U.S.S. Kitty Hawk Decommissioned

I have run several articles in the past covering the fate of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (most recently here). With this in mind, I note this post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog, which indicates the decommissioning has now taken place.

I will not attempt to summarize this ship’s forty-eight year record of service, but clearly the country owes her, and the many men and women who have served aboard her, our heartfelt gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

It will be very interesting to see if this ship finds a secure rest home, perhaps in North Carolina, or if she is broken up, sold to India, or destroyed in tests like the U.S.S. America (a name to be carried on via LHA-6).

I look forward to when another ship will bear the name Kitty Hawk, although in an era of carriers named after presidents, Navy secretaries, and legislators, I hate to think what sort of hull will be assigned this honor.

Friday pictures: Big Bossman

Today’s installment of avaition pictures come from shots taken by Flickr user EverydayTuesday this past September at the Reno Air Races. The plane in question is a Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat named Big Bossman. Manufactured in 1946, bureau number 80503 led a varied life – dismantled in a California hut in 1973, registered to a Houston museum in 1988, rebuilt in Colorado, then off to Galveston in the nineties. Since 2003, this plane has been in the race cicruit. The Tigercats are very large, twin-engined planes, and I chose this week’s pictures since they show to such dramatic effect what a speedy, imposing plane this is. As always, my thanks to the photographer. Please follow the links to see larger versions, as well as additional pictures taken by EverydayTuesday.

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

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!]

A sight one doesn’t see all that often in the media today

Georgians celebrate the arrival of the U.S. Navy

Originally uploaded by simminch.

Official Navy caption of an official Navy photograph:

BATUMI, Georgia (Aug. 24, 2008) Georgian citizens greet Sailors and media representatives when they return from a visit aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) in Batumi. McFaul delivered more than 80 tons of needed humanitarian assistance supplies to the people of Georgia. At the request of the government of Georgia, the United States is working hand in hand with Georgian leadership to assess the needs of its citizens following the conflict between Georgian and Russian forces. The humanitarian assistance efforts are being coordinated by the U.S. Department of State and USAID with assistance, as required, being provided by the Department of Defense. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. John Gay/Released)

Many more images from the mission are found in the Flickr set here. Hat tip to Information Dissemination, which ran this a week ago, but I am still digging out from being away at the beach).

Another trio of scale Lego planes

I have stayed away from Legos as a blog topic for most of this summer – they are not a subject I ever imagined covering and yet the web serves up such impressive models that at times I cannot help myself.

There are three new models by the inimitable Mad Physicist (last covered here), and I am compelled to pass all three along. One helicopter and two naval jets, all three show how this builder continues to use a wide range of building techniques to create astonishingly accurate renditions. I encourage you to follow the link to each one to see more pictures of the models. With no further ado…

The Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin (more info here):
Dolphin (by Mad physicist)
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat (more info here):
F-14A (by Mad physicist)
The North American A3J (later A-5) Vigilante (more info here)
RA-5C (5) (by Mad physicist)

The Vigilante has always been a personal favorite, so it is great to see it here in Lego. As always, my hat is off to the most consistently impressive builder on the net.

LHA-6 to be named America

In today’s news, a follow up the a post that dates to January 2007 (Politics Ruins Everything):

Newest amphibious assault ship will be named America
By Cindy Clayton, The Virginian-Pilot

The Navy’s newest large deck amphibious assault ship will be called the America, according to Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter who made the announcement in Jacksonville, Fla.

While I am sad that the name will not be applied to a CVN, this is far better than nothing. Still, I take heart that my harumphing about ship names in the post I link to above finds some good company. Information Dissemination notes the twelve names for carriers they prefer: Constellation, Enterprise, Essex, Hornet, Intrepid, Kitty Hawk, Midway, Oriskany, Ranger, Saratoga, Wasp, and Yorktown. The only addition I have for that list is Lexington.

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.

Thunderbirds

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.