But First, A Brief Message
Look for a change in frequency of these things for a while. I've been cranking out an installment a day for most of the time I've been doing this but I've decided to back things off to a couple of times a week, at least for a while. Don't be concerned 'cause I'm definitely not going away, just changing a schedule or two so I can accomplish some additional stuff. And keep those cards, letters, and photos coming to email@example.com !
Beating the Air Into Submission
That's how helos do it. They don't really fly, you know; they just beat the air to death. (Then again, bumblebees and C-124s aren't supposed to be able to fly either, so go figure...) Most of the aviators I know are of the fixed-wing variety, but a few of my friends are rotary-wing guys too. I was talking to one of them this past weekend and came to the conclusion during the course of that conversation that I ought to run a helo or two, which means this one's for you, Brian! We're not going to do just any helo either, but that most unlikely of helicopter gunships, the ACH-47 Chinook (aka S***hook to those of you who remember green suits and jungles).
Once again, the pictures are courtesy of a former co-worker of mine. This time around it's Antonio "Tony" Cortez, who was with the 53rd Aviation Detachment/178th Combat Support Helicopter Company during 1966. Tony was involved with the operation of the aircraft during evaluation of the CH-47A as a gunship and took these photos:
The three aircraft of the intial detachment were all named: 64-13149 was "Easy Money", 64-13151 was called "Stump Jumper", and 64-64-13154 was "Birth Control". The program consisted of four aircraft total, the first of which (64-13145 "Cost of Living") stayed in the ZI until required to replace 13151, which was destroyed in an accident.
By the end of February of 1968 the Guns-a-Go-Go force had been reduced to one aircraft and that, plus the fact the the Chinook was far more useful as an airlifter, caused the end of the program. It was an interesting experiment that created a unique aircraft.
Things They Won't Let You Do Anymore
Let me state right off the bat that I know next-to-nothing about this photograph, except that the aircraft shown was involved in the Louisiana War Games during 1941 while the type was undergoing evaluation by the Army. It's a Piper J-3 "Cub", and is a civil aircraft under evaluation; note the partially painted-over NC number on the starboard wing. A highly-sophisticated refueling system is in use while a troop of probably-bemused horse cavalry trot past. A Colonel named Dwight Eisenhower made several flights in the "Cub" during these maneuvers. Of particular interest is the grasshopper painted in yellow on the side of the fuselage. Is this a neat idea for a diorama or what?! National Archives Neg No. Unknown via John Kerr
Another Shot From Gandy
Here's another shot from the Gandara collection to round out the photo portion of our day:
A Neat Discovery, Or I Shoulda Listened to Her in the First Place
You find things to help with your modeling in the strangest of places. Once, back when I was in college in the late 60s, I was walking down LBJ Drive in San Marcos, Texas, when I glanced down at the sidewalk and saw an amber-yellow plastic comb lying in the dirt on the sidewalk. I picked it up, determined it was indeed made of polystyrene, did a little jig in my mind (but not in fact, being long-haired and therefore Far Too Cool to do such a thing in public), and shoved it in my pocket. By that weekend two of the teeth had been cut from that comb, flattened on one side, and applied to the nose of an Airfix Bf109G-6 to complete its conversion into an Avia S99. That's a lesson in adaptability and thinking outside the box that produced what was arguably the best part of my Avia conversion.
Shortly after Jenny moved down here from Rhode Island she asked me if I wanted some of her beading wire for my models. I smiled, shook my head, and said probably not---I use annealled brass wire for almost everything I do that requires that sort of stuff, and there was just no point to adding something else to keep track of to my collection of modeling supplies.
Around that same time (and in complete contradiction to what I just said) I mail-ordered some colored wire from one of the myriad specialty guys that serve our hobby. It was thin (28-ga, I think); it was red, which was what I needed; and it cost five bucks for about three feet of the stuff. Jenny took one look at it, went to her beading box, and brought me a spool of the exact same thing with enough wire on it to last me several lifetimes. I looked at it and said something that rhymes with "oh smit".
"This is beading wire, isn't it?"
"Yep!" (She was grinning, but it wasn't malicious.)
"I messed up, huh?"
Darn the luck!!!
That little Expedition Into Ego on my part wasn't all that expensive in monetary terms, except for the enormous disparity in price between what I bought and what I could've had for free. Beading wire comes in all sorts of diameters (called "gauge" in the wire industry; the bigger the number the thinner the wire), all sorts of colors, is extremely malleable (that means you can bend it easily in case you didn't know that), costs next to nothing, and can be found in any store that sells beading supplies. (You might have to mail-order the really super-thin stuff but it's still dirt cheap; a lot less costly than that three feet of wire I bought!)
Think, for a minute, about the enormous disparity in my thought processes between the time I pounced on that filthy comb on the sidewalk and the day I rejected Jenny's offer to use her beading wire. Somewhere in-between the two events I got complacent and decided I knew more than I really did, and it caused me to ignore something that turned out to be really useful to me. How many other useful things have I ignored by my same blissful presumption that I already knew about that, whatever "that" might have happened to be?
There's a Major Lesson to be learned here and no; I'm not going to explain it to you. I suspect you've already figured it out anyway, and continued discussion of the subject will just make me feel sillier than I already do. The point to be taken is this: It's a big world, and there's a lot of stuff in it. Never say no until you're sure that's really the answer, and think about it first. It's the right thing to do!
At the End of It All
That's it for now, Gang. I'll see you again in a couple of days. Meanwhile, be good to your neighbor!