Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category
Piers is a good friend of mine, he is an aviator himself and comes from a long line of flyers. He has a keen sense of history and a lifelong fascination with all things that make their way around ‘up there’ be they avian, human or wood and fabric. We share many interests and while I am away down-route we and bat and ball ribald conversation in voice and text across Skype. We laugh a lot and most of the humour is utterly unprintable.
Back to the ‘long line of fliers’. It seems that and one of Piers’ ancestors left behind a time capsule, a writing case recently rediscovered in a family loft. It contains the personal effects of a great uncle, one Arthur Keen and until recently the case has probably remained unopened since it was sealed in 1918. There was no key, Piers had to break the lock to gain access.
The nearest most of us get to the essence of De Havilland is the Tiger Moth. My luck shone on one occasion; in the ’70s I was doing a little aerial survey work out of Strathallan (Auchteradar) in Scotland and as luck would have it, I was hanging around waiting for the weather to clear. Standing three square on the grass exactly as you see above a Mosquito. It was Kermit Weeks’ latest acquisition in to have a long range fuel system fitted whilst in transit on its way to its new home in the USA. I climb aboard and breathed in the atmosphere for an hour, what opportunity and what a steed. It may even have been the same day that the photograph above was taken as the weather was similar – we needed fairly clear skies.
Back to reality, the Tiger is of course that much more accessible, still fairly widely available if becoming less so as the years roll by. On a recent trip my colleague up front let slip that he had one tucked away on the family ‘strip. After a few minutes he had me hooked with his tales of dope, fabric and Gypsy Major engineering challenges – all liberally sauced with colourful renditions of the joy to be had inserted inside large formations of Tigers sweeping across southern England. Out came his laptop and onto the ScanDisk Cruzer went a bunch of photos, a sample of which I post here for your delight. I am still waiting for some text to attach from Duncan, it will turn up soon I am sure.
Read on and tell me you don’t also say, ahhhh – De Havilland!
If you are a PC person – sorry about this but you have missed out.
From the moment you make your first entry in a flying logbook, the document takes a special place in your life. Nothing tracks your progress across the years better; later on if your house bursts into flames that book might be one of the first things you grab on leaving the building.
Replacing the contents can be a headache as a Navy friend of mine discovered after watching his two volumes drop into the sea (followed by the helicopter under which they swung) with his other possessions during disembarkation one day in the Far East.
As it becomes a dog eared your book and gets joined by others, their significance and value growing with every entry. It alone represents vanished treasure, not inconsiderable labour and a host of other things besides. Mine is the only real diary I have that tracks my career with precision. I have seen these tombs turned into photo albums that add depth and dimension to the contents. Seldom do you see a carelessly scrawled entry unless that is the essential character of someones hand. They matter – Coradine have added a journal area for you photos and memories. That is service.
If you use a Mac and fly, here is a worthy tool for you to consider.
The comparative turning performance of these two and the altitude that they are fighting at means that, given equal pilot skill, the FW190 is doomed. At least that is how I read it. Shame really as the ’190 is my favorite type after (for sheer beauty) the aircraft in the foreground.
Really great use of light in the work, bright up from the cloud deck below and shadow from the sun across the airframe. And for once the flight controls in logical place for the manoeuvre with tip vortices that make sense..
You might love the picture, but would you give it wall space? Me – anytime! I think it is superb but my considerations, probably like yours if you are married, revolve around the ‘wall-space manager’ – my wife.
There is something magical and inspiring about this study of the ME 163 ‘Komet’ roaring its way to the heavens.
No, I’m not besotted with the DC 6, just keep coming across them here and there. I found this one on a forum that I visit occasionally here.
‘Alarkyokie’ summed it up for me, ““The only substitute for cubic inches is RADIAL cubic inches! The exhaust note at full throttle will move you!” He must standing next to me in Malta.
There are airline jobs, and there are Airline jobs. One pays in filthy lucre, the other with oil, grease and unbridled happiness. On the other hand, I may be deluding myself but there is only one way to find out.
A year of change, fear, conflict and… iconic images. Masterspy has dropped some photos my way from what looks like an aircraft manufacturers archive. I have managed to find the source, and what a source it is. There are plenty of them and they reek of their era. These rare colour pictures show typical but posed scenes from the manufacturing war effort in the USA.
Aren’t you just fascinated by large radials!
Now there’s a title to conjure with. With the industrial strife that is running our way I need to consider my next job if things don’t work out. A common line of flight deck conversational banter in the small hours seems to be, ‘What would you do if this job went t*ts up or you lost your license?’
I was reading through one of my friend Rob Mark’s fine posts this morning when I came across a few lines that tripped a memory
Flying in the Old Days: ” Flying TWA goes way back in my memory banks because the old Boeing 707 you’ll see here was the first airliner I flew on at the ripe old age of nine.
Those Boeings may have been environmentally unfriendly by today’s standards, but boy oh boy, when a 707 took off heavy, the rumble made the dirt those old Pratts spewed out almost worth it.”
‘Killing time on the island of Malta inside the Luqa airfield boundary close to the runway threshold. The sun was blazing down from a hazy azure sky. It was was a hot summers weekday afternoon in 1973.
I looked up, squeaking and squealing its way around the taxiway (the brakes were pretty noisy) about a hundred yards away with four Pratt & Whitney double Wasps rumbling just above idle, came a rather tired DC6; white with a red stripe down the fuselage as I recall.
She was one of a number that plied Europe and the Mediterranean carrying fresh vegetables and anything else they could pick up to keep what must have been a threadbare operation running. Seeing her make her way towards the holding point was not an unusual sight, but though she had clearly seen better days, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.
She squeaked and groaned to a halt just clear of the runway and the crew ran through their checks, their heads visible bobbing around behind the plexiglass. The captain caught a glimpse of me watching and chucked a quick wave in my direction before releasing the brakes. She moved forward towards the runway four sets of Hamilton Standards beating a wash of dusty slipstream and crackling exhaust across me as she turned away, lining up for departure.
Then after finding the centerline she rolled, the power rising relentlessly, then after a pause at around eighty percent – all four on song hit full power. The cacophony of sound was incredible setting off a deep resonance in my chest cavity. It brought tears to my eyes as four times two and a half thousand horsepowers rolled into the shimmering haze, there was a chunk of raw emotion there but mostly it was just reaction to the stupendous, magnificent racket.
After a sluggish initial acceleration she lifted her skirts began to run, disappearing momentarily into a mirage generated by the reflected heat from the runway. Atmospherics were defeated by reality – she reappeared just after unstick climbing away, the music dying slowly to a throaty murmur.
Silence returned as she slipped from the scene. What a ragged but enduring beauty; I remember wishing that I was going with them feeling slightly desolate at being left behind.
Jet noise may be the sound of freedom, but for me the piston’s roar will always be the sound of pure adventure.
Some aircraft continue long after conventional economics would consign them to history. To survive they need an X factor, that ‘nothing else does the job’ reason to stay in the air. The DC 3 qualifies, and so it seems does the Mars Flying Boat.
I was sent this email by a friend, I don’t know the original sender but hope that he won’t mind me passing on the content to you. To be frank, to do less would be to deprive us all of some magical images, wouldn’t it?
Look at the precision with which this fine aviator placed his craft through the undershoot. Magnificent! ‘Graphs or tables for the performance calcs? Yea, right….
Mars landing at Lake Elsinore, California
These photos were fwd’d. to me without any accompanying text, other than to state that they were recent. Coulson was likely under contract to fight the fires in S. CA and it looks like Lake Elsinore was a convenient water pickup site. The daring pilot of this magnificent relic apparently needed every bit of the length of the lake to effect a successful water pickup and still get off the lake. There is zero wind, too. I especially like the last photo where the pilot seems to be picking a path through the salt cedar bushes….. It must be an expensive chore, keeping those Wright Duplex Cyclones clanking away!