Saturday, April 19, 2014


For my dear friend Brigid...
2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith...
May your brother find eternal peace, may you be together again, some day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different! (Ep. 4)

Sunsets?  Already did that.  Afterburners?  That is So last week.  Therefore, along with the usual grab-bag of plane-pr0n how about some cool, and not-so-cool airplane paint jobs?  Let me know in the comments which you like best- or just post a link to your own favorites.

I've always liked the big and bold Union Jack, and slapping it on a jet works for me.

Another British Hawk, but I like the first one better.  

Saab Draken looking good.

And another one
The Saab Draken intrigues me.  I haven't seen many of them, and of those- all of them online of course.  It's a relatively older aircraft however, built between 1959 and 1974, before the interwebs, so that might explain it.  Modestly exported from Sweden to Finland, Denmark, and Austria, and the one above is Austrian.  The Draken reminds me of something out of Star Wars.

How about some Hornets?  The first is pretty slick- Canadian I believe.  I can tell because of the red marijuana leaf on the wing.  The second is a retro paint scheme from the Naval Aviation Centennial a few years back.

The VFA-195 Dambusters have had some great CAG birds over the years.  "Chippe Ho!" must not be PC anymore.  More here
I put this Hornet picture down under the other ones.  Get it?  Down under the other ones?  
Sometimes I crack myself up.
I know it's supposed to be a tiger, but it just looks like one of those weird moths to me.
I'm sorry, a paint job featuring Cherry Blossoms and Mount Fuji on an F-15 Eagle?   Unlike the Brit symbol of their national identity, the Japanese version just doesn't work for me.
A British Hawker that makes me think of those 1970's posters in my cousin's room- a room that had a lot of weird smells emanating from it.
A German F-4 with unusual paint.  This could be a theme all to itself...(that's some foreshadowing by the way.)
This one is pretty unique- an F-4 Phantom that has both an F-104 and an F-86 painted on the underside.

Not a real unusual paint job, but it makes a tough-looking jet even more so.
Speaking of tough looking, this one is showing its teeth.  Not sure what this one is carrying, but it's got a bunch of 'em.  How many weapons stations did this bird have anyway?
Had to add this one.  It's my Dad's last unit- VF-302- a Reserve Squadron where he served as a TAR.
Not an interesting paint job picture, but a very interesting load-out picture. 
 Any ordies available to help me out here?
The Germans have found a way to make some Phantoms look ugly.

Did we take a cue from the Germans for these paint jobs?  Only the black one deserves praise here.
Speaking of German's making things ugly, this plane doesn't even look like it's flying right side up!
Time to cleanse your palate with a couple nicer looking aircraft and paint-jobs.

Did you know that Blue is my favorite color?  I'm more partial to the '67 convertible Mustang, but this one is a beauty too.

Here's another Angel.  I threw this one in for Sarge.
Yeah, it's a painting, but a Scooter loaded for bear deserves some room in this post.  
I like the stars on the blue paint.

How about no paint at all?  I really love these polished silver (or is it chrome?) aircraft.  B-25, P-51, P-38, it doesn't matter, they're all gorgeous when they're shined up all nice and pretty like this.

I've never seen A-7's in this configuration before- speed-brake out, hook down.  Makes for a cool picture though.  I like the subdued paint on these.
These Marines are having a very good day.
And they're still having a very good day.  Some Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders 
showing up at your base tends to break the monotony.
Yes, I know I'm getting off track here, but they're professional Cheerleaders!  I'm sure you understand.  Here's a couple more before I pull some leftovers out of the fridge.

Forgive my lack of unquestioned patriotism here, but this one is a little gaudy if you ask me.  Looks more like those vinyl wraps on cars these days, vice some good hard work by the squadron paint shop.
This one from Texas is a little better.   

Look, a bunny!  There's two of 'em- just in time for Easter!
I wonder if any "Bunnies" ever got a ride in one of these?

I don't think there's a special paint job here, but the vapes are cool and colorful. 
A rainbow Raptor if you will.

And now for the leftovers I promised- some sunset pics I found in a file deep in the bowels of my computer.

Lady Lex

The elusive Prowler sunset pic.  If you find more, let me know.

The Truman Show

Might be a repeat, but it's a good one.  This picture reminds me of this.

Wrap up the bow, wrap up the waist, the fly day is over, as is this post.
If you have any suggestions for the next "And now for something completely different!", let me know.

The Open Road Beckons

I could watch this for hours...

More good stuff over at c w's place.

Including this, which seems perfect for this particular weekend. Enjoy...

Good Friday

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” - Mark 15:33-39

The Friday Flyby - 18 April

One of the most impressive aircraft I ever saw in my Air Force career was the SR-71 Blackbird.
The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. During reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile.
The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents, but none lost to enemy action. The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including Blackbird and Habu. Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record previously held by the YF-12. Wikipedia
I first saw the SR-71 was when I was assigned to the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena AB, Okinawa. There were a few of them assigned to a SAC detachment on the other side of the base. Each launch and recovery of one of these birds was a show all to itself.

Typically the jet would taxi out to the runway accompanied by a retinue of Security Police vehicles, maintenance vehicles and about six colonels in their own vehicles (and a partridge in a pear tree!) All with flashing lights and the occasional sounding of horns/sirens. Quite a sight!

The last time I saw the SR-71 was when I was assigned to SAC at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. This was a bird making its last flight before going to the museum just outside the gate. It was, to me, a very sad occasion. I think it was for the crew as well, because prior to setting her down for the last time, they put on quite a show. Multiple high speed passes at low altitude with a high-G pull up at the end of the airfield.

The SR-71. A fast, high flying marvel.

There's no mistaking the shape of the Habu for anything else.

While deployed to Okinawa, the SR-71s and their aircrew members gained the nickname Habu after a pit viper indigenous to Japan, which the Okinawans thought the plane resembled. - Wikipedia
A NASA-operated SR-71

SR-71B trainer over the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Ahhh - pilots and their "selfies" (this is Major Brian Shul, SR-71 pilot, so yes, it's cool and awesome)

Major Shul with his visor up

View of the earth as seen from the SR-71 Blackbird at approximately 73,000 feet...

Major Shul's story is pretty fascinating -
Brian Shul (born 1948), is a Vietnam-era USAF fighter pilot and a retired major in the United States Air Force (USAF). He flew 212 combat missions and was shot down near the end of the war. He was so badly burned that he was given next to no chance to live. Surviving, he returned to full flight status, flying the SR-71 Blackbird. Major Brian Shul completed a 20 year career in the Air Force. He has written four books on aviation and runs a photo studio in Marysville, California.  - Wikipedia
Major Brian Shul, USAF

You can read more about the Major here. If you can get a hold of a copy of his book Sled Driver, jump on it. It is no longer in print but is floating around out there on the web of world-wideness. Good stuff!

SR-71 Pilot's Cockpit

Awesomeness x 2!

SR-71 Cutaway Drawing

SR-71 In 'Burner
Taxiing Out (Bring the Heat!)

What do the A-10 and the SR-71 have in common?

Big Air Force (read that as "the bean-counting, non-warfighters in the Five Sided Puzzle Palace") doesn't like them. Let Wikipedia tell it (somewhat edited by me).
Initial Retirement
In the 1970s, the SR-71 was placed under closer Congressional scrutiny and, with budget concerns, the program was soon under attack. Both Congress and the USAF sought to focus on newer projects like the B-1 Lancer and upgrades to the B-52 Stratofortress, whose replacement was being developed.

The SR-71 had never gathered significant supporters within the Air Force, making it an easy target for cost-conscious politicians. Dick Cheney told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the SR-71 cost $85,000 per hour to operate. Opponents of the program estimated it cost $400 million per year to support; that number was subsequently reduced to $260 million. Also, parts were no longer being manufactured for the aircraft, so other airframes had to be cannibalized to keep the fleet airworthy. The aircraft's lack of a datalink (unlike the Lockheed U-2) meant that imagery and radar data could not be used in real time, but had to wait until the aircraft returned to base. The Air Force saw the SR-71 as a bargaining chip which could be sacrificed to ensure the survival of other priorities. A general misunderstanding of the nature of aerial reconnaissance and a lack of knowledge about the SR-71 in particular (due to its secretive development and usage) was used by detractors to discredit the aircraft, with the assurance given that a replacement was under development. In 1988, Congress was convinced to allocate $160,000 to keep six SR-71s (along with a trainer model) in flyable storage that would allow the fleet to become airborne within 60 days. The USAF refused to spend the money. While the SR-71 survived attempts to retire it in 1988, partly due to the unmatched ability to provide high-quality coverage of the Kola Peninsula for the US Navy, the decision to retire the SR-71 from active duty came in 1989, with the SR-71 flying its last missions in October that year.

Funds were redirected to the financially troubled B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit programs. Four months after the plane's retirement, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., was told that the expedited reconnaissance which the SR-71 could have provided was unavailable during Operation Desert Storm.

Due to increasing unease about political conditions in the Middle East and North Korea, the U.S. Congress re-examined the SR-71 beginning in 1993.

Final Retirement
The reactivation met much resistance: the Air Force had not budgeted for the aircraft, and UAV developers worried that their programs would suffer if money was shifted to support the SR-71s. Also, with the allocation requiring yearly reaffirmation by Congress, long-term planning for the SR-71 was difficult. In 1996, the Air Force claimed that specific funding had not been authorized, and moved to ground the program. Congress reauthorized the funds, but, in October 1997, President Bill Clinton attempted to use the line-item veto to cancel the $39 million allocated for the SR-71. In June 1998, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the line-item veto was unconstitutional. All this left the SR-71's status uncertain until September 1998, when the Air Force called for the funds to be redistributed. The plane was permanently retired in 1998. The Air Force quickly disposed of its SR-71s, leaving NASA with the two last airworthy Blackbirds until 1999. All other Blackbirds have been moved to museums except for the two SR-71s and a few D-21 drones retained by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

The SR-71