Buddy’s Aviation History Blog #4: Looking back on October Sky

Yesterday evening I was thinking back to when I used to shoot Estes rockets in the backyard, and I got to thinking about the movie October Sky. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is a movie based on the teenage years of Homer Hickam Jr. (former NASA engineer) and his passion for rocketry. Together he and his friends build model rockets (some of which get them in trouble) and go on to win the national science fair, where Homer shakes the hand of his favorite scientist Wernher von Braun without realizing who he was. This movie inspired me when I was younger, and it had been several years since I had seen it; I am glad that I decided to watch it.

Photo from IMDb

Photo from IMDb

 

 

Good Aspects of the Movie

1.) It is a true story (you don’t see that in many movies, and when you do the truth is usually stretched)

2.) He went on to become a NASA engineer and served in the Vietnam War (accomplished his dreams)

3.) It reminds us the importance of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams no matter how far fetched they may seem at the time

4.) It shows young adults that their dreams are possible IF they put in the work

5.) It shows how far NASA and science have come even since the 50s (movie setting in late 50s)

 

Things that Could Have Been Improved

1.)  The teenagers accents seemed unrefined/overdone

2.) It would have been cool to see some more of his work at NASA after the movie

 

Overall I would say October Sky is a great movie, and all prospective aerospace engineers should watch it. It shows many good qualities including perseverance, determination, and friendship. Check out the movie, an you’ll be surprised. The movie was released in 1999 and is rated PG.

 

Want more aviation related content? Head over to https://www.globalair.com/ and check out the aviation blogs and the beautiful aircraft for sale. Fly safe and have fun!

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NASA in KSP: Mercury-Redstone 3 “Freedom 7”

*Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a series of videos and write-ups that will use old NASA recordings and Kerbal Space Program to teach people about America’s space programs and work to inspire in people an awakened desire to explore space and push the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.*

May 5th, 1961. Russia had already gotten a man to space, and NASA needed to act quickly in order to keep up in the Space Race. Using missile technology from the United States Air Force and a state-of-the-art capsule system NASA was able to launch Freedom 7 with Alan B. Shepard Jr. at the helm. *Freedom 7 and the other subsequent Mercury launches were all named by the astronaut; after each name they included the number 7 because they were the “original seven” astronauts.* Pre-flight checks proceed as the clock is stopped. Fuel… check. Cabin pressure… check. The clock proceeds again, and you know that every eventuality and possible issue has been worked out and compensated for. 10, 9, 8, 7, all systems go, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Ignition.

Shepard: “Roger, liftoff and the clock has started!”

Freedom 7 performed exactly as it had in the hundreds of tests and simulations before the launch, and carried Shepard into space, making him the first American to get into space. We hope you enjoy the video! Check out the full recording from NASA at https://archive.org/details/project_mercury_freedom_7 We thank them for making such historic materials available to the public, and we hope they find our video entertaining and educational.

 

Want more aviation related content? Head on over to https://www.globalair.com/ and check out the other aviation blogs and some of the beautiful aircraft for sale. Fly safe and have fun!

Buddy’s Aviation History Blog #3: Remembering Pearl Harbor-75 Years Later

Today we look back on December 7, 1941. The empire of Japan launched a surprise attack leveled at the naval base at Pearl Harbor. For the Imperial Japanese Navy it was a surprise attack that they had been practicing for months. For the U.S. Navy it caught them completely off-guard; it was previously speculated that if Japan attacked it would come on a weekend, possibly a Saturday, not Sunday, and in a different location, perhaps San Diego or any number of small island bases across the Pacific. Some people, including the legendary Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, believed that the future of warfare surrounded aircraft carriers, not battleships, and that an attack such as Pearl Harbor was possible. He also surmised that within ten years of his call for more carriers that an attack from a carrier group would be used against the United States.

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Photo from Breitbart

The attack lasted for nearly two hours, and by the time it was finished four of America’s battleships had been sunk. The Japanese Navy was not able to attack the U.S. carrier fleet, which had been taken out into the Pacific for fear of having all of the Navy’s major ships in one location. The Japanese aircraft, 353 in all, attacked the eight battlewagons and many cruisers, destroyers, and even a minelayer. This unprecedented attack crippled the Navy’s Pacific fleet, but awakened a nation. Americans across the nation filled recruitment centers the next day, and the true economic might of the United States came to bear against a foreign invader. From the crushing economic decline of the Great Depression to the reinvigoration of an infrastructure fueled by the capitalism only a country as America could count on its production and populous in order to free the world of tyranny and oppression. By mid 1942 the Pacific fleet was once again strong enough to take the offensive to the enemy, and with their victory at Midway they showed the world that America could even overcome an attack as devastating as Pearl Harbor. An entire nation came together as one voice, to tell the world that America is a strong and great nation, and to show that such atrocities and evil could not survive the might of a free people such as Americans. Companies such as Ford, Goodyear and GM changed their production lines from their products to essential war materiel such as Jeeps, B-24 bombers, F4U Corsairs and even bullets and cannon shells. Even the families at home helped to win the war. With Victory Gardens more packaged supplies could be sent to the front lines. Housewives across the nation saved cooking grease (of which could be made glycerin, an integral part of making gunpowder for bullets) and families donated scrap metals in order to have enough materials to make aircraft and military vehicles. Because of Pearl Harbor America entered WWII, and through the power of the freedom her citizens hold she won the war. The military personnel who were killed at Pearl Harbor will never be forgotten, and through their sacrifice we are reminded every day that freedom is not free, and the world is reminded that attacks on America and her people are not taken lightly, and will be met with a swift backlash, and subsequent defeat will be soon at hand. On this, the 75th. anniversary of the ‘Day which will live in infamy’ we look back and remember those brave individuals who were willing to lose their life for our country in order so that we could be free.

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Want to see more aviation related content? Head over to https://www.globalair.com/ and check out their blogs and the many aircraft for sale! Fly safe and have fun!!!

Buddy’s Aviation History Blog #2: The B-2 Stealth Bomber

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Cover photo of B-2 picture catalog

***Information used in this article courtesy of Mr. John Wyzard, and came from a seminar  held at a Lion’s Club Meeting in 1991 about the possibilities of the B-2 bomber project.***

The B-2 was an innovative aircraft, especially for its time. Flying wing designs had been tried before, but in most cases the projects were abandoned after a while for different reasons. Why did the Air Force want a tailless aircraft? Since the B-2 needed no tail assembly the aircraft could be a relatively flat surface, which in turn would hinder it from being picked up  by radar. Radar works by bouncing off of large metallic objects, such as an aircraft tail assembly, and thanks to the B-2’s sleek design it was capable of penetrating enemy airspaces.

 

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S&B Badger Works have been running simulated tests on the B-2 airframe design

The B-2 was capable of in-air refueling and could deliver a payload of 40,000 pounds and had an operational range of about 6,000 nautical miles. It was capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear arms in the event of hostilities (this was right before the downfall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War)  The B-2’s research and development came right before the end of the Cold War, and the tension between Russia and the United States was still high. Included in this article is an paper written by Charles Krauthammer on July 21, 1989 in which he analyses the situation at that time in America as well as how the B-2 project would effect the economics in our government.  I hope that you will check it out, even being over 27 years old the economics and political tensions between the two nations are quite interesting to learn about.

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An excerpt from the informational catalog

 

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KSP Simulated bombing run during the testing of the B-2 airframe

 

Want more aviation stories? Head over to https://www.globalair.com/ and check it out! Want to see more from Sadie and Buddy Aviation? Follow us on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/sadieandbuddyaviation/ Later tonight we will be doing a live video showing off the B-2 we designed in KSP. Fly safe and have fun!

Aviation History in KSP #1: The Chance-Vought F4U Corsair

Editor’s Note: The Aviation History in KSP articles will feature historically significant aircraft with pictures and articles (and eventually videos) showcased from aircraft made by us in Kerbal Space Program. Please check out Kerbal Space program, if you like aviation and rocketry you’ll love KSP.

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Captain Jebediah Kerman with his F4U-1 Corsair.

When people think about the Pacific Theatre during World War II, one of the first aircraft that comes to mind is the iconic Corsair. Chance-Vought designed the Corsair in order to compete for aircraft requests from the Navy made in 1938.¹ After testing and development the Navy found a serious issue with the Corsair, its propeller was so large that when landing on aircraft carriers it would hit the deck, which was detrimental not only to the prop but also the wooden decks that aircraft carriers still used at that time. With a thirteen foot diameter propeller, there was not much that Chance-Vought could do, but what if they made the landing gear stick down farther? How could they do that, if they made the gear any longer they would likely be weaker and snap when landing. Finally they came up with the solution, make the wing into an upside down gull design. With this design the landing gear could pick up the front of the aircraft far enough to allow prop to clear the deck.

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Corsair, also known as the “Whistling Death” soaring over Kerbin.

Unfortunately this flaw put the delivery of Corsairs back several years, at which time the Navy had adopted the F-6 Hellcat. The majority of Corsairs went to the United States Marine Corps, which desperately needed better aircraft to go up against the Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero.” Before Marine Corps squadrons received the Corsair they were using outdated equipment that were almost no match for the Japanese aces. The Marine’s aircraft roster included the Brewster Buffalo as well as the underpowered F4 Wildcat, and the Corsair was the fix they needed.

With their new aircraft they could once again tame the skies above the Pacific. The Corsair saw extensive use from the Marine’s bases that popped up on many islands throughout the war, and performed quite well against the under-armored Zero. Thanks to Chance-Vought, America was able to win the war in the skies, pushing the Pacific Front closer to mainland Japan, bringing the end of the war nearer.

The most notable media the Corsair received was from the iconic series Baa Baa Black Sheep. VMF-214, both in real life and on the screen ruled the skies above the Marine’s island hopping campaigns. Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington led the Black Sheep to an overwhelming aerial dominance thanks to the F-4U’s durability and superior armament. The United States ended WWII with a nearly 11:1 “kill” ratio, meaning that for every American aircraft lost eleven enemy planes were shot down.

Make sure to check in as we look back at other iconic aircraft throughout the year. Fly safe, and tighten up you “meatheads.”²

  • Buddy

 

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Thanks to the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 “Double Wasp” engine the Corsair could outperform nearly all other aircraft of WWII.

¹ Facts about the Navy’s requests and other info used in this article check out  http://www.f4ucorsair.com/history.html

² Pappy was always remembered for pushing his men to perform better, and showed the world what it really meant to be an ace and what America (and the Corsair) could do.

Please make sure to check out aircraft for sale as well as other interesting aviation blogs and information at https://www.globalair.com/

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