Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #7

Sandy Sandstrom is preparing for a Planning Committee meeting on January 11th. Immediately after that, we will post another update, and broadcast another message to our e-mail list. At that time, we expect to announce the final cost of the formal Events (the Friday Hangar Social & Saturday evening Banquet @ the Dover Downs Hotel), and the timeline for payment.

We'll also update any other plan details that are finalized. They'll be discussing such things as progress on scheduling a banquet speaker, reunion souvenir items that could be available, and how to honor Crew members who have passed on.

Meanwhile, many of you have already made your reservations for accommodations. If you need information previously posted, click on: Planning Post #5 or Post #6.

Based on research feedback early this year, we have made no formal reunion plans other than the two events mentioned above. That leaves it up to individuals or small groups to make their own plans for Friday dinner, and Saturday morning for other activities like golf outings and lunch.

If you have any input for our Planning Committee.....comments, suggestions, questions, whatever....please e-mail me before Jan. 10th at: .


Friday, December 11, 2009

1607th ATW patch

Becky Fogdill's father was Andrew Dill. She is looking for a 1607th ATW patch. Anyone who might have a spare?

Her email is

Cal Taylor

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Letter in AF Mag

Blowing my own horn a bit. The Dec 2009 AF Magazine published my letter about how essential the C-133 was to the ICBM program. An earlier article about ICBMs totally disregarded the process of getting the rockets to and from their launch facilities. Another article in Airlift Tanker Quarterly, Fall 2009, page 20, about airlift history, skipped straight from the C-124 to the C-5. Once again, "C-133, what's that?"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Master model builder

Check out what this true craftsman has done, making models from aluminum. NOT a beer can!!! Imagine a C-133 model built this way.

Look at the Corsair and Mustang that he built.

Cal Taylor

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #6

Here is all of the information we've gathered. The advantage of the blog is, it's accessible to all of you anytime. Plus I can add in live links, (in red) to other websites that makes it easy for you to navigate (I know, you're not all navigators, but you can do it!). And if you want to scan all of the numbered blog posts related to Reunion Planning, just scroll to the bottom of the latest one, and click on the Label: Reunion Planning, and you'll see them all without the other stuff in between (it's like opening a file of one topic).

Dover Area Accommodations
(PF = Pet Friendly) (Dupont Hwy is Rt 13)

USAF Billeting Office Dover AFB for Eagles' Rest

Call 302-677-2840 or 2841

Best Western Galaxy Inn 1700 E. Lebanon Rd. 302-735-4700

(across Hwy 113/Rt 1 from North Gate of the Base)

Comfort Inn of Dover (PF) 222 S. Dupont Hwy. 302-674-3300

Comfort Suites (PF) 1654 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-736-1204

Country Inn & Suites 764 Leipsic Rd. 302-667-0505

Days Inn 272 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-674-8002

Dover Downs Hotel 1131 N. Dupont Hwy. 800-711-5882

(advise Reservation person you want C-133 Event rates)

Hampton Inn Dover (PF) 1568 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-736-3500

Holiday Inn Express 1780 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-678-0600

Little Creek Inn (PF) 2623 Little Creek Rd. 302-730-1300

MainStay Suites (PF) 201 Stover Blvd 302-678-8383

(New; located on Rt 113 between the Base and downtown, next to American Legion. Rates among the lowest, & provide Military rates + tell them you’re with the “Old Shaky” group. Directions: Exit 98 from Rt 1 South, right onto Rt 8 West, then Left onto Rt 13 South. Left lane, bear left @ split to Rt 1 South; MainStay is on your left. From there to AMC Museum, take right Turn onto Rt 113 North, left at first light onto Rt 113 South toward “Beaches” past Dover AFB on left.)

Ramada Inn 348 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-734-5701

Red Roof Inn 652 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-730-8009

Residence Inn Dover (PF) 600 Jefferic Blvd. 302-677-0777

Sheraton Dover Hotel 1570 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-678-8500

Sleep Inn & Suites (PF) 1784 N. Dupont Hwy. 877-424-6423

Super 8 Motel 348 N. Dupont Hwy. 302-734-5701

Fairfield Inn & Suites, 655 N. Dupont Hwy., 302-677-0900

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #5

Thank you for the great response to our request for "Registration" for our May, 2010, Reunion. We've acknowledged responses from 90 of you......84 Yes......6 No. And you've told us to expect 140 people at the Friday "Hangar Social," and 146 at the Saturday Banquet. That's an awesome start!!

We don't plan to publish an "expected attendee's" list, but some of you are interested in who's planning to attend. If you have individual names of your colleagues that you'd like to know about, let me know, and I can tell you if we've heard from them.

Below is a letter to all of you from our Planning Committee Chair, Sandy Sandstrom. It's all about "group rate" accommodations at Dover Downs where we'll have the Banquet. If you want to stay there, you need to confirm reservations ASAP, as they're asking for room guarantees. Let me know if you have questions about accommodations. Separately, I'll also be publishing a list of other local accommodations, but we're not arranging other "group rates." Can't do them all.

Letter from Sandy Sandstrom, Planning Committee Chair:

Here is what we have come up with so far in regards to accommodations.

The hotel rates for Dover Downs are as follows:

Friday $159.00

Sat. $169.00

Sun. $ 125.00

For those that would prefer to stay at Dover Downs, they should call (800) 711-5882 and make their own reservations. Be sure to inform the reservationist that this is for the C-133 event. As an aside, we have 20 rooms already blocked off and we could have more if the crew wants them...but individuals need to make their own guarantee. For those that do stay at Dover Downs, they never have to leave the building. There is a plethora of activities to do, to include several restaurants and of course, the gambling (scan their website below).

Click on the red link for the Dover Downs website, and the guys could use e-mail to reserve the rooms.

That about covers it. I know you will have questions, so we're standing by to try and get those answered.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

C-133 Engines

A Boeing B-17 used as the testbed for the Pratt & Whitney T-34 tuboprop engine. In 1945 the U.S. Navy funded the development of a turboprop engine. The T-34 was produced from 1951 to 1960, but never used in a U.S. Navy aircraft. The best known "user" was the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster. Date: 1950 Source: U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News October 1950

Thanks to Andy Fleming for pointing out this interesting post in Wikipedia.

Then Cal Taylor replied that he "used that photo as the header shot in Chapter 6, Engines and Propellers" of his book
Remembering an Unsung Giant . And he adds, "That airplane was later restored to a WWII B-17G configuration by an outfit in Florida. Sorry, can't recall their name."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Book of the Month

Suite Française

by Irene Nemirovsky

The Random House Group

In the June 2009 review of The Shameful Peace I raised the question about fiction as truth and its relationship to the telling of history. It turns out that much good history is written within the context of a fictional story. Generally, the story is more interesting for a non-historian; and, the truth is told if the facts are held. The October 2007 review of Life and Fate is a sterling example and I declared it as one of the best novels I had ever read.

However, Debra in a comment about the June review challenged that assumption in a clever way by saying that Suite Française was one the best ever fictional histories that she has read. I could not resist the challenge so I have read it and I am in total agreement about its all-consuming story. Knowing her for some years I never doubted that would be the case. Interestingly, both novels are set in about the same time frame, WWII, and are about the life of the ordinary citizen in France and Russia coping with the War and their vile governments. The authors lived the life they wrote about.

Suite Française is the story of the initial 1940 German occupation of France largely from the viewpoint of the women and families left behind, as most of the men were prisoners or in the Army. Despite Nemirovsky’s Jewish roots, her novel focuses on the fates of the French non-Jews during the War. I was barely into the first story about the evacuation of Paris when I knew I was reading something special. The descriptive prose was Russian in its nature, as the Great Russian novels were Nemirovsky models for a planned 1000 page book encompassing five novels. Note the sarcastic play on Hitler’s 1000 year Reich. Click here for an introspective review of The Third Reich.

Every element of a civilization under stress comes alive under Nemirovsky’s hand. “Christian charity, the compassion of centuries of civilization, fell…. She needed to feed and protect her own children. Nothing else mattered anymore” is an example of the thin line that separates egoism and altruism in society as it is collapsing. The clash becomes palpable as the people become more desperate.

Altruism becomes what it is, a philosophy of misery, suffering, poverty, and the hatred of man for man as civilization is founded on the philosophy of egoism and individual rights. Civilized society endures the false promises of altruism when it can afford them, under wartime stress it cannot, families cannot, and a country cannot. Click here for a full discussion of George Reisman's "Real Right to Medical Care"

The story about the long delayed publication of Suite Française and the author is a story within itself. In 1918 Nemirovsky was a fifteen year old Russian émigré Jew to France turned Catholic; a prolific writer during the lead up to hostilities, married with two children, and subsequently sent to Auschwitz where she died in 1942. Her husband was gassed the same year. Her two young daughters were hidden and survived the War. Since the age of twelve and then for over sixty years, one daughter had the care of her mother’s leather bound notebook with the impression that it was a diary. To her amazement, when finally read, it turned out to be an unfinished novel in meticulous handwriting that, when published, became an immediate world wide best seller.

In reading Suite Française I would suggest that you begin with the appendices, which are from the handwritten notes on the situation in France and her plans for the novel, taken from her notebooks. They begin, “My God, what is this country doing to me? …let us watch as it loses its honour and its life.” Therein, the author bares her personal thoughts during the occupation as she confronts the hypocrisy, the compromises, and the hope.

The translator notes that Nemirovsky was writing from the depths of the French countryside, with a sense of urgent foreboding, nothing but her memory as a source, her immediate family suffering from financial ruin, and with an unknown but suspected dread for the worse. From that comes this most wondrous novel where Nemirovsky turns her truths into fiction to better tell the story of this brutish time in world history. Suite Française is now a well-deserved masterpiece of French literature

Unfortunately, she was able to complete only the first two novels of her planned series of five before her death, but they show the depth of her skill that was lost to mankind as she created, “…one of those rare books that demand to be read.” Suite Française is a most devastating indictment of French morals.

I was somewhat confused about the title so I asked my Nephew who lives in France and speaks like a native Parisian the meaning of it. His response is, “’Suite’ in the French sense means the ‘follow up’ or “what comes after’.” That was Nemirovsky’s fear as she saw the country coldly rejecting her and she would have to harden her heart and wait as would all others.

The novel is at a time and place, the beginning of WWII, when most C-133 crewmembers were young men with some already serving. Again, Debra was correct, it is transfixing and a must read. Enjoy!

Richard Spencer

39th ATS, KDOV


P.S. Go here for complete worldwide reviews in several languages: Suite Française Reviews

P.P.S. Most of the books I review for this site are mainly of interest to C-133 crew members and their experiences. However, the wives of our crew members will enjoy this novel, maybe more so, as it focuses upon the plight of the women and children who are left to cope with the ravages of a war that enters their immediate life. Let me know your thoughts.

Rick Spencer

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oooops! Did we just go past MSP????

Guess we should have brought a Navigator!!

Thanks to Bob Becht (actually a Pilot once upon a time!!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Economic Sophisms

Again, our Crew Colleague/Book Reviewer, Rick Spencer, has been published. This time on the Caeser Rodney Institute website. This is not Rick, it's Caesar!

Here's the intro: Some think protectionism is a recent phenomenon beginning with the Great Depression, but it has been with mankind since commerce began and always with the same outcome: higher prices for the consumer and the destruction of a portion of an offending country’s production. With this in mind, what follows is a brief review of Economic Sophisms by the French author Frederic Bastiat an important early critic of this vile practice by political leaders pandering for votes.

Click here to read Rick's full article: Economic Sophisms.

And here's Fred:

Monday, October 19, 2009

TSgt John A. Kitchens

Recently, Bob Hunter contacted me, to dispute the date of death of Sgt Kitchens. Hunter was in MX at Dover until his discharge in Feb 64. He has stated very firmly that Kitchens was killed in the crash of 22 Sep 63, NOT in the Goose crash on 7 Nov 64. My source for the crew list was Part A of the USAF accident investigation board report. If anyone has a primary source that can conclusively negate that report and place Sgt Kitchens on the Sep 63 crash of 71611 , I'd be interested in seeing it. That event was the second of the two C-133s that crashed within the first hour after departing Dover.

Cal Taylor

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #4


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #3

Several respondents have already asked about the possibility of discounted Group Rates at the Dover Downs Hotel. Our Planning Committee is looking into it, and we'll broadcast what we learn along with contact information for various motels in the Dover area......stay tuned!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #2

C-133 REUNION 2010

Thanks to Cal Taylor website for Unit Patches

Friday/Saturday, May 7-8, 2010

Dover, DE

Hangar Social @ AMC Museum, Friday;

Saturday night banquet @

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino

Can you believe it will be three years since the last blast?
Time just keeps marching on!!



The estimated cost is about $60/person,

(Friday Social & Saturday Banquet only; accommodations not included!)

but some of the expenses are fixed,



You'll be receiving a Registration Form soon at your home address (plus one by e-mail if we have one listed for you).

Please complete and return the form either by snail mail or e-mail ASAP!!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rick Spencer Published Again!

Our trusty 133 Crew Colleague, and Book of the Month Reviewer has a new article posted on:


Click on the following link to go to:

September 26, 2009

Health Care Promises: What Happens Next?

By Richard L. Spencer

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Recommendation

General of the Army: George Marshall
by Ed Cray

I have to most highly recommend this biography of General Marshall. It is exceptionally well-written, telling the story of perhaps the most important man of WWII, whose efforts produced an 8-million man army in 1945, from one of only 150,000 in 1939. Marshall's efforts resulted in the huge logistics system that supported the war effort of the US, England, the Soviet Union and other participants. It is easy to imagine that, with a lesser man in the post of Army Chief of Staff, things could have gone much less satisfactorily. The book deals with the highest levels of planning, procedures and even politics. It has very valuable insights into such leaders as Roosevelt, Churchill and the many men who became the generals of WWII, including Arnold, Ridgeway, Clark, Patton, Montgomery, Wavell and many others.

Cal Taylor

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

C-133 Design Questions

Last night, I talked for more than an hour with Don Elder, who was an aerodynamics engineer at Douglas. He worked the YC-124B and the C-133. I asked him about several questions that had come to me.

1. Why did the wing have a 12-degree angle of incidence?
This was because the aft fuselage was so long that, with a smaller AOA, the tail upsweep would have had to be much steeper. Increasing the AOA allowed less upsweep from the bottom of the fuselage to the tail cone.

2. The wing seemed to be located much farther aft that on other airplanes.
The important design consideration is the fore-and-aft relationship of the wing and the tail. The portion forward of the wing could be as long as necessary.

3. Were 4-bladed props ever considered?
Yes, they were. But, they presented a much larger flat-plate area than the 3-bladed props from (per Don Elder) the Curtiss toy company. The three-blade props were more efficient.

Cal Taylor

Saturday, September 5, 2009


For those who want to know more about the C-132:

The last chapter in my C-133 book, Remembering the Unsung Giant, gives the basic story of the C-132. Coming soon is a book that goes into the air refueling version. It consists of a 146-page Douglas report about the C-132, including the tanker version, plus two chapters. One is the C-132 chapter from my C-133 book. The other is a history of air refueling that concludes with an alternative history section, written as if the Air Force bought the KC-132 and put it into service. That is all about ready to go to the printer.

Cal Taylor

To reference Cal's earlier post on this topic, click on:
KC-132 Tanker/Transport

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Book of the Month

Lewis and Clark: Across The Divide
Carolyn Gilman
Smithsonian Books, 2003
Washington and London

It is not often that I would recommend a tabletop book worthy of consideration for C-133 crew members; but, so many of us were raised in the “country” as outdoors men, had minimal modern creature comforts, an early love for hunting and fishing; and spent serious time exploring our then less populated surroundings of the 40’s and 50’s. We were dreamers of a time past and we were explorers of our country’s landscape that still seemed remarkably empty. Imbued with a sense to intellectually and physically conquer the world unknown drew many of us to join the USAF. That same spirit may lead you to read this lavishly illustrated history of America’s first major peaceful military expedition exploring America’s vast land from St. Louis to the Northwest. No exploring party is more famous and their journey is richly reconstructed on its two hundredth anniversary.

Lewis and Clark is a stunning volume resulting from a five-year effort by the author, Carolyn Gilman, to trace and authenticate artifacts from more than fifty lending institutions and individuals throughout the United States. Each page is a visual joy that depicts in great detail the artifacts that include maps, original artwork, and documents. The author’s learned commentary about this renowned expedition vividly details a seemingly impossible trek through a mystical land largely unknown except to the native cultures that existed in a state of near isolation from our burgeoning nation; America’s newly purchased Louisiana Territory.

The Lewis and Clark expedition has become America’s very own epic as it gave us our first insights into territory east of the Alleghenies that we considered empty. Thomas Jefferson stated in his instructions to his Corps of Discovery that the mission was to find a ‘practicable water communication across this continent” and “the names of the nations & their numbers; the extent & limits of their possession; their relations with other tribes of nations: their language, traditions, monuments; their ordinary populations.” Jefferson knew the Expedition would need the goodwill of the natives in order to survive their journey into the uncharted lands of the Louisiana Territory that composed part of his dream of empire.

Thus, America’s history was forever changed by this amazing expedition with its most important objective to find the fabled Northwest Passage for the purposes of commerce. America, then largely an agricultural economy, was foremost a capitalistic country rewarding successful efforts of individual production. That in turn, ensured citizens their utmost personal and economic freedoms. The dream of a Northwest Passage was important, as it would provide more commerce for Jefferson’s expanding empire.

Lewis and Clark is separated into ten chapters each with a great degree of historical interest for those wanting to take this trip through our past. While reading, I could feel and see our country as it existed before the industrial age and before modernity changed the topography. It was a wilderness country of indigenous animals and native cultures. It was magnificent in its expanse and beauty and Gilman is able to portray it in such a manner that the reader becomes a participant. In few other readings over the years have I felt so much a part of the story. I shiver at the winters, I am a part of the hunt, I meet with the Natives, I am tired at the end of the day; and finally, I begin to understand the importance of the trip and the purchase. At the last of the outgoing leg of the journey I see the Pacific and dreaming about that kept me going.

For the reader, it is a romantic trip through our past and one that is worthwhile. It becomes impossible to not feel as if you were a member of this glorious expedition with its vast distances giving rise to many emotions. After all, our military service was ultimately an extension of theirs.

This new land was a different kind of Eden than what was expected for along with its beauty was its tempestuous power. Completion of the trip in 1806 that began in 1804 ushered in a new era for America. The country was now ocean to ocean and within these East/West boundaries and through the creative abilities of the people we increasingly became a world power. Many would say that this geographic area is still our ‘true north’, the heart and soul of our country. I would not disagree, especially after serving with so many of our fellow crewmembers from there.


Reviewed by:
Richard Spencer
39th ATS, KDOV, 1962-65


Our own 133 Crew Colleague and prolific Book Reviewer, Rick Spencer, is now officially published (somewhere besides this blog!) INTERNATIONALLY in the Canada Free Press!

Click on the following hot topic link:
Medical Freedom for All: A Solution

also, check it out at:
Caesar Rodney Institute

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The info on the post of the C-133 video has the air-to-air photographer incorrect. Greg Sheffer said it was one of his guys, Steve Tader, shooting from a B-25.

Cal Taylor

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Teaser video for last C-133 flight

Just in from Inversion Productions is a five-minute film clip that is an excellent summary of the last flight of 61999, last August. Great sound, great video. Progress is slow but it's coming along. Turn the sound WAYYYY up!

Click on this link, or copy-and-paste into your browser:

The copilot was Tom Carlson (Morrie's son), FET was Ken Kozlowksi, pilot was Mike Congdon, maintenance help by Aaron Henderson and Janice Kozlowski was along for the ride.

The air to air shots were done by Mike Leary. The in-cockpit work was done at Anchorage and, I think, by one of the crew enroute. The clip does not use any of the video shot at McChord.

Update Note: Thank you all for your Comments!! It's gratifying to know we have some "listeners!" Obviously we're all sharing the thrill of this video bringing back the memories! If you're not comfortable leaving your e-mail address on this blog, please forward it to me at so we can be sure we have you in our data base. The only "requirement" is that you have an interest in're part of our family.

Bonus Comment: Check out this website from one of our "family members!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Predator Drone Controllers

Click on the Play button to watch this amazing video:

Saturday, August 1, 2009


If you run across this July/August issue of PILOTMAG, check out the article on page 24, "Flying Giants: Story of the C-133 Cargomaster." Contributor Micah Ciampa conducted telephone interviews with Sandy Sandstrom and Yours Truly several months ago, after he discovered this blog. The whole article is based on quotes from the two of us, in spite of the by-line to the story which declares "Two seasoned pilots reminisce about the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster."

I'm sorry I've been unable to access the article itself online, but click on the following red link for the Home Page of the magazine's website: PILOTMAG.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reunion Planning Post #1


Friday-Sunday, MAY 7-9, 2010

Dover, DE

Start your planning engines NOW!
Only 40 weeks and counting!

To the next C-133 Crew Reunion!!!!!!

This is when and where most of you told us you wanted it in our survey last winter. Thank you for your great response! We have an active Planning Committee engaged (members listed below). They've had a couple meetings already, and will meet again on August 4th to further consider your wishes and enjoyment. So look for more information in mid-August. Tell anyone you know who may have an interest, and may not be on our e-mail address list.

They've already booked space at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino for the main feature, the Saturday night banquet. Click on the following red link for the Dover Downs website:

Our thanks to the Planning Committee for their commitment to making this the best one ever! We'll see you there!

Charlie Aylward
Vito DiFronzo
Gerry Foss
George McDuffie
Jimmy Nolan
Larry Phillips
Sandy Sandstrom
Jay Schmuckler
Dick Strouse

Dick Hanson & Rick Spencer, Communications Committee
cell ph: 651-249-9541

November Book of the Month Update

Again, our Reviewer, Rick Spencer, adds the following relevant Comment:

"The July 25, 2009, edition of the WSJ has an article titled "The Class of Generals". The West Point class of 1976 produced the generals running the nation's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their key deputies. All told, 33 active and retired Generals were among its 855 graduates. Even though the class of 1915 is known as 'the class the stars fell upon' there is an argument that the class of 1976 is becoming just as influential. Maybe, there is a president among them! The article is well worth reading for its human interest as well as it being the first modern generation of officers to enter the Army without serving in Vietnam." Rick Spencer Comment

His original Review in November, 2008, was:
Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life

Friday, July 24, 2009

June Book of the Month Update

Our Reviewer, Rick Spencer, offers the following update relevant to his June Book of the Month, The Shameful Peace:

"I have just finished watching the adaption of Olivia Manning's fictional trilogy of British expatriates during WWII. Her writings are considered the best fictional history about this period of the War and the story line ranges from Romania to Egypt. Manning's writings are based upon her own experiences and begin in 1940 as the Germans were marching freely to their belated victories. The adaption was done by BBC and released in 1987 titled "Fortunes of War" (available on Netflix). I highly recommend it." Rick Spencer Comment

Click on the following link for a Wikipedia review of the video:
Fortunes of War (TV Series)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

KC-132 tanker/transport

Just imagine flying a turboprop transport even bigger than the C-133. Douglas had the C-132, which also had an aerial refueling role. It got as far as a full-scale mockup but the AF pulled the fiscal plug in 1957. I've written a short history of aerial refueling as context to the KC-132's role in that activity. The last section of the chapter is an alternative history, which assumes that the Air Force bought both the 50 C-133s and 150 C-132s. Of those, there were two air refueling wings, at Pope and George, and six transport wings, at Travis, Dover, McChord, McGuire. Charleston and Tinker (which also had the training squadron). My lead picture is a conceptual photo of a KC-132 from the GAFB 497th ARW, fueling two A6-A Intruders of VA-34, based on USS John F. Kennedy. The event takes place during a 1970 WestPac cruise that passed through the Fiji Islands.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Extreme Aerobatics

Up until just a few years ago airplanes physically could not do what you will see this one do. It is still hard to believe when you see this in person. This is all real and there is no trick photography. Not only is the airplane unbelievable but the pilot is also taking g-forces between about +8 and -4. That hurts.

**Buckle up, you are in for some turbulence!**

The airplane is an Edge 540 manufactured in Guthrie , Oklahoma ...... The engine is 540 cubic inches, 10.5:1 Compression ratio, has a Cold Air induction System and is fuel injected. Engine preparation done by Barrett Precision Engines. It makes 320 BHP @ 2850 RPM and weighs 385 lbs. The airplane can fly inverted until it runs out of gas. This is Kirby Chambliss flying it, also a Red Bull pilot and Captain for Southwest Airlines.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Space Shuttle Landing; Pilot's View

Subject: Space Shuttle Landing--Pilot's View / Edwards Runway (a little slow first half, but gets better on final approach)

The video attached to this file is an impressive cockpit view of the landing of a space shuttle at Edwards AFB, California to Runway 22 (southwest direction). [As many of you know, if landing in Florida is precluded, the shuttle goes to Edwards, about 90 miles NE of Los Angeles .]

The view is through the cockpit window with a HUD (Head Up Display) superimposed in front of the window. The HUD makes it possible for the astronaut to look out of the space shuttle yet have the relevant information to fly and land in the space shuttle - altitude, speed, on course or not, wings level, etc. (i.e., no need to glance down at his instruments).

The video opens with the space shuttle flying in an easterly direction in preparation to land. There is some light conversation among the crew about a cloud cover - an undercast. You will see the undercast (clouds) at the bottom of the picture with the atmosphere giving off a faint color differentiation and then the darkening shades of blue to dark space.

One crew member is backing up the flying astronaut by reminding him of the next events - important because there is little to no room for error as the space shuttle is one giant glider with no chance to add power or go around.

Just short of 3 minutes into the video one crew member gives the flying astronaut a point when he should start a right turn for the runway. At about 3:10 in the video the astronaut is told he has the 'needle' centered referring to being on course. At about 3:46 the astronaut is told he is at the 90 - referencing the point in the pattern where he is to make a final 90 degree turn to line up with the runway.

Soon after the astronaut calls, "Yeah we have the runway." Look at the upper right corner of the video to see the runway come into view. (The runway is 16,500 feet of cement - 3 miles long.)

The height above the runway makes for a steep descent by commercial airline operations - it is a 19-degree glide slope. A typical airline flies a 2.5 to 3 degree glide slope. Notice how fast the shuttle passes through altitudes and the high approach speed 200 knots..

At one point the flying astronaut makes the point that the wind is greater than anticipated and he knows that could make a difference in the remaining energy to reach the runway. He makes a short correction to a flawless landing.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Book of the Month

Frederic Spotts
Yale University Press, 2008

Usually, I write a book review every month for our web site that relates somewhat to the time and experiences we had while on active duty. Others have highlighted major American figures that have leveraged their military careers into civilian and political leadership positions at times of major national crisis. I like these stories about our leaders rising from a fairly common but purposeful American childhood where no one would have guessed their innate abilities or the scope of their future. Those “who earned their wings” through the eyes of their comrades in the most trying of circumstances. They are the story of America and they are thus compelling in both spirit and patriotism. Their successes were a large part of the foundations for American Exceptionalism. Our history, in many instances, is their lives.

But, this month I am taking a different tack and one that I hope you enjoy. Those of us who served in the C-133’s during the early 60’s fondly remember our many trips to Chatteroux, France, hopping the train to Paris, spending the nights in the American Hotel for $2.00, and I could go on for some time. But, WWII was only a scant 15 years past and one of the most “inglorious responses to Nazi rule” was still largely unspoken. It was a cloud that we did not know about. It was the shameful story of the French cultural establishment and their collaboration with the Germans in order to live a life of luxury and safety during the occupation of France, especially in Paris. Traitorous collaboration was so conspicuous that a spontaneous purge began the moment allied troops entered Paris resulting in an estimated 1600 summary executions.

In my opinion, the lack of serious study of French history under German rule is second only to the indifference by contemporary scholars to the criminal dimension of Communism. Such blatant absence of academic research undermines the fabric of worldwide democracy. In both examples, it seems telling that the intellectuals aligned themselves with the enemy of humanity rather than their fellow man. Seemingly, they have now chosen a path that hides their cowardly deeds and their involvement in these two movements of such evil that the world still shudders from its content. Why did they do it and why do they deny it?

But, now comes The Shameful Peace by Frederic Spotts casting a brilliant light upon the disgraceful and dishonorable actions of French artists and intellectuals during the Nazi occupation. We can only hope that more such serious studies are to emerge, as they should help citizens of all countries in evaluating their leadership during times of crisis. I considered reviewing it; but I can add nothing to that published in the WSJ by Mark Falcoff of the American Enterprise Institute. I urge you to click on the following red link: "Collaborative Artists: The French cultural establishment's inglorious response to Nazi rule" for his critical examination of this subject. You will not be sorry!

Now, I would like to turn my/your attention to another item of interest as you read history: History as fiction designed to unite us. It was not always that historians tried to tell a dispassionate truth to the reader. They were writing stories, more often than not, to persuade and to unite us around a common theme or cause that they felt important. There is no such thing as a real story. Stories are told or written, not found. Thus, a true story is a virtual contradiction in terms and all are fiction. But, is the truth always fiction or is fiction always the truth? Many say there is no such thing as fiction anymore as anything can happen. I always use September 11, 2001, as an example of fiction that became truth.

The historian’s problem is to always interpret things as they happened but personal experiences often bias his final analysis. So, what is the truth? The truth is more often found if you are familiar with the writer’s life experiences. Thus, in order to better understand history one must know the writer and his connections to the matter that is being examined. For a full discussion of this concept go to: History as Fiction Designed to Unite Us as I think you will enjoy this introductory analysis to historical revisionism. It does ring true as both authors and their subjects are only human and we all know the frailties of each. I know that my life experiences encroach upon my thoughts of what I consider the truth and I bet yours do as well!


Richard Spencer
39th ATS, MATS
KDOV, 1962-1965

Friday, June 26, 2009

Comfort & Dull.....not bad!

F-16 vs. C-133

A C-133 was lumbering along when a cocky F-16 flashed by.
The jet jockey decided to show off.

The fighter jock told the C-133 pilot, 'watch this!' and promptly
went into a barrel roll followed by a steep climb. He then finished
with a sonic boom as he broke the sound barrier. The F-16 pilot
asked the C-133 pilot what he thought of that?

The C-133 pilot said, 'That was impressive, but watch this!'
The C-133 droned along for about 5 minutes and then the C-133
pilot came back on and said: 'What did you think of that?'
Puzzled, the F-16 pilot asked, 'What the heck did you do?'
The C-133 pilot chuckled. 'I stood up, stretched my legs, walked
to the back, went to the bathroom, then got a cup of coffee and a
cinnamon bun.'

When you are young & foolish - speed & flash may seem a good thing !!!

When you get older & smarter - comfort & dull is not such a bad thing !!!

Us old folks understand this one!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bigger Than a 747

I checked this in Wikipedia and the plane actually was built in Russia during the 1930s. It flew 11 times before crashing and killing 15 people. The designer, Konstantin Kalinin, wanted to build two more planes, but the project was scrapped. Later Stalin had Kalinin executed. Evidently it was not good to fail on an expensive project under Stalin. It's got propellers on the back of the wings, too!! It looks like 16 engines all told. The Empire State Builiding on its side, with cannons. Not only a bunch of engines but check out the cannons the thing was carrying!

In the 1930s, the Russian army was obsessed by the idea of creating huge planes. At that time they were proposed to have as many propellers as possible to help carry those huge flying fortresses into the air, jet propulsion had not yet been implemented. Not many photos were saved because of the high secrecy levels of such projects. Still on the photo below you can see one such plane - a heavy bomber K-7.

For more photos and info, click on: Airplane Giant K7

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dolly Take-off

Ever see a float plane without wheels take-off from land?

Thought you might like to see what kind of aviation related things they do in Prince George, B.C. You have seen float planes come and go...but bet you haven't seen one take off like this. This video was taken in Prince to give the pilot full marks for guts. I imagine you only get one shot at this... notice the fire truck following them... they obviously had a few doubts themselves.

When a floatplane is landed on the grass and taken to the hangar for maintenance, obviously it has to depart once again. Landing a floatplane on grass is easier than becoming airborne on grass. This is where 'Dolly' comes in. Put the aircraft on a 'dolly', fire it up, tow it down the runway, and, once a certain speed is attained, push the throttle to 'Warp Factor 9', and you are airborne.

Get ready, here is how the good people at Hill Aircraft Service Ltd. in Prince George, B.C., accomplish a 'dolly take-off'!'

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Calling All Navigators!

Memories of James Connally AFB.....

Click here for an interesting website of history and photo gallery:
JCAFB Navigators & Obervers Website

Click on this red link to go to a photo gallery of the:
T-29 Flying Classroom

Finally, click on the following red link for a great photo log of:
T-29 Restoration Project