Friday pictures: Douglas then and now

For quite a few years now, the Air Force has included so called Legacy Flights as a part of many airshows. These fly bys match one or more modern aircraft with one or more Warbirds, usually making for an intriguing combination. For the most part, the planes involved are fighters – P-51s, P-47s, P-39s, and P-38s are all understandably popular attractions.

This past May, there was a different pairing which I greatly admire. A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, which is made in the Douglas plant in Long Beach, California, appeared at Altus AFB in Oklahoma, flying in formation with a Douglas C-47 Skytrain. (It seems this same paring appeared in October in Texas, too.) To see these two Douglas designs next to one another, separated by decades of history and technological development, drives home not only the changes and advances aviation has heralded in such a short time, but also the difficulties that were overcome in the past when a C-47 was heavy airlift. (General Eisenhower once attributed the Allies’ vistory in World War II to the C-47, the jeep, the bazooka, and the bomb). Amazingly, the C-17 is not our biggest airlifter, but their shared lineage makes this pairing exceptionally appropriate. I am including a few shots here, and more can be found here. All photographs attributed by link to their source.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.


Rotary-wing Legos

I have managed to resist the urge to pass on any more scale Lego aircraft for almost two months (since this pair), but a pair of shots from Ralph “Mad Physicist” Savelsberg left me no choice.

We have previously seen his Boeing CH-46, but he now has build a model of its big brother a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook, also built by Boeing right up the Delaware River in Ridley Park (the old Vertol factory, which is the old Baldwin locomotive works). Here they are together:


Additionally, he has posted a pairof attack helicopters that make another well crafted pair – a Bell AH-1 Cobra and a Boeing/McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache.


As always, my hat is off to Ralph and his painstaking Lego modeling.

The Unwanted Carrier

kh-12-1983-sat-image-of-nikolaev-shipyardA few weeks ago, I suggested you check out Information Dissemination for an update on India’s troubled acquisition of the Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov (a topic covered previously here). Good ol’ ID has a new post with further details and speculation, and if this is of interest to you, I encourage you to head over and read it.

It seems Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will soon be traveling to India and there is some speculation that this is the fish-or-cut-bait decision time for India whether or not to proceed with this deal.

For the full gouge, head on over to ID, truly one of my favorite reads on the web.

Friday pictures: Blaze of Glory

The Portland Airport is home to the 142nd Fighter Wing, which is part of the Oregon Air National Guard. Equipped with McDonnell Douglas, er, Boeing F-15 Eagles, the Redhawks provide air defense for the Pacific Northwest. They also attract a dedicated group of photographers on Flickr, who chronicle the unit’s operations in wonderful detail. Chief among them is Flickr member vector1771, whose photstream is full of hundreds of vivid pictures of F-15s in their element. I am a continent away from Portland, but by now I have watched this unit’s planes for so long I have begun to recognize tail numbers.

Today’s image naturally comes from vector1771 and captures the final flight of an Eagle driver, callsign Tug, as he lifts off and accelerates for his last unrestricted climb atop the Eagle’s two F100 engines. While I am sure this was a bittersweet day for Tug, I hope that he could set aside those thoughts while putting the plane through its paces for the last time. My thanks to Tug for his years of service to the nation, and my thanks to vector1771 for sharing his work so generously. You really want to click this and see it big. Really.


If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Update on India’s acquisition of Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov

As a follow up to an old post of mine (here), I encourage you to head over to Information Dissemination for a detailed status review of the much-delayed Gorshkov deal between India and Russia.

U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (CV-63)

Will the Kitty Hawk ever see service in the Indian Navy? Unlikely, I’d guess, but still a fascinating topic of speculation.

Friday pictures: Hornet nears Mach

Aircraft performing at airshows in America do not, as a rule, break the speed of sound. I assume this is an FAA rule, and I see the value of it, but all the same I would love to attend a show where such a restriction were not in place.

Planes can still get close to Mach (for an explanation of that term, see here), and they do that all the time. If the air is humid enough, the rapid changes in air pressure lead to the creation of very small clouds. The location of these clouds correlates with areas of maximum cross sectional area, and ties in very closely with Frank Whittle’s are-rule theory that still shapes high-performance aircraft to this day. For more discussion, read this.

If all that theory bores you, then how’s this – I will stop yammering and move straight to Flickr user nelnov‘s picture of a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet. Taken at Scott AFB on September 20, 2008, this is a terrific capture of a spectacular phenomenon.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

[Update: I try not to do this, but I am compelled to add a shot to this post. Wow!]

When the F-4 ruled the skies…

The Air Force’s Thunderbirds have been flying the F-16 for a long time now, since their tragic 1982 crash in which all four planes in a diamond formation crashed together during a training session. For their part, the Navy’s Blue Angels have been flying F-18s since 1986. Both teams put on terrific shows in their current planes. Still, I have always looked back at the days when they flew the F-4, which was such a big, smoky plane – what a show they must have put on in their Rhinos.

Those days may be gone – the Thunderbirds halted F-4 flights in 1973 and the Blue Angels in 1974 – but the world of Flickr captures the old and the new, so today I wanted to pass along two old shots of both of these teams when they were driving F-4s through the sky. Not as nimble as their new jets, but mighty planes. I’ll never see them in person, but Flickr’s a great place to peer into history.


Scanned by D18.

Blue Angels

By the father of mvonraesfeld.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.