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B-17 question


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9 hours ago, New Englander said:

Care to elaborate on that statement?

I understand that this may feel personal for you, but it's fairly objective. Before I touch any nerves -which isn't my purpose, I'll disclose that airplanes, flight, and space travel are my first love. I have a degree in aerospace engineering, I did my flight training while I was in college. I only decided against commercial flying after visiting one of the largest commercial flight schools, where they told me the divorce rate amongst commercial aviation professionals was over 80%. I worked in the industry for a major supplier in aerospace, who sells to domestic and foreign, civilian and military customers. I finally gave up on everything because it was BORING. Flying is so much fun. But the industry moves slower than the government.

You ask me to elaborate. It's like trying to prove a negative, but I'll try.

Virtually every airplane that has been "new" in my lifetime, certainly in the commercial space, has been a variation of some formerly novel concept. They're all tubes with conventional wing sweep, and some high bypass turbofans slung underneath.

By and large, a 78 is a 707 with a few tweaks over sixty years. I mean, what are the changes? Some plastic instead of aluminum. We call it composite, but it is nothing like the state of the art of advanced materials available at the time. It's got a "glass cockpit" which was given the fancy name and was hottest thing since sliced bread, because you know, it was a digital image of decades long established analog standards. What am I missing?

Fly by wire, maybe. But that isn't new tech.

All I'm really trying to say is, the pace of innovation SUCKS compared with the decades that preceded my lifetime. There's nothing happening today that makes a plane nerd giddy. And it sucks because I wish I could have experienced it. I had a professor who lived through and was PART OF the jet age, the space age, and the computer age in aerospace. I got to be part of Facebook age.

I'm not knocking you and your love of flight. Trust me I get it. But look at the last fifty years and compare it to the twenty that preceded them. No comparison.

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15 minutes ago, Old Binder Guy said:

I've had a little affinity with DC-3s. This was my big brother arriving in Lewistown from Billings on a Western Airlines DC-3 about 1947. This was his first ride in an airplane. He later spent 37 years in military, was a Master Aviator of eight fixed wing and rotary wing US Army aircraft. He retired as a brigadier general.

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This was me at the Lewistown Airport waiting for my big brother to disembark the DC-3.

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This was the day I left the Lewistown Airport, my grandmother and mother. I flew on a DC-3 to Salt Lake. A turbo prop plane took me from there to Fort Ord, California. That DC-3 stopped at every "milk stop" and it was a horrible thing on my ears, being non-pressurized. 

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Years earlier, Lewistown had another venture with this DC-3. Only us OLD duffers will remember the spooky movie, The Thing starring James Arness (as The Thing) which was filmed in Lewistown in 1951. The film makers needed a place with snow. Lewistown seldom ever lets a mild winter happen. The Indians in the Judith Basin called this area "AH-KI-NE-KUN-SCOO" or "hole of snow."

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This C-47 was a part of the WWII US Army's "First Special Service Force" here in Helena, Montana. The troops are going for a practice parachute jump. The movie, "Devil's Brigade" was produced about this First Special Force that trained at nearby Fort Harrison. They did winter snowshoe and skiing in the nearby mountains, practicing for their landing in Italy.

1452583053_1stSpecialServiceForcemembersboardingaC-47.jpg.3192751c214a2617e684ec60df2b2b35.jpg 

This memorial sign is erected on Interstate 15 here at Helena, Montana.

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An ID-6 is a tug for a C-47. Keeping it somewhat International Harvester.  

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This DC-3 shown with an International Harvester D-model service van in an old IH commercial.

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What are you going to do if you own one of the International Harvester service vans, my friend Gil Mangels at the Miracle of America Museum at Polson, Montana drove his to the Glacier Park International Airport near Kalispell, when they were having an airshow. You aren't supposed to notice that this is a B-17 bomber, but that was the best they could come up with at that time.   Gary😁

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You always have such rich contributions on this forum. I genuinely was very excited when I got the notification that you had responded to me. Thank you. 

And I'll say, a B-17 is a very acceptable stand in for a DC-3 in my humble opinion.

I flew to a little airport in western NY once. Not a commercial place, and there was the (movie aircraft) Memphis Belle, sitting parked right on the ramp. No public event, no crew, just sitting there, leaking oil out of the bottom (inverted) cylinders. My instructor taught me then that if those radial piston engines sat too long, they would remove the plugs to drain the oil that had leaked past the rings and "above" (actually, below) the piston and into the combustion chamber in the inverted cylinders, to get it to start.

I think I could have stolen that plane that day, as there was literally NO ONE there. It was one of my favorite sleepy old airport experiences.

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6 hours ago, KWRB said:

I understand that this may feel personal for you, but it's fairly objective

It depends on your perspective. In my lifetime commercial aircraft have gone from straight wing radial engines to swept wing jet power. Sure, you can say the both the swept wing and jet engines were experimented with and primitive examples were actually deployed at the end of WWII but those examples only slightly resemble the 100,000lb thrust engines and airfoils in current use.

In my lifetime rockets went from V2 weapons to putting a man on the moon to boosters that land back on earth standing straight up.

The 727 and DC 9 were state of the art at the beginning of my flying career; now they're Jurassic Jets. Fly by wire is new during my career. The plane I fly was the first business jet to use the technology which first found use in fighter jets back when the technology was in diapers. Those planes had ejection seats for when it malfunctioned while now it's matured enough to be on just about every new passenger jet.

The first jets I flew had steam gauges. Now we have 4 big screens with lots of functions that give great situational awareness, something that you had to develop in your head. I have mixed feelings about training with such avionics but I guess it just isn't necessary to have a mental picture of where you are and the condition you're in when one can see it on a big screen. 

The first glass cockpits were, in fact, just an image of conventional gauges. The first Sperry AI was a depiction of the FD109 Sperry attitude indicator that I'd flown previously but that's not where they are today. The amount of information presented on my primary flight display is amazing - things you'd have to look all over the cockpit for and things that didn't even exist before.

On the way to Italy the other day I was reflecting on the 9 way point INS that I first used for ocean crossing, carefully checking the Lat Longs you put in, charting your position on a huge paper chart with 10 minute cross checks. Now we uplink the flight plan, see all the way points on the big screens, get the clearance via CPDLC, position reports automatically sent via ADS-C, monitored by ADS-B, get a re-route pushed to us, and chart on an electronic chart plotter, GPS aided accuracy so good that we SLOP, or Strategically Laterally Offset our Track in case someone else screws up or to avoid the vortices of the one in front of us. Chances of a GNE or Gross Navigational Error greatly reduced.

I suppose if you're of the instant gratification type then this progress is slow. In the grand scheme of things it has happened in less than the blink of an eye.

I took no offense at your statement, just wanted to understand why you would have that opinion. Everything under the sun is just an improvement on the past - from rolling things on logs to the wheel and so on. It's fast progress in some eyes and maybe glacial in others. Until we can have Scotty beam us around I guess we'll have to put up with it.😁

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8 hours ago, KWRB said:

And I'll say, a B-17 is a very acceptable stand in for a DC-3 in my humble opinion.

My Dad would have agreed with you although he thought the earlier B17's prior to the "E" model were the best looking.

I prefer the "G" model over all others as it is the toughest looking.

1356330355_B17Cc.thumb.jpg.b03d6659677a9594e4aa2194380b9be1.jpg

 

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I've often wondered if ALL of Sperry was included in the purchase when Halliburton bought Sperry for their directional drilling services, and, if so did the rest of Sperry decline as fast as did their directional, and downhole technology, or was simply the fault from Halliburton putting new management into place with the 'new management' consisting of people that hadn't a clue about what Sperry directional  services did? (Sperry's multi-lateral sleeves and whipstocks impressed me)

Also, wasn't Sperry part of New Holland, OR, New Idea (I think that was AVCO).

Funny how some of these aerospace companies branch off into weird subsidiaries, take Martin-Marietta as another example.

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1 hour ago, Art From Coleman said:

Also, wasn't Sperry part of New Holland, OR, New Idea (I think that was AVCO).

Yes, Sperry Rand purchased New Holland in 1947 until Ford purchased it in the early eighty's.

My Grandparents had a Sperry NH baler and a garden tractor.

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1959 an 11 year old kid flew from vancouver to calgary then to toronto then to schipol (sp) for a ten week vacation with my mothers relatives, we did the new "polar route" as we off loaded we all got a card and notarized letter stating we had just lived through another bit of history of flying, this was in a turbo prop airyplane that took almost 19 hours from start to finish, everyone in suits, hats, dresses and furs, I don't fly at all but I took my gurl to vancouver last year for a flight and it looked like peeps were lining up for a cattle car loading, I laffed and laffed and laffed and, well you get it.

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On 9/22/2022 at 5:46 AM, KWRB said:

As a Commonwealth subject, I'm surprised you've neglected to mention some of the utterly beautiful Commonwealth aircraft. Sea vixen, harrier, Lancaster, Vulcan etc etc etc.

It is a shame that aircraft tech moves so SLOWLY. Big part of the reason I got it of that industry. Innovation exists, I was told, but it sure is hard to find. Some of those mid century aircraft really were cool in how they were such vast departures from the status quo.

I think the most beautiful plane ever built was the DC-3/C-47.

Ya commonwealth subject, thanx for da reminder, the 3 is a nice lined plane, and being on this side of da border (help me pleeeezze) the avro comes to mind, I don't think I will ever fully understand why this ball was dropped, I mean we coulda been a contender, we coulda been a somebody!

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28 minutes ago, Dasnake said:

Ya commonwealth subject, thanx for da reminder, the 3 is a nice lined plane, and being on this side of da border (help me pleeeezze) the avro comes to mind, I don't think I will ever fully understand why this ball was dropped, I mean we coulda been a contender, we coulda been a somebody!

I saw what is left of that plane in Toronto... I forgot the story, but there's a fairly cheeky video on youtube of it. I'll see if I can re-find it.

 

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On 9/24/2022 at 8:29 AM, Ian Beale said:

Seeing as the discussion has drifted to technology transfer I'll add this -

 

I guess you could say it worked pretty well - in the thick of everything and still managed the best crew survival stats of any RAF aircraft

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I'm going off subject again. This was my late big brother Bill YAEger who ended up as a Master Army Aviator, qualified in eight fixed and rotary wing aircraft and a Brigadier General, and me. Class of 1950 & 51 at the Glengarry, Montana one room country school. I was a second grader and Bill a 6th grader.

PS: I've been asked all of my life if we were related to Brigadier General Chuck YEAger? Bill and Chuck were good friends. They met at a JFK News Conference in Washington DC. They were the ONLY TWO General Officers to ever get to keep their flying status while a general. The Pentagon has too much invested in Generals to allow them to still fly. We probably were related back in the "old country" but not cousins. Both names in the old country were "Jäger." I've always called Chuck, "Cousin Chuck." I informed "cousin" Chuck of Brother Bill's death from cancer 12 years ago. Chuck was very saddened to hear of Bill's passing.

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During WWII, Bill could identify every bomber or fighter plane that flew over our ranch in central Montana. When one of these B-36s flew over. 

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Then another B-36 a few days later. This is a Life Magazine photo of a B-36 and a B-29. The B-36 has Jet Assist Take Off (JATO) helping those six rear facing prop jobs get the payload off of the ground.

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The most famous US Army Air Corps and USAF pilot to ever fly the B-36 was none other than Colonel Jimmy Stewart below. If you've never seen the movie, Strategic Air Command, General Jimmy Stewart actually flew the B-36 in that fabulous movie. I rented it a few years back, just for old times sake.

 

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Then a month or so later at the Glengarry School, one of these B-47 "jet airplanes" flew over. The first one jet I ever saw. I'm guessing these planes were headed to Malmstrom Air Force Base at Great Falls. Gary😉

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There  was an effort to restore a B36 in Fort Worth. After 10s of thousands of man hours they lost their hangar and the plane was disassembled and trucked to the Pima Air museum.

I think the original intent was to restore it to flying condition but if so, perhaps a pipe dream. Attempting to feed and keep 6 R4360 engines running an almost impossible task not to mention keeping the plane systems operational.

I haven't been to Pima for years and it wasn't there the last time I was. Hopefully I'll someday have a trip to Tuscon and get to see it.

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1 hour ago, New Englander said:

I haven't been to Pima for years and it wasn't there the last time I was. Hopefully I'll someday have a trip to Tuscon and get to see it.

It is: (Thanks for bringing this up, as I had thought that I had lost ALL the pictures that I had taken of this vacation (and the last time I have been more than 200 miles from the hovel, but so many of my pictures had renamed their files as "Odds and Ends 2014"). Yet these were taken in 2017.  The Pima Air and Space Museum IS a great place to visit, and you can sign on for a bus ride through "The Boneyard", as well as watch the A-10's from Davis-Monthan AFB.

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I love that movie! The B36 is so awesome ,” kept the peace without ever firing a shot”. With 6 turning and 4 burning the B36 had 40,000 horsepower!

In the Life magazine picture that is actually a B50 with the B36. The B50 was essentially a B 29 with a taller tail and the R4360 engines same as the 36.

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There is also another B-36 at the Strategic Air Command Museum at Ashland, NE.

I also remember seeing another, the cargo version of the B-36, and given this, while it was at Kelly AFB, San Antonio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_XC-99

Quote

XC-99, AF Ser. No. 43-52436 is now part of the National Museum of the United States Air Force collection at Wright-Patterson AFB. The aircraft was disassembled at Kelly AFB, Texas and its sections transported to NMUSAF for anti-corrosion preservation and reassembly there.[7][8] It was subsequently transported in the summer of 2012 to Davis-Monthan AFB and is stored in Area 20 of the 309 AMARG complex, the so-called "Boneyard", pending financial resources sufficient to restore the aircraft and return it to NMUSAF for display.

The bomber is stored under roof, along with perhaps a dozen, if not more aircraft (which should give you an idea of the size of the hanger, since SAC, and pre-SAC was NOT known for its small planes.

Their planes were moved from the old outdoor display at Bellevue (although not associated with Offutt AFB), after being towed down Nebraska 370, to I-80 thence SW to Ashland.

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1 hour ago, TomH said:

In the Life magazine picture that is actually a B50 with the B36. The B50 was essentially a B 29 with a taller tail and the R4360 engines same as the 36.

Good eye! Yes the huge 4360s stand out.

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It should be noted that the B-36 flying with the B-50 is no ordinary B-36--note the lack of the normal bubble canopy for the crew.  That is the NB-36 testing the use of nuclear reactors to supplement the power of the normal engines.  That different front is a 11 ton lead-lined compartment protecting the crew from radiation.  Nothing much seemed to come from the tests.  Read about it at 

http://www.aviation-history.com/articles/nuke-american.htm

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Great stories about a great generation of people (and their aircraft).

I am alot younger than Professor Yeager-----not having been manufactured until 1943.  So please excuse me for not having his first hand WWII expeience.:huh:

All of these stories did bring up remembrances of my first airplane ride in the early 1950's with my dad and the pilot Lee Abide.  Lee operated a crop dusting service here in Greenville, Ms along with his old B-17 (?) co-pilot Eddie Ruether.

They had flown the "hump" across the Himalayas (spellin?) and become lifelong friends.  (I presume it was a B-17??) and had one sitting at the Greenville airport for several years.  Truly great pilots and great people.

I have posted numerous stories here in the past about my now deceased friend and old B-52 pilot (turned crop duster) Rod Wells.  Rod was 10 yrs older than me and had an older brother Richard (Dick) who flew the P-38s in the Pacific.  Dick was shot down and killed in 1945 just before the end of the war.

Never met him in person-----but Rod brought his old tattered leather flight cap and jacket out to the farm to burn and bury.  I have a picture of Dick flying escort in his P-38 hanging on my office wall.

Will have to post up a picture of these two old friends on this thread----give them one more salute.

Gotta be careful of saying who was the best pilot of all pilots (lots of good ones out there).  I just always said:  "there were few who could fly with them-----but the ones who could wore feathers!!!!):D

I also have a copy of a personal letter to Richard's family thanking them for Richard volunteering for the special mission that he was killed on signed by Gen. Douglas McArthur (another one of my real heroes).

 

Keep the stories coming.......

 

DD

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