Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cannon Plugs

Machinist's Mate 1st Class Chad Craycraft, removes the tampion from a 24-pound long gun aboard U.S.S. Constitution.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Clay Weis
Admiral Sir David Beatty, RN, greeting Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, USN, under the guns of HMS Queen Elizabeth,
upon the arrival of Battleship Division Nine, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. 1917.
Note the rather ornate tampions sealing the muzzles of the 15-inch guns.

(Public Domain Photo)

Uh Sarge, what's a tampion? I know what some of you are thinking, don't go there. While I enjoy sophomoric humor as much as the next guy...

Oh yeah, a tampion. What is it? I know, let's ask Mr Wiki!
A tampion is a wooden plug, or a metal, canvas, rubber, or plastic cover, for the muzzle of a gun. Tampions can be found on both land-based artillery and naval guns. Naval tampions have developed into works of art.

Although the cannons of ships of the line were protected as they were retracted inside the ships, many smaller vessels had exposed gundecks which required a plug to protect inside of the barrels. Later, the invention of mobile gun turrets meant that all guns were constantly exposed to water. Hence, when not in use, naval guns were protected by wooden, and, later, rubber, muzzle plugs. Typically, rubber and plastic tampions can be shot through in case of an emergency. Plastic tampions are normally designed to be expelled by the build-up of pressure in the barrel as the first shell is fired.

Over time, tampions were embossed or engraved with the arms of the unit, and they became collector's items. Nowadays, even warships that typically would not carry heavy guns, such as submarines, have their own badges in the shape of a tampion. (W)
While a tampion is indeed used to plug the barrel of a cannon, so could be referred to as a "cannon plug," those are not the subject of this post.
Yeah, this one. (Source)

Now, the "Cannon plug" is named for James H. Cannon, founder of Cannon Electric in Los Angeles, California (now part of ITT Corporation). So I guess I should be capitalizing "cannon" every time I refer to this sort of electrical connector.

But ITT Corporation is not the only outfit who makes this sort of connector. Bendix and Amphenol are two others and they both make what I would call a "cannon plug."

Cannon plugs were addressed in a recent post about the front radar scope on the F-4. That tale illustrated one potential difficulty of disconnecting a cannon plug in order to remove an LRU from a jet.

Cannon plugs will, from time to time, go "bad," as in "not work anymore," as in "what is wrong with this freaking piece of crap I'm getting no signal to the cockpit." Various and sundry other descriptions may apply.

When cannon plugs go bad they make really bad NETFLIX series about them in which the cannon plugs form a gang and produce meth-amphetamine out in the desert. All the while trying to maintain a low profile...

No, they don't. I'm just playing with you.

When cannon plugs go bad, they typically need to be replaced.

Why replace them Sarge? Can't you fix them?

Uh, not to my knowledge. One way in which these things go "bad" is that a pin connected to a wire won't seat properly. So when you plug in the connector, that pin slides back and does not make electrical contact, thereby preventing whatever signal is on that wire from getting through. These plugs used to be sealed units, once a pin was bad, it was bad. Couldn't fix it.

In these days of magic jets where the onboard computer tells you what's wrong and it's all unicorn farts and champagne dreams...

Sorry, showing my age there. (In my day we maintained aircraft with nothing but a hammer, a screw-stick and a pair of vice grips. We had to think in those days. We... Blah, blah blah, walked to school barefoot, uphill in the snow, both ways and other old guy ramblings. Actually I would love to have had the jet tell me what's wrong with it rather than trying to puzzle it out.)

Perhaps the newer connectors are repairable in the field. I don't know. My maintenance experiences all occurred back near the dawn of time. Shortly after the Earth cooled and the first single-cell organisms appeared. (No, those organisms were not called "politicians." Most single-cell organisms of my acquaintance have an actual purpose. But I digress.)

So there I was...*

Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, night shift 1976. I was a young airman, still wet behind the ears having only reported for my first assignment back in February. Fresh out of tech school after a month's leave I was the furthest away from home I had ever been.

While this was not my first time out of the country (I spent a long weekend in Montreal a few years before, hey Canada is kind of foreign, right?) this was the first time I had been away from North America.

When I got to Okinawa, we were on 12-hour shifts. Two of them, 7 to 7. Day shift and night shift, five days a week. Most of the experienced guys there had arrived from Thailand when we had pulled out of Southeast Asia. They said, "Hey, we did twelves in Thailand. With no days off, you guys have it easy."

Okay. What do I know?

So I get to work and find out that my trainer, SSgt Abbott, and I have to go out to one of the "nose docks**" and relieve Sergeant "Tokyo" Rose and his 3-level.*** They're replacing a cannon plug in the rear cockpit and are about half-way done.

This particular cannon plug was part of a major wiring harness running between the radar system in the nose and both cockpits. I do recall that this one plug had something like 120-pins, all of which had to be pulled out of the "bad" cannon plug, the flaky pins cut off and new pins attached to the correct wire, then inserted into the new cannon plug.

We were told that Tokyo and his 3-level had about half of the plug done. They had been at it all afternoon. They were also the guys who had troubleshot the problem down to the plug they were in the midst of replacing.

We got to the jet and SSgt Abbott went to get the debrief from Tokyo, he sent me up to the cockpit to see how the 3-level was making out. I climb up the ladder and lo and behold, it's A1C Schmuckatelli, aircraft marshaler extraordinaire and destroyer of dump masts. (Hhmm, we perhaps could have tagged him with the nickname Shiva.) We've met him before.

He is sitting on a stool in the rear cockpit (from which the ejection seat has been removed) and is merrily clipping off wires, checking the pins as he does so to make sure they are secure and he is surrounded by bits and pieces of wire and wire insulation. All over the floor of the cockpit.

Now like I said, I'm an inexperienced 3-level myself, but two things strike me right away. (I did kind of pay attention to some things in tech school and one of my civilian jobs was doing work as a wireman. Wiring the electrical panels of machines. I knew a couple of things about connectors and such.)
  1. All that crap on the cockpit floor would have to be cleaned up. Pilots get really annoyed when they roll their aircraft and crap flies up into their faces.
  2. Very few of the extracted pins seem to be labelled.
Oh shit, oh dear...

For you see gentle reader, each pin has a place where it needs to be in order for the equipment to function properly. Each pin in a cannon plug has a number (typically) and Schmuckatelli had not bothered to label all of the wires. Usually you had some masking tape which you would wrap around the wire, check the number of the pin, write that on the tape, then pull the pin.

Schmuckatelli had been less than diligent in his pin labeling. Some were labeled ("Yeah, I just labeled the good pins. Well, most of them.") many were not.

Which meant that SSgt Abbott and I would probably be spending the entire shift fixing Shmuckatelli's error.

Well, Tokyo and Schmuckatelli departed to head back to the shop and go home. I told Abbott what was what and waited for the great man's decision (SSgt Abbott was a great trainer, knew his stuff and was very patient. With me as a 3-level he required a great deal of patience. There are days when I can be as smart as a bag of hammers. And those are my good days mind you!)

Well, Abbott was a bit annoyed, while Schmuckatelli had made some extra work for us, he had also (most inadvertently I assure you) provided us with a great training exercise.

What we had to do was simple really. A pain in the butt, but simple. First we needed one of these:

The ubiquitous PSM-6, what we usually called an ohmmeter.
(Rick Gammon photo from the WCS Facebook group.)
We pulled out the tech order, with all of its assorted wiring diagrams, and then we would use the ohmmeter to check the continuity from the radar package to that plug in the rear cockpit. Note that there was more than one plug in the radar package which connected to our plug. It was going to be a busy and somewhat tedious night.

Eventually we got it all sorted out. The plug was replaced, the system was powered up and checked out and we discerned that the malfunction which required the replacement of that plug had been cleared. Everything seem to work in accordance with (IAW) applicable directives and technical specifications. As we were fond of saying.

I learned a lot from SSgt Abbott. One thing which was to never follow Schmuckatelli on a job. Like I mentioned in that post linked above, I don't know whatever happened to Schmuckatelli. He meant well, just seemed that bad luck and trouble followed him around.

Or maybe...

Do you think he did these things so that he wouldn't have to do them ever again? You know, the old "if I screw this up bad enough they won't make me do it next time" thing.


No way.

Then again, you have to wonder.

Thinking back on it, after his flightline antics Schmuckatelli was assigned to work in the shop. The shop with air conditioning, vending machines and chairs, tables and all the amenities. Instead of having to drag a heavy toolbox around on the flightline in the searing heat and (sometimes) pouring rain. Climbing up aircraft, getting Phantom bites and going deaf from the roar of the Dash-60 ground power units.

Maybe the kid wasn't so dumb after all...

** A nose dock at Kadena was a concrete shelter which covered the front half of the aircraft. At least we would be out of the weather should it start to rain. Any sort of maintenance which would take time and possibly expose the interior of the aircraft to water was done indoors. Or semi-indoors in this case.
*** At the time Air Force specialties had four levels of experience. 3, 5, 7 and 9. No, I don't know why they were numbered that way.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Spiritual Journey

I consider myself to be a man of Faith.

I wasn't always that way.

As a child I gloried in the Lord and all His Works.

As a teenager I slid away from the Light.

While I acknowledged the Savior and remembered God from time to time, I didn't always do so. I did things which were wrong in the sight of my Creator. What's worse, I did not raise my children to fear and love the Lord our God.

With that being said...*

Just before retiring from the Air Force, my saint of a mother-in-law passed away. It was unexpected and sudden.

What's worse is that we were in Germany, preparing to head back to the States and begin our lives as civilians. My mother-in-law died in Korea, half a planet away.

Needless to say The Missus Herself was devastated.

Not two years before, her father had passed away, just before The Naviguesser went off to college. The Missus Herself and the kids did make it to Korea before my father-in-law passed, we had had fair warning of his condition. She had the opportunity to say farewell to her Dad.

Not so this time. Her oldest sister called and told us. Omma (엄마) was gone. Just like that. She had come to visit us the autumn before, this small Korean lady with almost no English traveled halfway around the world to visit us. There were plans for her to come visit us in the States that summer.

Now, she was gone.

The Missus Herself elected to stay home and continue the preparation for our transition to civvy street. A hard choice but as she said, "She's already gone. What can I do?"

It was hard on her. I didn't realize at the time just how hard it was.

Here she was, a native of Korea, now an American citizen by choice, living in another foreign land, Germany, preparing to leave the military with all the unknowns which that entails.

When we finally "arrived" (we had been in the U.S. for two and a half months before I finally landed a job in Little Rhody) The Missus Herself was all adrift.

Her oldest child was an hour away at university. The girls were in high school, Your Humble Scribe was away at work all day and there she was, in a brand new community where she hardly knew anyone at all.

A stranger in a strange land in many, many ways.

One thing she had been trying to get me to do while still in the Air Force was to go to church. I said that I did not see much point in that. As I put it, "I've had my fill of organized religion, no thanks. Not going back."

I'll be the first to admit that I can be the stupidest person on Earth at times.

One day, while we were all out, The Missus Herself went on a voyage of exploration around our new town. What she found changed our lives forever.

It seems that there was this small church built of stone on the town common (we still have those in some New England towns). She parked nearby and went and sat on the front steps of this little church. Something told her that she belonged there. It was meant to be. When I came home, she told me all about this little church. She also told me that we would be attending services there the very next Sunday.

My ChurchGoogle Street View

I indicated, "No, I will not be going to church on Sunday."

Like I said, stupid. I can be stupid from time to time.

Long story short, I did go with her to that church.

And have been going ever since.

That was 1999.

The congregation of that small church have become family. In every sense, in every meaning of that word. We love them. They love us. We are at home there.

I have friends and acquaintances who don't believe. Not just in organized religion but don't believe that there is a Creator. Apparently we are simply the product of random chance. So is everything else which you can see, hear, feel and touch.

I pity those poor benighted souls. They, like my former self, don't know what they are missing. They really don't.

I will tell more stories of my faith journey. It continues still. I learn something every day and it all tracks back to the Glory of God. This I believe, this I know.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35 NIV
I served my country for 24 years. Now I'm content to serve the Lord.

* For when it's not a war story, nor a fairy tale.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Not Minot?*

A B-52H Stratofortress taxis during an alert exercise at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Monday, March 6, 2006.
(U. S. Air Force Photo by SSgt. Jocelyn Rich)
Minot Air Force Base.

North Dakota.

Minot is what we called a "Northern Tier Base," with good reason. Where is Minot? (You might ask.)

Google Maps

Not far from Canada. That's where Minot is. Not far from Canada.

While it's not Way Up North (H/T to Rev Paul) it's north enough for my tastes. Thank you very much.

So what does Minot have to do with today's post? Well, sit back boys and girls, the Sarge is about to tell you a story. All of which is true, at least to the best of my recollection.

Which, truth be told, gets more tenuous every day.

Or so The Missus Herself informs me.

(To read a classic Minot story, perhaps apocryphal, go here. Gave me a chuckle it did.)


So there I was...**

It was June of 1989. I remember the year because of the events which were taking place in Beijing, Tienanmen Square to be precise. You can refresh your memory here. The powers-that-be had decided that my captain and I must travel to Minot AFB, ND to discern the needs of a potential customer.

I was a software dude by this time of my Air Force career, safely ensconced in my comfortable office overlooking the main runway at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, the home of Strategic Air Command (SAC) Headquarters (HQ). (The headquarters was in Building 500, I worked in Building 40. My building was much nicer. Much nicer indeed.)

Google Maps
I had been working on a project to display information (tied to a database) on a big screen which had been requested by this particular lieutenant colonel at SAC. What I had not been informed of were the politics behind this tasking.

You would think that software to put stuff up on a big display screen would be pretty simple, even back in the '80s when we programmed with vacuum tubes, stone knives and bearskins, it was a little different because these displays were going to be used in SAC Command Posts. Think places where the people sitting in the room control B-52, B-1 and B-2 wings. Where the people in the room have control over missile silos buried out on the lone prairie.

Serious people. Real. Serious. People.

Now the requirements for the project I was tasked with were being dictated by the aforementioned light colonel (slang for lieutenant colonel, also known as a "half colonel" in British parlance). This fellow was (from what I was told) simply a pawn of some big shot over at the headquarters building.

Because, you see, most command posts already had such software. But the software was not written by a guy who had formal training in such things. No, heaven forfend, this software had been written by a SAC crew dog. What's worse, a semi-disgraced SAC crew dog!

Oh my Lord!

Okay, first off, a crew dog, in SAC parlance, is an airman*** who is a member of a crew, most particularly a flight crew. Folks who manned the nation's aerial leg of the nuclear triad. Folks who would be penetrating Soviet airspace should the balloon go up and we were engaged in "nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies" to quote Major T. J. "King" Kong from the movie Dr. Strangelove.

That's Major Kong on the right, holding a copy of "Wing Attack Plan R." (Don't look, it's Top Secret!) (Public Domain, the photo, not the attack plan.)

Now this particular crew dog (a major as I recall) was, what we like to say in New England, "wicked smaht." He had sat in on many command post exercises in his day and was very familiar with what would be useful. He was also "right handy" with a computer.

So why was he "disgraced"? (Only in the eyes of real serious people who don't actually have to fight wars was he disgraced. But those folks get to make all the "big" decisions. Because they are real serious people. You know. Assholes.)

Seems that during one long arduous SAC exercise he and his fellow crew dogs (a B-52 crew as I recall) decided to have a little fun. Seems that they decided to "attack" another crew for to better morale and make people laugh and be happy. (You can see where this is going, can't you?)

So the major and his fellows donned ski masks and equipped themselves with loaded water pistols and proceeded to "attack" a fellow crew. If memory serves, this incident actually occurred on the ramp. Where the aircraft live. It's also where these guys live...

USAF security forces guard USAF photo by SrA Kenny Holston

Now in my 24-year career, it was my experience that these chaps were not chosen for their acute sense of humor. They tended to see things in black and white. While on duty they tended to be real serious people.

So these guys see a group of fellows wearing ski masks and wielding what appear to be pistols engaging in what appears to be an assault on a SAC crew. I guess the thought that these chaps were also wearing flight suits and that their "weapons" were orange never crossed their minds. Oh well, heat of the moment and all that. I suppose the major and his cohorts should count themselves lucky that the beret-wearers didn't actually open fire.


They get hauled in before the SAC wing commander who is suitably unimpressed with their youthful hi-jinks. After all, "this is SAC, we are real serious people."

So while the major (and his fellow crew dogs) were taken off flight status for a while (for to punish them and reduce the load on their wallets) he wrote this software.

Apparently it wasn't good enough for the "real serious people" and this light colonel at Offutt was told off to find a software dude to re-work the software. I was chosen, I worked my magic, based on what the light colonel told me was desired.

I produced something which pleased the light colonel so my boss (Captain Gene Kelly - ISYN, we also had a Captain Phil Collins) and Your Humble Scribe were ordered to head for Minot and show off what we had done.

When we arrived at Minot we were issued a small pickup truck to get around in. We then discovered that my civilian driver's license had expired, so I could not drive said truck. That would be the good captain's responsibility. After signing for the truck, with the captain behind the wheel and me settled into the passenger's seat, I turned to look at my captain.

Before I could say anything, Capt Kelly said, "One word Sarge, just one word and I'll recommend that you get orders for Minot to really iron out this software."

"Certainly Sir. I wasn't going to say anything Sir."

With some grumbling (from the captain, I was smiling like nobody's business) we set off for the transient quarters and a meal.

The next day I sat down with the major who wrote the software currently in use. He showed me what it did, then he asked to see my software. I told him that he didn't really want to see it.

"Why not Sarge?"

"Well Sir. My software sucks. It does exactly what the light colonel asked for but it's obvious that the good colonel does not know shit from Shinola. Pardon my French."

"Let's see it anyway Sarge."

With a sigh I showed him what we had. He agreed with my assessment of the colonel's knowledge level of what was desired. 'Twas then that the major regaled me with the tale of the ski masks and his assumption that because he had done the software, it would never be good enough.

Ah ha, says I.

Then we sat through a command post exercise. We were told to sit quietly near the back of the room and only speak if spoken to. Seems the august personage of the Air Division commander was going to participate in the exercise. This fellow was a one star (brigadier) general and commanded the Air Division at Minot. Said Air Division comprised a B-52 wing (one each) and a Strategic Missile Wing (one each).

Yes, the fellow was in charge of some serious firepower. He was also a fairly serious person.

After the exercise the general himself asked for our assessment of the software they were using to display status and such on the "big board" and whether or not our software was better, the same or worse.

The captain looked at me.

I looked at the captain.

Captain Kelly (no doubt as payback for making him drive the truck) said, "What do you think Sarge?"

With the general looking intently at me, I sat up straight in my chair. Glanced at my captain, cleared my throat and said...

"Well Sir. Our software sucks and is so far from meeting your requirements that I should apologize for wasting your time. The software that you're using now is perfect. I would not change a thing. Maybe a faster computer would be nice, but that's it."

The room went silent. The general was staring at me and I was starting to wonder what job I would be doing there at Minot for the rest of my career. Then the general smiled.

"No son, I should be apologizing to you and the captain here. I suspected that this whole thing was just some headquarters bullshit and you've just confirmed that."

The general then stood (as did we) and shook our hands, thanking us for our honesty and wishing us a safe trip back to Offutt.

On the way to the airport, Captain Kelly said, "Jesus Sarge, but you scare me some times."

Frank and straightforward, that's me. Even with generals.

Of course, there's another story right there. I will tell it someday. Just not today.

*Freezin's the reason. (The standard Air Force riposte to "Why not Minot?")
** SJC
*** Airman is a generic term for a uniformed member of the United States Air Force. It's also a rank but we're using the former meaning here. (Much like "soldier" is a generic term for Army personnel.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Life in New England

So we have weathered yet another "Snowmageddon." To hear the big networks tell it in the day leading up to the storm, you'd think the apocalypse was headed our way. At the local grocery store you would think that the government had announced that the Chicoms were off the coast and landing barges full of Chinese marines were steaming up Narragansett Bay. Really? Do you need 75 gallons of milk and 300 loaves of bread?


This storm brought far less snow and havoc than the one we had back in 2013. Which I chronicled in a series of posts starting here.

Still and all, to hear the wind howling last night you had to wonder if the roof would still be on the house come dawn.

It was.

One thing which was damaged by the storm was the Official Tall Ship of Rhode Island, the sloop Providence.

USS Rhode Island in the foreground, Providence is under sail to Rhode Island's starboard side.
(US Navy Photo by PH1 Roers)

She had been hauled out of the water for the winter. The storm tipped her onto her beam ends and dis-masted her as you can see in the following photos. You can read the full story at that link given for the source of the photos.


It is worth noting that the sloop Providence was the first ship commissioned into the Continental Navy and the first Command of John Paul Jones.

Hopefully they'll get her repaired and back into the water by the spring.

Yes, that sucks that she was damaged.

As for me, the walk is cleared of snow, the driveway is clear and it's back to work tomorrow. So another winter adventure is in the books. Quiet compared to some, I do not have a problem with that. Not at all.

Sunday Afternoon
Monday Afternoon

Tuesday Morning
I'm really happy that I'm inside!
Hard to tell the amount of fallen snow due to drifting.
Winter Wonderland. (Yeah, right.)
A couple of inches of snow to the left, a couple of feet of snow to the right.
If I had to guess, I'd say we had a foot of snow.
Unlike meteorologists, I'm not paid to guess.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Trivia - What's In a Name?

Not to rehash old news, this is a trivia post after all, but for those that didn't know, the 10th of 55 35 32 Littoral Combat Ships Fast Frigates has been named for the former US Congresswoman from Arizona, Gabrielle Giffords.  When this was announced in 2012, it wasn't well received by many people in and out of the Navy, including me, because of the clear politicization going on with the ship naming conventions.  I tend to think a ship should be named after past ships, founding fathers, long-dead Presidents, Naval Heroes/MOH Awardees, cities, and states.  END OF LIST.  I wish we could still use strong adjectives like Intrepid, Valiant, Stalwart, and the like, but I digress.  Nothing against Ms. Giffords, and what happened to her was tragic, but her accomplishments don't compare to the politicians who've had ships named after them, even if her husband is a Naval Astronaut.

To give you a little "Inside Baseball" on this decision, it was done following well-publicized reports of heavy corrosion on both ships, and some scathing scrutiny by certain Congressmen.  SECNAV naming a ship after the then-darling of the Democratic Party probably didn't save the ship class from being cut, but it probably guaranteed we'd get at least 10 of them.  "Gutsiest move I ever saw man" even if I don't like the move in the first place.

Naming our weapon systems after Politicos falls squarely on the Navy brass, done to curry favor and make strategic political gains, and can really only happen in the Navy.  It's not like we can name the next Army tank after Harry Reid, or a USAF fighter or bomber after Condi Rice or Hillary Clinton. Having (expensive) capital ships, and the politics that comes with them, that's a burden the Navy alone must bear.  By the way- PMRF is being renamed for Sen. Inouye.

Thanks be to God, King Neptune, or Curtis LeMay however, we're still able to bless our Military aircraft with cool names.  That being said, I'll get on with why I've gathered you all here today.

Tuna's Tuesday Trivia for today has to be a little different.  Usually, (Usually?  Ok, it's only been 3 weeks) I post a bunch of pictures followed by questions, but that would give away all the answers and ruin the concept I've planned for you willing participants.  So, I'll minimize the picture posting a bit, and make you actually read something.  At some point we all had to transition from picture books to reading books, and the same goes for Tuna's Tuesday Trivia, at least for this week.

Easy peasy today- I give you a category and you guess some names of aircraft that fit the category. Some of the rules- first off, my quiz, my rules- and I will break my rules.  Next, in general, one name per aircraft- foreign versions or the name given to it by another service don't count.  For example, if I asked you to give me an aircraft with the same name as a warship-  the B-66 Destroyer would fit, but it's a derivative of the A3D Skywarrior and I only award points for the original.  The Wild Weasel wouldn't work either- it's just a moniker.  However, my first rule will almost certainly apply in some instances.  It's an open book internet test (but you won't have fun if you look up every answer,) so no complaining! You may take up your concerns with Sarge however, as I expect he has a soft side for whiners.  By the way, same name but different airframe?  Go right ahead.  By the way, you'll need paper and pen for this one.  Be sure to put your name and classroom in the upper right hand corner.  Number your pages from 1 to 74!

Shall we begin?

Northrop P-61 Black Widow
1. Give me 9 aircraft that are named after things that might give you the willies- you know, reptiles, insects, creepy crawly things, and the like.

2. There's a bunch of aircraft that were given names that could be a person, such as the A-12 “Avenger” or Northrop F-15 Reporter (P-61 photo-recon variant).  See, I picked that one so you won't have to break my rule.  I'm helpful that way!  Choose 15 aircraft that fit that category.

3. Some companies named many of their aircraft after supernatural phenomena- give me 10 birds that fit that category or could be considered fictional beings or characters.

Sorry, not an airplane.

Nice effort, but the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant is just a variant.

4. How about animals?  Everybody likes animals!  Give me 7 airplanes named after land animals -no fish, puppies or cute little kittens, at least not domesticated ones.

                                                                               SEPECAT Jaguar                                                          Wikipedia

5.  There aren't too many aircraft named for places, but can you give me 2 aircraft named after islands?  Extra credit point for a third that breaks the rules, but completes the shape.

Grumman J2F Duck
6.  What about waterfowl?  Two please.

                                                                                     EF-111A Raven                                                                       Wikipedia
7.  You can't quoth the Raven, nevermore- because it's another variant, but give me 6 other airplanes named after birds.  Stay away from bird-related names like this:

8.  Now figure out 2 named for ships, and 2 named for dogs.

It's not a Phrog, it's a water dog! A CH-113 Labrador to be exact, but a Canuck variant of the Sea-Knight
9.  While nearly every military aircraft could be considered a weapon, there are a few that are actually named for weapons- give me 3 of them.  Andrew Luck isn't an airplane.

10.  Lockheed had a habit of naming many of their aircraft after celestial objects.  While there may be some duplicates with other categories, that's within the rules.  Name 10 of them.

11.  Almost done.  4 planes with Cat in their name.

Extra Credit- name an airplane that could be a plant or a person from a swing state.

Well, that's the end of today's trivia, and the sun's going down out here on the West Coast so I'll sign off and send this to the publisher.

Oh, sorry, you wanted answers?

1.  Bugs and stuff: Bell P-39 Airacobra Bell AH-1 Cobra Douglas B-21 Dragon (Reptile, Fictional) Lockheed F-22 Raptor Northrop F-89 Scorpion Boeing F/A-18 Hornet Piper L-4 Grasshopper Sikorsky H-5 Dragonfly

2. People: Curtiss C-46 Commando Boeing Stearman PT-13 Kaydet Consolidated B-24 Liberator Martin B-26 Marauder Consolidated PBN-1 Nomad Stinson L-5 Sentinel Consolidated B-32 Terminator North American (NA) AT-6 Texan Vought F8U Crusader Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter Grumman AF Guardian Convair B-58 Hustler Grumman A-6 Intruder Beechcraft T-34 Mentor Convair C-131 Samaritan Grumman S-2F Tracker NA T-28 Trojan NA A3J Vigilante Lockheed (LH) S-3 Viking Grumman EA-6B Prowler.  Subtract 2 points each for Predator, Pioneer, Integrator.

3. The unreal: Douglas A-24 Banshee LH P2V Neptune Boeing P-8 Poseidon Boeing E-6 Mercury McDonnell F-101 Voodoo LH ES-3A Shadow (acceptable only because it’s the exception to my rule) LH AC-130E Spectre (too cool to leave out) Northrop B-2 Spirit McDonnell F-3 Demon McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom LH C-130 Hercules.  You lose 2 points for Reaper.

4. Animals: Brewster F2A Buffalo GD F-111 Aardvark (may not be original name) NA OV-10 Bronco NA P-51 Mustang Grumman F9F Panther Grumman F-9 Cougar Northrop F-5E Tiger II De Havilland C-7 Caribou Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion is acceptable as the Sea doesn't make it a compound word.

5. Islands: Consolidated PB2Y Coronado Consolidated PBY Catalina.  Brewster A-34 Bermuda 

6. Waterbirds: Grumman J4F Goose Grumman UH-16 Albatross HH-3F Pelican (Derivative)
J4F Widgeon (smaller version of the Duck)

7. Birds: Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey Douglas AV-8B Harrier GD F-16 Fighting Falcon McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle Cessna T-37 Tweety Bird SR-71 Blackbird (non-official name) McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk (see my rules).  Minus 10 if you wrote down Global Hawk.

 8. Dogs and ships: Boeing-Vertol CH-113 Labrador Kaman H-43 Huskie Grumman C-2 Greyhound Boeing C-40 Clipper Vought F4U Corsair Vought A-7 Corsair II 

9. Weps: F-86 Sabre and NA F-100 Super Sabre Convair B-36 Peacemaker

10. Starry stuff: C-121 Super Constellation C-141 Starlifter F-104 Starfighter P80 Shooting Star F-104 Starfighter C-141 Starlifter C-121 Super Connie RC-121 Warning Star C-5 Galaxy C-130 Hercules P-3 Orion C-69 Constellation P2V Neptune.  No points for Aries, Arcturus, and Aurora (CAN Orion variants).

11. Kitty cats: Hellcat Wildcat Bearcat Tomcat

Extra Credit Rockwell T-2 Buckeye (Ohioan/Nut)

You might have others, credit will be given for other answers as long as they follow the rules.  There's probably a bunch of foreign ones I don't really care about- like French Mirages, Gazelles, Moths and Camels. Sorry, call me an Air-ist or Plane-ist.

Highest score gets 3 hip-hip hoorays and a hearty pat on the back.

Here's a couple Huskies (Huske) to close it out- found them in the livery of all five Armed Services by the way.