Friday, March 19, 2010

Little Bitty Airplanes, Great Big Airplanes, and a Big Ol' Thank You

Everybody Starts Someplace

Holy Cow, look what happened! I turned my back on the week and all of a sudden it's Friday again! How could that be? Where did the time go? No matter; let's start today by thanking everybody for their kind words regarding the site. We're evidently off to a pretty good start, which pleases me no end, so thanks, guys, and thanks also to those of you who knew me from before and have offered to help out with photos, data, and information. People like you made things work so well the first time around, and I'm grateful to each and every one of you for your enthusiasm this time around.

Time to Scoot...

But we ain't leavin'. What we are doing is publishing a few more A-4C shots for your files since we haven't done that for a while and the Charlie is still a project over here, albeit one that's presently somewhat stalled, mostly because I did that Short Attention Span thing and went off adventuring into the late-War Luftwaffe again. (Boy, was that a long sentence or what?) Funny thing, that; back in The Old Days I wouldn't touch that particular air force with a ten-foot pole (and said so repeatedly, which is the way I say most things), but now I really enjoy modeling the almost endless variety of camouflage and markings those guys employed. Just goes to show you how things change as you gain seniority on Life.

Instead of rambling on about that, how 'bout some more Scooters for a Friday? I thought you'd like that. Let's do it!

This photo was taken during 1966 and shows BuNo 148495, an A-4C from VA-106, taxiing towards the Saratoga's cat in company with an RA-5C from RVAH-12. Both aircraft would later be lost off North Vietnam; the Vigi ended up on the Constellation and went down near Vihn on 17 August 1967, while the Charlie fell victim to an engine failure during the launch cycle while assigned to VA-172 aboard the Shangri-La and was destroyed on 22 June 1970.  Modelers, note the red paint in the slat bays of the Scooter   USN via R. Morgan

Saratoga was a humming place during that 1966 cruise. She had no medium attack assets assigned to her at that time, carrying instead an attack component that consisted of three light attack units; VA-34, VA-46, and VA-106. Aircraft from all three units are illustrated in this shot, sharing the deck with a UH-2A from HC-2 Det 60. Note that the slats have been pushed back into the retracted position on the Scooters. Those guys from HC-2 seem to be getting in some serious relaxation but they're on the boat---it won't last long!  USN via R. Morgan

Another Charlie from VA-106, this time preparing to launch with an empty practice bomb dispenser ("bang board") on the centerline. Of particular interest in this shot is the striping on the refueling probe. If you look closely you can also make out the red trim on the MLG doors. Wonder why Sara's making all that nasty smoke!  (Rick sez she belongs to the Kaiser's navy!)  USN via R. Morgan

Real Big. Real Fast. Real Darned Pretty.

Nobody was talking about Vigilantes today if we don't count that one mentioned in the photo caption above, but it's one of the most beautiful aircraft ever to grace the decks of any aircraft carrier (and apparently one of the scariest, if that LSO I talked with back in the 70s can be believed) and deserves some space today. It's a strange thing, but we have a couple of prehistoric off-scale kits of the Vigi, two or three in 1/72nd scale that can be made into really nice models with some work, and a quarter-scaler that really misses the mark in terms of accuracy. I'm thinking it's about time we got a decent 1/48th scale kit of this absolutely gorgeous airplane!

This Vigi was from RVAH-11 and was photographed while operating with Constellation's Air Wing 14 during the 1971-72 time period. The sharkmouth and eyes painted on the intake trunks was extremely short-lived, being used for approximately 30 days before the artwork was removed. This airframe was lost in 1974 due to a suspected fuel fire in the bomb bay area while assigned to RVAH-6 off the Forrestal. The vertical stab is pristine-looking, but the rest of the airframe shows the effect of an extended period at sea. Modelers take note of the way this airplane's weathered out!  Friddell Collection

How much gas can you hang off an RA-5C?  This NATC bird is carrying a max load of external fuel and sporting a test boom on the nose.  It's still a beautiful aircraft, even with all that stuff hanging from it!  USN via John Kerr

We all have at least a couple of shots in our collections that constitute Mystery Meat; we don't know much about them but they're too cool not to share. This photo is part of my own personal Mystery Meat Locker. It's obviously an RA-5C (BuNo 147860) from RVAH-12, and I think it might have been shot at an airshow at NAS Corpus Christi during the 70s or very early 80s, but I'm not sure. I'm also not any too certain who took the photo, but I know it wasn't me! (I'm thinking Frank Garcia was the photographer, maybe...) It's a pretty airplane, though, and a fitting shot to close out the week with.  Friddell Collection

And In Conclusion

There we are; another week gone by. From my perspective it seems like only yesterday, but I've now been doing this blog for a little over a month. It's an anniversary of sorts! 26 posts and a whole month gone by. Who'd a thunk it?

Next week we'll do some modeling on something that doesn't sport black crosses and maybe even try to make some progress on that Hasegawa Skyhawk that's just sitting there gathering dust. Until then, be good to your neighbor. See you next week!


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