That's the question I've been asking myself a lot of late, and I don't have an answer to it. If you've been with us for a while you'll remember that our photos have always been as big as we could run them, and the blog's software allowed you to click on the thumbnails to enlarge those pictures, then click them again for maximum image size if the original allowed such a thing. Then, a few weeks ago, the photo software associated with the blog was arbitrarily changed so that a click on any thumbnail produced a moderate-sized image in a "filmstrip" format, for want of a better word. That change also de-linked a whole bunch of our older photos so they couldn't be enlarged at all.
We experienced a week or so of that and then the photos went back to the way they'd always been, making both our readership and ourselves very happy that someone had apparently seen the error of their ways and fixed things. That was then.
One of the things we routinely do around here is explore the blog to make sure everything's working, and a week or so ago, during the course of one of those check-ups, we discovered that the images had changed back to that darned "filmstrip" thing again. We'd like all of our readership to know that we didn't cause the change---it's a function of the blog's software and we have no control over it. For the record, we don't like it either, and would change it back if we could. At this point we're just going to have to chalk it up to the fact that this is the way things are and live with it. There's a small up-side, if that matters to anybody---none of the old photos have de-linked this time around (at least not yet), so you can still access everything we've run up to this point. It's a Silver Lining of sorts, albeit a small one.
The bottom line is a simple one; all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that the folks who changed the way photos are presented for everyone using this particular blog software will see the error of their ways and change us all back to The Way It Was, although we're not going to hold our breath on that one. That's our story and, unfortunately, we're going to have to stick with it. Sigh...
Patricia Lynn Was Quite a Girl
When last we met, we gave a broad hint that we'd show you some black B-57s, which would infer we were going to show you some images of the aircraft from their early night intruder days. That actually was the plan, insofar as we actually plan anything around here, but Fate intervened in the form of Don Jay, who sent some photos of black B-57s that were just the least bit different than what we'd expected to show you.
In the early days of SEA, it became apparent that the US military lacked good tactical intelligence and good maps/photographs of the area.The Air Force initiated the Patricia Lynn Program (aka Pat Lynn) to provide a more sophisticated intelligence gathering capability in SEA. Arriving in May of ‘63 at TSN, the first of six modified B-57Es, began flying the first jet combat sorties of this long war. Designated RB-57Es, they were modified to carry a KA-1, 36” forward oblique and KA-56 panoramic camera in the nose. Additionally, in the bomb bay, they carried two KA-1 vertical and oblique cameras and probably the most effective piece of equipment the K-477 day/night IR scanner. The initial crews were from the 6091 Recce Sq in Japan but the value of this aircraft lead to a permanent unit being assigned-Det 1, 460 TRW.
Flying in country and out country missions for 8 years, two aircraft were lost (55-4243 & –4264) and two were with the program from beginning to end. All the survivors flew over 7,000 hrs with one ac (55-4245) amassing over 8,000 hrs. Painted all black and very sinister looking, very little was said about the Pat Lynn program. Their effectiveness was shown in the MACV citation in 1970 stating that Det 1 had provided 95% of the battlefield intelligence during the Cambodian incursion-not shabby for four ac! Don
You have to get there if you're going to go to the party! 55-4245 was photographed at Elmendorf after a trip to the depot and prior to arrival in SEA. This view depicts some of the mods, the nose being the more obvious, and the black paint. 55-4245 survived combat in SEA to become a WB-57E, and ended up at MASDC in 1972, an ignoble end to a proud warrior. Jay Collection
55-4264 wasn't so lucky. Hit by ground fire on 25 October, 1968, she crashed to destruction, although her crew escaped unharmed. This scan, unfortunately lacking somewhat in quality, gives us an excellent view of the Mil-P-8585Y primer used on the interiors of the mlg and nlg doors. Are you modelers paying attention? Jay Collection
In stark contrast to the glossy black paintwork found on early B-57s, the Patricia Lynn birds all wore a workmanlike coating of flat black. Serial number presentations are found in both insignia red and in white (or, more likely, light grey) with little apparent rhyme or reason for the coloration. 55-4257 is shown here as she appeared at Tan Son Nhut in 1971; she subsequently went back to The Land of the Big BX and ended up at MASDC in 1979. Jay Collection
Just another day in the 'hood. This is what a "normal" day looked like in the life of a Patricia Lynn bird, if such a thing as a normal day ever existed. The RB-57Es of the program produced results far in excess of their extremely limited numbers. If any of you are interested, the folks over at Zotz have a 1/48th scale decal sheet that includes a Pat-Lynn bird or two, and the Airfix B-57B kit (much-maligned of late but an excellent starting place with relatively little correction work required) or the somewhat-tougher-to-build Classic Airframes kit would both provide an excellent starting place. How about it? Jay Collection
It Was, After All, a Very Long Time Ago
We were all young once and, in point of fact, we're reasonably certain that at least some percentage of our readership is young at this very moment. We, however, are not, which is as good a way as any to introduce our next piece.
Some of us are fortunate enough to have worked at a job that somehow catered to one of our passions at one point or another, and for the staff here at RIS (which would, of course, be me!) that job was salesperson at Dibble's Arts and Hobbies from 1968 until 1970, when we/me/I left San Antonio to attempt to finish up college in another Texas town. A couple of things are germane to this this particular ramble:
Germane Thing the First: In 1968 Dibble's was arguably the best hobby shop in Texas if your interests ran to plastic model airplanes, and we/me/I worked there.
Germane Thing the Second: We/me/I had a passion for plastic model airplanes and was therefore leaving a percentage of our/my salary, defined for the purposes of this missive as Substantial, in the coffers of our/my employer. We were, for all intents and purposes, working for barter rather than money.
It all worked out end the end, though and, when we stumbled on these photos of a far-away time a couple of weeks ago, we naturally thought of sharing them with you. Baby pictures, as it were...
The photo is somewhat out of focus, but it gives us all a great look at Shirley and Ray Johnson, joint proprietors of Dibble's. The Johnsons exemplified the concept of the Mom and Pop hobby shop, and were friends as well as employers and store owners. Take a look at them, because they typify a dying breed as the neighborhood hobby shop continues its slide towards inevitable and highly unfortunate oblivion in this country.
Mike Salyers with owner Ray Johnson. Mike and I came close to buying a hobby shop in partnership after we left Dibble's. There's no telling how that would've worked out, but it probably wouldn't have approached the sort of facility Dibble's was at the time, no matter how hard we tried. Dibble's was The Bombdiggidy back then, ya'll.
That's Mark Fluchette on the right. He finished school and went into the Army as an artillery officer; we're told he did well there. That's your never-humble editor on the left, providing Proof Positive to all the scoffers out there that we once had hair! It was, after all, A Very Long Time Ago.
OK, so why, tell us why, did we run what could easily be construed as an Ego Piece in a blog that normally shows only airplane pictures? The answer is easy. Reader/contributor/friend Frank Emmett and I were at King's in Austin recently, and were in Dibble's only a few weeks before, and in Hill Country Hobbies too. All three are within an hour's drive of our offices, and all three are excellent shops. If you read the various modeling boards you'll note one recurring them---the Local Hobby Shop is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, being replaced by corporate or internet facilities. That in turn brings us to The Point of this not-mindless-at-all ramble of ours.
Do you have a local hobby shop of the classic variety in your area? If the answer to that question is Yes, then we have to ask; do you actually support that local hobby shop? Do you buy most of your stuff there, or do you go there sometimes but buy most of your stuff at discount off the net? Think about those questions for a minute.
Do you buy off the net? So do we, sometimes. It's a viable way to get what we want when what we want isn't available locally, and most of the time it's a way to save a buck or too as well. Most of what we buy, however, comes from a combination of those three local shops we're so blessed to have within driving distance and Yes; one of them is a favorite and in turn receives most of our attention. The thing is, we patronize those shops even though we know the mail-order guys can beat the prices. Why do we do that?
The answer is easy. We happen to like the whole notion of going into our favorite hobby shop on a Saturday afternoon, seeing our friends, and buying that special kit/book/decal sheet/whatever while we're there. Read that again: We happen to like the whole notion of going into our favorite hobby shop. Now parlay that over to your own personal experience---do you have a Good Local Hobby Shop in your town, or in a town within easy driving distance of same? If you do, is it a shop you actually support? Well, folks, if you don't support it you darned sure ought to, unless you want to join that extensive club of people who lament the Great Local Hobby Shop they used to have in their community. It's in your hands, people. Stand up and patronize those local shops or shut up after they're gone. It's your choice!
A Jug is a Jug is a Jug, or Maybe Not
Everybody knows about the P-47 Thunderbolt and its sterling service during the Second World War, and everybody knows how it faded away into semi-oblivion in the post-War world. Today's the day we look at some more of those post-War P-47s, and we're going to focus on the rarest of the operational P-47s, the N-models. Are you ready?
Georgia's 128th FS/54th FG operated the F-47N for a brief period post-War and are seen taxiing out at Marietta during 1947. These aircraft are relatively clean, but notice the presentation of the "NG" logo on the vertical stabs, the "GA" back by the horizontals, and the last three of the serial number up on the cowling. There's not a lot of extraneous color, a fact that typified most of the Guard's Thunderbolts. Keep an eye out for those Georgia birds, though---color has a way of finding neat-looking airplanes! Menard Collection
New England was a hotbed of P-47N activity during the post-War years, as typified by these colorful examples from Massachusetts' 101st FS photographed by Paul Paulsen in November of 1949. It's tough to come close to the wartime paint jobs worn by the "N"-models, but the 101st gave it a really good effort. Menard Collection
Here's a taxi shot of another bird from the 101st---they just get prettier and prettier, don't they? Note the presentation of the "NG" moniker on the fuselage and vertical tail, the rocket launcher stubs beneath the wings, and the crew chief on the wing root. It must've been a fun job! Paulsen via Menard
Delaware flew the N-model too; in this case an F-47N-25 from the 142nd FS/156th FG. Note the variation in presentation of the fuselage national insignia (which is entirely lacking, in case you were wondering)---some outfits used it, while others did not. It was fairly normal practice to see either the buzz number or at least a few digits of the serial number presented under the wings of the ANG P/F-47s. All those Guard airplanes looked the same except for the differences... Besecker Collection via Menard
It took awhile to do it, but the folks in Georgia finally figured out that a little color could be A Very Good Thing, as typified by this four-ship from the 128th photographed in flight during the late 40s. The command stripes on 408 are particularly nice, we think. Menard Collection
Gettin' ready. This Thunderbolt from Pennsylvania's 146th FS is shown cranking up sometime during the late 1940s. The markings were fairly bland, but those PA birds did manage to show a little color from time to time. Menard Collection
See what we mean? All you have to do is add a name and a splash of color on the vertical stab and rudder and a Plain Jane suddenly becomes glamorous. Oh, and check out that prop hub, too---anybody out there care to take a crack at modeling that? Balogh via Menard Collection
The Territory of Hawaii flew the F-47N for a time, and had some of the most colorfully-marked examples of the type in service when they were in their prime with the type. Those days were long-gone, however, when 44-88566 posed for this farewell portrait in the early 50s. She went out with pride... Menard Collection
Is she in the Guard or the regular Air Force? We'd guess the latter if you forced us to do that, based on the markings and that leather flying helmet the pilot's wearing, but it's anybody's guess. If you happen to know the unit, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us in on the secret! Menard Collection
You don't have to guess with this one! The year is 1945, and she's regular Air Force through and through although, once again, we don't know the unit. She's a colorful bird, and that PE buzz number under the wing provided the icing on the cake! J. Sullivan Collection
Here's today's "what goes up must come down" entry. The year is 1945, but that's all we know about the photo. If you can add to our knowledge; well, you know the drill... J. Sullivan Collection
140 is Regular USAF too, and she's at Hamilton Field in 1948. Other than that it's a guessing game over here, but she's a fine example of her type and would be a snap for those of you wanting to model a post-War "Jug". Gotta love that 1940s Air Force! J. Sullivan Collection
Let's finish up with yet another USAF bird from an unknown unit. The year is 1946 and she's wearing a whole lot of color but, once again, we're at a loss as to who owned her! If anybody out there knows (or has any other photos of the P/F-47N) please drop us a line! J. Sullivan Collection
The Other Guys Were Pretty Gutsy Too
We've been showing you some of the images contained in Bobby Rocker's collection over the past several weeks, and commented repeatedly on what a crummy little war it was in the process. For today's installment, we're going to do something a little bit different and show you some aircraft flown by the Imperial Japanese Army. The following images are from official sources via Bobby's collection and, in this instance, concentrate on the Ki-43 Hayabusa. Most of the pilots of the aircraft you're about to look at are still in New Guinea, and the Philippines, and in China. It was a crummy war for everybody who fought in it...
A lot of people think of Lae as a JNAF base, but the JAAF was operating in the theater too, and this unidentified Ki-43-1 lies abandoned and in ruins at the edge of the runway there. With the right pilot the Ki-43, also known by its code name of "Oscar", could leave you talking to yourself, but most ended up as this example has; shot to pieces on the ground. The 5th AF knew how to chew up an airfield. Rocker Collection
The 33rd Sentai based out of Cyclops Airdrome for a while, and was decimated there. This particular Ki-43-II appears to be intact but is probably not airworthy thanks to the attention of General George's strafers. You can run, but you can't hide from General George! Rocker Collection
You can stick it in the jungle to hide it, but that might not help very much either. #5 is another example of the Hayabusa from the 33rd and shows a fairly unique camouflage variation; the squiggly-blotchy camouflage seen on Japanese aircraft was applied at the unit level and generally in the field using whatever means possible. It rarely helped hide the aircraft from marauding A-20s and B-25s, but it was better than nothing. Rocker Collection
The 77th Sentai was at Cyclops too, and their aircraft also wore field camouflage to try to hide them from 5th Air Force strafing and para-frag attacks. The camouflage didn't help very much at all. Rocker Collection
Cyclops could well be described as a graveyard for the JAAF---this is what's left of a Ki-43-II after a strafing attack. Modelers, note the definition of the anti-glare treatment aft of the cockpit. Rocker Collection
Cape Gloucester was no different, as shown by this Ki-43-II from the 11th Sentai. Rocker Collection
Or Noemfoor, where this 11th Sentai "Oscar II" appears to have been involved in some extremely recent ground action on Kamiri Aerodrome. Those GIs in the background don't appear to be on a souvenir-gathering expedition; weapons are at the ready and those grunts are focused on securing the airfield, not sight-seeing. Note the wreckage of the Ki-61 in the background. Few modelers ever think of this side of the equation when they're showing off their latest masterpiece. It's sobering food for thought. Rocker Collection
The place is Boram, and the event is a para-frag attack against the JAAF aircraft based there. Those Japanese aircraft appear to be relatively intact in this photo, but most have been riddled by shrapnel from the 28-lb para-frags carried by the attacking 5th AF strafers and have become useless as fighting aircraft. As bad as things were on the ground for the Fifth, they were far worse for the Japanese. Rocker Collection
Sometimes the Japanese fighters were left relatively intact, as was the case with this Ki-43-III found more-or-less in one piece on Okinawa. This photograph is just full of detail for the modeler; notice in particular the nose of that under-wing aux tank. There are markings on the rudder too, but we'd be lying if we said we knew the unit. Rocker Collection
Here's a fitting way to end our photo essay of the Hayabusa, because it graphically illustrates the way most of them ended up. The "Oscar" was quite an airplane, but ill-suited to the tactics of what was then modern air war. The pilots and ground crew of the JAAF were brave beyond belief and capable right up until the end of the war (it was a Ki-43 that caused the death of Tommy Lynch) but were no match for American air power or, equally importantly, American industry. Whichever side you fought on it all amounted to the same thing. It was a crummy war. Rocker Collection
Today's Happy Snap features one of our favorite airplanes, the F-4 Phantom, as seen through the lens of Rick Morgan:
Gotta love that shot---thanks as always, Morgo!
The Relief Tube
Last time around we ran a couple of photos of RB-57s with what could only be described as "interesting" underwing stores. We admitted at that time that we didn't know anything about them, which prompted the following responses:
First, from Don Jay: Hi Phil. Just finished your latest edition of Replica in Scale and enjoyed the comments on the B-57s. I look forward to more-hopefully the Pat Lynn birds. You asked for feedback on some of the photos. Well here is my take; the photo of RB-57A –21449, is part of the ‘Heart Throb’ mission out of Japan. I believe you have captured a rare 6021 Recce Sq bird with some very interesting pods. They look like a combo of air sample pods and chaff dispensers. Don’t know the mod name for it but it resembles the electro-mechanical pod-mounted chaff dispensers-an an/ale type-possibly the AN/ALE-30/32. Your second B-57 A is an EB-57A of the 4713 DSES out of either Otis or Stewart-the latter closed in the Fall of 69. The pod is an AN/ALE type for dispensing chaff. Another rare bird as only 13 ‘RB’ models were converted to EB-57As. You can tell its an EB by the ECM antennas and the additional air scoops beneath the engine intakes for the constant speed generators that powered the EW equipment in the bomb bay. Cheers, Don
Next, from Grant Matsuoka: Phil, it's one of the sampler aircraft operated by the 6021st RS. I think that when AWS became the sole manager of atmospheric sampling in 1962, it may have been temporarily assigned to AWS, hence the later weather markings. But the AWS listings that I got from HQ AWS strangely didn't include 1962, but 1963 list has some B-57As, I believe, but no serial numbers. I think that it later was assigned to the 6091st RS, but had 3rd BG markings. The mission was sensitive, even today, if you think about Japan. The double sampling tanks appear to be rather rare and short lived. I've only seen in on 449 in an old Japanese aviation mag. Enjoy your blog. Best wishes, Grant
And from Dave Menard: Phil, that shot of Cranberry 52-1584 was taken at Chanute AFB ILL after duty at WP as I was stationed there when she flew in c.1970. She was not gray then, but got painted after arriving. The shot of "21449" at Yokota was not a 4758th DSES bird as they did not leave the ZI, but was probably in the 6091st Recon Sqdn. The A models used to switch tail numbers like mad so that is why the quotes around the number. The pods under wings have openings in their fronts so someone has been cloud sampling! That EB also has cloud sample pods under her. Cheers, dave
And finally, from Marty Isham: G'Day... This B-57A was flying out of Japan in response to either Red Chinese or Soviet A testing. Those are Particulate Air Sampling pods under the wings. The a/c was never asgd to the 4758th DSES or ADC, 497,498 & 450 were. I think it belonged to a WRS det out of Kirtland. I learned early to not delve into atomic funny stuff. Cheers...Marty
Here's a comment on that flying shot of the shark-mouthed A4D-1 we ran a few issues back. You may have actually seen this comment for all of a day or so but we deleted it due to software issues: Hi, Phillip! Thanks for the latest RiS "update" including the VF-21 F-11 and A-4 photo! That one was new to me. Nice!! I recently took the time to read "all" the past issues and found tons of interesting documents. I forwarded some links to friends and wish a lot of viewers from France discovered your blog ;°) Take care, Jean Those of you who have been around for a while may recognize Jean as the Jean Barbaud who runs Jean Barbaud Cartoons. We link to his site and you really ought to visit there. He does some remarkable work and features links to a number of other fascinating (although not always aviation-oriented) sites---very much worth your while to visit there.
And finally, a comment on those Doug Barbier Tornado shots we ran a couple of issues ago from a reader known only as Kev: Hi Phil. Nice photos of the Tornado's ( also known as Tonkas) at the Goose. Operating unit was No.16 Squadron although the top shot shows a No.15 (XV) Squadron bird on loan. Both units were assigned to RAFG for tactical strike duties. Cheers, Kev
OK, ya'll; we've officially got them old walkin' blues so it's time to sign off. We should, with any luck, be back next week. Until then, please accept our apologies for missing last week, and be good to your neighbor! We'll meet again soon.