Saturday, April 19, 2008

North East Flyers, No Guts No Glory

Back in the air again today, this time we are scheduled to meet up with the North East Flyers group for a lunch run to KMIV, Millville NJ. I got a call from Rob who had to cancel on today's trip so that means we get to sleep in a bit later. The plan was to head to N10 Perkiomen for Rob to join us but that will have to be another day.

Mary and I headed out to the airport around 9 am and took our time uncovering and pre-flighting 679er. There was a good bit of activity this morning at Red Eagle. We had multiple ramp neighbors getting ready to head out. Actually Mary and I were the last to go from the north side and Brian in his Cessna 150 scooted out after us from the south side of the airport. There was a good bit of haze stuck in place over Delaware and New Jersey. The cooling tower at Salem nuke plant was belching steam straight up into the air with no horizontal movement. The winds were variable at Wilmington and pretty much the same at Millville according to the Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF). Movie clip landing at Millville.

The AOPA web page was offline this morning so that caused some confusion but folks wandered in between 11 - 11:30. Jerry from Orange County arrived shortly after we did followed by Brian, Gary and Scott. Tim and his wife Tara made it in from Chester County MQS and a few others made it as we were served breakfast/lunch. The Flight Line was crowded today but Verra pushed tables together and took care of our group even though we came in at various times. I guess around 12:30 we made our way to Tom Duffy's hangar to view his war bird collection. Terry who is Chief Mechanic and Pilot waited as the group arrived to start his tour. The tour was really well done as Terry provided details on each aircraft from a bit of history related to military service right down to the mechanical specs and features that made each aircraft different but lethal in its effort to rule the sky.
First on our list was the T6 Texan...The North American T-6 Texan was known as "the pilot maker" because of its important role in preparing pilots for combat. Derived from the 1935 North American NA-16 prototype, a cantilever low-wing monoplane, the Texan filled the need for a basic combat trainer during WW II and beyond. The original order of 94 AT-6 Texans differed little from subsequent versions such as the AT-6A (1,847) which revised the fuel tanks or the AT-6D (4,388) and AT-6F (956) that strengthened as well as lightened the frame with the use of light alloys. In all, more than 17,000 airframes were designed to the Texan standards.

North Americans rapid production of the T-6 Texan coincided with the wartime expansion of the United States air war commitment. As of 1940, the required flights hours for combat pilots earning their wings had been cut to just 200 during a shortened training period of seven months. Of those hours, 75 were logged in the AT-6. U.S. Navy pilots flew the airplane extensively, under the SNJ designation, the most common of these being the SNJ-4, SNJ-5 and SNJ-6.
Next on the tour was the famed P-47 Thunderbolt which by the way was extensively used at Millville, NJ. The Thunderbolt was the most famous of all the Republic aircraft in WWII. First flown on 6 May 1941, the P-47 was designed as a (then) large, high-performance fighter/bomber, utilizing the large Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine to give it excellent performance and a large load-carrying capability. The first deliveries of the P-47 took place in June 1942, when the US Army Air Corps began flying it in the European Theater.
Though it was an excellent airplane, several improvements were made as production continued, with each improvement adding power, maneuverability and range. As the war progressed, the Thunderbolt, or "Jug," as it was affectionately called, gained a reputation as a reliable and extremely tough airplane, able to take incredible amounts of damage and still return its pilot home safely. P-47s logged almost 2 million flight hours during the war, during which they were responsible for the destruction of over 7,000 enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground in the European Theater alone. Later in the war, Jugs served as escort fighters for B-29 bombers in the Pacific. Mostly, though, they excelled in the ground-attack role, strafing and bombing their way across the battlefields of Europe. Early versions, up through the P-47C, had "razorback" fuselages, but the popular P-47D featured a bubble canopy which gave the pilot increased rearward visibility.

P-47s were also used during the war by the air forces of Brazil, England, France, Mexico and the Soviet Union. Following the war, the Jug served for nine more years in the US, flown by the Air National Guard. It continued to serve for many additional years with the air forces of over 15 nations around the world. The markings are that of P-47D-25-RE "No Guts - No Glory", which belonged to the 82nd FS, 78th FG, of the 8th AF, based at Duxford. Piloted by LT. BEN MAYO, CMDR OFFICER 82ND FS, 78TH FG, 1944
Next we headed over to my favorite in this stable of beauties the Vought F4U-1 Corsair. Development of the Corsair began in 1938, when the US Navy issued a request for a new single-seat carrier-based fighter. The Chance-Vought company won the contract with their unique, gull-winged airframe pulled by the largest engine then available, the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp. The wing design was necessitated by the tall landing gear which was, in turn, necessitated by the huge propeller required to propel the plane at the desired high speeds.
The prototype of the Corsair was first flown on 29 May 1940, but due to design revisions, the first production F4U-1 Corsair was not delivered until 31 July 1942. Further landing gear and cockpit modifications resulted in a new variant, the F4U-1A, which was the first version approved for carrier duty.

The Corsair served with the US Navy, US Marines, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (and later, the French Aeronavale), and quickly became the most capable carrier-based fighter/bomber of the war. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in additional aircraft being produced by the Goodyear Company (as the FG-1) and the Brewster Company (as the F3A-1). Production ceased in 1952. Over two dozen Corsairs are believed to be still airworthy, most in the United States. This aircraft is in the markings of "Marine's Dream", a Vought F4U-1 Corsair piloted by Edwin L. Olander (WWII Ace - 5 confirmed, 4 probable), with VMF-214, USMC, 1943.
Finally we come to the newest addition a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX. This aircraft was built at Castle Bromwich in 1944. It was not uncommon for this type of aircraft to serve with different countries. Once sent for service to a central location the aircraft were repaired and immediately sent to the first need location. This aircraft served with a Polish Sqn at Chailey ALG in Sussex on 3/5/44. Then to 329 Sqn at Merston on 15/6/44 and then to 84 Group Support Unit of 2nd Tactical Air Force in Wiltshire on 29/6/44. It was then moved to 3501 Support Unit on 9/7/44 and then to 165 Sqn at Detling on 30/8/44. It again transferred with this unit to Bentwaters in Suffolk on 16/12/44. It's not done yet, next stop Scottish Aviation on 6/2/45 for repairs and then to 29 MU at High Ercall on 13/4/45. Another move to Royal Netherlands Air Force on 25/9/46. Sadly it was Mounted on a pole at Eindhoven from where it was rescued in 1991.
In 1991 it headed to Texas and in October 1993 rebuilt to stock RAF condition. Owned by Raybourne Thompson and registered N959RT in 2002. First restoration flight on 19th February 2004 at Covey Trails airport in Texas. Sold to Tom Duffy and based in Millville, New Jersey in November 2007. (thanks to Kenneth Johansson - 2004).

After the tour we passed on the Army Airfield museum so that I could take Steve for a ride. We left the ladies on the deck of the Cornerstone Restaurant sipping cold ice tea as we saddled up for a short hop to Cape May (KWWD). I am not usually the one doing the passenger briefing (Mary's job) but I gave it a go. I covered everything but the stall horn which Mary reminded about when we returned.

Steve and I taxied out to runway one four and waited for an aircraft on final to land. Once they were clear we took off and pointed south towards Cape May and into the haze. The haze was so nasty today you could not see across the Delaware Bay. We flew over WWD at 2500' and turned towards the Cape May Lewes Ferry Terminal. I made a shallow bank right turn to give Steve a good look and then came back to level heading towards Millville. Steve commented on all the sand pits and the color of the water. We joined the left downwind for runway one four and I floated one in for my landing. Stall horn ? What stall horn, I rounded off a bit high and floated on down as afraid to get the wheels dirty, not my best but it was soft. Unfortunately a co-worker was taking pictures so I'm sure I'll hear about it.

Mary and I drank down some ice tea before heading home. It was a great day! Good eats, GREAT friends, FANTASTIC War bird tour and of course I was flying. Two more hours in the log and we are finally home. Mary is planting flowers, I'm finishing up the trip report then we are going to hot tub and relax.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Wow Gary, that looks like a fantastic time, I really wish I could have been there. I have a radio control Corsair, that took me 2 years to build, and the opportunity to be that close would have been amazing. You probably would have had to pick me up off the floor once I saw her,... I nearly fell off my computer chair just looking at your photos. (See my YouTube page for a video of my RC Corsair flying.) I can't wait to get my certificate and get my wife to come along with me, looks like you had a good group of spouses/ladies there. I flew my lesson today (N10-ABE-N10) and then returned home to paint interior window trim and finish up around the house from getting windows installed yesterday. Certainly was a nice day to fly. Thanks again for the offer though, I'll definitely look forward to meeting up with you and Mary soon.