Sometimes Bigger's Actually Better
That was certainly the case with the Boeing B-50, a stretch of the basic B-29 design that resulted in a far more capable aircraft than its sire, and who's active service life extended well into the 1960s. There's no real reason to start off with the B-50 today, but then there's no reason not to do it either. In my world that could be taken as Logic, so let's look at some big airplanes!
It Looks Like a Tadpole to Me
But then again, all the members of the A-6 family make me think of tadpoles. We're familiar with the attack and tanker components of the family, and most of us have a passing familiarity with the current EW platform based on the Intruder, the EA-6B, as well, but there's another family member that's not so well-known, It's the initial electronics warfare version of the airframe; the EA-6A. Here are a couple of photos:
It's Easy to Over-Do It But Sometimes Pre-Shading is a Good Thing
You've probably all figured it out by now, but in case you haven't I'll say it plain; I'm not a big fan of pre-shading model airplanes. That's because most of the people who participate in the application of that particular modeling technique tend to overdo it a bit, which can make the finished result look really goofy and entirely non-prototypical. (That's our word for today---"non-prototypical"---use it often and amaze your friends while driving your college English professors to drink at the same time!)
Every once in a while it's a viable technique, though, and it can work really well when simulating stretched fabric is your goal in life. I've been off on one of my periodic Great War adventures of late, and decided (for Lord knows what reason) that my very own personal life wasn't worth living without an Eduard Morane Saulnier "N" on the shelf, thus leading to the building of same. It's not much of a model, being really tiny and also possessed of just one lonely single set of wings (it's a monoplane in case you didn't know such things) which gives us an opportunity to add detail via technique; a little bit of extra work can work wonders on such models. With that in mind I did that pre-shade thing on the flying surfaces as seen below:
If there's one thing that's essential to successful carrier operations, it's keeping said carrier safe so the aforementioned carrier ops can be successfully conducted. That Essential Truth caused the Navy to develop airborne early warning aircraft fairly early in the game, with both carrier and land-based examples becoming increasingly prevalent in the years immediately following the conclusion of the Second World War.
The Boeing B-17 was rapidly approaching the end of the road in terms of being an effective bomber but was still a useful airframe and was therefore pressed into service for a wide variety of post-War missions, one of which was AEW for the Navy. Boeing converted some 32 B-17F and G Flying Fortresses to that configuration between 1945 and 1947 and the resulting airframes served until the early 50s when they were replaced by the far more effective WV-2 Warning Star. You just don't see much on the type, which makes these photographs from the Jim Sullivan collection of particular interest.
Happy Snaps From Boomer
It seems like we've run more than our share of pictures of airplanes on the tanker of late. Mark Morgan's gone digging in the archives for us and come up with a few more, which is as good a way as any to end the day.
The Relief Tube
This installment was a little later than we're used to seeing---it was one of those Life Gets in the Way deals. Apologies, and we'll try to get back on schedule for next week!
You may note that I finally figured out how to put links on this site. It wasn't rocket science, but I've never been very bright so it took awhile for me to figure out how to do it, for which I also tender my profound apologies, etc., etc. In my view those links will take you to quality sites and I think they're well worth a look; with any luck you'll enjoy them too.
One site I didn't put there was one that an old friend sent to me the other day. There's a lot of good stuff there but some of the captions are goofy and a large number of the photos come from those LIFE archives we've been seeing so much of lately, which made me reluctant to list the place as a straight-up link. It's definitely worth your time, though, and is well worth checking out. The place is called Jet Pilot Overseas and the links attached to it will also produce a Navy-related site, Navy Pilot Overseas. The link is http://jetpilotoverseas.wordpress.com/ and you might want to take a look at it.
We ran a couple of shots of a crashed A-1H last time, along with an inquiry from Don Jay. Rick Morgan took a look at his records and offers the following insight:
Phil: Concerning the crashed A-1H, it would seem to have to be 135314, or 52-135314 in Air Force. Chris Hobson’s “Vietnam Air Losses” notes that USAF A-1H 52-135314 was listed in records in TWO losses.
1. 18 Jun 71: 1 st SOS, 56 th SOW, Capt Robert Witte KIA: On a Barrel Roll mission near Ban Na and the Plain of Jars; hit by AAA, crashed.
2. 18 Jul 71: 1 st SOS, 56 th SOW, (pilot unknown): Barrel Roll escort mission in Northern Laos; hit by AAA, crashed near Ban Sun Visay, 15 East of Luang Prabang, pilot rescued. No indications of it ending up on a runway.
I would guess it’s the second one listed- but have no other information.
And neither one of us have any idea why someone took the time to stick an inflated life raft in the cockpit of that airplane!
Finally, I've developed an interest in the post-War USAF in Japan or South Korea ca. 1945-1950. If any of you have photography of same and are interested in sharing it with our readers please forward it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . As always, be good to your neighbor and we'll see you again real soon.