Friday, November 29, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 29 November

Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, I know I did.

We've only returned to Joint Base Chez Sarge within the last hour. Returning from our journey North to the ancestral homeland. Had a great dinner with Mom, the Missus Herself, the Olde Vermonter, Mrs Olde Vermonter, the Young Vermonter, City Girl and of course, the Musician. I need to say that some of us were most appreciative of the Musician bringing along a very nice bottle of Port. Muito delicioso it was!

Now at this point you're probably wondering what the heck any of this has to do with the Friday Flyby. Why nothing dear reader, nothing at all. But due to the Thanksgiving holiday I almost decided to just not do a Friday Flyby this week. I know, I know, perish the thought. But while pondering all this, the words "gooney bird" popped into my head.

DC-3, C-47, the Skytrain, the Gooney Bird. Hhmm. I know, we'll do transports this week. While they're not very sexy, they are of critical importance to war fighting these days. The old saying "Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics." is very true.

So while this week's Flyby is somewhat abbreviated, we will pay homage to the transport aircraft. From the Skytrain to the Globemaster, they may not be sexy, but try fighting a war without them!

Ju-52 "Tante Ju"
German counterpart to the C-47

C-46 Commando
Contemporary of the C-47

C-54 Skymaster
Of Berlin Airlift Fame
(My Dad was stationed in Berlin during that event!)

C-119 "Flying Box Car"

C-124 The Original Globemaster

C-141 Starlifter
(I've flown on these a number of times.)

C-5 Galaxy

While the C-141 and C-5 look very similar, in this photo
you can see the rather distinct size difference!
The C-141 is in the foreground.
The C-5 IS the background!

Tankers are a form of transport. Much beloved of the fighter-attack community.

KC-135 Stratotanker

KC-10 Extender

Need to get somewhere for serious medical attention? They don't call her the "Nightingale" for nothing! (Think Florence Nightingale, the nurse, not the bird...)

C-9 Nightingale

The latest addition to the USAF transport family...

C-17 Globemaster III

The Navy has transports too. This one does cat shots and traps! Think critical spare parts and mail. If you've been at sea a while, then especially mail!

C-2 Greyhound, aka the COD
(Carrier Onboard Delivery)

Hhmm, methinks I'm forgetting someone. Let me think, oh yeah, just my favorite transport of all time. I've spent a lot of hours inside this bird. While not glamorous and definitely not comfortable, she'll take you there and bring you home again.

C-130 Hercules

She can play rough too!

AC-130H Spectre Gunship

Oh yeah, she can be a bada$$ when necessary!


  1. One of my claims to fame (minor, to be sure) is the fact I flew in several active duty C-47s back in the day, which is just another way o' sayin' "I'm old." That said, I'd trade every single flight I ever made in a -130 for an equivalent ride in a Gooney Bird. The -130 has to be Satan's Own Transport when viewed from the perspective of a passenger, especially in hot climates like Thailand. The -141, OTOH, is (was) luxurious, by comparison. I never got to fly in a C-5.

    1. Neither the 141 nor the 130 (both in standard configuration) can't really make any claims in the creature comfort area.

      But for reliability, I'll take a Herky any day of the week.

      (Not gonna touch the "old" reference. But Gooney Birds? Heh.)

  2. Most comfortable bed I slept in (well after 72 hours straight JTF planning with III MEF) was on the ramp of a 141 flying from Kadena to Hickam. Soon as the crew chief gave us the all clear, went and stretched out on the ramp and woke up when he kicked my boots and told me we were about to land 10.5 hrs later. Course the only time I ever got airsick was in the back of a 141 returning from Nellis. T-Storms and a hangover are NOT a good mix!

    What's the difference between a C-5 and a C-5 Crew? The C-5 stops whining when the engines spool down.

    What does it mean when you've got 2 C-5s on jacks and another parked on the ramp? you've only got two sets of jacks.

    Try the chicken.....

    1. Longest flight in a 141, Travis to Hickam.

      Shortest flight in a 141, Taegu to Kunsan.

      Most comfortable flight in a 141, hhmm, let me think about that...

  3. The only one you forgot is the C-27J Spartan aircraft! Oh wait, we didn't ask for it, got it anyway, and stuck it in the desert. My father referred to the C-5 as an "aluminum sky."

    1. Yes, I know. Sad story that.

      Aluminum sky. Good one.

  4. I flew in the civilian DC-3 back in the early 60s on Ozark Airlines; on a 141 back to the States on emergency leave from the UK. Longest flt in a 130 was down from RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge to Incirlik AB, Adana Turkey when we had the nuke alert rotation and also to Wheelus Ab, Tripoli. when we used to go every three months for bomb & gun practice. In each case two flights would fly the birds down for two weeks, then the other two would come down on 130s for the second two and fly the birds back while the 1st two flew back on the 130 that bought the replacement birds in. I got very familiar with the 130, lol.

    Echoing juvat's "most comfortable bed' story, once we did a "bare base" exercise at an old abandoned WW II airstrip in northern Italy in Dec--living in 40-man tents, slit-trenches and piss-tubes and TONS of mud & muck that would suck you're boots off just walking to the Ops tent. I was part of the first crew down, so flew back on the relief 130. That experience gave me a HUGE appreciation for the conditions the GIs fought under in the Italian Campaign . I was in GREAT shape as a 26 yr-old athlete and after two weeks in the field i was EXHAUSTED from the mud & the cold. And we weren't getting shot at or attempting to attack up mountain-sides. The infranty is DEFINITELY a young man's game..

    ANYWAY, you know that fold-down rack on the 130 mounted on the bulkhead right behind the cockpit? With the heating vent above it? Well it was filled with duffel bags full of the maint guys, clothes, etc stuff. I beat out everyone else and climbed up on top, stretched out, and promptly passed out--was like a bed of feathers-- and didn't wake up until we were on the approach to Bentwaters, lol. Everybody else hated on me (natch) because they had to sit in those god-awful fold down seats and freeze in the cold. I took the attitude that "this" was no ordinary stunt, "this" was A MATTER OF PERSONAL SURVIVAL, lol.

    (It also helped that I was the Sr O-3 on board and there were no Majors, LOL!

    1. Great story Virgil. Yes, Italy and WWII were no fun for the grunts.

      As to the 130 fold-down rack, I had no idea that existed. Of course, the last time I flew Hercules Airlines I was a lowly E-5, stashed in the back with the gear.

    2. Sarge, that fold-down rack IS in the back, on the opposite side of the bulkhead from the cockpit, high up near the top., it's a major stretch to clamber up when folded down.

    3. Sorry, I should have been more specific. I was WAYYYYY in the back, very near the ramp. I do believe I was sharing space with a -60.

  5. PS: A story about the 124. I had an AFROTC instructor tell us (remember this is circa 1963/4 here) that there were three ABSOLUTELY unmistakable aircraft sounds that, upon hearing them , one would know immediately by sound alone what aircraft it was: 1) the squeel of the T-37 "Tweety-Bird" trainer, 2) The metallic squeak of the brakes of the C-124 and,3) the thrashing machine engine sounds of the SA-16 Albatross. Well, I went to AFROTC "summer camp" at Lockbourne AFB just outside Columbus, Oh which then was a C-130/KC-135 base. The barracks wee were in sat on a small hill over-looking the flight-line. At approx 0230 I heard this ungodly squeal and said to my-self: "That can be only one thing! Sure enough, when I got up and looked out the window I saw this C-124 taxiing down the taxi-way having just landed, My instructor was right on the money. NO SOUND like that in the world..

    (He was right about the SA-16 as well. One day at DaNang I was walking from quarters to the O-club for lunch when I heard this UNGODLY sound like a washing-machine coming apart and knew instantly it could be only one thing. I then turned and spied between some hangers an SA-16 taxiing in the direction of the "visitors" parking pad. I've logged all three! LOL

    1. Back in my aircraft maintenance days we used to amaze the newbies by identifying aircraft (without looking) simply by the noise they made. So yeah, I get that.

      And I have heard the Tweet fly by, she does squeal. My favorite engine sound? The Warthog, hands down.

  6. Greetings AFS!. Great plane pron worthy of Lex's place. As for telling C-141 stories- longest flight Balikashir, TK - Adana- Pope. After climb out, crawled under a jeep trailer with the ground pad and fartsack. Woke up for landing in the Azores for gas, then resumed former position until approach into Pope AFB. Went over on the ADVON about 10 days earlier. Was second senior Army type and got the A/c to let me fly from Pope to Balikashir at the Nav's station. Stopped at Torrajon for gas in between.

    1. Dust! Good to "see" you. Thanks for the compliment.

      That's a long haul on a trash hauler. Heck, that's a long uncomfortable flight if you do it commercial. At least on the 141 you can find a spot to stretch out if you look hard enough.

      (Do you know how long it's been since I heard the term "fartsack"? Ah, memories...)

    2. I've bookmarked your blog so I'll be back often. Good stuff here and fondly familiar names in your comboxes.!

      The worse flight was the brigade HQ and airborne battalion task force that flew all the way from Pope to Turkey and jumped in. That was the airborne operation into Turkey in '85 where the Division CG, a great guy and leader BTW, had a career ending head injury on the drop and was Medevac'd back to Germany.

    3. Tough to lose a good leader.

      Glad to have you around. Saw that you mentioned the avatar over on one of Tuna's many Rome posts. Try It's how I finally got my avatar to work over at Lex's place. (A tip from Joe in N. California I think it was!)


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.