Archive for the 'Aircraft' Category

Apr 10

Seaplanes: The End (of the beginning)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:01 AM

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P6M Seamaster takeoff

By the end of the war, the Navy had a number of advanced seaplane designs in the works – the JRM Mars and H-4 Hercules, the Spruce Goose, in particular. These were developed as large (or, in the Hercules case, extremely large) transport seaplanes. The H-4 had a similar mission to some of the earliest Navy seaplanes: crossing the Atlantic, although it would do it with a 150,000 pound payload. With the end of the war, however, development largely stopped to make way for new operational challenges and design paradigms. Captured German hydrodynamics and aerodynamics research complemented contemporary American knowledge… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 29

Flying the Rubber Cows

Thursday, March 29, 2018 10:54 AM

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A kite balloon, viewed from the deck of a battleship ca. World War I. Naval Institute Photo Archive

This article by Alan L. Morse originally appeared in the February 1984 issue of Proceedings. What’s in a nickname? Today’s Goodyear Blimp was named after the fat, fictitious British Army Colonel Blimp. But one of its ancestors – the World War I kite balloon – was whimsically christened the “rubber cow,” and went to sea tethered to a “tin can.” They were the least glamorous of World War I pilots. Their aircraft were unlovely, unromantic, uncomfortable, and unpowered. They fought no aerial duels with the Red Baron or skimmed the trees on reconnaissance missions. These pilots never fired a shot… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 15

Seaplanes Go To War

Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:01 AM

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PBY Catalina Sights IJN Fleet 6/42 by John Hamilton

World War II for the flying boats started sooner than many. PBY Catalinas and PBM Mariners, a newer flying boat built to complement the PBY, were sent to Iceland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and other bases as part of the Neutrality Patrol where they searched for German U-Boats. In May of 1941, Lieutenant Leonard Smith was helping train RAF pilots in PBY operations when he took part in a mission that spotted the German battleship Bismarck, which led to its sinking. The seaplanes escorted the Marine contingent to Iceland in July of the same year.[1] When hostilities commenced, the seaplanes were there…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 13

USCG Helos to the Rescue (Part 3)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:13 AM

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2a

On 15 February1943, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King assigned responsibility for sea-going development of helicopters to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has proven time and time again that the helicopter is a unique instrument for the saving of human lives.” Here are some of the important missions flown by the service’s helicopters. ‘Yes, I Can’ The first life-saving mission by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer took place on 10 December 1987. At 1936 the Bluebird, a 26-foot fishing vessel requested assistance. The duty helicopter crew at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, Alaska, quickly boarded HH–3F… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 6

Meeting “Butch” O’Hare

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Admiral John S. "Jimmy" Thach, USN (Ret.) (1905-1981)

In this excerpt from his 1970 Oral History Interview with CDR Etta-Belle Kitchen, USN (Ret.), then-Admiral Thach recounts his first first meeting with future Medal of Honor recipient and fighter ace Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare in 1940. The complete oral history is a delightfully told memoir from the man who was probably the Navy’s foremost fighter plane tactician of World War II. He is best known as the inventor of the “Thach Weave,” whereby U.S. fighters could successfully combat Japanese Zeros. Thach tells of devising the maneuver at home with kitchen matches. In a series of enjoyable tales, Thach describes his Naval Academy… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 20

USCG Helos to the Rescue (Part 2)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 12:01 AM

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HH-52A

On 15 February1943, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King assigned responsibility for sea-going development of helicopters to the U.S. Coast Guard. The first helicopter to enter the Navy’s inventory, an HNS-1, was tested and accepted by naval aviation’s first designated helicopter pilot, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Frank Erickson, at Bridgeport, Connecticut on 16 October 1943. This was the beginning of a 74-year journey featuring man’s ingenuity, skill, and daring as industry and technology constantly improved rotary-wing aircraft.

 
Jan 31

Seaplanes: The Beginning

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:01 AM

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NC4 returning over the Atlantic

The first true seaplanes, built by the Glenn Curtis company in 1911, started a revolution in aircraft performance. With their clean, sleek lines, and lack of landing gear weight, seaplanes held many of the early speed and range records. Additionally, the ability to land on water was a good insurance policy given the unreliable engines of the day. Two of the three aircraft the Navy first purchased in 1911 were floatplanes, and the third was later converted to one. In 1912, the Navy began experiments associated with seaplane performance, and by 1914 a project was underway to build a long-endurance… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 13

USCG Helos to the Rescue (Part 1)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:52 PM

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In 1943, U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pioneer Commander Frank Erickson was named the commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn, New York.

On 15 February 1943, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King assigned responsibility for sea-going development of helicopters to the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral King quickly realized the helicopter’s unique capabilities were a way to increase maritime security during World War II. The first helicopter to enter the Navy’s inventory, an HNS-1, was tested and accepted by naval aviation’s first designated helicopter pilot, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Frank Erickson, at Bridgeport, Connecticut on 16 October 1943. Ericson had brought his trusted lead helicopter mechanic, Aviation Machinist’s Mate Oliver Perry along with him to inspect the aircraft and sit in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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