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“Bob” Hoover could arguably be the best stick & rudder man in the history of flight. He has the feel for energy management that amazes everyone…
First flown in February 1939, the Grumman Wildcat (designated “Martlet” by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm) proved durable and rugged. On Christmas Day 1940, two Martlet Is (a F4F-3 derivative) downed a Luftwaffe Junkers Ju-88 near Scapa Flow, and on 21 September 1941, two Martlet IIs (an F4F-4 export model) from the aircraft carrier HMS Audacity downed a Luftwaffe Focke Wolf Fw-200. Wildcats were heavily relied upon by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps during 1941-1942.
By the early 1920s the U.S. Army Air Service needed a new primary trainer. The Army chose the Consolidated PT-1 “Trusty.” Deliveries commenced in 1925. Being very easy to fly, the PT-1s unfortunately sometimes made students overconfident prior to their advancement to more challenging aeroplanes.
“During World War II, most Royal Air Force pilots trained in Tiger Moths, including Americans who flew with the Eagle Squadrons before the United States entered the war. In the United Kingdom, Tiger Moths performed a variety of roles in addition to that of primary trainer, including submarine patrol, air ambulance and even prisoner evacuation. The U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942 ordered 200 from de Havilland of Canada as the PT-24, but these were never delivered and were diverted to the Royal Canadian Air Force instead.” – NMUSAF Factsheeet.
“In 1940 the U.S. Army Air Corps ordered 203 Curtiss O-52s for observation duties — signified by the designation ‘O’ — and used them for military maneuvers within the continental United States. Upon America’s entry into World War II, however, the U.S. Army Air Forces realized that the airplane lacked the performance necessary for combat operations overseas. As a result, the Army relegated the O-52 to stateside courier duties and short-range submarine patrols off the coasts of the United States. The O-52 was the last ‘O’ type airplane procured in quantity for the Army. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army Air Forces cancelled the ‘O’ designation and adopted ‘L’ for the liaison type airplanes that replaced it.” – NMUSAF Factsheet.
“The versatile Lightning performed many different missions during World War II, including dive bombing, level bombing, bombing through clouds, strafing, photo reconnaissance and long range escort.” – NMUSAF Factsheet.
The Grumman F7F Tigercat was the first twin-engined fighter aircraft to enter service with the United States Navy. However, the majority of F7Fs flew from land bases as attack aircraft or night fighters. Only the F7F-4N was certified for carrier service. Tigercats saw service in the Korean War and were withdrawn from service in 1954.
The U.S. Air Force “sent 25 A-37As, nicknamed ‘Super Tweets,’ to Southeast Asia for combat evaluation under the name Combat Dragon. These aircraft primarily flew close air support, night interdiction and forward air control missions in South Vietnam and southern Laos.” – NMUSAF Factsheet.
The twin turboprop Grumman OV-1 Mohawk was an armed military observation and attack aircraft. It was designed for battlefield surveillance and light strike missions. Two crew members sat in tandem seats. The OV-1 was designed to operate from short, unimproved runways in support of ground forces.
The Northrop Grumman (formerly Grumman) EA-6B Prowler is a twin-engine, mid-wing electronic warfare aircraft derived from the Grumman A-6 Intruder airframe. The Grumman Aerospace A-6 Intruder was a twin turbojet engine, mid-wing all-weather attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. The A-6 was designed as an all-weather attack aircraft to replace the Douglas A-1 Skyraider.
Stories about the air war in Southeast Asia, over North & South Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos are tales of heroes and heroic feats of flying on the edge.
Senator John McCain is one of those aviators who flew those skies and still bears the scars. He became a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, but survived and came home alive! Unfortunately many have forgotten how much we owe our heroes. Read their stories and learn what courage it took to experience the hell they went through…
The Famous “Gooney-Bird” Douglas C-47 (DC-3)
“Flying in an airplane is safer than driving a car!”
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