Friday, 30 November 2012

Spitfire AZ H / N3277, Dirty Dick 234 Sq

Continuing with the abgeschossene Englaender theme here are a few views being offered on that were new to me of Spitfire AZ H (N3277) "Dirty Dick" flown by pilot Richard Hardy, 234 Squadron, brought down by Olt. Georg Claus of Jagdgeschwader 53,  Cherbourg 15.8.1940. Click on the images for the complete picture...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Opa's Rumpler - "grandad's Rumpler.."

Currently on offer on, this Rumpler C.IV - inscription on the reverse of the picture reads 'grandad's Rumpler in WW1 - taken in Russia with bombs under the fuselage.."

The Rumpler C.IV was a German single-engine, two-seat reconnaissance biplane. The C.IV was a development of C.III with different tail surfaces and using a Mercedes D.IVa engine in place of C.III's Benz Bz.IV. In addition to the parent company, the aircraft was also built by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke as thePfalz C.I. Another variant of the basic design was the Rumpler 6B-2 single-seat floatplane fighter, with a 120 kW (160 hp) Mercedes D.III engine, built for the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy).
For a two-seater reconnaissance aircraft, Rumpler C.IV had an excellent performance, which enabled it to remain in front-line service until the end of World War I on the Western Front, as well as in Italy and Palestine. Its exceptional ceiling allowed pilots to undertake reconnaissance secure in the knowledge that few allied aircraft could reach it.

Two views of a machine serving with Feld Flieger Abteilung 36 on offer at the following link

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave

The S-56 came into being as an assault transport for the United States Marine Corps (USMC), with a capacity of 26 fully equipped troops; the order was placed in 1951, the first prototype flew in 1953, and production deliveries of theHR2S began in July 1956 to the Marine Corps' HMX-1, sixty aircraft in total being produced.
The United States Army evaluated the prototype in 1954 and ordered 94 examples as the CH-37A, the first being delivered also in summer 1956. All Marine and Army examples were delivered by mid-1960. Army examples were all upgraded to CH-37B status in the early 1960s, being given Lear auto-stabilization equipment and the ability to load and unload while hovering. In the 1962 unification of United States military aircraft designations, USMC examples became CH-37C.
At the time of delivery, the CH-37 was the largest helicopter in the Western world, and it was Sikorsky's first twin-engined helicopter. Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engines were mounted in outboard pods that also contained the retractable landing gear. This left the fuselage free for cargo, which could be loaded and unloaded through large clamshell doors in the nose. 

The early models could carry a payload of either 3 Mighty Mites, a light weight jeep like vehicle, or 26 troops. For storage, the main rotor blades folded back on the fuselage and tail rotor mast folded forward on the fuselage. The single main rotor was five-bladed, and designed to function with one blade shot away in combat.
The CH-37 was one of the last heavy helicopters to use piston engines, which were larger, heavier and less powerful than the turboshafts subsequently employed. This accounted for the type's fairly short service life, all being withdrawn from service by the late 1960s, replaced in Army service by the distantly related CH-54 Tarhe and in the Marine Corps by the CH-53 Sea Stallion.
Four CH-37Bs were deployed to Vietnam in 1963 to assist in the recovery of downed U.S. aircraft. They were very successful at this role, recovering over US$7.5 million worth of equipment, some of which was retrieved from behind enemy lines.

CH-37 Mojave... the largest helicopter in the world at the time of service powered by twin R-2800 radial engines. Pictures taken by TANKER at the National Museum of Naval Aviation Pensacola, Florida.

Monday, 12 November 2012

French flying boats of WWII - the Latécoère 631 six-engined flying boat- Biscarosse

.. The Latécoère 631 was a large six-engined flying boat conceived in France during the years leading up to WWII. The first machine constructed was confiscated by the Germans and transferred to Lake Constance. According to some sources it was destroyed here on 17 April 1944 by Mosquitos, wearing German codes 63+11 (along with SE-200, 2D+UT as reported in Aérojournal issue No. 4, Jan '99, 'Dans le service de l'ennemi')....rare image below

 The second Latécoère 631 F-BANT (no.2) is perhaps notable chiefly for the fact that it was 'hidden' by the French in the Toulouse area during WW II and re-assembled post-war for its first flight. Contrary to some accounts however the aircraft was not hidden 'secretly' - but rather with the knowledge of the Germans. This was chiefly to protect it from Allied bombing raids. Following the liberation of France the stocked parts were re-assembled and F-BANT first flew from Biscarosse on 15 March 1945. The reasons behind this project re-launch were chiefly 'political' in nature - to give the impression, at whatever the cost, that the French still had an aeronautical industry. But ultimately like most large flying boats of the period, the type was a huge white elephant. Air France never wanted it but had to fly it for reasons of national prestige as the national airline. More than 100 deaths followed in crashes and technical incidents concerning the type, mostly to do with the little-understood oscillatory phenomena of six unsynchronised engines on such a large wing - for example, on 01 November 1945 off Montevideo at 330 km/h an inboard prop sheared off the "Lionel de Marnier" F-BDRC tearing a huge hole in the fuselage, killing one passenger instantly and amputating the legs of another, who later died of his injuries. The aircraft put down safely despite losing another two props!  War-time technical advances had left the French far behind and by the time of the Late 631's first Air France transatlantic service in August 1947, TWA Constellations had been regularly crossing the Atlantic at over 400 km/h (cruise) for at least 18 months prior to this date. On the night of July 31, 1948 "Lionel de Marnier" F-BDRC (Latécoère 631 number 06) owned by Air France was flying from Fort-de-France to Port-Etienne in Mauritania when it disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of all 52 on board. It is believed to have gone down around 1200 miles from Dakar in Senegal. The U.S. Coast Guard ship Campbell reported finding debris on August 4 but no sign of survivors. 

Ten of these huge machines were built - half were lost to accidents. By way of comparison the Late 631 had a mTOW of around 70 T (9,600 hp) and could carry some 50 passengers and freight at 300 km/h. The much smaller Boeing 314 with a TOW of 38 T (6,400hp) could transport 25 passengers at 300 km/h. With its 57 metre wingspan it is still the biggest aircraft ever constructed by the French..

More on Biscarosse and the Late seaplanes on this blog here

Artwork and internal views and French newspaper cuttings

Saturday, 3 November 2012

National Naval Aviation Museum Facebook page

One of my daily highlights on Facebook is the page organised by the US National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola Fl

Flight operations continue on board the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV 6) in the aftermath of a kamikaze attack that damaged the carriers Belleau Wood (CVL 24), visible in this image, and Franklin (CV 13) on October 30, 1944.

An A4D-2 Skyhawk of Attack Squadron (VA) 22 turned over on its wing tip after a mishap on the flight deck of the carrier Midway (CVA 41) on November 2, 1960...

A PBY Catalina of Patrol Squadron (VP) 54 pictured on the water at Kossol Roads, Palau, in November 1944, sixty-eight years ago this month

An A-1H Skyraider of Attack Squadron (VA) 152 off the carrier Oriskany (CVA 34) pictured in flight near the end of the carrier's second Vietnam War cruise. This image was shot on October 31, 1966... 

"Sweet Sue" Victor K.2 RAF Fairford 1991

Pre-digital shot that I took at the Fairford International Air Tattoo over the weekend of 20-21 July 1991 of HP Victor K.2 XH 671 'Sweet Sue', one of six 55 Squadron Victors that had been deployed to the Gulf for Desert Storm from RAF Marham in Norfolk. Granby provided a suitable swan song for the type which flew some 300 missions in total..

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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...