Sunday, September 22, 2013

An Amazing Delta, Some 80s T-Birds, a Hog, and A Famous Flight Deck

It's All in the Way You See It

In our most recent (and highly thrilling) edition of ongoing ramblings, edifications, and general silliness, you got to read a missive concerning my complete inability to get up the enthusiasm to finish a couple of models that are both so close to completion it's scary. You may or may not agree with the whole concept of the thing---that it's the pleasure you take from the building of the model rather than the completion of the model itself, but I personally subscribe to the theory. I think it's a valid notion and it goes without saying that I'm going to expound on it today. (That means I'm going to talk some more.)

First, our most recent premise was that you didn't necessarily need to feel somehow inferior or cheapened if you didn't actually complete everything single thing you started; it's perfectly fine to burn out on something if you get tired of it or become overwhelmed by it. Admittedly, you can't use that sort of logic if you're at work, and in particular if your job is that of an airline pilot or heart surgeon ("When he wakes up tell him I just wasn't feeling it today. Sew him up and we'll try again when I'm interested in doing it."). No; you can't do that sort of thing in real life, but you absolutely can if whatever it is happens to be your hobby.

Don't believe me? That's fine, but consider this before you skip to the next article in this blog: Most people who have a hobby are involved in it because they enjoy it and it relaxes them. It soothes their souls and makes them feel good. It relieves stress. It reduces anxiety. It makes their lives better. If you'll accept that as a premise, then you'll almost immediately understand why it's ok to put something aside if it becomes more trouble than it's worth. You can even throw it away if you want to, although I rarely take it that far myself, or you can put it away so you can work on it at a later date. At this very moment my personal shelf of opportunity (I don't buy into that whole Shelf of Doom thing, as we've discussed at least once before on these pages) includes, in no particular order, a Monogram F-106A that's been in work since it first came out in the 1980s, a Heller RF-84F of the same vintage and start date, a Monogram T-6 (yes; that one), a Hobby Boss FJ-4B, an Eduard Albatros DV, 1/110th-scale Revell HMS Bounty that I started in 1976, and two Fw190s. They've accumulated over the past 30 years or so and will all eventually be completed. Maybe.

The point of the whole thing is that it's a hobby of mine and only that, and if something I'm working on becomes more effort than it's worth I'll put it aside for a better day. That Albatros I mentioned in the previous paragraph is the one I used as a test subject to demonstrate how to do rib tapes with a colored pencil and it's done, completely finished except for a couple of little folded metal covers for the wings that I just can't work up the steam to make, and the rigging. It looks really neat and I can't wait to get it completed and on the shelf, but I'm not ready to do that just now because I'm thinking those tiny little covers are going to be a real pain in the patootie to make and I'm just not interested in that sort of thrash at the moment. That "Six" may never be finished, the RF-84F is right up there with it in the "enemy on beach, condition in doubt" realm, and, at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. I'll build something else. I do this for fun.

So here's The Big Question of the day: Why do you build models? Is it fun? Does it soothe your soul? Does working on a model make you feel better? Those are questions that are well worth the asking, but you have to keep in mind that there's no "right" or "wrong" answer. It's a hobby. It's your hobby.

Just sayin'.

There's Never Been Anything Like It

There was a time, not all that long ago, when Conventional Wisdom said that you needed to fly high and really, really fast if you wanted to drop bombs on somebody. It was a wisdom that worked out just fine when the guys who were going to be defending against you didn't have anything more formidable than flak and fighters for you to contend with; both defenses were tough enough to deal with, but neither was something that could stop the show. Then, one day in 1960, a missile battery in the former Soviet Union managed to shoot down a dark blue airplane with no national markings that was flying a great many thousands of feet over their territory taking pictures of classified installations. The game had changed forever.

Convair's B-58 Hustler had been originally designed to contend with The World That Was. It was FAST; a supersonic bomber in an era when such things just didn't exist. It could carry a healthy weapons load in an era when one big honkin' bomb was enough for the mission, and it was highly advanced. It was also, after that day in 1960, far more vulnerable than it had been before as mission profiles shrank down into the weeds in order to avoid the newly emerging SAM threat. The whole purpose of the high-altitude supersonic bomber had disappeared in the wink on an eye and the Hustler quickly followed.

Through the graciousness of the Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum we have a few photographs of that incredibly beautiful airplane to share with you today. Let's take a look.

55-0662 was one of the more famous B-58s. She was involved in a great many of the test programs that brought the Hustler up to operational status (Doppler tests, auto-pilot and nav system testing, and various other related programs) and earned the dubious distinction of being the first B-58A to blow all of her tires on landing. She was the test airframe for the YJ93 program and was re-designated to NB-58A at that time. Finally, she was converted to TB-58A status. She was assigned to the 93rd BW while operational, and went to MASDC in 1970, finally being scrapped out in 1977. She was carrying her NB-58A moniker when this shot was taken in May of 1960. We're going to call her a gorgeous airplane.  Olson via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

This Hustler was another early bird. 55-0666 was the YRB-58A and was used extensively for testing. Among her other accomplishments was a ground-breaking sustained 32 minute flight at Mach 2+. She also made an 11-hour 15-minute test flight, becoming the first B-58 to accomplish a flight of that length. At one time she was involved in the testing of the B-134 pod. Most of the B-58 fleet ended up as pots and pans, but 666 was sent to Chanute AFB for public display at the end of her service career. Ostrowski via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

60-2059 was a service bird and was assigned to the 305th BW when this photo was taken in May of 1964. She's named "Greased Lightning" in this shot, but carried "Can Do" on her flanks earlier on. She achieved fame in a non-stop supersonic flight from Tokyo to London (some 8,000 nautical miles) and ended up on display at the SAC museum at Offutt. The "discolorations" at the tip of her vertical stab are antennae covers; just watch somebody jump up and offer them as proof of the application of a SIOP scheme to the Hustler!  Ostrowski via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

Why Can't They Get It Right?

As the Second World War was drawing to a close the various nations involved in that conflict were all heavily engaged in the development of new technologies, one of which was jet propulsion for military aircraft. All of the major combatants designed and built jet fighters (and bombers, in the case of Nazi Germany) or, at the very least, experimental designs that could have led to a combat aircraft, but only the United States, Great Britain, and Germany actually put such designs into service use.

In the United States, the first of such aircraft was the Lockheed P-80, a seminal design that spawned the P-80/F-80, the T-33, and the F-94. All of these aircraft have been kitted as plastic models (and the P-80 in wood) at one time or another, but for some reason precious few of those kits have been worth having, at least in terms of shape and dimensional accuracy, and it seems that the older kits are by far the better ones in terms of overall fidelity to the real thing.

As a case in point we'd like to offer the once-ubiquitous Lockheed T-33. A two-seat outgrowth of the basic P-80 design, it was built in the thousands and flown by air forces (and naval air arms) around the world. There was a time when anyone learning to fly military aircraft in a non-communist country was almost guaranteed to take at least some part of their training in the "T-Bird", and the type survived in service, as a hack and proficiency trainer, long after it had been superseded in actual service in its original design capacity. A great many examples survive to this day and more than a few are flying in civilian hands, which means there are a lot of real ones for the folks who design plastic kits to measure,  yet the more recent polystyrene offerings of the type leave a great deal to be desired in terms of accuracy. (Our personal favorite kits are the Hawk offering in 1/48th scale and the Hasegawa kit in 1/72nd, the former of which is a survivor of the 1950s and the latter the early 1970s. Take that with however many grains of salt you'd like, but if we were going to build a T-33 those are the kits we'd start with). That said, we aren't going to offer a detailed look at any of those kits today, but rather a selection of photographs from the type's twilight years in the 1980s, in order to give the modeler an opportunity to build something a little unique. Let us proceed.

May of 1980 saw your editor on the ramp at Ellington ANG Base near Houston for an airshow. 58-0707, a T-33A-5-LO, was sitting on the ramp in all her natural metal glory, a rarity in that time period since most of the remaining T-33s in the Air Force had long-since been painted in overall Aircraft Grey. She was carrying a travel pod and an ADTAC shield on her vertical stab, but for all appearances could have stepped right out of the late 1950s. Note that crew access ladder, a purpose-built piece of GSE specific to the type. It could be mounted to either side of the aircraft but often ended up on the right side of the Shooting Star family. That's something to watch if you're building a model of the type.  P Friddell

58-0592 was another T-33A-5-LO that was still in natural metal finish in 1980. She was assigned to the 26th AD when Dennis Kuykendall photographed her in July of that year, and her attractive lines were complimented by the red/white/blue trim of her parent unit. The "T-Bird" is one of the few American military aircraft that had its speedboards deployed when parked, and it was often seen with the flaps down as well, a fact that will be greatly appreciated by the Drop Everything and Let It Hang school of scale modelers! 0592 ended her days on public display in Vermont.   D Kuykendall

The 111th FIS/147th FIG out of Ellington AFB was one of the more famous ANG users of the type, primarily because of the unit's markings during the late 70s and early 80s---the 111th was on F-101B Voodoos at the time, but like most air defense units of the era still had several T-33A on hand for use as hacks. 52-9223 was one of those aircraft. She was built as a T-33A-1-LO and spent an active career in Air Training Command before ending up as one of the favorite weekend mounts of "The Texans". She's shown here in the overall Aircraft Grey scheme so typical of aircraft assigned to ADC (or, in this case, ADTAC) units of the day. She's carrying a travel pod and her speedboards are only partially-deployed.   P Friddell

There was a time, way back in that almost forgotten pre-computer age, when written correspondence was done on paper with some sort of a writing instrument. (Those of you of an appropriate age can explain that to your offspring if you're so-inclined!). We mention that because of our long-standing friendship with Rick Morgan, who shot this lineup of ANG T-33As at NAS Key West in December of 1980. There had to have been a reason why all those "T-Birds" were there at that time, and we're more than certain Rick told us all about it in the letter accompanying the slide, but that letter is long-gone so we can't explain it---how about it, Morgo?  Take a look at the paint schemes on those aircraft, all of which are in aircraft grey except for the one sitting second-to-last, which is still in natural metal. It really shows off the contrast in schemes, doesn't it?  R Morgan

January of 1982 saw Marty Isham in Alaska during one of his assignments to Seward's Ice Box, which is where he shot 53-4900. Built as a T-33A-1-LO, she had recently arrived on the ramp (note the melted snow and ice beneath her aft fuselage) when Marty took this gorgeous photo. There's no travel pod attached, but everything's hanging in this evocative shot, and her crew ladder is sitting on the deck beside her starboard nose. It's a beautiful scheme, and a neat idea for a display.  M Isham

The late, lamented Kelly AFB (known nowadays as Lackland AFB, in an instance where the sibling absorbed the parent during the throes of a late 20th-Century base-closing frenzy) sits in the middle of the southern half of the continental US, a fact that saw a great many military aircraft transitioning through it on cross-countries. It also saw the occasional special event, once of which was the reason for the 49th FIS' 57-0698 to be there in January of 1980. The ANG convention that brought her there during that month caught her in her all her natural metal glory, albeit with Aircraft Grey tip tanks. Note the anti-glare panel on her nose, which is in non-specular black.  Friddell

The boys from Vermont got around. This T-33A-1-LO, 53-5121, was sitting on the same ramp as 57-0698 immediately above when we snapped this portrait. She's from the Vermont ANG's 134th DSES/158th DSEG, and she's immaculate in her overall Aircraft Grey scheme. This time the boarding ladder is on her port side and is in place, giving the modeler an excellent idea of how the aircraft looked when said ladder was fitted. Everything's hanging, as we've come to expect of parked "T-Birds", and she's carrying a travel pod. Those bang seats are common to all of the aircraft in this particular essay, but are not the first-generation seats that were fitted when any of the aircraft in this photo essay were first built. That's a point to watch if you're modeling a two-hole Shooting Star.  P Friddell

There's one thing about grey airplanes---sometimes they really look GREY! The New Jersey ANG's 58-0611 is a case in point. Assigned to the 177th FIG in 1984, she was transient on the ramp at Selfridge when Ron Kowalczyk took her portrait. That tail code treatment is extremely reminiscent of the way the NAV does such things and looks distinctly out of place on this airplane, doesn't it? It's just that sort of anomaly that makes her a fine candidate for a scale model, and her almost nonexistent weathering makes her an easy date for the new or intermediate modeler.  R Kowalcyzk

Here's a "T-Bird" you don't see every day. 51-4120, an early T-33A-1-LO, was, at one time, the oldest flying USAF aircraft in the active inventory. At one point she was converted to NT-33A status with the addition of the nose from an F-94 but was never designated as anything other than a T-33 variant. She was finally retired in 1997 and put on permanent display at the Air Force Museum (we're dinosaurs around here and don't use the currently fashionable name---go figure!) in Dayton, a proud reminder of her glory days. She was still active and on the ramp at an air show when Mark Morgan caught her in October of 1984.   M Morgan

The 84th FITS had 58-0707 on strength in March of 1985, when she was on the ramp at a SoCal air show. She's absolutely pristine and nearing the end of her days in this photo, a beautiful reminder of the Age of the Silver Air Force (and yes; we know she isn't silver!). The T-33 was designed, and originally built, with a pair of .50 caliber guns in the nose, but none of these aircraft carry them. (There was an armed AT-33 variant, but that particular aircraft is beyond the scope of this essay.) Note the black-painted tip of the vertical stab on this bird; it could also have been white, as illustrated by several of the aircraft in this piece.  M Morgan

Virtually all of the ANG F-101B and F-106A units of the 1980s had T-33As attached to them, as beautifully illustrated by the Florida ANG (159th FIS) bird shot at Tyndall in August of 1985 by John "Mad Dog" Kerr. Florida's markings were tasty yet subdued, and were well-suited to the T-33. 52-9803 had been built as a T-33A-1-LO and was last seen in a scrapyard, a sad end to a gorgeous old airplane.   J Kerr

We'll finish up our Ode to the 80s with this shot of Oregon's 53-5959, a T-33A-5-LO, on the ground in March of 1988. The 123rd FIS knew how to paint an airplane, and that's well illustrated on 5959 as she sits in her parking slot at the Home Drome. She ended her days in the air force of Uruguay, where those underwing stations may have been of some value. She's a pretty bird, and this photo is an appropriate way to end our essay on the immortal "T-Bird".   M Morgan

Under the Radar

Jay Miller is a name known to most aerospace historians. The series of publications he produced and, in many cases authored, are still considered to be essential references for their subject aircraft. One of those books is the subject of today's feature.

Aerograph 4, Convair B-58, Jay Miller, AeroFax Press, Arlington, 1985, 136 pp, Illustrated.  If you have an interest in the B-58 and can only own one reference on the type, this is the one. It's safe to say that Jay never wrote or produced a bad book, but several of them were exceptional references, and this title is perhaps the best of them all. The author had full and unrestricted access to the old Convair files while researching the project and it showed in this work---the information presented told the Hustler story with no gaps, and its photographs and technical illustrations helped to make it the book on the type; every pod, every weapon, and every projected development for the aircraft was described and, in most instances, illustrated as well. At a ripe old age of 23 years it's still the standard reference for the type, albeit one you'll only find in used book stores or on one of those internet auction sites these days. It's well worth the price of admission and should be on the shelves of every enthusiast who's interests include the bombers of The Silver Air Force. It's worth seeking out if it's not already on your bookshelf. It's one we recommend without reservation.

A Great Big Hog

To say that Jim Sullivan likes the Chance Vought F4U Corsair is a lot like saying that people like ice cream. A renowned author of naval aeronautica in general, Jim has made the pursuit of "The Hog", aka "Old Hose Nose", a life's work. He's a modeler as well as an author and photographer, and his display shelves sag under the weight of a substantial number of models of the Corsair. He recently took one of his earlier efforts and re-did it, and was kind enough to provide photos and a description of the adventure. We'll let him explain it to you:

Here's the Trumpeter F4U-1D kit that I had originally converted to an FG-1A. It has now been reworked as a F4U-1A in the VF-17 markings of Butch Davenport's #33 Corsair. The structural changes included the replacement of the front landing gear doors, the matching opening in the wheel wells and the replacement of the kit cowling with a corrected one from Vector and the 'wiring' of the engine. I did little to the cockpit as I had corrected it when I originally built the model. I'm pleased to add this one to my collection. Here's the story of the rebuild.

A number of years ago, probably eight or so, I purchased the 1/32nd Trumpeter F4U-1D Corsair kit. At the time I bought it I wasn't monitoring any of the modeling blogs so I had no advance idea of the built-in 'landmines' that kit contained. I went ahead with basically an OOB build except I used after-market decals. I noted the mis-shaped front landing gear doors and corresponding wheel well openings as well as the completely bogus cowl flaps---I have no idea why I didn't correct them on the original build. The other glaring error in the kit was the inclusion of a floorboard in the cockpit, since the early "U-Birds" didn't have it. Fortunately, I did deal with that by replacing the kit parts with a reasonably good resin cockpit set from True Details. As time passed, I really got tired of looking at that Corsair with the mis-shaped parts and I decided to rebuild it. I used the after-market cowling from Vector and robbed the front wheel covers from an old Revell Corsair. I corrected the wheel well openings with a little #11 surgery. I wired the engine with fine copper 'thread' and that was a pain as I couldn't dislodge the engine from the fuselage...I must have used CA glue on the original build so I had to wire it in a mounted position rather than on the modeling table where it would have far easier. After all the replacement parts had been installed, I re-shot the paint with Model Master enamel using a lightened dark sea blue (out of the bottle, it's a bit dark), the stock intermediate blue and flat white with just a tinge of gull gray added. I then clear gloss coated the areas where the decals would be applied. I went to the decals stash box for the red surround national insignia and pulled the #33 markings for VF-17 pilot, Butch Davenport's 2nd "Lonesome Polecat" which were on EagleCals decal sheet #EC32-20a. After the decals had been applied and dried thoroughly, I shot the entire plane with clear flat to blend the paint and decals. I hope you like the way she turned out.

Here's Jim's model as originally built. The markings and paintwork are accurate (and documented by photography in Jim's collection) but the basic Trumpeter kit leaves a little bit to be desired. If you happened to be a novice to Things Chance Vought you'd never know the difference, and most Trumpeter kits look pretty darned good once they're completed and sitting on the shelf, but a great many of them have what we're going to call "issues". Such is the case with their F4U.

We're big fans of the whole Reduction for Production thing, but it's not always easy to do. Re-read Jim's comments about having to re-wire that engine in situ on the completed airframe, then consider just how big a 1/32nd scale Corsair really is. The operation was no easy date, and that's for certain!

Here's a different view of Jim's "Hog" in rework. Note that he's dealing with details rather than major structure---we point this out because the whole rework thing is an extremely viable way to take an older model, correct its problems and give it a facelift, and put it on the shelf in a new guise. It's usually easier to do it that way than it is to start a brand new kit and is, in our personal experience, a lot of fun as well. We highly recommend the process.

Ready for decals and final detailing, the rework is looking good. Not every modeler is geared to stripping decals and sanding away old paintwork, but it isn't that difficult to do; neither is mild rework when it's required. Sometimes the toughest thing about this sort of project is getting the dust off the donor airframe! (And no; we're not saying this particular model was ever dusty!)

Here's what that wiring looked like while Jim was replacing it. It's always a Good Thing to have something to hold your engine with, but it gets a little more complicated when that something happens to be a 1/32nd scale Corsair! Wiring the engine while it's sitting on the completed airframe is really tough when said airframe is as big as an F4U is, but sometimes you have to deal with the cards you're dealt. We think it looks pretty good!

And the Winner is...  This is how the rework came out; pretty impressive, huh? The simple changes made by Jim during the effort moved the model from Really Good to Great, and they were accomplished with minimal effort on his part. There's been a lot of angst over on one of those internet modeling boards of late regarding the authenticity of dropped flaps on a parked Corsair (and everything up, not dropped, is how the NATOPS says to do it), but there are a whole bunch of period photos out there to show that it was often done. In point of fact, about the only time you could say it wouldn't be seen would be on an aircraft with folded wings, and even then we'd probably comment that it's best to never say never.

Here's a 3/4 front view of the "Polecat". There's absolutely no doubt in our minds that the new Tamiya "Hog", a straight-up F4U-1, will eventually be joined in their catalog by an F4U-1A and an F4U-1D. There's also no doubt in our minds that Jim's rework will be able to hold its own in that stellar company when the day finally comes.

And what some folks might call a parting shot. That Trumpeter kit has its flaws, although they're fortunately relatively minor in nature once you get past that botched cowling, and it's not what you could ever call an inexpensive purchase; the retail price alone could make it a prime candidate for rework rather than the scrap yard! This rework shows what can be accomplished with just a little bit of effort and the desire to keep an existing model. It's an avenue you might try on one of your own shelf queens---the end result is well worth the effort involved!

Many thanks to Jim Sullivan for providing both the photography and the details of this project. With any luck it will inspire you to take a look at the older models on your own shelves and breath new life into one of them. It's the sort of thing we highly recommend.

Runnin' With the Pack

Bobby Rocker has been an essential component of this project from its earliest days. His remarkable collection of Second World War photography has allowed us a window on those days that's both provocative and informative. Here's a photo to illustrate the point.

The Year is 1942, and the place is the South Pacific. The often trite and generally over-used term "in harm's way" had yet to become a part of the lexicon, but that increasingly banal phrase that's so heavily overworked by the contemporary press could easily describe this photograph. 1942 was a seminal year for the American war effort; Coral Sea, Midway, Santa Cruz, and the invasion of Guadalcanal all took place within the confines of those 365 calendar days, but so did the fall of Java and the Philippines. It was, in every sense, a critical year. In this classic photo we can get a feel for the courage of those days. The flight deck belongs to CV-6 USS Enterprise, while the lead ship is either the Yorktown or the Hornet, neither of which would survive to see the dawn of 1943. That's something to remember the next time you build a model of an airplane, or a ship, or a tank from that era. This image, and so many others we've run on this site, documents an era of courage and resolve, and in so many ways those models we love so much were paid for by the blood of our fathers and grandfathers. Let's raise a glass...   National Archives via Rocker Collection

Happy Snaps

Last time we ran a Happy Snap for you we presented a photo of an A-7 on a carrier deck. We figured it fit the criteria, even though the aircraft wasn't yet airborne, because it was shot by a naval aviator in an operational setting and because the airplane was from his air wing. We're extending that logic a little bit today and presenting yet another ground-bound image, but it's more than a little bit special. Let's take a look.

Doug Barbier is a friend, and has been for a number of years. He's an excellent modeler and writer, and a superior photographer. He's an aviator, with a number of hours under his belt hauling grandma and the kids all over the place in a 747. At one time he was also an Air Force fighter pilot of the Sierra Hotel variety. His photography, as well as other unique images from his collection, have graced these pages from time to time, as have a number of informative and generally hilarious personal reminiscences. He's one of the cadre of readers who never fails to let us know when we've been less than accurate in a photo essay or article. That's Doug standing on the far right in the photo immediately above, and it's a Sad Day for him; the picture records his last operational hop in a Michigan ANG F-16A prior to retirement from the Guard. Thanks for your service, Doug, and special thanks for all the help you've given, and continue to give, to this project.  Photograph via Doug Barbier

The Relief Tube

We only have a couple of entries for you today, so let's get going:

When we ran that "FORD" piece an issue or so back, we totally misidentified a towed target apparatus that was hanging off a port wing station. We received and printed a correction on that one almost before the electrons were dry (can that even happen?), after which we also received corrections from Tommy Thomason and Rick Morgan. Tommy sent along a couple of photos that provide a better view of what's going on here---take it away, Tommy!

Phil, it's a rig for towing a Del Mar (?) high-speed target. I don't remember what the designation was. It could be accommodated on a pylon of various aircraft. Tommy

Here's an F3H with the Del Mar target apparatus in place---note how it positions the target up and away from the airframe. This rig would make a unique addition to any scale model of an airplane that was cleared to use it but it would, to the best of our knowledge, have to be a scratch-build sort of proposition. The resin aftermarket can actually sell yet another set of Spitfire wheels or a new Me109 cockpit, but there's just not enough of a market to justify manufacturing something as esoteric as this. More's the pity!  Thomason Collection
And here's a slightly better shot of the Del Mar rig on an FJ-4. The pods on the inboard system are part of the apparatus, and are also visible on the F3H shot above. Those pods and uniquely-shaped towed targets make replication of the system a little more complicated that most modelers would be willing to undertake, but what a neat addition to a model. We'll add it to our bucket list.   Thomason Collection

Also, one of those F-8s we ran last time around was a little more unique than we thought and no; it's not the obvious one. Let's let Rick Morgan tell us about it.

Phil- That shot of the NATF F-8L you posted is one of those aircraft you used to dream about catching on a ramp because of its rarity. NATF had ten aircraft assigned in June 1972 to support its role developing and testing carrier launch and recovery systems (catapults and arresting gear). This included a pair of A-4Cs and single F-8L, YF-4J, F-4B, A-7A, A-6A, A-3B as well as a U-1B Otter and HH-2C. The facility now normally uses aircraft up from Pax River for work. Rick

Wow---who would've known? (Obviously not me!!!) Thanks, Morgo, and thanks to Mark Nankivil for sharing the photo with us!

One final thing; you may have noticed that we're back on an almost schedule again. We intend to stay on it too, so get ready for the boogie. Meanwhile, here's a glimpse of the sort of thing that lies in store in the months ahead:

A pair of 1st Pursuit Squadron/American Volunteer Group Curtiss Hawk 81s sit on the ramp at the RAF station near Toungoo, Burma, early in 1942. At this point in the AVG's history the mission was familiarization and training, but that would change soon enough.   Jack D. Jones

Meanwhile, that's it for this issue. We've got some interesting things planned for the near future, so stick around! Until then, be good to your neighbor. We'll meet again real soon.

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