Friday, June 24, 2016

The Friday Flyby - June 2016

Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.*, commander of the 51st FIW, leads a formation of F-86F Sabres during the Korean War, 1953. (Source)
After a while, a fella can get mighty sick of politics and all the bull crap currently in the news. I have reached that point of saturation. So until I can see some cool aircraft videos I'm going to hold a sit-in here at Chez Sarge...

Oh wait, I'm not five years old (more like twelve, nor am I a Congress critter, but I digress).

Now Juvat talked about the Sabre on Monday, and as the F-86 has always been a favorite of mine, I figured it was time she had her own Friday Flyby.

I can still remember the thrill I got on my first trip to Kunsan AB in Korea and beheld those lovely birds wearing camouflage and the livery of the 대한민국  공군 (Republic of Korea Air Force, aka ROKAF).

She's not a big aircraft, measuring 37 feet, 1 inch long, with a wingspan of  37 feet, and just a shade over 14 feet high, from the ground to top of the canopy. The first time I saw one sitting next to the mighty F-4D Phantom (on the engine test hardstand at Kunsan) the Sabre looked like a toy. The Rhino (F-4E version, the D is similar) measures 63 feet from the tip of the radome to the tail, has a wingspan of over 38 feet and is 16 and a half feet high. Almost twice as long as the Sabre and two feet taller. (I found it odd that they have a similar wing span, no doubt Juvat can explain all about wing loading and two massive engines versus one smaller engine. I can't, I just fix 'em, I don't fly 'em. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

I did get a few photos of Udvar-Hazy's Sabre, sitting next to her Korean War adversary the MiG-15.




As you can see by my dearth of photos of this lovely bird, I need to get back to Dulles with my new camera. While the hangar housing the collection is huge, there are a lot of aircraft crammed in there. So I was in aircraft-overload, I basically did the camera version of "spray and pray," hoping I got shots of everything. Well, I was close. Not enough detail shots of the birds I particularly enjoy. (Yes, I know Murph, that would be "all of them." Oh yeah, chase that link, you won't be disappointed!)

Now I did find some pretty sweet Tube O' You videos of the -86. The first one is modern, a taxi, fly it around, isn't she pretty, video.



The second is from 1955, I was two, Juvat was still a gleam in Daddy Juvat's eye, and Old NFO was boldly patrolling the North Atlantic in his Neptune, I'm sure. (One of these days he's going to get Murph and I in the same room and kick our asses, I'm sure of that as well!)

Lockheed SP-2H Neptune (BuNo 135588) of VP-7, "Black Falcons". This aircraft was assigned to VP-7 at NAS Jacksonville, from 1965 to 1967.
(No, Old NFO didn't actually crew these, but Joe's brother did!)
(Source)

Anyhoo, the second video is of the USAFE flight demonstration team, the Skyblazers. (The Skyblazers were the USAF demonstration team representing the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) from the late 1940s through the 1950s. This team was formed in early 1949 by a group of 22d Fighter Squadron pilots from the 36th Fighter Wing at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base in Germany. At this time they were flying Lockheed F-80B Shooting Stars. The unit transitioned to the F-84E in 1950, the F-86F in 1955 and the F-100C in 1956. Two of the original Skyblazer team members, identical twins C.A. "Bill" and C.C. "Buck" Pattillo, went on to become members of the first Thunderbird team.
The Patillo brothers. (Source)

Unlike the Thunderbirds, the Skyblazers seldom appeared outside of the realm of USAFE operations in Europe. The Skyblazers were disbanded in January 1962 when their home squadron was rotated back to the United States and their assigned aircraft transitioned to the F-105 Thunderchief. - Source)



You can read an old Stars & Stripes article (from 1960, with photos) about the Skyblazers, here.

Now I have to say a couple of things about the third video. These days we get a lot of squadrons producing their own videos. With the advent of high quality, compact, digital cameras, there are a lot of in cockpit flying videos out there. Naval aviation squadron cruise videos, Hornet Ball, and Strike Fighter Ball videos tend to be excellent. (Though yes, many have musical sound tracks which Buck found so annoying, YMMV. For me it depends on the actual music used. Yeah, I prefer jet noise and radio chatter but ya pays your nickel, ya takes your chances. Okay, actually it's free, courtesy of the Tube O' You.)

Before I forget, the videos produced by the Air Force squadrons who win the Raytheon Trophy tend to be frigging awesome as well. (Thou must Google that thyself, for my fingers tire and the night is full of terror... Oops, wrong video.)  I have posted those before, and will again. 

Now this video was done all the way back in Nineteen Hundred and Fifty-Three, the year which saw Your Humble Scribe begin his time on old Mother Earth and even Old NFO was nobbut a lad. Now it does have kinda cheesy music but it is altogether excellent.

And hysterical. Have I ever mentioned that fighter pilots have senses of humor to match their ginormous (and well-deserved) egos? Shoe clerks find nothing funny. There are no shoe clerks in the following video.

And no hamsters were harmed during production...



And ya gotta love the squadron's nickname. No way that would fly in today's PC environment.

More's the pity.







* Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force.

54 comments:

  1. Most Excellent video. And, yes, that's just about how life in a Fighter Squadron really is. Takes a special type of person to do a standing leap into an Eagle cockpit though. One had to master that before one could actually do the AB takeoff and rocket ride.

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    1. Oh, and by the by, in 1955 I was somewhat more than a gleam. I might still have been in the oven, but the dough was risin'.

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    2. On Okinawa they had us maintenance guys try leaping into the Phantom from the ground. Seems the pilots kept writing up the canopies for being in the way...

      Yeah, I saw an Eagle up close at Clark AB. We marveled at how tall she was, and how we could walk under the wings without being all hunched over. Takes an Olympic class leap to get into that cockpit!

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    3. I wan't completely sure of the timeline as to your state of being in '55. I claim artistic license.

      Heh, the dough was risin', good one Juvat. Good one.

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  2. Yay!

    That's Snort in the first vid btw.

    Last film is priceless! Nothing against the young whippersnappers, but they wouldn't make a pimple on the arse of the Moonshine Squadron filmmakers!

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    1. I did not know that. Sometimes the video posters are shy on detail as to the who.

      When I found that last video I was rolling on the floor laughing (metaphorically of course). Yup, the boys back in the day were pretty awesome.

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    2. Just had another look at that first video. The still image is Snort in a jet painted as a Skyblazer, but the video itself is of an A model at the Kemble Air Day in the UK in 2008. That one is in 334th FIS colors circa 1951 K13.

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    3. Dang, I wouldn't have noticed that if you hadn't pointed it out. Good catch.

      Yeah, Paul asked about the stripes on the bird in the video, found a website that confirmed the 334th FIS. Sweet!

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  3. Thx for the shout out to my brother. He not only was a navigator in those patrol planes, but he had input in advancing sonar technology and radar detection. He had a degree in physics from Duke and the Navy sent him for additional special training. He retired a Captain. Several years ago he passed away from brain cancer, I often wonder if his work in those planes and his work with sonar didn't cause the cancer. Anyway I am very proud of my brother and his service, and the sacrifices all the service people make to keep us safe, sacrifices that often extend well past the actual years of service.

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    1. We're all proud of your brother Joe. And thankful that such men have walked among us.

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  4. Did I ever mention that I saw a Thunderbirds airshow in '57 at Valley Forge.
    Most impressed when they flew in from the four points of the compass and did the crossover.

    I always have admired the Sabre... probably because I became aware of it during the Korean War.

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    1. That's pretty awesome Skip. They would have been flying the Hun (F-100) at that time. Same jet they were flying when I first saw them.

      But to see them at Valley Forge? Extra special!

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  5. You had me at "old-timey".

    I couldn't see any of the videos, though. I will try firefox.

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    1. Couldn't see the videos? Oh dear! Let me know what you were using and how Firefox worked.

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    2. I couldn't see them on my iPad (you know....the ones that "just" work), just saw a blank space where you said the Videos were. Chrome, Edge and Firefox all seem to work normally.

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    3. Hhmm, interesting. As The Missus Herself has an iPad, I may be able to experiment with the videos and see what I can do to make that work. Worth a shot anyway.

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  6. Saw my first F-86 up close at Lowry. An uncle by marriage was a civilian refueler there and gave us a tour. Have always admired that airplane.

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  7. They worked fine on Firefox on my MacBook Pro.
    Thanks so much. What a great way to start the day or at least celebrate the middle of it. As a freshman in HighScool in '52, I had no idea about this kind of goings-on. I wanted only to be an astronaut not unlike Buzz Corey. I was so lucky to taste a little of that kind of tom foolery and espirit de corps at Itazuke in '62 flying the Deuce. Many of the guys had been in Korea flying the 86 and P-80. We had such a good time. And, we were safe. The illusion of a hap hazard lifestyle was carefully honed in the shadow of flight COs and the Ops officer. We were standard - had to be - with a five minute "in the air" mission.
    Fridays were fun. Saturday hurt. Life was great on Kyushu.

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    1. Things were simpler then.

      Not everyone got a trophy, had to earn it those days.

      I've had a few of those painful Saturdays. Usually recovered enough by the afternoon to make Sundays even more painful.

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  8. Like you, I saw my first F-86's at Kunsan. Loved to watch them take off and also liked watching them
    do touch & go's.

    I still get to see one around here occasionally. There's a small airfield over by Warrensburg, Mo.
    and someone has an F-86 that they fly out of there. The first time I saw it fly over our house I
    definitely did a double take!

    Love both video's but the second one was the best.

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    1. "Both" videos Russ? There are three. I assume you mean the last one was the best.

      And you know the best is always saved for the last!

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  9. About the first video, was it wearing "invasion stripes"? Also, I don't recall the ones I saw in the '50s trailing smoke like that one did. Old engine, different fuel mixture or what?

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Not invasion stripes, those are vertical black and white stripes. The stripes on the jet in the video seem to be the same markings as seen on a number of 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron jets of that period, including one flown by James Jabara (one of the guys on the header up top). This website has some artwork which seems to confirm that supposition.

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    2. In my defense on the smoke issue, the 1950s were a while ago.

      Paul

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    3. Thanks, Sarge ( first time in my life that I have called an NCO " Sarge ". I should have known that I didn't need to request enlightenment, that you would be on top of it. That's what NCOs are all about, right?

      PLQ

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    4. Couple of comments, if I may, regarding this great post: COL Jabara's grandson and his IP were killed in a T-38 out of Del Rio about 2004 or '05. Guess he was fighter tracked. And, I counter that the guys and gals of any present day fighter sqn can hold their own regarding irrelevance and humor with past sqns; "leadership" won't let them. Generals Olds and James would not approve of the current situation. regards, Alemaster

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    5. Vic, you've made an excellent point. Today's kids are alright.

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  10. After watching all three, I liked the third best. A couple of questions, however. I thought that it was only the Navy who wore their hats ( for Marines, covers ) indoors. As the new aircraft seemed to trail smoke as badly as the one in the more recent video, wouldn't that trait be unhealthy in a combat environment?

    Enlightenment requested.

    Paul

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    1. I'm not sure about the hats (covers, the Navy calls them that as well). My guess is that they're fighter pilots and they do pretty much whatever they like. I liked wearing my hat until I got to my shop, had an LT call me out on it saying, "Sarge, you can only wear your hat indoors if you're armed." I just looked at him and said, "LT, I am always armed, I am a deadly weapon son, don't mess with me before I've had my coffee." (Pregnant pause followed by...) "Sir."

      Technically speaking, yeah, no headgear indoors, it's one of those shoe clerk regs.

      As to smoky engines, not sure what kind of smoke the -86 puts out at mil power. Having a big smoke trail isn't good in combat, true. Have you ever seen an F-4 in flight? At slower speeds those J-79s smoke like a sumbitch.

      (I was going to answer the engine question in your earlier comment, I hit publish, said "oh crap" then saw you'd left another comment. D'oh!)

      The third video was absolutely the best. Like Shaun said, the kids nowadays could learn a thing or two from those old timey fighter jocks.

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    2. Was that a one LT or a two LT? I had to have harsh words with a " butter bar " one time. Very gratifying it was, too.

      Paul

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    3. 2LT of course. It's like a rite of passage for them.

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  11. I must have the soul of a shoe clerk, as I always ( to the best of my recollection ) removed my hat upon going indoors.

    PLQ

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    1. I normally did, because that's what my Mum would expect.

      I suspect it was the same for you. You don't sound like a shoe clerk.

      ;)

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    2. Thanks, OAFS. As you no doubt remember, no hats/covers were worn on the flight line ( FOD, don't y'know ). I guess that being a shoe clerk is not much worse than being a REMF. Which is what the point man of the lead squad of the lead platoon, etc. calls everyone else.

      Paul

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    3. Shoe clerks and REMFs are kindred souls.

      To the point man, everyone is in the rear...

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    4. Well, in field artillery, if you are in range to shoot at them, they are likely in range to shoot at you. So maybe not so much a REMF at that.

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  12. While I was with the 5FIG, they let us wear hats in the service bays, but not in the office or flightline. When I transitioned to the 356 CFR, no covers on duty, unless wanted. Boy, as thin as the top is getting, wanted now.

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    1. These days my hat is never far from my head.

      The hair which used to be there on top, is long gone!

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    2. I suspect that when I get old, I will develop a bald spot. There is thinning now and increasing.

      Paul

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    3. I'm there, it's not as bad as it's been reported.

      Being old that is. Balding? Well, that's another story. I've been working on that one since I was 18. Really.

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    4. "I'm there, it's not as bad as it's been reported." Ha! I'll trade birth years with you; mine is 1944.

      Paul

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    5. Paul, you make me feel young again!

      :)

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  13. Soooo, MIG, Didn't I just miss you a few years back? I don't think so American Running Dog! Oh,now I remember, It was over the Yalu River, and you ducked and ran for China!

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    1. Good one, C-90.

      Paul

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    2. And the MiGs were still ducking and running for China a decade or so in the future over RP6.

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  14. FWIW when I first got to RAF Bentwaters before they sent me to the Woodridge side and the 78thTFS I was quartered in a WW II Quonset hut once occupied by Chappie James when was the Wing DCO in his bachelor days. It was hard by the main civilian road that split the base behind a hedgerow. Legend was that Chappie and Robin Olds (when Olds was Wing CO) would sit on the roof drinking beer and toss the empty cans at cars passing by. Can anyone imagine that happening today with no negative reprucussions? LOL! (The Wing was still equipped with 101s when Chappie was there. Changed over to F-4s shortly after he left.)

    A note on the difficulties in accurate historical research: The Harvard political scientist who wrote the definitive book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, Graham T. Allison, once stated that if forced to choose between "official" documents and aural histories he would go with the first-person participant-observers despite problems of memory. A perfect example is that which I encountered as I hit wiki to ascertain whether Chappie was at the 81st when it was equipped with 101s or F-4s. My eye caught the statement that: "The Bentwaters-based 91st and 92nd squadrons flew the F-4c(so far so good) and "later the Woodbridge-based 78th Squadron was upgraded to the more capable F-4D during late 1972 and 1973. But Wiki is TOTALLY WRONG (Quelle Surprise, I know) as the 78th was already flying the D model when I hove on the scene in Dec of 1969! Now that little error will probably hang around for years and who knows how many other publications it will infect. Sometimes only if one is lucky to have first-hand experience or come into contact with someone else who has, is the true, accurate, story ever revealed. Hell, half of known history since time immemorial is probably riddled with errors both large and small just like that...just goes to show how really hard it is to actually *know* something with any confidence..And further, just *who* or what organization provided the wrong poop? But then the Arlington website that has the information on my cousin Lt Gen Talbott has him listed as winning the Bendix Air Race in a F-105 rather than an F-100C, so mis-information seems to be EVERYWHERE these days..I mean if they can't get even the correct aircraft right, right? lol

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    1. History is ever subject to the vagaries of "official" accounts and eyewitness remembrances.

      I would note the recent rewrite of history on the second Iwo Jima flag raising.

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  15. Speaking/writing of oral history and getting the word straight from those who were there, are y'all acquainted with the magazine " Military "? It is published in Sacramento, CA. I was managing editor some 27 years ago, so will gain nothing ifin y'all were to subscribe. However, they only publish first-person ( or in the case of those who didn't survive the experience ) second-person stories. No " I read in a book " things by egg-heads and other shoe clerks. They will send a trial copy to anyone on request. If they no longer follow this policy, let me know and I will send you a copy of one of my issues.

    Paul

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    1. Thanks for the heads up Paul. I must look into this!

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