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Phil Perry

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About Phil Perry

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  • Birthday 06/02/1950

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    Microlights, Cessnas & Pipers + allsorts
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    Cannock, Staffordshire, England
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  1. Phil Perry

    World's Longest Flight

    World’s Longest Flight Pilot Bob Timm Obviously satellites go millions of miles but they are unmanned, man had been to the moon, but that was using rocket power. These days with fuel efficient jet engines, composite air-frames, computers to aid pilots fly the best possible routes, you would think that today’s airlines fly the longest flights ever using naturally aspirated means. there has of course been a solar powered circumnavigation of the globe, but even that doesn’t come close. So if you’re thinking of some high tech military flight using air to air refuelling to stay aloft, that’s where you’re wrong this flight had no air to air refuelling. The longest flight ever was made in a Cessna 172 with a standard non turbo engine with a fixed propeller. Well it started as you might have guessed in the US, Las Vegas to be more precise and ended there as well. In 1956 a new casino, the Hacienda opened in Las Vegas, but it wasn’t in a good place, some might say that applies to the whole of the city, it was outside of the strip and couldn’t attract enough trade, so they needed some publicity. One of the slot machine engineers, Robert Timm, was a private pilot and came up with a plan to break the existing longest ever flight he needed sponsorship and the casino needed publicity, and so the casino chucked him 100,000 dollars and said do your worst, well he did. He bought a second hand 172, stripped out the rear seats and fitted a 95 gallon fuel tank,put in a brand new engine, he modified the oil lines so that he could top up the oil in flight and removed the passenger seat to put a mattress in, a small sink was added ostensibly to have a wash in but was most likely used to take a piss in and then thought oh Dear, I can’t fly 24 hours a day, so he had to find someone to help and he did, an experienced airline pilot and aircraft mechanic, John Cook and convinced him to join him. John Cook, Bob Timm, actor Preston Foster and Hacienda owner Doy Bayley On Dec 4th 1958 the intrepid pair took off bound for, well nowhere in particular, for the first few days they circled Las Vegas just making sure they knew a field to land at if need be and run the brand new engine in that Timm had fitted. Now I hear the keen eyed amongst you thinking hang on flying for days without landing to refuel even with an extra tank how they manage that? Well they had practised beforehand and rather than to air to air refuelling, they mastered ground to air in-flight refuelling by flying above a disused road, dropping down a line and hauling up a hose from a tank on the back of a truck travelling at the same speed, each refuelling took approximately three minutes and had to be done two or three times a day, food was brought from the casino and hauled up by the same method. I guess they just chucked human waste out of the door. Refuelling Endurance 172 Now Cessna 172s are pretty good these days, but back then they were noisy and not particularly comfortable but this one did have an autopilot and with four hours on four hours rest for both pilots the days turned into weeks and bored or maybe because of complaints from air traffic control around Las Vegas they headed out to the desert to fly the bulk of their attempt until day 36 when disaster nearly struck, Timms was at the controls and flying on the basic autopilot, he fell asleep, fortunately he woke up before the plane ran out of fuel in the tanks and was able to avoid a night crash in the desert miles from where anyone would be looking for them and was able to turn back and find the refuelling truck Two weeks later they broke the existing record of 50 days flight which had been set shortly before they started on their attempt, but rather than call it a day and be happy to have their names in the record books, these two wanted it to stay there for a long time so they just carried on flying. 50 days turned to 60, when they started to get engine problems due to carbonisation in the pistons and they were having difficulty climbing and maintaining speed and so on 7th Feb 1959 after 64 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes of flying covering over 150000 nautical miles the two barnstormers landed, a record that still stands to this day. H/T Wyombe Wanderer November 15 2018
  2. Phil Perry

    The Downing of BOAC Flight 777

    NO,. . you are agreeing that a radio Beam 'Locked ON' to the flight in question,. .. when this type of Navigation'Beam' ( If that was actually used )was not capable of so doing. . . The article suggests that Patrols of JU 88s were sent on regular sorties in that area. . . and that although there was 'Intelligence' that Trevor Howard and his aircraft might be travelling in that area,. .. there was no way that the Germans had any electronic means of locating it. They had NO Radar infrastructure on that coastline. . . The Passenger aircraft was SEEN by a patrol, who expected it to use that route, as advised by Luftwaffe intelligence, and then it was shot down. . .
  3. Phil Perry

    The Downing of BOAC Flight 777

    'Illuminate' was not ( I don't think ) a term used in that era. . .but I could be wrong here,. . ( I often am ) Anyway, were the German 'Navigation Beams' not called 'Knickebein', or something like that ?, if so, their Nav beams were only to direct pilots to a target area, they were Transmitters only and did not have the capability of receiving 'Return' signals like Radar. . . Not only this,. . . large number of them were 'Jammed' or otherwise interfered with by the Brits when they were used over the UK Mainland. . I think there is a techno mix up here . . . But then, I didn't write the article,. . I just Borrowed it with the full permission of Mr. Blown Periphery.
  4. The Downing of BOAC Flight 777 (Part 2 ) PART TWO - 1ST JUNE 1943 A JU88 C of the type that shot down BOAC Flight 777. Note that the artist has omitted the tail swastika symbol probably because the picture is box art for a model kit. On 1st June 1943 the BOAC flight from Lisbon to Whitchurch was assigned to the DC3 Ibis and given the flight number 777-A. It was due to take off at 07:30 GMT but was delayed while passenger number nine, Leslie Howard got off to pick up a package he had left at customs. The flight departed at 07:35 GMT and Whitchurch received the departure radio message and continued to maintain radio contact until 10:54. The ill-fated Ibis soon reached an altitude of 9,000 feet, setting a course for a landfall at Spain’s Cape Villano before flying out over the Bay of Biscay for the seven-hour flight to Bristol, England. Unknown to the passengers and crew of the Ibis, as they passed Cape Villano, a powerful German omnidirectional radio navigation beam locked on to the Dutch aircraft. The flight was estimated to be 200 miles northwest of the Spanish coast when Whitchurch received a message from Flight 777’s radio operator van Brugge, that the Ibis was being followed and fired upon by enemy aircraft. The last position given was 46°30’N, 009°37’W and moments later the aircraft crashed and almost immediately sank in the Bay of Biscay. The next day, BOAC released the following statement: The British Overseas Airways Corporation regrets to announce that a civil aircraft on passage between Lisbon and the United Kingdom is overdue and presumed lost. The last message received from the aircraft stated that it was being attacked by an enemy aircraft. The aircraft carried 13 passengers and a crew of four. Next-of-kin have been informed. In their daily communique, broadcast from Berlin and recorded by The Associated Press, the Germans said: ‘Three enemy bombers and one transport were downed by German reconnaissance planes over the Atlantic’. Time magazine carried a brief story on 14 June, including details of the final radio broadcast from the Dutch pilot. “I am being followed by strange aircraft. Putting on best speed.… We are being attacked. Cannon shells and tracers are going through the fuselage. Wave-hopping and doing my best.” The news of Howard’s death was published in the same issue of The Times that falsely reported the death of Major William Martin, the red herring used for the ruse involved in Operation Mincemeat, a bizarre twist to the story. According to a German account published in Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40by Christopher H. Goss, there is one of the most detailed versions of the attack. The book states that BOAC Flight 777 was not intentionally targeted and was shot down when it was mistaken for an Allied military aircraft. The account is composed of the author’s analysis of events and interviews, conducted decades after the war ended, with some of the German pilots involved in the attack. The account states that eight Junkers JU 88C-6 heavy fighters (Zerstörer) from the 14th Staffel of the Luftwaffe’s main maritime bomber wing, Kampfgeschwader 40, took off from Bordeaux at 10:00 hrs local time to find and escort two U-boats. These aircraft belonged to the long-range fighter group known as Gruppe V Kampfgeschwader 40. The names of four of the eight pilots are known: Staffelführer Oberleutnant (Oblt) Herbert Hintze, Leutnant Max Wittmer-Eigenbrot, Oblt Albrecht Bellstedt, and Oberfeldwebel (Ofw) Hans Rakow. The pilots claim that before setting out they were unaware of the presence of the Lisbon to Whitchurch flights. Due to bad weather, the search for the U-boats was called off and the fighters continued a general armed patrol. At 12:45 hrs, BOAC Flight 777 was spotted in P/Q 24W/1785 heading north. Approximately five minutes later, the Ju 88s attacked. Hintze retold his account for Goss as follows: “A ‘grey silhouette’ of a plane was spotted from 2,000–3,000 metres (6,600–9,800 ft) and no markings could be made out, but by the shape and construction of the plane it was obviously enemy.” Bellstedt radioed: “Indians at 11 o’clock, AA (code for enemy aircraft ahead slightly to the left), attack.” BOAC Flight 777 was attacked from above and below by the two Ju 88s assigned to a high position over the flight, and the port engine and wing caught fire. At this point flight leader Hintze, at the head of the remaining six Ju 88s, caught up to the DC-3 and recognised the aircraft as civilian, immediately calling off the attack, but the burning DC-3 was already severely damaged with the port engine out. Three parachutists exited the burning aircraft, but their chutes did not open as they were on fire. The aircraft then crashed into the ocean, where it floated briefly before sinking. There were no signs of survivors. Hintze maintained that all the German pilots involved expressed regret for shooting down a civilian aircraft and were “rather angry” with their superiors for not informing them that there was a scheduled flight between Lisbon and Britain. Goss writes in his book that official German records back up Hintze’s account that Staffel 14/KG 40 was carrying out normal operations and that the day’s events occurred because the U-boats could not be found. He concludes that “there is nothing to prove that the German pilots were deliberately aiming to shoot down the unarmed DC-3.” This account of the German pilots and Goss’s conclusions are understandably challenged by some authorities. A Short Sunderland flying boat of No 461 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), undertook a search of the area where the flight was lost on the 2nd June. The Sunderland was attacked by eight JU 88s and there followed a long, protracted and furious air battle. The Sunderland’s crew claimed to shot down three of their attackers with three more ‘probables,’ before limping back to Penzance and crash landing close to St Michael’s Mount. Shortly afterwards and somewhat belatedly, BOAC re-routed the Lisbon-Whitchurch route and only operated in the hours of darkness. Theories for the attack All of the theories as to why BOAC Flight 777 was shot down contradict the claims that the German pilots attacked the Ibis in mistake. And quite rightly as it is totally disingenuous of the Germans to claim they would not target a civilian aircraft, given their attempts to shoot down BOAC Mosquitos on the Leuchars-Stockholm route and their shooting down of the two Swedish DC3s. Attempted assassination of Churchill. The most popular theory is that German Intelligence wrongly believed that Churchill was on the flight. This version appeared in the press within days of the incident and Churchill himself supported this theory. At the end of May 1943 Churchill and the Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had travelled to North Africa for a meeting with the American General Eisenhower. Churchill had used commercial airline flight previously and the Germans believed he was trying to sneak home on a BOAC flight. Some theories believe that the SIS had spread these rumours to mask Churchill’s actual means of travel on a converted Liberator bomber. A German agent is said to have spotted a ‘thick set man smoking a cigar,’ boarding Flight 777 at Lisbon and this passenger was misidentified as Churchill. Another part of the theory is that in an intercepted Ultra message showed that the flight would be intercepted, but BOAC was not informed to protect the intelligence source. Churchill accepted this theory in his memoirs, although he is extremely critical of the poor German intelligence that led to the disaster. He wrote, “The brutality of the Germans was only matched by the stupidity of their agents. It is difficult to understand how anyone could imagine that with all the resources of Great Britain at my disposal I should have booked a passage in an unarmed and unescorted plane from Lisbon and flown home in broad daylight.” Leslie Howard in the film Pimpernel Smith Leslie Howard: Actor and spy. Leslie Howard Steiner was born in Upper Norwood, London in 1893 to a British mother and Hungarian-Jewish father. His mother had been brought up a Christian, but had Jewish ancestry. Howard enlisted in 1914 and served as a subaltern in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry during First World War and was invalided out of the Army suffering from combat stress. Howard began his acting career on stage in 1916. Ronald Howard, Leslie Howard’s son concluded that the Germans shot down the DC3 with the sole aim of killing the actor. Howard had been travelling through Spain and Portugal, ostensibly lecturing on film, but also meeting with local propagandists and shoring up support for the Allied cause. The Germans in all probability suspected even more surreptitious activities since German agents were active throughout Spain and Portugal, which, like Switzerland, was a crossroads for persons from both sides of the conflict, but even more accessible to Allied citizens. Leslie Howard’s activities on the Iberian Peninsula, would have attracted a great deal of German interest. A 2008 book by the Spanish writer José Rey Ximena, claims that Howard was on a mission for Churchill to dissuade the Spanish leader Franco from joining the Axis powers. But Ronald Howard was convinced that the order to shoot down BOAC Flight 777 came directly from Joseph Goebbels. The Nazi Propaganda Minister particularly loathed the film Pimpernel Smith and its depiction of the oafish brutality of National Socialism. Leslie Howard was also Jewish and regarded as a dangerous propagandist. Germany’s propaganda machine boasted at Howard’s death and Joseph Goebbels’ newspaper Der Angriff (“The Attack”) ran the headline “Pimpernel Howard has made his last trip.” Ronald Howard’s book In search of my Father, in particular, explores in great detail written German orders to the Staffel 14/KG 40 based in France, assigned to intercept the aircraft, as well as communiqués on the British side that verify intelligence reports of the time indicating a deliberate attack on Howard. These accounts also indicate that the Germans were aware of Churchill’s whereabouts at the time and were not so naïve as to believe he would be travelling alone on board an unescorted and unarmed civilian aircraft, which Churchill also acknowledged as improbable. An excellent account of how the SIS recruit “agents” can be found in Frederick Forsyth’s autobiography, The Outsider. Ian Fleming certainly wrote entertaining novels, but they bare no reality to how the SIS and MI5 operate using proxy agents to do their dirty work. “I hear that you’re travelling to _______ on business. I wonder if you could do a little job for us…” The beauty being that the security services can deny all knowledge when things go horribly wrong. What the former KGB called “Wet Jobs,” were usually carried out by members or former members of UK Special Forces for the British intelligence services, depending on the target. It has now become de rigueur to call on the services of the operatives and Reaper UAVs of No 39 Squadron RAF. Howard was mistaken for RJ Mitchell. One of the least credible theories is that Leslie Howard was mistaken for the designer of the Spitfire, R. J. Mitchell, who Howard played in the film The First of the Few. The film was widely playing in Lisbon cinemas and it was the talk of the city that German agents mistook Howard for Mitchell. It was widely reported that R. J. Mitchell had died in 1937 and one would have thought that someone would have picked up on that. The shooting down of BOAC Flight 777 made headlines around the world and there was widespread grief over the death of Leslie Howard, championed as Britain’s martyr. The British government categorised the downing of Flight 777 as a war crime, but as it was just another incident in the endless trail of horrors, public attention soon shifted, as it always does. Ivan Sharp whose grandfather was killed and on Flight 777, arranged in 2009 for a memorial plaque for the crew and passengers to be dedicated at Lisbon airport. A similar plaque was unveiled at Whitchurch, near Bristol in 2010. A documentary film Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave A Damn (2016), which includes commentary on the ill-fated flight, was narrated by Derek Partridge, who at the age of seven gave up his seat on BOAC Flight 777 for Leslie Howard and Alfred T. Chenhalls and later in life, became a television and screen actor. Blown Periphery Nov. 11th 2018
  5. Phil Perry

    Superfortress Air Crash - 1953

    No I dont have a clue abut 'Crush Syndrome OK,. . .I could ask Alan, who owns that website, but I know he is not a Clinician,. . maybe ask him where he got the info would be a better Idea I think. . . I'll do that later if he's is around.
  6. I'd never heard bout this one, until my mate Alan posted it tonight. . . While it's still Rememberance Day and an aircraft essay... This was one of my first posts on my holiday bloglet... Superfortress Aircrash nr Horncastle 1953 I went out to near the crash site... the farmers phoned ahead and were waiting to tell me of the night when they were kids. I couldn't use what they said. Too horrific. Some of these things don't have a half-life. A few years later, I recieved a nice email from a US lady thanking me... " ...been looking for information on an 1953 RAF aircrash in which a relative of ours died. I had not been very successful until I found your website. We are very grateful for the information in the article which actually mentions our relative's name....Thank you so much for taking the time to write the great article."..... Margaret Chase, chaseusa @ ....net
  7. Phil Perry

    Another Historical tale of Valour.

    I'd Like that Mick, it sounds like a very interesting story. Look forward to seeing that pic if you can sort it somehow. . . . .Phil.
  8. The Fastest Airliner You’ve Never Heard Of THE CONVAIR 990 A Convair 990 of Swissair – note the four anti-shock bodies on the trailing edge of the wings Well here we are for the second part of this series of interesting aeroplanes you’ve probably never heard of. There’s quite a few good candidates for these articles and a few which stand out particularly well. One of them is the Convair 990. Why is this an interesting aeroplane? It was a direct contemporary of the much better known Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, but it was designed to fly faster. In fact to this day most sources will tell you the Convair 990 was the fastest subsonic airliner ever built, yet it remains a mere footnote in aviation history. In this article I hope to tell you a bit about its story. You may not have heard of Convair before. Convair was formed in 1943 by the merger of Consolidated Aircraft and Vultee Aircraft to form the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation which in time was contracted to “Convair”. Whilst Vultee never left a big mark on aviation history, Consolidated designed and built two very well known aircraft; the B-24 Liberator and the PBY Catalina. Convair would go on to produce such aircraft as the F-102 Delta Dagger, the F-106 Delta Dart and the B-58 Hustler. Convair was a significant player in the civil airliner market in post-war America. In 1947 it introduced the CV-240 twin engine piston airliner which went on to spawn a family of derivative types of which 1,181 were built before production ended in 1954. In 1953 Convair was purchased by General Dynamics and subsequently operated as a division of GD for the rest of its existence. In 1958 Pan Am started operating the new Boeing 707, America’s first jet airliner. The following year Delta and United introduced Douglas’ rival DC-8. In 1960 Delta also introduced Convair’s entry into the jet airliner market, the CV-880. Heavily influenced by Howard Hughes, owner of TWA, Convair took a different tack to both Boeing and Douglas. The 707 and DC-8 were both very similar in terms of size, passenger capacity and performance. With the CV-880 Convair had designed a smaller, faster aircraft which it hoped would capture the prestige segment of the market. With a top speed of Mach 0.9 (880 feet per second at typical cruising altitude, hence the name) the CV-880 was faster than both the 707 and DC-8, cruising around 20-25mph faster. However, it carried 60 fewer passengers and its range was nearly 400 miles shorter. A Convair 880 of launch customer Delta Air Lines Some airlines indicated they wanted a larger and even faster version of the CV-880. American Airlines, keen to steal a march on its rivals requested an aircraft which could fly from New York City to Los Angeles 45 minutes faster than the 707 and DC-8. Boeing engineers balked at the idea and said it couldn’t be done. Convair took up the challenge and embarked upon developing the CV-880 into a larger and even faster aeroplane. To fly from NYC to LA 45 minutes faster than the 707 or DC-8 would require an aircraft which could fly at Mach 0.96, or 630mph. The new aircraft was dubbed the CV-990. American Airlines ordered 25 with an option for another 25. Orders also came from Swissair and SAS (Scandinavian Airlines). The first part of turning the CV-880 into the CV-990 was very straightforward. Convair stretched the fuselage a bit over 10ft to increase the maximum passenger capacity from 110 to 149 passengers. The larger, heavier CV-990 would need more powerful engines, especially if it was to fly faster than the CV-880. The latter was powered by four General Electric CJ-805-3B turbojets. The CJ-805 was a non-afterburning civilian version of the J79 engine which powered the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, McDonnell F-4 Phantom and the Convair B-58 Hustler. The new CV-990 would need to be powered by a turbofan engine. The Rolls Royce Conway was the world’s first production turbofan engine but was soon followed by similar engines from the American firms Pratt & Whitney and General Electric The first generation of jet airliners were all initially powered by turbojet engines. Rolls Royce pioneered the turbofan engine with the Conway which was first used to power the RAF’s Handley Page Victor B.2 in 1959. The Conway later went on to power the Vickers VC10 and selected variants of the 707 and DC-8. The American engine manufacturers weren’t far behind. Pratt & Whitney took the JT3C turbojet which powered the early 707 and DC-8 variants and developed it into the JT3D turbofan. Likewise General Electric had developed the CJ-805-23B which was a turbofan version of the CJ-805-3B used on the Convair 880. The new -23B powered the CV-990, thus making it the first turbofan powered airliner. The first turbofan powered aircraft was the B.2 variant of the Royal Air Force’s Handley Page Victor, one of the famous V-Bomber triad. Note the Blue Steel standoff nuclear missile carried by this Victor Up until the advent of the turbofan, the turbojet was by far the most prolific type of jet engine in use. In a turbojet all the air induced into the engine passes through the engine core and the thrust is derived by expanding the hot exhaust gas through a nozzle at the rear of the engine. A turbofan however, adds a larger diameter ducted fan driven by the hot gas turbine in the engine core. All of the air passes through the fan, but only some of it passes through the engine core, the rest of it bypasses the engine core (hence the term bypass engine). The fan itself produces a significant amount of thrust, and the mixing of the cold bypass air and hot exhaust from the engine core reduces the noise from the engine. The net effect is an engine which produces more thrust, is more fuel efficient and makes less noise than a turbojet. The CJ-805-3B used on the CV-880 provided 11,650lbf thrust with a specific fuel consumption of 0.784 lb/(lb·h). The CJ-805-23B used on the CV-990 provided 16,100lbf thrust for 0.56 lb/(lb·h). That’s 38% more thrust with a greater than 28% improvement in specific fuel consumption. You can see why everyone jumped on the turbofan engine when it arrived. Another excellent British invention. What you may find curious about the CJ-805-23B is General Electric mounted the fan at the rear of the engine. One can probably conclude this isn’t the optimal configuration as 60 years later nobody else has adopted this configuration and all turbofans have the fan located at the front of the engine. A front view of the CJ-805-23B – note the compressor turbine blades in the centre which provide the air to the engine core, and the annular duct for bypass air to the turbofan at the rear of the engine A cutaway of the same engine – the front of the engine is on the left. Note the compressor turbine stages for the air passing through the core. The yellow area is the combustion chamber and the red areas are where the hot exhaust gas passes through. The light blue area is for bypass air and you can see the turbofan mounted at the rear. Also note the clamshell type thrust reverser at the rear of the engine which are shown deployed in this exhibit Now we need to talk about aerodynamics. Quite a complicated subject so pay attention at the back. When we talk about aeroplanes we often use the terms subsonic and supersonic. Subsonic of course is an aeroplane which flies below the speed of sound, and supersonic is an aeroplane which flies above the speed of sound. Right? Well no, not really. The speed at which air flows over the airframe isn’t uniform. The shape of the aircraft results in the air flowing at different speeds over different parts of it. Between Mach 0.8 and 1.2 it’s possible to have both subsonic and supersonic airflows simultaneously. This is called the transonic region. Consider an aeroplane moving through the air at subsonic speed. It’s going slow enough that the air can get out of the way fast enough to allow the aeroplane to travel through it. An aeroplane travelling at supersonic speeds is going so fast the air can’t get out of its own way fast enough and instead compresses in front of the aircraft, forming a shock wave which propagates behind the aircraft. The higher the supersonic speed, the more acute the angle of the shock wave. At transonic speeds localised airflows around the airframe become supersonic and these shock waves start to form. Where these shock waves intersect with parts of the airframe they create a lot of drag. This is called transonic, or wave drag. The speed at which these localised airflows begin to reach supersonic speeds is called the critical Mach number. It denotes the speed at which the onset of wave drag begins. Interestingly enough once an aircraft has accelerated through the transonic region the drag then decreases. Why am I telling you this? The speeds the CV-990 was designed to cruise at put it more or less right in the middle of the transonic range where it would be subjected to very high wave drag. Not good. In 1952 an aerodynamicist called Richard Whitcomb working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the forerunner of NASA) developed something called the Area Rule. This links wave drag to the aircraft’s longitudinal cross sectional area distribution. What the area rule shows is that an aircraft with a constant longitudinal cross sectional area distribution will be subjected to less wave drag than one with a large variance in its longitudinal cross sectional area. In other words, it doesn’t matter what the cross sectional area is, as long as it’s as close as possible to uniform along the length of the aircraft then the wave drag can be minimised. Think about this for a second. On a conventional aircraft the longitudinal cross sectional area will increase where the wings are. This means the cross sectional area distribution will be weighted towards the aircraft’s midriff where the wings are and the variance in that cross sectional area distribution will cause wave drag. Whitcomb’s Area Rule led to a generation of aircraft designed in the 1950s and 60s with a so-called area ruled fuselage, sometimes referred to as a Coke bottle fuselage. The fuselage will pinch in around the wing to keep the cross sectional area as constant as possible and thus reduce wave drag. This was a hugely important concept in the era as it allowed the creation of the first supersonic combat aircraft. A Convair F-106 Delta Dart, a supersonic interceptor built for the US Air Force. Note how the fuselage pinches in around the aircraft’s midriff, the classic area ruled or “Coke bottle” fuselage It was also discovered at this time that applying the same concept, one can add a shaped body to the leading or trailing edge of an aerodynamic surface to modify the overall cross sectional area distribution to a more desirable form and thus reduce wave drag. These are known as anti-shock bodies, sometimes referred to as a Küchemann carrot, named after Dietrich Küchemann of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. Küchemann carrots became quite a common feature of high speed aircraft in the 1950s and 60s. A period marketing pamphlet from American Airlines extolling the virtues of the new aerodynamic principles applied to the CV-990 Thus, the most significant aerodynamic change from the CV-880 to the CV-990 was the addition of four anti-shock bodies to the trailing edge of the upper wing. These would also be used to house additional fuel. The combination of the reduced wave drag and extra fuel would allow the CV-990 to achieve the necessary range to fly non-stop from NYC to LA at 630mph. In fact, the anti-shock bodies are the easiest way to tell a CV-880 from a CV-990. The CV-990 first took to the air in January 1961. Subsequent flight testing revealed that despite the use of anti-shock bodies transonic drag was too high and the CV-990 was going to be unable to meet the speed and range promises made by Convair to the launch customers. One of the pre-production aircraft actually achieved a speed of Mach 0.97 at 22,500ft which corresponds to a true airspeed of 675mph. However, at this speed the fuel burn was just too high for the aircraft to meet its range targets. What’s more it was found when fuel was carried in the outboard anti-shock bodies it would cause the outboard engines to vibrate on their pylons at potentially dangerous levels. Thus Convair concluded the outboard anti-shock bodies couldn’t be used to carry fuel and this reduced the aircraft’s range even further. The launch customers weren’t happy. In March 1961 Convair embarked on a “Speed Recovery Program” (sic it’s an American company!). American reduced their order to just 20 aircraft, the first 15 would be delivered “as is” whilst the final 5 aircraft had to have a downward revised cruise speed of 620mph whilst flying non-stop from NYC to LA. The unit price American paid for the aircraft was also significantly reduced. Swissair negotiated a similar deal to American, whilst Scandinavian cancelled their order entirely, although they would later operate two factory fresh aircraft leased from Swissair. A CV-990 of launch customer American Airlines Convair knew they were in quite a pickle. They hired outside help and over a five week period introduced a raft of refinements and improvements to the CV-990 . They identified multiple areas where drag could be reduced including at the wing roots, engine pylons and nacelles. Very significantly though, the solution to the engine vibration was to shorten the anti-shock bodies by 28 inches, eliminating the engine vibration when the anti-shock bodies carried fuel. This actually decreases the critical Mach number and thus increases the transonic wave drag. Not an ideal solution, but the CV-990 needed to be able to carry fuel in those anti-shock bodies in order to meet its range requirement so the compromise was tolerated. The result of the Speed Recovery Program was the CV-990A. The net result of the improvements and refinements was an aircraft which still couldn’t meet the original 630mph cruise from NYC to LA requirement, but could do it at the reduced target of 620mph set by American. Delays to the aircraft certification process meant the CV-990A wasn’t cleared for airline use until December 1961. Convair immediately started delivering the CV-990A from its factory and made upgrade kits available for the original CV-990s delivered to American and Swissair. Unfortunately for Convair the CV-990A was too little too late. In July 1960 United Airlines had introduced the Boeing 720 to service. The 720 could carry the same number of passengers as the CV-990 over the same distance and at a cruise speed only 9mph slower. Crucially, the 720 was a minimum change derivative of the 707-120 and as such Boeing could sell the 720 at a lower price than the CV-990. Spanish charter airline Spantax were the final airline operator of the CV-990 and flew their last flight with the type in 1985 The 1960s are renowned as being an era when oil was cheap and the skies were full of very thirsty jet powered aircraft. Yet even in this era potential customers balked at the fuel consumption of the CV-990. The CV-990 could carry 149 passengers over a distance of 3,500 miles at a cruise speed of 620mph. A Boeing 737 MAX8 as rolling off the production line today can carry 210 passengers over the same distance at a cruise speed of 520mph, but it only needs a little bit over one third the fuel the CV-990 required. Following the lack of any new orders Convair shut down CV-990 production in 1963 after only 37 aircraft had been built. When considered alongside the CV-880 from which it was derived, Convair built only 102 of its CV-880/990 jet airliners. By contrast, Boeing ended up building 1,019 of its 707/720 family and Douglas built 556 of its DC-8 family. The launch customer American Airlines removed the CV-990 from its fleet by the end of 1967, a remarkably short career with the airline. The last passenger flight by a CV-990 was with Spanish charter airline Spantax in 1985. NASA was the last operator of the CV-990 and they made their last flight with the aircraft in 1994. Interestingly enough in the 1970s NASA used the CV-990 to develop techniques for flying steep, high speed descents to landing for the Space Shuttle. NASA were the final operator of the CV-990, using the aircraft for research and development purposes up until 1994 Today the best place to see a CV-990 is at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne where an ex-Swissair example is on display. All in all Convair lost $425 million on the CV-880 and CV-990. In 2018 US Dollars that’s over $3.5bn. At the time it was the largest loss ever sustained by a US corporation and still remain in business. Convair never built another jet airliner again, although they were subcontracted to build fuselages for the Douglas DC-10 in the decades that followed. And that is how the fastest subsonic airliner ever built ended up as a footnote in aviation history. The cutting edge can be a very expensive and unforgiving place to be, especially so in aviation. Oh, and Elvis Presley fans may be interested to know in 1975 the King purchased a second hand CV-880 from Delta Air Lines and had it refitted with a luxury interior crammed with 1970s bling. It was named Lisa Marie and is still on display at Graceland. The Boeing 707, 1,019 built from 1957-79 The Douglas DC-8, 556 built from 1958-72 The Convair 990, 37 built 1961-63 H/T Aethelbehrt November 2018
  9. Phil Perry

    Another Historical tale of Valour.

    There were so many of them. . .and so Young. It is quite possible that there were Many similar acts of heroism in that war, but we only get to hear about them if there's someone left alive to tell the story. . . . .
  10. Acting Flight Lieutenant William Reid VC (21st December 1921 – 28th November 2001), 61 Squadron, Bomber Command, RAF. He was awarded the VC on 14th December 1943. The citation reads: Air Ministry, 14th December, 1943. The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the VICTORIA CROSS on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery: Acting Flight Lieutenant William REID (124438), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 61 Squadron. On the night of November 3rd, 1943, Flight Lieutenant Reid was pilot and captain of a Lancaster aircraft detailed to attack Dusseldorf. Shortly after crossing the Dutch coast, the pilot's windscreen was shattered by fire from a Messerschmitt 110. Owing to a failure in the heating circuit, the rear gunner's hands were too cold for him to open fire immediately or to operate his microphone and so give warning of danger; but after a brief delay he managed to return the Messerschmitt's fire and it was driven off. During the fight with the Messerschmitt, Flight Lieutenant Reid was wounded in the head, shoulders and hands. The elevator trimming tabs of the aircraft were damaged and it became difficult to control. The rear turret, too, was badly damaged and the communications system and compasses were put out of action. Flight Lieutenant Reid ascertained that his crew were unscathed and, saying nothing about his own injuries, he continued his mission. Soon afterwards, the Lancaster was attacked by a Focke-Wulf 190. This time, the enemy's fire raked the bomber from stem to stern. The rear gunner replied with his only serviceable gun but the state of his turret made accurate aiming impossible. The navigator was killed and the wireless operator fatally injured. The mid-upper turret was hit and the oxygen system put out of action. Flight Lieutenant Reid was again wounded and the flight engineer, though hit in the forearm, supplied him with oxygen from a portable supply. Flight Lieutenant Reid refused to be turned from his objective and Dusseldorf was reached some 50 minutes later. He had memorised his course to the target and had continued in such a normal manner that the bomb-aimer, who was cut off by the failure of the communications system, knew nothing of his captain's injuries or of the casualties to his comrades. Photographs show that, when the bombs were released, the aircraft was right over the centre of the target. Steering by the pole star and the moon, Flight Lieutenant Reid then set course for home. He was growing weak from loss of blood. The emergency oxygen supply had given out. With the windscreen shattered, the cold was intense. He lapsed into semiconsciousness. The flight engineer, with some help from the bomb-aimer, kept the Lancaster in the air despite heavy anti-aircraft fire over the Dutch coast. The North Sea crossing was accomplished. An airfield was sighted. The captain revived, resumed control and made ready to land. Ground mist partially obscured the runway lights. The captain was also much bothered by blood from his head wound getting into his eyes. But he made a safe landing although one leg of the damaged undercarriage collapsed when the load came on. Wounded in two attacks, without oxygen, suffering severely from cold, his navigator dead, his wireless operator fatally wounded, his aircraft crippled and defenceless, Flight Lieutenant Reid showed superb courage and leadership in penetrating a further 200 miles into enemy territory to attack one of the most strongly defended targets in Germany, every additional mile increasing the hazards of the long and perilous journey home. His tenacity and devotion to duty were beyond praise.
  11. Phil Perry

    Good old Channel 7 does it again

    Have you ever read 'A Gift of Wings' by Richard Bach I wonder,. . .? . . .In it, he has a chapter on these kind of Media reports,. . . usually ending with : 'The Little Plane did NOT HAVE A FLIGHT PLAN' ! !
  12. Phil Perry

    Dawn Patrol

    I thought this short vid was nice. . . "Having just read Sagittarius Rising, a memoir by WWI pilot Cecil Lewis, I was inspired to fly a dawn patrol today. It was a cloudless perfect morning with a light frost covering the ground when I arrived at the airfield. As I climbed through the crisp cold air I could see fog banks obscuring the trenches. It was all quiet on the Western Front. In reality, It was the beautiful Severn Valley, Wenlock Edge and Clee Hills. I was glad I wasn’t freezing in the open cockpit of a BE2c over the Somme being shot at. It all made me consider how fortunate I was to have the freedom to fly around admiring scenery and think of the sacrifice so many made for that freedom " H/T Graham Wiley ( Otherton Airfield )
  13. Phil Perry

    Good old Channel 7 does it again

    OK, Thanks OME. . makes sense now !
  14. Phil Perry

    BOAC in Wartime

    Speedbird Goes to War – BOAC Operations 1939 – 1945 28th October 2018 Illuminated by a Chance Light, civilianised Mosquito FB Mark VI, G-AGGF (formerly HJ720) of BOAC, taxies onto the flare path at RAF Leuchars, Fife, prior to a night flight to Stockholm. Sweden. G-AGGF was lost on 17 August 1943 when it crashed at Invermairk, killing its crew The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was created in 1940 by the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. BOAC was state-owned and continued to operate overseas air services throughout World War 2. In 1971 by Act of Parliament, BOAC was merged with British European Airways (BEA), effective from 31st March 1974 to form British Airways. Imperial Airways and BA Ltd had been conducting joint operations since war had been declared on 3rd September 1939. Their operations centre was moved from London to Bristol and BOAC started operations as a single company on 1st April 1940. After the Fall of France in 1940, BOAC continued to keep Britain connected with its colonies and Allies, despite having a shortage of truly long-range aircraft on its inventory. All of BOAC’s aircraft had the logo of either or both the Union Flag and the Speedbird symbol. The Routes BOAC inherited the Imperial Airways flying boat services to British colonies in Africa and Asia. With the loss of the route over France and Italy to Cairo, operations had to use the “Horseshoe Route” for the flying boats, routed between Sydney, Australia, and Durban, South Africa, via Singapore and Cairo. Mail could then be sent by sea between South Africa and Britain. Using Short Empire C Class S23 and S33 flying boats, BOAC operated the section between Durban and Singapore while QANTAS Empire Airways operated the section between Singapore and Sydney. In October 1941, QANTAS took over the Karachi – Singapore section as BOAC were short of pilots. Operating the “Horseshoe Route was very taxing for BOAC and required a vast infrastructure to support and sustain these operations. In 1934 Imperial Airways and QANTAS had formed a new company, QANTAS Empire Airways Limited (QEA) and commenced operations that year, flying between Brisbane and Darwin. In 1935 QEA flew internationally when the service to Darwin was extended to Singapore. Once the Second World War started, QEA lost six aircraft to enemy action, over half of its fleet. Flying boat services resumed in 1943 between Swan River in Perth and Koggala Lake in Celyon, where it linked with the BOAC operations to complete the journey to Britain. A BOAC Boeing 314 Clipper lands on Lagos Lagoon, 1943 Spain denied access to British aircraft, but the Portuguese welcomed BOAC’s civilian aircraft for the revenue these flights brought the country. However, the route from Lisbon or Gibraltar was dangerous and risked enemy air attack. The long East Africa route was instigated, involving an over water route by flying boat via Lisbon, Bathurst (now Banjul in Gambia), Freetown, Lagos then by conventional aircraft to Khartoum on the Horseshoe Route. The old Imperial Airways route had used landplane sections using Handley Page 42s, but these old biplanes were totally unsuitable and were replaced by but the Armstrong Whitworth Ensign and de Havilland Albatross ordered to replace the ‘Heracles’ biplanes had proved disappointing, leaving the Short Empire flying boats as the backbone of the wartime fleet. Only a handful of these had long range tanks but many were eventually upgraded with larger tankage and operated at overload weights. The 1,900 mile Lisbon-Bathurst leg pushed the Empire flying boats to the limit and Spain eventually allowed refuelling at Las Palmas in the Canary Isles. By 1941, longer range Consolidated Catalinas, Boing 314As and converted Short Sunderlands were introduces and the Lisbon – Bathurst leg became non-stop. BOAC’s bases for flying boat operations in Britain were Southampton and Poole in Dorset. Another base using Foynes in Southern Ireland became operational, thus avoiding the possibility of German interception by Junkers JU 88 long-range fighters over the Bay of Biscay for some flights. BOAC had bases at Durban, Asmara, Alexandria and a pilots’ school at Soroti, Uganda Lockheed Lodestar, G-AGCM “Lake Marut”, of BOAC, flying over Cairo before landing at Heliopolis Imperial Airways had made pre-war experimental flights across the North Atlantic, using air-to-air refuelling, with the first trans-Atlantic service by Short Empire flying boat, BOAC’s Clare and Clyde to Le Guardia in 1940. The organisation was tasked with operating a Return Ferry Service to reposition ferry pilots, who had flown American-built bombers to Britain. The route operated between Prestwick and Montreal, staging at Iceland, Gander or Goose Bay. By 1944 BOAC had made 1,000 trans-Atlantic crossings. By 1942 the company was operating with Consolidated Liberators, a rudimentary conversion from bomber to passenger aircraft. The Ball Bearing Run Throughout the Second World War Sweden was a major producer of high-quality steel for precision machinery and the finest quality ball bearings. Britain desperately needed such items for its war effort, but just as importantly it wanted to prevent Germany from acquiring them. Additionally, the British government wanted to maintain a diplomatic air link to neutral Sweden, to support its neutrality, which Germany constantly put under pressure given the large number of Swedish Nazi sympathisers. BOAC began air operations between RAF Leuchars in Fife and Bromma at Stockholm. Initially converted Whitley bombers were used, stripped of guns, but they were slow and very vulnerable. Lockheed Loadstar and Hudsons were also used, but the route was dangerous and Sweden had two DC 3s shot down on flights to Britain. The de Havilland Mosquito was introduced for the Sweden run in 1943, during the short summer nights and periods of the Aurora Borealis. The stripped down Mosquitos operated at very high altitude, over 35,000 feet and were too fast to be caught by conventional German night fighters. Exhaust shrouds were removed from the Merlin engines, which is estimated to have added around 30 miles per hour to the aircrafts’ performance. German aero engineers experimented with fitting JU 88 night fighters with GM-1 nitrous-oxide injection, to boost the aircraft’s speed to 382 miles per hour at 28,000 feet, hoping to catch the Mosquito on the approach into Sweden. However, none of the BOAC Mosquito flights were lost to enemy action. The GM-1 equipped JU 88s had a degree of success against Pathfinder Mosquitoes, target marking with the Oboe blind marking system over the Rhur. The typical cargo for these Mosquito Speedbird flights was mail and diplomatic baggage, plus gold, ingots or Sovereigns to pay for ball bearings. A single passenger could be carried in the aircraft’s bomb bay, with their own oxygen supply, but once airborne, would unreachable by the crew of two. He or she would be given instruction on how to operate the intercom and oxygen system, a flask of coffee and told to hope for the best. A passenger travelling in the bomb bay of a De Havilland Mosquito of BOAC, on the fast freight service between Leuchars, Fife and Stockholm, Sweden Niels Bohr the Danish atomic physicist was aware of the possibility of using uranium-235 to construct an atomic bomb, referring to it in lectures in Britain and Denmark shortly before and after the war started. The Germans regarded Bohr as Jewish and the Danish resistance helped Bohr and his wife escape by sea to Sweden on 29 September 1943. When the news of Bohr’s escape reached Britain, Lord Cherwell sent a telegram to Bohr asking him to come to Britain and join the “Tube Alloys” department, Britain’s research project into the development of nuclear weapons. The huge amount of Tube Alloys research and personnel would be gifted to the Americans by Churchill for use in the Manhattan Project. A BOAC Mosquito was sent to Sweden to bring the physicist to Britain. During the flight, Bohr did not wear his flying helmet as it was too small, and consequently did not hear the pilot’s intercom instruction to turn on his oxygen supply when the aircraft climbed to high altitude to overfly Norway. He passed out from oxygen starvation and only revived when the aircraft descended to lower altitude over the North Sea. Between 1939 and 1945, 6,000 passengers were transported by BOAC between Stockholm and Great Britain, fortunately for them not in the main in Mosquitos. Thirteen Mosquitoes were operated by BOAC, of which five were lost, not due to enemy action. They were HJ898, HJ985 and LR524 (not given civilian registrations, as well as G-AGFV, G-AGGC, G-AGGD, G-AGGE, G-AGGF, G-AGGG, G-AGGH, G-AGKO, G-AGKP and G-AGKR. GD, GF, GG and KP crashed on landing or approach. KR went missing over the North Sea in August 1944. Operating constraints and BOAC’s wartime legacy BOAC had been asked to do a lot with very little during the Second World War. The organisation was forced to use a vast array of different aircraft types, with all the logistical and supply problems this entailed. Its air routes were long, many over water and contested by enemy aircraft. It was constantly in competition for scarce resources, particularly in the Middle East and Far East areas of operation, as the RAF was setting up the Air Transport Command from 1943 and RAF crews seconded to BOAC were taken back to staff the new command. By 1945 the world was a different place, and the colonies were beginning to change attitudes about how they would be governed in the future. Airlines were still very much an instrument of government policy, but BOAC was in a uniquely difficult position by the end of the war. British aircraft design had been concentrated on producing bombers and although there were thousands of them all round the world, they were not necessarily compatible with the aspirations of modern air transport. For example, the Lancastrian, a bomber conversion, could only carry nine passengers in extremely rudimentary conditions. Politically, the Atlee government wanted to keep the British, (and as it transpired, Russian) aeronautical industry viable and while Britain still had outstanding design teams, the Americans had the capacity to build comfortable, long range aircraft. Brilliant though the jet-powered Comet was, it’s fatal depressurisation due to metal fatigue did for it and the American aircraft manufacturers were only too happy to capitalise on British misfortune. Even the VC10, a wonderful and fast aircraft, had been built to operate out of smaller, higher altitude airfields in the former colonies such as Nairobi and lacked the passenger carrying capacity. But how I miss them and remember watching movers at Akrotiri, jump up and down on the wing to get the side cargo door shut. They were as well as the Andover, a superb aircraft for Aeromedical Evacuation. And so we are where we are. But as I recently waited for my daughter to arrive from Italy at Stanstead Airport, watching the mice in their million hordes and surly, bearded, tattooed and ostentatiously over-armed police strut through the terminal, I imagined myself back in a different time, brandy sour in hand, Panama hat pulled down low, smoking a cheroot on a bar veranda at the side of the lagoon, waiting for the lighter to take me out to that Empire Class flying boat, glistening silver on the turgid water. Blown Periphery 2018.
  15. Phil Perry

    Good old Channel 7 does it again

    That's one I don't think I've seen mate,. . .what's the back story ? obvs on a U.S. Freeway or summink. . .