Boeing B-47 Stratojet

The Boeing B-47 Stratojet long range, six-engine, turbojet-powered strategic bomber made its Maiden flight 17 December 1946. It was designed to fly at high subsonic speed and at high altitude to avoid enemy interceptor aircraft. The B-47’s primary mission was to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. The B-47 entered service with the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC) in 1951. It never saw combat as a bomber, but was a mainstay of SAC’s bomber strength during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and remained in use as a bomber until 1965. It was also adapted to a number of other missions, including photographic reconnaissance, electronic intelligence and weather reconnaissance. The B-47 arose from a requirement for a jet-powered reconnaissance bomber, drawn up by the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF). Boeing was among several companies who responded its initial design, the Model 424, was basically a scaled-down version of the piston-engined B-29 Superfortress equipped with four jet engines.

In 1944 this initial concept evolved into a new bomber with a maximum speed of 550 mph (890 km/h), a cruise speed of 450 mph (720 km/h), a range of 3,500 mi (5,600 km) and a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,700 m). Wind tunnel testing had shown that the drag from the engine installation of the Model 424 was too high, so Boeing’s entry was a revised design, the Model 432, with the four engines buried in the forward fuselage. The USAAF awarded contracts to four companies – North American and Convair concentrate on four-engined designs (to become B-45 and XB-46), while Boeing and Martin built six-engined aircraft (the B-47 and XB-48) powered by General Electric’s new TG-180 turbojet engine.

In May 1945, the von Kármán mission of the Army Air Forces inspected the secret German aeronautics laboratory near Braunschweig. The chief of the technical staff at Boeing, George S. Schairer had heard about the swept-wing theory of R. T. Jones at Langley, and after seeing models of swept-wing aircraft and extensive supersonic wind-tunnel data generated by the Germans, changed the design of the B-47 wing.Analysis work by Boeing engineer Vic Ganzer suggested an optimum sweepback angle of about 35 degrees. So Boeing’s aeronautical engineers modified their Model 432 to create the “Model 448”, which was presented to the USAAF in September 1945. The Model 448 retained its four TG-180 jet engines in its forward fuselage, with two more TG-180s in the rear fuselage. However the engines were moved out to streamlined pods (pylon mounted) under the wings, leading to the next iteration, the Model 450, which featured two TG-180s in a twin pod mounted on a pylon on each wing, plus another engine at each wingtip. Boeing’s team of engineers continued to refine it, with the outer engines being moved further inboard. In 1946 The USAAF ordered two prototypes, designated “XB-47”.

The first XB-47 was rolled out on 12 September 1947, and The XB-47 prototype flew its first flight on 17 December 1947 (the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first four flights on 17 December 1903), with the test pilots Robert Robbins and Scott Osler Flying from Boeing Field in Seattle to the Moses Lake Airfield in central Washington state.In 1949, Russ Schleeh and Joe Howell “broke all coast-to-coast speed records” flying from Moses Lake Air Force Base to Andrews Air Force Base averaging 607.8 miles per hour. During early tests of the XB-47 prototype, the canopy came off at high speed, killing pilot Scott Osler resulting in a canopy redesign. The second XB-47 (46-066) prototype flew on 21 July 1948 Serving as a flying test bed until retiring in 1954. This had more powerful General Electric J47-GE-3 turbojets with 5,200 lbf (23 kN) of static thrust each. Chuck Yeager also flew a test of the XB-47.

Both XB-47 prototypes were test flown at Edwards AFB, however the number one XB-47 (46-065) was disassembled and eventually scrapped by the Air Force in 1954, thus making the number two prototype (46-066) the sole surviving XB-47. Upon retirement, XB-47 (46-066) was restored and placed on display at the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul, Illinois until it closed in 2015. Whereupon the Flight Test Historical Foundation began fundraising efforts to purchase XB-47 (46-066) for relocation to the Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB. The purchase was completed in August 2016 and on September 21st, 2016 the aircraft arrived at Edwards AFB for reassembly, restoration and eventual and it is currently on display at the Flight Test Museum.

In 1948 USAF decided to put the North American bomber into production on a limited basis as the B-45 Tornado. the Boeing XB-47 and the Martin XB-48, proved superior and A formal contract for 10 aircraft was signed on 3 September 1948. The USAF Strategic Air Command operated B-47 Stratojets (B-47s, EB-47s, RB-47s and YRB-47s) from 1951 through 1965. The B-47 had a three man crew – the aircraft commander, copilot, and a navigator/bombardier or a crew chief

Unfortunately the B-47 initially had a few problems The aircraft was sluggish on takeoff and too fast on landings, a very unpleasant combination. If the pilot landed at the wrong angle, the B-47 would “porpoise”, bouncing fore-and-aft. If the pilot did not lift off for another go-around, instability would quickly cause the bomber to skid onto one wing and cartwheel. However by 1953 it was redesigned and performance was closer to that of jet fighters of the period and it was so fast and agile the aircraft set records with ease. Improved training led to a good safety record.The B-47’s reliability and serviceability were regarded as good although avionics reliability remained problematic throughout the B-47’s operational life.

From 1950, several models of the B-47 included a fuel tank inerting system in which
carbon dioxide vapor was used while fuel pumps operated or during in flight refueling to reduce the amount of Oxygen and minimize the risk of an explosion caused by static electricity discharge. An XB-47 was flown in the 1951 Operation Greenhouse nuclear weapons testing. This was followed by a B-47B being flown in the 1954 Operation Ivy and the 1955 Operation Castle. A B-47E was then flown in the 1956 Operation Redwing. Three B-47s flew cross country from March Air Force Base to the Philadelphia International Airport as participants in the 1955 Labor Day race. In the 1956 event, three B-47s participated in the G.E. Trophy race for Jet Bombers, flying from Kindley Field, Bermuda, to Oklahoma City. One of these set a course speed record of 601.187 MPH. By 1956, the U.S. Air Force had 28 wings of B-47 bombers and five wings of RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft. The bombers were the first line of America’s strategic nuclear deterrent, often operating from forward bases in the UK, Morocco, Spain, Alaska, Greenland and Guam. B-47s were often set up on “one-third” alert, with a third of the operational aircraft available sitting on hardstands or an alert ramp adjacent to the runway, loaded with fuel and nuclear weapons, crews on standby, ready to attack the USSR at short notice. Crews were also trained to perform “Minimum Interval Take Offs (MITO)”, with one bomber following the other into the air at intervals of as little as 15 seconds, to launch all bombers as fast as possible.

In 1959 the B-52 began to assume nuclear alert duties and the number of B-47 bomber wings was reduced. B-47 production ceased in 1957, though modifications and rebuilds continued after that.

Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain/ Dakota

DakotaThe Douglas DC-3 made its maiden flight on 17 December 1935. The Douglas DC-3 is a fixed-wing propeller-driven airliner. With a cruise speed of207 mph or 333 km/h and range (1,500 mi or 2,400 km, which revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting effect on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. The DC-3 was a twin-engine metal monoplane, developed as a larger, improved 14-bed sleeper version of the Douglas DC-2. It had many exceptional qualities compared to previous aircraft. It was fast, had a good range and could operate from short runways. Its construction was all-metal. It was reliable, easy to maintain and carried passengers in greater comfort. Before the war it pioneered many air travel routes. It was able to cross the continental United States, making transcontinental flights and worldwide flights possible, and is considered the first airliner that could make money by carrying passengers alone.

Civil DC-3 production ended in 1942 with 607 aircraft being produced. However, together with its military derivative, the C-47 Skytrain (designated the Dakota in RAF Service), and with Russian- and Japanese-built versions, over 16,000 were built. Following the Second World War, the airliner market was flooded with surplus C-47s and other transport aircraft. Sadly attempts to produce an upgraded super DC-3 were a failure and the DC-3 was soon made redundant on main routes by more advanced types such as the Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation, however the design continued to prove exceptionally adaptable and useful and Large numbers continue to see service in a wide variety of niche roles well into the 21st century.

Approximately 400 DC-3s and converted C-47s are still flying to this day many examples being over 70 years old and There are small operators with DC-3s in daily use as revenue service and as cargo aircraft. The aircraft’s legendary ruggedness has been described as “a collection of parts flying in loose formation.” Its ability to use grass or dirt runways makes it popular in developing countries, where runways are not always paved. Current uses of the DC-3 include aerial spraying, freight transport, passenger service, military transport, missionary flying, skydiver shuttling and sightseeing. The oldest surviving DST is N133D, the sixth Douglas Sleeper Transport built in 1936. This aircraft was delivered to American Airlines on July 12, 1936 as NC16005. The aircraft is at Shell Creek Airport (F13), Punta Gorda, Florida. The oldest DC-3 still flying is the original American Airlines Flagship Detroit (c/n 1920, #34 off the Santa Monica production line).

The Wright Brothers

On December 17 1903 The Wright Brothers – Orville and Wilbur, made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight & noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and manoeuvre. They used this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing and they designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test this theory. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance. Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville designed a series of gliders flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider & selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location. They successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights, which became the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers refined the controls and landing gear, and built a bigger glider. In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. Unfortunately the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control.

the Wrights Then built a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift And This helped them get a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and they could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it. So during 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer. The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.

Mike Mills (REM)

imageMichael Edward “Mike” Mills the founding member of the alternative rock group R.E.M. was born December 17, 1958 in Orange County, California. Though known primarily as a bass guitarist, backing vocalist, and pianist, his musical repertoire also includes keyboards, guitar, and percussion instruments, and has contributed to many of the band’s musical compositions.As a young boy, Mills attended Northeast High School in Macon, Georgia. Mills’ father Frank was a singer whose appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show, while his mother Adora was a piano teacher, which helped him develop a love of music at an early age. He met and formed a band with drummer friend Bill Berry in high school. later, While attending the University of Georgia they also met Peter Buck and Michael Stipe and the four of them decided to form a band together. Mills, Berry, Buck, and Stipe then decided to drop out of college and focus on their band, now named R.E.M. The band quickly developed a following and were soon signed to I.R.S. Records.

LRP-REMMills is credited with being the chief composer behind many of R.E.M.’s songs, including “Nightswimming”, “Find the River”, “At My Most Beautiful”, “Why Not Smile”, “Let Me In”, “Wendell Gee”, “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”, “Beat a Drum”, “Be Mine” and “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”. In particular, R.E.M.’s 2004 album Around the Sun was heavily shaped by Mills’ piano and keyboard contributions. Mills is also responsible for the prominent backing vocal and harmony parts found within the band’s back catalogue, with his vocal contributions arguably being most noticeable on 1986′s Lifes Rich Pageant and 2008′s Accelerate. In addition to providing backing melodies, he has also sung lead vocals on the songs “Texarkana”, “Near Wild Heaven”, The Clique cover “Superman” and The Troggs cover “Love is All Around”. Mills also recorded a brief piano part for the song “Soma” from The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1993 album Siamese Dream, which was recorded in Georgia

imageHe also Provided backing Vocals for I992′s Automatic For The People, A more sombre, reflective album that features string arrangements by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. This album was also to yeild some wonderful songs like “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” and “Everybody Hurts”. The band’s next two albums Monster and New Adventures In Hi-Fi were largely recorded live – some tracks taken from soundchecks taken during the massive stadium tour, and featured some new classics, such as Let Me In, a tribute to the recently deceased Kurt Cobain. Mills is also known for his collection of Nudie suits, which he often wears on stage, these are named after a Russian-born American tailor named Nudie Cohn who designed decorative rhinestone-covered suits, known popularly as “Nudie Suits”, and other elaborate outfits for some of the most famous celebrities of his era. Mills was first seen wearing one of these suits in the 1994 video for “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” and then throughout the band’s subsequent 1995 tour.

Unfortunately drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm to and quit the band in 1997, and things never quite returned to the giddy heights of “Out of Time” and Moments of brilliance, such as The Great Beyond or Imitation Of Life, became less frequently. Leading some band members to pursue side-projects, Stipe increasingly pusued his film work,while Peter Buck concentrated more on his country supergroup Tired Pony. Despite this REM continued to be unbeatable live performers to the end and their final album, Collapse Into Now, was hailed, like many of its predecessors, as a return to form. Certainly, the band sounded rejuvenated and a lot more energetic than on some of the previous work. They also re-released an earlier album ”Lifes Rich Pageant” and in 2011 they released a definitive greatest hits Double CD album, entitled: “R.E.M., PART LIES, PART HEART, PART TRUTH, PART GARBAGE, 1982 – 2011. ″ which contained tracks from the band’s entire back catalogue, including tracks from both the IRS and Warner years plus three brand-new songs, as a final farewell.

Ford Maddox Ford

English novelist, poet, critic and editor Ford Madox Ford was born 17 December 1873. He used the name of Ford Madox Hueffer and in 1919 changed it to Ford Madox Ford (allegedly, in the aftermath of World War I because “Hueffer” sounded too German and to honour his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written. In 1894 he married his school girlfriend Elsie Martindale and together they had two daughters Christina (born 1897) and Katharine (born 1900).

Between 1918 and 1927 he lived with Stella Bowen, an Australian artist twenty years his junior. In 1920 they had a daughter, Julia Madox Ford One of his most famous works is The Good Soldier (1915), a novel set just before World War I which chronicles the tragic lives of two “perfect couples” using intricate flashbacks. In the “Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford”, his wife, that prefaces the novel, Ford reports that a friend pronounced The Good Soldier “the finest French novel in the English language!” Ford pronounced himself a “Tory mad about historic continuity” and believed the novelist’s function was to serve as the historian of his own time.

Ford was involved in British war propaganda after the beginning of World War I. He worked for the War Propaganda Bureau, managed by C. F. G. Masterman, with other writers and scholars who were popular during that time, such as Arnold Bennett, G. K. Chesterton, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Murray. Ford wrote two propaganda books for Masterman – When Blood is Their Argument: An Analysis of Prussian Culture (1915), with the help of Richard Aldington, and Between St Dennis and St George: A Sketch of Three Civilizations (1915). After writing the two propaganda books, Ford enlisted into the Welch Regiment in 1915 and was sent to France, His combat experiences and his previous propaganda activities inspired his tetralogy Parade’s End (1924–1928), set in England and on the Western Front before, during and after World War I.

Ford also wrote dozens of novels as well as essays, poetry, memoirs and literary criticism, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on three novels, The Inheritors (1901), Romance (1903) and The Nature of a Crime (1924). In the three to five years after this collaboration, Ford’s best known achievement was The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906–1908), historical novels based on the life of Katharine Howard, which Conrad termed, at the time, “the swan song of historical romance.”His poem, Antwerp (1915), was praised by T.S. Eliot as “the only good poem I have met with on the subject of the war”. Ford’s novel Ladies Whose Bright Eyes is, in a sense, the reverse of Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. In 1908, he founded The English Review, in which he published works by Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, May Sinclair, John Galsworthy, William Butler Yeats, Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas. In 1924, he founded The Transatlantic Review, a journal with great influence on modern literature. Staying with the artistic community in the Latin Quarter of Paris, he befriended James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Jean Rhys, all of whom he would publish (Ford is the model for the character Braddocks in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises). Ford says, “I helped Joseph Conrad, I helped Hemingway. I helped a dozen, a score of writers, and many of them have beaten me. I’m now an old man and I’ll die without making a name like Hemingway.” Hemingway devoted a chapter of his Parisian memoir A Moveable Feast to an encounter with Ford at a café in Paris during the early 1920s.

During a trip to the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Lowell. Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation. In 1929, he published The English Novel: From the Earliest Days to the Death of Joseph Conrad, a brisk and accessible overview of the history of English novels. He had an affair with Jean Rhys, which ended acrimoniously? Ford spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College in Michigan, and died in Deauville, France, 26 June 1939 at the age of 65. His journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now remembered best for his publications The Good Soldier (1915), the Parade’s End tetralogy (1924–28) and The Fifth Queentrilogy (1906–08). The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer’s “100 Greatest Novels of All Time”, and The Guardian’s “1000 novels everyone must read”.

Saturnalia

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival which took place annually on 17 December of the Julian Calender, in honor of the deity Saturn  and was later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.

Saturnalia was also a Roman holiday and The Latin writer Macrobius, mentions that Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25. The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, some of its customs may have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.

The statue of Saturn normally had its feet bound in wool, which was removed for the holiday as an act of liberation. The official rituals were carried out according to “Greek rite” (ritus graecus). The sacrifice was officiated by a priest Whose head was uncovered; in Roman rite, priests sacrificed capite velato, with head covered by a special fold of the toga. Following the sacrifice the Roman Senate arranged a lectisternium, a ritual of Greek origin that typically involved placing a deity’s image on a sumptuous couch, as if he were present and actively participating in the festivities. A public banquet followed (convivium publicum). The day was supposed to be a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and exercise regimens were suspended. Courts were not in session, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made. After the public rituals, observances continued at home On December 18 and 19, which were also holidays from public business, families conducted domestic rituals. They bathed early, and those with means also sacrificed a suckling pig, a traditional offering.