Friday, December 6, 2013

de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth

Tiger Moth Ballet
 The de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and others as a primary trainer. The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk in 1952, when many of the surplus aircraft entered civil operation. Many other nations used the Tiger Moth in both military and civil applications, and it remains in widespread use as a recreational aircraft in many countries. It is still occasionally used as a primary training aircraft, particularly for those pilots wanting to gain experience before moving on to other tailwheel aircraft, although most Tiger Moths have a skid. Many are now employed by various companies offering trial lesson experiences. Those in private hands generally fly far fewer hours and tend to be kept in concours condition. The de Havilland Moth club founded 1975 is now a highly organized owners' association offering technical support and focus for Moth enthusiasts.

In postwar use, large numbers of surplus Tiger Moths were made available for sale to flying clubs and individuals. They proved to be inexpensive to operate and found enthusiastic reception in the civil market, taking on new roles including aerial advertising, aerial ambulance, aerobatic performer, crop duster and glider tug.

The Tiger Moth might be confused at first glance with the Belgian-designed Stampe SV.4 aerobatic aircraft which had a very similar design layout, with similar main landing gear, slight wing sweepback for both airframes, and similar engine/cowling design. Several Tiger Moths were converted during the 1950s to Coupe standard with a sliding canopy over both crew positions, not unlike the Canadian-built Fleet Finch biplane trainers which served beside the Tiger Moth in RCAF service as trainers in Canada during the war years. Many ex-RAF examples imported to the Netherlands post war were required by the Dutch civil aviation authorities to be fitted with additional fin area, incorporating an extended forward fillet to the fin.

After the development of aerial topdressing in New Zealand, large numbers of ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force Tiger Moths built in that country and in the United Kingdom were converted into agricultural aircraft. The front seat was replaced with a hopper to hold superphosphate for aerial topdressing. From the mid-1950s, these topdressers were replaced by more modern types such as the PAC Fletcher, and a large number of New Zealand Tiger Moths in good flying condition were then passed to pilot owner enthusiasts. It has been claimed that more people have flown themselves in Tiger Moths than in any other plane.

Royal Navy Tiger Moths utilised as target tugs and "air experience" machines became the last military examples when that service purchased a batch of refurbished ex civil examples in 1956. One became the last biplane to land on an aircraft carrier (HMS Eagle) in the English Channel during the Summer of 1967. On take-off the wind over the deck meant she took off but was slower than the carrier, which turned hard to starboard to avoid a possible collision.[citation needed] These planes remained in service until the early 1970s.

Tiger Moths were often modified to stand in for rarer aircraft in films. Notably, Tiger Moth biplanes were used in the crash scenes in The Great Waldo Pepper, standing in for the Curtiss JN-1. Due to the popularity of the design and the rising cost of flyable examples, a number of replicas (scale and full size) have been designed for the homebuilder, including the Fisher R-80 Tiger Moth and the RagWing RW22 Tiger Moth.

Tiger Moth Formation

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Kittyhawk

Peter Teichman’s Curtiss P-40M Kittyhawk
 This particular aircraft was built in 1943 for the Royal Canadian Air Force with the serial No. 840 and flying with various squadrons, though she only amassed 732 flying hours in military service. Retired from flying in 1950, she moved to Oregon State University as an instruction airframe before being put into storage. In the late 1970’s she was found by Tommy Camp who restored her to flying condition with the first flight in 1982.

Over the last winter, Peter Teichman’s dedicated team of engineers at Hanger 11 stripped the P-40 of paint down to the bare metal. By April, the stripping was complete and the aircraft was returned to airworthiness for a short hop to Biggin Hill for the first stages of the repaint. She emerged again in early May with the initial coat of Olive Drab and Grey plus just a few hints of what was to come!

The date of the unveiling was announced on the Hangar 11 Facebook page, and together with some welcome early summer warmth and blue skies, attracted a sizeable crowd to an informal event held around ‘Hangar 11’ at North Weald Airfield. It was a superb day, not least to have such great access to Hangar 11, but also the very friendly welcome everybody had!

Mid-day finally saw the big moment as the aircraft’s canvas covers were removed from the nose to reveal the new and quite stunning artwork of P-40N-1 Warhawk 44-2104590 ‘Lulu Belle’ of the 89th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group of the 10th Air Force – The Burma Banshees. The aircraft represents one of two aircraft in the Squadron called ‘Lulu Belle’ and both flown by Lt. Philip Adair at Nagaghuli in India. Adair became an ‘ace’ making a name for himself for attacking a large formation of Japanese fighters and bombers on 19th December 1943 downing an ‘Oscar’, damaging two others and also one of the ‘Sally’ bombers. For that action he earned the Silver Star.

The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational service. The Warhawk was used by most Allied powers during World War II, and remained in front line service until the end of the war. It was the third most-produced American fighter, after the P-51 and P-47; by November 1944, when production of the P-40 ceased, 13,738 had been built, all at Curtiss-Wright Corporation's main production facilities at Buffalo, New York.
Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps adopted for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s. The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.
P-40s first saw combat with the British Commonwealth squadrons of the Desert Air Force in the Middle East and North African campaigns, during June 1941. No. 112 Squadron Royal Air Force, was among the first to operate Tomahawks in North Africa and the unit was the first Allied military aviation unit to feature the "shark mouth" logo, copying similar markings on some Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine fighters.
The P-40's lack of a two-stage supercharger made it inferior to Luftwaffe fighters such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 or the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in high-altitude combat and it was rarely used in operations in Northwest Europe. Between 1941 and 1944, the P-40 played a critical role with Allied air forces in three major theaters: North Africa, the Southwest Pacific and China. It also had a significant role in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Alaska and Italy. The P-40's performance at high altitudes was not as important in those theaters, where it served as an air superiority fighter, bomber escort and fighter bomber. Although it gained a post-war reputation as a mediocre design, suitable only for close air support, recent research including scrutiny of the records of individual Allied squadrons, indicates that the P-40 performed surprisingly well as an air superiority fighter, at times suffering severe losses but also taking a very heavy toll of enemy aircraft, especially when flown against the lightweight and maneuverable Japanese fighters like the Oscar and Zero in the manner recommended in 1941 by General Claire Chennault, the AVG's commander in southern China. The P-40 offered the additional advantage of low cost, which kept it in production as a ground-attack aircraft long after it was obsolete as a fighter. In 2008, 29 P-40s were airworthy.

A Prayer Before Takeoff

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dassault Flamant

Dassault Flamant
The Dassault Flamant is a French light twin-engined transport airplane built shortly after World War II by Dassault Aviation for the French Air Force.

Design work on a twin-engined light transport started in 1946 with the MD 303, a development of an earlier project for an eight-seat communications aircraft the Marcel Bloch MB-30. The prototype MD 303 first flew on 26 February 1947 powered by two Béarn 6D engines, designed to meet a French Air Force requirement for a colonial communications aircraft. A re-engined version was ordered into production at the new Dassault factory at Bordeaux-Mérignac. The production aircraft was a low-wing monoplane with twin tail surfaces and a tri-cycle undercarriage and powered by two Renault 12S piston engines.

Three main versions of the aircraft now named Flamant (means Flamingo in French) were produced. The MD 315 10-seat colonial communication aircraft (first flown on 6 July 1947), the MD 312 six-seat transport aircraft (first flew on 27 April 1950), and the MD 311 navigation trainer (first flew on 23 March 1948. The MD 311 had a distinctive glazed nose for its role as both a bombing and navigation trainer.

The first Flamant was delivered to the French Air Force in 1949 and deliveries of all versions was completed by 1953

The aircraft was used for pilot training, navigation training, light transport, maritime surveillance and light ground attack. During the Algerian War of Independence the plane was used for light attack with the Nord SS.11 and AS.11 antitank missiles or with machine guns, bombs, and rockets. The Flamant MD 311 (which were based in Algeria to train pilots and navigators at first) was the first aircraft in history to fire one of the world's first wire guided antitank missile in anger, using French Army SS.11 antitank missiles, in a combat experiment to get at fortified caves located in deep mountain gorges, 1956 from an aircraft based with the special unit of the French Air Force in Algeria, GOM.86. The SS.11 attacks proved extremely successful and the French Army which had provided the missiles, began an experiment which resulted in the worlds first attack helicopters firing antitank missiles. The Flamant stayed in service until 1981. In addition to the French air force, the Flamant served in Cambodia, Madagascar, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

Special notes from the flying team via a message on Facebook

Cedric Boone Realy happy that you have enjoyed our display this year at Eastbourne!
I've done an "inside the cockpit" video of our arrival and display training. you'll find it here :

  • hello,
    first of all, congratulations for the pictures of the Flamants. the babies are looking younger than in real life 
    I've read your blog, and I'd like to share some information with you :
    - the MD315 was more a kind of gunship, with a huge gun on the right side of the cockpit. it had the MD311 cockpit configuration (single seated).
    -At first the Flamants were fitted with Renault 12S. later they evolved to Renault 12T. this one can supply a maximum power of 620 HP because it has a twin stage intake compressor (single stage for the 12S). I think all the flamants in flight condition are using 12T.
    - our engines are inverted V 12. there is the same amount of oil inside and outside the engine :o) that's why we spend at least 15 minutes after each flight to clean the engines and engine mounts.

    thanks again for your blog article !

    Cedric, 4A, Flamant team.

General characteristics
Crew: 2
Capacity: 10 passengers
Length: 12.50 m (41 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 20.70 m (67 ft 10 in)
Height: 4.50 m (14 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 47.2 m² (508 ft²)
Empty weight: 4,250 kg (9,350 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,800 kg (12,760 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Renault 12S 02-201 inline piston, 433 kW (580 hp) each

Maximum speed: 380 km/h (205 knots, 236 mph)
Cruise speed: 300 km/h (162 knots, 186 mph)
Range: 1,200 km (648 nmi, 745 km)
Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,240 ft)
Rate of climb: 5.0 m/s (985 ft/min)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Smoke Me A Kipper and I'll Be Back For Breakfast

Smoke Me A Kipper and I'll Be Back For Breakfast

Our intrepid pilot waves a brave goodbye as he flies off in his ancient biplane into the great blue yonder.........

Up Your's Baby

Up Your's Baby

The Mustangs scramble as the enemy guns get closer to the base. GI Charlie hastily calls HQ for backup on the field telephone.........
Another bit of Photoshop tomfoolery based on several images I took at the Shoreham Airshow in the UK. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Messerschmitt Bf 108

ME 108 - Photo Chris Lord

The Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun was a German single-engine sports and touring aircraft developed by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The Bf 108 was of all-metal construction.

Originally designated the M 37, the aircraft was designed as a four-seat sports/recreation aircraft for competition in the 4th Challenge de Tourisme Internationale (1934). The M 37 prototype flew first in spring 1934 powered by a 250 PS (247 hp, 184 kW) Hirth HM 8U inverted-V engine, which drove a three-blade propeller. Although it was outperformed by several other aircraft in the competition, the M 37's overall performance marked it as a popular choice for record flights. Particular among these traits was its extremely low fuel consumption rate, good handling, and superb takeoff and landing characteristics. One of the first major changes made to the production variants was to adapt the fuselage for a four-seat configuration.

The Bf 108A first flew in 1934, followed by the Bf 108B in 1935. The Bf 108B used the Argus As 10 air-cooled inverted V8 engine. The nickname Taifun (German for "typhoon") was given to her own aircraft by Elly Beinhorn, a well known German pilot, and was generally adopted.

Soon after the first production aircraft began to roll off the assembly line in Augsburg, several Bf 108s had set endurance records.
The Bf 108 was adopted into Luftwaffe service during World War II, where it was primarily used as a personnel transport and liaison aircraft. The aircraft involved in the Mechelen Incident was a Bf 108.

Production of the Bf 108 was transferred to occupied France during World War II and production continued after the war as the Nord 1000 Pingouin.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Delta Lady

 Delta Lady

Retired by the RAF in 1984 the privately held and public funded “Delta Lady” XH558 is a show stopper, and with the famous howl, no-one can mistake her as she performs at airshows across the UK.

Here she arrives escorted by the Gnats Display Team
The Vulcan And The Gnats