Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to thank all my readers who come to this blog.  I can't believe I've been doing this as long as I have.  Anyway, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
 I guess since a picture of the Grumman Avenger is now a tradition here, I will post one. 
And this is a stuffed turkey.  I hope the one on your table is better looking than this one.

Enjoy the day.  Go Lions!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Brief Stop at the Airport

I ended up getting out of work early tonight.  That gave me a little time to do some planewatching.  It was actually a pretty nice night for it.
 I caught this plane as I was getting out of my car.  It is a Van's RV-6 and is a homebuilt aircraft.  It is powered by a 180hp Lycoming engine which gives it a top speed of 210 miles per hour.  It can carry one passenger in addition to the pilot.
 One of the Cessnas I always see.
 And it is owned by the Michigan Flyers.
 I also see this Cessna fairly often.  I liked the light hough.
This is a Cessna 310 and it is my understanding that it needs some work.  It is still a pretty cool looking aircraft.

The E-2 Hawkeye

My other acquisition was this plane.
 The E-2 Hawkeye came out of the Navy's need for an Airborne Early Warning Aircraft.  It was the first plane designed from the wheels up for that role.  It was also able to be integrated into the Navy's Tactical Data System.  This enabled it to act as a command and control aircraft as well.
 I actually thought this was a relatively new aircraft but it first flew in 1960 after some difficulties on the part of Grumman.  The Navy wanted a plane that could fly off the older Essex carriers as well.  As it turns out, it never did.  That meant that Grumman had to cram a ton of electronics in a smaller airframe.  The plane reached operation capacity in 1964.
 The current version is the E-2D with more powerful electronics and engines.
This plane will serve a long time, I think.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II

So this was another of my new diecast acquisitions.  I've wanted one of the A-10 Thunderbolt for a while.  It is just too cool of an aircraft to pass up.
 So as I was looking at places that had them, I stumbled across one in markings for Selfridge Air Force Base.  That was basically the kicker as I could have one with a Michigan connection.  I don't think I've seen this serial number before but I have seen A-10s from Selfridge.
 The A-10 came into being as a result of the Air Force's A-X program in 1966 looking for a low cost attack aircraft.  The Air Force found that it lost too many aircraft in the close attack mission during the Vietnam War.    Fairchild-Republic ended up winning the contract.
 The A-10 first flew in 1972 and a total of 715 aircraft were produced with the last one rolling of the line in 1984.  It was designed with maximum survivability.  The pilot is encased in a titanium bathtub to protect him (or her) from small arms fire.  The engines have enough power that the plane could fly on one engine.  It can also fly with one tail (if necessary).  There is a story of one plane that had most of a wing shot off and it returned to base.  These planes have a long loiter time, so they can stick around.
 A shot of the engine and tails.
The main feature is the 20mm cannon.  Because most tanks are lightly armor on the top, it can do a fine job chewing them up.  The plane is very effective in its role but it basically has to fight for its existence.  While the official name is Thunderbolt II, the unofficial name is Warthog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The SR-71 Blackbird

I ended up getting a new diecast model for my collection.  Actually I got a couple new models and I will post the others at some point.  It has actually been a while since I've gotten a new diecast model, so I was kind of happy.
 After the Soviet Union shot down the U-2 flown by Gary Powers in 1960, it was determined that a reconnaissance airplane needed more than the ability to fly high to protect it.   The CIA turned to the Skunk Works which was run by Kelly Johnson, to develop a high speed reconnaissance aircraft.
 The SR-71 developed out of the A-12 Program.  The A designator came from the CIA and was shortened for Archangel.  It competed against the Convair Kingfish and won.  Its development led to a number of new materials being developed because of its high speed.  It had a reported top speed of Mach 3.5 (although I've read that it was actually higher).  It holds the speed record for an air breathing aircraft.
Even though the CIA started the Project, the Air Force took over.   With that came a number of new requirements.  One of those requirements was that the aircraft would have stars on it.  The Skunk Works had to develop a high temperature paint for that.  The first flight was in 1964 and a total of 32 aircraft were produced.  The last flight was in 1994.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

And a Light to Guide Them

Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to stop at the lighthouse.  It has actually been a while since I've been there.  Anyway....
 Built in 1829, the Fort Gratiot Light was the first in Michigan.  It is now the oldest surviving lighthouse.
 Believe it or not, it is still used as an active aid to navigation but it is now automated.
 It's a pretty cool looking light.
 and it was nice day.
 The tower is 85 feet tall and the light can be seen 21 nautical miles out.
A shot of the keepers house.

The Fleeing Algomarine

The ship that was really bringing me out of my shell was the Algomarine though.  It seems that she has become my official ship of winter.  It also seems that I should try to catch her as much as possible.
 Sadly, I spent too much time taking pictures of the Barker and I caught her at one of the last places where I could possibly catch her.  This is from the park that is next to the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.
Oh well.  It was a nice day.