Labor Day Warbirds

These fantastic warbirds made an appearance at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, New York, over the Labor Day weekend:

The rarely seen North American P51C Mustang.

The Douglas A1 Skyraider carrier attack plane.

The Consolidated  B24 Liberator heavy bomber.

The Vought F4U Corsair – carrier fighter of the Pacific war.

The Boeing B17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber – workhorse of the Mighty Eight Air Force.

Marc De Santis

U.S. Army Dirigible

You will enjoy this short video of the U.S. Army’s new surveillance dirigible – the LEMV.

Airships have a certain romance to them.   To paraphrase Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, airships hang there in the sky just the way that bricks don’t.

Jet aircraft are very expensive to operate per hour of flight time.  Airships are less expensive.  Unfortunately, I was not able to determine just how much less expensive they are, but when I find out, that information will make its way into a future post.  As I mentioned in a previous post, an F/A-18 costs about $20,000 an hour to fly.

Marc De Santis

F/A-18s at War

Read this illuminating article about American airpower over Afghanistan.  Don’t forget to watch the extraordinary three-and-a-half minute video either.   It is remarkable from start to finish.  The piece makes some good points about the recession of airpower in the theater as U.S. forces draw down.  Airpower is much like oxygen.  You don’t notice it much until its gone.

Another point to bear in mind – one hour’s operation of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter can cost as much as $20,000.00.  Very roughly, that is equivalent to dumping a Honda Civic into the ocean for every hour of flight time.

Marc De Santis

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

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

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

 

World War Two Warbird Photographs

Here are several photos I have of WWII warbirds at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, New York.    So let’s just imagine that we really did discover a trove of old photos that had been mislaid for nearly seven decades.  And ignore the indications of 21st century attire or technology.  It is 1944!

This P51 Mustang is waiting to take off on an escort mission over Germany, June 1944.

This p47 Thunderbolt has just returned from a strafing mission over occupied France, June 1944.

This Navy F4U Corsair waits to take off from the deck of the USS Essex, September 1944.    Please ignore the concrete flight deck.

At this late date in the war, the P40 Warhawk is a second-line fighter, but still soldiers on providing close air support for ground troops.  This machine is stationed in southwestern China, August 1944.

Marc De Santis