Posts Tagged ‘Dayton Ohio


SR-71 Blackbird





The SR-71, unofficially known as the “Blackbird,” is a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft. The first flight of an SR-71 took place on Dec. 22, 1964, and the first SR-71 to enter service was delivered to the 4200th (later 9th) Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., in January 1966. The U.S. Air Force retired its fleet of SR-71s on Jan. 26, 1990, because of a decreasing defense budget and high costs of operation.


American Fighters: F-15 Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-15 Eagle

The F-15 Strike Eagle first entered service in January 1976 and is the primary United States Air Force (USAF) air-superiority fighter.  The F-15 mission is “an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to permit the Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield.”  The USAF has 522 of these fighters in it’s arsenal at a cost of 29.9 million each.  Aerodynamically sound the air craft has flown with one wing completely blown off, delivering pilot and plane safely back to base.


This is why “Heavy Metal” on The History Channel is one of my favorite shows.

F-16 Thunderbird

The F-16 Fighting Falcon pictured here painted with Thunderbird colors “is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.”  Entering service in January 1979 the USAF maintains 1280 F-16s in its arsenal.


B-52 Stratofortress: B.U.F.F.

The B-52 bomber entered service in 1955 and is still active today.  Dubbed “BUFF” for “Big ugly fat [um] fellow” it has seen extensive action in Southeast Asia, and been present in every conflict America has participated in since.  This particular Stratofortress is the B-52D variant used in Vietnam, painted camouflage with black bellies to defeat search lights. Capable of delivering 43,000 pounds of bombs, a flight of B-52s dropping conventional bombs can best be described as raining bombs.  This aircraft is also capable of delivering nuclear payloads, making it a strong weapon of deterrence during the Cold War.  For more on this plane see:


Credence Clearwater Revival:  Have You Ever Seen the Rain

For a complete history of the B-52 Stratofortress follow this link:


World War I Aircraft: Fokker Dr I and the Sopwith Camel

Fokker Dr.I

Fokker Dr.I

With the advent of manned powered flight the phrase one if by land, two if by sea of the Old North Church days needed the addition of three if by air.  Initially during World War I airplanes were used for spying over the enemies trenches, until someone got the idea that they could take a gun with them and shoot at the guys spying from the other side.  Eventually someone mounted a machine gun on an airplane and attempted to shoot at his foes.  The best place to mount a machine gun on early aircraft was directly in front of the pilot like in the picture of the Fokker Dr.I above.  Of course that led to the problem of destroying your own propeller with your own bullets while trying to destroy your enemy.  Anthony Fokker solved the problem by introducing an interrupter gear that interrupted the machine gun when the propeller was directly in front of the gun.

Fokker Dr Ib

Anthony Fokker also created the legendary Fokker Dr.I dreidecker.  The three winged configuration was made most famous when Manfred von Richthoven painted his Dr.I crimson red and became known as the Red Baron.  With eighty kills to his credit — the last nineteen he got in Dr.Is, the Red Baron had more kills than any other pilot of World War I.  For more information on this warplane follow this link:


Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel

The British proved worthy adversaries for control of the skies over the Western Front during World War I.  The British mass produced the legendary Sopwith Camel, creating an impressive 5,490 of these aircraft.  The Sopwith Camel was nimble, fast and climbed well, but was tricky to handle and more men died learning to fly it than were shot down by enemy aircraft.  In the hands of a veteran pilot this plane was a formidable weapon and could dogfight with the Dr.I.  For more information on this airplane follow this link:

To learn more about these planes and other planes like them follow this link:


94th Pursuit Squadron: Hat in the Ring


The Spad XIII was a French biplane used by the United States 94th “Hat in the Ring” Squadron during World War I.  The 94th was the first American squadron to shoot down an enemy aircraft, scored the most kills during World War I of any American squadron, and had Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s leading ace with 26 kills, as its preeminent member.  This airplane and others can be seen at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.  For more of my photos of World War I aircraft click the link in the photos tab at the top of the page.

Like many World War I aircraft this airplane featured a pair of machine guns that shot through the propeller.  The first aircraft to try this didn’t have a way to stop the machine guns from hitting the propeller and the hapless first pilots to fly planes with machine guns firing through the propeller found they were just shooting their own propellers.  Anthony Fokker developed an interrupter gear that prevented the machine gun from firing when the propeller was directly in front of the machine gun, making machine guns mounted in front of the pilot and firing through the propeller possible.


Luftwaffe: Focke Wulf 190 (FW 190)


Arguably the best propeller driven fighter plane of World War II, the Focke Wulf 190 (FW 190) had superior speed and performance over the British Spitfire V and later FW 190 versions would stay a step ahead of its British contemporaries.  The brainchild of Germany’s legendary aircraft designer Kurt Tank, the FW 190-A originally had a top speed of 390mph, and carried four 20mm cannons in the wings.  Later versions with better engines and fewer guns, would be able to reach speeds around 470mph.  In the hands of a novice pilot the plane was forgiving and easy to handle, making the machine a match for experienced and seasoned allied pilots.  In the hands of a veteran Luftwaffe pilot the FW 190 was a devastating weapon capable of destroying B-17 Flying Fortresses, was an easy match for the P-38, P-47 and could go toe to toe with the P-51.  Fighting alongside the Messerschmitt Me 262, the Germans had discovered a very capable replacement for the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

This plane can be found at:

For more history on this type of plane follow this link:


WW II American Fighters: P51d "Mustang"


The North American P-51D was the single most effective American fighter design of World War II.  When fitted with the British Rolls-Merlin supercharged engine, the aircraft’s speed at high altitude increased, making it suitable for bomber escort.  With the addition of drop tanks (round cylinders beneath the wings) the aircraft’s range increased so that it could escort those bombers anywhere in Europe.  The teardrop canopy provided 360 degree visibility, eliminating a blind-spot on earlier versions.  The addition of two more fifty caliber machine guns gave it six total and increased firepower, making it a formidable fighter in plane on plane combat and gave it an effective ground attack capability.  This elite aircraft rose above all other piston powered designs of World War II, with the only aircraft able to outperform it being the Messerschmitt Me 262.  This aircraft can be found at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. ( )

November 2019
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