Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quick notes on the day:

The chief RSO at Iggle Crick had brought along his Baughman-ized 4" S&W Highway Patrolman, with a 7-shot cylinder set up for moon clips. It made me feel all tingly and avaricious inside. Especially after I ran a cylinder of smokin' Federal 125gr SJHP through it.



I will never again worry about going to see the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds. You kids can have your guys in their nomex poopy-suits with their flying tea kettles. The Indy air show had The Horsemen doing their thing: A flying threesome of P-51D's locked wingtip-to-wingtip, looping and spiralling and turning and flat-hatting it over the airfield. If you have never had a trio of Merlins in full song come roaring only a couple hundred feet over your head, you don't know what you're missing. If I found out that the only way for me to keep those 1650 cubic-inch V-12s running was to drive down to the Gulf and hand-paint pelicans with crude oil using a bucket and a brush, I'd do it.

If you like planes, and The Horsemen are performing in your neighborhood, go and see them. Seriously. It is frickin' transcendent.

42 comments:

benEzra said...

They. Are. Awesome.

Here is the view from the right-hand cockpit:

http://www.asb.tv/videos/view.php?v=022754bc

D.W. Drang said...

Next time The Collings Foundation is in town I'm springing for as flight or three.

Tax deductible, at least until Obamas IRS has it's way...

Joseph said...

P-51s hold a very special place in my heart as my father used to take us to airshows, as many as we could get to and he instilled in me a love of the P-51 and especially the unique note of the Merlin. I still get goose-bumps whenever I hear them.

The ultimate experience that I sadly wasn't a part of was just after the Confederate Airforce got their B-29 back together and were touring it. They flew it into IND for the, then, Columbus airshow. My dad worked 3rd shift on just North of the airport and heard it was coming the day before and after he got off work, went to the airport for it's arrival. Not only did he get to see the only flying B-29 come in, but the powers that be let it do several fly-bys. Oh and it had four escorts, yep, four P-51Ds flying off her wingtips. I about had a fit when Dad showed us the 8mm film he took (yes, I'm old).

Jeffro said...

Eau de Avgas. Nuff said.

reflectoscope said...

Shame about the f*ing music.

Jim

Jim said...

I saw 'em last year at the Ellington A.F.B. airshow. Much of a Blue Angels fan that I am, the Horsemen absolutely stole the show.

Bonus was that the taxiway was no more than 20' from the seating area. Getting to see them close-up as they weaved down the line (to see over the cowl) was a visceral experience. Exhaust stacks tiking, the smell of high-octane avgas and the contrast of the muted purr of the Merlin idling the plane along.

Like big cats sauntering down the taxiway after a kill, they were.


Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Tam said...

reflectoscope,

They have their own soundtrack played at the show while they do their aerial ballet. Girlie as it makes me sound, it nearly brought me to tears more than once; it was well-synchronized with the performance.

Geodkyt said...

Heh. In one of my hobbies, I get INVITED to camp out all weekend on airfields during WWII themed airshows.

Just did two in about two weeks, planning on a third coming up. . .

Ritchie said...

My Dad was learning to fly Mustangs, which, as far as I can tell, would have put him in line to fly strike and escort missions 6 hours out and back over the Pacific with non-random gunfire at the midpoint. Then some smart guys put a kink in the flow of history by getting their physics on, thereby greatly increasing the odds of my existence. So, I'm just a feeble geezer who gets all verklemt when a silver sword of righteous wrath snarls over.

Anonymous said...

silver sword of righteous wrath

Love it!

Tam said...

Geodkyt,

"Heh. In one of my hobbies, I get INVITED to camp out all weekend on airfields during WWII themed airshows."

The guy doing WWII Jerry looked surprised that I asked if his Pzkw VI was done on a T-34 chassis. ;)

rickn8or said...

Recips. The way Gawd intended.

Now imagine one of those coming at you at 400 kts with a half-dozen .50 BMGs at full song...

Anonymous said...

Your post a while back as to iconic mechanical sounds?

Right at the top of your list that included the air-pounding Huey, the potatotpotato HD, and the compression blowback of a Jake brake, has to be the angry, unique roar of these Rolls Royce wonders and the deafening thunder of the giant supercharged Pratt radial in the aptly named Thunderbolt.

I had the pleasure of taking in both recently when I was waiting in the car as my wife shopped, and the annual Lakeland, FL Sun 'n Fun Fly-in was underway nearby. I don't know if the pair of Mustangs that danced over my head as they made their loop back toward the airfield were the Horsemen, but they were amazing. The P-47 flew solo, making a low pass just off to my left, and while you mentioned the full-song of the P-51's, in my comment to you at that time I recalled the Thunderbolt's full-throat roar. Whatever you call that sound, what it is is what it was...the beautiful music of history and freedom.

Let me know when you come down to paint those pelicans and I'll buy you a beer or three when you're done...it's hot down here.

AT

wv: squat...the more I live and learn, the more I realize I don't know it.

Ed Foster said...

Lovely! The most important fighter of the Second World War, because it got the bombers through, and a beautiful piece of art in it's own right.

I don't doubt the F4U-4 or -5 would take it in a one on one (can't you tell I grew up Navy), but there is an engineering term called elegance, the simplest answer to a problem.

In this case it's an elegant solution coupled with an esthetically elegant piece of aerodynamics, all that could be wrung out of anything attached to the lovely Merlin engine.

My Dad talked about sitting on deck one day at Cavite navy yard, listening to the hypnotic sound made by a flight of Mustangs heading in over Manila.

The Belleau Wood got stuck on Magic Carpet duty for a year after the war, ferrying troops home from the western Pacific, and it gave him lots of time to socialize and play gearhead with the AAF guys.

He would never admit there was a real aircraft engine that wasn't an air cooled radial, but he always smiled when he saw a P-51, and never said anything bad about them, which was his way of a compliment.

I really hope the Horsemen get east of the mountains some time soon.

RevolverRob said...

The wiki article mentions that of the 150 flying P-51s they are worth about 2 million bucks a piece. I'm not afraid to say it...You know that terrible meme, "If you could have just one gun". I would sell off all firearms and decline to purchase anymore, save for "the one", for the opportunity to buy, own, and fly a P-51. Not a doubt in my mind.

-Rob

Ed Foster said...

Sept 18-19, they're at NAS Oceana in Virginia. Me too:-) Already made the reservations @ HIE. One more I owe you Tammy. Thanks.

Geodkyt said...

Tam,

The Fighter Factory, in Virginia Beach.

HIS airfield, HIS airplanes, HIS museum.

Means that SUnday afternoon around 1700 or so, we got (while camped 20 meters off the strip) multiple high speed passes (according to some of the museum folks, 300 knots in some cases) at under 50 feet, running right down teh middle of teh strip (see above) so close the warm sweet stink of AVGAS fumes would wake you out of the daze the engines put you in. . .

Awesome.

And my German counterparts (who showed up doing Luftwaffe) had the 88mm turned over to them. The museum guys just gave them a 5 minute class on shooting the Flakkannone, handed them the ammo bins, and gave them a schedule of demo firings to meet.

reflectoscope said...

Tam,

The same has happened for I, but that youtube video would have been better off without it laid over like that. Had it been in the background (and about balanced with the aircraft sounds) then it'd be a better fit I think.

Jim

w/v: wings. I have a screenshot to prove it, seeing as I wouldn't possibly expect anyone to believe it.

Joe in PNG said...

Sadly, they're not schedualed to hit my current location, and I missed the original performance by a long number of years. I do hear that the temporary residents at the time were not so thrilled by the USAAF and USN free airshows (with live fireing gun and bomb bonus). Maybe that's one of the reasons they left...

Ed Foster said...

I live just over the fence from Bradley International, and whenever the wind shifts to the north I have the commercial birds coming oner with their gear down at about 200 feet. My Springer Spaniel used to point them.

There are several gunclubs near the Rt. 75 strip, as for some reason folks don't notice the noise as much when there's a 747 overhead.

Next to the airport we have the New England Air Museum, and I got invited to a New Years Eve bash up there a few years ago.

Our table was set up under the wing of the B-29, with the howitzer in the nose of the B-25 staring at me from across the isle.

It bummed me out, as I wanted to be on the other side, near the F4U, F6F, TBF, and other Navy birds. But, it was free, so...

The music was period '40's, and really good. We had a group of Andrews Sisters impersonators who were unbelievable, and the booze flowed like, well, booze. Great night.

We have an open cockpit weekend coming up, which always reminds me of NAS Green Cove Springs when I was a kid. I'd go to work with my father on Saturdays, while he got all the old prop birds ready to ship to the French.

The reserve units were all transitioning to jets, and the old F4U's, SBD's, and Hellcats were on their way to Algeria and VietNam.

I got to wiggle all the controls, but had a hard time reaching the pedals. Did you know the gunner on SBD's could fly the plane? There was a detachable stick clipped to the bulkhead, and the pilot could catch a few winks on a long flight.

But for watching them actually fly, all I get is commercial stuff, ANG A-10's overhead all weekend, and the Hueys from Camp Hartell two tobacco fields over.

I'm really looking forward to Virginia in September. Thanks again.

Desertrat said...

When the 1st MarDiv phased out of Korea, their Air Wing decided to wave Bye-bye here and there around the USAF bases. F4U Corsairs. You get a gaggle of those critters playing "How low can you go?" and life gets exciting. A controller in the tower looked DOWN at an oncoming Corsair. And I swear the eagle on our flagpole at the 50th AA Bn Hq folded in his wings and ducked.

A squadron of ROK P-51s came up to K-13 from Pusan to wait out a typhoon. In leaving, they formed up and did a formation pass over the airbase. Beautiful to watch...

Art

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Merlins and just-fired paper shotgun shells: one to delight your ears, one for your nose as you whiff on a blue October morning.

Today's jet engines and plastic shells just don't measure up.

og said...

I got to see a brace of Spitfires at oshkosh some years back. It was tastiness, pure tastiness.

perlhaqr said...

I'd love to have one of those engines for a hot rod.

And the budget to fuel it, of course. ;)

WV: "gearated" Damn right I'm gearated!

Dixie said...

Last airshow I was at, they had a Sea Fury. A flyover of a Sea Fury, a P-51 and a Corsair is a sound to behold.

And I have to ask Tam... what type of show did the Skyraider put on?

Tam said...

Unfortunately we missed the Spad. :(

Dixie said...

Unfortunately we missed the Spad. :(

Heh. Last one I saw was supposed to do an aerial display, but they blew one of the cylinders and had to leave it as a static display. I had forgotten how BIG they were, though.

Will said...

In Australia some years ago, a guy was lopping off two cylinders at a time of a Merlin engine to make a v-twin engine for a custom bike he produced. Would come to about a 2.3L twin! No idea how many he built.

There were some early Chevy Nova's hotrodded with the Merlin engine, about a dozen, IIRC. Think most of them killed the drivers at some point. They were street rods!

Never saw it, but a classmate in high school bought a P-51 with his dad. About '69-70. IIRC, price was about $15K, which was the price of a house then. (I lived in the cheap part of a high-rent town, the parking lot at school had a fair number of 'Vettes and other factory hot-rods driven by students)

I worked with a guy who soloed his father's P-51 at age 16. Saw it parked in the pits at the Reno Air Races in '84?, but his dad didn't make it, due to an accident investigation in the Air Force of a B1. (Guy's eyes were too bad to fly commercially, but he was working on a jet rating at the time.)

Those Merlins were pretty hot for their time, making about 1 HP/cubic inch. They get pretty fragile when hot rodded for racing. When I watched them race in the '80s, maybe half would finish the race. Problem was they were competing against 4-row radial engines hung on fighters that originally had two-row engines. That's 2800 cu in replaced by a 3650 cu in engine. There's only so much you can do with aerodynamics to offset a 2-1 hp advantage. Hell, the turbos geared to the crank returned about 800hp to those 4 row engines!

I think more than half the enjoyment of watching those races was listening to those engines. Strange how the Alison engines of the P-38 sounded different from the Merlin's. And when they throw a rod, it puts a hole in the crankcase you could stick your head through.

I'm rambling, maybe I should eat before posting!

Mors said...

its days like today that make me freekin love you and your room mate Tam

Will said...

According to Yeager, the P-51 had a lethal trait, that seemed to lower its' appeal for him. He stated that it was very difficult to recover from a stall/spin, which he attributed to the wing planform. It was an attempt at a laminar flow wing. Good for high speed. Reading between the lines, I got the impression he thought it may have killed a bunch of combat pilots. IIRC, you could stall it at high speed, which would initiate a snap roll into a flat spin. Not many pilots would have the ability, or necessary altitude, to recover, and bailing out would have been difficult.

Billy Beck said...

perlhaqr: My Dad was stationed at Barksdale, '71-4. When we lived on base there, there was an A1c (busted from SSgt) who spent all his time and what was left of his money in the base hobby shop, stuffing an Allison V-12 into the back of a '56 Chevy Nomad. Firewall right behind his head.

I never heard it fire and don't know what became of it.

Will said...

Wow, just watched the videos! Wonder what it cost for insurance, if they can even GET hull coverage. I think most warbirds are lost in airshow stunts, typically loops at low level. Followed by rolls at near ground level. Hell, any maneuvers near ground level are hazardous. Am reminded of the two P-51's lost doing a formation landing.

James family outpost, Iowa. said...

oh baby, I'm very familiar with the Blue Angels, my dear old Dad being a career Navy Pilot, '66 to '87 as a pilot, (mostly A-6) then er, "State Dept." after that. But I never got to see multiple P-51's; though I did see a flyover by the "Confederate Airforce" @ NAS Oceania in Virginia featuring (I think) a B-17, B-24, P-51, TFB Avenger, & F-6 Hellcat.
Great stuff! Love the B-17 at low altitude!

Michael in CT said...

I've been going to airshows for a long time now and somewhere along the way my interest went from the modern jets to the WWII Warbirds. There is nothing like seeing a Thunderbolt or a PBY up close. Most modern aircraft lack the character or presence that a Warbird has. Here's a link to a list of airshows in the US:
http://www.airshows.com/2010UsAirShow.htm

Anonymous said...

Wife and I got to see one of the two remaining flyable Avro Lancasters take off and land up at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum back in '97. Four synchronized Merlins...
They sell hour-long flights in it; cost is around $2K.

IdahoHunter said...

Mustang just the coolest plane ever Never miss a local airshow where one will show up. Just love to stand next to them and dream.
On a different note about 1999 or 2000 went to an air shoe at Mountain Home AFB. At the start of the Thunderbird show, they all split up and the single was to do a barrrel role right in front of the crowd.he forgot to set his altimiter to the local altitude. It was obvious to me he would not make the bottom of his circle. I had my grandson by the hand and began to quickly walk backwards ,tripping over people behind us. he was at least a half mile away from the crowd but when that jet hit the ground we still felt the heat from the fireball. An F-16 hitting the ground at about 450 knots is a hell of a sight! The pilot ejected at perhaps500 ft. and the seat shot him almost horizontal to the ground. the canopy did not fully open till he was at most 100 ft off the ground. He walked away, but what a sight!

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Brain wandered a little, and I started thinking what it'd be like if the 1650ci Merlin had been 'kept up with' and updated along with the best modern engine technologies...

a ~220ci naturally aspirated V6 nowadays, with direct injection and VVT, is over 300hp on MUCH lower octane than available and shoving exhaust through a precious metal sponge... Hennessy has a ~380ci pushrod V8 pumping out 1200hp...

I'm imagining a DI, VVT, multi-turbocharged 1650ci Mustang here making, (with linear scaling)... over 5000-6000 horsepower without pushing hard.

And now I'm picturing a 'stunt' of rigging a so-equipped 'stang vertically, revving up and adjusting the prop pitch for a good hard swat at the air... revving up hard and taking off VERTICALLY, and continuing to climb as far as it wants. Yeah, I know it's still not likely even then but it'd be a hell of a sight (and sound... even those high HP V6s have an absolutely rorty engine note, imagine twelve or sixteen cylinders tuned like that roaring at full song!)

Tam said...

I had an article someplace on why auto engines rarely make good aero engines and vice versa. You'd have loved it.

(Subies make the transition well, it seems.)

DarrenS said...

I flew my dad from New Hampshire down to Cincinnati back in the fall of 2007 so that I could take him to "A Gathering of Mustangs and Legends" up in Columbus. More than 150 P51 Mustangs in one place and up and flying...an experience neither of us will ever forget...simply amazing.

Dixie said...

I had an article someplace on why auto engines rarely make good aero engines and vice versa. You'd have loved it.

Dunno if it's the same article, but I read an engineer's explanation of the differences between aircraft and industrial engines. It boils down to maintenance-- a guy who can afford a plane can afford a mechanic's time, but John Q. Public would get pissed if his 'stang had to go into the shop every fifth trip.

George said...

Hamilton, Ontario ... home of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is co-located on the local airport. This coming weekend sees a return of an air show (sorta) on the Fathers' Day Weekend. The Lancaster's four Merlins will be in action. (Last weekend, the B-25 was up and about for us radial engines freaks.)

The Father's Day Weekend air show was always spectacular ... especially the fly-bys of the WW II aircraft. But ... the supreme pleasure was for those of us who stayed late on Sunday ... when the pilots and planes took off for home. I remember the A-10s doing low level passes at speed. Great fun.

But ... seeing the many P-51s, the occasional P-38 along with at least one Corsair!

They just don't make sounds like that any more.

I need to locate new radial engine start ups ... to replace the Microsoft bingie-bongies on this PC.

Regards.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Oh, I'm well aware of the differences... doesn't mean that the aero engine couldn't take advantage of a lot of the more modern automotive technologies.

Variable valve timing and duration... instead of stretching out the volumetric efficiency curves to the higher reaches, could be used to lessen effective restriction when under high boost, and on the exhaust side could be used to some degree to help lower valve seat temperatures (as could variable lift or variable duration, but those aren't as mainstreamed as straight VVT).

Direct injection... well, it's direct injection. Do it right for aircraft and you get a nice stratified charge effect that gets a good hot burn with a richer 'layer' around the cylinder head and piston crown, and could be used possibly with some manner of 'after-injection' taking advantage of what's usually a much longer stroke to get more fuel utilization than could be possible with natural cylinder filling, without spiking cylinder pressures of an entire stoch'c charge combusting at once. All theory, of course.

Heck, could even mix DI fuel with DI water... constant controlled cylinder temperature for any mixture or power level.

Hey, if you're already using direct injection and blowers... go two-stroke.

Can you imagine the horsepower capability of a Detroit-esque port intake 1500ci 2-stroke aircraft engine running 115 octane fuel, direct cylinder water injection, and 50-60 pounds of manifold pressure? Undersquare and ~3000rpm, lots of time to give a computer to measure and calculate, letting it give you a tailored (and MASSIVE) BMEP without torching the valves or melting the piston crowns/crushing ring lands...