Thursday, April 20, 2017

An Air Force Museum Whirlwind

So after watching the bombers come in, I decided that I at least needed to take a quick tour of the museum.  I've been to the museum several times in the past but it seems like I always see something new everytime that I visit.  Especially since they do change the exhibits around every so often.
 This is a depiction of one of the Wright Brothers demonstrating a Wright Flyer to the Army in 1909 or or so.  The plane is a Wright 1909 Military Flyer which had a 30.6 horsepower engine and a top speed of 42 miles per hour.  The first plane was bought on August 1, 1909 for $30,000 and was the only plane in the Army for 2 years.
 This is a Standard Aircraft J-1 and was purchased by the Army Signal Corps to act as supplement to the more popular Curtiss JN-4 (or Jenny).  The planes were actually built in Dayton and the Army bought 1,601 of them.  They were going to get 2,700 more but World War I ended.
 This plane is known as a Curtiss P-6E Hawk and was used in the early 1930's.  This particular plane is painted in the markings of a plane flown out of Selfridge in Mt. Clemens, MI.
 The Hawker Hurricane was pretty much the workhorse of the Battle of Britain.  Many people consider it to be a better plane than it's more famous mate, the Supermarine Spitfire.
 This is Seversky P-35 and was one of the pre-war fighters.  It wasn't a particularly good plane and was phased out early in the war.
 Probably one of the more famous aircraft of World War II was the P-40 Warhawk.  This was probably the best plane available at the beginning of the war and with upgrades continued to see service through the war.  One of the things that made it famous was the fact that it was used by the Flying Tigers in China.  It was also used by some of the pilots that managed to engage the enemy at Pearl Harbor.
 This is a B-25 Mitchell.  This particular one was painted to look like one of the bombers used in the Doolittle Raid.  In fact, I think this one may have the markings of the plane used by Doolittle himself.
 The P-39 Airacobra was basically an aircraft built around a gun.  It had a 37mm cannon mounted through the nose and a few 50 caliber machine guns on the wings.  It wasn't particular liked by the Americans but the Soviets loved the hell out of them.  It was really effective in the ground attack role.
 The B-24 Liberator.
 And the ever famous Spitfire.
 The P-38 Lightning was another fairly well respected plane.  It didn't have much use in Europe but it was great in the Pacific.
 The B-26 Marauder was a pretty decent bomber once they worked out the issues they had in developing it.
 The DC-3/C-47 was probably one of the most successful aircraft designs in history.  Designed in the 1930's as a  passenger plane, it saw extensive service in World War II.  It would continue to see service for many years after the war.  I think there may still be some flying in a money making capacity.
 The B-17 Flying Fortress is probably the most famous bomber in World War II.  This particular one is going to the Smithsonian and Dayton is getting the Memphis Belle.
 The Bf-109 was an okay German fighter but found itself in trouble as it started to face better Allied Fighters.
 The P-51 Mustang is definitely the most famous aircraft of World War II.  Some people consider it the best fighter in the war.
 The Me-163 Komet was one of the first rocket power planes used in warfare.  They would try to use them to stop the Allied bomber onslaught.
 The FW-190 was one of the better fighters of the war but was still outmatched by the end of the war.
 The world's first operational jet aircraft was the Me-262 Swallow.  Because of the materials the Germans had to use, it had pretty slow acceleration  however once it got to speed it was pretty devastating.  Fortunately, Hitler decided that the fighter bomber version of it was more important so it never had the numbers to be really devastating.  I don't think it could have turned the tide of war as we were starting to field jets of our own but it could have certainly prolonged the end.
 The P-47 Thunderbolt was a pretty good ground attack aircraft. 
 The PBY Catalina.
 The face of warfare had changed on August 6th, 1945.  This plane emphasized it.

At 3:49 in the morning, Major Charles W. Sweeney taxied to the main runway at Tinian Airbase.  After receiving his clearance for take off, he increased the throttle to the four Wright Duplex-Cyclone superturbocharged radial engines that provided the 8,800 horsepower required to get the Superfortress off the ground.  He was carrying Fat Man, which was the bomb that actually ended the war.
The plane made a rendezvous with other planes over Yakushima Island.  After receiving information from the weather planes, it then proceeded to Nagasaki at an altitude of 30,000 feet.  The plane had to fly slower than normal in an effort to conserve fuel because of a faulty fuel pump.  Because of this, Nagasaki started to cloud over.  They were about to use the radar to drop the bomb but the clouds cleared over the target.
At 10:58AM Nagasaki time, the bomb bay of Bock's Car was opened and Fat Man was released.  It would detonate 43 seconds later at an altitude of 1,650 feet. The bomb had an approximate yield of approximately 21,000 tons of TNT and it was about 1.5 miles off its target.  Because of this, the blast was confined to the Urakami Valley and as a result much of the city was protected by the intervening hills.
It is estimated that 35,000 people were killed in the bomb blast and another 60,000 were wounded.  Because of the error in the drop, the bomb hit over the city's industrial area.  I'm not sure how many people were later affected by the radioactive effects of the bomb.  This bomb was roughly 1/100th the payload of the current Peacekeeper missile.
Because of the delays in the mission and the faulty fuel pump, Bock's Car did not have enough fuel to make it to Iwo Jima.  Instead, it was decided they would land at Okinawa.  Upon arriving there, Sweeney circled the field for 20 minutes while he waited for clearance to land.  After still not receiving clearance, he decided to land anyway.
Because they only had enough fuel for one landing attempt, Sweeney brought Bock's Car in hot.  Since they touched the runway hard, they swerved immediately and almost hit some parked planes.  They were able to regain control and didn't have enough braking power to not run off the runway, so they did a 90 degree turn and then stopped.  The flight engineer estimated they had 5 minutes worth of fuel remaining.
Bock's Car was returned to the United States in November 1945.  It served with the 509th Bombardment Group in Roswell, NM until August of 1946 when it was transferred to Davis-Monthan for storage.  It would be flown to its current home in 1961.
 There were two types of atomic bombs that were used in World War II.  Little Boy, which was the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a gun type uranium bomb.  It would achieve critical mass after two pieces of uranium were slammed together.  Fat Man was an implosion type plutonium bomb.  It was basically a giant sphere of plutonium that would collapse to form the critical mass.  This design was also used in the Trinity Test.
 This was a later war Japanese plane.
 Probably one of my favorite planes is the B-52 Stratofortress.  This plane was designed in the 1950's and still flies today.
 The A-1 Skyraider was the Vietnam War version of the A-10 Thunderbolt.  It was very good at what it did.
 I think this is the C-133A Cargo Master.
 The F-105 Thunderchief.  This particular one is in what is known as "Wild Weasel" configuration.  This is a plane that was tasked to go after anti-aircraft sites.  It was a pretty dangerous mission.
 The bomb bay of the B-52.
 An F-4 Phantom.  This particular one is wearing the paint scheme of the plane flown by Robin Olds, who was one of the leading aces of the Vietnam War.
 The MiG-21.
 Probably the most famous aircraft of the Vietnam War was the UH-1 Huey.
 This is the Sikorsky HH-3 Jolly Green Giant.
 The F-22 Raptor is one of our newer fighters.
 The F-84 Sabre Jet.
 A B-36 Peacemaker.  The concept for this plane came early in World War II.  It was decided that we may need a plane that could take the war to Germany from the United States should Britain fall.  It never saw service during the war but it saw pretty extensive service after the war until the early 1950's.
 The B-58 Hustler was a Mach 2 capable aircraft that saw service in the late 50's and early 60's.  It would gain fame as the aircraft used in Failsafe.
 The F-102 Delta Dagger.
 Another version of the F-4 Phantom.
 A section of the Berlin Wall.
 The F-117 Nighthawk was the world's first stealth aircraft.  Development of this aircraft began in the early 1970's after discovering some equations that would help calculate radar characteristics.
 The BLU-82 (also known as the daisy cutter) was developed during the Vietnam War and was primarily used to helicopter landing areas in the jungle.  It carried 12,600 pounds of explosive which made it the largest conventional weapon at the time.  It was delivered by a C-130.  It would later see use during Desert Storm as a pyschological weapon.  One was dropped near a Iraqi unit and after seeing its effects, they decided that surrender was a wise option.  It was also used a few times to clear out terrorist strongholds in Afghanistan.
It was replaced with what is known as the Mother of All Bombs, making this the Grandmother of all Bombs (I guess).
 The A-10 Warthog (or Thunderbolt II).
 The AC-130 Spectre is a gunship.
 A Tornado.
 I think this is one of the development Osprey Tilt-Rotor planes.
 The MiG-29 Fulcrum.
 The Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low helicopter.  This was used in special operations and for rescue operations.
 The B-1 Lancer.  This plane was called the Bone at one time.  Apparently one of the articles about it missed the hypen and it came out as BOne instead of B-One.
 The F-15 Eagle.
 The B-2 Stealth Bomber.
 Probably one of the coolest aircraft out there is the SR-71.  It is believed that it could go over Mach 3.5. 
 This plane was designed to be dropped from the bomb bay of the B-36.  It was meant to be an escort over enemy air space but it never came to fruition.
 An A-12 which is the attack version of the SR-71. 
 The white plane is the B-70 Valkyrie.  It was going to be a bomber that was capable of going Mach 3. 
 A development version of the Harrier that was used by the Air Force.
 The YF-23 was the plane that went up against the F-22 in order to become our next fighter.  It many ways it was the superior aircraft but it still lost out.
 The Air Force One that flew Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton early in his term.
 The cockpit.
 An array of radios.
 If anyone can identify this, that would be great.  Actually, I know what it is.  It is a typewriter.
 The cockpit from the Space Shuttle Simulator.
 A C-141 Starlifter.
The B-47 was the direct predecessor to the B-52.