Just Can't Get Enough of The A-26!
With any luck you feel the same way about what is arguably the prettiest attack aircraft ever built. Mark Nankivil sent in a nice set of photos from the Tulsa Air and Space Museum's archives, highly appropriate since the Invader was built in Tulsa after that plant shut down production of the SBD and A-24. As is the norm around here, we'll let the pictures do the talking.
firstname.lastname@example.org address. Please. Tulsa Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil
Can't Get Enough of Those Oddball Neptunes
Those goofy SEA P-2s we ran a few days ago have stirred a bit of interest, it seems. Mark Nankivil took another look in his collection and came up with a few more photos that I think you'll enjoy. Who knows; you may even start buying up some of those unloved but highly-buildable Hasegawa P-2s for some conversion work. I know I'm sure getting tempted!
Blackbird Singin' in the Dead of Night
Here's something a little bit different to round out our selection of Big Navy Airplanes for today. Enjoy!
If We're Talking Vietnam There's Only One Fighter Bomber
And that would be the legendary Republic F-105 Thunderchief, affectionately known as the "Thud" by former aircrew and aviation enthusiasts around the world. The 105 flew the majority of early and mid-war USAF strike missions over North Vietnam and suffered accordingly; the attrition rate for the type was nothing short of horrendous. If you're interested in such things, former "Thud" driver Jack Broughton wrote two of the best first-person accounts of F-105 operations in Vietnam; Thud Ridge and Going Downtown, both of which I highly recommend to you. The Thunderchief was heavily photographed during her combat career, but high-quality wartime photos can be difficult to find, which makes this one something special:
Of course, some of the F-105 fleet managed to survive the war, finishing up their days in AFRES or ANG units. Here's an interesting example of one of those airframes.
It's Not An Airplane, But It's For An Airplane...
We don't shy away from the unusual around here---if it has anything to do with American military aviation there's a good chance it'll end up on these pages sooner or later. In that vein here's something a little out of the ordinary for your viewing pleasure; the Republic Liftowheel!
One item of curious interest was the Republic Liftowheel. I have never seen this before and the owner claims to have not found reference to it in any manuals related to the F-105. If you look at the main landing gear doors for the Thud, at the bottom is a square panel that can be detached. This allows access to the back of the wheel axle and is where the Liftowheel is physically attached to the wheel/axle. In the event of a flat tire, this panel is detached and the Liftowheel slipped onto the back of the axle. What's interesting is that the axle point of the Liftowheel is eccentric and is a wheel within a wheel of the whole unit. Once mounted, the aircraft can be rolled away with the Liftowheel taking the load of the flat tire. Very interesting! Ever seen this before or know of reference material for it?
Not me! How about it, readers? Anybody out there have anything to say about this? Maybe a T.O reference? If so, you surely know the drill; the address is email@example.com . Bring it on!
Another VNAF SpAD
The VNAF were a gutsy bunch, no doubt about it. Their A-1 Skyraiders were frequently ridden hard and put away wet but never failed to perform, and the courage of their pilots is well-known to all.
As Finished as It's Likely to Get
I've had a little bit of extra time here lately, and have in consequence been able to get a couple of long-term projects completed. One of those was the Hasegawa P-38G you saw a few installments ago--the one where I installed the props the wrong way (and am I ever glad to get that one done---no more P-38s for this buckaroo for a while, by Golly), but I also managed to complete that 1/32nd scale P-40N we were looking at. Here are a couple of photos to show how it came out:
The Relief Tube
Last time around I think we only had one entry in this ever-popular portion of our modest effort. Today we have a few more than that, so let's begin.
First out of the gate is one of the P-47Ns in our last installment, an airplane named "DNIF". In that piece I admitted I didn't have a clue what that meant. A couple of our readers did know and came to the rescue for the rest of us as noted here:
Interesting that you should run the Jahant P-47N images this weekend. I was searching Flickr.com for images of any 58th FG P-47s, and came across a collection of photos from Ie Shima posted by "saipanbolt". In his photostream of the 318th FG were a number of images from the 507th FG, also on the island, and there was a great shot of the starboard side of Chataugua with the same Indian princess facing forward and the name on the fuselage, too. That's a new one on me---thanks!!! pf
Also, "DNIF" is an acronym used frequently in the USAAF/USAF by we medical types, meaning Duty Not Involving Flying", i.e., you're grounded until medically released. It was only obscene to the pilot hearing those words or reading that stamped image. Frank Emmett
And from contributor and aviator Keith Svendsen:
DNIF is a duty restriction imposed by the flight surgeon: Does Not Include Flying/Flight. Sick and shouldn't fly? You're DNIF! Keith Svendsen
We recently ran some early FJ-3 Furies on these pages, leading Tommy Thomason to write:
If you noted that the later FJ-3s had a hard wing (no slats and a fuel tank) and that it was retrofitted, I missed it. Attached is a picture of one. (Unfortunately, I couldn't open the attachment. We'll run some shots of hard-edged -3s another day. pf) Note that the little leading edge piece on the ammo bay door is missing... T
Thanks Tommy; I'm pretty sure that note was omitted! And speaking of notes, if you aren't already doing it you need to check out what Tommy's doing over at http://tommythomason.com/ .
Reader and old friend from our days at Misawa, way back in high school, Jack Dusenberry provides clarification on a photo we ran of his dad last time.
I was tickled to see the picture of my dad and the mules on your blog. I decided to throw that one in to show how young he was . He says that one reason for his survival was that he had "old timers" as pilot and copilots(29 and 30 years old) . I also think there was more than a little bit of luck involved and his crew had good luck rituals that were strictly adhered to .He carried a lucky rabbit's foot ,some carried four leaf clovers ,and one crew member insisted on urinating on the same rock before each mission . The fellow forgot to perform his task before getting on the truck before one mission and the entire crew demanded that he be taken back to perform his task !
The picture of him and his crew (which we didn't run because of that copywrite thing. pf) appears to have come from Russell Strong's First over Germany (long out of print) and Dad has an extra copy that he has promised to give to me but keeps forgetting to do so .I have seen copies on the internet with prices as high as $180.00 ,so I hope he remembers at some point. Jack What a treasure! Thanks for sharing your dad's memories with us, and give him our best. pf
Finally, here's a note from Don Jay that some of our younger readers may not quite understand.
After Dec 30, Kodachrome will be no more. Dwayne's Photo of Parsons Kansas is the last place to develop the film and they will stop this Thursday. For those who grew up with this iconic staple, it's demise has forced a change on us-like it or not.
I will mourn the loss of one more link to our manual, analog past. Twitter, Facebook, and email do not replace handwritten letters. Texting is not a phone call. MP3s and CDs cannot duplicate the richness of vinyl. The internet is not a newspaper. A blog is not a diary. And digital photography does not reproduce film's qualities.
Easier is definitely not always better and I fear these small losses of reality as we digitize ourselves are lessening us in some intangible way. Après moi, le deluge. dj
By way of explaination for those of our readership who might know only digital photography, Kodak's Kodachrome was the world's leading transparency (read "slide" here) film for decades. The stuff started out as K10 at an extremely slow ASA 10 rating, then morphed into the K25 and K64 that most of us knew and loved. Other manufacturers tried to equal it over the years but nobody else ever managed to get the same resolution, crispness, and color saturation of Kodachrome. I can only surmise how many thousands of frames of the stuff (mostly K25) were cranked through my Nikons while I was still shooting, and how many more thousands of frames were exposed by the folks who's work you regularly see on these pages.
Kodachrome was special. Just ask Dave Menard, Tommy Thomason, the Morgan Boys, Mark Nankivil, Maddog Kerr, Jim Wogstad, Keith Svendsen, Don Jay, or any of the other photographers who's names you've read on photo tag lines both here and other places over the years. To steal (or maybe paraphrase) a line from an old John Wayne movie: "It was a way of life. It was a good way." RIP, Kodachrome.
And that's what I know. Have yourself a happy (and safe and reasonably sane) New Year's Eve. Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again real soon.