Cradle of Aviation

I recently visited the fabulous Cradle of Aviation Air & Space Museum in Garden City, New York.  Apart from being a top notch aircraft museum, the Cradle places a strong emphasis on showcasing Long Island’s rich aviation history.   Here are photographs of a few of my favorite exhibits:

 

Here is a glorious Grumman F11 Tiger in Blue Angels livery.

 

This is a Grumman F9F Cougar with swept wings.  The incorporation of wartime German aerospace research allowed post-war American engineers to place redesigned wings on the originally straight-winged Cougar.

 

The 70 mm Hasselblad camera was used by Apollo astronauts to take pictures on the moon.

 

A Republic F84 Thunderjet.  It was no match for the MiG-15 in combat over Korea, but it performed well as a fighter-bomber.  Note the straight wings.  Swept wings were just becoming standard on new jet fighters at this time.

Marc De Santis

Asia’s Mediterranean

The South and East China Seas are looking more and more like Asia’s version of the Mediterranean, with all of the same problems that have plagued the Middle Sea for centuries.  Multiple hostile states vying for control.  Just as the Mediterranean has been a theater of conflict going back to time of the Mycenaeans, the South and East China Seas are now arenas of tension for numerous Asian nations struggling for resource rights amid competing historical territorial claims.   Take a look at this article about the ongoing problems in Asian waters.

China is establishing a new garrison on Yongxing Island.  This is meant to help solidify Chinese claims to the Spratly, Paracel, and Macclesfield Bank Islands.

Further north, there is a potential feud brewing between China and Japan over Okinawa.

To help us understand China’s motivation, here is another great piece by Jim Holmes of the U.S. Naval War College.

Tensions exist even between China and India in the theater.

Marc De Santis

Solar System Blues

Space exploration can sometimes be taken too lightly.  Traveling through space is one of the most difficult endeavors that humanity has ever attempted.  The sheer size of the universe, and the extraordinary distances involved, even to the nearest stars, make it unlikely that human-crewed spacecraft will be orbiting alien suns any time soon.

Until then, we will have to make do with exploring our own small pocket of the galaxy – our own solar system.   This piece is a sober look at the prospect of space travel for the foreseeable future.

 

Marc De Santis

Tolkien and Technology

J.R.R. Tolkien was no fan of the modern world.  Technology was more often employed by the bad guys than by the good guys in Middle earth.  Here is an interesting take on Tolkien’s feelings toward technology.  I especially find intriguing the notion that technology and magic were once twins, and that one, magic, died out.

This article is a must for Tolkien fans.

Marc De Santis

 

Warbirds Forever!

Here are some photographs of Second Word War-era warbirds at the American Airpower Museum in Famingdale, New York.

This is a Grumman TBF Avenger, a torpedo bomber used to great effect in the Pacific Theater.  Its wings could fold to save space on an aircraft carrier.

 

This is a North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.  It was made famous for its role in the 1942 Doolittle Raid on Japan – Thirty Seconds over Tokyo.  This particular machine was General Hap Arnold’s personal airplane.

 

This is a Douglas C-47 Dakota.  It is the military transport version of the legendary DC-3 airliner.  It is painted with D-Day invasion stripes, and looks as it would have when it carried American paratroopers to jump into Normandy in June 1944.

All three photographs were taken with a Nikon D3100.

Marc De Santis