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 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnvO9LRptaY

  • 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)