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My favorite airplanes
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, November 09, 2006

Don't ask me why, but I was looking through a catalogue I got today called "Historic Aviation" which is chock full of neat stuff about mostly military aircraft, and it got me thinking about my favorite airplanes. Go figure.

One of my favs is a DC-3. That's the first aircraft I ever flew in as a lad of 6 or 7. I flew from Taichung to Taipei on Taiwan. Had to go to the dentist and as a military dependent they let us take space-available on anything going out of Taichung. It was a short flight at tree-top level, with the door open (it had criss-crossed cargo straps barring it) and troop seats on the sides. I thought it was the most glorious experience I'd ever had. But due to weather we had to take ground transportation back.

I'd lived in Germany but had crossed the Atlantic twice in ships and we went to Taiwan on a troop ship (the USS Mann ... I still remember the name) which took us 18 days. Those were interesting trips and I still remember fairly vividly the sea-sickness. Anyway, as you can imagine, I was highly excited when I found out we were going to fly back from Taiwan. This was in the mid-50s. And our airplane? A Connie. Yup, a Lockheed Constellation. Sleek, triple tailed and four-engined. I remember thinking how huge that aircraft was at the time. I've seen them since, and, well, they're kinda small. But at the time, that was the finest airplane I'd ever seen.

The trip was something as well. Non-stop? Heh, not in those days. We flew from Taipei to Manila and spent the night. It was there, while waiting to take off the next day that we got to see 3 B47E Stratojets come in on an around the world trip they were making (a speed run). That was in the days when you could literally just wander around the flight line and we stood right there as they pulled up to their chocks and shut down their engines. I remember my mom pointing out how sunburned the pilots were sitting in the glass bubble canopy of the B47, completely exposed to the sun.

From Manila we flew to Guam and then Kwajalein. Not much to the latter island. It was mostly all runway. I remember wondering how the pilot found it in all that water.

We refuled at both and then headed to Hawaii. As we were coming in to Hawaii I remember some excited talk in front of me and people pointing out of the window. Looking out I saw that the outboard engine had caught on fire and while I watched the fire extinguisher system was activated and the prop feathered. Old bomber pilot ... no big deal. It did allow us to spend the night in Hawaii though. Then on to California and into Detroit to pick up may dad's brand new 1958 Buick Roadmaster. Bit of a shock for us though, being on nice tropical Taiwan and ending up in Detroit with shorts on in the middle of snow storm.

Since I was born just after WWII I had a thing for WWII aircraft. Again, this is a "who knows why" kind of thing but my favorite WWII fighter was the Chance Vought 4FU Corsair. I can't explain it. I just loved the look of that airplane. With that long engine compartment and those gull wings, it was my kinda plane. Oh I like the P-51 and all the others (I liked the P-40 Warhawk because of its shark mouth design), but the F4U was the one for me. Clean, sleek, predatory.

My favorite jet? The F-86 Sabre. Part of the reason is I could draw it pretty easily and boy did I. But even when I look at it today, it's clean and simple lines, the swept back wings and the canopy just say "jet fighter" to me.

Kind of lost my lust for planes as I grew older and other things took my attention. But then came the Army and I was reacquainted with aircraft of quite a different type and for completely different reasons.

I've jumped from everything you can imagine, from a Caribou to a C-5 as well as two different types of helicopter. That includes C-119s, C-123s, C-130s and C-141s. Of all of them the one I enjoyed the most was the old Herc. C-130s are a sweet jump and it's a good solid aircraft. Next, the 141, I guess. The 119? Well let's just say they were at the end of their active service life and I was glad to exit that particular aircraft in flight. In fact on one jump, I got turned around and while twirling, got a dose of engine oil across my face. Looked like a raccoon when I landed (yes, my eyes were tightly shut on exit).

Also got familiar with what was known in the jargon of the time as 'fast movers'. In this case those that provided us close air support. Depending on where you were and what was available you could get all kinds of different aircraft. But F-4s (or "Fox 4s" as we called them) were my favorties. To this day a Fox 4 still sends chills down my spine, even when it's just sitting on static display. It just looked like a war bird and boy did it deliver. One other aircraft most were fond of at the time was the A-1 Skyraider (at the time I saw them, they were mostly VNAF). This little single engine prop job wasn't that big but could carry it's weight in ordnance and sometimes had to stagger off the ground. But it was slow and precise, could linger and could deliver a bunch of stuff. Well loved.

Then there is the Buff. B-52. Awesome, just awesome. And about as old as I am.

Later it was a couple of other great ground support aircraft that became my favs. The old warrior, the A-10 Warthog. I've often wondered what it must be like on the receiving end of that old ugly bird's wrath and I have to tell you, having seen it work in exercises, I'd never want to find out.

The other I like because of its style and panache is the F-15C Strike Eagle. Awesome and lethal and just a damn good looking aircraft.

Last but not least ... the SR71. Knew an SR71 pilot once and got to see the bird while it was operational. The unclassified stuff they can tell you about that beauty will knock your socks off. It just looks predatory and as this guy told me, you literally are strapping yourself to a rocket ship when you take the Blackbird out for a spin.

Now? Well now a Cessna 150 will do just fine. Heh ... old and slow, just like me. My old buddy Billy Beck can wax poetic on a number of war birds and you should get him going on them some time just for the entertainment value (and you'll learn a hell of a lot about the aircraft as well). Me, I liked them mostly from afar and am certainly no expert ... but they have and still fascinate me.

Like I said, I have no idea why I'm writing this except to say I'm tired of politics and elections and just wanted to change the subject for a minute.
 
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I very clearly recall flying home from Tripoli, Libya in a Connie. I was six years old — 1962. That really was a beautiful airplane; another smash hit from Kelly Johnson.

A Soviet designer once said that fighter design should have stopped with the F-86 and the MiG-15. It’s not hard to see why.

I was able to see the USAF Thunderbirds in four different airplanes: F-100, F-4, T-38, and F-16. I saw the Blue Angels in four airplanes: F-11F, F-4, A-4, and F-18. I always adored "Heineman’s Hot-Rod": the A-4 Skyhawk. It really was a splendid piece of design. But the F-4’s were my favorites. I saw the Blues in ’em twice (Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe — ’69-’70), and the Thunderbirds twice (Barksdale — ’71-’72), and there was just never ever anything like that. They were astounding. There’s an old adage about the Phantom, that it proved that with enough power, you could get a brick to fly. They were an acquired taste, visually. When it entered service, someone remarked that it looked like someone got it halfway out of the hangar and then closed the doors. But they were completely spectacular in close-form work on display. And they made a noise that nobody will ever hear again. Today’s jets aren’t the same thing.

B-47:

"I think that I shall never see
Nacelles as sweet as those on thee"


You may quote me liberally: it is, to my eye, the single mose beautiful warplane ever built, bar none.

B-52: you know, kids today like to toss around the word "awesome". They don’t know what they’re talking about. Imagine a whole wing of tall-tail D-models blasting-off on an alert MITO launch ("Minimum Interval Take-Off"), fifteen to thirty seconds apart. BTDT: Barksdale. I used to sit around the flight-line the way that kids hang out at the mall, today.

Here is a post comparing the ’47 and ’52. (From this blog, I think you’ll have to copy & paste the URL.)

You know, the third generation fighters (e.g., F-15) were just about completely drained of charm for me. I can see them as fighting machines, of course, but the height of aesthetic in fighter design attenuated sharply after the Century Series of Air Force jets and the same generation of Navy jets (F-8 Crusader — "When you’re out of F-8’s, you’re out of fighters" — et. al.).

As for the bugsmashers: Ernest Hemingway once pointed out that a man never gets over his first airplane. I was spoiled rotten at being able to fly Mrs. Andrews’ Citabria from my very first hour. There is nothing like that available around where I live, and I haven’t flown in over three years now. I’m going to have to do something about that, but I don’t know what, yet.

Know what? If I could choose another life, I think I would be Don Gentile in World War II. Except that I would try not to crash my Mustang on a low-level film pass over the homedrome.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Just a quick note that it should be Taichung, not Tiachung.

So, you grew up as kid where I now live. I bet you wouldn’t recognize the place at all. CCK (the old US airbase) is now the city’s civilian airport.

A lot of the US military housing is still around - the only houses with yards in Taichung.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
A couple of SR-71 anecdotes:

*** One of them visited Barksdale AFB (Shreveport, La. — 2nd Air Force headquarters) while my Dad was stationed there and we lived on base. I went over to the flight line to watch it take off. See, in those days, a fifteen year-old kid could just walk right through the flight line gate and hang around Base Operations. Well, I stood there with a small crowd of spectators as the Blackbird taxied out for its flight to Nellis AFB (Las Vegas).

The thing turned onto the runway and held position for what seemed like an inordinately long time. Growing impatient, somebody asked, "What’s he waiting for?"

An old line chief cracked, "Landing clearance at Nellis."

That got rollicking laughs.

*** In his book "Sled Driver" (which is out of print and copies of which are outrageously expensive) a Blackbird cat named Brian Schul described a flight out west. Airplanes can call certain control agencies and get precise radar-based reports of ground-speed. Well, Shul heard one of these calls one day, in which some bugsmasher or other got a reported ground-speed commensurate with his airplane. The call set off a round of requests to ATC, from higher-performance airplanes outbidding each other in performance, until one guy seemed to have the contest wrapped in his F-18. Shul didn’t like this person stepping on the little guys like that, so he called for a ground-speed report.

The exact quote from his book has been posted here & there around the ’net: the controller reported, "I show one thousand seven hundred and forty-two knots," and that was the end of speed-checks on that frequency.


One that I have never been able to nail down authoritatively is the report of an SR-71 driver requesting clearance to FL600. That’s 60,000 feet, which is the top of Class A airspace in the U.S. The controller is reported to have replied, "Sure! If you can get up there, then you can have it," at which point the reply came, "Ah, roger, we’ll be descending to FL600."

I’ve also seen this one variously reported with considerable ghosts of credibility as having taken place in Australia and England, and different numbers corresponding to those places’ airspace regs, but never really authoritatively substantiated. Dunno.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Just a quick note that it should be Taichung, not Tiachung.
Yeah, you’re right, just got my fingers reversed.
So, you grew up as kid where I now live. I bet you wouldn’t recognize the place at all. CCK (the old US airbase) is now the city’s civilian airport.
There wasn’t a US airbase when I was there. We lived on the economy when I first got there and then they built a housing compound for us called, interestingly enough "Model Village". It had a brick wall surrounding it and one entrance (but no gate).

Went to Morrison Academy for school. They started Little League while I was there and we used to play our games in a Japanese built baseball field (I recall the dugouts were brick).

My dad was an adviser to the 1st Infantry Divison there.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
One that I have never been able to nail down authoritatively is the report of an SR-71 driver requesting clearance to FL600. That’s 60,000 feet, which is the top of Class A airspace in the U.S. The controller is reported to have replied, "Sure! If you can get up there, then you can have it," at which point the reply came, "Ah, roger, we’ll be descending to FL600."
My friend, when I asked him the ceiling on the SR-71, just looked at me and said "40,000 feet ain’t half high". That’s all he’d say.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Harun ... to clarify ... we were the first American military to be assigned there after WWII - my dad was assigned to MAAG and helped set up the entire US military presence there. He went over a year before we did and then we were the first American dependents to go to Taiwan (spent 2 years).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
*** An entry in somebody’s SR-71 logbook: "Today, we crossed Nebraska in nine minutes. I think that’s the best way to see Nebraska."

*** Blackbird driver transiting the Pacific ocean reported his position as "Hawaii". Controller asked if he could be more specific. "No," he said, "I can see the whole thing."
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
This is a totally offtopic question but its been a while since there was a big oil thread so I’ll ask here
sorry. By the way I am not at all being cynical here...

What exactly did Exxon get subsidies for? For Alternative Fuel research? What?

Again not at all being cyniccal I just keep hearing it and its not ever been made clear what for and why?
 
Written By: warcog
URL: http://

I have seen the Blue Angels a couple of times, , but the most spectacular aerobatic display I have seen was at Pease AFB(Portsmouth, New Hampshire) a few years ago(before it closed). For some reason there was an F-14 there, and he must have been feeling a little froggy, wanting to show up the AF types. This guy did everything but put the thing in reverse, while never crossing the airfield boundary. Amazing that something that big can be so maneouverable.

Fixed wing ac are fun, but I got more of a thrill out of flying in helicopters.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Helicopters. Good god.

"Essentially, heaps of shrapnel cleverly disguised for maximum guile until the moment when the dynamic snake-eyes roll up and shower the countryside with howling doom." (Me — 1999)

"Autorotation" (noun) — "A method of keeping a pilot’s hands and feet occupied as he plummets to his death."

That was offered to me by a helicopter crewman.

All sensible people stay as far away from helicopters as they possibly can at all times.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
As I remember it we both lost our raisons on the Connie and the first time we both saw a TV was in Hawaii at the airport, dancing cigarettes I recall.

 
Written By: McQ2
URL: http://
Republic P47D Thunderbolt.

The brits joked the reason it had such a good pilot survival rate was that when it came under fire the pilot could climb down out of the cockpit and run around inside to avoid getting hit.

Limiting this to American planes?
If not, another fav - the De Havilland Mosquito.

Hmmm, I suddenly notice a trend in my appreciation for aircraft types.

Jets leave me cold - I admire the sound of big piston engines throttling up, jets are just, um, noisy.
Okay, I admit, I was quite impressed by a Thunderbird doing a fast low level pass at an air show in San Angelo that made me realize I would have been toast before I even knew he existed. Still noisy though (assuming you’d still be there to hear it....)
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Now you’re talking my language McQ!!! I grew up an airplane buff and was a sucker for the WWII era. For me it’s a toss up between the Corsair and the Lightening aesthetically, but if I had to go into battle, I’d opt for the P-38. Give me two engines any day! Oh yeah, and the two engines allowed them to put some pretty good armor around the pilot. Most of the 38’s flew in the pacific and were a tough match for the Zero.

I love the F86 as well. Just a bad ass looking plane and was one of the last machine gun only planes. After the 86, it was a while before I started to like the look of the everyday fighter jet. Maybe all the way up to the F14 Tomcat.

The S71 was almost otherworldly. I remember building models of it once they let some of the details out. Quite a plane.

BTW - have you seen the B17 that has been flying around our neck of GA lately? I’ve seen it 3 or 4 times. Very distinctive sound (not a lot of four prop planes out there these days). Looks vintage, but I have not been able to figure out where it is hangared.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The S71 was almost otherworldly. I remember building models of it once they let some of the details out
did you hear the story of how the modelers got the dimensions so close before the Air Force actually released them?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"All sensible people stay as far away from helicopters as they possibly can at all times."

I never claimed to be sensible. That’s part of the thrill. I guess I am more optimistic than you. CH-34s, though, aren’t that thrilling. Mostly noisy and shaky. Love your definitions.

"Jets leave me cold - I admire the sound of big piston engines throttling up, jets are just, um, noisy."

Yeah. I can remember the sound of a P-51 I once saw. The Merlin does have a distinctive sound.
I used to live close to a SAC base. There is nothing noisier than a few of B-52s taking off in a hurry at 3:00 AM. One could say it sounds like the end of the world. Ah, the good old days.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
did you hear the story of how the modelers got the dimensions so close before the Air Force actually released them?
Nope - want to enlighten me/us?

I also kind of remember something about a 71 making it from LA to Boston in some ridiculous time... I want to say under 2 hours.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"I love the F86 as well. Just a bad ass looking plane and was one of the last machine gun only planes."

Back in the day, and especially on the arrival of the gun-free F-4, the F-8 Crusader was known as "The Last of The Gunfighters". I pointed out the Soviet designer who thought that fighter design peaked with F-86/MiG-15. That’s a strictly sentimental view. There was no way that could happen because we’re talking about life and death here, and that whole game is wrapped up in finding an edge on the other guy. Missiles were bound to happen. The return of guns (integrated with missile systems) came only on the Vietnam realization that missile-only systems designed for exploding Soviet bombers inbound over the Pole were an enormous mistake in assumptions. Here is a stone-cold fact: a bullet cannot be spoofed. This does not, however, prove that missiles are useless.

Pop quiz: does anyone know which fighter scored the most air-to-air gun kills in Vietnam? (You might have to think about it for context.)

"There is nothing noisier than a few of B-52s taking off in a hurry at 3:00 AM. One could say it sounds like the end of the world. Ah, the good old days."

For a long time at the end of 1972, I didn’t sleep right. I lived on Barksdale AFB, less than half a mile from the flight line. For a year and a half, I’d gotten used to the sounds of B-52 engines running-up at all hours, and they were a positive serenade at night. It’s hard to describe. But Linebacker II came along that season and the place went very quiet. It was positively eerie, and it took a long time to get used to it.

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I like the looks of the F4U Corsair, and I like the F-86 and the looks of the F-105 intakes.

Except for the national insignia, I like the looks of the ME-262 and the Ta-152. And the forward swept variant of the He-162 Salamander looks cool, but you couldn’t pay me enough to try to fly one (unless I’ve only got a few weeks to live anyway). Out of other WWII planes, the P-51 is way up there in looks and performance, and taken together, beats anything.

For modern warplanes, eh, the F-16 looks alright, but the airframes of the -14, -15, and -18 look too busy to my eyes.

The SR-71 takes the cake for either the aesthetics or performance categories, but by such a large margin that saying it seems a touch superfluous.

Another SR71 anecdote, Kelly Johnson gave prizes for making something about the Blackbird’s development easier, and a guy showed how a particular magic marker would make a good clear paint on the raw titanium, which otherwise wouldn’t take a mark easily.

The marker’s ink had chlorine in the mix, and when they stress relieved the parts, the part number fell out of the metal. The guy didn’t get to keep the money...

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Pop quiz: does anyone know which fighter scored the most air-to-air gun kills in Vietnam?
B-52’s tailgunning Mig-17’s and -21’s?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Bout (shoot....!) 20 years ago I was raking leaves in the yard (back east in Taxachusetts) and heard the radial thrum - well, multiples, actually.
Looked up and here comes a B-17, followed by a Zero (probably a rebuild lookalike) and a Corsair passing over head.
I was able to get up to the airport in time to see a late war Bearcat taxi out onto the runway for takeoff.
It was great - he took it about a quarter of the way down the field and was wheels up by the time he passed the tower. Then he cranked her up, came around and ran the length of the runway at tower height before heading off to join up with the others. Man, what a sound.

Now I hear one or two go by on a weekend, headed north (or coming back) out of Addison Airport just north of Dallas, mostly old trainers. There’s an old war-bird museum there (Cavanaugh). Plenty of air traffic here, between Love, DFW and Addison, but those old war birds have got a sound you just can’t mistake for anything else.

Now B52’s I admire the heck out of. Never forget when Mecham was still operating I was coming in to DFW from San Angelo on a puddle jumper. On final I look down and there’s this HUGE shadowy shape going UNDER us. It was a Buff headed towards Mecham. Felt like seeing a great white passing under my whaler.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
No clue Billy on the fighter with the most kills. I’m wondering if it was the suped up P51s that were over there in the early 60’s???

Since we’re all across the board here, I’ll throw out that I’ll have a dream come true sometime in the next few weeks as my wife bought me a one hour ride in an open cockpit bi-plane. I’ll get the thrill of the ride and will get to check out Atlanta, Lake Lanier and the mountains from an open ’pit’. Can’t wait! I was always infatuated with the Sopwith Camel and it’s radial engine. Ever heard one of those?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Yeah it’s a bomber, but I figure you had to make it a trick question.

If you really meant something with the nominal desingation fighter...then F-105 I think had the highest kill count, I don’t recal seeing stats for the other side, but for them I’d guess the Mig-17 did best.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
meagain -
Trying to remember if I heard this from a legit source - I want to say it was, and that it was when they decommissioned them all and were talking about that sort of thing.

Seems the Air Force provided the modelers with some overheads shots from decent altitude, with nothing else for size relation. Well, except the shot was of a plane parked on an apron that had a square concrete grid pattern. The modeler managed to get a measurement on the dimensions of the concrete squares and viola....

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"Yeah it’s a bomber, but I figure you had to make it a trick question."

Actually, I just goofed the question when I wrote "fighter", although by now I think you understand the matter. The winner carried that ’F’ designation — it was a Century Series design — but nobody in their right mind would have said it was set up for air-to-air.

It was the F-105. The whole reason is simply because it carried the biggest part of the load up North, and therefore had more MiGs in its face, day by day, than anybody else in the war. They simply had to shoot their way through more often than anyone else. There were a total of 833 all variants of the Thunderchief produced, and 334 of them were destroyed in combat. It’s illustrative to note that when "Blackman & Robin" (Chappie James and Robin Olds — 8th TFW, Ubon) set up "Operation Bolo" in January ’67, they designed the whole con-job to look like an F-105 strike. In their F-4’s, they claimed seven MiG-21’s in one day, which was a considerable feat. North Vietnam was never WW II-style combat with hundreds of enemy targets at hand. The 8th had to fool them into coming up for a fight.

(There is a curious irony in all this: what you had in Vietnam was a tactical fighter-bomber working the strategic role up North, while, until Linebacker II, the premier strategic bomber in the world, the B-52, was working the tactical role in the mud down South. The whole thing was upside down.)

As for the B-52 tailgun thing: I have a 99th Bomb Wing patch commemorating "B-52 MiG Killers". There were two claimed kills for Linebacker II, but those claims are in dispute now. I don’t know if that will ever get sorted out.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Ps. —

"...F-105 I think had the highest kill count."

No, sir. I later thought that I should underlined my italicized word "gun" for extra emphasis.

Without going over the data, I’m certain that the F-4 totaled a much higher score with missile shots.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"Bout (shoot....!) 20 years ago I was raking leaves in the yard (back east in Taxachusetts) and heard the radial thrum - well, multiples, actually.
Looked up and here comes a B-17, followed by a Zero (probably a rebuild lookalike) and a Corsair passing over head."


I got to watch the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor — in 1969. My family lived on the windward side of Oahu, and for about a month that summer during the production of "Tora Tora Tora", there were ’Zeros’ (which were actually modified AT-6’s) ripping around all over the island. We sat up in the hills overlooking Pearl Harbor, often, watching the destruction of Pearl and Hickam. It was pretty memorable and quite spectacular to a twelve year-old aviation kook.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"...a one hour ride in an open cockpit bi-plane. I’ll get the thrill of the ride and will get to check out Atlanta, Lake Lanier and the mountains from an open ’pit’."

Hey! Where are you flying from? I used to fly out of Gwinnett County (LZU — which, BTW, is where I met Mohammad Atta — yes, that one). The last time I was there, there was a cat who had a Stearman back in the hangar where there is a kook building two or three P-40’s. (Real ones, and this guy is a real-live kook. You wouldn’t believe it.) I wonder if that’s the airplane you’re talking about. I flew in one of those down there once. Believe me: you’re going to love it.

Good for you, man.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php

"No, sir. I later thought that I should underlined my italicized word "gun" for extra emphasis."
I caught that Billy, we were talking about "gun" kill counts, hence the F-105 had the highest kill count...with guns.

You see why I wondered if you meant fighter or bomber? You think you play "gotcha" well.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
My misunderstanding that you hadn’t understood me. Or something like that.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Hey! Where are you flying from?
Someplace called Stoney Point Field. We’re flying in a 1942 Stearman. Pilot is Carl Tax.

Now if there is someone building P-40’s over at LVU, I want to see one. That plane was one bad @ss.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Pop quiz: does anyone know which fighter scored the most air-to-air gun kills in Vietnam?
If we don’t restrict ourselves to ’nam, I’d say bf-109.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
If we don’t restrict ourselves to ’nam, I’d say bf-109.
You may be right about that. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Now if there is someone building P-40’s over at LVU, I want to see one. That plane was one bad @ss.
I always liked them, since I had a thing for the Flying Tigers. I used to have God is my Copilot, one of the books my dad read to me as a little boy.

In terms of actual performance, it was outclassed by contemporaries such as the A6M2, bf-109, and Spitfire.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"Someplace called Stoney Point Field. We’re flying in a 1942 Stearman. Pilot is Carl Tax."

I know the airport, but not the airplane or pilot.

"Now if there is someone building P-40’s over at LVU, I want to see one. That plane was one bad @ss."

"LZU" — it’s about fifteen miles away as the Stearman flies. Anyway, the guy I’m talking about had two airframes set up the last time I was there. He’d found one of them in where it had been sitting in a Russian bog for nearly sixty years. It’s mostly just template material for new aluminum work. He also had an Allison engine that he dug out of a New Zealand crash site. The money that he was burning through on this project was just crazy, but it was his dream, so I say god bless ’im. It was very interesting to watch.

Don: Col. Scott’s book is the very first grown-up book that I ever read; in the fourth grade. I still have that copy.

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
In terms of actual performance, it was outclassed by contemporaries such as the A6M2, bf-109, and Spitfire.
Agreed that she flew long after she should have been retired, but at least she was flying against the Zero’s mostly. The Zero could dance rings around a 40, but the 40 was heavily armored, could dive out of most trouble, and with 6 50 cals, it could turn a zero into matchsticks right quick.

And though the plane may have been outclassed, the Flying Tigers were quite a bunch. Imagine what that group could have done with current (at the time) equipment.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Agreed that she flew long after she should have been retired, but at least she was flying against the Zero’s mostly. The Zero could dance rings around a 40, but the 40 was heavily armored, could dive out of most trouble, and with 6 50 cals, it could turn a zero into matchsticks right quick.
The P-40 saw a lot of use in North Africa by the Brits (as well as Aussies and South Africans I believe). In fact, I think Pappy Boyington said that the Flying Tiger eyes/mouth design was based upon a picture they saw of a North African P-40.

Quite a few P-40s were shot down by Hans-Joachim Marseille in his bf-109F.

http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/hanstate.html

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Reading a lot of good stuff in here. Sorry to drift off the thread a little but you guys might find this post interesting.
Although I would have loved to have gone to war in a P38 or maybe a Hawker Tempest, I do have certain reservations about the merits of WWII fighters in terms of dogfighting and performance. In the real world of dogfighting, things happen very, very quickly and if both sides were evenly matched in numbers and pilot skills, things kind of evened out...
On paper the Hellcats and Corsairs looked much superior to Zeros and Shokis for example...but when these guys all joined battle in the real world of air fighting, planes joining the melee at 300mph plus (forget the 450mph stuff!) and coming on from all sides, anything was possible! The IJN boys LOVED their Zeros to the end and many resisted being converted onto the much vaunted Shidens. What’s more, the top IJN flyers were shooting down their fair share of F4Us, P38s and Hellcats to the end. The Ki44, Ki45 and Ki43 pilots protecting Pelambang Oil Refineries created a very dangerous invironment for allied pilots to fight in and so did the greatly underated 25mm Flak Gunners!
I recently read with great interest an account by former USAAF people about a P38 comnpletely outclassing a Griffon engined Spitfire in a mock dogfight of their airfield...strange thing is that the RAF Mosquito pilots regarded the P38 as ’easy meat’ in a mock dogfight and never passed up on an upportunity to take them on.
My point? Dunno....just rambling! Cheers!
 
Written By: Mick
URL: http://
sorry! missed typos as usual! Too early in the morning!
 
Written By: Mick
URL: http://

 
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