The dream of flying is
as old as mankind itself. However, the concept of the airplane has only been around for two centuries. Before that time, men
and women tried to navigate the air by imitating the birds. They built machines with flapping wings called ornithopters. On
the surface, it seemed like a good plan. After all, there are plenty of birds in the air to show that the concept does work.The
trouble is, it works better at bird-scale than it does at the much larger scale needed to lift both a man and a machine off
the ground. So folks began to look for other ways to fly. Beginning in 1783, a few aeronauts made daring, uncontrolled flights
in lighter-than-air balloons, but this was hardly a practical way to fly. There was no way to get from here to there unless
the wind was blowing in the desired direction.
To show us the standards of haircut expected, the
RAF produced a poster showing a “model” airman and the quote from Queens Regulations that “The hair of the
head is to be well cut and trimmed”.
Like everything else around us, the jet planes have
had a humble beginning too. The very first jet planes every flown experimentally, its future uncertain and its uses unknown.
The first ever jet plane ever made was actually in appropriately named because it wasn't really a jet plane, but was,
a certain move to wards an unbelievable history which can be as exhilarating the speed these jets fly at.
The first jet engine was put to use and the principles of the same were
actually seen in action when the Coanda 1910, named after its inventor Henri Coanda and also flown by him it is worth a note
that the engine of this aircraft was piston type, unlike that of the modern jet engine which uses a turbine to run its compressor.
Nevertheless, the true turbine driven engine was equipped on the
jet plane designed by Heinkel He 178 (Germany). The Gloster E.28/39 was flown by the British to announce their arrival on
the flying circuit, soon to be followed by the Americans using their newly developed Bell XP-59, which had incorporated the
Whittle Engine, developed by the General Electric and was flown on September 12, 1942.
However, from purely an operational point of view, The Messerschmitt Me 262, was the fastest flying jet aircraft
around the time of the World War-II, while the only that could get faster was The Messerschmitt Me 163.
In the Year 1944, mass production of the jet aircraft had started, which was about
the same time The British had developed their advanced Gloster Meteor, which was heavily used to defend itself during the
war and was a proud member of the squadron being prepared for the war.
The Modern jets however, fly in Mach, each mach amounts to about 75 to 80% of the speed of the sound. That is incredibly
fast and powerful. So powerful and fast that the pilots who mount these beasts have to take special training and get used
to experiencing extreme G-Forces while in flight The fastest jet plane ever made is the now non-operational, SR-1 Black Bird.
Somewhere in between the primary jet plane model and the super fast
jetliners present today, the need for the private business and leisure-jets was found. The commercialism of the jets has taken
on to another league entirely. The numerous uses of these smaller jets has made them so useful that they are today, seen as
necessities rather than a luxury.
one can talk about the airplanes history without including the people who are behind the invention of the airplanes. This
invention took a lot of years of research as well as hard work and this mostly from two brothers by the names of Orville and
Wilbur Wright. In 1878 it is believed that the father of these two brothers came home from work with a rubber band powered
helicopter and these young brothers immediately started the studying of this helicopter and thereafter started building replicas.
The brother came to notice that all the aircrafts were lacking controls and in the year 1899 they came up with system that
they used to warp the wings of a biplane and this meant that the aircraft could be controlled and rolled left or right as
After this the brothers went ahead to design a gasoline
engine that was powerful enough to be able to propel any aircraft and the brothers also went ahead to invent the first ever
propellers and this culminated into a powered aircraft. At this time however the brothers faced competition from a person
named Samuel Langley who was the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution who had also developed his own aircraft and he was
helped with investment funding. The testing of his aircraft however failed the initial tests and this was enough to put him
out of the competition. Some of the last developments of the airplane included the usage of spring steel in order to make
new sets of shafts.
The first ever airplane was referred to as The Flyer,
which was unveiled on 17 December 1903 as it, was taken for a 12 second sustained flight, which covered about 120 feet. The
next few hours after this the Wright brothers made numerous flights and the longest of them all covered 852 feet. There are
several types of airplanes in today's market and this will include commercial transport planes, general aviation planes,
sea planes, special purpose planes as well as military planes. Commercial transport planes are large and this means they are
capable of carrying passengers as well as cargo.
They are also referred
to as airliners and are less powerful than four engine jets and this is because most airliners only travel 500 to 600 miles
per hour while four engine jets faster. An example of a four engine jet is the Boeing 747 and unlike most airliners it is
capable of accommodating up to 1000 passengers. This airliner is also capable of carrying 6 kitchens, 12 washrooms as well
as more than 178000 liters of fuel. The Boeing 747 became the largest jet in the world in 1969.
747 can travel to up to 6495 miles or 10475 kilometers without stopping and this is farther than the distance between Tokyo
and New York. There are also three engine jets as well as two engine jets. The three engine jets do not travel as far as the
four engine jets and they also need less runway although they are also capable of carrying as many passengers as the four
engine jets. Two engine jets are the most popular today and this is because of their look, their low operating costs as well
as few engine failures.
By: Louise Kalyn
Spitfire 1 The British fighter was the Spitfire, produced by Submarine in June of 1936. After its test flight by ‘Mutt’
Summers in 1936, Submarine built a second factory to accommodate the expected demand. By the time Britain officially went
to war in 1939, about 2,160 Spitfires were already ordered. The Spitfire I was marginally faster and much more maneuverable
than that of its principal opponent, the Luftwaffes Messerschmitt Bf 109E, although the Bf 109E could out climb and out dive
the British fighter and its cannons had a longer effective range than the Spitfire. The Spitfire was marginally faster than
the Luftwaffes Messerschmitt Bf 109E and maneuvered better although the BF 109E could rise and dive faster. About 40 different variants of the Spitfire were produced; including
fighter and bomber variants as well as mission- and combat area specific variations. The last Spitfire was produced in 1947. P-51 Mustang The P-51 Mustang is the most famous of the American “big three” from
WWII, the other two are the P47 and the P38. Ironically, the RAF provided the design specifications and requirements that
makes it one of the most distinctive fighters of WWII. The cockpit is made to reduce drag, the wings are rounded at the edges,
and a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine combined for one of the most agile and graceful fighters of the war. The Mustang also had
a large fuel capacity and, with external tanks, could escort bombers to their target and back. The Mustang was the fastest plane in the air at the time and its agility and ability
to maintain those speeds allowed the pilot to retreat from the battle. Although it can’t accelerate as quickly as other
planes, the pilot can dive steeply and reach into the 500 knots range, about 200 Knots faster than most other planes. They
also maintain such speeds well. Below 150 knots, however, the best Mustang pilot would be chewed up by true ‘stallfighter.’
The Mustang became the standard for future planes. FW190 Focke Wulf The Focke-Wulf
190 was widely regarded as one of WWII best fighters. It evolved from the designs of the BF 109 and German officials predicted
it would never work as well but time proved them wrong. It entered operation in 1941 and “immediately outclassed the
Spitfire V, which appeared sluggish and outdated by comparison.”
Pictured is a drawing of the incident:
The English B-17 “Ye Olde Pub” in front, and the German BF-109 in back as escort. Notice the damage on the B-17:
the nose is gone, one propellor is not working, the back turret is gone, the tail section is shredded and missing, holes in
the hull. Artist is Ernie Boyett. Charlie
Brown (a 21-year old) was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called
“Ye Olde Pub” and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters while on a mission to bomb a factory
in Bremen, Germany. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton. After flying over an enemy airfield,
Charlie Brown stated that his heart sank. A pilot named Franz Stigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When
he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he “had never seen a plane in such a bad state.”
The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage.
The nose was smashed, and there were holes everywhere. Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot.
Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane. Brown stated that he noticed Stigler’s plane flying alongside him: It seemed amazing that the
heavily damaged B-17 remained in the air. But it did, and Brown hoped to keep it flying until he reached the shores of England
250 miles away.
Still partially dazed, Lt. Brown began a slow climb
with only one engine at full power. With three seriously injured aboard, he rejected bailing out or a crash landing. The alternative
was a thin chance of reaching the UK. While nursing the battered bomber toward England, Brown looked out the right window
and saw a BF-109 flying on his wing. Aware
that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken
plane to and slightly over the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe. When Franz landed he told the commanding officer that
the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew
told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.
More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. Franz had never talked
about the incident, not even at post-war reunions. They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion in 1989, together with five people who are alive now—-all
because Franz never fired his guns that day. After
the war, Brown remained in the Air Force, serving in many capacities until he retired in 1972 as a Lieutenant Colonel and
settled in Miami as head of a combustion research company. But the episode of the German who refused to attack a beaten foe
haunted him. He was determined to find the enemy pilot who spared him and his crew. He wrote numerous letters of inquiry to German military sources, with little success.
Finally, a notice in a newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots elicited a response from Franz Stigler, a German fighter ace
credited with destroying over two dozen Allied planes. He, it turned out, was the angel of mercy in the skies over Germany
on that fateful day just before Christmas 1943. It had taken 46 years, but in 1989 Brown found the mysterious man in the ME-109. Careful questioning of Stigler about
details of the incident removed any doubt. Stigler,
now 80 years old, had emigrated to Canada and was living near Vancouver, British Columbia. After an exchange of letters, Brown
flew there for a reunion. The two men have visited each other frequently since that time and have appeared jointly before
Canadian and American military audiences. The most recent appearance was at the annual Air Force Ball in Miami in September
(1995), where the former foes were honored. In
his first letter to Brown, Stigler had written: “All these years, I wondered what happened to the B-17, did she make
it or not?” She made it, just barely.
But why did the German not destroy his virtually defenseless enemy? “I didn’t have the heart to finish off those brave men,” Stigler later said. I flew beside them
for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do it. I could not have shot at them.
It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute.”
Franz Stigler passed away on March 22, 2008.
Flying in a British bomber during World War Two was one of the most dangerous jobs imaginable. Some
55,000 aircrew died in raids over Europe between 1939 and 1945, the highest loss rate of any major branch of the British armed
forces. Yet there is no official campaign medal commemorating the sacrifices of these men. Their contribution to the war effort
has been partly overshadowed by the controversy over the saturation bombing of German cities in 1944 and '45, in which
tens of thousands of German civilians were killed.
the war, this was not a debate that concerned most members of Bomber Command. They were preoccupied with obeying their orders,
and with surviving. Early in the war bomber pilots were taught terrible lessons about their vulnerability. Missions over Europe
were flown by day, and German fighters found the lumbering British aircraft easy targets.In late 1939, 21 out of 36 bombers
on one sortie failed to return. Many of the planes were flying so low that when they were hit there was no time to bale out.
Daylight raids were abandoned. From then on, British bombers would fly mainly at night.Navigation in the dark was intensely
difficult, particularly if there was cloud cover over the ground. At first, crews had to rely on dead reckoning - estimating
position by speed, flying time and compass. Unpredictable winds could disrupt the finest calculations.
Vought F4U Corsair crashes on the deck of a carrier when
the arresting gear failed. Most likely sometime during WW2 in the Pacific Theater.
France was undoubtedly
the leader in the earliest days of aviation. It had the first designers and was the first to form independent companies dedicated
to building aircraft. The earliest company of this type was probably Gabriel Voisin and Ernest Archdeacon's Syndicat d'Aviation,
which they formed in 1905. The company produced two biplane gliders, one for Archdeacon and one for Louis Blériot,
mounted on floats and resembling a box kite in appearance.
Blériot joined Voisin and formed the Blériot-Voisin
Company later in 1905. The company built a floatplane, a glider, and a powered machine. But their craft couldn't fly,
and the two parted in 1906, with Voisin buying Blériot's shares. In November 1906, Gabriel Voisin and his brother
Charles formed Voisin Fréres, the first commercial aircraft company. The Voisin company built gliders and airplanes
and produced about 20 airplanes before World War I began in 1914. At about the same time, Blériot began his own company
and built a series of popular aircraft, including his famous Blériot XI, which he used in his record-setting crossing
of the English Channel in 1909, and the Bleriot XII, which shone at the Reims International Air Meet.
The A-26 was
the follow-on design to the A-20 and entered combat in late 1944. The type had early developmental difficulties, and it took
28 months to go from first flight to combat operations. After being redesignated as B-26 in 1948, it was the only attack airplane
available when war broke out in Korea. Crews flew their first mission against North Korea on June 29, 1950, when they bombed
an airfield at Pyongyang. Air Force B- 26s were credited with the destruction of 38,500 vehicles, 3,700 railway cars, 406
locomotives, and seven enemy aircraft on the ground in Korea. On September 14, 1951, while flying a night intruder mission,
Capt. John S. Walmsley, Jr., attacked a North Korean supply train, but after his guns jammed he used his search light to light
the way for his wingmen to finish destroying the train. Captain Walmsley was shot down, died, and was posthumously awarded
the Medal of Honor. On July 27, 1953, 24 minutes before the cease-fire was signed, a B-26 crew from the 3d Bomb Wing dropped
the last bombs of the Korean War. Some holdover RB-26s were part of the initial cadre of aircraft sent to Vietnam as part
of Operation Farm Gate. In the early 1960s, On-Mark Engineering converted approximately 40 aircraft into the B-26K Counter
Invader for counterinsurgency missions in Vietnam.
practical purposes the war plane came into being at the end of 1914, with the adoption of the machine gun. In the early stages
of the war reconnaissance planes, used for observation of enemy troop movements and of artillery fire, used to come into close
confrontation with each other.
An amazing array
of aircraft were used during the course of the Vietnam conflict. Below you'll find a partial listing of American aircraft
(as well as allies) and enemy aircraft. Pictures of the air planes and helicopters may be viewed by clicking the link in their
There was an aircraft that used to
fly across our skies that was affectionately called the Phantom II or the Navy F-4 Fighter. It was a very powerful aircraft
that seemed to prove the theory that you could make a rock fly if you put big enough engines on it. It was a MIG Killer
in Vietnam and used extensively in every theater of the world. It had two huge engines that delivered 25,000 lbs of thrust
and when the afterburners were lit up, it would rock the ground for miles away. The early versions like the F-4C could be
seen for miles as they had a huge smoke trail, this was later modified in the F-4D and F-4E versions. There were also versions
used for air recon missions that had photo cameras on the bottom. The F-4G was called the Wild Weasel and had the capability
of taking out enemy air defenses, which proved to be very valuable during the attacks against the North Vietnamese air defense
system. The Phantom had two seats and that pilot was in the front seat, and directly behind him was the weapons officer
otherwise called the WISO. These aircraft have been featured in many movies such Top Gun or Hamburger Hill to mention just
a few. The aircraft is now retired from active service, last flown by the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, and
now can usually be seen as static aircraft all over the US. The testament to the glory days of a true fighter, and though
it was hated by maintenance personnel it carries a special place in the hearts of those of us who worked on it.
The B-17 was
primarily employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military
targets. The United States Eighth Air Force based in England and the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy complemented the RAF
Bomber Command's night time area bombing in Operation Point blank, to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories
and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for Operation Overlord. The B-17 also participated, to a lesser extent,
in the War in the Pacific, where it conducted raids against Japanese shipping.
The Soviet Air Force began operating the Tupolev TU-95
Bear in the mid 1950's. The Russian Air Force is still operating the venerable Bear and it's projected to continue
service until the middle of the current century. The Bear was originally developed as a long range, high altitude, bomber.
It fulfilled a role similar to the B-52 Stratofortress of the United States Air Force. Over the years its been modified to
perform a variety of missions to include maritime patrol, cruise missile launch platform, Airborne Early Warning as well as
a civilian airliner variant.
The TU-95 was a main stay of the cold war. It performed a number of missions for the
Russian Military and became a common sight to U.S. and NATO air crews that were sent to intercept it. The maritime variant
performed a number of useful missions for the Soviet Naval Forces including surveillance, tracking, and targeting for various
soviet military assets. TU -95s routinely departed from the Kola Peninsula, flew across the Atlantic, down the eastern seaboard
of the United States, and landed in Cuba
The Tu-95 is the fastest propeller driven aircraft, and some say one of
the loudest aircraft in the world. It's powered by four Kuznetsov turbo prop engines rated at 10,000 SHP (shaft horsepower)
each. Each engine drives contra-rotating propellers that have an 18ft diameter. The engines are mounted on wings that are
swept back 35 degrees. The fuselage is cylindrical, has a rounded nose and tapers towards the rear. The TU-95 has a large
bomb bay and is able to carry 20 tons of ordinance. The Bear also has two 23mm tail guns, which provide defense against fighters
attacking from the aircraft's rear
Crew requirements vary depending on the mission. A generic crew consists
of two pilots, one tail gunner, and up to four sensor operators. The Bear has a maximum takeoff weight of 414,500 pounds,
a maximum speed of 575 mph, a range on 9,400 miles, and a service ceiling of 39,000 ft.
The TU-95 continues to
test the readiness of US and NATO air crews by probing national boundaries. A role that began half a century ago and will
continue for many years to come. The TU-95 has been a symbol of Soviet Aviation since the 1950's. Numerous upgrades have
kept it a vital piece of Russian military strategy today and well into the next century.
and Bf 109E were well-matched in speed and agility, and both were somewhat faster than the Hurricane. The slightly larger
Hurricane was regarded as less "twitchy" and provided a more stable gun platform, as Luftwaffe bombers would later
find out to their cost. The RAF's preferred tactic was if possible to deploy the Hurricane's concentrated fire power
against formations of less-agile bombers, and to pit the Spitfires against the fighter escorts waiting to pounce from higher
altitude. The Spitfires one-piece sliding moulded canopy gave the best visibility, the pilot having a better chance of spotting
an enemy over the Bf 109E and its heavy framed hinged hood. The Emil's main armament was two MG-17 (Maschinengewehr 17)
7.92 x 57 mm machine guns on the engine decking and two Oerlikon / Mauser MG FF 20 x 72RB mm auto-cannons in the wings. Although
the explosive cannon shells had more destructive power, the FF's low muzzle velocity and limited ammunition carried meant
the cannon was not markedly superior to the Hurricane and Spitfire's eight proven Browning .303 (7.7 x 56R mm) machine
Whilst the British were not the
first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest air force of any significant size
to become independent of army or navy control. It was founded on 1 April 1918, during the First World War, by the amalgamation
of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. After the war, the service was cut drastically and its inter-war
years were relatively quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions
in other parts of the British Empire.
The RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World
War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained
and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations. Many individual personnel from these countries,
and exiles from occupied Europe also served with RAF squadrons.
most famous fighter aircraft used in the Battle of Britain were the British Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and the
German Messerschmitt Bf 109E (Emil). Although nowadays the glamorous Spitfire is often thought of as the main British fighter,
in fact the Hurricanes were at first more numerous (by a factor of about 5:3) and (especially in the early part of the battle),
were responsible for most of the German losses.
The Boeing B-17
Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing
against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry outperformed both the other competitors and
more than met the Air Corps' expectations. Although Boeing lost the contract due to the prototype's crash, the Air
Corps was so impressed with Boeing's design that they ordered 13 B-17s. The B-17 Flying Fortress went on to enter full-scale
production and was considered the first truly mass-produced large aircraft, eventually evolving through numerous design advancements,
from B-17A to G.
The original design of the Me 210 was born in
late 1937 to overcome to some shortcomings of the Bf 110. In autumn 1938 RLM awarded a contract to Arado and Messerschmitt
simultaneously for the development of a Bf 110 replacement. The resulting Messerschmitt design consisted in a mere improvement
of the basic design with more powerful powerplants and heavier armament. Arado’s answer to the requirements was the
Ar 240 but confidence in the original Bf 110 long-range fighter and bomber-destroyer concept led at the beginning of 1938
to Messerschmitt being asked to design an eventual successor. The result was the Messerschmitt Me 210 which first flew on
5 September 1939, powered by two 1,050 hp (783 kW) Daimler-Benz DB 601A engines. It proved to be extremely unsatisfactory,
being difficult to handle and suffering from extreme instability.
the first flight test of the Me 210 V1 the plane had to be heavily modified for its flying capabilities were barely poor.
It had problems with longitudinal and lateral stability, and these were not suitable for a firing platform such as a combat
aircraft. The design was improved by deleting the original twin vertical surfaces, similar to those of Bf 110, and fitting
a large traditional vertical stabilizer and rudder with the aircraft flying on 23 September. A slight improvement was apparent,
but in spite of a number of modifications carried out on the two prototypes they continued to display poor handling characteristics,
being prone to stalling and spinning. In view of these problems it is difficult to understand why production was allowed to
begin, but by mid-1940 a first batch of airframes was in final assembly.
The Black Spitfire
is a black-painted Spitfire which belonged to Israeli pilot and former president Ezer Weizman. It is on exhibit in the Israeli
Air Force Museum in Hatserim and is used for ceremonial flying displays. Kermit Weeks, keeps a restored Mk XVI at his
Fantasy of Flight museum in Florida. The "Asas de Um Sonho" Museum, located in São Carlos, Brazil,
owns the only airworthy Spitfire in South America, a Mk IXc donated to the museum by Rolls Royce and painted in the colors
and markings of RAF ace Johnnie Johnson. One of the newest Spitfires to fly in Canadian skies is Michael Potter's
Supermarine Mk XVI Spitfire SL721/N721WK/C-GVZB, refinished in the markings of No. 421 Squadron RCAF and is now registered
in Gatineau, Quebec as part of the Vintage Wings of Canada Collection. A Seafire 47, the final aircraft in the long
and distinguished line of aircraft, is airworthy with Jim Smith in the U.S. after being restored by Ezell Aviation. The
Shuttleworth Collection maintains and displays an airworthy Mk Vc, AR501. One Spitfire Mk IX is on display at the "Vigna
di Valle Museum" (Italian Air Force Museum) Bracciano, Rome, Italy.
members strong, the Vintage Aircraft Association brings together people from around the world who share an interest in the
aircraft of yesterday. Since it was established in 1971, the association has been working to keep aviation history alive.
Members are active restorers and enthusiasts working to keep vintage aircraft in the air and flying for the pleasure and education
of themselves and the public at large.
to fly must have originated in prehistoric times. The beauty and freedom of soaring birds has always drawn our admiration
and envy. The freedom to move in any direction over all obstacles is a capability that all of us would enjoy. Early attempts
to defy gravity involved the invention of ingenuous machines, such as ornithopters
Welcome on the
British Aircraft of World War II site, providing data and photographs of hundreds of different types of British air planes.
British Aircraft of World War II is a reference to all known types of aeroplane of British origin that saw military service
during the Second World War. Next to that, British Aircraft of World War II contains data and photos of Commonwealth
aircraft, being aircraft types that originated in the countries of the British Commonwealth, including types that were designed
in the USA but were subject to extensive development by licensees in the British Commonwealth.
of World War II contains a range form the famous fighters and bombers of frontline units, such as the Spitfire, Hurricane,
Mosquito and Lancaster, to trainers, civilian impressed aircraft and experimental aeroplanes that were tried and tested between
1939 and 1945.
Foo Fighters was the name used for numerous unexplained
phenomena in WW II, as well as being used in a derogatory sense. Some pilots over Europe called them "Kraut balls".
In the Pacific Theater, it was how some pilots referred to the Japanese fliers who were infamous for their erratic flying.
Foo fighters is the name given by the scientists and historians to the general body of spherical, circular, disc-like, or
wedged shaped "bogies", sometimes seeming to glow, shine, or reflect a high degree of illumination seen mostly by
World War II pilots or flight crews. They usually paralleled or followed aircraft and were seen by aviators on all sides of
the action, being reported by American, British, German and Japanese crews. No Foo Fighter was known or reported to have made
or attempted any sort of contact, interaction or attack. They were known, however, for their high rate of speed and agility,
being much faster than any known aircraft at the time as well as being extremely maneuverable, often exhibiting highly unconventional
abilities such as instantaneous acceleration and deceleration, rapid climbing and descent and hovering in place.
In today's world a Foo Fighter would be called a UFO, an Unidentified Flying Object, of which, by all accounts, Foo
Fighters were. Some descriptions such as "glowing balls of light" or "spherical fire" do not fit the conventional
image of UFOs, but the disc and wedge shaped objects do --- as does the unconventional maneuverability. Both those aspects,
disc or wedge shape and unconventional maneuverability, have been attributed to many UFO or Flying Saucer accounts, but most
especially so to one of the most high profile ones, the so-called Roswell UFO. Here an object of unknown nature broke up over
the barren ranchland near Roswell, New Mexico, late one night in July 1947. Although the Roswell Incident was originally reported
in the local paper within a few days of the crash by the local paper as being a flying saucer or a flying disc, the main body
of the object was reported by some eyewitnesses as being wedge or delta shaped. W.C. Holden, an archaeologist, reportedly
stumbled across the downed craft early in the morning following the crash. He was one of the first to see it and described
it as "as looking like a crashed airplane without wings with a flat fuselage" with some reports implying the fuselage
had a definite delta or wedge shape to it. It must be stated in contrast, however, that another archaeologist, known as Cactus
Jack Campbell, while he did not have the reputation of Holden--- but who had nevertheless seen the aerial apparitions called
Foo Fighters during World War II first hand himself --- reported being "out there when the spaceship came down"
and seeing a "round object but not real big". What became known as Foo Fighters were reported by the British as
early as September 1941, with regular sightings by all sides continuing, except for a several month lull in 1943, throughout
the war. On the U.S. side, although sightings occurred periodically before the deployment of P-61 Black Widows in Europe,
it was the P-61 nightfighter pilots that were among the first American military men to regularly report seeing Foo Fighters,
saying "unknown objects" followed or paralleled their planes and glowed in the dark. It is said the night fighters
shot at them a few times, but the fire was never returned. It is also thought it was the pilots of the Black Widows that finally
gave the UFOs the nickname that stuck: "Foo-Fighters", a term picked up from the then popular Smokey Stover comic
strip. Interestingly enough, with all the sightings and reports and all the gun cameras and high altitude photographs, no
truly good pictures of Foo Fighters from the period have surfaced. A widely circulated photo showing what is alleged to be
both a wedge-shaped and spherical-shaped Foo Fighter together with two Japanese planes is perhaps the most often depicted
when citing Foo Fighters. The photo, from the 1975 photo-history by the Italians, G. De Turris & S. Fusco, "Obiettivo
sugli UFO", has both its supporters and detractors. If the picture was taken by Japanese photographers, which it surely
must have been, it would seem, except for a quest for truth, they would have no vested interest in continuing or falsely perpetrating
a myth. Not all aerial objects otherwise left unidentified in World War II were Foo Fighters or unexplained phenomenons such
as Green Fireballs. Nor were they necessarily small in size either. Some were downright gigantic. The most infamous was an
object seen by literally thousands of people along the coast of California barely three months into the war. The UFO over
Los Angeles is mostly forgotten now, but during the early morning hours of February 25, 1942 the whole city and surrounding
communities were in an uproar as thousands of rounds of anti aircraft shells were expended to pull down whatever it was out
of the sky that night. The slow moving object, said to be as big or bigger than a Zeppelin, was caught in the glare of the
searchlights from Santa Monica to Long Beach and seemed impervious to the constant barrage of shells. It eventually disappeared
out over the Pacific after cruising along the coast and cutting inland for a while. The huge object was never clearly explained
and was basically hushed up without response from the authorities.
An airship or
dirigible is a lighter than air (buoyant) aircraft that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers.
Unlike other aerodynamic aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft (air planes) and helicopters, which produce lift by moving a
wing or airfoil through the air, aerostatic aircraft, such as airships and hot air balloons, stay aloft by filling a large
cavity, such as a balloon, with a lighter than air gas. The main types of airship are Non-rigid airships (or blimps),
semi-rigid airships and rigid airships. Blimps are small airships without internal skeletons. Semi-rigid airships are slightly
larger and have some form of internal support such as a fixed keel. Rigid airships with a full skeleton, such as the massive
Zeppelin transoceanic models, are now a thing of the past. Airships were the first aircraft to make controlled, powered
flight. They were widely used before the 1940s. Their use decreased over time as their capabilities were surpassed by those
of air planes. Their decline furthered with a series of high-profile accidents, including the 1937 burning of the hydrogen-filled
Hindenburg near Lakehurst, New Jersey. Airships are still used today in certain niche applications, such as advertising and
as a camera platform for sporting events.
The Wright brothers,
Orville (August 15, 1871 January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 May 30, 1912), were two Americans who are generally
credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and
sustained heavier-than-air human flight on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, the brothers developed their flying
machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright
brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made mechanical fixed wing flight possible.
fundamental breakthrough was their invention of "three axis-control", which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft
effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This method became standard on fixed wing aircraft of all kinds. From the beginning
of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on unlocking the secrets of control to conquer "the flying problem",
rather than developing more powerful engines as some other experimenters did. Their careful wind tunnel tests produced better
aeronautical data than any before, enabling them to design and build wings and propellers more effective than any before.
Their U.S. patent claims the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulates a flying machine's surfaces.
Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in June 1919. They flew a modified World War I Vickers
Vimy bomber from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador to Clifden, Ireland, which became the second aircraft (and the
first landplane) to fly across the Atlantic. (Two weeks earlier, the first trans-Atlantic flight had been made by the NC-4,
a United States Navy flying boat, commanded by Lt. Commander Albert Cushing Read, who flew from Rockaway Beach, Long Island,
to Plymouth, England with a crew of five, over 23 days, with six stops along the way. The V-2 rocket (German: Vergeltungswaffe
2) was the first ballistic missile and first man-made object to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight, the progenitor of all modern
rockets including the Saturn V moon rocket. Over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the German Wehrmacht against
Allied targets in World War II. As many as 20,000 slave labourers died constructing V-2s compared to the 7,000 military personnel
and civilians that died from the V-2's use in combat.
rocket powered aircraft were developed by the Germans as early as World War II, and about 29 were manufactured and deployed.
The first fixed wing aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight was a rocket plane- the Bell X-1. The later North
American X-15 was another important rocket plane that broke many speed and altitude records and laid much of the groundwork
for later aircraft and spacecraft design. Rocket aircraft are not in common usage today, although rocket-assisted take offs
are used for some military aircraft. Space Ship One is the most famous current rocket aircraft, being the test bed for developing
a commercial sub-orbital passenger service; another rocket plane is the XCOR EZ-Rocket; and there is of course the Space Shuttle.
On the 14th of
June the Vickers-Vimy Rolls-Royce biplane, piloted by John Alcock and with Arthur Whitten Brown as observer-navigator, left
St. John's, Newfoundland, and arrived at Clifden, Ireland, in sixteen hours twelve minutes, having made the first non-stop
transatlantic flight. Hawker and Grieve meanwhile had made the same gallant attempt in a single-engined Sopwith machine; and
had come down in mid-ocean, after flying fourteen and a half hours, owing to the failure of their water circulation. Their
rescue by slow Danish Mary completed a fascinating tale of heroic adventure. The British dirigible R34, with Major G. H. Scott
in command, left East Fortune, Scotland, on the 2d of July, and arrived at Mineola, New York, on the sixth. The R34 made the
return voyage in seventy-five hours. In November, 1919, Captain Sir Ross Smith set off from England in a biplane to win a
prize of ten thousand pounds offered by the Australian Commonwealth to the first Australian aviator to fly from England to
Australia in thirty days. Over France, Italy, Greece, over the Holy Land, perhaps over the Garden of Eden, whence the winged
cherubim drove Adam and Eve, over Persia, India, Siam, the Dutch East Indies to Port Darwin in northern Australia; and then
south eastward across Australia itself to Sydney, the biplane flew without mishap. The time from Hounslow, England, to Port
Darwin was twenty-seven days, twenty hours, and twenty minutes. Early in 1920 the Boer airman Captain Van Ryneveld made the
flight from Cairo to the Cape.
In the Battle
of Britain in the late summer of 1940, during the Second World War, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the German
Luftwaffe, helping foil Hitler's plans for an invasion of the British Isles, and prompting Prime Minister Winston Churchill
to say in the House of Commons on August 20, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so
few". The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command.
While RAF bombing attacks against Germany began almost immediately upon the outbreak of war, from 1942 onwards, under the
leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became increasingly devastating as new technology and greater numbers
of superior aircraft became available. Controversially, the RAF adopted a policy of night-time area bombing that saw raids
on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden. Other units, however, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations,
such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron.
Brothers plc is a British aerospace company, usually referred to simply as Shorts and is now based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Founded in 1908, Shorts was the first true aviation company in the world, and was a manufacturer of flying boats during the
1920s and 1930s and throughout the Second World War. In the immediate post-war period they received orders for several military
and experimental aircraft; from the 1960s Shorts turned primarily to the production of cargo aircraft. In 1989 the company
was bought by Bombardier. Within Bombardier Aerospace, Shorts designs and manufactures nacelle systems, fuselages and flight
controls. Shorts is the largest manufacturing concern in Northern Ireland. Today the company's products include aircraft
components and engine nacelles for its parent company Bombardier Aerospace, and for Boeing, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, General
Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
There are approximately
44 Spitfires and a few Seafires airworthy worldwide, although many air museums have static examples. For example, Chicago's
Museum of Science and Industry has paired a static Spitfire with a static Ju 87 R-2/Trop. Stuka dive bomber. The RAF Battle
of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire maintains and operates five Spitfires (of various marks) for flying
display and ceremonial purposes. A Spitfire XIVe, MV293 owned by The Fighter Collection at Duxford is marked as MV268, JE-J,
flown by Wing Commander Johnnie Johnson OC 127 Wing, Germany May 1945. There are regularly more than a dozen Spitfires on
site at Duxford. Whilst some of these are under restoration in a private hangar many flying and static examples can be seen
in hangars one to 5. The Temora Aviation Museum in Temora, New South Wales, Australia, has two airworthy Spitfires: a Mk VIII
and a Mk XVI, which are flown regularly during the museum's flying weekends. A Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XVIE is on display
in the Polish Aviation Museum. The Hellenic Air Force Museum own and displays a Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc. Kennet Aviation,
a British company specializing in ex-military aircraft has a Seafire XVII and a number of Seafire projects at its home airfield
at North Weald Airfield.
The Spitfire was a single-seat fighter plane manufactured
by Supermarine, and designed by R.J. Mitchell. Mitchell continued to make modifications to the plane until his death in 1937.
The Spitfire made its combat debut came on October 16, 1939. It was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II
and gained immortal fame during the summer months of 1940 by helping to defeat the German air attacks during the Battle of
Britain. The Spitfire and Mitchell are often credited with winning the Battle of Britain. A favourite of its pilots, the Spitfire
saw service during the all of World War II, in all theatres of the war, and in many different variants. There were 24 marks
and many sub-variants for each mark. In fact, between 1938 and 1948, more than 20,300 examples of all variants were built,
including two-seat trainers.
There was also a naval version of the Spitfire, called the Seafire. These planes were
specially adapted for operation from naval aircraft carriers. There were over 2,000 of these planes built. Along with the
RAF, Spitfires served with most of the Allied air forces in World War II, including the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Royal
Australian Air Force (RAAF), South African Air Force (SAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). The RAAF, the Royal Indian
Air Force and the RAF also used Spitfires against Japanese forces in the Pacific theatre. The Spitfire was one of only a few
foreign aircraft to see service with the United States Army Air Forces. After World War II, the Spitfire remained in use with
many air forces around the world. Some Spitfires remained in service well into the 1950s. It was the only fighter aircraft
that was in continual production before, during and after the war. The Spitfire was retired by the RAF in 1952.
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