You Have to Start Someplace
We've been spending a lot of time covering the Convair F-102A of late, and we've stated the opinion that it was a vital weapons system for America's air defense during the 1950s, 60s, and a big chunk of the 70s. It's easy to forget just how amazing the "Deuce" really was until you look at What Came Before, and thanks to the kindness of Marty Isham we're going to do that today.
Before we get started, though, let's get ourselves what they call a perspective. Once we get past the handful of piston-engined aircraft that could somewhat loosely be termed "interceptors" from the 1940s (of which the P-61 and F-82 families come somewhat to mind) and enter the Jet Age, we've got an interesting row to hoe. The first American interceptors that were actually designed for that mission, more or less, were Northrop's F-89 Scorpion and Lockheed's F-94 Starfire family. The F-94 possessed a level of performance that was far beyond the reach of the F-89, although you could best describe both aircraft as slugs in the go-fast department. They were really pretty, though, as the following photos will prove. They were also pioneers in their own way, and therefore deserving of more notice than they're normally given.
Markraf via Isham Collection
Sometimes You Hold the Line With What You've Got
Way back yonder, back in 1968 or 1969, Mike Bloomfield and Steven Stills collaborated on a live album called Super Sessions. During the course of introducing the band to the audience, Stills commented "here's the truth of this gig" and I've wanted to borrow the phrase ever since. Today, some 42 years later, the time has finally come so, without further ado; here's the truth of this gig:
We don't run a whole lot of WW2 stuff around here, and precious little of anything before that conflict. It's not that we aren't interested in those eras, but rather that our assets are thin once you've gone back a certain number of years. Both ourselves and our friends who are regular contributors to this work in progress have managed to build collections that, for a number of reasons, begin in 1946 and move forward from there and, simply put, that's where most of our emphasis will continue to lie. It's an area of specialty, if you will.
Still, there's something really special about the old iron, and therein lies a tale. One of our readers, Bobby Rocker, has been collecting images from that conflict for most of his life and has amassed quite a collection as a result. You've seen a few of those photos before in various books and periodicals, since most of them have been obtained from what used to be called Official Sources, but Bobby's been somewhat more tenacious than most in terms of his collecting and has been, as we said before, going at it for quite a while. He wrote us a couple of weeks ago asking why we didn't run hardly anything from The Big One and we told him pretty much what you've just read. At that point he offered to share his collection with us and has been sending in images (which brings us to the part of the day where we encourage the rest of you to do the same; the e-mail address is email@example.com ) pretty much ever since. There's some remarkable photography there, and we're going to start running some of it every other issue or so, beginning with today's feature on the Bell P-39 in the Southwest Pacific. We're going to concentrate on the Bad Old Early Days today, and show you some images from Milne Bay and Port Moreseby during 1942. Enjoy.
It's One of Our Favorite Airplanes, Ya'll
Which is why we're running another couple of F-4 shots, this time from the NAV. There's no real reason for it except that we like the photos. We hope you do too.
Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder
Mark Nankivil never ceases to amaze us. He sends in unique images of extremely high quality, and you just never know what you're going to see next. This next set of photos bears that out in spades; a pair of color shots of one of the Marine's unsung heros. Let's take a look:
Ending the Day With Stuff We Like
And in this case "stuff" is defined as a few more TA-4Js. The Skyhawk has always been a favorite around here and there's more than a little bit of photography to back up that interest, so it falls into the category of The Right Thing to Do.
A Site You Need to Look At
We've been meaning to do this for a while now, and the receipt yesterday of the artwork you see below tells us it's time for you to check out the work of John Mollison. John is, like most of us, a collector of things aeronautical and is also an accomplished artist. He has two different web sites that are linked on our home page; John Mollison and WW2 Fighters, and we strongly recommend that you visit them both. His motto ("I interview old guys and draw their airplanes.") says it all. That said, here's that artwork for your enjoyment today:
The Relief Tube
We must have had a fairly good issue last time, because we don't have to fix anything this time around! We do, however, have a request from a friend who's working on a book. Take a look at this photo:
And that takes us to the end of today's adventure, so be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon.