Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month, the guns of the "War to End All Wars" fell silent as the armistice ending the First World War was signed in 1918. Originally celebrated as "Armistice Day" in memory of WWI, this day is now celebrated as "Veteran's Day" in America to honor all Veterans who have served in all wars and in peacetime.

This day, November 11th, is also celebrated in many other countries around the world for like reasons even though it may be called by different names. Although our choice of videos and stories is often America-centric, the Cold War Air Museum takes this opportunity to recognize all veterans, of all wars, and of all nations. Our doors are always open to you and your families.

Take time today to think of those who are serving and to thank those around you who have served. And may our special thoughts and prayers be with the men, women and children of our extended military family, both overseas and at home where tragedy recently struck at Fort Hood.

Veteran's Day 2009, may our thoughts and prayers be with you

A special song for Armistice (Veterans) Day
Before leaving our blog today, I want to add a story about a special song. Irving Berlin, a famous American Composer wrote "God Bless America" in 1918, the year of the Armistice, but put it aside at the time. In 1938 with WWII looming on the horizon, the composer, who had a special appreciation for the plight of the Jews in Europe and the freedoms of America, brought forth his song for Kate Smith to perform on National Radio for the Armistice Day program that year.

The Song became an instant hit, a second national anthem for all Americans in the 40's and 50's, a signature song for Kate Smith and for Patriotism. The early days of (black and white) national television coincided with the early days of the cold war and stations would often sign on in the morning with the National Anthem and sign off at night with God Bless America. Such patriotic feelings now seem as rare as those black and white televisions.

All royalties from this patriotic song of just 40 words were assigned to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America by the composer.

We also wish to extend a "thank you" and acknowledgement to the authors of these videos whose credits may be found on YouTube.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Anatomy of a MiG-21 Drag Parachute

One of the things our MiG-21 was decidedly lacking was a drag parachute. Even with the new extension, lengthening the Lancaster Airport runway to 6,500 feet, stopping the MiG-21 without rapidly going through brakes and tires is going to take a little extra work.

We looked around for parachute sources and, out of curiosity, checked with the importer that brings in things for the Nanchang CJ-6A. Since the Chinese make a MiG-21 copy, the J-7, it stood to reason that drag parachutes might be available at a reasonable price. To everyone's surprise, he discovered that J-7 parts are even more plentiful than are CJ-6A parts. Eventually a box with a military looking bag and some funny nylon umbrellas showed up:

Upon opening the bag, we discovered that there were plenty of goodies in it... but this was starting to look a lot less simple than anticipated.

Fortunately, the bag came with instructions... in Chinese.

But a couple of diagrams go a long way in any language.

Step by step instructions were included for assembling the 14 individual pieces of the MiG-21 drag parachute.

The system consists of a container bag into which a hook mechanism on a plate fills the base end.

A 5 meter multi-part braided line then connects to the plate. The lines are covered with a protective canvas sleeve. One of the reasons that drag parachutes are hard to find in Eastern Europe is that the braided line makes an excellent tow rope for pulling cars.

This line then connects to the base of the parachute itself. At each connection point, a canvas sleeve with drawstrings protects the parachute components from chafing on the runway. We were pleased that a completely new parachute set like the one we'd acquired came with several extra protective sleeves.

Last, but not least, a drag chute drogue chute connects to the top of the parachute to assist in deployment. The inner sleeve of the drogue houses a spring that leaps out into the world and pulls the main chute behind it. It's interesting to see the ratio of various spares... the kit came with three drogues; the drogue must take a lot of abuse.

The instruction manual references a machine that assists in packing the chute into the housing bag:

We haven't acquired one of these machines but we're told that it's possible to manually pack the parachute into the housing bag with a little effort.

The parachute is deployed manually by the pilot upon landing with a push of a button in the cockpit. The housing in the tail opens and pneumatic pressure opens the clamshell in the tail to let the drogue chute leap out into the world. After slowing to a speed where the parachute is no longer effective, a second button releases the chute to be picked up by ground crew.

A final picture shows the parachute tied into the bag with a holding pin that keeps it all together until it's been placed in the aircraft and "armed".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

MiG-23 Work Resumes

Work has resumed on the Cold War Air Museum's MiG-23UB.

As readers of this blog may know, the Flogger developed a mysterious fuel system leak after ground test in the spring. Replacement parts have now arrived allowing us to resume.

Here are a few photos of the inspection work:

With some clever modification a MiG-23 engine dolly can be made to work as a MiG-23 tail dolly. We were able to pull the tail back to expose inner connections of the single-point fuel port. Interestingly, a US/NATO single-point connection fits perfectly on the Soviet aircraft.

Initially we put 25 liters of fuel into the single-point connection and got 20 liters on the floor. With some fixing, we put 125 liters in and got only 0.5 liters to leak out. Hopefully with some new o-rings the leak will be completely fixed.

The museum's goal is to have the MiG-23 ready for more ground testing, including a test of the afterburner, some time this month.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

On a recent visit to Washington, D.C., one of the Cold War Air Museum correspondents visited several of the war memorials there. A previous post presents pictures from the Korean Veterans Memorial. Today's post features some pictures and background about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The memorial includes several different elements. The "Three Soldiers" statue, added in 1984 complements the "Wall" with a "more conventional" display of soldiers or marines in their battle dress and gear.

The Vietnam Veterans Wall is the best known element of the Memorial. Stretching a distance of 246 feet, nine inches (75M), it includes the names of 58,175 killed or missing in the conflict.

The Wall begins with the names of the first known American casualties in the conflict. The wall rises from 8 inches in height to over ten feet (3 M) and then falls to a height of 8 inches again.

Visitors often bring and leave flowers at the wall. Names on the wall are in chronological order. Volunteer guides assist those who are looking for specific name locations.

Vistors often reach out and touch the names of loved ones or ones they have known.

As visitors pass, their reflections shine back at them.

The exit from the walkway looks east to the Washington Monument.

The grassy area across the walkway often has displays such as this one from a veterans group, displaying a reunion picture in front of the wall.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mi-24 Aerial Photos

As pictures continue to trickle in from the Warbirds on Parade event we enjoy posting them to the Blog site. Andy Nixon sent these to the Cold War Air Museum for us to share. A hearty thanks to Andy. Keep 'em coming folks!

Cold War Air Museum

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Warbirds on Parade - 09/04/10, After Action and some more pictures

Events such as this year's Warbirds on Parade take a great deal of effort behind the scenes to make them a success. With a continuing interest in maintaining the success and safety of the event, the Cold War Air Museum, the DFW wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and airport management joined together for an after action review.

We all sincerely appreciate the hard work, planning and cooperation that was provided by the City of Lancaster and most especially, the support provided by their excellent airport staff, including both the retiring airport manager, Arb Rylant and the new airport manager, Mike Divita. By working together, we hope to be able to provide more parking next year as well as better traffic flow for the spectators and aircraft that visit the event.

Following the review, we received copies of a number of excellent photographs taken by one of the CAF members. Our thanks go to their dedicated members for their work and a special thanks for sharing these pictures with us. This view from inside their hangar shows just a portion of the many aircraft and visitors at the event.

The B-24 made a repeat visit this year and with the success of the event, we are hopeful that the newly restored and flying B-29 may be in attendance next year.

Another special attraction was this beautifully restored P-40 Warhawk from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas. A rare sight indeed and a compliment to the area that so many aircraft could be gathered and put on display.

Events such as this often include "Re-enactors" or those who like to collect, wear or display military uniforms and equipment. The Mi-2 and Mi-24 appearing in flight behind one of these displays appeared eerily appropriate.

Our special thanks are again extended to the U.S. Army, First Cav. for bringing aircraft to the event. In today's world of mixed forces, the sight of an Mi-24 and UH-60 together is not as rare or startling as it once would have been.

The UH-60 Black Hawk was one of the biggest crowd gatherers at the event. The POW/MIA flag seen in the foreground was displayed by the UH-1H that flew to the event. Every event such as this also serves to honor and commemorate the memory of those who have served.

This CH-47 appears as if it is about to leap forward into flight. The actual takeoff maneuver was a leap in slow motion, graceful and impressive.

The CH47 and Black Hawk are the mainstay of U.S. ground combat air mobility. The opportunity for the public to see them together at this event was appreciated by many.

The Black Hawk quickly followed the Chinook on its way home. We appreciate the fine men and women of our services and their dedication to our country.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hungarian Hinds

Kecskemet airbase in Hungary was host to a huge airshow on August 7-8 which featured many foreign jets and aerobatic teams. However, the Hungarian air force would not let anybody make it look small and put on an impressive display of everything it has in its arsenal from Mig-29s and JAS39 Gripens to Mi-8s. A total of three Mi-24s flew during each day. Each morning a stunningly painted Mi-24V put on an unbelievable show.

This particular Hind was armed with B-8V20 rocket launchers for unguided S-8 rockets, four "Shturm" anti-tank missile launchers and two 500-liter external fuel tanks. It was also equipped with engine covers to reduce infrared signature. All this made it look even meaner(is that even possible??) than the Mi-24 already does. The pilot took it to the limits showing the maneuverability and agility of the Mi-24 and finally ending the performance with a huge release of flares.

At the end of the day the Hungarian air force put on an airpower display featuring two Mig-29s, four JAS39 Gripens, two Mi-24s, one Mi-8 and one An-26. The Mi-24Ds provided close air support for the Mi-8 which came in to drop off soldiers in a
landing zone.

You gotta love the guy that is curiously sticking his head out o
f the window.

Each Mi-24 had two people inside shooting machine guns out of the windows (with empty shells of course!!). The muzzle of the gun can in fact be seen in the photo of the two Mi-24s breaking.

If anyone is wondering why these Hinds have a camouflage that looks suspiciously similar to Lancaster's own bord 125 it is no coincidence. When bord 125 was in Bulgarian service it was overhauled in Hungary and received a "Hungarian" camouflag
e which is different than the one seen on bord 118 and bord 120. This camouflage is the standard with which all Hungarian Hinds are painted.

A very low shutter speed helps get the whole rotor disk in the photo.

The Mi-8 which the Mi-24s were "protecting":

The Hind is still in service in places besides Hungary and while CWAM has Mi-24s for display let's not forget that this helicopter is still a formidable weapon that arms the air forces of many countries.