So last Friday, Aaron and I met up just outside of Dayton, Ohio and we went to the Air Force museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I have not been here since the mid-1980's and the place has grown quite a bit since then. Sadly, my camera didn't really perform all that well inside the building, but that's probably for the better since it would have taken forever for me to upload 166 pictures to this site and had they all come out ok, I probably would have. So here are some of my favorites.SPAD VII of the type flown by the Americans volunteers of the Lafayette Escadrille and some of the earlier American Expeditionary Force in World War One (above) and a SPAD XIII like the one that American fighter ace and professional race car driver Eddie Rickenbacker flew later in the war (below).These two just beg to be pulled outside and flown. I'd love to fly one of these. Pity that both of them were so far from the fire exit.
An early Hawker Hurricane MkIIa fighter. Workhorse of the Battle of Britain and mainstay of the RAF during the war, by the end of the war they were considered so obsolete that the Canadian Government was selling them for $50.00 each and farmers were buying them for their engines and any other bits and pieces that they could make use of. Had my grandparents been a bit more forward-thinking, they'd have known that I'd come along and be wanting one someday. But alas...(sigh).
A Curtiss P-40E, our state-of-the-art at the beginning of World War Two. (Actually the E model was a big improvement over the P-40B's that first went into action at Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, and in China with the American Volunteer group, better known at the Flying Tigers.) I'll never see one of these again without remembering Robert Barnaskas.
The Bell P-39 Airacobra. This one has snow on it to commemorate the type's service in the Aleutians. (Although this is a P39Q, not one of the earlier D models that were used there.) The aircraft's engine was behind the pilot and it turned the prop via a driveshaft that ran up between the pilot's legs. This allowed for a 37mm cannon to be mounted up front, firing through the spinner hub, and two nose-mounted .50 machine guns firing through the prop arc. (It had two more .50s in the wings.) Lacking a supercharger on the engine, it was best flown at low altitudes and made a great ground attack aircraft. About half of the ones made went to Russia as Lend-Lease. When I spoke with General Chuck Yeager once, he told me that of all the aircraft he ever flew, this one was his favorite.
I'll post more later. Blogger's irking me and Murphy has a new toy that he wants me to play with.