Author Archive

Apr 29

Flightdeck Friday: F4D Skyray (Part 2)

Thursday, April 29, 2010 10:16 PM

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Flying the Ford: Compared to the other aircraft of the era, the Ford was a very maneuverable fighter, featuring an incredible roll rate. With light wing loading it could handle high a conditions without the need for aerodynamic assists like leading edge slats, making for a fairly clean wing. One Navy test pilot who flew the Skyray said that Air Force chase-plane pilots were desperate to find a USAF machine that could out-turn it. Indeed, the XF4D could maintain a 3+g turn in level flight at 40,000 ft when its contemporaries struggled for 2g. Nevertheless, flying the F4D proved to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 18

Out of the Box Thinking and Execution 68 Years Ago: The Doolittle Raid

Sunday, April 18, 2010 2:17 PM

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Sixty-eight years ago . . . . . . guts, determination, innovation & courage were defined (and well before Joint was “cool”) Conceived in the dark aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the raid had its genesis in the idea of CAPT Frank Lowe, USN who predicted that Army twin-engine bombers could be launched form a carrier under the right conditions. Planned by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, USA and executed by 16 modified B-25B’s of the 34th BS, 17th BG flying from the deck of the USS Hornet (CV-8 ) – 650 nm from Tokyo, history was made and… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 16

Flightdeck Friday! Douglas F4D Skyray (Part 1)

Friday, April 16, 2010 12:07 AM

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Presented this week: The Douglas F4D/F-6A Skyray. Another of Ed Heinemann’s now-classic designs, the F4D counted a number of firsts in its history, but like the F3H, would be victimized by engines lagging in development. Despite this shortcoming and a short operational life, the F4D (or as it was popularly known, “Ford”) claimed a world’s absolute speed record, the first for a carrier-based aircraft and several time-to-climb records. An interceptor by design, it served for a time with the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) as well as equipping Marine and Reserve units. This week we cover the early period… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 15

15 April 1969: Deep Sea 129 Shootdown

Thursday, April 15, 2010 8:45 PM

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EC-121M "PR-21" of VQ-1 in flight in 1969.

15 April 1969 (Korean time) marked the final flight of a Navy VQ-1 EC-121 callsign Deep Sea 129. Roughly 100 nautical miles off the North Korean peninsular site where the Hermit Kingdom today defies the world with its ballistic missile tests, lies the watery grave of 31 Americans (2 bodies were later recovered): The crew of Deep Sea 129: LCDR James H. Overstreet, LT John N. Dzema, LT Dennis B. Gleason, LT Peter P. Perrottey, LT John H. Singer, LT Robert F. Taylor, * LTJG Joseph R. Ribar, LTJG Robert J. Sykora, LTJG Norman E. Wilkerson, ADRC Marshall H. McNamara,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 9

Fightdeck Friday: Of Afterburners and Balsawood

Friday, April 9, 2010 12:09 AM

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Certain pairings, on the surface, seem to be made for each other – Bogie & Bacall, rum & Coke ®, etc. But balsa wood and afterburners? Almost seems counter-intuitive. So of course – ecce, this weeks feature: the Vought F6U Pirate, the Navy’s first composite-built and afterburner fighter.

 
Apr 8

On This Date in Naval Aviation History: Aviation Greens Make A Comeback

Thursday, April 8, 2010 12:30 AM

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Ah, Aviation Working Greens – my absolute favorite day-to-day uniform to wear during Norfolk winters and guaranteed way to get a non-aviator’s head to explode in the pre-Lehman years. Lots of mythology and conjecture as to how we came to acquire (a) the green uniform and (b) the accompanying brown shoes, so maybe this will help – some… – SJS 8 Apr 1925–Almost two years after the special aviation uniform had been abolished, new uniforms of forestry green for winter and khaki for summer were authorized for Naval Aviators, Observers, and other officers on duty involving flying. When naval aviators… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 2

Flightdeck Friday: The F6F-3/-5 Hellcat – Scourge of the Pacific

Friday, April 2, 2010 12:06 AM

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Flightdeck Friday? Over at my site, some number of years back I began a series of weekly (sort of) posts that focused on the unheralded, the obscure and sometimes, just the downright ‘what the heck were they thinking of’ aircraft that have found their way into naval aviation. Over time that morphed into a wider look at all aspects of naval aviation and including some of the joint attributes and contributions thereof. I’m bringing that over to the Naval History blog as a semi-regular end of the week series, but beginning with a familiar subject — at least I hope… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 1

Historical Correspondence: Arleigh Burke to Ike

Thursday, April 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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Received this example of correspondence between a couple of warriors from a friend sometime back — thought it might bring a smile. . .

 
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