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9 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2015

  • May 25, 2015 at 9:41 am
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    Just caught the F-22 Raptor “missing man” formation Punchbowl Memorial Day Flyover at 9:20am this morning.

    Only two jets? Wassup ‘wit ‘dat? You mean to tell me our government can’t afford to fly the traditional 4-jet “Finger-four” combat formation to remember our fallen?

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  • May 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm
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    Pomai,

    The other F-22 Raptorso we’re there but they had stealth mode turn on by mistake.

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    • May 25, 2015 at 5:17 pm
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      Ken,

      In your experience in the Air Force  (and after), hasn’t every missing man formation flyover been with 4 aircraft?

      As for “stealth mode”, what’s odd is, the F-22 seems LOUDER than the F-15 it replaced, I’m guessing because of the vectoring nozzles. I know stealth isn’t based on how loud an aircraft is, but still! Even if the radar signature is small, if the enemy can still hear you, isn’t that kinda’ a problem? You think! Then again, the F-22 is a fire-and forget delivery system, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

      As you can see in the photo of me with that Hawaii Air National Guard pilot, some of the guys that fly the F-22s out of Hickam are very young. At the time, that pilot (a local boy) was only 26! I also met the commander of the squadron, and he was only in his 30s. When my mom worked for Hawaiian Airlines, she said lots of their pilots were former (and some active) fighter pilots and military cargo pilots. Probably still the case today.

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  • May 25, 2015 at 7:15 pm
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    Pomai,
     
     
    As far as I remember and have seen, all missing man formation flyover have been with 4 aircraft. With all the military cut backs the fly by may have been staged by a normal patrol mission to appease the ceremony.
     
    When I was growing up because my father worked for the Navy and base commander  I had the good fortune to see and sit in a lot of Navy aircraft and walk the decks of naval warships but 6-months at sea I did not sit well with me so I joined the Air Force so I could fight from hotel rooms and during my training I touched a lot of Air Force aircraft.
     
    One aircraft that surprised me was the F-111 Aardvark with modulated afterburners which had an emergency problem me and the flight-line crew took care of and fixed but we were still there at the end of the runway when it lit its afterburners off for take-off and it was like someone turned the volume control down to low volume. We could see the flame and vectoring nozzles close but it sounded like it was just taxing as it raced down runway for takeoff!
     
    I worked a lot of jets all the way back to T-33 trainers and up to F-4s and F-104 and Martin B-57B Canberra but while spending 2–years in Vietnam I worked mainly with old WWII aircraft ground maintenance support and as flight crew member due to my background in vacuum tube radio and navigation systems.
     
     
    You don’t hear a jet plane coming at you until it is flying below the speed of sound and at a lower altitude. That is why a lot of WWII aircraft systems were brought out in Vietnam because they could loiter on target longer and carry more payload. The jet jockeys were up 30,000ft. hit afterburners and dived down releasing payload and were back up to 30,000ft. in 1-2 min. The old WWII aircraft could just hover around at 10,000ft. keeping an eye on the Viet Cong movements delivering payload when we wanted to.
     
    The Air Force learned that you have to match the airborne weapons system with the type of warfare you are engaged in. Vietnam was a real learning curve for the Air Force because it was jungle warfare. We almost revolted when we were ordered to de-arm our OV-10 Broncos and use them only for forward air control smoke rocket spotting because we were not leaving any target for the jet jockeys. I lived through the migration evolution of Spooky AC-47 gunships, AC-119 Super Spooky and AC-130 Spectre Spooky.
     
    There are a lot of technology we had going for us in the Air Force with aircraft that the general public has no idea it even existed that cloaked the existence of the aircraft to the enemy and don’t forget with newest technology the aircraft does not have to be on target but releases payload from 3 miles away from target and the smart weapons system flies on its own to the target within 10-50ft. of target center.
     

     Stealth mode is more designed to cloak the radar signature from missiles, enemy radar systems and airborne enemy aircraft. Don’t forget the Iraqis shot down a US Air Force Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter with a shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile because we (USA) used the same route and time to bomb Bagdad. All they did was time the passing of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet and radio to the other way points of the passing so when the last person with the anti-aircraft missile got the word, set stopwatch and blindly fired the missile and scored a direct hit on the most advanced airborne weapons system in the world at the time. We didn’t learn too much from Vietnam or 9-11 because all the technology in the world cannot overcome basic ancient human ingenuity to improvise with what you have at hand.

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    • May 27, 2015 at 8:02 am
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      Ken,

      I’m very familiar with all the aircraft you mentioned EXCEPT the Martin B-57 Canberra. Never heard of that aircraft before! While I couldn’t immediately find information on what aircraft succeeded the B-57, based on its role as a tactical bomber and recon’ platform, as well as its size and overall design (particularly wing shape and engine placement), the closest I can think of is the Navy’s old workhorse, the awesome A-6 Intruder, one of my favorite old school jets, that’s since retired. In fact, I need watch “Flight of the Intruder” again. Not a bad flick.

      Like a lot of generals, I’m very upset the higher-ups are trying to wax the Fairchild A-10, one of the most lethal aircraft still in service after many decades of proven combat. There is no way in HELL the F-35 or any other aircraft for that matter can loiter and support troops on the battlefield like the A-10. By far the baddest @ss thing I’d want supporting my @ss in combat.

      Interesting notes about the vectoring nozzles on the F-111 Aardvark. I’d think with afterburner lit, it’d be rumbling and loud as hell. Ever heard a Rockwell B1-B Lancer take off on full afterburn? LOUD AS A MOFO! One time two took off at 4am in the morning and passed off Waikiki in full afterburn the entire slow climb. I swear EVERYONE in my building woke up and came out on the balcony, thinking we were at war! IIRC, that “incident” made the news because of so many complaints over the noise. To me that’s MUSIC!

      The house I grew up in Kaneohe was right under the flight path where all the aircraft approaching the Marine Base across the bay flew. During most of which during the 70s to mid 80s were F-4 Phantoms. Those bad boys were loud as hell, too. Now I notice every time I’m in Kaneohe that MCBH gets mostly flights of P-3 Orions and C-17 Globemasters.

      While I know they’re also stationed at Kaneohe Marine Base, I have yet to see the V-22 Osprey in flight. When it’s actually “flying” that is. I’m still skeptical about that design, which has proven once again recently that it’s fatally flawed.

      Man, that must have really sucked having to de-arm your OV-10s for smoke duty! I LOVE that aircraft! In fact, the OV-10 Bronco was the very first model kit I built, IIRC, when I was just 6 years old.

      That must have been incredible, seeing evolution of Spooky AC-47 gunships, AC-119 Super Spooky and AC-130 Spectre Spooky. There’s an interesting article about the current state of the AC-130 gunship platform here. And we discussed, the AC-47 evolved to become the DC-3, which come full circle, would be the workhorse for Hawaiian Airlines during its time.  By the time I came around, Hawaiian was flying the DC-9 (now Boeing 717).

      Regarding X-planes, supposedly the “Skunkworks” is already flying a replacement for the B-2, while some are saying we actually already have anti-gravity tech’ being used in operational “aircraft”. I believe it. There was also debate whether the F-117 was truly “retired” (since 2008), after some claim to have spotted it still in operation. Here’s an interesting article about “Type 1000 Storage”.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 8:39 pm
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    Pomai,
     
    I did not realize you were an aircraft geek! Here is a list of all U.S. Air Force aircraft I have worked on.
     
    DC-3, also called Douglas DC-3, Skytrain, C-47 (U.S. Army/Air Force), R4D (U.S. Navy), or Dakota (Royal Air Force),  transport aircraft, the world’s first successful commercial airliner, readily adapted to military use during World War II. During WWII it was actually converted into a towed glider by removing engines. The DC-3 first flew in 1935 and is still flying today. When production of the DC-3 ended in 1945, more than 13,000 of them had been built. I still have my full systems DC-3 hard cover aircraft book and flight suit check list manual.
     
    We had 3 of them in different configurations and markings along with 4 outfitted as Spooky or Puff Dragon ships which were replaced with AC-119 painted black (Super Spooky later called Shadow). I loved the C-47 as it was very forgiving and almost flew itself. You actually knew what the aircraft was doing by feeling the in-flight vibrations and sounds. I was RO (Radio Officer) part of a flight crew of 5; Command Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator, Radio Officer and Crew Chief. I really have to thank my National Guard High School Electronics Instructor for teaching me analog military WWII vacuum tube radios thinking I would join the National Guard. In college I learned digital electronics and computers and Air Force trained me in digital systems and computers so I move seamlessly between both fields.
     
    When not flying I repaired radios and helped diagnose systems problems on flight-line and worked with rapid response crew taking care of aircraft Nav/Aides break downs just before aircraft was to take off sometimes balancing between running jet engine suction intake unscrewing screws and latches, removing and replacing equipment without dropping screws or tools into jet intake or myself falling into intake chopping me up causing engine to blow up but working as fast as I could due to flight might be a scramble to support ground troops. On some jets and aircraft my team could remove and replace in under 60 seconds; pilots had a big smile when they saw us pull up and I was also trained as an aircraft air-to-air nuclear weapons rocket loader (last man to insert umbilical cable and safety wire launch switch) so in case it was needed I was trained to handle and load.  
     
    We were home based at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam. Phan Rang had F-4s but changed over to F-100s (Lead Sled) however I was trained on T-33, F-101, F-104, F-111 which easily helped me convert to A-26A, F-4, F-100, C-7, C-46, C-47, C-119, C-123, C-124, C-130, O-1E, O2A, OV-10, B-57 and HH-43 during my two volunteer years in Viet Nam.
     
    We also had the South Korean White Horse Division of Marines on our northern flank of the base by bomb storage and 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (Canberra B.20) on our southern flank near Phan Rang City and we Air Force took care of west flank (mountain) and seacoast (beach) to our east and the policing of “the strip” base built off base saloons. U.S. Army and Marines used Phan Rang for R&R sometimes but was not an acting force in area however I later learned my next door neighbor back in RI was a U.S. Army Special Forces Long Range Surveillance (LRS) living in the western mountain for up to 6-months blended in the jungle occasionally taking out any Viet Cong with his silenced scope weapon.
     
    Phan Rang also was used for major U.S.O. stage shows with a very large open amphitheater for thousands of GIs and we had a contingent of Red Cross volunteer girls (young ladies in skirts) on base from U.S.A. feeding us “Kool-Aide” and donuts daily along with our French Rivera beach setup (power boats, water skiing and sailboats), heated Olympic size swimming pool, hobby center with 4-lane slot car track, photo labs, model shop, base shopping center, market, tailor, barber shop and liquor store, gasoline station and vehicle workshop, for our motor bikes and motorcycles, 2-screen air-conditioned movie theater, Air Force version (civilian contractor) of KFC fried chicken, Mickey-“Ds” hamburgers and fries, Pizza Hut 24/7 food court, regular mess halls, squadron steakhouses and beer patios, base-wide bus transit system, free telephone calls home to U.S.A. and all the different enlisted and officer clubs on base with individual imported stage shows plus our Vietnamese daily maid service. Best part I was flying out of country on TDY orders living in spectacular hotels more than I was in country which added to my monthly tax and duty free income plus there was not a week that went buy that I was not flying to another Air Force base in Vietnam (spent a lot of time in Saigon and Nha Trang).
     
    Unfortunately the Air Force sent us home early in late 1968 because we were having too much fun with South East Asia War Games. My whole crew was not happy and my 06 Col was really not happy due to all the money he was going to lose! I guess all things must come to end because Phan Rang was closed in 1971. If I was a cat I had used up all my 9-lives so I guess it was time to go anyways. Great remembrances of good and bad times but learning to become a more adult responsible man. I received a nice commendation medal and citation for my individual work by a 4-star general in Washington, DC Pentagon. 

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    • May 28, 2015 at 8:10 am
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      Ken,

      The DC-3 still is a beautiful aircraft. That said , it blew my mind when Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas, after years of domestic competition, with Hawaiian’s own Boeing 717 , adopted from the DC-9 being a clear reminder of that. Notably (and you know why), they merged right after Northrop/McDonnell Douglas lost their bid for the next gen’ Advanced Tactical Fighter program, with their AMAZING YF-23 “Black Widow” prototype, which to many, felt was a far superior design to Lockheed Martin’s YF-22 (currently the F-22 Raptor).

      AC-119 “Super Spooky”? Oh man! Another new one for me! That’s one company I’m not very familiar with all their products, was Fairchild. The C-119 “Flying Boxcar” looks AWESOME!  Same design concept as Kelly Johnson’s P-38 Lightning.

      I’ll touch back more later. Mahalo for sharing this awesome stuff!

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  • June 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm
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    Pomai:  The C119 “Flying Boxcar” was the USAF’s replacement for the C-47 as the designated jump / airdrop platform in the 50’s. The twin boom design comes from an earlier aircraft the C-82 “packet” that was designed during WW II. I’m not sure of any relationship between Lockheed and Fairchild, but the design concept was also used in Northrup’s P-61 Black Widow night fighter.  The C-119 flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam; in Korea, it was used to air drop a Bailey Bridge to the Marines who were withdrawing from the Chosin Reservoir (a feat no one had ever tried before). In Vietnam the C-119 gunship version was nicknamed “Shadow” I believe. The C-119 was ultimately replaced by the C-130. As an old paratrooper, I’ve jumped from the C-47, C-130, C-123, C-114, C-23 Sherpa and the UH-1, CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters, along with a number of civilian platforms. Never did get a chance to jump the C-119

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  • June 4, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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    I forgot to list the C-5 Galaxy as one of my jumps!

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