Airborne Awesomosity, Military-Grade Awesome

Antiquity in the age of the atom – The A-26 Invader

Flip a COIN heads or tails about its mission

In a war with mach 2 bombers this was a leftover from another age

One of WWII’s great planes that would go on to see a long and varied career that would last thirty five years.

 

 

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Airborne Awesomosity, Atomic Hangovers

Antiquity in the Age of the Atom – Douglas A-1 Skyraider

This picture is from 21 years after WWII

 

During the Cold War the atom changed everything or did it. Some things age like a fine wine, cheese, or technology.

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Airborne Awesomosity

The Cold War That Wasn’t – The Turboprop B-52

Can you sharpen pencils with it?

The original B-52 design study

The B-52 was originally going to be a turboprop aircraft and not the plane we know today. Let’s look at the implications of what this would have changed.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Atomic Fission – The Lockheed XF-90 An Arrow to the Heart of the Enemy

Lockheed XF-90

 

The Lockheed XF-90 was one of the beautiful designs of the Cold War. Although like most fighters of the era it was underpowered and heavy but as with most things in life you can get away with murder when you look this good.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Atomic Fission – When The Nuke Needs To Be There Yesterday:The Convair B-58 Hustler

Convair B-58 Hustler

 

During the cold war we found that the best way a bomber could penetrate enemy defenses was to go higher and faster the defenses of the day. With this in mind the US Air Force accepted one of the better bombers of its time period that most people have never heard of. Capable of mach two while flying above sixty thousand feet, the B-58 showed the way to the future.

 

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Airborne Awesomosity, Big Complicated Machines

The Cold War That Wasn’t – The Convair YB-60

When I grow up I'm gonna ride a nuke from your bomb bay down onto the ground

A young “cowboy”, the son of a member of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, looks over the Convair built YB-60 during its visit at Edwards from the Fort Worth, Texas, plant. 1953 – From Wikipedia

The early Cold War years were a time of experimentation and discovery. You know like your college years. It was also a time when companies just tried to extend the lives of their older aircraft or threw some incredibly oddball stuff out there in hopes it would work. These are their stories.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Betting Man

Last week marked 58 years since a relatively unknown yet undoubtedly impressive stunt was pulled off in New York City (and this week is 56 years since it was pulled off again, but we’ll get to that momentarily). On the late evening of September 30, 1956, the young Thomas Fitzpatrick, whilst enjoying some […]

Airborne Awesomosity

BAC TSR-2: When An Aircraft Plays (Political) Football

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The aeronautical landscape is littered with the rotting shells and mylar prints of cancelled aircraft programs. Setting out to push the boundaries of man’s capability often goes hand in hand with rising costs and lengthened schedules. These two things also give opponents of said programs leverage to do away with them at their first opportunity. Such is the story of the British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Congratulations! It’s Twins!

Ercoupe twin 1

Fodder’s post on the Ercoupe stimulated my research juices, especially that image of the twin, so it was off to the googles! This intriguing machine was the work of Grady Thrasher, of  the Thrasher Brothers Aerial Circus, back in 1946. It came about the way many such projects do, sitting around on a rainy day looking at your plane and the parts plane you bought, and thinking to yourself, what if I just stuck those together? Thrasher took the right wing off one plane, the left off the other, got a hold of some high strength bolts from a DC-6, and there you have it. Even back in that era, he did attempt to check the strength of the engineering prior to flight, even reaching out to ERCO to get the original engineering data (not forthcoming, according to Thrasher). The finished product ended up being quite successful, and as one of the first (or perhaps the first) light twin in the US, helped in the development of aircraft like the Beech Twin Bonanza. Check out the gallery below for more images, as well as a letter from Grady Thrasher discussing the project, and a portion of an article from Private Pilot magazine, and hit the just for a short video with some Aerial Circus action!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Atomic Toasters Goes To The Zoo

IMG_2761

About half way between Detroit and Chicago sits the city of Kalamazoo, MI. Originally the home of Gibson guitars and now a major center in the craft beer movement, Kalamazoo seems to be a calm town. Until you walk into a building bordering the airport and stand under a pink Curtis P-40N Warhawk.

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