Monday, June 29, 2009

They really thought it could fly? No. 2

Waldo Waterman wanted aviation pioneer Glenn Curtis to like him
in the worst way. Inspired by what was apparently Curtis' casual remark about driving an airplane away from the field, Waterman spent years developing a roadable airplane.

In 1934, he flew his first successful prototype, the "Arrowplane," a high-wing monoplane with tricycle wheels. On the ground, the wings folding against the fuselage like those of a fly (now would be a good time to note that Waterman must have been crazy to get airborne in such a contraption). Nonetheless, the Arrowplane goes down as the first real flying car. Two decades later, Waterman finally perfected, if that's the word, what he then called the Aerobile, configured as a swept-wing "pusher" (prop in the back). There were few customers with so consummate a death wish as to order their own Aerobile, and Waterman's one working car-plane eventually wound up in the Smithsonian, where it can't kill anyone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

P-51 Paradigm

Paradigm: an outstandingly clear example or archetype.
... Archetype: the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies.

This picture is of part of a poster on the wall of a Commander's office at an air base in Eastern Europe. The L-39 in the picture was the Aerovodochody factory demonstrator and the poster was a promotional piece for the L-39. When we asked about it, the translator passed back the message that the P-51 was the most respected fighter of WW2. The pilots in the room didn't need any better explanation.

This promotional picture from the New York City airshow in 2006 shows a P-51 with other American war planes. Multiple generations and types but with a common heritage.

Ever popular at airshows and with pilots both old and young at heart, this P-51, Miss America was at the Ada airshow last year, Jon, standing on the wing, is showing his approval. An aircraft like this is now a Million Dollar investment for an owner or a museum. A few of our associates still remember 50+ years ago when surplus P-51s were advertised in the back of Flying magazines for $5,000.00.

Last year, Jon and the P-51s opened the Ada airshow, recreating in our own way the poster above and again joining the past and the present in a history lesson we hope will endure. The Miss America P-51 and one of our Cold War Air Museum L-39s was at the Ada airshow again this year, where we passed out brochures and pleased folks young and old, kids and VIPs.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mi-2 Steps Out

We completed the test program hours on the Mi-2 in time for it to go to the Midway Balloon Festival last weekend.

The helicopter was a hit with everyone who came by. Bord 211 is the only Mi-2 currently being flown to U.S. airshows.

For most of us who grew up with the dream of flying, it is a lot of fun to see kids smile when they get the chance to get close to a real plane.

The CJ was also at the event. Opening the cowling around the engine gives many people a chance to actually see what an aircraft engine looks like, especially a radial engine. These girls were happy to pose while their mom took their picture, even though it might look like the plane was trying to scoop them up inside it. One small youngster who came by had his own view though, he named the plane "the broken plane" because it didn't look right to him. After that pronouncement, the cowling went back together for the rest of the show.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

They really thought it could fly? No.1

Part of our fun series on aviation history.

Designer-genius R. Buckminster Fuller was one of the 20th century's great dreamers.

He conceived of the Dymaxion as a flying automobile or drivable plane, with jet engines and inflatable wings. It was a link in his futuristic vision of people living in mass-produced houses deposited on the landscape by dirigibles.

Deprived of wings, the Dymaxion was a three-wheel, ground-bound Zeppelin, with the rear wheel trailing on a huge levered arm and swiveling like the tail wheel of an airplane. The first prototype had a wicked death wobble in that rear wheel. The next two Dymaxions were bigger, heavier, and only marginally more drivable. The third car had a stabilizer fin on top, which did nothing to cure the Dymaxion's acute instability in crosswinds. A fatal accident involving the car (cause unknown) doomed its public acceptance.

Though unworkable, this three-wheeled oddity was the boldest of a series of futuristic, rear-engined cars of the 1930s, including the Tatra, the Highway Aircraft Corporation's "Fascination" car and Germany's National Socialist KdF-wagen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Visitor update

Every so often, its fun to post maps showing the last hundred visitors to our blog.

Although the main Cold War Air Museum web site gets more total hits, the blog site gets a higher percentage of International hits. The higher number of International hits is an interesting aspect of blog linking as compared to the more standard Google searches for Museum topics that are directed to the main site.

It is also interesting to watch the patterns change, The maps above are from three days apart. We thank everyone for coming to either site and hope that our blog helps bring visitors to the Museum and what we have to show and tell.

Wherever you are, let us know what topics interest you and invite your friends to come and visit too!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BioFuel Demonstration Project

The L29 was the first jet brought over by associates of the Museum.

This aircraft, originally an "R" model. Was a reconnaissance aircraft flown by the Czechoslovakian Air Force. The surveillance pod and extended range tip tanks have been removed and controls have been added to the back cockpit formerly occupied by an equipment operator. Flown locally for about the last ten years, it was a regular hit at air shows. A number of "Delfins" are still actively flying and several are associated with the Museum.

The L29 has an advantage that, with its first generation jet engine, it was designed to accommodate a wider range of variation in the fuels and service received in the various satellite and client countries. With over 3600 produced, the design saw service as a jet trainer on at least four continents.

An L29 made a transcontinental flight recently to demonstrate the use of BioFuels in Aviation.

The Cold War Air Museum is in an area where air pollution is a concern and our associates support other local programs for air quality improvement.

The use of BioFuels or BioFuel mixtures to reduce our emissions footprint and promote community knowledge of the progress being made in the aviation industry is an area of interest that the Museum is studying and evaluating. With these goals in mind, the Museum recently prepared an application for a demonstration project for such a program. Updates on this project will appear in later posts.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

The Cold War Air Museum and Commemorative Air Force hosted hundreds of visitors at the Father's day open house today. The tram was running almost constantly between the museums. Fathers and Grandfathers, Kids and Grand Kids, Sisters, Mothers, Daughters and Sons. We were
happy to see them all.

Charlie, the CAF-DFW Wing Commander arranged for two B-24 flyovers. An awesome aircraft and an awesome sound. Thanks Charlie, and Thanks B-24 guys!

Both Museums were pleased with the turnout. We hope the picture gallery below helps to share some of the on-site visitor experience with our web visitors.

Happy Fathers Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dad's Day

Father's day - June 21st

The Cold War Air Museum and the CAF are hosting an open house for Fathers, kids and families this Father's day at the airport.

The local Chamber of Commerce listed us along with other local events in the area newspaper.

We'll have more news in the post event follow-ups.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Balloons, Balloons and More Balloons

A benefit to being in our area is the number of local events.

One of these events is the Annual DFW Summer Balloon Classic on June 19-21. Aircraft from the Cold War Air Museum will be joining the Commemorative Air Force Museum R4D this Saturday at the Midway Regional airport.

The event is described as: An Aviation Extravaganza featuring 40 magnificent Hot Air Balloons. 5 beautiful mass ascensions followed by top ranked competitors flying their balloons in challenging competition in the morning flights. "Lite the Nite" balloon glow at sunset on Saturday evening fills the area with balloons on static display to light the sky with spectacular glow of color! Sunday 3pm MidWay Takes to the Skies Air Show! Aviation Extravaganza during the day features airplanes, helicopters, military aircraft, gliders, skydivers, powered parachutes, RC aircraft and more in flight and on static display. Some flights available to public include helicopter, glider, airplane and DC3. Attractions-Exhibits, food, arts & crafts, children’s area and more! Something for all ages! Free admission ($10 parking)

For more information and an event schedule, check the Balloon Classic web site. MidWay Regional Airport is just south of Dallas and Ft Worth off Hwy 287 between Midlothian and Waxahachie.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Work

Weekends at the museum generally have a social atmosphere to them, but things do get done.

Jon played musical L-39s and got each of them run up and returned to their proper hangar bays while getting 109 ready for its annual inspection.

Tracie and Brad flew the CB300, working on Brad's helicopter rating.

Brad and Renee finally got the top cover on Bord 211.

Abel got red stars painted on both the L-29 and Mi-2 Bord 211.

The gear was released on the MiG-21, getting it ready to have the wing mated.

And, in the most exciting news of all, a local restaurant chain has placed a soft serve machine on loan to the museum until the weather cools off after August!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The flip side of the coin

COIN - "used as an abbreviation for COunter-INsurgency assets"

Counter insurgency is a force or action taken by an established government against those who oppose it (insurgents).

Following WW2, the United States began developing strategies and tactics for use against insurgencies popping up around the world. An aspect of this doctrine of developing "assistance" for the many lesser developed countries was how to arm them, for their fight against Communism and its various manifestations.

The Piper Enforcer was one experiment in this effort. A wildly popular and successful aircraft, the North American P-51 Mustang, was upgraded into a weapons platform that could deliver large amounts of ordnance. Capable of being flown from unimproved airfields, by indigenous pilots, it appeared to be a good fit for the COIN role.

Originally developed by Cavalier, a company well known for its 2 seat executive conversions of P-51's, the concept was sold to Piper Aircraft, a company with much larger production capacity and the potential strength needed to sell the concept to the USAF. Beginning in 1971 Piper tried to develop and sell the concept of the Enforcer, finally retiring the project and the 4 aircraft built in 1984.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Aircraft Emblemology

Most of our former Soviet aircraft came from Bulgaria. But the markings sometimes seem confusing. We were told that when the former satellite countries separated they were in a hurry to paint their own national emblems over the old, former Soviet markings. On this Mi-2 much of the over-painting faded, letting older markings show through and giving it a strange appearance.

The Russian Air Force emblem was a red star with a white border. The insignia used on Bulgarian aircraft from 1948 until 1992 combined the Bulgarian roundel with the Russian Red Star. The Bulgarian roundel consists of three colors, White, Green and Red. A large roundel had been painted over the older insignia in the picture above, but most of it has faded away.

With the different components identified, it is easier to decode the faded paint in the picture. The emblems and numbering on this aircraft are being reconstituted for an upcoming event.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Korean Conflict - Some Cold War History

The "Korean War" is sometimes referred to as the "Forgotten War" because it received less attention in the media and history books.

Beginning on 6/25/1950, the area of battle changed rapidly during the first year. Hostilities continued for two more years until 7/27/1953 when an armistice was signed.

Playing a pivotal role in the development of aerial warfare, Jet v Jet moved the air battlefield toward the modern high-tech environment. It was also the end of the era of the "Ace". While allied forces recognized 40 Aces in the Korean Conflict only two were recognized from the Vietnam conflict and none since.

While North and South Korea were at "War", foreign forces deployed in support of South Korea were operating under a United Nations resolution as a "Peacekeeping Force". For this reason, the action is most often described as a "Conflict" or "Police Action" in American literature.

No permanent peace has ever been established between the two countries and recently, on 5/27/2009, North Korea announced that it was unilaterally withdrawing from the armistice that suspended (not ended) hostilities in 1953.

In the early months of the conflict, Lockheed P-80 "Shooting Stars" and Republic F-84 "Thunderjets" were rushed in, supplementing P-51's and F-82's then based in Korea and Japan.

The jets achieved air superiority over the battlefield, but the conflict continued to escalate.

North Korea and China quickly responded. Introducing the Mig-15 into the battle, this greatly expanded the speed and altitude envelope of air battles and changed the balance of local air power.

This Mig-15 with Us Air Force markings, was flown to the South by a defector and used by our Air Force to determine the performance of the aircraft they were fighting.

Responding in kind, the US rushed the newly developed North American F-86 "Sabre" jet to Korea.

Drawing on the experience and reserves of WW2, the US eventually fielded superior pilots, aircraft and tactics, achieving a 15-1 kill ratio over the North Korean/Chinese/Soviet aircrews and aircraft they were fighting.

Most of the fighter engagements occurred in the vicinity of the Yalu River. North Korean air power was based in a "Safe Haven" north of the river. Flying south to engage their targets, then fleeing north across the Yalu, allied forces could not pursue or attack their bases because of the "rules of engagement" established by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lancaster Airport Story

How does an airport get started?

In the case of Lancaster Airport (KLNC - Lancaster, Texas), it started as the dream of a local resident, Guy Joe Smith. Guy-Joe was a Navy Pilot in WW2 and retired as a Senior Captain with Braniff Airways in the late 60's.

Carving out a dirt strip on his family farm in 1964, Guy-Joe kept his Piper Cub in a converted implement shed.

For many years, Guy-Joe could always be found at the airport and he was well loved and is remembered by our airport community.

As the strip caught the attention of other local flying enthusiasts, 6-8 other aircraft were soon based there and a bigger runway was cut out of the surrounding corn and cotton fields.

The Green brothers also loved flying. Investing in the airport, they eventually donated their development to the City.

The City has maintained and expanded the Airport, attracting private investment to the area. The current proposed expansion will lengthen the runway to attract more corporate business and realign some adjacent roads to accommodate runway, ramp and hangar expansion.

The airport is home to the Cold War Air Museum as well as the Commemorative Air Force Museum and a number of local businesses, planes and pilots. The City, Airport and Museums host a number of events at the airport every year.

On event days a shuttle tram operates between the two museums, the restaurant and the parking areas. Check our links for current events and an area map.