Monday, 21 March 2011

B-17 G Flying Fortress 43-37516 'Tondalayo'

B17G Flying Fortress 43-37516 'Tondalayo' was an overall matt black finished special operations aircraft  attached to the 406th Night Leaflet Squadron based at Cheddington, and was the personal aircraft of the unit's commander, Lt Col Aber, being retained by him when the squadron converted to Liberators. Aber was on his 51st mission when he was shot down. Co-pilot was Lt Maurice Harper who had flown Spitfires with the RCAF, before volunteering for a tour on 'Heavies.'

Both men perished on the night of March 4th 1945, when their aircraft was shot down by British anti- aircraft defences .The tragedy unfolded around 9.15pm, when the Tondalayo ,returning from a leaflet drop on Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, was crossing inland over the east coast. At the same time two enemy aircraft, homeward bound after a sneak raid, were heading easterly at a lower altitude, which no doubt confused the defenders. At 12,000 feet, over Clacton-on-Sea, exploding shells set the aircraft alight in the area of the waist gun positions, severing control cables and injuring the Bombardier, Lt Connie Morton., who sustained injuries to his eyes and right leg. The aircraft rapidly descended to 8,000 feet, and was heading for an emergency landing at Woodbridge when the aircraft was hit again, crippling her further and this time injuring the tail gunner. It was at this point the 'bail out' order was given, all the crew abandoned the aircraft apart from Aber and Harper. Captain Stonerock (naviagator) was the last crewman through the hatch at 5,000ft , and later reported that both Aber and Harper had their harnesses on, but not their chutes, so it can only be assumed that they had insufficient time or altitude to do so.

Conflict over Libya - enforcing the no-fly zone

Libyan MiG 23 coming down over the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011.

B-2 Stealth Bomber returning to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. after missions to Libya. The flights were from the US to Libya and back. Video by Tech. Sgt. Ryan McKee.

One of three B-2 bombers returns to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., from a mission in support of enforcing Operation Odyssey Dawn no-fly zone over Libya March 20, 2011. The no-fly zone was imposed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorising military action. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)

Laser guided bomb under a Mirage 2000

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Japanese quake/tsunami disaster

as reported on

"..According to the Ministry of Defense, the quake in the air self-defense force Pine Island Station (Miyagi), submerged  T-4 trainer, U125 rescue search plane (10 aircraft), as well as 18 F-2 fighters. Ministry officials said " some might be unusable in some cases, considerable has been caused by the seawater. The F2 is roughly 12 billion yen per unit..".

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tornado F.3 - 25 Years of Air Defence (Squadron Prints)

Tornado F3 - 25 Years of Air Defence -  Order the book here

Retiring in March 2011, the Tornado F3 has served with many famous RAF Fighter Squadrons in its history with the final operational unit being 111(F) Squadron “Tremblers”, based at RAF Leuchars in Fife. The RAF Leuchars Airshow in 1989 saw the arrival of the first Operational Tornado F3 “ZE961 “GA” to be based in Scotland and served initially with 43(F) Squadron. Now, some 21 years later, that same aircraft is still proudly serving in the hands of 111(F) Squadron but that aircraft, aircraft type and the Squadron are about to be retired in March 2011.

Squadron Prints Ltd, the well-known Scottish based Aviation Art Company are launching a tribute book to the Tornado F3 – an aircraft that, in a quarter of a century of service, has constantly been on operational duty; served with many famous RAF fighter squadrons; the silent guardian of UK airspace, ever vigilant as it sat poised for launch on Quick Reaction Alert. The aircraft was taken to war in the Gulf, twice, and patrolled the No-Fly Zones in the Balkans and Iraq for years. In the South Atlantic, the Tornado F3 performed an uninterrupted stint of 17 years, concurrent with other operations and training exercises around the world. Every RAF Squadron and unit that operated the F3 plus the Royal Saudi Air Force and Italian Air Force are covered. Exercises, operational deployments, special events and emotions are all portrayed by “F3 people” in this book with the aim of producing a fond commemoration to the aircraft and the people that flew it, maintained it and adored it up close and from afar!

In this book, the men and women of the F3 Force, past and present take you around the world at supersonic speeds with stories of dark nights over the North Sea and hot days above the burning oilfields of Kuwait. From the Baltic coast to a final public bow at the Leuchars Airshow, with the wings swept back and the throttles parked in the “top left corner” ~ never before has the story been told of what it was really like to fly, fix and fight the Tornado F3 whilst based at Coningsby, Leeming, the Falkland Islands and Leuchars.

This book provides a different insight into the life of the F3 from its inception through to the final year of operations. Stories and anecdotes from members of the F3 Force in 160 pages full of distinctive and colourful photographs from home and abroad, many never previously published. Every RAF Squadron and unit that operated the F3 plus the Royal Saudi Air Force and Italian Air Force are covered. Exercises, operational deployments, special events and emotions are all portrayed by “F3 people” in this book with the aim of producing a fond commemoration to the aircraft and the people that flew and maintained it.
Brought together by a fondness for the aircraft, the authors are :
Wg Cdr Justin Reuter RAF, serving RAF officer and a former Tornado F3 Navigator
Mr Geoffrey Lee (Director) of Planefocus Ltd, professional photographer having followed the F3 around the world
Mr Berry Vissers (Director) of Squadron Prints Ltd, professional photographer and designer of the book
Mr Mark McEwan of Squadron Prints Ltd, photographer and editor
Ms Gill Howie of Squadron Prints Ltd, marketing and editor

TORNADO F3 is a “must have” for anyone associated with the Tornado F3 – from aircrew and groundcrew, enthusiasts and model makers, but also for anyone with or without an interest in aviation. £2 from every book sold will go to the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) charity.
The book is published by Squadron Prints Ltd, who have a long association with the RAF and the Tornado F3, and have produced several books as well as their highly-acclaimed series of lithographic prints for almost all the RAF’s Squadrons for well over 30 years.

Monday, 7 March 2011

P-61 Black Widow restoration walkaround

The Mid Atlantic Air Museum's own Russ Strine shows us around their Northrop P-61B Black Widow. It's a full access pass...and includes some great views of the fully restored radio operators compartment..enjoy!

Also on this blog. San Diego museum archive shots of 425th Night Fighter Squadron P-61s in Europe

12th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress Group filmed in North Africa during December 1942

"...More silent film footage, so I added period music to it as it's a long clip. All I've been able to figure out is that the 97th and 301st bomber groups, were moved from the Eighth Air Force in England to the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa. Feel free to comment the planes, places etc...I think it's Tunisia..."

A single click to watch here, two clicks will take you to I have included some low-res screen shots to give you a flavour of the clip...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

HMS Eagle, Sea Vixen Malta 1969

Low-res copies of ebay seller plane 39m's current sales here

Sea Vixen FAW2 WJ602 No 899 Sq from HMS Eagle about to land at RAF Luqa - - Original colour photograph taken at RAF Luqa - Malta 1969

Below; Sea Vixen FAW2  coded 135 from 799 Squadron based on HMS Eagle taxying out at RAF Luqa - October 1969.

Sea Vixen FAW2  XJ602 - coded 132 from 799 Squadron based on HMS EAGLE climbing after take off from RAF Luqa, Malta  - October 1969.

HMS Eagle in Grand Harbour, passing by Senglea point.  Its sailors line the flight deck.  In the photo below it shows them near the Bridge with Buccaneers in the background.- October 1969. The lower shot depicts the Wessex helicopters and Gannets on the aft deck.

Sea Vixen FAW2  XN706-coded 135  of 799 Squadron from HMS Eagle seen landing at Luqa, Malta -   October 1969.

75th anniversary of Spitfire first flight prototype K5054 at the Battle of Britain Memorial Capel le Ferne

75th Anniversary of the first flight of K5054

To mark the anniversary the Spitfire Society joined forces with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and exhibited their superb replica of K5054 at the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne near Folkestone over the weekend of the 5th and 6th March 2011. Spitfire Society member Steve Burt, supported the event with the inspired “Fly-with-a-Spitfire” experience. ( His two helicopters operated in concert with Janice and Guy Black’s Spitfire Mk V, BM597, flown by Spitfire Society patron Charlie Brown. (see video clip below). The three aircraft were airborne over and around the memorial site providing a flight to remember for the fortunate and a series of spectacles throughout the weekend for the earth-bound amongst us. A shame that the promised 'sunny intervals' failed to materialise - the weather was very cold and very grey !

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Schneider Trophy Racers - Rare and recommended Aviation books (4)

Currently on offer at Pooks Motor books for £125.  " Schneider Trophy Racers " is a history of the Schneider Trophy International Speed Contests 1913 - 1931 by Robert S. Hirsch (USA: Motor Books International, 1992). 192 Pages. Hardback with Loose Cover. ISBN: 0879386169. The book features 180 rare black and white photographs of the pilots and aircraft in action at the Schneider Trophy contests in America, England, Italy and Monaco and includes 80 diagrams of the aircraft, the race courses and technical innovations.

Friday, 4 March 2011

BAC Lightning Ian Black 'Last of the Lightnings'

Ebay seller blitz728 Lightning photo sales here. Very low res copies of current and some previous sales.

11Sqn Lightnings F.6 XR727 'BH' & XR754 'BC' air-to-air photo by Ian Black

LTF Lightning T.5 XV328 'DU' air-to-air above clouds

EE Lightning F.6 XR728 above clouds (below). RAF Binbrook Station Commander Gp Capt John Spencer's personal 'Binbrook Flagship', taken by FlyPast magazine photographer Duncan Cubitt prior to the closure of Binbrook in 1988. XR728 is now owned by the Lightning Preservation Group at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leics. It is housed in the former RAF Wattisham QRA Hangar along with sister-ship XS904.

Lightning F.6 XR754 'BC' air-to-air photo by Ian Black. Although the serial no. is not visible on the photo--identity of the aircraft was obtained by inspection of another photo taken on the same sortie. The nose section of XR754 is currently preserved at Aeroventure, Doncaster.

Lightning T.5s XV328 'BZ' & XS458 'DY' air-to-refuelling from VC.10 tanker ZA147 'F'. XS458 is currently preserved in fast-taxiing condition at Cranfield Aerodrome, Beds., whilst the nose section of XV328 is preserved by Phoenix Aviation at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leics.

16 x EE BAC Lightnings, 226 OCU, RAF Coltishall

Lightning getting airborne from Binbrook above, and below, EE Lightning F.6 XR728 airborne with a C-130 Hercules. Grimsby Evening Telegraph photo, taken on one of the final photocalls before the closure of RAF Binbrook in 1988.

RAF Binbrook Lightnings XR770, XS897 and bottom, XR 771

BAC Lightning XP693 at 11 Sqn disbandment April 29, 1988. BAe test pilot Keith Hartley taxies in at Binbrook after giving a display during which the arrester hook came down. The hook can be seen tied up under the rear fuselage. Until recently, XP693 was flying with Thunder City at Cape Town and is now up for sale.

BAC Lightnings on final photo-sortie over the North Sea in 1988. XR728 'JS', XS452 'BT' and XS923 'BE'. Grimsby Evening Telegraph photograph. XR728 is now preserved in fast-taxiing condition at Bruntingthorpe, XS452 was flying with Thunder City at Cape Town until recently (in all-black scheme), the nose section of XS923 survives near Welshpool.

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Victor B.2 XL513 & XL 512 carrying Blue Steel - ebay photo find #57

An original Ministry of Defence photograph of Handley Page Victor B.2 XL513 equipped with a Blue Steel Missile. Note the four Vulcans on...