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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay":
Boeing's B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Although designed to fight in the European theater, the B-29 found its niche on the other side of the globe. In the Pacific, B-29s delivered a variety of aerial weapons: conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines, and two nuclear weapons.
On August 6, 1945, this Martin-built B-29-45-MO dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, Bockscar (on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio) dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B-29, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions.
Transferred from the United States Air Force.
Boeing Aircraft Co.
Martin Co., Omaha, Nebr.
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Overall: 900 x 3020cm, 32580kg, 4300cm (29ft 6 5/16in. x 99ft 1in., 71825.9lb., 141ft 15/16in.)
Polished overall aluminum finish
Four-engine heavy bomber with semi-monoqoque fuselage and high-aspect ratio wings. Polished aluminum finish overall, standard late-World War II Army Air Forces insignia on wings and aft fuselage and serial number on vertical fin; 509th Composite Group markings painted in black; "Enola Gay" in black, block letters on lower left nose.
Boeing's B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated, propeller-driven, bomber to fly during World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Boeing installed very advanced armament, propulsion, and avionics systems into the Superfortress. During the war in the Pacific Theater, the B-29 delivered the first nuclear weapons used in combat. On August 6, 1945, Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., in command of the Superfortress Enola Gay, dropped a highly enriched uranium, explosion-type, "gun-fired," atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, Major Charles W. Sweeney piloted the B-29 Bockscar and dropped a highly enriched plutonium, implosion-type atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. On August 14, 1945, the Japanese accepted Allied terms for unconditional surrender.
In the late 1930s, U. S. Army Air Corps leaders recognized the need for very long-range bombers that exceeded the performance of the B-17 Flying Fortress. Several years of preliminary studies paralleled a continuous fight against those who saw limited utility in developing such an expensive and unproven aircraft but the Air Corps issued a requirement for the new bomber in February 1940. It described an airplane that could carry a maximum bomb load of 909 kg (2,000 lb) at a speed of 644 kph (400 mph) a distance of at least 8,050 km (5,000 miles). Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, and Lockheed responded with design proposals. The Army was impressed with the Boeing design and issued a contract for two flyable prototypes in September 1940. In April 1941, the Army issued another contract for 250 aircraft plus spare parts equivalent to another 25 bombers, eight months before Pearl Harbor and nearly a year-and-a-half before the first Superfortress would fly.
Among the design's innovations was a long, narrow, high-aspect ratio wing equipped with large Fowler-type flaps. This wing design allowed the B-29 to fly very fast at high altitudes but maintained comfortable handling characteristics during takeoff and landing. More revolutionary was the size and sophistication of the pressurized sections of the fuselage: the flight deck forward of the wing, the gunner's compartment aft of the wing, and the tail gunner's station. For the crew, flying at extreme altitudes became much more comfortable as pressure and temperature could be regulated. To protect the Superfortress, Boeing designed a remote-controlled, defensive weapons system. Engineers placed five gun turrets on the fuselage: a turret above and behind the cockpit that housed two .50 caliber machine guns (four guns in later versions), and another turret aft near the vertical tail equipped with two machine guns; plus two more turrets beneath the fuselage, each equipped with two .50 caliber guns. One of these turrets fired from behind the nose gear and the other hung further back near the tail. Another two .50 caliber machine guns and a 20-mm cannon (in early versions of the B-29) were fitted in the tail beneath the rudder. Gunners operated these turrets by remote control--a true innovation. They aimed the guns using computerized sights, and each gunner could take control of two or more turrets to concentrate firepower on a single target.
Boeing also equipped the B-29 with advanced radar equipment and avionics. Depending on the type of mission, a B-29 carried the AN/APQ-13 or AN/APQ-7 Eagle radar system to aid bombing and navigation. These systems were accurate enough to permit bombing through cloud layers that completely obscured the target. The B-29B was equipped with the AN/APG-15B airborne radar gun sighting system mounted in the tail, insuring accurate defense against enemy fighters attacking at night. B-29s also routinely carried as many as twenty different types of radios and navigation devices.
The first XB-29 took off at Boeing Field in Seattle on September 21, 1942. By the end of the year the second aircraft was ready for flight. Fourteen service-test YB-29s followed as production began to accelerate. Building this advanced bomber required massive logistics. Boeing built new B-29 plants at Renton, Washington, and Wichita, Kansas, while Bell built a new plant at Marietta, Georgia, and Martin built one in Omaha, Nebraska. Both Curtiss-Wright and the Dodge automobile company vastly expanded their manufacturing capacity to build the bomber's powerful and complex Curtiss-Wright R-3350 turbo supercharged engines. The program required thousands of sub-contractors but with extraordinary effort, it all came together, despite major teething problems. By April 1944, the first operational B-29s of the newly formed 20th Air Force began to touch down on dusty airfields in India. By May, 130 B-29s were operational. In June, 1944, less than two years after the initial flight of the XB-29, the U. S. Army Air Forces (AAF) flew its first B-29 combat mission against targets in Bangkok, Thailand. This mission (longest of the war to date) called for 100 B-29s but only 80 reached the target area. The AAF lost no aircraft to enemy action but bombing results were mediocre. The first bombing mission against the Japanese main islands since Lt. Col. "Jimmy" Doolittle's raid against Tokyo in April 1942, occurred on June 15, again with poor results. This was also the first mission launched from airbases in China.
With the fall of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the Mariana Islands chain in August 1944, the AAF acquired airbases that lay several hundred miles closer to mainland Japan. Late in 1944, the AAF moved the XXI Bomber Command, flying B-29s, to the Marianas and the unit began bombing Japan in December. However, they employed high-altitude, precision, bombing tactics that yielded poor results. The high altitude winds were so strong that bombing computers could not compensate and the weather was so poor that rarely was visual target acquisition possible at high altitudes. In March 1945, Major General Curtis E. LeMay ordered the group to abandon these tactics and strike instead at night, from low altitude, using incendiary bombs. These firebombing raids, carried out by hundreds of B-29s, devastated much of Japan's industrial and economic infrastructure. Yet Japan fought on. Late in 1944, AAF leaders selected the Martin assembly line to produce a squadron of B-29s codenamed SILVERPLATE. Martin modified these Superfortresses by removing all gun turrets except for the tail position, removing armor plate, installing Curtiss electric propellers, and modifying the bomb bay to accommodate either the "Fat Man" or "Little Boy" versions of the atomic bomb. The AAF assigned 15 Silverplate ships to the 509th Composite Group commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets. As the Group Commander, Tibbets had no specific aircraft assigned to him as did the mission pilots. He was entitled to fly any aircraft at any time. He named the B-29 that he flew on 6 August Enola Gay after his mother. In the early morning hours, just prior to the August 6th mission, Tibbets had a young Army Air Forces maintenance man, Private Nelson Miller, paint the name just under the pilot's window.
Enola Gay is a model B-29-45-MO, serial number 44-86292. The AAF accepted this aircraft on June 14, 1945, from the Martin plant at Omaha (Located at what is today Offut AFB near Bellevue), Nebraska. After the war, Army Air Forces crews flew the airplane during the Operation Crossroads atomic test program in the Pacific, although it dropped no nuclear devices during these tests, and then delivered it to Davis-Monthan Army Airfield, Arizona, for storage. Later, the U. S. Air Force flew the bomber to Park Ridge, Illinois, then transferred it to the Smithsonian Institution on July 4, 1949. Although in Smithsonian custody, the aircraft remained stored at Pyote Air Force Base, Texas, between January 1952 and December 1953. The airplane's last flight ended on December 2 when the Enola Gay touched down at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. The bomber remained at Andrews in outdoor storage until August 1960. By then, concerned about the bomber deteriorating outdoors, the Smithsonian sent collections staff to disassemble the Superfortress and move it indoors to the Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
The staff at Garber began working to preserve and restore Enola Gay in December 1984. This was the largest restoration project ever undertaken at the National Air and Space Museum and the specialists anticipated the work would require from seven to nine years to complete. The project actually lasted nearly two decades and, when completed, had taken approximately 300,000 work-hours to complete. The B-29 is now displayed at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy | Republic P-47D-30-RA Thunderbolt:
Thunderbolt pilots flew into battle with the roar of a 2,000-horsepower radial engine and the flash of eight .50 caliber machine guns. This combination of a robust, reliable engine and heavy armament made the P-47 a feared ground-attack aircraft. U.S. Army Air Forces commanders considered it one of the three premier American fighters, along with the P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning. The United States built more P-47s than any other fighter airplane.
This P-47D-30-RA was delivered to Godman Field, Kentucky, in 1944. It served as an aerial gunnery trainer before being transferred to the U.S. Air Force Museum and then the Smithsonian. Republic Aviation restored the airplane and displayed it to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first P-47 flight.
Transferred from the United States Air Force.
Republic Aviation Corporation
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Overall: 14ft 1 5/16in. x 40ft 5/16in., 10751.8lb., 36ft 1 1/16in. (430 x 1220cm, 4877kg, 1100cm)
All-metal, low-wing, monoplane of semi-monocoque construction
2000-horsepower radial engine, eight .50 caliber machine guns, tail-wheel type landing gear. Yellow and black checkered nose with AAF insignia on wings.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy | Boeing 367-80 Jet Transport:
On July 15, 1954, a graceful, swept-winged aircraft, bedecked in brown and yellow paint and powered by four revolutionary new engines first took to the sky above Seattle. Built by the Boeing Aircraft Company, the 367-80, better known as the Dash 80, would come to revolutionize commercial air transportation when its developed version entered service as the famous Boeing 707, America's first jet airliner.
In the early 1950s, Boeing had begun to study the possibility of creating a jet-powered military transport and tanker to complement the new generation of Boeing jet bombers entering service with the U.S. Air Force. When the Air Force showed no interest, Boeing invested $16 million of its own capital to build a prototype jet transport in a daring gamble that the airlines and the Air Force would buy it once the aircraft had flown and proven itself. As Boeing had done with the B-17, it risked the company on one roll of the dice and won.
Boeing engineers had initially based the jet transport on studies of improved designs of the Model 367, better known to the public as the C-97 piston-engined transport and aerial tanker. By the time Boeing progressed to the 80th iteration, the design bore no resemblance to the C-97 but, for security reasons, Boeing decided to let the jet project be known as the 367-80.
Work proceeded quickly after the formal start of the project on May 20, 1952. The 367-80 mated a large cabin based on the dimensions of the C-97 with the 35-degree swept-wing design based on the wings of the B-47 and B-52 but considerably stiffer and incorporating a pronounced dihedral. The wings were mounted low on the fuselage and incorporated high-speed and low-speed ailerons as well as a sophisticated flap and spoiler system. Four Pratt & Whitney JT3 turbojet engines, each producing 10,000 pounds of thrust, were mounted on struts beneath the wings.
Upon the Dash 80's first flight on July 15, 1954, (the 34th anniversary of the founding of the Boeing Company) Boeing clearly had a winner. Flying 100 miles per hour faster than the de Havilland Comet and significantly larger, the new Boeing had a maximum range of more than 3,500 miles. As hoped, the Air Force bought 29 examples of the design as a tanker/transport after they convinced Boeing to widen the design by 12 inches. Satisfied, the Air Force designated it the KC-135A. A total of 732 KC-135s were built.
Quickly Boeing turned its attention to selling the airline industry on this new jet transport. Clearly the industry was impressed with the capabilities of the prototype 707 but never more so than at the Gold Cup hydroplane races held on Lake Washington in Seattle, in August 1955. During the festivities surrounding this event, Boeing had gathered many airline representatives to enjoy the competition and witness a fly past of the new Dash 80. To the audience's intense delight and Boeing's profound shock, test pilot Alvin "Tex" Johnston barrel-rolled the Dash 80 over the lake in full view of thousands of astonished spectators. Johnston vividly displayed the superior strength and performance of this new jet, readily convincing the airline industry to buy this new airliner.
In searching for a market, Boeing found a ready customer in Pan American Airway's president Juan Trippe. Trippe had been spending much of his time searching for a suitable jet airliner to enable his pioneering company to maintain its leadership in international air travel. Working with Boeing, Trippe overcame Boeing's resistance to widening the Dash-80 design, now known as the 707, to seat six passengers in each seat row rather than five. Trippe did so by placing an order with Boeing for 20 707s but also ordering 25 of Douglas's competing DC-8, which had yet to fly but could accommodate six-abreast seating. At Pan Am's insistence, the 707 was made four inches wider than the Dash 80 so that it could carry 160 passengers six-abreast. The wider fuselage developed for the 707 became the standard design for all of Boeing's subsequent narrow-body airliners.
Although the British de Havilland D.H. 106 Comet and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-104 entered service earlier, the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 were bigger, faster, had greater range, and were more profitable to fly. In October 1958 Pan American ushered the jet age into the United States when it opened international service with the Boeing 707 in October 1958. National Airlines inaugurated domestic jet service two months later using a 707-120 borrowed from Pan Am. American Airlines flew the first domestic 707 jet service with its own aircraft in January 1959. American set a new speed mark when it opened the first regularly-scheduled transcontinental jet service in 1959. Subsequent nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco took only 5 hours - 3 hours less than by the piston-engine DC-7. The one-way fare, including a $10 surcharge for jet service, was $115.50, or $231 round trip. The flight was almost 40 percent faster and almost 25 percent cheaper than flying by piston-engine airliners. The consequent surge of traffic demand was substantial.
The 707 was originally designed for transcontinental or one-stop transatlantic range. But modified with extra fuel tanks and more efficient turbofan engines, the 707-300 Intercontinental series aircraft could fly nonstop across the Atlantic with full payload under any conditions. Boeing built 855 707s, of which 725 were bought by airlines worldwide.
Having launched the Boeing Company into the commercial jet age, the Dash 80 soldiered on as a highly successful experimental aircraft. Until its retirement in 1972, the Dash 80 tested numerous advanced systems, many of which were incorporated into later generations of jet transports. At one point, the Dash 80 carried three different engine types in its four nacelles. Serving as a test bed for the new 727, the Dash 80 was briefly equipped with a fifth engine mounted on the rear fuselage. Engineers also modified the wing in planform and contour to study the effects of different airfoil shapes. Numerous flap configurations were also fitted including a highly sophisticated system of "blown" flaps which redirected engine exhaust over the flaps to increase lift at low speeds. Fin height and horizontal stabilizer width was later increased and at one point, a special multiple wheel low pressure landing gear was fitted to test the feasibility of operating future heavy military transports from unprepared landing fields.
After a long and distinguished career, the Boeing 367-80 was finally retired and donated to the Smithsonian in 1972. At present, the aircraft is installated at the National Air and Space Museum's new facility at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Gift of the Boeing Company
Boeing Aircraft Co.
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Height 19' 2": Length 73' 10": Wing Span 129' 8": Weight 33,279 lbs.
Prototype Boeing 707; yellow and brown.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Concorde, Fox Alpha, Air France
The first supersonic airliner to enter service, the Concorde flew thousands of passengers across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound for over 25 years. Designed and built by Aérospatiale of France and the British Aviation Corporation, the graceful Concorde was a stunning technological achievement that could not overcome serious economic problems.
In 1976 Air France and British Airways jointly inaugurated Concorde service to destinations around the globe. Carrying up to 100 passengers in great comfort, the Concorde catered to first class passengers for whom speed was critical. It could cross the Atlantic in fewer than four hours - half the time of a conventional jet airliner. However its high operating costs resulted in very high fares that limited the number of passengers who could afford to fly it. These problems and a shrinking market eventually forced the reduction of service until all Concordes were retired in 2003.
In 1989, Air France signed a letter of agreement to donate a Concorde to the National Air and Space Museum upon the aircraft's retirement. On June 12, 2003, Air France honored that agreement, donating Concorde F-BVFA to the Museum upon the completion of its last flight. This aircraft was the first Air France Concorde to open service to Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and New York and had flown 17,824 hours.
Gift of Air France.
Country of Origin
United Kingdom and France
Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale
British Aircraft Corporation
Wingspan: 25.56 m (83 ft 10 in)
Length: 61.66 m (202 ft 3 in)
Height: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Weight, empty: 79,265 kg (174,750 lb)
Weight, gross: 181,435 kg (400,000 lb)
Top speed: 2,179 km/h (1350 mph)
Engine: Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 602, 17,259 kg (38,050 lb) thrust each
Manufacturer: Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale, Paris, France, and British Aircraft Corporation, London, United Kingdom
Aircaft Serial Number: 205. Including four (4) engines, bearing respectively the serial number: CBE066, CBE062, CBE086 and CBE085.
Also included, aircraft plaque: "AIR FRANCE Lorsque viendra le jour d'exposer Concorde dans un musee, la Smithsonian Institution a dores et deja choisi, pour le Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace de Washington, un appariel portant le couleurs d'Air France."
It began with a dream - a dream of a new age in air travel where the boundaries of time and distance were to have been shattered forever. The dream of supersonic passenger air travel was first conceived in the 1950s was developed in the 1960s and came to fruition in the mid 1970s. For 27 years, the graceful Anglo-French Concorde carried world travelers across the Atlantic Ocean in great comfort at twice the speed of sound. While the dream was real, it was so only for the world's privileged elites. It was not a machine for the average citizen. High development costs and high operating costs prevented the Concorde from achieving the dream of practical supersonic flight for the public. But for a while, the Concorde looked promising - it looked like the future.
In the 1950s air travel was revolutionized with the advent of jet propulsion. First the de Havilland Comet and later, the Boeing 707, greatly increased the speed of travel from 350 to over 600 mile per hour. Airlines and customers flocked to the new jet airliners as travel times were cut dramatically and the seat-mile costs to the airlines dropped. The conclusion drawn by engineers, managers, and politicians seemed clear: the faster the better.
In Europe, enterprising designers in Great Britain and France were independently outlining their plans for a supersonic transport (SST). In November 1962, in a move reminiscent of the Entente Cordiale of 1904, the two nations agreed to pool their resources and share the risks in building this new aircraft. They also hoped to highlight Europe's growing economic unity as well as its aerospace expertise in a dramatic and risky bid to supplant the United States as the leader in commercial aviation. The aircraft's name reflected the shared hopes of each nation for success through cooperation - Concorde.
Quickly the designers at the British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation, later reorganized as Aerospatiale, settled on a slim, graceful form featuring an ogival delta wing that possessed excellent low speed and high speed handling characteristics. Power was to be provided by four massive Olympus turbojet engines built by Rolls-Royce and SNECMA. Realizing that this first generation SST would cater to the wealthier passenger, Concorde's designers created an aircraft that carried only 100 seats in tight four-across rows. They assumed that first class passengers would flock to the Concorde to save valuable time while economy class passengers would remain in larger, but slower subsonic airliners.
Despite mounting costs that constantly threatened the program, construction continued with exactly 50 percent of each aircraft built in each country. The first Concorde was ready for flight in 1969. With famed French test pilot Andre Turcot at the controls, Concorde 001, which was assembled at Toulouse, took to the air on March 2, 1969. Although the Soviets had flown their version of the SST first, the Tupolev Tu-144 had been rushed into production and suffered from technological problems that could never be solved. Following the successful first flight a total of four prototype and preproduction Concordes were built and thoroughly tested and by 1976, the first of 16 production Concordes were ready for service. Twenty were built in all.
But all was not rosy. During this time America sought to produce its own bigger and faster SST. After a contentious political debate, the federal government refused to back the project in 1971 citing environmental problems, particularly noise, the sonic boom, and engine emissions that were thought to harm the upper atmosphere. Anti SST political activity in the United States delayed the granting of landing rights, particularly into New York City, causing further delays.
More ominously for Concorde, no airlines placed orders for this advanced SST. Despite initial enthusiasm, the airlines dropped their purchase options once they calculated the operating costs of the Concorde. Consequently only Air France and British Airways - the national airlines of their respective countries - flew the 16 production aircraft and only after purchasing them from their governments at virtually no cost.
Nevertheless, in January 1976, Concorde service began and, by November, these graceful SSTs were flying to the United States. A technological masterpiece, each Concorde smoothly transitioned to supersonic flight with no discernable disturbance to the passenger. In service, the Concorde would cruise at twice the speed of sound between 55,000 and 60,000 feet - so high that passengers could actually see the curvature of the Earth. The Concorde was so fast that, despite the outside temperature of less than -56 degrees Celsius, the aircraft's aluminum skin would heat up to over 120 degrees Celsius while the Concorde actually expanded 8 inches in length with the interior of the window gradually growing quite warm to the touch. And all the while each passenger was carefully attended to while enjoying a magnificent meal and superb service. Transatlantic flight time was cut in half with the average flight taking less than four hours.
For the next 27 years supersonic travel was the norm for the world's business and entertainment elite. But eventually the harsh reality of the economic marketplace forced Air France and British Airways to cut back their already limited service. Routes from London and Paris to Washington, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, Miami, Singapore, and other locations were cut leaving only the transatlantic service to New York. And even on most of these flights, the Concorde flew half full with many of the passenger flying as guests of the airlines or as upgrades. With the average round trip ticket costing more than $12,000, few could afford to fly this magnificent aircraft. Operating costs escalated as parts became more difficult to acquire and, with an average of one ton of fuel consumed per seat, the already small market for the Concorde gradually grew smaller.
Despite the excellence of the Concorde's design, its operators realized that its days were numbered because of its high costs. In 1989, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution and the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, the French government sent a copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man to the U.S. Appropriately, this famous document was delivered on the Concorde and with it a promise from Air France to give one of these aircraft to the people of the United States through its eventual inclusion into the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
Fourteen years later that promised was fulfilled. In April of 2003 Air France president Jean Cyril Spinetta informed the Museum in April that Concorde service would end on May 31st following the decision by the aircraft's manufacturer to stop supporting the fleet. As planned, on June 12 Air France delivered its most treasured Concorde, F-BVFA, to Washington Dulles International Airport on its last supersonic flight for the airline. This aircraft was the first production Concorde delivered to Air France, the first Concorde to open service between Paris and New York, Washington, and Rio de Janeiro and had amassed 17,824 hours in the air. Onboard were 60 passengers including Gilles de Robien, the French Minister for Capital Works, Transport, Housing, Tourism, and Marine Affairs, Mr. Spinetta, and several past Air France presidents as well as former Concorde pilots and crew members. In a dignified yet bittersweet ceremony Mr. Spinetta signed over Concorde "Fox Alpha" to the Museum for permanent safekeeping.
The Concorde is now prominently displayed at the Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
• • •
Quoting from Wikipedia | Concorde:
The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport (SST). It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
Among other destinations, Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow (British Airways) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (Air France) to New York JFK, profitably flying these routes at record speeds, in less than half the time of other airliners.
With only 20 aircraft built, their development represented a substantial economic loss, in addition to which Air France and British Airways were subsidised by their governments to buy them. As a result of the type’s only crash on 25 July 2000 and other factors, its retirement flight was on 26 November 2003.
Concorde's name reflects the development agreement between the United Kingdom and France. In the UK, any or all of the type—unusual for an aircraft—are known simply as "Concorde". The aircraft is regarded by many as an aviation icon.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy | Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat:
The Grumman F6F Hellcat was originally conceived as an advanced version of the U.S. Navy's then current front-line fighter, the F4F Wildcat (see NASM collection). The Wildcat's intended replacement, the Vought F4U Corsair (see NASM collection), first flown in 1940, was showing great promise, but development was slowed by problems, including the crash of the prototype.
The National Air and Space Museum's F6F-3 Hellcat, BuNo. 41834, was built at Grumman's Bethpage, New York, factory in February 1944 under contract NOA-(S)846. It was delivered to the Navy on February 7, and arrived in San Diego, California, on the 18th. It was assigned to Fighter Squadron 15 (VF-15) on USS Hornet (CV12) bound for Hawaii. On arrival, it was assigned to VF-3 where it sustained damage in a wheels-up landing at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. After repair, it was assigned to VF-83 where it was used in a training role until February 21, 1945. After numerous transfers 41834 was converted to an F6F-3K target drone with the installation of sophisticated radio-control equipment. It was painted red with a pink tail that carried the number 14. Its mission was to be used in Operation Crossroads - the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. It flew on June 24, 1946, with a pilot, on a practice flight and was launched, unmanned, soon after the first bomb test. Instrumentation on board and photographic plates taped to the control stick obtained data on radioactivity. Three more manned flights preceded the final unmanned flight on July 25, 1946, which evaluated the first underwater explosion. Records indicate that exposure of this aircraft to the radioactive cloud was minimal and residual radiation is negligible.
F6F-3K 41834 was transferred to NAS Norfolk and logged its last flight on March 25, 1947, with a total of 430.2 flying hours. It was assigned to the National Air Museum on November 3, 1948, and remained at Norfolk until October 4, 1960, when it was moved by barge to Washington and placed in storage. In 1976 this Hellcat was loaned to the USS Yorktown Museum at Charleston, South Carolina. A superficial restoration was performed at the museum, but because of the harsh environment and its poor condition the Hellcat was returned to NASM on March 16, 1982. In 1983, it was sent to Grumman Aerospace where a team of volunteers completely restored the aircraft. In 1985, it was shipped back to the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and put in storage. NASM's F6F-3 Hellcat is scheduled to be displayed in the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy center at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in 2004.
Transferred from the United States Navy.
Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Overall: 338 x 1021cm, 4092kg, 1304cm (11ft 1 1/16in. x 33ft 5 15/16in., 9021.2lb., 42ft 9 3/8in.)
Heavy armor plate, reinforced empennage, R-2800-10W engine, spring tabs on the ailerons (increased maneuverability), could carry rockets as well as bombs.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightning
In the P-38 Lockheed engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and his team of designers created one of the most successful twin-engine fighters ever flown by any nation. From 1942 to 1945, U. S. Army Air Forces pilots flew P-38s over Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific, and from the frozen Aleutian Islands to the sun-baked deserts of North Africa. Lightning pilots in the Pacific theater downed more Japanese aircraft than pilots flying any other Allied warplane.
Maj. Richard I. Bong, America's leading fighter ace, flew this P-38J-10-LO on April 16, 1945, at Wright Field, Ohio, to evaluate an experimental method of interconnecting the movement of the throttle and propeller control levers. However, his right engine exploded in flight before he could conduct the experiment.
Transferred from the United States Air Force.
Lockheed Aircraft Company
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Overall: 390 x 1170cm, 6345kg, 1580cm (12ft 9 9/16in. x 38ft 4 5/8in., 13988.2lb., 51ft 10 1/16in.)
Twin-tail boom and twin-engine fighter; tricycle landing gear.
From 1942 to 1945, the thunder of P-38 Lightnings was heard around the world. U. S. Army pilots flew the P-38 over Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific; from the frozen Aleutian Islands to the sun-baked deserts of North Africa. Measured by success in combat, Lockheed engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and a team of designers created the most successful twin-engine fighter ever flown by any nation. In the Pacific Theater, Lightning pilots downed more Japanese aircraft than pilots flying any other Army Air Forces warplane.
Johnson and his team conceived this twin-engine, single-pilot fighter airplane in 1936 and the Army Air Corps authorized the firm to build it in June 1937. Lockheed finished constructing the prototype XP-38 and delivered it to the Air Corps on New Year's Day, 1939. Air Corps test pilot and P-38 project officer, Lt. Benjamin S. Kelsey, first flew the aircraft on January 27. Losing this prototype in a crash at Mitchel Field, New York, with Kelsey at the controls, did not deter the Air Corps from ordering 13 YP-38s for service testing on April 27. Kelsey survived the crash and remained an important part of the Lightning program. Before the airplane could be declared ready for combat, Lockheed had to block the effects of high-speed aerodynamic compressibility and tail buffeting, and solve other problems discovered during the service tests.
The most vexing difficulty was the loss of control in a dive caused by aerodynamic compressibility. During late spring 1941, Air Corps Major Signa A. Gilke encountered serious trouble while diving his Lightning at high-speed from an altitude of 9,120 m (30,000 ft). When he reached an indicated airspeed of about 515 kph (320 mph), the airplane's tail began to shake violently and the nose dropped until the dive was almost vertical. Signa recovered and landed safely and the tail buffet problem was soon resolved after Lockheed installed new fillets to improve airflow where the cockpit gondola joined the wing center section. Seventeen months passed before engineers began to determine what caused the Lightning's nose to drop. They tested a scale model P-38 in the Ames Laboratory wind tunnel operated by the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) and found that shock waves formed when airflow over the wing leading edges reached transonic speeds. The nose drop and loss of control was never fully remedied but Lockheed installed dive recovery flaps under each wing in 1944. These devices slowed the P-38 enough to allow the pilot to maintain control when diving at high-speed.
Just as the development of the North American P-51 Mustang, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and the Vought F4U Corsair (see NASM collection for these aircraft) pushed the limits of aircraft performance into unexplored territory, so too did P-38 development. The type of aircraft envisioned by the Lockheed design team and Air Corps strategists in 1937 did not appear until June 1944. This protracted shakedown period mirrors the tribulations suffered by Vought in sorting out the many technical problems that kept F4U Corsairs off U. S. Navy carrier decks until the end of 1944.
Lockheed's efforts to trouble-shoot various problems with the design also delayed high-rate, mass production. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the company had delivered only 69 Lightnings to the Army. Production steadily increased and at its peak in 1944, 22 sub-contractors built various Lightning components and shipped them to Burbank, California, for final assembly. Consolidated-Vultee (Convair) subcontracted to build the wing center section and the firm later became prime manufacturer for 2,000 P-38Ls but that company's Nashville plant completed only 113 examples of this Lightning model before war's end. Lockheed and Convair finished 10,038 P-38 aircraft including 500 photo-reconnaissance models. They built more L models, 3,923, than any other version.
To ease control and improve stability, particularly at low speeds, Lockheed equipped all Lightnings, except a batch ordered by Britain, with propellers that counter-rotated. The propeller to the pilot's left turned counter-clockwise and the propeller to his right turned clockwise, so that one propeller countered the torque and airflow effects generated by the other. The airplane also performed well at high speeds and the definitive P-38L model could make better than 676 kph (420 mph) between 7,600 and 9,120 m (25,000 and 30,000 ft). The design was versatile enough to carry various combinations of bombs, air-to-ground rockets, and external fuel tanks. The multi-engine configuration reduced the Lightning loss-rate to anti-aircraft gunfire during ground attack missions. Single-engine airplanes equipped with power plants cooled by pressurized liquid, such as the North American P-51 Mustang (see NASM collection), were particularly vulnerable. Even a small nick in one coolant line could cause the engine to seize in a matter of minutes.
The first P-38s to reach the Pacific combat theater arrived on April 4, 1942, when a version of the Lightning that carried reconnaissance cameras (designated the F-4), joined the 8th Photographic Squadron based in Australia. This unit launched the first P-38 combat missions over New Guinea and New Britain during April. By May 29, the first 25 P-38s had arrived in Anchorage, Alaska. On August 9, pilots of the 343rd Fighter Group, Eleventh Air Force, flying the P-38E, shot down a pair of Japanese flying boats.
Back in the United States, Army Air Forces leaders tried to control a rumor that Lightnings killed their own pilots. On August 10, 1942, Col. Arthur I. Ennis, Chief of U. S. Army Air Forces Public Relations in Washington, told a fellow officer "… Here's what the 4th Fighter [training] Command is up against… common rumor out there that the whole West Coast was filled with headless bodies of men who jumped out of P-38s and had their heads cut off by the propellers." Novice Lightning pilots unfamiliar with the correct bailout procedures actually had more to fear from the twin-boom tail, if an emergency dictated taking to the parachute but properly executed, Lightning bailouts were as safe as parachuting from any other high-performance fighter of the day. Misinformation and wild speculation about many new aircraft was rampant during the early War period.
Along with U. S. Navy Grumman F4F Wildcats (see NASM collection) and Curtiss P-40 Warhawks (see NASM collection), Lightnings were the first American fighter airplanes capable of consistently defeating Japanese fighter aircraft. On November 18, men of the 339th Fighter Squadron became the first Lightning pilots to attack Japanese fighters. Flying from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, they claimed three during a mission to escort Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers (see NASM collection).
On April 18, 1943, fourteen P-38 pilots from the 70th and the 339th Fighter Squadrons, 347th Fighter Group, accomplished one of the most important Lightning missions of the war. American ULTRA cryptanalysts had decoded Japanese messages that revealed the timetable for a visit to the front by the commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. This charismatic leader had crafted the plan to attack Pearl Harbor and Allied strategists believed his loss would severely cripple Japanese morale. The P-38 pilots flew 700 km (435 miles) at heights from 3-15 m (10-50 feet) above the ocean to avoid detection. Over the coast of Bougainville, they intercepted a formation of two Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bombers (see NASM collection) carrying the Admiral and his staff, and six Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters (see NASM collection) providing escort. The Lightning pilots downed both bombers but lost Lt. Ray Hine to a Zero.
In Europe, the first Americans to down a Luftwaffe aircraft were Lt. Elza E. Shahan flying a 27th Fighter Squadron P-38E, and Lt. J. K. Shaffer flying a Curtiss P-40 (see NASM collection) in the 33rd Fighter Squadron. The two flyers shared the destruction of a Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3 Condor maritime strike aircraft over Iceland on August 14, 1942. Later that month, the 1st fighter group accepted Lightnings and began combat operations from bases in England but this unit soon moved to fight in North Africa. More than a year passed before the P-38 reappeared over Western Europe. While the Lightning was absent, U. S. Army Air Forces strategists had relearned a painful lesson: unescorted bombers cannot operate successfully in the face of determined opposition from enemy fighters. When P-38s returned to England, the primary mission had become long-range bomber escort at ranges of about 805 kms (500 miles) and at altitudes above 6,080 m (20,000 ft).
On October 15, 1943, P-38H pilots in the 55th Fighter Group flew their first combat mission over Europe at a time when the need for long-range escorts was acute. Just the day before, German fighter pilots had destroyed 60 of 291 Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses (see NASM collection) during a mission to bomb five ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, Germany. No air force could sustain a loss-rate of nearly 20 percent for more than a few missions but these targets lay well beyond the range of available escort fighters (Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, see NASM collection). American war planners hoped the long-range capabilities of the P-38 Lightning could halt this deadly trend, but the very high and very cold environment peculiar to the European air war caused severe power plant and cockpit heating difficulties for the Lightning pilots. The long-range escort problem was not completely solved until the North American P-51 Mustang (see NASM collection) began to arrive in large numbers early in 1944.
Poor cockpit heating in the H and J model Lightnings made flying and fighting at altitudes that frequently approached 12,320 m (40,000 ft) nearly impossible. This was a fundamental design flaw that Kelly Johnson and his team never anticipated when they designed the airplane six years earlier. In his seminal work on the Allison V-1710 engine, Daniel Whitney analyzed in detail other factors that made the P-38 a disappointing airplane in combat over Western Europe.
• Many new and inexperienced pilots arrived in England during December 1943, along with the new J model P-38 Lightning.
• J model rated at 1,600 horsepower vs. 1,425 for earlier H model Lightnings. This power setting required better maintenance between flights. It appears this work was not done in many cases.
• During stateside training, Lightning pilots were taught to fly at high rpm settings and low engine manifold pressure during cruise flight. This was very hard on the engines, and not in keeping with technical directives issued by Allison and Lockheed.
• The quality of fuel in England may have been poor, TEL (tetraethyl lead) fuel additive appeared to condense inside engine induction manifolds, causing detonation (destructive explosion of fuel mixture rather than controlled burning).
• Improved turbo supercharger intercoolers appeared on the J model P-38. These devices greatly reduced manifold temperatures but this encouraged TEL condensation in manifolds during cruise flight and increased spark plug fouling.
Using water injection to minimize detonation might have reduced these engine problems. Both the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and the North American P-51 Mustang (see NASM collection) were fitted with water injection systems but not the P-38. Lightning pilots continued to fly, despite these handicaps.
During November 1942, two all-Lightning fighter groups, the 1st and the 14th, began operating in North Africa. In the Mediterranean Theater, P-38 pilots flew more sorties than Allied pilots flying any other type of fighter. They claimed 608 enemy a/c destroyed in the air, 123 probably destroyed and 343 damaged, against the loss of 131 Lightnings.
In the war against Japan, the P-38 truly excelled. Combat rarely occurred above 6,080 m (20,000 ft) and the engine and cockpit comfort problems common in Europe never plagued pilots in the Pacific Theater. The Lightning's excellent range was used to full advantage above the vast expanses of water. In early 1945, Lightning pilots of the 12th Fighter Squadron, 18th Fighter Group, flew a mission that lasted 10 ½ hours and covered more than 3,220 km (2,000 miles). In August, P-38 pilots established the world's long-distance record for a World War II combat fighter when they flew from the Philippines to the Netherlands East Indies, a distance of 3,703 km (2,300 miles). During early 1944, Lightning pilots in the 475th Fighter Group began the 'race of aces.' By March, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Lynch had scored 21 victories before he fell to antiaircraft gunfire while strafing enemy ships. Major Thomas B. McGuire downed 38 Japanese aircraft before he was killed when his P-38 crashed at low altitude in early January 1945. Major Richard I. Bong became America's highest scoring fighter ace (40 victories) but died in the crash of a Lockheed P-80 (see NASM collection) on August 6, 1945.
Museum records show that Lockheed assigned the construction number 422-2273 to the National Air and Space Museum's P-38. The Army Air Forces accepted this Lightning as a P-38J-l0-LO on November 6, 1943, and the service identified the airplane with the serial number 42-67762. Recent investigations conducted by a team of specialists at the Paul E. Garber Facility, and Herb Brownstein, a volunteer in the Aeronautics Division at the National Air and Space Museum, have revealed many hitherto unknown aspects to the history of this aircraft.
Brownstein examined NASM files and documents at the National Archives. He discovered that a few days after the Army Air Forces (AAF) accepted this airplane, the Engineering Division at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, granted Lockheed permission to convert this P-38 into a two-seat trainer. The firm added a seat behind the pilot to accommodate an instructor who would train civilian pilots in instrument flying techniques. Once trained, these test pilots evaluated new Lightnings fresh off the assembly line.
In a teletype sent by the Engineering Division on March 2, 1944, Brownstein also discovered that this P-38 was released to Colonel Benjamin S. Kelsey from March 3 to April 10, 1944, to conduct special tests. This action was confirmed the following day in a cable from the War Department. This same pilot, then a Lieutenant, flew the XP-38 across the United States in 1939 and survived the crash that destroyed this Lightning at Mitchel Field, New York. In early 1944, Kelsey was assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England and he apparently traveled to the Lockheed factory at Burbank to pick up the P-38. Further information about these tests and Kelsey's involvement remain an intriguing question.
One of Brownstein's most important discoveries was a small file rich with information about the NASM Lightning. This file contained a cryptic reference to a "Major Bong" who flew the NASM P-38 on April 16, 1945, at Wright Field. Bong had planned to fly for an hour to evaluate an experimental method of interconnecting the movement of the throttle and propeller control levers. His flight ended after twenty-minutes when "the right engine blew up before I had a chance [to conduct the test]." The curator at the Richard I. Bong Heritage Center confirmed that America's highest scoring ace made this flight in the NASM P-38 Lightning.
Working in Building 10 at the Paul E. Garber Facility, Rob Mawhinney, Dave Wilson, Wil Lee, Bob Weihrauch, Jim Purton, and Heather Hutton spent several months during the spring and summer of 2001 carefully disassembling, inspecting, and cleaning the NASM Lightning. They found every hardware modification consistent with a model J-25 airplane, not the model J-10 painted in the data block beneath the artifact's left nose. This fact dovetails perfectly with knowledge uncovered by Brownstein. On April 10, the Engineering Division again cabled Lockheed asking the company to prepare 42-67762 for transfer to Wright Field "in standard configuration." The standard P-38 configuration at that time was the P-38J-25. The work took several weeks and the fighter does not appear on Wright Field records until May 15, 1944. On June 9, the Flight Test Section at Wright Field released the fighter for flight trials aimed at collecting pilot comments on how the airplane handled.
Wright Field's Aeromedical Laboratory was the next organization involved with this P-38. That unit installed a kit on July 26 that probably measured the force required to move the control wheel left and right to actuate the power-boosted ailerons installed in all Lightnings beginning with version J-25. From August 12-16, the Power Plant Laboratory carried out tests to measure the hydraulic pump temperatures on this Lightning. Then beginning September 16 and lasting about ten days, the Bombing Branch, Armament Laboratory, tested type R-3 fragmentation bomb racks. The work appears to have ended early in December. On June 20, 1945, the AAF Aircraft Distribution Office asked that the Air Technical Service Command transfer the Lightning from Wright Field to Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, a temporary holding area for Air Force museum aircraft. The P-38 arrived at the Oklahoma City Air Depot on June 27, 1945, and mechanics prepared the fighter for flyable storage.
Airplane Flight Reports for this Lightning also describe the following activities and movements:
6-21-45 Wright Field, Ohio, 5.15 hours of flying.
6-22-45Wright Field, Ohio, .35 minutes of flying by Lt. Col. Wendel [?] J. Kelley and P. Shannon.
6-25-45Altus, Oklahoma, .55 hours flown, pilot P. Shannon.
6-27-45Altus, Oklahoma, #2 engine changed, 1.05 hours flown by Air Corps F/O Ralph F. Coady.
10-5-45 OCATSC-GCAAF (Garden City Army Air Field, Garden City, Kansas), guns removed and ballast added.
10-8-45Adams Field, Little Rock, Arkansas.
5-28-46Freeman Field, Indiana, maintenance check by Air Corps Capt. H. M. Chadhowere [sp]?
7-24-46Freeman Field, Indiana, 1 hour local flight by 1st Lt. Charles C. Heckel.
7-31-46 Freeman Field, Indiana, 4120th AAF Base Unit, ferry flight to Orchard Place [Illinois] by 1st Lt. Charles C. Heckel.
On August 5, 1946, the AAF moved the aircraft to another storage site at the former Consolidated B-24 bomber assembly plant at Park Ridge, Illinois. A short time later, the AAF transferred custody of the Lightning and more than sixty other World War II-era airplanes to the Smithsonian National Air Museum. During the early 1950s, the Air Force moved these airplanes from Park Ridge to the Smithsonian storage site at Suitland, Maryland.
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Quoting from Wikipedia | Lockheed P-38 Lightning:
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.
The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the mount of America's top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war. The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving, and could be mishandled in many ways, but the rate of roll was too slow for it to excel as a dogfighter. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.
Variants: Lightning in maturity: P-38J
The P-38J was introduced in August 1943. The turbo-supercharger intercooler system on previous variants had been housed in the leading edges of the wings and had proven vulnerable to combat damage and could burst if the wrong series of controls were mistakenly activated. In the P-38J model, the streamlined engine nacelles of previous Lightnings were changed to fit the intercooler radiator between the oil coolers, forming a "chin" that visually distinguished the J model from its predecessors. While the P-38J used the same V-1710-89/91 engines as the H model, the new core-type intercooler more efficiently lowered intake manifold temperatures and permitted a substantial increase in rated power. The leading edge of the outer wing was fitted with 55 gal (208 l) fuel tanks, filling the space formerly occupied by intercooler tunnels, but these were omitted on early P-38J blocks due to limited availability.
The final 210 J models, designated P-38J-25-LO, alleviated the compressibility problem through the addition of a set of electrically-actuated dive recovery flaps just outboard of the engines on the bottom centerline of the wings. With these improvements, a USAAF pilot reported a dive speed of almost 600 mph (970 km/h), although the indicated air speed was later corrected for compressibility error, and the actual dive speed was lower. Lockheed manufactured over 200 retrofit modification kits to be installed on P-38J-10-LO and J-20-LO already in Europe, but the USAAF C-54 carrying them was shot down by an RAF pilot who mistook the Douglas transport for a German Focke-Wulf Condor. Unfortunately the loss of the kits came during Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier's four-month morale-boosting tour of P-38 bases. Flying a new Lightning named "Snafuperman" modified to full P-38J-25-LO specs at Lockheed's modification center near Belfast, LeVier captured the pilots' full attention by routinely performing maneuvers during March 1944 that common Eighth Air Force wisdom held to be suicidal. It proved too little too late because the decision had already been made to re-equip with Mustangs.
The P-38J-25-LO production block also introduced hydraulically-boosted ailerons, one of the first times such a system was fitted to a fighter. This significantly improved the Lightning's rate of roll and reduced control forces for the pilot. This production block and the following P-38L model are considered the definitive Lightnings, and Lockheed ramped up production, working with subcontractors across the country to produce hundreds of Lightnings each month.
Noted P-38 pilots
Richard Bong and Thomas McGuire
The American ace of aces and his closest competitor both flew Lightnings as they tallied 40 and 38 victories respectively. Majors Richard I. "Dick" Bong and Thomas J. "Tommy" McGuire of the USAAF competed for the top position. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honor.
McGuire was killed in air combat in January 1945 over the Philippines, after racking up 38 confirmed kills, making him the second-ranking American ace. Bong was rotated back to the United States as America's ace of aces, after making 40 kills, becoming a test pilot. He was killed on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, when his P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter flamed out on takeoff.
The famed aviator Charles Lindbergh toured the South Pacific as a civilian contractor for United Aircraft Corporation, comparing and evaluating performance of single- and twin-engined fighters for Vought. He worked to improve range and load limits of the F4U Corsair, flying both routine and combat strafing missions in Corsairs alongside Marine pilots. In Hollandia, he attached himself to the 475th FG flying P-38s so that he could investigate the twin-engine fighter. Though new to the machine, he was instrumental in extending the range of the P-38 through improved throttle settings, or engine-leaning techniques, notably by reducing engine speed to 1,600 rpm, setting the carburetors for auto-lean and flying at 185 mph (298 km/h) indicated airspeed which reduced fuel consumption to 70 gal/h, about 2.6 mpg. This combination of settings had been considered dangerous; it was thought it would upset the fuel mixture and cause an explosion. Everywhere Lindbergh went in the South Pacific, he was accorded the normal preferential treatment of a visiting colonel, though he had resigned his Air Corps Reserve colonel's commission three years before. While with the 475th, he held training classes and took part in a number of Army Air Corps combat missions. On 28 July 1944, Lindbergh shot down a Mitsubishi Ki-51 "Sonia" flown expertly by the veteran commander of 73rd Independent Flying Chutai, Imperial Japanese Army Captain Saburo Shimada. In an extended, twisting dogfight in which many of the participants ran out of ammunition, Shimada turned his aircraft directly toward Lindbergh who was just approaching the combat area. Lindbergh fired in a defensive reaction brought on by Shimada's apparent head-on ramming attack. Hit by cannon and machine gun fire, the "Sonia's" propeller visibly slowed, but Shimada held his course. Lindbergh pulled up at the last moment to avoid collision as the damaged "Sonia" went into a steep dive, hit the ocean and sank. Lindbergh's wingman, ace Joseph E. "Fishkiller" Miller, Jr., had also scored hits on the "Sonia" after it had begun its fatal dive, but Miller was certain the kill credit was Lindbergh's. The unofficial kill was not entered in the 475th's war record. On 12 August 1944 Lindbergh left Hollandia to return to the United States.
The seventh-ranking American ace, Charles H. MacDonald, flew a Lightning against the Japanese, scoring 27 kills in his famous aircraft, the Putt Putt Maru.
Main article: Robin Olds
Robin Olds was the last P-38 ace in the Eighth Air Force and the last in the ETO. Flying a P-38J, he downed five German fighters on two separate missions over France and Germany. He subsequently transitioned to P-51s to make seven more kills. After World War II, he flew F-4 Phantom IIs in Vietnam, ending his career as brigadier general with 16 kills.
A P-38 piloted by Clay Tice was the first American aircraft to land in Japan after VJ-Day, when he and his wingman set down on Nitagahara because his wingman was low on fuel.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Noted aviation pioneer and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry vanished in a F-5B-1-LO, 42-68223, c/n 2734, of Groupe de Chasse II/33, out of Borgo-Porreta, Bastia, Corsica, a reconnaissance variant of the P-38, while on a flight over the Mediterranean, from Corsica to mainland France, on 31 July 1944. His health, both physical and mental (he was said to be intermittently subject to depression), had been deteriorating and there had been talk of taking him off flight status. There have been suggestions (although no proof to date) that this was a suicide rather than an aircraft failure or combat loss. In 2000, a French scuba diver found the wreckage of a Lightning in the Mediterranean off the coast of Marseille, and it was confirmed in April 2004 as Saint-Exupéry's F-5B. No evidence of air combat was found. In March 2008, a former Luftwaffe pilot, Horst Rippert from Jagdgruppe 200, claimed to have shot down Saint-Exupéry.
The RAF's legendary photo-recon "ace", Wing Commander Adrian Warburton DSO DFC, was the pilot of a Lockheed P-38 borrowed from the USAAF that took off on 12 April 1944 to photograph targets in Germany. W/C Warburton failed to arrive at the rendezvous point and was never seen again. In 2003, his remains were recovered in Germany from his wrecked USAAF P-38 Lightning.
- See more photos of this, and the Wikipedia article.
Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Monocoupe 110 Special "Little Butch"
Air show pilot and aerobatic champion W. W. "Woody" Edmondson thrilled audiences with his Monocoupe 110 Special throughout the 1940s. Edmondson, who named the airplane Little Butch for its bulldog-like appearance, placed second to "Bevo" Howard and his Bücker Jungmeister in the 1946 and '47 American Aerobatic Championships, but he won the first International Aerobatic Championship in 1948.
The Monocoupe 110 Special was a clipped-wing version of the 110, part of a line that began with Don Luscombe's Mono 22 and continued with the 70, 90, and 110 models. The sport coupes of the 1930s, these fast and maneuverable aircraft were ideal for racers Phoebe Omlie and Johnny Livingston. Ken Hyde of Warrenton, Virginia, restored Little Butch prior to its donation to the Smithsonian.
Gift of John J. McCulloch
Monocoupe Airplane Co.
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Wingspan: 6.9 m (23 ft.)
Length: 6.2 m (20 ft. 4 in.)
Height: 2.1 m (6 ft. 11 in.)
Weight, empty: 449 kg (991 lbs.)
Weight, gross: 730 kg (1,611 lbs.)
Top speed: 313 km/h (195 mph)
Engine: Warner 185, 200 hp
Fuselage: steel tube with fabric cover
High-wing, 2-seat, 1940's monoplane. Warner Super Scarab 185, 200hp engine. Red with white trim. Clipped wings
Woody Edmondson, airshow pilot and aerobatic champion, thrilled airshow crowds with his Monocoupe 110 Special Little Butch throughout the late 1940s. The Monocoupe 110 Special was a special design built for racing and aerobatics from the basic Monocoupe of the 20s and 30s, the airborne sport coupe of the era.
The original Monocoupe design came from Luscombe's desire to build an enclosed two-place aircraft for business or person use, something lighter and more comfortable than open-cockpit biplanes. Luscombe was somewhat influenced by the Belgian Delmonty-Poncelet Limousine, a high-wing monoplane with a side-by-side enclosed cabin and the reverse curve rear fuselage lines that were to become one of the signature identifier features of the Monocoupes. Luscombe founded Central States Aero Company and hired Clayton Folkerts, a young self-taught designer. In 1928, the Mono 22 was the first light aircraft awarded an Aircraft Type Certificate (number 22) and in 1930 it was fitted with a Velie M-5 engine to become the Model 70. Central States Aero Company became Mono Aircraft, Inc., of Moline, Illinois, a subsidiary of the Velie Motors Company, and the Model 113 and the Model 90 followed.
The Model 110 was basically a Model 90 with a 110 hp Warner Scarab radial engine. The Model 110 Special, a clipped-wing version of the 110, grew out of racing pilot Johnny Livingston's desire to have a faster aircraft for the National Air Races. In 1931 his 110 was streamlined with fairings and wheel pants, and in 1932 Livingston asked Monocoupe to shorten the wingspan from the standard 32 feet to 20 feet, reduce the size and shape of the tail, and install a larger 145 hp Warner Scarab engine. The factory shortened the wingspan to just over 23 feet, retaining sufficient wing area to sustain safe flight during high-speed pylon turns. The changes improved the speed from 150 mph to 220 mph. Over several years, a total of ten Specials emerged, seven were built or modified by the factory, and three were modified by homebuilders.
The Monocoupe 110 Special Little Butch, N36Y, was built at the factory in Melbourne, Florida, and test flown on February 3, 1941, by then-Monocoupe president Clare Bunch (Don Luscombe had left the company in 1933). The original base color of the airplane was Monocoupe Blue with an ivory trim. W. J. Coddington bought the aircraft on March 5, 1941, but severely damaged the airplane in a landing accident and returned it to the factory for repairs and resale. Guy Gully of Farrell, Pennsylvania, bought the aircraft on November 16, 1941, but had an accident and sold it to J. D. Reed of Houston, Texas, on August 3, 1943. Reed sold it on March 16, 1944 to W.W. "Woody" Edmondson of Lynchburg, Virginia, who named it Little Butch because of its bulldog-like appearance. Edmondson initially used the airplane for transportation between airports in Virginia and North Carolina where he operated government-sponsored pilot flight training programs during the war. In 1946 he re-entered the airshow circuit and installed a Warner 185 hp Super Scarab. This engine had a pressure carburetor for inverted flying and had a Koppers Aeromatic controllable pitch propeller. He often flew two or three air shows a day all scheduled close to Lynchburg so that he could fly, in his business suit, from one to another.
One day Edmondson severely tested the structural integrity of the airplane by making a high-speed inverted pass and pulling up into a series of vertical rolls. This maneuver always subjected the aircraft to severe negative "g" loading conditions for which the airplane was not originally designed. It went into a series of uncontrollable snap rolls and ended up inverted at about 2,000 feet. Edmondson recovered control but then noticed that the right wing struts had an elbow bend of several inches in them. He reinforced the struts by nesting the next size struts within the existing size streamlined tubing.
In 1946 and 1947 at the Miami Air Manuevers, Edmondson placed second in the aerobatics competition to Bevo Howard in his Bucker Jungmeister, which is also in the NASM collection, but he won in 1948 when the first International Aerobatics Championships were held. Sponsored by Gulf Oil Corporation, he continued to use N36Y on the air-show circuit throughout the east and midwest until 1951. Edmondson sold the airplane to Johnny Foyle, an air show pilot of South Boston, Virginia, on August 22, 1960, who twice flipped the airplane over on landings. Foyle was killed in another airplane accident and John McCulloch, an Eastern Airlines captain from Naples, Florida, bought N36Y on June 18, 1965. McCulloch shipped it to Florida to be rebuilt by Monocoupe specialist C.V. Stewart and then test-flew the rebuilt airplane on March 8, 1966.
McCulloch flew Little Butch throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s from his home in Virginia to airshows all across the eastern half of the U.S, and he frequently flew at the Flying Circus summer air shows in Bealeton, Virginia. McCulloch claims that he is the only owner who never put the airplane on its back. Wishing to preserve this historic and rare airplane, he asked Ken Hyde of Warrenton, Virginia, to restore the aircraft to Edmondson's red and white paint scheme. The airplane flew again in October 1974 and it was then lent to the Shannon Air Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia. McCulloch donated Little Butch to NASM on December 29, 1981.
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Quoting from Wikipedia | Monocoupe 110 Special
The Monocoupe 110 Special was a United States sporting and racing aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s.
The Monocoupe 110 was developed from the Monocoupe 90 using the higher-powered 110 h.p. Warner Scarab radial engine housed in a cowling with bulges to accommodate the larger power unit.
The Monocoupe 110 Special variant of 1931 was built to meet the needs of racing pilots. The wingspan was shortened from the standard 32 ft to 23 ft, a 125 h.p. Warner Scarab was installed and fairings and wheel spats added. Maximum speed increased from 150 mph to 220 mph. Seven of the Specials were built by Monocoupe and three further aircraft were modified to a similar standard by homebuilders.
The last Model 110 Special to be completed in 1941 was N36Y "Little Butch", which re-entered the airshow circuit in 1946, powered by a 185 h.p. Warner Super Scarab engine. The aircraft flew displays until 1981 and was then donated to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | De Havilland-Canada DHC-1A Chipmunk, Pennzoil Special
De Havilland originally designed the Chipmunk after World War II as a primary trainer to replace the venerable Tiger Moth. Among the tens of thousands of pilots who trained in or flew the Chipmunk for pleasure was veteran aerobatic and movie pilot Art Scholl. He flew his Pennzoil Special at air shows throughout the 1970s and early '80s, thrilling audiences with his skill and showmanship and proving that the design was a top-notch aerobatic aircraft.
Art Scholl purchased the DHC-1A in 1968. He modified it to a single-seat airplane with a shorter wingspan and larger vertical fin and rudder, and made other changes to improve its performance. Scholl was a three-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team, an air racer, and a movie and television stunt pilot. At air shows, he often flew with his dog Aileron on his shoulder or taxied with him standing on the wing.
Gift of the Estate of Arthur E. Scholl
De Havilland Canada Ltd.
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Wingspan: 9.4 m (31 ft)
Length: 7.9 m (26 ft)
Height: 2.1 m (7 ft 1 in)
Weight, empty: 717 kg (1,583 lb)
Weight, gross: 906 kg (2,000 lb)
Top speed: 265 km/h (165 mph)
Engine: Lycoming GO-435, 260 hp
Overall: Aluminum Monocoque
Single-engine monoplane. Lycoming GO-435, 260 hp engine.
The de Havilland Chipmunk was originally designed as a post World War II primary trainer, a replacement for the venerable de Havilland Tiger Moth training biplane used by the air forces of the British Commonwealth throughout World War II. Among the tens of thousands of pilots who trained in or flew the Chipmunk for pleasure was veteran aerobatic and movie pilot Art Scholl. He flew his Pennzoil Special at airshows around the country throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, thrilling audiences with skill and showmanship, and proving that the design itself was a top-notch aerobatic aircraft.
The Chipmunk was designed, initially built and flown by de Havilland Canada subsidiary, hence the very Canadian "woods country" sounding name of Chipmunk that complemented their other aircraft the Beaver, Otter, and Caribou. The prototype first flew on May 22, 1946 in Toronto. DeHavilland of Canada produced 158 Chipmunks and de Havilland in England produced 740 airplanes for training at various Royal Air Force and University Air Squadrons during the late 1940s and into the 1950s. In 1952, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh took his initial flight training in a Chipmunk. It was also used in other roles, such as light communications flights in Germany and for internal security duties on the island of Cyprus.
The Chipmunk was an all-metal, low wing, tandem two-place, single engine airplane with a conventional tail wheel landing gear. It had fabric-covered control surfaces and a clear plastic canopy covering the pilot and passenger/student positions. The production versions of the airplane were powered by a 145 hp in-line de Havilland Gipsy Major "8" engine.
Art Scholl purchased two Canadian-built Chipmunks from the surplus market after they became available in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He purchased the two-place DHC-1A, N114V, first and it now resides in the Experimental Aircraft Association's museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 1968, Scholl bought another DHC-1A and began extensive modifications that resulted in almost a completely new aircraft. He covered over one cockpit to reconfigure the aircraft into a single-place aircraft and installed a (fuel injected) 260 hp Lycoming GO-435 flat-opposed 6-cylinder engine. He removed 20 inches from each wingtip and changed the airfoil section of the tip area. The reduction in span led to the need to lengthen the ailerons inboard to retain control effectiveness. This in turn reduced the flaps to where they became somewhat ineffective, and, since the flaps really were not required for the normal show and aerobatic routines, he removed them as a weight saving measure. These modifications improved the low speed tip stall characteristics and improved roll performance during aerobatic maneuvers.
The vertical fin and rudder acquired a 25% increase in area and an increased rudder throw to manage the effects of increased engine torque and for better directional control during slow-speed aerobatic routines. The standard fixed landing gear was replaced with a retractable gear from a Bellanca airplane. The landing gear was subsequently damaged during a belly landing and resulted in a permanent wheel toe-in that was never repaired. This caused a tire drag during takeoffs and landings that led to the need for tire replacement after about 10 takeoffs and landings. Other idiosyncrasies were the pitot static tube being fashioned from a golf club shaft and a 3-inch extension added to the cockpit control stick to ease the control loads during the more severe aerobatic routines. Scholl also installed rear-view mirrors on both sides of the cowling just forward of the windscreen. He placed an RAF placard on the instrument panel as a memorial to some Vulcan bomber crew members who were his personal friends. He installed three smoke generators with red, white, and blue smoke for his show routines that included the Lomcevak tumbling/tailslide maneuver.
Scholl designed most of these modifications himself, drawing upon his Ph.D. and his 18 years as a university professor in aeronautics. He held all pilot ratings, and was a licensed aircraft and powerplant (A&P) mechanic and an authorized FAA Inspector. He was also a three-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team, an air racer (placing several times at the National Air Races at Reno), an airshow pilot, and a fixed base operator with a school of international aerobatics. In 1959, Scholl began working for legendary Hollywood pilots Frank Tallman and Paul Mantz at Tallmantz Aviation and then later formed his own movie production company, producing and performing aerial photography and stunts for many movies and television shows. At airshows, Scholl often flew with his dog Aileron, who rode the wing as Scholl taxied on the runway or sat on his shoulder in the aircraft.
Art Scholl was killed in 1985 while filming in a Pitts Special for the movie Top Gun. Art Scholl's estate donated the Pennzoil Special, N13Y, serial number 23, and his staff delivered it to the Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland on August 18, 1987. It is currently on display at the Museum's Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
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Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Loudenslager Laser 200:
With the Laser 200, Leo Loudenslager won an unprecedented seven U.S. National Aerobatic Championship titles between 1975 and '82, as well as the 1980 World Champion title. The airplane originated as a Stephens Akro, a sleed aeroback design, but by 1975 Loudenslager had completely modified the airplane with a new forward fuselage, wings, tail, and cockpit. The Laser 200 emerged as a lighter, stronger, and more powerful aircraft, enabling Loudenslager to perform sharper and more difficult maneuvers.
Loudenslager's legacy is evident in the tumbling and twisting but precise routines flown by current champions and airshow pilots. The Laser 200 heavily influenced the look and performance of the next generation of aerobatic aircraft, including the Extra, which dominated competition throughout the 1990s.
Gift of Carolyn and Kelly Loudenslager
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Wingspan: 8 m (26 ft 2 in)
Length: 5.5 m (18 ft 8 in)
Height: 1.6 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight, empty: 400 kg (885lb)
Top speed: 370km/h (230 mph)
Engine: Lycoming IO-360-A1A, 200 hp
Fuselage: steel tube with Ceconite cover aft
Wings: one piece, wooden spars
N-10LL. Mid-wing aerobatic monoplane, red with white shooting stars. Built and flown by aerobatic champion and airshow pilot Leo Loudenslager.
Engine: Lycoming IO-360-AIA, 200 hp
MT propeller, MTV-2B-C/193-02. Serial number 88 069
Leo Loudenslager built the Laser 200 for competition aerobatics and the goal of winning a world aerobatic title. Ultimately, Loudenslager and his Laser were so successful that he won an unprecedented seven U.S. National Aerobatic Champion titles, a record that still stands, and the 1980 World Champion title. Loudenslager's legacy is evident in the design characteristics and performance of current aerobatic aircraft, powerful and agile monoplanes, and in the tumbling and twisting but precise routines flown by current champions and airshow pilots.
Loudenslager learned to fly in 1962 when he was a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force and his flying skills immediately impressed his instructors. He became a certified flight instructor and co-operated a fixed base operation at Vacaville Aiport in California before joining American Airlines as a pilot. When Leo attended the 1964 Reno Air Races, he was so impressed by the flights of legends Duane Cole in his clipped-wing Taylorcraft and Bob Hoover in his North American P-51 Mustang that he decided to become an aerobatic competitor.
In the late 1960s, Loudenslager decided to build an aerobatic airplane but decided against one like the popular, though not yet dominant Pitts Special, the deHavilland Chipmunk, or the Czech Zlin. Instead he ordered plans for a sleek new design by Clayton Stephens, the Stephens Akro. The Akro was a midwing monoplane inspired by European aerobatic aircraft. Stephens and George Ritchie designed the aircraft for Ritchie's wife Margaret, an aerobatic competitor, and Ed Allenbaugh refined and engineered the design. Loudenslager bought plans and began work on the fuselage and tail while Stephens built the wings. Margaret Ritchie was killed in her Akro, but the cause was determined not to be design-related so Loudenslager continued his work.
His Akro first flew in April 1971, but he continued to modify the aircraft, still searching for perfection, in the forms of better rates of climb and roll and overall strength of the airplane. He remodeled it continuously and, in 1975, finally ended by cutting the aircraft in half and building an entirely new aircraft from the cockpit forward. Changes included modified airfoil and wing, and several forward fuselages, tails, instrument panels, propellers, spinners, and turtledecks. Only about 10 percent of the original Stephens Akro remained, specifically the tail-cone behind the pilot running to the tail section. The aircraft's data plate still labels the aircraft as a Stephens Akro, but this was because, as a matter of expediency, Loudenslager never requested a new one bearing the Laser designation. Only six months passed from the time when he embarked on the major rebuild until the 1975 national championship, and he did not have time for paperwork. He also wanted to keep the registration number N10LL.
When the Laser 200, resplendent in blue and yellow, emerged, it was lighter, stronger, and more powerful, with a 200 hp engine. These modifications allowed Loudenslager to perform more difficult and sharper maneuvers with seemingly endless rolls throughout the sequence. Loudenslager and the Laser could fly at more than 230 mph and endure gravity forces up to 9 Gs. Mattituck Engines modified the Lycoming engine to achieve maximum performance under these stressful conditions. The aircraft is made of steel tubes with fabric-covered fuselage and tail section. The single-piece wing consists of a spruce spar reinforced with birch plywood caps on bottom and top, to prevent the cracking of the spar near the wing root, as happened in the Akro. The plywood and spruce ribs are covered in 1/8th inch mahogany skin.
In 1971, Loudenlagser competed in his first contest at the second level of competition and then immediately proceeded to the highest level, unlimited. He flew at the U.S. nationals and amazingly came in eighth in the men's division. He won his first U.S. National Championship title in 1975 and repeated in '76, '77, and '78, and then again in '80, '81, and '82. Aerobatic champion and judge Clint McHenry once said he had only seen two perfect aerobatic routines, and both were flown by Loudenslager. Loudenslager retired from competition flight in 1983 but continued to fly at airshows around the country until his death (not flight related) in 1997. In 1983, the Laser was painted in the brilliant red Bud Light scheme to reflect its sponsorship.
The Laser 200 heavily influenced the next generation of aerobatic aircraft, including the Extra, which dominated competition throughout the 1990s. Monoplanes have less drag, full-length ailerons for crisp maneuvers, and, for the judges, better presentation in the sky than biplanes. The monoplane design offers a stronger frame so that more powerful engines can be attached to provide power for high power but precise maneuvers.
N10LL is one of about five or six Laser aircraft, and others, with significant modifications, have been built from Laser plans. Carolyn and Kelly Loudenslager donated the Laser 200 to NASM and it arrived at the Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland, on October 1, 1999. It is currently on display at the Museum's Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Photomontage of Overview of the south hangar, including B-29 "Enola Gay" and Concorde
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