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Shadow War - Night fighters and electronic warfare in WWII
The only course open to us now is to make an assault by fire on the barbarians under cover of night. Sun Tzu One byproduct of warfare, horrible as it may be, is that technology tends to make ...
Major Kong 05/14/2015 53 75 - -
Air-Minded: Dragons & Bolos
A friend visited the Pima Air & Space Museum (PASM) in Tucson a few weeks ago. I told her if any particular airplane spoke to her, I'd write an air-minded post on it. Well, you never know what's ...
pwoodford 05/08/2015 7 22 - -
Air-Minded: Planes of Fame Photoblog
During a recent motorcycle trip, I visited the Planes of Fame Museum in Valle, Arizona . The main Planes of Fame Museum is located in Chino, California ; the Arizona adjunct is what I would describe ...
pwoodford 04/30/2015 17 15 - -
The other ones - overlooked aircraft of WWII
I struggled to come up with a decent title for this one. This is about the planes that were overshadowed by their more glamorous counterparts. Everybody loves Mustangs, Spitfires and Hellcats. I ...
Major Kong 04/28/2015 279 203 3 -
Stars who served
I had a request to do a diary about entertainers who served in the military. Turns out it wasn't as easy as I thought. This is in no way a comprehensive list. There were just too many to work with. ...
Major Kong 04/06/2015 630 449 26 -
Air-Minded: Letting the Team Down
I don't have any brilliant thoughts or insights about Germanwings Flight 9525 , where the co-pilot is suspected of committing mass murder by flying a plane full of passengers into a mountain in ...
pwoodford 03/27/2015 20 17 - -
F-104 Starfighter Part II - In which I get schooled
It seems my earlier diary about the Lockheed F-104 caught the attention of a former USAF F-104 driver. He felt that I (and the USAF) didn't give the plane its due. My first thought was "You mean ...
Major Kong 03/25/2015 126 165 1 -
B-52s for Israel? Oy vey!
B-52H dropping high-drag bombs and IR decoys (flares). There's been some talk lately about giving surplus B-52s to Israel, presumably so they can use them on you-know-who. I believe the latest ...
Major Kong 03/14/2015 284 246 - -
Air-Minded: Propellers of the Stars
I am the Nancy Grace of celebrity plane wrecks. When I saw the first photos of actor Harrison Ford's crashed airplane on the golf course in Santa Monica, I immediately zeroed in on the propeller. ...
pwoodford 03/07/2015 83 60 - -
Ugly Duckling - PBY Catalina
Not the prettiest thing but it got the job done. Just about any job you could think of. In military aviation there are the "glamor girls" like the P-51, Spitfire and B-17 that get all the attention.
Major Kong 03/05/2015 71 80 - -
Air-Minded: Heritage Flight Photoblog
Once a year, civilian warbird and USAF fighter pilots meet at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, to practice close formation flying for the upcoming airshow season. The program, which features ...
pwoodford 02/27/2015 11 18 - -
Airports - the good the bad and the ugly
My job frequently involves what we call "deadheading". This has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead, in fact there's little to be grateful about. It involves me being just another business traveler ...
Major Kong 02/17/2015 213 102 5 -
When airliners attack!
No, this isn't about A-10s or airliners turned into bombers (it never works well). It's about what happens when the automation we take for granted turns around and bites us.
Major Kong 02/11/2015 256 250 2 -
Air-Minded: Sabres & Horseshoes
The F-86 Sabre has been on my mind lately. The Sabre was a pure air-to-air jet fighter with a high-mounted seat and 360-degree visibility, father of the F-15 Eagle, grandfather of the F-22 Raptor.
pwoodford 02/03/2015 17 22 - -
The not quite right stuff - F-104 Starfighter
One of the best looking aircraft of all time. Everything about it says "Built for speed". The F-104 is one of those planes that seemed to have everything going for it. It's a specialized fighter, ...
Major Kong 02/02/2015 168 212 4 -
Speed of Heat - SR-71 Blackbird
Probably one of the most photographed aircraft of all time. For a 50-year-old design it still looks futuristic. Few airplanes in history have the mystique of the SR-71 Blackbird. Capable of ...
Major Kong 01/18/2015 266 281 7 -
Great Might Have Beens - Convair 880
Textbook definition of "ground effect". This was probably not standard operating procedure. What looks like a 707 but isn't? A DC-8 of course but there was another. The annals of aviation history ...
Major Kong 01/12/2015 23 42 - -
Are Electric Airliners Possible?
Electric cars are a hot topic these days but I recently have read some interesting stuff about electric aircraft. Airbus thinks that they may be able to field a large electrically powered ...
Major Kong 01/10/2015 256 157 2 -
The Other Guys - Soviet Airliners
We got to see the Tupolev 104 a while back, now let's take a look at the other Russian airliners. Any time you're talking about Soviet airlines you have to keep a couple things in perspective. They ...
Major Kong 01/07/2015 73 84 1 -
Air-Minded: the Army & the A-10
Army A-10s? Not gonna happen, folks. USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II (photo credit: unknown) Here's something I ...
pwoodford 01/06/2015 112 71 1 -
British Steel - The V Bombers
In the years directly after World War II the British were afraid that the United States might return to pre-war isolationism and began development of their own nuclear strike force. The first ...
Major Kong 01/03/2015 73 98 - -
Air-Minded: Taildragger Tales
I found some faded and blurry photos of the Great Lakes biplane I used to fly, and, as old photos always do, they brought back memories. Who's that behind those Ray-Bans? In ...
pwoodford 12/30/2014 42 60 1 -
My thoughts on the whole A-10 vs F-35 thing
A-10 pilots used to say their plane was ugly but well hung. I've been asked to do a diary about the current controversy surrounding the A-10 vs the F-35. I've done my best to research the topic. I'...
Major Kong 12/10/2014 303 207 2 -
The Only Jet Airliner - Tupolev TU-104
TU-104 on display in Russia. Yes, it's true. There was a brief period from around 1956 until 1958 when the only operational jet airliner was Russian. How could this be? Well, the British beat ...
Major Kong 12/07/2014 78 144 2 -
Air-Minded: PASM Photoblogging
I think it's time to post another batch of photos from the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, where I volunteer as a walking tour docent. As always, you can click on the individual photos ...
pwoodford 12/05/2014 24 38 - -
Soviet Hot Rod - MiG-25
I find the MiG-25 interesting because it's the perfect example of Cold War intelligence gone wrong. In short, the Soviets built a plane to counter a plane that we never built. We in turn completely ...
Major Kong 11/22/2014 126 136 1 -
Travel Tips from a Pilot
I knew I was screwed when I looked out the window first thing in the morning and saw it was snowing. A rare mid-November storm was hitting Columbus on a day I had to commute. Snow means bad roads ...
Major Kong 11/18/2014 277 221 15 -
Air Force Slang
Here's a little fun to take your mind off the election. Military slang goes back at least to the ancient Greeks and probably before that even. A Greek Hoplite's spear had a point on the front but ...
Major Kong 11/09/2014 85 46 1 -
Air-Minded: US Military Aircraft Insignia (updated/corrected)
This all started when I posted a cool photo on Facebook: F-84F Thunderstreak air show low pass (photo: unknown) When I posted that photo I didn't bother to identify the ...
pwoodford 11/06/2014 18 39 - -
Challenging Airports
I had a request for a diary about the best and worst airports. Like most things, the answer depends on what criteria you're using. Am I going in there as a pilot or as a passenger? What am I flying?
Major Kong 09/05/2014 218 204 3 -
Air-Minded: Gust Locks & Horse Parts
I've been following news of the May 31 Gulfstream IV crash at Hanscomb Field in Bedford, Massachusetts. This was the executive jet carrying some VIP or other that reached a high speed on takeoff ...
pwoodford 07/10/2014 16 19 - -
Hey Ypsilanti, MI! Aviation and History Buffs - July 2 Willow Run Book Talk
B-24 Liberator bomber If you live in the Ypsilanti Michigan area (between Ann Arbor and Detroit), you might want to get over to the Yankee Air Museum Wednesday night July 2.
xaxnar 07/10/2014 3 10 - -
Museums 101: Passenger Airplanes (Photo Diary)
The idea of a passenger airline service—a service that would involve the regular transportation of paying customers between set destinations similar to that offered by ships, trains, and stage ...
Ojibwa 07/10/2014 18 33 - -
Air-Minded: Moving Day at the Museum
During most of the years I flew fighters and trainers for the USAF, I never paid much thought to the disposition of aircraft on the ramp. We parked them when we were through with them; if ...
pwoodford 06/06/2014 10 16 - -
Warbirds Once More Over Normandy - Updated
The 70th anniversary of D Day is June 6, but the commemorations have already begun. There's a certain poignancy this year, because it's unlikely any veterans from the landing will be on ...
xaxnar 06/06/2014 37 60 2 -
Air-Minded: Define "Best"
Prominently featured on The Aviationist web site, one of the best cockpit videos ever. What video? This video:
pwoodford 05/27/2014 24 20 - -
Memories of a Pilot #2
In the last (first) installment of this diary, I wrote about the most memorable people I met in aviation. In this installment, I will tell a couple of stories about flying itself; about the pure joy ...
wyckoff 05/27/2014 15 49 - -
Thunderstorms!
I took this picture of a large cell over Columbus Ohio right at daybreak. You can see some cloud-to-cloud lightning on the right. I remember a summer night in Toronto. It was early evening but ...
Major Kong 05/27/2014 110 245 5 -
Time Is Running Out for Willow Run
Willow Run , for those who've never heard of it, was the scene of one of America's greatest triumphs in World War II. In Ypsilanti, Michigan, it was the site of a huge assembly line built ...
xaxnar 04/26/2014 9 32 - -
Air-Minded: End of the Road (Updated)
3/17/14: I added some new information and corrected a couple of errors. Scroll to the bottom for the update. The end of the road, that is, for the A-10. And the U-2. Friends keep asking me what I ...
pwoodford 03/14/2014 24 25 - -
It's a missile! It's a plane! It's a Snark!
There were many projects during the Cold War that make me scratch my head and go "When did that start to seem like a good idea?". One of those is the SM-62 Snark. A Snark being launched. Probably ...
Major Kong 03/14/2014 71 106 - -
Air-Minded: Davis-Monthan AFB Photoblogging
Once a year the Air Force conducts Heritage Flight practice sessions at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. The purpose is to train private owners of WWII warbirds and current USAF fighter and ...
pwoodford 03/08/2014 16 29 - -
Air-Minded: Douglas F3D Skyknight
Dear Kossacks, I wrote this for my own blog, Paul's Thing , with the intention of cross-posting it here to reach a larger audience. Two days ago, while looking up additional information on the ...
pwoodford 03/08/2014 20 27 1 -
A fiercer storm – the Hawker Tempest II, Royal Air Force Museum, London
shortfinals 02/28/2014 23 36 - -
The Griffon Aerospace Lionheart – building a better mousetrap!
shortfinals 02/28/2014 37 33 - -
Remarkable People: Sabrina Jackintell, a Woman for all Seasons
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways…Chardonnay in one hand…chocolate in the ...
Otteray Scribe 02/14/2014 28 40 1 -
Snow and Ice
If you've been flying at all this winter I suspect you've run into some delays due to the weather. I've already had to deice more times than I care to this winter and there appears to be no end in ...
Major Kong 02/13/2014 77 155 1 -
This rotorcraft fell between two stools (or two rotors) – the Westland (Bristol) Belvedere HC.1
shortfinals 02/04/2014 72 47 1 -
RAF Dambusters Fly Last Mission - For Now
The Royal Air Force 617 Squadron, known as "The Dambusters", flew their last mission in Afghanistan today performing close air support duties for the Coalition forces. The squadron will return to ...
Lib Dem FoP 02/04/2014 24 25 - -
Best Model Airplane in the World?
Vitaly Robertus of Moscow started building and flying rubber powered model airplanes when he was seven years old. He graduated to gas models and flew control line for a time, winning many control ...
Otteray Scribe 02/04/2014 41 38 - -
Cold War Relics - MiG-23
I've been reading Steve Davies' book Red Eagles: America's Secret MiGs and it's been a real eye opener. I can remember back in the 70s and 80s when we were all frightened of the MiG-23. When we ...
Major Kong 02/01/2014 67 77 1 -
B-18 "Bolo" bomber on our land in Hawai'i
Coming across an intact WW2 bomber while hiking through the jungle is a unique experience. Finding a large aircraft lying in a gulch on your own property is a sure way to inspire you to discover the ...
ypochris 01/31/2014 50 148 3 -
The Auster Antarctica – before climate change had been thought of!
shortfinals 01/21/2014 21 37 - -
Memories of a Pilot #1
I was a pilot. I owned a plane. Those were the days. You become a pilot for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is "12 O'Clock High", at least if you are my age. I gave up flying about 18 ...
wyckoff 01/20/2014 39 63 - -
Old Airplanes: 1930 to 1933 (Photo Diary)
The Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon has a collection of 82 airplanes. Shown below are some photographs of airplanes from 1930 to 1933.
Ojibwa 01/17/2014 18 40 - -
‘From Hell, Hull and Halifax, may the Good Lord deliver us…’
shortfinals 01/14/2014 58 39 - -
Busy wartime service, coupled with a high-profile civilian career – G-ACMN, D.H.85 Leopard Moth
shortfinals 01/09/2014 22 31 - -
Cold War Relics - TU-95 Bear
I really shouldn't call the TU-95 a "relic" because it's still in service and likely will be for years to come. Like its B-52 counterpart, it's such an adaptable aircraft that it's managed to change ...
Major Kong 01/08/2014 67 95 2 -
The Sopwith Tabloid – Zeppelin killer!
shortfinals 01/01/2014 45 47 - -
Royal Canadian Air Force Moose Milk Recipe
It is New Year's Eve, so in order to assist those aviators and airport bums who enjoy entertaining at home, I present the secret recipe for the concoction known to RCAF personnel as "Moose Milk". ...
Otteray Scribe 01/01/2014 17 47 1 -
A vision in silver – Auster Autocrat, G-AGTO
shortfinals 12/28/2013 32 32 - -
From chalk lines to immortality - the Sopwith Pup
shortfinals 12/24/2013 42 43 - -
70 years ago today, two honorable men met....
"You follow the rules for you , not for the enemy. You fight by the rules to keep your humanity. If I ever see or hear of you shooting at a man in a parachute, I will shoot you down myself." - ...
Otteray Scribe 12/20/2013 83 300 9 -
The unique fighter - Royal Navy Corsair IV, 'KD431'
shortfinals 12/19/2013 63 49 - -
Cold War Relics - Convair B-58
If a plane could get by on coolness alone the B-58 would still be in service today. While it was an amazing piece of engineering for its time, the supersonic B-58 was arguably obsolete the day it ...
Major Kong 12/18/2013 161 152 1 -
Out of disaster - triumph! Avro Lancaster 'S for Sugar'
shortfinals 12/14/2013 51 34 - -
Remarkable People: My Cousin Jimmy Gates and the Flower Bed, Seventy-Two Years Ago Today.
I remember where I was and what I was doing shortly after one o'clock in the afternoon on December 7, 1941. My dad called me in to where he and a couple of his friends were sitting by the huge ...
Otteray Scribe 12/07/2013 38 112 3 -
A carbon fiber wonder – the Extra 330SC
shortfinals 12/07/2013 28 32 - -
The Bristol F.2B Fighter – bare!
shortfinals 12/03/2013 26 39 - -
Thanksgiving in a Hotel
The whims of airline scheduling have conspired to strand me in a hotel room in Memphis for the holiday. I'm not complaining, OK just a little bit, but this is the kind of thing we called "sport ...
Major Kong 12/02/2013 28 39 - -
A Messerschmitt too far - Bf109G-2 Trop, Royal Air Force Museum
shortfinals 11/25/2013 76 47 - -
Get me out of here! - Ejection Seats
Since earliest days of air combat the problem of how to save the crew of a stricken aircraft has plagued designers. Over the years I have known several people who successfully ejected from ...
Major Kong 11/20/2013 94 163 3 -
The Airmen of Buchenwald: A Veteran's Day Remembrance
On this Veteran's Day, we recognize those who sign up for the unknown. Some join out of patriotism and sense of duty. Others for adventure. Still others because of an opportunity to learn a trade or ...
Otteray Scribe 11/11/2013 38 167 4 -
Diamond Aircraft Industries, DA-20-C1 – a pretty trainer, indeed!
shortfinals 11/11/2013 35 36 - -
So you want to be an airline pilot?
What's wrong with you? Get outta here! Why would you want to work in this crazy business? Go to dental school or something. What? You're still here? Sigh, OK pull up a chair and I'll tell you how ...
Major Kong 11/11/2013 158 165 6 -
Mitsubishi Ki - 46 - III 'Dinah' - pride of the Japanese Army Air Force, wanted by the Luftwaffe
shortfinals 10/31/2013 63 56 1 -
The Vickers Supermarine Walrus - possibly an ugly duckling, but a stout performer!
shortfinals 10/23/2013 64 58 2 -
Where's my parachute?
Occasionally someone will ask me why they don't have parachutes or ejection seats on airliners. Fair question, actually. In the earliest days of the airlines passengers sometimes actually were ...
Major Kong 10/22/2013 137 130 3 -
Flying the 757
Boeing advertisement shows relative size of 757-200 and 757-300 I'm a big sports fan but I'm told that some athletes really excel at one thing while others are "all arounders". I'd put the 757 in ...
Major Kong 10/22/2013 128 130 6 -
‘ZH588′, EF2000, DA-2 prototype, ‘Milestones of Flight’, RAF Museum, London
shortfinals 10/15/2013 49 31 1 -
The Sopwith Triplane - one of the most effective fighter aircraft in the world
shortfinals 10/14/2013 31 54 - -
Afterburner Takeoff in an F-16A
I had beaten the odds, big time. And I do mean BIG TIME! It was 1990 and I was flying the F-16A, Fighting Falcon in the Texas Air National Guard, having completed the checkout when I was almost 43 ...
bobwilk 10/14/2013 142 95 1 -
My P-51 Ride: November, 1963
All my life, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. As a kid, I was just insane for WWII aircraft, aviation history and real life fighter pilots. This is my story of how I got a ride in a P-51D, and a ...
bobwilk 10/12/2013 42 48 - -
Air-Minded: F-15 Eagle Presentation
In previous diaries, I bored some of you by prating about a Powerpoint presentation on the F-15 Eagle I was building to give to Pima Air & Space Museum volunteers and staff. I gave my presentation ...
pwoodford 10/11/2013 8 9 - -
Air-Minded: Gunship Photoblogging
The Pima Air & Space Museum restoration team rolled out our Mil Mi-24 Hind gunship earlier this week. I mentioned this helicopter in an earlier post , after seeing it partially disassembled in the ...
pwoodford 10/10/2013 19 26 - -
Air-Minded: Going for Guns
I haven't posted an air-minded diary for more than a month. Why? Ironically, it's because I've been up to my eyes in a flying-related project, a presentation on the F-15 Eagle I'm giving to Pima Air &
pwoodford 10/10/2013 25 25 - -
Air-Minded: Museum Updates
Yesterday was my day to volunteer at the Pima Air & Space Museum , where I lead back-to-back walking tours at 10:30 and 11:30 AM every Wednesday. There were no takers for the 10:30 tour, so I used ...
pwoodford 10/10/2013 34 40 - -
The Short SB.5 - the English Electric Lightning's poor relation!
shortfinals 10/07/2013 38 31 - -
True colors - the de Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth, Imperial War Museum, Duxford
shortfinals 10/04/2013 40 36 1 -
Speed and Beauty: A Ballet in the Skies of France
There used to be a program on television called World of Speed & Beauty. It was about fast, beautiful and graceful machines on the land, water and air. It seems appropriate for these two videos. ...
Otteray Scribe 10/04/2013 68 62 3 -
Charles Lindbergh - the man and his aircraft
shortfinals 09/30/2013 49 40 - -
The English Electric Canberra B.2, WH725, IWM – a worthy successor to the Mosquito!
shortfinals 09/29/2013 64 34 - -
Too late to the party - the Spitfire Trainer
shortfinals 09/22/2013 28 41 - -
Vickers F.B.5 ‘Gunbus’, Royal Air Force Museum – the first ‘fighting squadron’
shortfinals 09/17/2013 29 39 - -
Cold War Relics - Myasishchev M-4
The history of aviation is littered with promising designs that never quite got it all together. Such was the Myasishchev M-4. Developed in the early 1950s, the M-4 "Molot" (Hammer) was supposed to ...
Major Kong 09/16/2013 18 47 - -
The start of it all - W4050, the Mosquito prototype
shortfinals 09/10/2013 36 40 - -
Fast and furious - the Hawker Fury I
shortfinals 09/06/2013 35 33 - -
Beech Starship 2000A - too much, too soon versus hidebound bureaucracy
shortfinals 09/06/2013 28 39 - -
Cold War Relics - Tupolev TU-22
Every once in a while a plane comes along that's not really an improvement over what it was supposed to replace. The TU-22 fits that bill perfectly. Designed to be a supersonic replacement for the ...
Major Kong 08/31/2013 49 53 - -
Sometimes things just don't work out - G-CCWB, Aero L-39ZA Albatros, IWM
shortfinals 08/26/2013 27 25 - -
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