David Cenciotti posted: "Shot with GoPro cameras attached to Air Tahiti Nui's Airbus 340, the following footage is particularly interesting as it shows ground and air ops around the wide body from several points of view during scheduled services to/from French Polynesia. Somethi"
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Can't imagine anything like this being accomplished today.Ford Motor Co. had its own pilots to test the B-24.B-24 Liberators Ford was building for the ARMY at the rate of one every 55 MINUTES.A little bit of history for aviation buffs.This was BEFORE Pearl Harbor.Ford's B-24 Bomber Plant at Willow Run, Mich. Henry Ford was determined that he could mass produce bombers just as he had done with cars.He built the Willow Run assembly plant and proved it.It was the world's largest building under one roof. This film will absolutely blow you away - one B-24 every 55 minutes.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Subject: One Pilot's versionThis is so important, and I know in my heart that they think the "fickle public" will just forget it. I for one cannot forget that they let our citizens, who were working for our country, plus the SEALS who rushed to defend them, our county's top decision-makers let them die without any attempt to defend them!!This should make it very clear what happened by long-time Air Force experts who flew many a rescue in their time. This is lengthy, but he has a lot to say, and if you want to know the "real skinny", read on…..IN GOD WE TRUST
One Pilot's versionAn experienced pilot speaks out on the Benghazi disaster!Begin forwarded message:
AIR FORCE EXPERT ON BENGHAZIEVERYONE and I MEAN EVERYONE NEEDS TO PASS THIS ON!"Hands" Handley was my boss when I was on the USAF Stan Eval team
when you and I were both stationed at Ramstein in the late 70's. I
guess "outspoken" is an understatement because Phil would tell it like
it was and that is the main reason he was so well respected by all of
those who ever worked for him. As far as I know he was the only pilot
"living" to loop a C-130. His "outspokenness" did get him fired as the
F-15 wing commander at Luke. At his going away speech he was given a 45
minute (or something close to that....I wasn't there, just heard about
it) standing ovation. Phil is kind of like a George Patton in that he
needed to be wrapped up and saved for combat. He is a hell of a guy and
I would fly with him anytime.
GentlemenI would say every US fighter pilot, retired or on active duty, knows
that Panetta and Dempsey both are full of crap when they said there was
no time to send help to Benghazi . They claim it was a problem of
"time/space." All my friends and I say, "Bullshit." We know they could
have gotten F-16s there from Aviano."Hands" Handley is a well-respected USAF fighter pilot. Here is hisshort resume and what he just wrote about Benghazi below that. If
anything, Handley is pessimistic in his timeline of when F-16s could
have reached Benghazi . I think they could have been airborne even
sooner and turned quicker at Sig. The decision to not try was not based
on capability. We had the operational capability in every way.I hope Handley's taxes are in order. His IRS audit is forthcoming.Eagle BiographyColonel Phil "Hands" HandleyColonel Phil "Hands" Handley is credited with the highest speed air-
to-air gun kill in the history of aerial combat. He flew operationally
for all but 11 months of a 26-year career, in aircraft such as the F-86
Saber, F-15 Eagle, and the C-130A Hercules. Additionally, he flew 275
combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia in the F- 4D and
F-4E. His awards include 21 Air Medals, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses,
and the Silver Star.
Betrayal in BenghaziPhil "Hands" Handley Colonel, USAF (Ret.)The combat code of the US Military is that we don't abandon our dead
or wounded on the battlefield. In US Air Force lingo, fighter pilots
don't run off and leave their wingmen. If one of our own is shot down,
still alive and not yet in enemy captivity, we will either come to get
him or die trying.Among America 's fighting forces, the calm, sure knowledge that such
an irrevocable bond exists is priceless. Along with individual faith
and personal grit, it is a sacred trust that has often sustained hope
in the face of terribly long odds.The disgraceful abandonment of our Ambassador and those brave
ex-SEALs who fought to their deaths to save others in that compound is
nothing short of dereliction-of-duty.Additionally, the patently absurd cover-up scenario that was
fabricated in the aftermath was an outright lie in an attempt to shield
the President and the Secretary of State from responsibility.It has been over eight months since the attack on our compound in
Benghazi . The White House strategy, with the aid of a "lap dog" press
has been to run out the clock before the truth is forthcoming.
The recent testimonies of the three "whistle blowers" have reopened
the subject and hopefully will lead to exposure and disgrace of those
responsible for this embarrassing debacle. It would appear that the
most recent firewall which the Administration is counting on is the
contention "that there were simply no military assets that could be
brought to bear in time to make a difference" mainly due to the
unavailability of tanker support for fighter aircraft.This is simply BS, regardless how many supposed "experts" the
Administration trot out to make such an assertion.The bottom line is that even if the closest asset capable of
response was half-way around the world, you don't just sit on your
penguin ass and do nothing.The fact is that the closest asset was not half-way around the
world, but as near as Aviano Air Base , Italy where two squadrons of
F-16Cs are based.Consider the following scenario (all times Benghazi local): When
Hicks in Tripoli receives a call at 9:40 PM from Ambassador Stevens
informing him "Greg, we are under attack!" (his last words), he
immediately notifies all agencies and prepares for the immediate
initiation of an existing "Emergency Response Plan."At AFRICON, General Carter Ham attempts to mount a rescue effort,
but is told to "stand down". By 10:30 PM an unarmed drone is overheadthe compound and streaming live feed to various "Command and Control
Agencies" and everyone watching that feed knew damn well what was going on.At 11:30 PM Woods, Doherty and five others leave Tripoli, arriving
in Benghazi at 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning, where they hold off the
attacking mob from the roof of the compound until they are killed by a
mortar direct hit at 4:00 AM.So nothing could have been done, eh? Nonsense. If one assumes that
tanker support really "was not available" what about this:When at 10:00 PM AFRICON alerts the 31st TFW Command Post in Aviano
Air Base, Italy of the attack, the Wing Commander orders preparation
for the launch of two F-16s and advises the Command Post at NAS
Sigonella to prepare for hot pit refueling and quick turn of the jets.By 11:30 PM, two F-16Cs with drop tanks and each armed with five
hundred 20 MM rounds are airborne. Flying at 0.92 mach they will cover
the 522 nautical miles directly to NAS Sigonella in 1.08 hours. While
in-route, the flight lead is informed of the tactical situation, rules
of engagement, and radio frequencies to use.The jets depart Sigonella at 1:10 AM with full fuel load and cover
the 377 nautical miles directly to Benghazi in 0.8 hours, arriving at
1:50 AM which would be 20 minutes after the arrival of Woods, Doherty
and their team.Providing that the two F-16s initial pass over the mob, in full
afterburner at 200 feet and 550 knots did not stop the attack in its
tracks, only a few well placed strafing runs on targets of opportunity
would assuredly do the trick.Were the F-16s fuel state insufficient to recover at Sigonella after
jettisoning their external drop tanks, they could easily do so at
Tripoli International Airport , only one-half hour away.As for those hand-wringing naysayers who would worry about IFR
clearances, border crossing authority, collateral damage, landing
rights, political correctness and dozens of other reasons not to act"
screw them. It is high time that our "leadership" get their priorities
straight and put America 's interests first.The end result would be that Woods and Doherty would be alive.
Dozens in the attacking rabble would be rendezvousing with "72 virgins"
and a clear message would have been sent to the next worthless POS
terrorist contemplating an attack on Americans that it is not really a
good idea to "tug" on Superman's cape.Of course all this would depend upon a Commander In Chief that was
more concerned with saving the lives of those he put in harm's way than
getting his crew rested for a campaign fund raising event in Las Vegas
the next day. As well as a Secretary of State that actually understood
"What difference did it make?", or a Secretary of Defense whose
immediate response was not to the effect that "One of the military
tenants is that you don't commit assets until you fully understand the
tactical situation." Was he not watching a live feed from the unarmed
drone, and he didn't understand the tactical situation?YGBSM!Ultimately it comes down to the question of who gave that order to
stand down? Whoever that coward turns out to be should be exposed,
removed from office, and face criminal charges for dereliction of duty.
The combat forces of the Untied States of America deserve leadership
that really does "have their back" when the chips are down.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,In hopes that -- come morning -- they all would be there.
The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.
When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,Called for clearance to land at the airport below.
He barked his transmission so lively and quick,I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,The better to welcome this magical flight.
He called his position, no room for denial,"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!
With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!On Comet! On Cupid!"
What pills was he takin'?
While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their heads,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower.
"He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,Then I heard, "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking.
"He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh,And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost,And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.
His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.
He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead.
"He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.
And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"
And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west.
"Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed through the night,"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."
Monday, December 23, 2013
Most Americans who were not adults during WWII have no understanding of the magnitude of it. This listing of some of the aircraft facts gives a bit of insight to it.
276,000 aircraft were manufactured in the U.S.
43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat.
14,000 lost in the continental U.S.
The U.S. civilian population maintained a dedicated effort for four years, many working long hours seven days per week and often also volunteering for other work. WWII was the largest human effort in history.
Statistics are from Flight Journal magazine.
THE PRICE OF VICTORY (cost of an aircraft in WWII dollars)
B-17 $204,370. P-40 $44,892.
B-24 $215,516. P-47 $85,578.
B-25 $142,194. P-51 $51,572.
B-26 $192,426. C-47 $88,574.
B-29 $605,360. PT-17 $15,052.
P-38 $97,147. AT-6 $22,952.
PLANES A DAY WORLDWIDE
From Germany's invasion of Poland Sept. 1, 1939 and ending with Japan's surrender Sept. 2, 1945 --- 2,433 days
From 1942 onward, America averaged 170 planes lost a day.
How many is a 1,000 planes? B-17 production (12,731) wingtip to wingtip would extend 250 miles. 1,000 B-17s carried 2.5 million gallons of high octane fuel and required 10,000 airmen to fly and fight them.
THE NUMBERS GAME
9.7 billion gallons of gasoline consumed, 1942-1945.
107.8 million hours flown, 1943-1945.
459.7 billion rounds of aircraft ammo fired overseas, 1942-1945.
7.9 million bombs dropped overseas, 1943-1945.
2.3 million combat sorties, 1941-1945 (one sortie = one takeoff).
299,230 aircraft accepted, 1940-1945.
808,471 aircraft engines accepted, 1940-1945.
799,972 propellers accepted, 1940-1945.
WWII MOST-PRODUCED COMBAT AIRCRAFT
Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik 36,183
Yakolev Yak-1,-3,-7, -9 31,000+
Messerschmitt Bf-109 30,480
Focke-Wulf Fw-190 29,001
Supermarine Spitfire/Seafire 20,351
Convair B-24/PB4Y Liberator/Privateer 18,482
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt 15,686
North American P-51 Mustang 15,875
Junkers Ju-88 15,000
Hawker Hurricane 14,533
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk 13,738
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 12,731
Vought F4U Corsair 12,571
Grumman F6F Hellcat 12,275
Petlyakov Pe-2 11,400
Lockheed P-38 Lightning 10,037
Mitsubishi A6M Zero 10,449
North American B-25 Mitchell 9,984
Lavochkin LaGG-5 9,920
Note: The LaGG-5 was produced with both water-cooled (top) and air-cooled (bottom) engines.
Grumman TBM Avenger 9,837
Bell P-39 Airacobra 9,584
Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar 5,919
DeHavilland Mosquito 7,780
Avro Lancaster 7,377
Heinkel He-111 6,508
Handley-Page Halifax 6,176
Messerschmitt Bf-110 6,150
Lavochkin LaGG-7 5,753
Boeing B-29 Superfortress 3,970
Short Stirling 2,383
Sources: Rene Francillon, Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific war; Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe Diaries; Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes; Wikipedia.
According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes --- inside the continental United States. They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.
Think about those numbers. They average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month --- nearly 40 a day. (Less than one accident in four resulted in totaled aircraft, however.)
It gets worse.....
Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared enroute from the US to foreign climes. But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.
In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England. In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe.
Pacific theater losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed. The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas.
On an avrage, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theaters and another 18,000 wounded. Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned. More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.
U.S. manpower made up the deficit. The AAF's peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.
The losses were huge---but so were production totals. From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China and Russia. In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined. And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.
However, our enemies took massive losses. Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month. And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours. The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.
Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.
The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s. The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.
A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type. Many had fewer than five hours. Some had one hour.
With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat. The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a throttle. Go fly `em." When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition. The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, "You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.
A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die." He was not alone. Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft. Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade: of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941. All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school.
In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat. The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139. All were Allison powered.
Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive. The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively-- a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate was less than 2.
The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.
The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion. Only ten percent had overseas experience. Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month "safety pause" rather than declare a "stand down", let alone grounding.
The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.
Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators. The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War. And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone. Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel --- a stirring tribute to the AAF's educational establishments.
Cadet To Colonel:
It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders. That was the record of John D. Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941. He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 20 in P-40s. He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group --- at age 24.
As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions.
By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training. At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.
At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.
Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.
The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.
Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq. But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless.
This is an excellent summary of the effort required in WWII. It focuses on the American side of things, but the British, Germans and Japanese expended comparable energy and experienced similar costs. Just one example for the Luftwaffe; about 1/3 of the Bf109s built were lost in non-combat crashes. After Midway, the Japanese experience level declined markedly, with the loss of so many higher-time naval pilots.