Sunday, 27 July 2014

27 July 1944 - first Gloster Meteor sortie, Flying Officer Bill McKenzie RCAF of 616 Squadron

On this day in 1944 an RAF Gloster Meteor Mk 1 jet flew the first operational sortie of the type - in the 616 Sq log the entry read ‘History is made!’ An anti-diver patrol (so called after the way the V-1s flamed out then dropped from the sky) was flown by Flying Officer Bill McKenzie RCAF of 616 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, based at Manston on the north-east Kent coast. He later shot down a V-1 on 16 Aug 1944 as the following report confirmed;

 Consolidated Diver Report 616 Squadron, Manston F/O W. McKenzie, R.C.A.F. 16 August 1944

 After an uneventful scramble, F/O McKenzie was about to land at Manston when Control (Kingsley 11) passed information that Divers were coming in. F/O McKenzie was sent back to orbit approximately 5 miles S.E. Ashford at 3000 ft. One Diver was seen flying on a course of 320 degrees at 1000 ft, at speed of approximately 360 mph. F/O McKenzie positioned to 700 yards behind and 500 ft below Diver at approximately 0938 hrs. A Mustang was seen to attack from line astern and fire from 250 yards. No strikes were observed and the Diver continued on a straight and level course. The Mustang then pulled upwards and broke away. Immediately F/O McKenzie attacked from astern at range of 400 yards and fired a 4 second burst. Strikes were seen all over Diver and starboard wing fell off. Diver then rolled over on its back and went down to explode on ground approximately 6 miles southeast of Maidstone at approximately 0940 hours. This position and time has now been confirmed by Royal Observer Corps at Maidstone.

CLAIM: 1 Diver destroyed by F/O W. McKenzie (R.C.A.F.) SQUADRON: 616 Squadron AIRCRAFT: Meteor Mk I CALL SIGN: Hugo 19 WEATHER: Hazy, visibility 5 miles TIME UP: 0910 TIME DOWN: 0950

source; RAF FB page

Saturday, 26 July 2014

McDonnell Douglas F-4K Phantom FG1, XV586 / R-010, Royal Navy, RNAS Yeovilton

posted by Mike Parsons on the F-4 British Phantoms FB page...outside at  RNAS Yeovilton today...

"..This Magnificent Beast will be OUTSIDE ON STATIC at RNAS Yeovilton Airshow this weekend!  Great shots of a fine looking machine by Bob Turner.."

From Bob; " Taken just after the last Omega sticker went on the tail fin and a wash off with a hose, XV586 now no longer in its RAF colour scheme and markings but in its 892 NAS colours as it once was, will be out on static on Air Day.".

McDonnell Douglas F-4K Phantom FG1, XV586 / R-010, Royal Navy
Much more on British Phantoms, both RAF and RN, here on this blog

Tim Beach photos from Yeovilton

56th Fighter Group book from AJ Press - 56th FG museum, Halesworth

From Nigel Julien's FB page;

  " Many people, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been asking both myself and Peter Randall when our book on the 56th Fighter Group is going to be published. A question that both of us have been asking AJ Press for a long time now as well. From our side of things, the text, photos and captions were completed many months ago. The artwork is done, the colour profiles look superb, and all that is left is to dot a few I's and cross a few T's. If anybody and everybody interested in when this book will finally cease to be a PDF file and find its way into bookstores would care to email the publishers direct at then perhaps it will get publsihed sooner. Neither myself or Peter Randall will profit financially from this book. Our "payment" is in a number of copies which will be sold directly by the 56th Fighter Group Museum at Halesworth and monies raised go directly towards the upkeep of this fabulous museum. The decal sheet features 6 P-47's which will be included as 1:72,1:48th and 1:32 scale decals. 5 of these, to the best of our knowledge, have never been made available before, and 1 is appearing with the correct code letter and serial number for the first time..."

 Featured subjects include; P-47D-1-RE 42-7937 LM-Q "Triss" Pilot Anthony Carcione
P-47D-2-RE 42-22456 HV-N "Liberty Belle" Pilot Joseph Curtiss
P-47D-2-RE 42-7975 UN-I Artwork of a Texas state/cowboy hat. Pilot Raymond Petty
P-47D-6-RE 42-74643 UN-Hbar "Ole Puss" Pilot Carroll Wakefield
P-47D-11-RE 42-75410 HV-Mbar "Ole Cock" Pilot Donavon F Smith
P-47D-11-RE 42-75224 HV-Obar "Pengie II" Pilot Boleslaw Gladych

Halesworth Museum Open Day 2012 on this blog

Monday, 21 July 2014

Rafale à Kandahar 2009-2011 - new pilot memoir e-book describes the Rafale's missions in Afghanistan

On 13 January 2009 three Rafales from the escadron de chasse 1/7 " Provence " based at St Dizier (BA 113 " Commandant Antoine de Saint Exupéry ") flew into Kandahar in Afghanistan after a seven-hour flight, one of the longest then undertaken by the Rafale.....once in theatre some 20 missions/week were flown, 'convoy surveillance', 'TICs' ('troupes au combat') in support of ground forces in contact and the so-called 'show of force' high speed low passes ( 500 knots at 200 feet) to keep heads down. The Rafales carried four laser-guided bombs and the Damocles target-designating pod and deployed on-board cannon. Missions such as the one described by 'Capitaine R.' in the French Defence ministry video below could last up to five hours and involve several refuellings. Up until his deployment 'Capitaine R' had only fired the Rafale's cannon twice!.. The French Mirage 2000D and Rafales were withdrawn in December 2011...

Capitaine Romain published his 229-page account (in French) of the Rafale's time in Afghanistan in an e-book currently available on amazon for less than one euro and he describes some of his activities in the video below..short translated extracts to follow

En vol avec les chasseurs de Kandahar by ministeredeladefense

Afghanistan : 3 Rafale à Kandahar by ministeredeladefense

Thursday, 17 July 2014

More Barbarossa victims - Ebay photo find # 27

below; courtesy of Marco at koelsch333 Ebay sales, an Li- 2, Soviet 'copy' of the DC-3 followed by a SB-2

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

" Britain's Greatest Pilot " - Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown documentary on BBC 2

Britain's Greatest Pilot - The Story of Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown. Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown recounts his flying experiences, encounters with the Nazis and other adventures leading up to and during the Second World War. Illustrated with archive footage and Captain Brown's own photos.

The recent BBC 2 documentary devoted to Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown was an absolutely fascinating programme. Brown must rate as one of aviation's leading test pilots of all time, a man who was there at the forefront of the development of aircraft from biplanes to supersonic jets. With his love for danger -   as a teenager he enjoyed earning some spare cash as a wall-of-death motorcycle rider- and having a father who had been a WW I fighter pilot - Brown's love affair with flight began in 1936 when he was taken up on an aerobatic joy-ride by German WW I ace Ernst Udet who made him promise " to learn to speak German and learn to fly.. it was a pivotal point in my life ".

Much of the programme was taken up with 'Winkle' Brown's subsequent dealings with the Nazis, from his own early imprisonment in Munich on the outbreak of WW II to his interrogation of Luftwaffe chief Goering, test flying the Luftwaffe's jet and rocket aircraft to 'liberating' Belsen concentration camp and interrogating the notorious camp Kommandant Franz Kramer and Kramer's 'deputy' Irma Grese " the most evil person I've ever met ". Brown's war started as a Fleet Air Arm fighter pilot flying Martlets (Wildcats) deployed on HMS Audacity which had a terrifyingly short flight deck and carried six aircraft..

Audacity (above) was a 'flat-topped former German 'banana boat' converted for Atlantic convoy escort duties protecting against bomber attack from the "Focke Wulf Kurier" (sic) or Condor, the most heavily armed German aircraft in the sky.." Audacity was torpedoed and sunk and Brown and twenty-four of his ship-mates were left for dead- only Brown and one other survived. Audacity's captain had already noted Brown's competence at carrier landings and reported this fact to his superiors, which marked Brown for some highly dangerous test flying ...

 Brown was the first man to land a twin-engine aircraft (a Mosquito)on a carrier and as a result became the chief naval test pilot at RAE Farnborough for the Fleet Air Arm.

He flew a world record 2,400 carrier landings, probably flew more types of aircraft than any other pilot, was the only Allied pilot to fly the rocket-powered Me 163 and als flew the Me 262.

Post-war he was the first man to land a jet on a carrier. The clip depicts Brown's first landing of a jet powered aircraft on aircraft carrier. "..The music is excellent. I feel slightly emotional watching it. I love the part about warming hands in front of the jet especially..."Where does the urge come from? Feeling's believing."

'Winkle' Brown was a test pilot as aerodynamics moved from bi planes to supersonic fighters - indeed supersonic flight was the 'holy grail' of aviation during this period. Brown was tasked with ascertaining why Geoffrey de Havilland died at the controls of the tail-less Dh 108 Swallow as it was attempting a new world air speed record.

The only shortcoming of the documentary was possibly the fact that it was an impossible task to condense this man's life into a one hour programme. Three hours and they may have done the man justice. I enjoyed his comment about Geoffrey De Havilland "..a Hollywood test pilot"; few people living or dead would have said that about him.

What he did as a pilot very few - if any - have equalled. not only for the 487 types flown (!). From interrogating Goering, flying as a young lad with WW1's second highest scoring ace Udet AND then testing the Luftwaffe's most advanced planes...and ending his career on the Buccaneer nuclear strike bomber.

Monday, 14 July 2014

PlanesTV live stream from Farnborough 2014 - all this week - Alenia Aermacchi M345, M346 streaming live from Farnborough all week - this was the flying action from Monday at Farnborough International Airshow 2014. Super camera work from the PlanesTV crew  and I really cannot recommend their broadcasts too highly - exceptional coverage for those of us who can't always get to these big expensive shows - not that the public is even admitted on the 'trade' days ...a few screen 'captures' follow, posted here as an advert for the PlanesTV live streaming service!

Flying display times as published Monday morning:
1315 - Tekever AR4 & AR2
1330 - Aribus E-Fan 1340 - Airbus A380-800
1350 - Airbus A350-900
1400 - Airbus A400M
1417 - Rotron Parajet

1427 - Trescal Starduster

1436 - Blackshape BS100, Alenia Aermacchi M345, M346

1453 - Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

 1503 - TAI T129 ATAK Helicopter

1519 - Eurofighter Typhoon

1531 - Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Sunday, 13 July 2014

de Havilland Sea Vixen, first high speed taxi run of the 2014 season in HD

Back in April and with the 2014 air display season just a few weeks away, the worlds only remaining airworthy DeHavilland Sea Vixen G-CVIX fired up its Rolls-Royce Avon engines for a fast..ish ground run on runway 08 at Bournemouth airport.
G-CVIX was under the control of Brian Grant, one of the worlds most experience fast jet pilots, with over 15,000 hrs in his log book, and over 9,000hrs as an instructor. (GoPro flying vid, posted here via youtube's standard embed code, a single click to view here..)

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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...