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.

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The Wright Brothers first flight

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 Wright brothers 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.

International Civil Aviation Day

International Civil Aviation Day is celebrated annually on 7 December. The day has been celebrated by the International Civil Aviation Organization since 7 December 1994, the 50th anniversary of the signing the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The purpose of the day is to recognize the importance of aviation, especially international air travel, to the social and economic development of the world.

Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial. Most of the countries in the world are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and work together to establish common standards and recommended practices for civil aviation through that agency Civil aviation includes two major categories:

Scheduled air transport, including all passenger and cargo flights operating on regularly scheduled routes; and General aviation (GA), including all other civil flights, private or commercial Although scheduled air transport is the larger operation in terms of passenger numbers, GA is larger in the number of flights (and flight hours, in the U.S. In the U.S., GA carries 166 million passengers each year, more than any individual airline, though less than all the airlines combined. Since 2004, the US Airlines combined have carried over 600 million passengers each year, and in 2014, they carried a combined 662,819,232 passengers.

Some countries also make a regulatory distinction based on whether aircraft are flown for hire such as Commercial aviation and flying done for hire, particularly scheduled service on airlines; and Private aviation includes pilots flying for their own purposes (recreation, business meetings, etc.) without receiving any kind of remuneration. All scheduled air transport is commercial, but general aviation can be either commercial or private. Normally, the pilot, aircraft, and operator must all be authorized to perform commercial operations through separate commercial licensing, registration, and operation certificates.

Following World War Ⅱ, commercial aviation grew rapidly, using mostly ex-military aircraft to transport people and cargo. This growth was accelerated by the glut of heavy and super-heavy bomber airframes like the B-29 and Lancaster that could be converted into commercial aircraft. The DC-3 were also made for easier and longer commercial flights. The first commercial jet airliner to fly was the British de Havilland Comet. By 1952, the British state airline BOAC had introduced the Comet into scheduled service. While a technical achievement, the plane suffered a series of highly public failures, as the shape of the windows led to cracks due to metal fatigue. The fatigue was caused by cycles of pressurization and depressurization of the cabin, and eventually led to catastrophic failure of the plane’s fuselage. By the time the problems were overcome, other jet airliner designs had already taken to the skies.

De Havilland Mosquito/ B-26 Marauder

De Havilland Mosquito

The maiden flight of the de Havilland Mosquito took place 25 November 1940.The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft with a two-man crew that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. The Mosquito was one of the few operational front-line aircraft of the World War II era to be constructed almost entirely of wood and, as such, was nicknamed “The Wooden Wonder” and was known affectionately as the “Mossie” to its crews. Originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber, the Mosquito was adapted to many other roles during the air war, including low- to medium-altitude daytime tactical bomber, high-altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter,fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike aircraft, and fast photo-reconnaissance aircraft. It was also used by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) as a transport.When the Mosquito entered production in 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world. Entering widespread service in 1942, the Mosquito first operated as a high-speed, high-altitude photo-reconnaissance aircraft, and continued to operate in this role throughout the war.

From mid-1942 to mid-1943 Mosquito bombers were used in high-speed, medium- or low-altitude missions, attacking factories, railways and other pinpoint targets within Germany and German-occupied Europe. From late 1943, Mosquito bomber units were formed into the Light Night Strike Force and used as pathfinders for RAF Bomber Command’s heavy-bomber raids. They were also used as “nuisance” bombers, often dropping 4,000 lb (1,812 kg) “cookies”, in high-altitude, high-speed raids that German night fighters were almost powerless to intercept.As a night fighter, from mid-1942, the Mosquito was used to interceptLuftwaffe raids on the United Kingdom, most notably defeating the German aerial offensive, Operation Steinbock, in 1944. Offensively, starting in July 1942, some Mosquito night-fighter units conducted intruder raids overLuftwaffe airfields and, as part of 100 Group, the Mosquito was used as a night fighter and intruder in support of RAF Bomber Command’s heavy bombers, and played an important role in reducing bomber losses during 1944 and 1945.

As a fighter-bomber in the Second Tactical Air Force, the Mosquito took part in “special raids”, such as the attack on Amiens Prison in early 1944, and in other precision attacks against Gestapo or German intelligence and security forces. Second Tactical Air Force Mosquitos also played an important role operating in tactical support of the British Army during the 1944 Normandy Campaign. From 1943 Mosquitos were used by RAF Coastal Command strike squadrons, attacking Kriegsmarine U-boats(particularly in the 1943 Bay of Biscay offensive, where significant numbers of U-boats were sunk or damaged) and intercepting transport ship concentrations.The Mosquito saw service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other air forces in the European theatre, and the Mediterraneanand Italian theatres. The Mosquito was also used by the RAF in the South East Asian theatre, and by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) based in the Halmaheras and Borneo during the Pacific War.

The Martin B-26 Marauder Also made it’s maiden flight 25 November 1940. This twin-engined medium bomber was built by the Glenn L. Martin Company and was First used in the Pacific Theater in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theater and inWestern Europe. After entering service with the U.S. Army, the aircraft received the reputation of a “Widowmaker” due to the early models’ high rate of accidents during takeoff and landings. The Marauder had to be flown at exact airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach and when one engine was out. The 150 mph (241 km/h) speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to pilots who were used to much slower speeds, and whenever they slowed down below what the manual stated, the aircraft would stall and crash.

The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications (an increase of wingspan and wing angle-of-incidence to give better takeoff performance, and a larger vertical stabilizer and rudder).After aerodynamic and design changes, the aircraft distinguished itself as “the chief bombardment weapon on the Western Front” according to a United States Army Air Forces dispatch from 1946. The Marauder ended World War II with the lowest loss rate of any USAAF bomber.A total of 5,288 were produced between February 1941 and March 1945; 522 of these were flown by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. By the time the United States Air Force was created as an independent service separate from the Army in 1947, all Martin B-26s had been retired from US service. The Douglas A-26 Invader then assumed the B-26 designation.

McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Av-8B Harrier

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II made its maiden flight 9 November 1981. The Harrier AV-8B is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family. Capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), the aircraft was designed in the late 1970s as an Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational V/STOL aircraft. Named after a bird of prey, it is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance. The AV-8B is used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy. A variant of the AV-8B, the British Aerospace Harrier II, was developed for the British military, while another, the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer. The AV-8B project started in the early 1970s as a cooperative effort between the United States and United Kingdom (UK), aimed at addressing the operational inadequacies of the first-generation Harrier. Early efforts centered on a powerful revamped Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine to dramatically improve the capabilities of the Harrier. Due to budgetary constraints, the United Kingdom abandoned the project in 1975.

Following the withdrawal of the UK, McDonnell Douglas extensively redesigned the earlier AV-8A Harrier to create the AV-8B. While retaining the general layout of its predecessor, the aircraft incorporates a new wing, an elevated cockpit, a redesigned fuselage, one extra hardpoint per wing, and other structural and aerodynamic refinements. The aircraft is powered by an upgraded version of the Pegasus, which gives the aircraft its V/STOL ability. TheAV8B entered service with the USMC in January 1985. Later upgrades added a night-attack capability and radar, resulting in the AV-8B(NA) and AV-8B Harrier II Plus, respectively. An enlarged version named Harrier III was also studied, but not pursued. The UK, through British Aerospace, re-joined the improved Harrier project as a partner in 1981, giving it a significant work-share in the project. After corporate mergers in the 1990s, Boeing and BAE Systems have jointly supported the program. Approximately 340 aircraft were produced in a 22-year production program that ended in 2003.

Typically operated from small aircraft carriers, large amphibious assault ships and simple forward operating bases, AV-8Bs have participated in numerous military and humanitarian operations, proving themselves versatile assets. US Army General Norman Schwarzkopf named the USMC Harrier II as one of the seven most important weapons of the Gulf War. The aircraft took part in combat during the Iraq War beginning in 2003. The Harrier II has served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan since 2001, and was used in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya in 2011. Italian and Spanish Harrier IIs have taken part in overseas conflicts in conjunction with NATO coalitions. During its service history, the AV-8B has had a high accident rate, related to the percentage of time spent in critical take-off and landing phases. USMC and Italian Navy AV-8Bs are to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, with the former expected to operate its Harriers until 2025.

Hawker Hurricane

The Prototype Hawker Hurricane K5083 made it’s debut flight 6 November 1935 in the hands of Hawker’s chief test pilot, Flight Lieutenant (later Group Captain) George Bulman. The Hawker Hurricane Was a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Bulman was later assisted by two other pilots in subsequent flight testing .Philip Lucas flew some of the experimental test flights, while John Hindmarsh conducted the firm’s production flight trials.RAF trials of the aircraft at Martlesham Heath began in February 1936. Sammy Wroath, later to be the founding Commandant of the Empire Test Pilot School, was the RAF test pilot for the Hurricane: his report was favorable, stating “The aircraft is simple and easy to fly and has no apparent vices” and going on to praise its control response. The type name “Hurricane” proposed by Hawkers was approved by the Air Ministry on 26 June; an informal christening ceremony was carried out the next month when King George VI paid a visit to Martlesham Heath.

Although largely overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft became renowned during the Battle of Britain, accounting for 60% of the RAF’s air victories in the battle, and served in all the major theatres of the Second World War.The 1930s design evolved through several versions and adaptations, resulting in a series of aircraft which acted as interceptor-fighters, fighter-bombers (also called “Hurribombers”), and ground support aircraft. Further versions known as the Sea Hurricane had modifications which enabled operation from ships. Some were converted as catapult-launched convoy escorts, known as “Hurricats”. More than 14,000 Hurricanes were built by the end of 1944 (including at least 800 converted to Sea Hurricanes and some 1,400 built in Canada by Canadian Car and Foundry).The first 50 Hurricanes had reached squadrons by the middle of 1938.

At that time, production was slightly greater than the RAF’s capacity to introduce the new aircraft and the government gave Hawkers the clearance to sell the excess to nations likely to oppose German expansion. As a result, there were some modest sales to other countries. Production was then increased with a plan to create a reserve of aircraft as well as re-equip existing squadrons and newly formed ones such as those of the Auxiliary Air Force. Expansion scheme E included a target of 500 fighters of all types by the start of 1938. By the time of the Munich Crisis there were only two fully operational squadrons of the planned 12 with Hurricanes. By the time of the German invasion of Poland there were 18 operational Hurricane squadrons and three more converting.

Hughes AH-64 Apache

Hughes AH-64 Apache

The Boeing/ Hughes AH-64 Apache helicopter first flew on 30 September 1975. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. Originally, the Apache started life as the Model 77 developed by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army’s Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the AH-1 Cobra, and was first flown on 30 September 1975. The AH-64 was introduced to U.S. Army service in April 1986.The AH-64 Apache features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30-millimeter (1.2 in) M230 Chain Gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage. It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.

The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to improve combat survivability. The U.S. Army selected the YAH-64, by Hughes Helicopters, over the Bell YAH-63 in 1976, and later approved full production in 1982. McDonnell Douglascontinued production and development after purchasing Hughes Helicopters from Summa Corporation in 1984. The first production AH-64D Apache Longbow, an upgraded version of the original Apache, was delivered to the Army in March 1997. Production has been continued by Boeing Defense, Space & Security; over 1,000 AH-64s have been produced to date. The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64; it has also become the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands and Singapore; as well as being produced under license in theUnited Kingdom as the AgustaWestland Apache. U.S. AH-64s have served in conflicts in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Israel used the Apache in its military conflicts in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip; both British and U.S. Apaches have seen deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have also seen some impressive demonstrations of theApache’s awesome capabilities at Cosford Air Show.