Do you remember that some fighter pilots could safely eject from underwater back in 1965? Could it be survived? One may wonder but a few ejections were reported. The transcript is below the video. Look at that canopy, it looks like it came from an F-8 Crusader:
If your aircraft has provision for underwater ejection, you have a ready-made, secondary escape route. Succesful underwater ejections can be made from any aircraft attitude – nose down, tail down, and inverted.
Escape by this method requires no preparation other than that recommended for normal seat ejection. There should be at least ten feet of water above you before you can safely eject. Never eject from the surface. With present systems, the chute cannot open with a zero-zero situation (which means at a height of 0 and at a speed of 0). The effect of free-falling 80 feet to water is little different than falling 80 feet to concrete. True, some lucky ones have lived to tell about it. But it is one hell of a gamble.
When you eject through the canopy underwater, the seat breaks through clearing the way for your body. Because water resistance imposes terrific forces on your head and neck, it is vital to hold the face curtain tight against your head for support. The forces of ejection might cause a momentary blackout. Immediately upon collecting your wits, disconnect yourself from the seat by pulling the emergency release handle breaking your restraints. Now, separate yourself from the seat. This is difficult. You will have to kick and swim violently even though you are disconnected.
If your chute gets hung up on the seat, do not waste time trying to clear it. Release your riser fittings and swim clear off the chute. Do not inflate flotation equipment until clear of the seat. Remember, surface slowly, exhaling as you go. Remove your oxygen mask.
Feb 14, 2016 – The Dutch airport will be one hundred years old in September this year. It used to be a military airfield on a meadow surrounded by a few huts. It has become one of the major airports in the world. The video here below might have been used for an Air-English examination. Let us play with questions – number 1 – according to the video, when was Schipol airport completely destroyed? Number 2 – Could you quote two major improvements that happened in the 1980s? Watch the video:
Here are the answers:
Number 1: Schipol was completely destroyed during World War 2. (listen again at 00’19 »)
Number 2: As far as the 1980s are concerned, you have got the choice between (listen again at 00’47 »):
The airport apron was expanded;
The terminal became bigger;
The area was beautified;
In time, piers and railway connections were added.
There are some really nice aviator pubs and restaurants throughout the world, in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, New-York, in London, Farnborough, Gloucestershire, Paris, Le Bourget. Some only bear the name ‘aviator’ or another one relating to aviation.
While strolling down a street during the summer holidays, I stumbled upon a bar totally dedicated to pilots and aircraft in La Rochelle, France last summer. It was a bit busy on a sunny Saturday afternoon when I saw this sign « LES TÊTES BRÛLÉES » and a shield over the street corner on which I could make out a black sheep. Just above was an inverted-gull-shaped aircraft outline. The picture of a bull terrier on the awning could ring a bell too. This one wore sunglasses – there must be some fun in there, I mused. « Might it be Pappy Boyington’s den? » I wondered.
Some customers let us in and we were standing engrossed with the aviation world as if it were a dream. Flight suits and flight uniforms were hanging over tables. The bar – where laughter, grins and giggles are the norm – was surrounded with badges, aviation artifacts, aircraft and pilots photos up on the walls. There were aircraft models in a showcase, and several of them hanging all over the place. Some souvenirs were dedicated to naval aviation. It looked like a small – though dense – aviation hall of fame. There was a black sign above the bar featuring a short text in white letters, which said:
IN WORLD WAR II ,
MARINE CORPS MAJOR
GREG « PAPPY » BOYINGTON
COMMANDED A SQUADRON
OF FIGHTER PILOTS , THEY
WERE A COLLECTION OF
MISFITS AND SCREWBALLS
WHO BECAME THE TERRORS
OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC .
THEY WERE KNOWN AS THE
BLACK SHEEP .
Sure, it rings a bell! This is the introductory text to the famous series « Baa Baa Black Sheep » about the brave VMA-214 pilots who operated from the Solomon Islands during the WW2, in the Pacific War. I could have heard the theme song from « The Whiffenpoof Song » turned into a drunk-voice, exhausted-though-happy chorus:
WE ARE POOR LITTLE LAMBS,
WHO HAVE LOST OUR WAY.
BAA! BAA! BAA!
Click off and listen:
The black sheep shield outside, the F4U Corsairs inside and this sign you cannot miss when you enter the pub make you breathe aviation history. Everything, even the lavatory walls covered with aviation slang graffiti, are very well in unison with the local atmosphere. Each conversation is focused on flying, pilots, aircraft, and of course fun!
There is a sort of an alcove in the back room made up of genuine airplane seats, artifacts, stickers and photos. You can even drink aviation. Even though Les Têtes Brûlées is not a POL depot you can be served a Kerosene, a great cocktail always served with a grin from the waiters. Jérôme, the boss, seem to be widely known in the aviation community, far beyond La Rochelle. Whoever they are. Pilots, flight attendants, crew members, engineers, aerospace lovers, they all know the Black Sheep’s den. Aviation geeks, this is a place where you have got to go for you can expect a nice welcome.
Il y a dans le monde un bon nombre de bars et restaurants consacrés à l’aviation et quelquefois à l’aérospatiale: en Alabama, Géorgie, Caroline du Nord, New-York, à Londres, Farnborough, dans le Gloucestershire, à Paris, Le Bourget. Il y en a qui ne portent que le nom « aviateur » ou d’autres qui rappellent l’aviation ou l’espace.
Alors que je flânais dans une rue pendant les vacances d’été à la Rochelle, je suis tombé tout à fait par hasard sur un bar entièrement dédié aux pilotes et aux avions. C’était assez animé en ce samedi après-midi ensoleillé lorsque je vis l’enseigne « LES TÊTES BRÛLÉES » surplombant le coin de la rue, sur laquelle on pouvait distinguer un mouton noir. Juste au dessus, la silhouette d’un avion aux ailes en W. L’image d’un chien bull-terrier sur l’auvent en terrasse me rappelait déjà quelque chose… Ce chien portait des lunettes de soleil – on doit bien s’amuser là dedans, songeai-je. Et voici ce que je me demandais soudain: « Se pourrait-il que cette échoppe soit une des antres de Pappy Boyington? »
Des clients devant le bar nous firent entrer et nous sommes restés un moment debouts, captivés par cet univers de l’aviation, comme si c’était en rêve. Des combinaisons de vol et uniformes de personnels navigants étaient suspendus au-dessus des tables. Le bar, où fou-rires, sourires et ricanements semblent de rigueur, était décorés d’insignes, de pièces de collection d’aviation, de photos d’avions et de pilotes qui tapissaient les murs. Il y avait des maquettes d’avion dans une vitrine, et plusieurs qui pendaient un peu partout. Des souvenirs évoquaient l’Aéronavale. Cela ressemblait à un petit, quoique dense, temple de l’aviation. Pour l’accueil, au dessus du bar est affiché un panneau noir rappelant une célèbre séries TV américaine en lettres capitales blanches, traduites de l’anglais:
PENDANT LA DEUXIEME GUERRE MONDIALE,
LE COMMANDANT DES MARINES
GREG « PAPPY » BOYINGTON ÉTAIT
À LA TÊTE D’UNE ESCADRILLE
DE PILOTES DE CHASSE. CELLE-CI
ÉTAIT COMPOSÉE DE MARGINAUX
ET D’AVENTURIERS QUI DEVINRENT
LES TERREURS DU PACIFIQUE SUD
ON LES CONNAISSAIT SOUS LE NOM
DE « BLACK SHEEP » (MOUTON(S) NOIR(S))
Bien sûr que cela vous dit quelque chose! Il s’agit du générique de la célèbre série « Les Têtes Brûlées » qui retraçait la saga des courageux pilotes de chasse de l’escadron VMA-214 qui opéraient depuis les Îles Salomon pendant la seconde guerre mondiale. J’aurais pu même entendre la mélodie tirée de « The Whiffenpoof Song » transformée en un refrain à l’eau de vie entonné par des voix de soiffards épuisés:
NOUS SOMMES DE PAUVRES PETITS AGNEAUX,
QUI SE SONT ÉGARÉS.
BÊÊ! BÊÊ! BÊÊ!
Le mouton noir et cet insigne à l’extérieur qu’on ne peut pas manquer et les Chance Vought F4U Corsairs à l’intérieur, font que cet endroit, dès qu’on y met les pieds, respire l’histoire de l’aviation pour votre bonheur. Tout, même les murs des toilettes, est couvert de graffitis du jargon de l’aéronautique à l’unisson avec l’atmosphère des lieux. Chaque bribe de conversation est tournée vers le vol, les pilotes et les avions et bien sûr on s’y amuse beaucoup!
Il y a un genre d’alcôve dans l’arrière-salle faite d’authentiques sièges d’avions récupérés, de pièces de collection, d’autocollants et de photos. On peut même boire aviation. Même si les Têtes Brûlées n’est pas un dépôt des essences, on peut très bien vous y servir un « KEROSÈNE », un super cocktail toujours accompagné d’un grand sourire du personnel de la maison. Il semble que Jérôme, le patron, soit très connu dans la communauté aéronautique et bien au-delà de La Rochelle. Quels qu’ils soient, pilotes, PNC, membres d’équipage, mécaniciens, passionnés de l’aérospatiale, tous connaissent « l’antre du mouton noir ». Passionnés d’aviation, il faut absolument que vous vous y rendiez parce que vous pouvez être certains qu’on va vous y réserver un très bon accueil.
Cliquez ICI pour vous rendre au bar Les Têtes Brûlées.
What is more natural than looking back over major aviation innovations of the Great War today, the anniversary of the Armistice? Here is a very interesting video posted by the BBC on how the fighter pilots dealt with reconnaissance, bombing missions and dogfight techniques. Primitive flight controls are well explained as is the interest of performing missions with a triplane aircraft – three sets of wings are necessarily more narrow, providing the pilot with a better visual field.
From the flimsy Blériot XI to Sopwiths and Fokkers, the first aces developed early methods that are always taught in fighter schools even though beyond-visual-range air combat has taken over since. Major Charles Tricornot de Rose was considered by many as the father of air fighting as early as 1914. Then as shown in this video, the German ace Oswald Boelcke laid out a first set of rules for dogfighting called the Dicta Boelcke. Pilots’ life expectancy was not measured in years but in weeks.
Few people know that there was a major aerodrome near Paris more than a century ago. Though Louis Blériots’s Aeroparc contributed a lot to aviation history, it was demolished in 1970. Villagers, aviation fans and historians made a decision of renovating the remains of this aviation temple which. There used to be a splendid video reconstruction which unfotunately no longer exists.
For the 100th anniversary of the English Channel crossing by Louis Blériot, a well-documented publication was released in 2009 – « Buc à travers l’aviation« . A Mirage III R was given too, by SECAMIC company. This Dassault recce aircraft can be seen in Avenue Jean Casale between Buc and Toussus-le-Noble, France. The Buc citizens could proudly look back at their prestigious aviation past as Buc and Toussus-le-Noble airfields used to be an aviation history cradle.
Villagers and historians wanted to value their aeronautical heritage in 2012 and they made a decision of setting a renovation project of Blériot’s Aéroparc entrance which is located at the beginning of Guynemer Avenue. Many documents from archives allowed them to incentivize an accurate reconstruction. As the pictures show, the renovation works have already begun as of September 2, 2015.
At the same time, the statue erected to commemorate Jean Casale (1893-1923), WWI ace and Blériot’s test pilot et pilote d’essai aux établissements Blériot, will also be restored for it has been damaged by the effects of time. As far as the Mirage III R is concerned, it would also need a new coat of paint.
Louis Blériot won international renown as well as his presence at the very first Paris Air Show (Salon de l’Aéronautique which occurred at « Le Grand Palais » in Paris instead of Le Bourget) in late 1909 thanks to his Channel crossing on July 25, 1909. He had crossed the English Channel on his Blériot XI monoplane which is still exhibited at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. Accordingly, Blériot-Aéronautique received a lot of aeroplane orders since then. Louis Blériot wanted to open a flying school. He established his school near Paris, to the south of Versailles on Buc airfield in order to train pilots and test new flying machines. It was inaugurated on November 13th, 1912. The whole airfield and compound was called Aerodrome Louis Blériot.
There was a monumental gate before the main building which looked like a castle. It was the very heart of the school as well as a hotel for the student pilots and a restaurant. Hangars and grandstands were added so as to organise airshows. Many great aviators and aces landed and took off at Blériot’s Aérodrome such as Roland Garros, Maryse Bastié, Maxime Lenoir, Edmond Perreyon and the Swiss John Domenjoz. Célestin Adolphe Pégoud nicknamed « Le roi de l’air » – « King of the air » – was one of the first pilots looping the loop. Here is a video shot on September 21st, 1913 in front of a 200,000 attendance above Blériot’s aerodrome in Buc:
The airfield was very active during WW1 thanks to its SPADs, then in the 1920s. The downturn of the Aéroparc started when Louis Blériot passed away on August 2, 1936. Aéroparc Louis Blériot was occupied by the German troops during WWII and was bombed by the Allies several times in 1944. The Aéroparc facilities were given back to Blériot-Aéronautique but it was left in tatters. The movements stopped in 1966 and it was closed down in 1970 before being demolished a few years after. The remnants of the monumental gate were all that is left from this exceptional past. Therefore, the Aéroparc renovation aims at valuing this site’s aviation history heritage.