29 March 2015

Flying High This Past Week: 23 March-29 March

Don't forget that the new URL for TAILS THROUGH TIME is now www.tailsthroughtime.com. The old blogspot URL will still work, though. Consider it a quick NOTAM! I suppose a sign you've moved up in the blogosphere is when a Wikipedia article lists one of your articles as a source! It was an Wikipedia entry on the Pratt & Whitney J58 engine that powered the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and my blog article on the Mach 3 Phantom proposal is listed as a reference in the sources. This past week was one of the unusual weeks that two articles get posted in a week, so obviously we'll lead off with those two articles on this week's edition of Flying High This Past Week: 
  • The Rise and Fall of Mohawk Airlines and Opening the Door for Frank Lorenzo: Mohawk Airlines began operations in 1944 as Robinson Air Lines, connecting Ithaca, New York, with Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. By 1952 one of the pilots at Robinson eventually took over the airline and renamed it Mohawk following an employee contest for a new name. Mohawk and its new president, Bob Peach, were legendary among local service carriers as they were the first of the second tier of airlines to operate pure jet equipment and it was Peach's determination to operate pure jets that gained him the respect of his peers in the industry. Unfortunately circumstances would doom Mohawk to the point that it had to choose between joining its long time rival, Allegheny Airlines, or a young smooth talking New York businessman whose name became infamous in the US airline industry- Frank Lorenzo. 
  • Proving the Harrier Carrier: The idea of a V/STOL equipped light carrier that is sort of like the modern day equivalent of the light escort carriers of the Second World War had its genesis in the austere budgetary environment that came at the end of the Vietnam War. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, championed a cheaper alternative to the supercarrier called the Sea Control Ship that would use the new AV-8A Harrier as the sharp point of its spear. While the Navy never went forward with the SCS concept, many of our allies paid close attention and the US Marine Corps in particular would use the experience to base the Harrier and now Harrier II aboard the big deck amphibs of the "Gator Navy".
  • Two's Company and Three's A Crowd: The Boeing 737-200 Flight Crew Controversy: This article from the week before last is still getting plenty of hits. I suppose that we are all looking at the number of crew in the flight deck with a different eye these days in light of the Germanwings tragedy. 
  • Operation Teaball: Network-Centric Real-Time Intelligence in Vietnam: While the tools the US military used to restore the fighting effectiveness of its combat pilots are varied, one of the more interesting tools in the renaissance of the fighter pilot in the skies over Vietnam was the use of real-time intelligence to increase the situational awareness of pilots who were operating in the skies over North Vietnam.
  • The Early Days of Airbus Industrie and How the A300 Got Its Name: I don't know what interests me more- the political machinations of 1960s Europe that led to the formation of Airbus or the fact that the A300 designation sprang out of a light hearted joke. Given the juggernaut that Airbus has become in the world commercial aircraft market, it's beginnings were much less assured and much more tenuous at best. 
  • How American Airlines Shaped the A300: Related to the prior linked article on the early days of Airbus Industrie, even though American Airlines didn't operate the Airbus A300 until April 1988 as the launch customer for the A300-600R variant, one of its VPs, Frank Kolk, back in the 1960s had a tremendous influence in shaping the final design of the A300. The A300 was much closer to Kolk's specification for a widebody twin that he authored in 1967 than the eventual aircraft that sprang from Kolk's requirements, the Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar. 
  • The Ryan FR-1 Fireball and F2R Dark Shark: An Evolutionary Dead End: Probably the pinnacle of mixed-propulsion fighter aircraft, these two Ryan fighter designs of the Navy represented a rather simple but effective remedy to the shortfalls of jet engines in the immediate postwar era.
Remember that new blog articles are posted every five days. The next article will be going up on April 2nd, so stay tuned. And for those who missed it, this is last week's edition of Flying High This Past Week

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