

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Imperial War Museum–London has this outstanding entry hall with an emphasis on WW II—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s main hall with a V-1 as well as a V-2 with a Spitfire and a Harrier as well as land based exhibits—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Imperial War Museum–London’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia flew 57 combat missions in WW II with 13 pilots of which only 6 survived to see the end of the war—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s Spitfire’s characteristic elliptical wings—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Spitfire of the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The main entry is meant to wow and it succeeds with displays of WW I and WW II and modern day war artifacts. The V-1 (the “Buzz Bomb”) is there looking brand new and one can see the basic construction techniques used to manufacture this ancestor to today’s cruise missiles. The V-2 (the world’s first ballistic missile weapon) is present with the added bonus of one side being cutaway to better study the engine as well as propellant tanks.

There are also two combat veteran aircraft—a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Siddeley Harrier suspended from the ceiling.

Not to be missed are the WW I gun carriage, news vehicle from use in Gaza as well as a car absolutely crushed by a car bomb in Baghdad and a Russian T-34 tank.

This space can be viewed from several stairway landings as well as floors which all open to this space. One never feels cramped while moving from one inviting display to the next.

This hall is only the start as there are  five floors to explore with the uppermost visitor’s floor dedicated to those awarded the Victoria Cross—its is both a somber as well as an inspirational presence.

The gift shop is on this floor as is the café and each is a well done affair. The café especially is a welcome place to rest for a bit and let the brain catch up before exploring more of this fantastic museum. Although there are more than enough restrooms the ones this floor have more capacity and are the recommended ones to utilize.

The welcome desk is also located here, once well into the museum, and is more than handy for assistance as well as tickets to special displays. The museum entry is gratis but special exhibitions may have a fee.

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V-2 cutaway emphasizing the engine as well as propellent tanks in the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May: MayTravel for Aircraft

Hawker Siddeley Harrier at the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s V-1 and gift shop—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Mural depicting Londoners in a tube station seeking safety during WW II’s London Blitz  Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The firm Luftschiffbau Schütte-Lanz was innovative in airship design and the SL 11 with other airships were used for strategic bombing missions by Germany against Great Britain during WW I. Although ineffective militarily these missions havoc with the civilian population handing the British government an immense debacle to resolve. Airships were not as easy to shoot down as, perhaps, originally presumed until the invention of incendiary ammunition (the airships used hydrogen back in this day). Lt. William Leefe Robinson shot down the SL 11 in a BE 2C using tracer ammunition while braving defensive machine fire from the ship. The SL 11 went down in Cuffley with the loss of her entire crew.  Schütte-Lanz SL 11 airship model of the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

 

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Cutaway Merlin V-12 engine (Is there an engine more famous than the Merlin?) showing part of the valve train and cam shafts in the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London has the nose section of this Avro Lancaster Mk I “Old Fred” at a level more easy to see than on a Lanc sitting in a hangar—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s detailed view of the nose turret and bombardier’s position of their Lancaster Mk I—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s detail of Old Fred’s artwork —Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s German 88 antiaircraft gun, antitank gun, anti everything gun—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s Mitsubishi Zero conserved wreck—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s Mitsubishi Zero conserved wreck—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s Mitsubishi Zero conserved wreck—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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One of the tail fins from Luftwaffe Major Heinz Schnaufer’s Bf 110 fighter showing his 121 aerial victories displayed in the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s French designed and manufactured Exocet missile display as this weapon dramatically affected the UK’s casualties in the Falkland’s War when used by the Argentine military forces—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Australian Ikara missile “Throwing stick” in Australia’s aboriginal language was a ship launched antisubmarine torpedo which used a booster rocket as well as a sustainer rocket in the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London Ikara rear aspect view—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The Imperial War Museum–London has General Montgomery’s Humber staff car which was used in Egypt during WW II—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The ahead-of-its-time WW II Kriegsmarine G7e T3 torpedo which was electrically powered (leaving no warning wake) as well as accurate in the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London has this classic WW II 3-man Wehrmacht BMW R75 motorcycle with sidecar which was useful on poor roads, for messaging and mobility for a machine gun team—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Reuter’s armored Land Rover used by the press in Gaza (note the battle damage, especially the rocket or shrapnel hit to the upper right of the roof) in the main hall of the Imperial War Museum–London—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Imperial War Museum–London’s Alvis Saladin Mk 2 armored car which is a 6×6—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Whew! Museum Lists

12 March 2017

There are web sites that carry museum listings, including this blog (see the page tabs in the menu bar) and some have a unique character to them—and there are hundreds of listings. Finding the large museums is easy but finding the smaller or specialized museums can be challenging. Then there is the URL checking, reverifying the web addresses are viable and for that job we can thank Patrick Carry of the Warbird Alley list. Patrick has been verifying the URLs and we have many thanks for his work.

Recently we heard from Dave Newill who informed us of a handful of Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust museum sites so we thank him as well.

Last but not least we thank the Air Museum Network Directory for also keeping a museum list.

Thanks to everyone, especially to Patrick Carry who systematically reverifies URLs as well as names (as it turns out they can change with more frequency that one might expect).

Consolidated Commodore and the new era in flying boat design of the 1930s

10 March 2017

 

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Consolidated Commodore “Havana” of the New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line getting onto the step—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

The Consolidated Commodore is a close relative to the P2Y. It differs by having one wing (dropping the small lower wing for wind floats), more powerful engines and a passenger cabin layout. It was used successfully by a handful of airlines—notably the New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line which was forced to merge with Pan American Airways. Maximum passenger capacity was fourteen but at the expense of range. The Commodore was a solid, dependable and capable flying boat demonstrating the potential for reliable international flight which lead to the larger flying boats used so successfully by PAA as the flying clippers.

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Consolidated Commodore “Cuba” of the New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore “Havana” of the New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line in flight—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore “Cuba” near shore—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Early Consolidated Commodore testing—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore starboard profile—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Early Consolidated Commodore (like the Consolidated P2Y the Commodore began as a trimotor)—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore’s port Pratt & Whitney radial engine—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore coming to the dock—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore’s port side wing float—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore’s twin tail detail—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore in flight with a trimotored aircraft for scale—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

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Consolidated Commodore’s enclosed cockpit of the “Rio De Janerio” (New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line ) as well as hull prow detail—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive

 

 

Consolidated P2Y

9 March 2017

 

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Consolidated P2Y was a parasol wing, sesquiplane, twin tail flying boat which had a certain elegance—U.S. Navy Archives

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Three Consolidated P2Y seaplanes in flight—U.S. Navy Archives

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Consolidated P2Y over Hawaii—U.S. Navy Archives

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Consolidated P2Y-1 handling (note officer in the pilot’s seat)—U.S. Navy Archives

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Half of the Consolidated P2Y-1 aircraft passing Diamond Head setting a record in 1934 for the longest formation flight which was from San Francisco to Honolulu—U.S. Navy Archives

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The six Consolidated P2Y-1 aircraft which set a record in 1934 for the longest formation flight which was from San Francisco to Honolulu placing Diamond Head behind them—U.S. Navy Archives

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The U.S. Navy Consolidated P2Y-1 aircraft completing their record flight in 1934 for the longest formation flight distance which was from San Francisco to Honolulu—U.S. Navy Archives

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Consolidated P2Y-1 aircraft alighting upon the waters of Honolulu and setting the record in 1934 for the longest formation flight which was from San Francisco to Honolulu—U.S. Navy Archives

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The crowd welcomes the six Consolidated P2Y-1 aircraft which just set the record in 1934 for the longest formation flight which was from San Francisco to Honolulu—U.S. Navy Archives