Winged Heroes

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 04 Jul 2016, 02:43

I love workhorses like that Sky Van Tiz.
Your personal fly-past reminds me of the day I was closing up at Ellenroad one evening and heard a familiar sound. It was a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster flying low in formation directly over the site. Back hairs deployed immediately! Perfect view, evening sunlight and they were very low.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 04 Jul 2016, 09:27

The B-17 and others feature in a short video clip of the Air Day on this link: Yeovilton RNAS Air Day

And here's a taste of the Red Arrows!
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(Courtesy of RNAS Yeovilton)

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 06 Jul 2016, 06:24

I always remember doing a Transatlantic flight on a Tri Star in the 1980s and have always said it was the quietest and most comfortable plane I ever used. I mention this under winged heroes because I have an idea that one of the last regular users of them was RAF Transport Command. Have I got that right?

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I went looking and answered my own question.....
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 06 Jul 2016, 09:21

A much-loved aeroplane in the RAF, the Lockheed TriStar ended its 30 years of service with our military in 2014.

"The fleet of nine aircraft were acquired as a direct result of the Falklands conflict and the need to provide support to forces in the South Atlantic and to bolster the air-to-air refuelling fleet. In more recent times TriStars have provided air-to-air refuelling to fast jet aircraft operating over Afghanistan and Libya and provided the vital air bridge, transporting troops and cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan. Over a period of eight years 216 Sqn flew 1642 times to Afghanistan, carrying a quarter of a million passengers each way and travelling a total distance equivalent to flying around the world 640 times." LINK

It's replaced by the Airbus A330 Voyager.. LINK

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 08 Jul 2016, 08:14

The Farnborough Air Show is on next week and this BBC web page has a lot of great photos, old and new, of aircraft from the 1930s to the present. Farnborough Hawker Hart biplane fighters as shown in the first photo were still in use when my dad joined the RAF in 1938!

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 09 Jul 2016, 05:37

Image

Harts over the Himalayas.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 28 Jul 2016, 10:13

Late yesterday afternoon I heard the pleasant sound of an old prop-driven aeroplane and looked out to see what had to be either a Spitfire or Hurricane passing by. Some furtling on the Web showed that today is the annual Air Show day at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall and of their list of aircraft attending the only one that fitted `my' aeroplane was a Spitfire MkXIV belonging to The Fighter Collection (TFC) based at Duxford. A late Griffon-engined model that probably escaped war service. Details and lovely photos are here on the TFC web site: Spitfire

By the way, if you attend one of these air shows and find yourself chatting to a young woman, beware if she suggests you go for a walk with her...you might be letting yourself in for something unexpected! LINK

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 29 Jul 2016, 04:03

Don't Rolls have a Spit with a Griffon in it? I remember it being over Barlick once and loved the sound of the engine.....
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 18 Aug 2016, 10:22

Images short-listed for a public vote in the 2016 RAF Photographic Competition. Photos taken by people who get opportunities for shots the rest of us never have. I wouldn't like to be in that Chinook helicopter! LINK

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 19 Aug 2016, 04:31

I agree! They weigh about 25 tons so those rotors had better be made of good stuff.......
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 19 Aug 2016, 10:22

Radio 4 does some good documentary programmes but they don't always dig far enough before making statements of fact. On `The Long View' recently they discussed the origin of drones, or pilotless aircraft, and looked back to the Nazi V1 `flying bombs' as being the first of these, and there I have to disagree (at least in terms of prototype if not operations). I've been reading a book on the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) and the combination of the book and the programme reminded me of something I'd seen elsewhere. I dug into my pile of aircraft books and found `The Fleet Air Arm in Camera' (Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1996) which is a book of official photos. And there on page 42 is the evidence that we had a prototype remote-controlled `flying bomb' nearly 20 years before the Nazi version. Unfortunately the newspapers seem to have got wind of it too soon!

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 20 Aug 2016, 03:55

Fascinating stuff Tiz. There's good evidence that the Germans were taking a very keen interest in modern developments, look at the way they took up the ideas about how to use tanks put forward by Colonel J F C Fuller who was brought back from France to oversee the development of the Tank Corps by the War Office. Fuller's ideas were in effect use of tanks en masse in what the Germans later called Blitzkrieg, 'Lightning War'. (See Patrick Wright's book 'Tank') There is no doubt that his ideas were known to the Germans as they were openly published. Unfortunately Fuller was a weird character, an acolyte of Aleister Crowley and he was up against a hide-bound General Staff. He left the army,his ideas were largely ignored and we went into WW2 with inadequate tanks and tactics.
With hindsight, because the Germans had really thought the tank problem through they converted their 88mm Flak gun to an anti-tank gun and it was never surpassed in WW2. We had a very similar Ack Ack gun, the 3.7" but never went down the same road. It was 1943 before we got round to it with the 17pdr.....
Of piste I know but it's the same lack of imaginative thinking that allowed things like the drone above to be abandoned as a serious weapon. If you read 'Air Power in the 1930s' by David Omissi you'll see that for almost all of the inter war period we were having a turf war over the development of the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm and finished up using planes as colonial peace-keepers instead of developing a modern air force.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20 vision!
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 20 Aug 2016, 09:49

The Japanese military learnt from us too, especially the navy which had Royal Navy advisers and observers on board its battleships when it defeated the Russian fleet at the start of the 1900s. Then later, Japan having been our ally in WW1, our Fleet Air Arm helped them build up their own equivalent force of navy flyers who went on to sink major Royal Navy warships in WW2. They also learnt by analysing the Fleet Air Arm tactics at the battles of Taranto (November 1940) and Cape Matapan (March 1941) when carrier-borne aircraft first destroyed enemy capital ships. The Japanese navy then used its carrier-borne aircraft in a similar manner against the American warships at Pearl Harbour in December 1941. If the Royal Navy's old Swordfish `Stringbag' biplanes could sink battleships while operating from a carrier at sea then the Japanese navy's modern, fast monoplane fighter-bombers could do the same on a much greater scale. It's a wonder the Americans didn't try to blame us for Pearl Harbour.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 21 Aug 2016, 04:15

I'm reading Anthony Sampson's 'The Arms Bazaar' at the moment and he details how the aircraft industry sold its products using bribes, private and political, instead of on performance and cost. No wonder we still had the 'Stringbags'!
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 21 Aug 2016, 10:45

The more I delve into the Japanese Naval Air Service the more fascinating it becomes. After closely following our start with naval aircraft they turned a depot ship into a seaplane tender and used it repeatedly in attacks on German-held territory in China during 1914, what is claimed to be the world's first naval-launched aerial raids. In the 1920s, Japanese pilots were trained on several British aircraft, including the Gloster Sparrowhawk, in torpedo bombing, flight control and carrier landing and take-offs - all of which eventually made them well prepared to launch the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. They were also given copies of the Royal Navy's plans for our early aircraft carriers and they managed to build the first carrier designed as such from the keel upwards. All this was a result of the Sempill Mission which is the subject of debate and intrigue.... Sempill

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 23 Aug 2016, 04:52

Image

This old post came to mind. This WW1 bomber was the largest plane to bomb us even including WW2 attacks. [Click to enlarge]
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 11 Oct 2016, 10:11

We rushed out of the house with binoculars yesterday afternoon when we heard two piston-engined aircraft flying over in tight formation. They were a bit high but we could see them with the bins and they flew in circles for a while. I think one may have been used to photograph the other. The smaller one had fixed undercarriage and looked like a trainer. The other looked like a fighter, a more bulky machine with a radial engine and in navy blue with US insignia. Guessing they were probably from RNAS Yeovilton I contacted the curator of the RNAS Museum and asked if he could identify them for me. I thought the blue one might have been a Grumman Wildcat which were used by the RNAS in WW2, initially with the name Martlet but later reverting to Wildcat.

This morning there was a reply from the curator saying he didn't have information on local flights And they don't have a Martlet flying, only a static exhibit. But he came up with the an alternative which is definitely what we saw. It was the Harvard which is a trainer but looks a lot like the Martlet. Usually it would be in yellow or silver with yellow stripes and RAF insignia but at the moment it's in the navy blue and US insignia. He suggested the other aircraft was their Chipmunk and having looked at photos on the Web I'm sure he's right.

Here's a photo of a North American Harvard T-6G. (Copyright Siteseen Ltd. Taken from the web site http://www.airpowerworld.info/trainers/ ... d-t-6g.htm)
Image

When looking up information on the Harvard I discovered something of personal interest. My father was in South Africa during WW2 helping with training South African Air Force personnel and I now realise he would have been very familiar with the Harvard. I saw this on the RNAS web archive:

South Africa was the last air force to use the Harvard after 55 years service, from 1940-1995. They are still regarded as National Treasues in South Africa, and a notice to this effect was published recently in the South Africa Government Gazette, stating "The National Monuments Commission hereby declares ten Harvard aircraft .... to be cultural treasures on account of the historical and technical importance thereof....."
There is more about that here: Harvard Club of South Africa

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 19 Oct 2016, 10:17

We often find that something was originally designed for a job quite different from that for which it eventually becomes well known. I'm reading a book about the Boeing aeroplane company and discovered that the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber is an example. People often think it was designed to fly from Britain to bomb Germany but of course it was designed before WW2. In fact it was intended to defend the US by bombing enemy warships and invasion fleets as they approached the shore. When the prototype flew in 1934 Boeing invited the press to attend and their briefing explained how it would protect the shores of America from invaders. As a result, the reporter from the Seattle Times described the aeroplane as a `flying fortress' and that's how it got that name.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 20 Oct 2016, 04:10

Good point Tiz. And of course we saw an early phase after the war where original warplane designs were converted for passenger routes.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 20 Oct 2016, 10:51

William Boeing got started in WW1 building planes for the military but he almost went belly up around 1920 when the US government cut spending on aircraft drastically. He was obviously the surviving type, he resorted to building small boats, making furniture and other timber items. His father had been a timber man and of course the early aircraft were based on wood and linen, so making furniture and boats was second nature to him. Just think, if he'd failed we might never have had the jumbo jet! He had another `near do' in the 1930s with that prototype B-17. It looked good but twice the test pilots were killed (but probably, it's thought, through human error) and then the first operational aircraft suffered problems. The air force cancelled its order and switched it to Douglas instead. It was Boeing's persistence and skill that got the B-17 back on track.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 21 Oct 2016, 03:57

There is a book, 'Wide Body' by Clive Irving, if you haven't read it seek it out. It's a riveting story.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 01 Nov 2016, 09:59

`Zhuhai air show: China J-20 fighter jet in public debut' LINK
China's first stealth jet fighter. Russia also now has one called the Sukhoi PAK FA.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 02 Nov 2016, 04:57

The thing that strikes me about the planes showcased is how clean the design looks. Generally a good indication of capability. If they look good they usually are.....
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 18 Nov 2016, 11:29

We were at the Fleet Air Arm base at Yeovilton a few weeks ago and got an ideal opportunity to photograph a comparison of the old Merlin helicopter and its recently introduced replacement, the Wildcat. The Wildcat is nearest to the camera. The easiest feature for distinguishing them is the pair of fins on the tail of the Wildcat; the dorsal engine exhausts are much bigger on the Wildcat but these are not easy to see from below - and that's the view we usually get.

Image

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 13 Dec 2016, 06:12

See THIS for news that the pilot of the Swordfish who dropped the torpedo that damaged the Bismark's rudder and effectively ensured its destruction has died aged 97. We forget that it was an out of date biplane that did this. Things have moved on a bit!
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