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Thursday
Mar112010

The Battleship North Carolina's Kingfisher is a One of a Kind Aircraft Rarity

By S. Mark Rhodes

The handsome grandson of the author, Jackson Perkins surveys the deck of the Battleship North Carolina. (Papa Rhodes)In the early 1960’s, the people of North Carolina raised $330,000 (much of it from lunch money from NC school children) to buy the decommissioned USS Battleship North Carolina. The result?  The birth of one of North Carolina’s most striking and iconic attractions and a great artifact of US military history.  One memorable day in 1961, it chugged up the Cape Fear River and tucked into a conspicuous area across the way from downtown Wilmington, North Carolina where it’s mass and gravity dominates the landscape of this port city. 

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Thursday
Mar112010

Michael Goulian

A One of Kind Airshow Performer

By Pete Trabucco   

Michael Goulian and author Pete TrabuccoIf you are like me, you love to go to airshows.  To be able to see the best demonstration pilots from all over the nation (and sometimes from around the world) is truly a thrill for all to see.  These pilots perform their magic at local shows and do things with an airplane that most of us would believe is impossible.  Whether it is seeing those daring young men (and women) at Sun N’ Fun or Oshkosh, one can argue that there is no finer way or cheaper way (try taking your kids to a ball game these days) to seize the day and enjoy some of the greatest shows on earth!  What these performers do on a daily basis does indeed defy the laws of physics as well as the imagination.

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Thursday
Mar112010

Book Review

Douglas: Light Aero Engines from Kingswood to Cathcart by Brian Thorby

Review By Jean-Pierre Harrison

Douglas: Light Aero Engines from Kingswood to Cathcart is a significant contribution to the aeronautical historical record, and as can be readily deduced when reading the book, is the product of extensive and dedicated effort. Author Brian Thorby sets forth the heretofore largely unknown aeronautical activities of motorcycle manufacturer Douglas Motors, Ltd., of Kingswood, near Bristol, England, and in particular, two of its staff, Cyril G. Pullin and George E. Walker, who went on to make pioneering contributions in rotary-wing aircraft development.

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Sunday
Feb212010

High Desert SAR: The Longhorns of NAS Fallon

By Jim Dunn       

Based at Fallon Naval Air Station, NV the men and women of the Longhorns Search and Rescue flight carry the responsibility for rescue support operations at the Naval base and surrounding range area where Navy Carrier Air Wings complete their final training before deploying aboard aircraft carriers. In addition to their military SAR role, they alson remain on-call 24 hours a day for high altitude technical rescue throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains and Western Nevada in cooperation with civilian authorities. (Richard VanderMeulen)Their territory is vast with extremes in both terrain and conditions. From the high snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to the barren Salt Flats of Utah, a dedicated team of rescue experts are on call to assist those in distress. It may be an airman who has just ejected from a military jet, or a young hiker injured in a fall, the Longhorn Search and Rescue (SAR) Team of NAS Fallon, Nevada will be there to answer the call “24/7”.   

The location of NAS Fallon in the high desert of western Nevada is both a blessing and a curse to those that train there. On the one hand it provides the good flying weather and wide open spaces needed to allow an air wing to train for combat, while at the same time it can present a formidable adversary to any aircrew who are forced down in its surroundings.

In the late 1960s while Navy aircrew trained on the ranges of Naval Auxiliary Air Station Fallon prior to their deployments off of the coast of Vietnam, a study was conducted that showed that a pilot had a lower rate of survival after ejecting over the mountains of the Sierra Nevada than that same pilot would have if he had ejected over Southeast Asia. While combat search and rescue (CSAR) was of growing importance in the war zone, back home it often came down to whatever was available at the time.

This situation would change significantly at the now upgraded NAS Fallon in 1972 with the establishment of a full time SAR capability. The Desert Angels Search and Rescue Team was stood up at this time with a primary mission to provide SAR service to the military in the vast Fallon Range Training Complex; the USMC operated Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California; and the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. 

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Sunday
Feb212010

Bomber Boys Author Offers Eyewitness Accounts From B-17s

Author Travis L. Ayeres talks about the great, unknown missions and deeds of The Bomber Boys.

Author Travis L. Ayeres wrote The Bomber Boys: Heros Who Flew the B-17s in World War II. He speaks with In Flight USA’s book reviewer S. Mark Rhodes about his journey and adventures while working on the book.By S. Mark Rhodes

Author Travis L. Ayres has assembled a set of unsung eyewitness accounts of warfare and solidarity aboard the B-17 Bombers that flew inestimable raids against the enemy, as told by the extraordinary men who lived and waged war in the air and survived.  The result of this is the The Bomber Boys: Heroes Who Flew the B-17s in World War II (NAL).  Mr. Ayres was nice enough to speak to In Flight’s book critic about this work and his experiences putting together these unique narratives. 

IF USA: Did any of your interviewees have trouble remembering these experiences or attempt to record them for their families or friends previous?

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