Archive for September, 2007

30
Sep
07

Fighter Interceptors – America’s Cold War Defenders

In 1945, immediately after VJ Day, the Army Air Force deactivated the last early warning radar stations in the US, and the nine-month old Continental Air Force were quickly brought to a virtually dormant status. Thus, upon being activated on 27 March 1946 to organize and administer the integrated air defense system of the Continental US… exercise direct control of all active measures, and coordinate all passive means of air defense, the AAF Air Defense Command had little to administer, exercise, or coordinate and was without teeth. It assumed control of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron, a purely paper organization, and the 425th NFS, manned by one officer and two enlisted men. The Cold War, in particular the Soviet blockade of Berlin in June 1940, and the explosion in the Soviet Union of a nuclear device in August 1949, and a thermonulear device four years later, quickly changed all that.
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30
Sep
07

Colors & Markings of US Navy and USMC CAG Aircraft

With the exception of two notable time periods, carrier-based aircraft of the U.S. Navy have been among the most colorful in the history of military aviation. The multi-colored schemes of the pre-World War II period quickly gave way to the more subdued grays, blue-grays, and blues that were used during the war. But after the war, and particularly when the gray over white scheme became the standard for carrier-borne aircraft, Navy squadrons customarily adorned their aircraft with a lot of color. The first use of special colors can be traced back to the Navy’s first carrier, the USS LANGLEY, CV-1, Aircraft assigned to the LANGLEY had red, white, and blue “LANGLEY stripes” painted on them to denote their assignment to the carrier. As the Navy added more carriers, all of the aircraft assigned to a given carrier had their tail surfaces painted the same color. Aircraft belonging to the USS LEXINGTON, CV-2, had yellowtails. while those from the SARATOGA, CV-3, wore white tails. Green was painted on the tails of the RANGER’S aircraft, red was used for the LANGLEY, blue was found on fne planes from the ENTERPRISE, and the WASP’S aircraft had black tails. But color was not only used for carrier identification.
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30
Sep
07

Sky Truck

Sky Truck is the result of more than ten years travelling to record the dwindling number of spirited operators who still use fleets of old transport aircraft, against all odds. Who wants to fly a Sky Truck? In a world of jet technology the reasons for the continued operation of aircraft which most people believe passed away ages ago may not be clear, but they are many and varied.Airlines from Third World countries, for example, may have little choice or may not be able to afford to update their tired fleets. In the early 1980s, however, the situation has changed, leaving few that remain in this category. A prime example of an aircraft making do with outdated equipment is Air Tchad.
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30
Sep
07

Sky Truck 2

Anyone who already has a copy of SKY TRUCK on their bookshelf will not need to be told that SKY TRUCK 2 is devoted to the classic pistion-engined airlines of yesteryear. If you’re new to the world of the big recips, welcome aboard. Sit back, stuff some contton wool in your cars and pop a barley sugar in your mouth, because for the next 120 pages soporific high-tech jetliners, whith their colour-CRT displays and other gismo-goodies, are out. Gas-Guzzling old clunks rule, OK? It may not be common knowledge that Stephen Piercey was tragically killed in a flying accident on 20 May 1984, shortly before SKY TRUCK was published. This sequel wold not have been possible without the consent, patience, and encouragement of Ray and Patsy Piercey, Stephen’s parents.
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30
Sep
07

Sky Trucks USA

It is now four years since the publication of out first follow-up book on Stephen Piercey’s famous sky truck theme, and this has turned out to be our biggest challenge yet. Trying lo illustrate the propliner scene across the whole of the continental United States simultaneously, we had a good idea where most of the aircraft were based, but with the active ones, particularly the fire bombers, they proved very evasive as they came under the control of the Forestry Service and moved from fire to fire more or less at will. T he number of times I ar rived somewhere just to see a blank space where they had been was quite frustrating – they just kept putting the damn fires out and mov ing on!Mark carved a line out from northern Florida through the southern states to Los Angeles, digging himself out of snow in Texas in what we assumed would be a mild winter, whilst I worked my way across from Detroit and Chicago to the wide open spaces of Montana and Wyoming, over Colorado and on to San Francisco and LA.
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