Winged Heroes

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 19 Oct 2015, 09:06

The BBMF have over 30 permanent ground crew and technicians looking after the flight with an ongoing training regime to skill them up for maintaining the older technology. The second episode of "Britains Ultimate Pilots - Inside the RAF" last night on BBC2 covered the gathering up from around the world of all the airworthy warbirds for this years air tattoo to recreate a wartime scramble including an ME109 to demonstrate a "tail chase". Also a syncro flight with a Spitfire and the current state of the art Typoon. The Spit had to fly at the top of it's operational envelope for some of the maneuvers whereas the Typhoon was at the very bottom of it's envelope. The syncro flight opened up the air tattoo, the typhoon was painted up in WWII Hurricane camouflage as well. The current commander of the BBMF did mention that there was no reason why they could not still be flying in 100 years. All the aircraft a rigorously maintained and a credit to those that look after them. Remarkable when you think that they were originally built with an expected life of only a few weeks. Mind you no one is shooting at them now.

The program is repeated tonight or you can get the series on catch up, a good watch.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 27 Nov 2015, 14:39

In recent days we've had a piston-engined aircraft flying back and forth above us and I'm almost certain it's the Hawker Sea Fury that crash-landed at the 2014 RNAS Yeovilton Air Day, judging by the silhouette and the engine sound (not a Merlin but a Bristol Centaurus Mk.18). The plan was to get it flying again by early 2016 so it's probably doing its first tentative flights now. It used to do loops above us but this is doing very basic level flying, while they confirm that all's well. A couple of web pages give information on the aircraft and one shows the pilot with Captain `Winkle' Brown.
http://www.fnht.co.uk/exemplary-airmans ... -fury.html
http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-la ... in-in-2016

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 28 Nov 2015, 04:18

My attention was grabbed last night at 21:00 by a large jet passing at relatively low altitude hidden by cloud. The noise was different than anything I have heard before, at first I thought it was thunder. I haven't the faintest idea what it was or what caused the variation in noise.....
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 28 Nov 2015, 12:26

We get the occasional twin-tail US jet fighter such as the F-14 Tomcat or F-18 Hornet fly over at low altitude with a thunderous roar, louder than our Tornado.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 29 Nov 2015, 04:18

We used to see planes like that doing low flying exercises but I haven't seen any for years. I think we were a designated low flying zone then....
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 22 Dec 2015, 07:02

I chned on a film about the B29 'Kee Bird' on PBS channel last night. (LINK). See also THIS link to the PBS programme. Well worth seeking out and watching if you haven't seen it.
Right up your street Tiz!
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 22 Dec 2015, 10:07

Interesting stuff, thanks for the links, Stanley.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 23 Dec 2015, 05:20

And what a sad end to all that effort, all due to a bad mounting on a small fuel tank!
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 09 Feb 2016, 10:09

"Flying Banana" helicopter restoration work under way.... BBC link

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 10 Feb 2016, 04:03

I saw some old film clips the other day on TV and it was a plane with two swivelling rotors on the ends of short wings. Horizontal for take off and swivelled forward for flight.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 15 Feb 2016, 10:08

Have a look at this for the amazing recovery of a P38 Lightning from a glacier in Greenland. The aircraft was lost during transit to the UK in 1942.

P38 Lightning - Glacier Girl recovery.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 16 Feb 2016, 05:07

Amazing! What impresses me is the fact they got it flying again. I wonder how much of it is original? It just goes to show what can be done if you are stubborn enough.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 27 Feb 2016, 06:02

BBC showed the film on Eric 'Winkle' Brown last night instead of the advertised programme. Well worth looking for it on i-Player.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 27 Feb 2016, 10:37

A very modest man - he claimed he survived crashes and ejector bailouts because he was shorter than average and didn't crack his skull on the top of the cockpit canopy!

Ian, thanks for the P38 link which I'd missed when you first posted it.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 27 Feb 2016, 11:07

Your welcome Tiz, it's remarkable recovery an refurb job. I found the link in the sidebar of a Facebook page I was browsing. I think I get them offered from targeted on interest Google feeds.

I caught "Winkle" last night as well, seen it before but a good watch.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 28 Feb 2016, 04:37

I marvelled when he flew the rocket powered widow maker!
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 28 Feb 2016, 11:06

The Me 262 jet fighter is said to have been a bit hair-raising to fly too! The impression is often given that it was the first jet plane to fly but that title goes to Heinkel's He178 which first flew in August 1939. At the time it was kept secret and it was long thought that Italy's Caproni Campini N.1 was the first jet to fly because it was announced to the world in August 1940. Campini

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 04 Mar 2016, 09:26

`In pictures: American airmen in England during World War Two' BBC
Superb B&W photos of US airmen and women on and off duty in WW2 England. LINK

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 05 Mar 2016, 05:18

Great article Tiz. Reminds me of my old friend Bob Jacobsen who was a tail gunner with the 100th Bomber Group stationed near Diss.....

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 18 Mar 2016, 15:37

Stanley, we were both wrong with our specs on the Merlin engine as discussed briefly today. The operational revs were 3000rpm along with a 27 L displacement from the V12 design. I assume the rating plate you mentioned at 1700rpm may have quoted idle speed.

Later Griffons could rev up to 9000rpm and displaced 36.7 L, no wonder you get a hair standing growl from those variants.

Both engines were substantially smaller displacement than equivalent German engines of the same period but nevertheless ultimately outperformed them. The DB601 used in the Messerschmitt was 39 L and the BMW801 engine of the Focke-Wulf 190 was 42 L, no wonder they had fuel supply problems.

Rolls Royce Merlin Engine

and the Wiki page with more info on variants and usage.

Rolls Royce Merlin - Wiki
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 19 Mar 2016, 05:24

Good lad Iain..... I shall have to read my book on them again!
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 30 Jun 2016, 08:51

Mrs Tiz pointed me to this story this morning (she knows how to keep me quiet and out of the way!).
`First RAF F-35B stealth fighter jet lands in UK' This is the `Lightning II' that replaces the Harrier for both the RAF and Royal Navy, made by Lockheed-Martin (with a bit of help from BAE and Roll-Royce) and therefore with an American designation of F-35B. There's more information on this RAF page: [url=http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/f35join ... ighter.cfm]RAF

The maximum speed is quoted as Mach 1.6 and altitude 50,000 feet. That prompted me to look back at the old English Electric Lightning developed in the 1950s....more than Mach 2 and over 60,000 feet! To be fair, they were designed for a single purpose with a very short range and could afford to burn prodigious quantities of fuel. They were meant to catch enemy nuclear bombers closing on the British air bases used by our V-bomber fleet.

A week ago I was looking at a little old engine pumping away merrily at the Bath & West agricultural show. It was one of those made in a bygone age by Petter's of Yeovil and now much loved by the greasy hand enthusiasts in Somerset. But Petters were destined for greater things and when they bought a big field outside Yeovil and built a factory to make aeroplanes Mrs Petter told her husband to call it Westland. As they say, the rest is history. Why am I telling you this story? In the late 1940s, `Teddy' Petter, chief designer at Westland warned that our latest jet fighter wouldn't be able to catch the latest jet bombers. A test was arranged between a Meteor fighter and a Canberra bomber flying at a speed of Mach 0.85 at 50,000 feet and he was proved right. He approached the Ministry with a spec for a fighter capable of Mach 1.5 at 50,000 feet and this was taken up by English Electric and led to the prototype Lightning. From 1953 onwards, the first three prototype aircraft were hand-built at Salmesbury and I can remember seeing these on test flights and hearing the sonic booms. The Lightning had an extra fuel tank but this was originally intended to provide fuel for a rocket motor, an idea that was dropped in favour of afterburners.

The Lightning was always a favourite of aircraft enthusiasts for its phenomenal performance, especially the climb rate. Wikipedia states: "The Lightning’s optimum climb profile required the use of afterburners during takeoff. Immediately after takeoff, the nose would be lowered for rapid acceleration to 430 knots before initiating a climb, stabilising at 450 knots. This would yield a constant climb rate of approximately 20,000 ft/min. Around 13,000 ft the Lightning would reach Mach 0.87 and maintain this speed until reaching the tropopause, 36,000 ft on a standard day. If climbing further, pilots would accelerate to supersonic speed at the tropopause before resuming the climb. A Lightning flying at optimum climb profile would reach 36,000 ft in under three minutes."

In 1984, during a NATO exercise, Flt Lt Mike Hale intercepted a U-2 at a height which they had previously considered safe (thought to be 66,000 feet). Records show that Hale also climbed to 88,000 ft in his Lightning F.3 XR749. This was not sustained level flight but a ballistic climb, in which the pilot takes the aircraft to top speed and then puts the aircraft into a climb, exchanging speed for altitude. Hale also participated in time-to-height and acceleration trials against Lockheed F-104 Starfighters from Aalborg. He reports that the Lightnings won all races easily with the exception of the low-level supersonic acceleration, which was a "dead heat". Lightning pilot and Chief Examiner Brian Carroll reported taking a Lightning F.53 up to 87,300 feet over Saudi Arabia at which level "Earth curvature was visible and the sky was quite dark", noting that control-wise "[it was] on a knife edge".

There's more on the old Lightnings here: LINK

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 01 Jul 2016, 04:32

Brave men Tiz.......
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 03 Jul 2016, 09:52

The 2016 Air Day at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset, took place yesterday and we kept our eyes peeled for interesting aircraft flying over us. One which we couldn't immediately identify flew over us twice, low and slow, obviously from its shape a small transport aircraft with a high wing, H tailplane, twin turboprop, fixed undercarriage. I've tracked it down from the list of aircraft visiting the Air Day and found it's a Short Skyvan, first introduced in about 1963 and seems to be a popular little plane worldwide. Known to its crew as `The Shed'. Skyvan This photo, from Wikipedia, is of a similar aircraft:

Image

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 03 Jul 2016, 15:43

We saw the Skyvan again today but got an even bigger treat! While in the garden, under a lovely blue sky with some high cumulus cloud, we heard interesting aero engines and saw in the distance the easily recognised Skyvan coming directly towards us. But it had a partner this time...with four engines. A mad rush into the house for binoculars followed but by the time I got back out they were hardly needed as the big beast and its little friend flew over us...a B-17 Flying Fortress in its US Army Air Force colour scheme. The crew must have been low enough to easily see us jumping up and down! A look at the RNAS Air Day's web page showed that it was the B-17 known as `Sally B' and operated by B-17 Preservation Ltd. Their web site is interesting, especially the History page... Sally B The aircraft was brought to the UK by Ted White in 1975. Unfortunately he died when his Harvard crashed at an air show in 1982 and the Sally B has ever since had its outside starboard engine cowling painted in the same black and yellow chequered markings as his Harvard.

Luckily the bins were still out a little later when a twin-boom jet flew over and revealed itself to be the last and only flying de Havilland Sea Vixen worldwide (Sea Vixen FAW2 [Fighter all Weather] G-CVIX XP924). It seemed to have areas of orange paint that I couldn't explain other than perhaps it's halfway through a change of paint scheme! There are good photos here of the same aircraft: LINK 1 LINK 2

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