Thursday, 13 February 2020

Picture of the day - Stukageschwader 77 - French-born ace Werner Roell

A line-up of St.G 77 Stukas - note 'S2' code just visible- from the album of French-born 'ace' Werner Roell

via Jean-Louis Roba

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

TSR-2 & LIGHTNING T.4 chase aircraft - ebay photo find #100

A selection of neat TSR-2 original press shots for sale on the Aviation Bookshop ebay sales page at the time of writing, including some (new to me) shots featuring the Lightning T.4 chase aircraft and other BAC types.

TSR 2 story on this blog here

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

4th FG Spitfire Vb

On 13 January 1943 Spitfire Vb BL240 Coded MD-L 336th FS, 4th FG piloted by Lt. Bishop made a safe forced landing at RAF Manston on the south-east coast. Cat Ac damage (repair is beyond the unit capacity, but can be repaired on site by another unit or a contractor) was repaired on site.

On 12th March 1943 the aircraft, piloted by 1st Lt Hazen S. Anderson, was despatched with 40 other aircraft from 4th FG to perform a fighter sweep in front of a formation of B-17s attacking the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen/Sotteville, France. The aircraft was attacked by German fighters near St. Omer, France and pilot was forced to abandon the aircraft and was captured as a Prisoner of War. (POW). No MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) was issued for this loss.

Photo: Spitfire Vb BL240 MD-L of the 336th FS, 4th FG (ex 133 Sqn, RAF), 8th AF, pilot Major Carl H 'Spike' Miley. Photo from American Air Museum in Britain, under Creative Commons licence.

Friday, 6 December 2019

G-IRTY - the Silver Spitfire's Longest Flight - round the world in a Mk IX

Yesterday, on hearing some aircraft noise as I was returning home after walking the dogs, I stood there awestruck at the sight of the 'Silver Spitfire' with a Red Arrow at each wing. I didn't have my camera or phone on me and when I did actually think to take some shots as they passed at low speed over the Capel Battle of Britain memorial and steadily continued their westbound heading above White Cliffs Country they were gone.

The spectacle I was witnessing was the return of the Silver Spitfire after its longest flight. In the sunlight the coloration of the metallic surfaces of the Spitfire reflecting the sky around was a beautiful light blue. The last leg from the Netherlands to Goodwood had been delayed by fog, but represented the completion of a four-month, 27,000 mile world tour. The Mk IX restored G-IRTY, flanked by two Hawks and trailed by the support Pilatus PC-12 will certainly be in my top ten aviation moments this year.

Below; trip highlights video courtesy of the Daily Telegraph - a single click to view here

Photos by "alt-92"  - more here

Friday, 22 November 2019

Mustang I - ebay photo find #97

Mustang I AG 349  -1941 original 'The Aeroplane' photograph

Seen at Speke on the 5th December 1941 at a press day for new American types.

Kittyhawk I AK575 1941 original 'The Aeroplane' photograph

An original 'The Aeroplane' photograph of Kittyhawk I AK575 in 1941. Possibly seen at Speke on the 5th December 1941 at a press day for American types. It left Speke on the 10th December to return to Scottish Aviation at Prestwick but was never seen again presumed lost in the Irish Sea.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Why is the U-2 still in service while the SR-71 is not? - Quora opinion piece

When you fuel up an SR-71, sitting on the ground in the hot sun, the fuel dribbles out on the tarmac. That’s not an apocryphal tale, it’s really true.
When you want to start the engines on an SR-71, you can’t use a standard airport start cart, you have to shackle each engine up to a pair of big V8 muscle car engines. Then, to get the fuel to ignite, you have to inject a special, toxic, high temperature hypergolic chemical mix similar to rocket propellant.
So you do all that, and you get the thing into the air, and you have to have a tanker waiting, just for you. You can’t take off with full tanks, and you can’t fly very far without them—or with them for that matter.
So you fill ’er up and accelerate to cruising speed. Only then do the tanks heat up enough to expand and seal up the leaks.
So you refuel—a few times—and you get to wherever you need to go—which is going to be deep inside the territory of somebody who wants you dead, because otherwise, why are you up there? And while you are flying around at bat-outta-hell speed, if you pull off your glove and touch the wind screen, you’ll burn your hand.
And if you flame-out for any reason, you only have three shots per engine at restarting, because it’s not like you can do it by clicking an igniter plug. You have to carry enough of that hypergolic restart mix to handle contingencies, but not enough to turn the aircraft into a bomb.
Flying the SR-71 was dangerous and fabulously expensive. So as soon as the military decided they could get by without it, they retired it.
That’s a shame too, because the SR-71 is the closest thing to a space plane ever built.

If you like science, you might enjoy my free award-winning scifi sampler.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Monday, 8 July 2019

Phantom FGR.2 - XV470 / V RAF 92 Squadron, 1978 - ebay photo find #96

Two views of Phantom FGR.2 - XV470 / V. Image below taken in 1978 shows the machine in RAF 92 Squadron. Sold for £21 during July 2019.  Bottom XV 470 in 56 Sqd colours..

Many more British Phantoms on this blog. See links and posts on the right hand side of this page..

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A visit to the Bristol Aeroplane Co. Filton - pre-war colour film footage

A visit to the Bristol Aeroplane Co. Filton, just prior to the outbreak of WWII. Bristol's chief Test pilot Capt. C.F. Uwin...