I told an inadvertent lie on the last post . . . I said I only had one more post to be finished with this series. I was wrong then, but this time I am sure. There is only one more post after this one documenting my trip to the National Air and Space Museum.
But first . . . the cat picture.
Sad . . . cats look smarter than the majority of politicians, and cats have sense enough not to make speeches.
Part VII . . . I feel good about this. Seven is a prime number, and it’s also the number of years I spent on my last job. Also, it’s the number of Maria cookies I dunk in a freshly-brewed cup of Red Rose Tea. Plus, it’s the average number of times I think about my wife in any given hour. Except when I’m sleeping, of course.
The capacity of both my .45 and my .357 magnum, my preferred number of pants pockets, the number of cameras I own (although three of them are film cameras) . . . I could go on, but you get the picture; as far as this post is concerned, VII rules! Why, it even divides perfectly into XXI, giving us III, another prime number.
It’s like fate, or something, guided by the unthinking intellect of the Universe as it blunders from cock-up to cock-up, claiming it’s a plan.
But, on with the show.
Note: I just found out that all the links in the Smithsonian catalog changed. That means that links referencing the museum’s database will return a dead link error (error 404). I’m not going back through the posts to update the links. One, because it’s a lot of work, and two, because no one mentioned it. If you’re looking for the Smithsonian’s entry for a plane, just search under the name.
A very nice-looking aircraft first flown in 1948, the Lockheed “T-Bird” T-33 Shooting Star remains in service worldwide. For them who be not inclined to click links, the Cuban Air Force used T-33’s during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, scoring several kills.
The T-33 served with over 30 nations, and continues to be used as a trainer for smaller air forces. In 2010, one of the two T33 Shooting Stars owned by Boeing was used as a chase aircraft during the maiden flight of the Boeing 787 and Boeing 747-8.
These next shots are for all them Tom Cruise (or Maverick) fans out there.
Grumman’s F-14 Tomcat first flew in 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 aboard the USS Enterprise (the aircraft carrier, not the interstellar warp-capable poorly designed fictional space ship helmed (bridged?) by an unstable philandering toupee-wearing girdled Captain sporting what some considered a deliberate speech impediment which those of us with actual speech impediments found both amusing and vaguely insulting).
Can’t read that, can you? Tell you what, if you are curious, click HERE and be magically transported to the SmugMug gallery with full size versions of all the photos in this post.
Got to admit, it’s also a nice-looking plane. Here’s an interesting fact for you . . . the F-14 was retired from the Navy’s active service in 2006, supplanted by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and as of 2012, Maverick’s plane of choice was only in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976, when they were still our buddies.
They be somewhat unstable, so it’s understandable how they might be Tom Cruise fans. And maybe a little sad.
OK, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but here’s another fine-looking aircraft, despite the vaguely religious-sounding name. I’ve had other opportunities to photograph Vought’s F-8 Crusader, and I regret not having a shot of the full aircraft here. For them interested, there is a better shot here.
The Crusader was ready for flight in 1955, and was the last U. S. fighter designed with guns as its primary weapon (four 20mm autocannons).
Don’t it look happy? I mean, who wouldn’t be, with four 20mm autocannons?
North American Aviation F-86 Sabre was the first American swept wings fighter which could counter the similarly winged MiG-15 over the Korea’s skies during the Korean War. Developed in the late 1940s, outdated by the 1950s, it continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces. The last operational aircrafts were retired in 1994 from the Bolivian Air Force. The particular paint job above gives it an unfortunate cartoonish look.
And here is the plane the Sabre fought in the skies over Korea.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing fighters, and in the early part of the Korean war it outclassed straight-winged enemy aircrafts in most applications. Given the reporting name of “Fagot” by NATO, the MiG-15 is believed to be one of the most widely produced jet aircrafts ever made, with over 12,000 built, with licensed foreign production raising the number to 18,000.
How about we take a break, and look back to one of this writer’s favorite planes? Okely Dokely.
If you can’t tell from the photo, this is a big plane.
And it has a real bad-ass look, even though it carries no armament.
Here’s a view you don’t often see . . .
Before we get back to the planes of the 50s and 60s . . .
You see, I was on a catwalk; on one side you overlook the SR-71, and then you can turn around and look at the Space Shuttle and it’s vaguely rodent-like front view (look at the nose).
Anyway, continuing on . . .
The MiG-21 (NATO reporting name: Fishbed) is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most produced combat aircraft since the Korean War. It also boasts the title of longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 counting all the variants).
Like most of the soviet aircrafts from the era, while capable, they do not (at least to my untrained and inexperienced eye) look all that good (neither did the Sabre). Still, people killed and were killed flying these birds.
The F-105 Thunderchief was documented in Part I of this series, and this is another view of it.
The F-4 Phantom II is another plane I find interesting and pleasing to the eye. Perhaps it’s because it was prominent in both news and movies during my teens and 20s. It left service in 1996, and it was also the only aircraft used by both the USAF Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels. The particular airplane on display has a combat history that can be read HERE.
I came across is this article on pilots who attained the status of Flying Ace. Less than I imagined, especially during the Vietnam War. Interesting reading for them who be, you know, interested.
The history of this particular aircraft (a Grumman A-6 Intruder) can be read HERE. The Intruder is a long-range all weather aircraft capable of high subsonic performance at very low altitudes. It was designed to penetrate enemy air defenses and destroy small targets.
The Navy accepted this very plane in 1968. From the Smithsonian link:
“It served under harsh combat conditions in the skies over Vietnam and is a veteran of the 1991 Desert Storm campaign, when it flew missions during the first 72 hours of the war. It has accumulated more than 7,500 flying hours, over 6,500 landings, 767 carrier landings, and 712 catapult launches.”
Though little bird.
This aircraft is the first F-35 ever built, and in 2006 the production model was officially named the F-35 Lightning II. It’s worth reading about the aircraft intended to provide the bulk of tactical airpower for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy as well as our closest allies over the coming decades.
The above is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant, and it sacrifices about a third of the volume of fuel to accommodate the vertical flight system. The direct Wiki link is HERE.
How about another shot of the shuttle to close off this post? OK, here you go.
Note: many of the words are either paraphrased or directly copied from the corresponding Wikipedia pages, and sometimes from the Smithsonian’s own descriptions. It’s worth noting Wikipedia is doing a fund drive. If you can spare a few bucks, please do so. They offer incalculable value for them who want to learn stuff.
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Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.
If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.