Wednesday, March 15, 2017

U.S. Navy Museum Part 2 - Model Airplanes


As a kid I built a lot of model airplanes. Mostly World War I and World War II, though there were a few jet aircraft in my stable, it was mostly propellor-driven aircraft which dangled from the ceiling in my bedroom at the ancestral home. You can imagine the excitement I felt when I walked into the Cold War annex (which I only heard about from a fellow who worked at the museum, there are two buildings housing exhibits) and saw two big display cases filled with model airplanes. Lots of model airplanes.

These aircraft models are really well done. In the opening photo we see the Catalina and the Neptune. While I have seen real Catalinas "in person" at a couple of museums (Pungo has one), the Neptune has long been an OAFS favorite.


When I was a kid, the P-2 was one of the few military aircraft we'd see around the neighborhood. Why these maritime patrol aircraft would come booming over the house at low altitude always puzzled me. But never bothered me. When I was a kid most of the P-2s we saw were no doubt out of NAS Brunswick, Maine. They were painted dark blue-gray if memory serves me correctly. Something like this...


No one thought it odd back then that a bunch of civilian kids knew what a MAD boom was (MAD = Magnetic Anomaly Detector, that long thing sticking out the back) but we did. Dad had a buddy who knew a guy who had been in the Navy. Before the Internet there was the veterans network. Someone always knew somebody who'd served in a particular service and done a certain thing who'd know what something was. Kind of cool really.


Now that Marlin is pretty cool looking, I've always had a thing for flying boats. Especially the big ones equipped with weapons. I don't think I'd ever really looked at the P5M-1 before.



Pretty neat I thought.

I have seen any number of P-3 Orions, in museums and in flight, they are cool looking and they too have a MAD boom. I recall seeing them when I was on Okinawa, which makes perfect sense if you think about it. An island in the Pacific is a good place to have maritime patrol aircraft. Even we simple sergeants can figure that out...


Here's a taste of the Orion (footage from VP-1, RIMPAC 2016).



Then there's the P-3's replacement, the P-8 Poseidon. Only two engines, and it's a jet, when this first came out I talked with a couple of P-3 NFOs, they had their doubts. Not enough engines, what was it's loiter time like, a number of questions and doubts. I suppose it's all relative. No doubt back in the day aviators were skeptical of enclosed cockpits and a single wing as well. Time marches on, so does technology.


The P-8, doing it's thing...



Here's a picture of all of the maritime patrol models, this embiggifies with a bit of clicky-clicky.


There was also a big display case full of models of carrier aircraft at the museum. Why yes, I will get to those. Soon.



28 comments:

  1. Great post Sarge, thanks for sharing.

    That period between 1940 and 1960 was just amazing, as were the airplanes developed then. I've always kind of regretted not being able to spend time in the VP community. I'm not sure I could have measured up though considering some of the fun, interesting and somewhat debilitating experiences I've shared with VP crews in E-Clubs around the globe.

    Look forward to more!

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    1. The work of the patrol squadrons is often overlooked by the general public. Not much glamor, but a lot of hard work and long hours. I had a friend tell me that you need an iron ass to do maritime patrol.

      And yeah, when they party, they party hard.

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  2. Wow Sarge, a blast from the past. Not only did you catch both my VP aircraft but also both my VP squadrons, VP-1 and VP-6. I was with VP-1 when we transitioned from SP2-H to P3-B's and later in VP-6 when we got the "new" Super Bees. (An upgraded version of the P3-B with a newer sensor suite and display systems.) My morning is complete. Thanks.

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    1. Awesome, I didn't know you were a VP guy. The Navy Museum has represented you well!

      Glad to be of service Flugelman!

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  3. My brother was a navigator in I believe a P-2, I know he was stationed several places, looking for Russian subs, Brunswick Maine was one of them. Around 1965/66. I hope you waved at him when he flew by.

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    1. You know, it's quite possible that your brother flew over my house back in the day.

      Somehow that makes me feel good.

      (When I saw the Neptune model in the museum, I immediately thought of your brother. Seriously.)

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  4. I remember watching the Marlins take off from San Diego back in the early '60s, well before the bridge to Coronado was built.
    The P-3s at Moffett Field were a familiar sight when I was living on the South Peninsula.
    As recently as last summer there were the fire fighting versions of P-2s flying out of the Redding airport.

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    1. You actually got to see the Marlins in flight? That's pretty cool. Apparently there is only one surviving example, non-flying, at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. Another place I need to revisit!

      I had forgotten that the Neptune was still in use as an aerial firefighter. Apparently Neptune Aviation Services in Montana owns a number of Neptunes (and other aircraft but I can guess where they got their company name from).

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    2. The firefighting Neptunes are probably in their twilight years now. Fire Aviation is a good place to see them in action along with other aircraft.

      There were water bombing P-3's too. It sounds like the remaining planes will be parted out.

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    3. Those airframes have to be getting pretty worn out.

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    1. No. Museum didn't have one that I noticed. But it might be in there, somewhere, but not in the Cold War exhibit.

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    1. Not in the Cold War exhibit.

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    2. BLASPHEMY! Privateers made it into the Mid Fifties!

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    3. Yes they did, but not as maritime patrol aircraft -

      The Privateer entered Navy service during late 1944, Patrol Bomber Squadrons 118 and 119 (VPB-118 and VPB-119) being the first Fleet squadrons to equip with the aircraft. The first overseas deployment began on 6 January 1945, when VPB-118 left for operations in the Marianas. On 2 March 1945 VPB-119 began "offensive search" missions out of Clark Field, Luzon in the Philippines, flying sectored searches of the seas and coastlines extending from the Gulf of Tonkin in the south, along the Chinese coast, and beyond Okinawa in the north.

      The Privateer was used as a typhoon/hurricane hunter from 1945 to the mid-1950s. One aircraft, designated BuNo 59415 of VPB-119, went down when it experienced mechanical trouble while investigating a Category 1 typhoon near Batan Island in the Philippines. It attempted to land on the island, but was unable to do so and crashed. It was one of only six hurricane hunter flights that were ever lost, and the only one found.

      Privateers were also used during the Korean War to fly "Firefly" night illumination missions dropping parachute flares to detect North Korean and Chinese seaborne infiltrators. In addition, Privateers were used by the US Navy for signals intelligence (SIGINT) flights off of the coast of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. On 8 April 1950, Soviet La-11 fighters shot down a US Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer (BuNo 59645) over the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Liepāja, Latvia. Named the Turbulent Turtle, the aircraft was assigned to Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26), Det A. The French also used Privateers as bombers during the Indochina War.

      All Navy PB4Y-2s were retired by 1954, though unarmed PB4Y-2G Privateers served until 1958 with the Coast Guard before being auctioned off for salvage. (Source)

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  7. Thanks for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  8. Still not convinced that a big jet like the 737 can do what the P-3/P-2/PBY did. I don't think it'll be dropping torps at 400' 200kts.

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    1. That concern was expressed as well. It's an excellent point.

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    2. It's certainly capable of dropping torpedoes. Not sure if "low and slow" is really necessary, if the sensor suite is good enough? (But is it? No idea.)

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    3. It has been tested, I'm sure.

      Dropping and monitoring sonobuoys, dropping torpedoes, loiter time and endurance all play a part.

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    4. That is my concern, as well, Tuna.

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  9. Great post, thanks! Glad to know that the only thing that hasn't changed in Boeing Aircraft is the plastic part at the top of the throttle, with the A/p disconnect button. They must have made a lot of them back in '67. Everything else, Not so much the same.

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    1. Hahaha!

      I'm sure they still have those in production.

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  10. Thanks for the shout out to the ASW community! :-)

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