Saturday, February 27, 2016

Look What I Saw at The Air & Space Museum


Hi, I'm the Old AF Sarge, the head cook and bottle washer of this here blog, the Chant du Départ, or The Chant as we like to call it when we're being all informal and such, and I'd like to waste borrow a few moments of your time.

Actually while I was scrambling for content for today, I was looking through some of my photos from Sandy Eggo. That one above and another I'll inflict on share with you at the end of this post.

Now I'll confess right up front that I'm not a "suit guy." I'm much more comfortable in jeans, sneakers, and a polo shirt. Not that I've ever played or even watched polo. Though I was once at a wedding anniversary celebration with The Missus Herself and a rather decent chap at our table (an actual, real live historian) said we should swing by the polo grounds in Portsmouth (yes, we have an actual polo place in Little Rhody) because it was just a grand time.

Apparently they tailgate and everything, though it's probably a bit more high brow than tailgating at a college football game, which I did do once. Out in Michigan at the Big House to watch the Wolverines play the University of Massachusetts. Big Time's parents are alumni of Michigan and have season tickets. We were out there for Little Bit's baptism way back in 2010, so we went to the game. The game was exciting, the tailgating was awesome. Yes, beer was involved. And bratwurst. A superb combination.

But I digress, we were talking about suits weren't we?

The Missus Herself dresses me up on those occasions when it's de rigeur to wear something other than jeans and a polo shirt. Personally, for formal occasions, I'd rather dress like this -
M. Fabry, a quartermaster for the 1st Hussars, was one of the last surviving veterans of Napoleon's army. He is shown here in full dress uniform, wearing the Saint Helene medal (issued August 12 1857, to all veterans of the wars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire). (Source)

Obviously that isn't going to happen, and it would be deuced hard to get that cavalry saber through check in at the airport. And without the sword I'd just be overdressed...

Anyhoo...

Like I said, not a suit guy and I don't go anywhere without the ball cap. I sunburn easily and when outdoors the hat is absolutely necessary. Not to mention which, my massive bald head tends to distract pilots when the sun is out. (All that glare dontcha know?)

When I beheld myself in that opening photo, I said to myself, "Damn but I look good." Then the other voice in my head said that I looked like I was running for office. Or selling used cars. But I am standing on the deck of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, which has a massive coolness factor. Well, it does to me at any rate.

Other than the two suit photos (patience, no skipping to the end!) I had a few photos of the Edwin J. McKellar Jr. Pavilion of Flight at the San Diego Air & Space Museum I wanted to share. It's a place I really enjoyed visiting and I need to get back there. We arrived an hour before closing and didn't really see everything, though we did see a lot. A whirlwind tour, we saw most of the displays but had no time to linger.

Man, I love Sandy Eggo...

That bird to the right of the PBY's nose is really cool but I am completely unfamiliar with it. Given more time I would have investigated further. Any readers know what this cool little bird is?
Update: It's a Wee Bee! (Seriously, read this.)

This Bell AH-1E Cobra is awesome, the main rotor blades actually turn. Slowly, but they do turn. My grandkids would love this!

Ford Trimotor 5-AT. An Old AF Sarge favorite. It's just cool looking with the corrugated metal fuselage and those thick wings.
The Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina. I'd love to go up in one of these.

The mighty McDonnell Douglas F-4J/S Phantom II. I always look for these birds wherever historic aircraft are on display. This one is special (see below).

The Phantom displayed is an original aircraft with a significant historical background. It was assigned to Fighter Squadron 96 “Fighting Falcons” aboard the San Diego based USS Constellation, where it was used for combat sorties during the Vietnam War. In early 1972, pilot Lt. Randy “Duke” Cunningham and radar intercept officer Willie Driscoll became the Navy’s first aces of the Vietnam War by scoring two MiG kills in this aircraft, and three more MiG kills in a similar F-4 from the Fighting Falcons squadron. (Source)
Yup, old 112 is the real deal, a Rhino which has seen combat!


MiG-17 in North Vietnamese livery. You'll see in the next photo why this bird is ducking under the PBY's wing and running like a scalded ape.
The MiG-17 on display at the Museum is believed to have been built in Poland. It first served in the East German Air Force, was then transferred to the Egyptian Air Force, where it was modified for a ground attack role. It was retired by the Egyptians in the late 1970s or early 1980s and purchased by the Museum in March 1986. The MiG-17 is on permanent exhibit in the Pavilion of Flight after restoration at Gillespie Field. Its paint scheme represents the North Vietnamese Air Force, circa 1972. (Source)
Yup, the MiG has a Phantom on his six. Of course, the Rhino is a bit close for a missile kill and with no internal gun...
Still and all, Gomer doesn't know that!

I have more pictures which you'll get to see, eventually.

In the meantime,

Vote for me. This is my serious face. No, really.
(Actually I was tired, this was Saturday morning after flying in from New England the night before. I was in desperate need of an adult beverage...)




30 comments:

  1. Excellent pics, indeed. And that car beneath the Phantom...Old NFOs?

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  2. I like the fact that your campaign photo has my old home in the background. (The Midway, that is...)

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    Replies
    1. Saving Midway for my next trip out that way.

      So much to see and do out there.

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  3. Randy, in plane of motion, nose in lag, inside missile min range, no gun. Keep going down that path and you're going to end up in Jail. Just sayin'.

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    1. I was hoping you'd chime on on that.

      They should let fighter pilots position the aircraft.

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    2. But an easy gun kill for the starboard fifty of the Catalina.

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  4. About the only thing about Sandy Eggo I don't like is the location.
    It's too close to El Ay.

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    Replies
    1. It's not the closeness of LA that bothers me, it's the fact that LA is "in the way." Can't get to Sandy Eggo from my daughter's or my son's without going through there. Well, without a pretty big detour anyway.

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    2. 'Zactly!
      Even worse, I have Sacramento and Stockton in the way, too.

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    3. That's quite a few obstacles. Even without those, it's a long, long way to drive innit?

      Delete
  5. Understand the need for hats as I can burn under a 100 watt light bulb. Perhaps you can coordinate the hat color with the suit? Somewhere there must be grey Air Force hats.

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    Replies
    1. A grey AF hat? Now there's a thought, co-ordinate the chapeau with the suit.

      That could work.

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    2. Tried that once. Doesn't look right on me.

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  6. You could always visit the Air Museum here, in Connecticut. Not nearly as far to travel. Just take I-95 West, turn right onto Route 9, merge with I-91 North, then follow to Windsor Locks and Bradley Airport.
    It's not a bad museum . . . they got an F-4 too (on the floor).
    https://www.neam.org/

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    Replies
    1. How could I have forgotten that museum? I have flown out of Bradley many times and always said that I would visit that museum one day.

      This year may be when that finally happens. (I mean they have an F-4!)

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    2. EXCELLENT Museum!!!! Even I have been there, and want to go back, although I live 2,000 miles away from it!
      GO! SOON! REPORT BACK!

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    3. Can do, will do Anonymous. I do have more photos, coming soon. (I hope!)

      Delete
  7. That airplane at the Catalina's 10 O'Clock position is the "WeeBee." It was built by the museum's past President as a sort of hobby/kit aircraft.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that's pretty cool.

      To quote the master, "I had no ideer."

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    2. I had an annual pass at that fine establishmnet up until a couple years ago.

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    3. I need to get back there and spend more time!

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  8. Didn't recognize the WeeBee. I thought at first it had a Kemp horizontally opposed engine. Wiki says it's a Kiekhaefer 30 HP flat-two piston engine. Also:

    "The unusual feature was that the aircraft lacked any internal room for a pilot who had to fly it lying prone on top of the fuselage. Only a prototype registration NX90840 was built and the type did not enter production. The prototype was destroyed when the San Diego Aerospace Museum burned down in 1978", so that WeeBee must be a replica.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't really notice it while at the museum, just going crazy snapping pictures left and right. Saw some interesting photos of that little bird, not sure I'd like to fly it.

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  9. Potential silly political ad caption for either the first or last pic: "Would you buy an aircraft carrier from this man?"

    There are a lot of great museums out there, and they all seem to be calling my name.



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    1. You've given me ideas!

      (No, not about the used aircraft carrier business, going back to the museums!)

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  10. Like the E model, I flew the G & S, don't ask me to explain how they do the alphabet. The fire & forget armament has a lot of appeal to us old guys who were tied by wire or eyesight to our weaponry.

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    Replies
    1. Fire & forget is nice. Having to stay pointed at the target while the Sparrow was tracking could ruin your whole day!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)