Friday, October 02, 2015

Groton Flight Pt.2--Electric Boat

I really came into Groton expecting to see one sub--museum sub USS Nautilus, SSN 571--but it turned out that I was going to see six more. First there was that three at the New London base, and then, right down the river, there was this place and three more boats.

Electric Boat works, now owned by General Dynamics. These are the people that built the subs.
And looking down on their yard, they're sure busy. There's one in the flooded dry dock just outside their buidling.
Why do they keep shrouding the sails on these boats? The Navy yard did it, too. Is that to protect something from prying eyes?
Oh, but check out the nose on that boat. You'd think if they were worried about eyes in the sky, they'd have covered that.
It's launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles. I thought that it would be all secret, and then I found this 2012 article about them. I guess not so secret after all.
Then there was this one, tied up pierside.

And this one, in dry-dock and fully exposed, save for the screw being shrouded, probably to keep from giving spy satellites and nosy Cessnas a good look at their stealth technology.

Again, I'm holding back on a few photos that I think might be showing a bit much, but it still surprised me to see all this stuff just laid out there in broad daylight for anyone and his dog to fly over and gawk at.

And with all of this to stare at, I completely overlooked Nautilus at her berth and thr US Coast Guard academt on the other side of the river. but can you really blame me?

Thursday, October 01, 2015

First day flying into Groton. (pt.1)

So the flight out east was nice, even though I had to fly higher than I like to to avoid clouds. As a consequence, some of the pics aren't the best, but I did see a fair bit indeed.
Here's a power pant down on the Susquehanna River.
And here's the Hudson River, north of New York City.

Towboats are cool.
Hudson, looking south towards New York City. I originally wanted to fly up the Hudson, but between the normal tight corridor that you have to fly (meaning not much ability to take pics) and the Temporary Flight Restrictions due to the Pope's visit, going around NYC to the north just made more sense.
And here we have the sportsplex of Yale University. Looks loke they've got a game going on in the stadium.
Campus of Yale.
Both Presidents Bush went here, as did Presidents Ford and Clinton. John Kerry went here too, and GW Bush--the one that the Left keeps calling "stupid"--got better grades than Kerry.

But enough of that stuff. We be flyin' today.

I flew east for a bit, north of Long Island Sound, and from 6,000 feet, didn't get to see much that was horribly interesting. But that changed when I approached Groton, Connecticut and swung a bit north so that my approach to their wonderful airport would take me down the Thames River. Then I saw neat stuff indeed, and from a much lower approach altitude.

Oh, look...a shipyard. The US Navy's Sub Base at New London, to be exact. (Groton Airport, upper left.)
And here there be submarines. Three of 'em, it looks like.
Lookie, lookie...a nuclear submarine.
And two more at the next pier.
It felt kinda strange flying right over the tops of these things like that, but there are no flight restrictions for this airspace, and I'm not seeing or photographing anything that can't be viewed on Google Earth for the most part. (I am omitting a few photos that I think showed too much detail, just as a precaution.)

Three cheers for our Silent Service!

But if you think that these are something, wait until you see what's next, right down the river.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Other aircraft seen

While traveling this past week-end, I did see some other neat aircraft, both on display and in use.

Here's a glider and towplane below me over southern New Jersey.
A bit of internet sleuthing determines that it's the folks from Yards Creek Soaring out of Blairstown, NJ, and their 1964 Piper PA-25-235 towplane hauling a sailpane of undetermined make.

There was this nifty older Huey Cobra at Battleship Cove.
And there was also this Huey gunship next to it, complete with Old AF Sarge rocking his Air Force hat.
My favorite though: This T-28 Trojan. I needs me a T-28.
We pondered whether anyone would notice if they came in one morning soon and found a Cessna 172 in it's place. But as Sarge pointed out: "How you gonna get it off the dock?"

Then there was this nifty amphibian at the Newport Stater Airport where I met Sarge, and where he dropped me back off.
I was also parked across from this slick ex-Comunist bloc Yak trainer/aerobat at the same place.
Must be fun to work on. When I casually asked my A&P guy if he worked on radials during my last annual, he said that he did..."but if you're thinking of getting one of those Yaks, take it someplace else."

But the coolest aircraft I saw all week-end really does have to be Old Beetlebomb, shown here on the ramp at Block Island.
Gotta love this one. This is the one that took me everywhere and let me take cool pictures like these:
It's also the one that got me home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Battleship Cove

Sunday morning, I flew into Newport State Airport in Rhode Island, to be met by blogger Old Air Force Sarge. He picked me up there, and we were off to Battleship Cove, arriving forthwith, with only a few detours (as in "see it but can't get to it") that he blamed on his GPS, road construction, high taxes and solar flares. Just a guess, but I'm thinking that he wasn't a navigator in the Air Force.

Finally, we got there and walked aboard a fine collection of warships, the first being the USS Joseph P. Kennedy jr., DD 850, a Gearing-class Destroyer.
Here's Sarge checking out the ASROC launcher.
Note that he's standing respectfully outside the red DANGER stripe on the deck. The launcher could and did pivot quite quickly when in use.
Some extra labeling for sailors who didn't quite get it.

Next, we went aboard USS Lionfish, SS298. Lionfish is a World War Two Balao class fleet boat. And as you can tell from prior posts, I loves me some fleet boats.
I'll probably do a whole post on Lionfish later, but if nothing else, let me assure you all that her Dive horn still works. (And I'd have been disappointed had it not.)
(Shown: Green Dive alarm, yellow General alarm (inoperative). Red Collision alarm box is missing.)
But Sarge tells the story better than I can, so I'll refer you to his site for his version of what happened.

It was also someplace in this control room where Sarge cracked his melon on a low-hanging box with sharp corners. Sadly, he didn't give me advance warning so I could video it. Would have been cooler than just hearing the mumbled profanity.

Next, we popped in on the Hiddensee, A Russian-made Tarantul I-class missile corvette that was built for East Germany in 1984 and commissioned Rudolf Egelhoffer. They used her from 1985 through 1990 when Germany was re-unified, and the German Kriegsmarine re-named her Hiddensee before decommission her in 1991. Then they gave it to the US Navy, which used her for five years for testing as USNS Hiddensee before eventually donated her here.
Hiddensee, stern view.
Hiddensee, from the deck of USS Massachusetts.
Not a Dalek. One of Hiddensee's close-in air-defense guns on her stern.
76.2mm main gun.
SS-N-2C missile launcher. Lower missile is on a reloading platform that had to be assembled in place each time a new missile was placed on the tube. When this ship was transferred to the US Navy, the Germans also transferred 170 of those missiles. Wonder where those are now?
Missile launcher, rear view.
Small bridge, with no bridge wings. How does the captain see to dock this boat?
Simple controls, with writing in both Russian and German, and English translations courtesy of a label-maker pasted below the important ones.

When I come back, USS Massachusetts.