It’s been a long road here . . . the last of the posts documenting my trip to the National Air and Space Museum.
And this is the last of the cat pictures associated with these posts.
Many people do not like cats, but I do. For one, they do not have reality shows named Cat Dynasty. For another, while I am sure they feel superior, righteous, and holier-than-thou asswipes, they never open open their mouths to confirm it.
But, on to the planes. This being the last post from my visit to the oddly-named museum, it is, unfortunately, a mish-mash of everything that is left over. The chop suey of blog posts, if you will.
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.
Let me start with a panorama of the place. Shot from one of the catwalks, the assembly of six shots can be stitched in photoshop, and you get to choose how it does it. The above shot is with the program applying a distortion adjustment (perspective adjustment).
I typically don’t like that and prefer straight “repositioning” and blending.
To me it looks more natural, more along the lines of what the eyes see, so I don’t understand why the other option is the default in Photoshop. Then again, I don’t understand a lot of things, and resort to doing my own thing, not worrying much about about what others think or do.
This is another aerial (get it? . . . aerial, sometimes referring to ‘from planes’ . . . never mind) shot of the gallery.
Let me see if I can identify some of the stuff hanging up there. I should have taken individual photos, but I didn’t, so unless you like my writing, skip to the next photo. But I have to tell you . . . lots of interesting stuff to read. We sometimes forget, and often don’t know, about people with interesting lives that lived before we were born (before most of us were born).
On with the aerial show . . .
The plane that jumps right out is the Loudenslager Laser 200, complete with the Bud Light markings. The plane won an unprecedented seven U. S. National Aerobatic Championship titles between 1975 and 1982. You can read a bit about the plane HERE, and about the pilot HERE.
It’s worth nothing that 20 members of the U. S. House of semi-Representatives, as well as a number of organizations, objected to the Bud Light emblem remaining on the plane.
“It will drive the kids to drinking!” was the rallying cry.
Gaining my respect, the museum stuck by its policy of not altering artifacts, and now countless children are rolling around in dark alleys, drunks as skunk. No, wait . . . that didn’t happen.
That I know of, no one objected to retaining the Pennzoil logo on the De Havilland-Canada DHC-1A Chipmunk (the plane next to the Laser 200). Unfortunately, there are now millions of people drinking Pennzoil motor oil . . . a nation tragedy flying (get it? . . . flying . . . nevermind) under the radar. The Smithsonian’s entry for the plane is HERE.
The plane at the bottom of the photo is the Monocoupe 110 Special “Little Butch”. Thrilling crowds during the 1940s, the plane was named so for its buldog-like appearance. Completed in 1941, it entered the circuit in 1946 and flew until 1981, when it was donated to the museum.
The upside-down plane is a (and this is a mouthful) Bücker Bü-133C Jungmeister. The Bü-133C was an advanced trainer of the Luftwaffe in the 1930s, and a favorite of European flying clubs.
This particular plane was brought to the U. S. by the airship Hindenburg (in a crate). In 1976, the owner was killed in an accident in this airplane. The plane was restored by his estate, and donated to the museum in 1973.
I know, right? . . . there be history all over the place once you look into it. The Hindenburg . . . wow.
You can’t see the other aircraft very well unless you go to the SmugMug album HERE, or if you click on any of the following links, but they are there. Here’s the photo again as a reminder.
Way in the back you can see a Pepsi-logo-like red, white, and blue aircraft.
And what do you know . . . it’s a Pepsi skywriting plane! From 1931 to 1953 this plane performed skywriting for Pepsi-Cola. Back in them days skywriting with smoke was a premier form of advertising, and Pepsi-Cola used it more than any other company.
I’ll interject that while I readily skip TV advertising, ignore Google-ads, am blind to magazine ads, and in general ignore near all advertising and indeed am mostly aggravated and insulted by it, I would stop and read a message on the sky . . . hint, hint.
The plane is a Travel Air D4D. Pepsi bought it in 1973, and retired it from advertising in 2000. Peggy Davies and Suzanne Oliver, the world’s only active female skywriters since 1977, performed in it.
You would think one could find direct links to their work, and indeed, more information on their lives. Alas, all I found are these links, HERE (second article), HERE (halfway down), and HERE.
The barely-visible white plane is a Kreider-Reisner C-4C Challenger. You can read the history of the plane by clicking the link, but it’s most notable feature is that it flew exceptionally well.
The plane in the middle, above the Concorde’s tail, is a Schweizer SGU 2-22EK. It’s a glider model responsible for thousands of people learning to fly a motorless aircraft. From the above link:
“Byron G. “Scotty” McCray flew this Schweizer 2-22EK from 1966 to 1973 at airshows in the United States, Canada, and the Bahamas. His routine began at about 760-912 m (2,500-3,000 ft). After releasing from the tow airplane, McCray looped, rolled, and spun the 2-22 down to a silent landing. He synchronized his maneuvers to the theme music from the Hollywood film Born Free while audiences heard the melody booming through the airshow public address system.”
I’m trying to imagine synchronizing air maneuvers to music played on the ground. Must have looked neat. HERE is the wiki entry on the glider.
I confused the orange plane in the lower left corner as the Curtiss 1A “Gulfhawk”, a one-of-a-kind-plane flown from 1930 to 1936 by Al Williams, former chief test pilot for the Navy. Click on the link to read more about it. Instead, it’s the Grumman G-22 Gulfhawk II, also flown by Williams, who personally piloted the plane on its last flight in 1948 to Washington’s National Airport.
I don’t have a good photo of the Arrow Sport A2-60, so click on the link for a side view. I was more taken with the propeller as it seemed exhibited a lot of intricate workmanship.
The interesting thing on the plane (read about it HERE) is that the pilot and passenger sat side by side in the cockpit. The other interesting thing was the plane had two cantilevered wings, the upper wing attaching directly on the top of the fuselage.
Apparently this made non-engineers (pilots) nervous, and so the “N” shaped struts were added between the two wings. They were not structural; they had no real function other than calm pilots with no concept of structures. Nice propeller, though.
The Mooney Mites were produced between 1947 and 1955 for the private market. Designed for extremely low operating costs, it was marketed to pilots returning from WW II who wanted to keep flying. The single seat plane had limited appeal, and the design was modified to accommodate four people, and in the 1970s the company offered plans for four different homebuilt versions of the craft.
Production of the Mite ended in 1954, with 283 Mites being built. As of 2010 there were 168 mites registered in the US, and 3 in Canada.
. . . we should try and rescue the three kidnapped by Canada. Here’s the Wiki on the Mite.
From the Smithsonian LINK on this plane:
“In 1934, the Bureau of Air Commerce recognized the Waterman Arrowplane as one of the two award-winning designs for its flivver (i.e., light, easy-to-fly and affordable) aircraft competition. Waldo Waterman’s improved Arrowplane, the Aerobile #6, fulfilled his dream of designing a tailless roadable airplane.
The Aerobile was a two-place, high-wing, cabin monoplane with a transmission drive system that operated the propeller in the air and the rear wheels on the ground. The one-piece wing was removed by moving a lever and pins. Painted in “Buick blue,” it had many standard Studebaker, Ford, Austin, and Willys automobile parts to keep the price down and maintain the look of a car. It received FAA certification in the experimental category in 1957, but no market materialized.”
That’s right; the proverbial flying car. To all the people who bitch about not having flying cars, it’s not that it wasn’t made; it’s that not enough people wanted them.
It was also known as the Waterman Arrowbile, and if you click on the link, you’ll get a fairly detailed history of it.
The Globe Swift is a sporty general aviation plane with superior flying characteristics. All-metal, with retractable landing gear, it handled like a fighter, and was a major advancement over wood-and-fabric sports designs, and was surprisingly economical to fly. The Smithsonian entry for the plane is HERE.
Hey, I haven’t done a B&W for a while. Well, here’s a B&W Swift.
Cops are forever wanting advantages when it comes to doing their job. This was one of them: the Lazair SS EC. This particular aircraft was the second ultralight tested by officers of the Monterey Park Police Department in California. The
The Ultraflight Lazair, with a total production of over 2,000 aircrafts, holds the distinction of being the most produced Canadian-designed aircraft. Note the change in name . . . the Smithsonian has it as “Ultralight”, but the Wiki has it as “Ultraflight”. Probably means the same thing; I don’t think the plane actually cares.
I’m again reproducing the text of the Smithsonian’s entry for the Aeronca C-2 as it is worth reading:
“The Aeronca C-2 was the first truly light airplane certified by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Aeronautics and produced in substantial numbers in the United States. Safe, economical, and easy to fly, this delightful but unassuming monoplane changed the face of aviation by tapping a new market, that of private aircraft ownership. This Aeronca is the production prototype; it first flew on October 20, 1929.
The single-seat Aeronca C-2 and the two-seat C-3 capitalized on the enthusiasm of the post-Lindbergh flight era by offering small and affordable designs to the general public. During the depression, while many larger aircraft proved to be too expensive to operate, the Aeronca C-2 sold for under $1,300 and could be rented for only $4.00 an hour. This Aeronca flew for 10 years with several owners.”
Four dollars and hour to rent . . . $1,300 to buy. I might be tempted . . . Aeronca sold 164 of the economical C-2s at the height of the Great Depression in 1930-1931, helping to spark the growth of private aviation in the United States.
And that, boys and girls, is the last of the photos from inside the complex.
Of course, the place is right outside an operating airport, so you can also take photos of working planes. This is a Boeing 777-222, the world’s largest twin-jet with the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft.
While we had been inside, the weather cleared up a bit, and the outside sculpture was shown in a bit better light.
And then I noticed an Airbus 319-115 coming in for a landing.
You know, despite all evidence to the contrary, these things still don’t look as though they should be able to just hang there, pretending to fly. Oh well.
And that concludes the photos from my trip to the museum. Hope it was enjoyable for some, and if so inclined, the SmugMug gallery of the photos in this post can be found HERE.
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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