From Air International Magazine, May 1986 - a reminder that jargon is great for those in the know but confuses everyone else.
An informal grouping beside a BOAC York on the tarmac of the recently renamed RAF Heston in 1946. Just behind the York can be seen what looks like the tailplane of a Dassault Flaman. However, the Flaman didn't come on stream until a few years later. What other aeroplane has a similar tailplane?
Last week a B-17 Flying Fortress crashed during an emergency landing at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, USA with the loss of 7 lives. The bomber was one of five planes, two fighter planes and three bombers that were on tour at the airport for The Collings Foundation’s 'Wings of Freedom' Tour and leaves only 9 air-worthy B-17s remaining.
Although manufactured during WWII, this particular Fortress was never militarily operational but served in SAR and Flying Fire Engine roles, as Kyle Mizokami reported in the current edition of Popular Mechanics:
Nine-O-Nine, the B-17 bomber involved in yesterday’s tragic crash in Connecticut, was built too late to serve in World War II, but was later rebuilt to resemble the original Nine O Nine, a veteran of the bomber campaign over Europe. The aircraft had a long postwar career, including a stint as a target in nuclear tests, before a lengthy rebuilding process restored her to flying condition. The bomber did have a close call in 1987, when a landing mishap severely damaged the aircraft.
The original Nine-O-Nine was a Boeing B-17G “Flying Fortress” bomber. Nearly 13,000 B-17s were built over the course of World War II, serving in both the Pacific and European theaters. Each four-engine bomber had a crew of ten, a top speed of 287 miles an hour, and could carry a payload of 4,500 bombs on a long distance bombing mission.
The B-17G was assigned to the 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. Nine-O-Nine was part of the legendary Eighth Air Force, or “Mighty Eighth,” a bomber force that struck strategic targets across Germany and occupied Europe. The aircraft’s name came from its serial number, the last three digits of which were 909. The airplane’s nose art depicted a Revolutionary War soldier holding a telescope and riding a bomb.
The Nine-O-Nine was assigned to the Eighth Air Force on February 25, 1944. By April 1945 she had flown 140 missions without a mission abort, which according to Airplanes of the Past “is believed to be the Eighth Air Force record for most missions.” Nine-O-Nine also never lost a crewman as a casualty. The bomber made eighteen trips to Berlin, flew 1,129 hours, and dropped 2,810 tons of bombs.
But the the bomber was dismantled after the war, and the second Nine-O-Nine was built at Long Beach, California, by the Douglas Aircraft Company and accepted for U.S. Army Air Force service in April 1945. The plane, serial number #44-83575, never saw combat but was converted to a SB-17G search and rescue aircraft in 1951 and served in Puerto Rico. The aircraft later served as part of the Military Air Transport Service, the precursor to the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command.
In 1952, retired from U.S. military service, the aircraft was renamed “Miss Yucca” and parked on a nuclear test range in Nevada. There she was subjected to three different nuclear explosions to test the effects of nuclear weapons on aircraft. After a 13-year “cooling down period” to allow radiation to subside, the bomber was sold as scrap to the Aircraft Specialties Company, which began a lengthy restoration. The bomber then served twenty years as a forest fire water bomber, dropping water and borate on forest fires.
In 1986 the bomber was sold to the Collings Foundation, which restored the plane to wartime condition as Nine-O-Nine. In 1987 the bomber was involved in a serious crash, which the Foundation described as follows:
In August 1987, while performing at an airshow in western Pennsylvania, “Nine-O-Nine” was caught by a severe crosswind moments after touchdown. The right wing lifted in the air, finally coming down too far down the runway. Despite the efforts of her crew, she rolled off the end of the runway, crashed through a chain link fence, sheared off a power pole and roared down a 100-foot ravine to a thundering stop. The landing gear sheared off, the chin turret was smashed and pushed into the nose; the Plexiglas nose was shattered; bomb bay doors, fuselage, fuselage, ball turret, wing and nacelles all took a tremendous beating. Engines and propellers were also torn form their mounts. Fortunately, there were no fatalities to the crew or riders although there were injuries.
Following the crash Nine-O-Nine was restored for a third time, stopping at over 1,200 locations before the October 2, 2019 accident, where tragically seven people lost their lives. A full investigation is still ongoing to determine what caused the crash.
The last posting was very optimistic and promised much. Alas, 18 months have passed without a follow up; so here is a reminder of the major aviation highlights in the interim:
The RAF celebrated its centenary on 1 April in 2018, marking it as the oldest independent air force in the world.
Serge Dassault, the son of Marcel and a true aviation pioneer, died in May aged 93.
A little-known effect of the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal is the cancellation of nearly $40 billion of Airbus and Boeing orders from Iran Air.
Russia is accused of culpability in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) by a BUK missile whilst over-flying the Ukraine and causing the death of all 298 occupants.
Rolls-Royce cut 3,000 jobs, over 10%, of its UK workforce.
The Farnborough International Air Show held its annual gathering 70 years after its inception.
A historic Junkers 52 crashed in the Swiss Alps in a Ju-Air sightseeing flight, killing all its 20 occupants.
A member of the Seattle-Tacoma ground crew stole a Horizon Air Dash 8 Q400 and crashed it in north-west Washington state.
Ryanair cancels 20% of its fights in Europe, mostly in Germany, as pilots staged strikes to support their claims (plus ca change).
Singapore Airlines completes the world's longest flight of nearly 9,000 nmi when it landed in New York/Newark after taking off from Singapore Changi 17hrs, 52mn previously.
A Boeing 737-MAX 8 of Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea killing all 189 occupants.
Piaggio Aerospace requested being placed into receivership as insolvent.
2019 (to September)
Airbus announced that A380 production is to end in 2021.
UK-based Flybmi ceased operation with the loss of around 400 jobs.
RAF Tornado force is withdrawn from service.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, crashed near the Ethiopian town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 people on board.
The Boeing 737 MAX is grounded worldwide, prompted by similarities between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.
WOW Air closes down.
The Ilyushin IL-112 carried out its maiden flight.
President threatened tariffs on European Union products citing improper Airbus subsidies.
RAF F-35B Lightning II Stealth Fighters are deployed operationally from RAF Akrotiri.
The Paris Air Show, the world's largest, held its 53rd gathering.
Aigle Azur filed for bankruptcy in September.
The Thomas Cook Group, including Thomas Cook Group Airlines, is placed in compulsory liquidation.
A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress operating under the Collings Foundation for their ‘Wings of Freedom’ tour crashed upon landing at Bradley International Airport.
All the above courtesy of Wikipedia
While perusing early copies of aviation periodicals I am regularly amazed at how aviation and, more particularly certain associated attitudes, have altered over the years between then and now.
For instance, and there's loads more where this comes from, here's a comment from the Editorial of The Aeroplane, 2nd April, 1943 which deals with the vital issue of aircraft fire in the air and on the ground as a result of an accident:
"...a friend of ours assisted in the extinguishing of four outbreaks of fire (whilst in the air)....each was extinguished with glasses of water..... IT IS DIFFICULT TO SEE WHAT THE MAKERS OF AIRCRAFT COULD DO BECAUSE EACH FIRE WAS CAUSED BY A PASSENGER'S CIGARETTE. (My emphases)"
The article goes on; "..we feel that the question of smoking in aircraft is well worth a little thought (really?)" and explains that permitting smoking in special areas would be beneficial as it would 'localise any fire', 'limit the smell of smoke to a compartment frequented only by smokers' (whilst pointing out that non-smokers should have 'no grounds for complaining of the exhalations of others' as modern air-conditioning is so good) and, lastly, provide a reason for a change of location where smokers could experience conversation with fellow smokers.
Here's something a bit lighter, from The Aeroplane of 26th December 1952, a contribution from the much-missed cartoonist Wren:
A nostalgic look back at the golden age of travel before the internet: check out my Pinterest boards for more inspiration.
Easter Sunday, 2016 and finally, after a whole year of experimenting, the website is now live and will grow in content on a daily basis!
As time goes by, I hope to maintain a regular blog posting; typical content will include views, snippets of aviation interest and, most importantly, HUMOUR. Here's one to start off with......