Last weekend the EAAs B-17G ALUMINUM OVERCAST stopped by Lancaster, PA for one of the many stops they do on the national tour schedule. Although rides are availble I didn't do to the truely overcast and light rain. Just does not make for stellar photography.
The name Aluminum Overcast was given when a pilot of a P-51 Mustang flew under it and remarked that he just flew under an aluminum overcast. Name stuck. Although the B-17, in all vareants was one of the most iconic US bombers of World War II, this one did not see the front. Contract built at the Burbank facility of Lockheed in May of 1945. 12,731 Boeing "Flying Fortresses" were built many by Lockheed and Douglas under contract.
Below is the trailer of a great classic movie staring Clark Gable and Spener Tracy in a powerhouse movie of testing the Boeing B-17. Find the full movie on Youtube.
WWII Statistics Army Aircorps.
"Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations.
But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.
In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England .. In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe .
Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed.. The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas..
On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded. Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned. More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.
US manpower made up the deficit. The AAF's peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.
The losses were huge---but so were production totals. From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China and Russia. In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined. And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.
However, our enemies took massive losses. Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month. And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours. The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.
Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.
The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s. The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.
A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type. Many had fewer than five hours. Some had one hour.
With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat. The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a throttle. Go fly "em." When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition.
The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, "You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.
A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die." He was not alone.
Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft. Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade: of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941.
All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school..
In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat. The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours.
Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139. All were Allison powered.
Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive. The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively-- a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate was less than 2.
The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons.. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.
The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion. Only ten percent had overseas experience. Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month "safety pause" rather than declare a "stand down", let alone grounding.
The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.
Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators.
The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War. And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone. Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel --- a stirring tribute to the AAF's educational establishments
Cadet To Colonel:
It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders. That was the record of John D Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941. He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 2 in P-40s. He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group --- at age 24.
As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions.
By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training. At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.
At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.
Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.
The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.
Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq .
But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless."
As the story goes:
"Once upon a time there were three bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was a little, small, wee bear; one was a middle-sized bear, and the other was a great, huge bear."
Ok, not the same but let us look here and now and Goldilocks is searching for an RV; to venture into the woods. How far into the woods depends largely on the size of the RV and the capibilities. For instance to go deep into the woods, or desert, you need a 4x4 and not to high so as to clear overhangs. Another is to tow something to get you into the woods while the RV is left at a base camp. For years this is what I did
Without a doubt, this was the best! A Class A will alow you to have all the comforts of home and yet still it can be driven and parked as any other car. I should note here however, I traveled by myself except my two cats traveled with me. Addmittedly two on board and you might need an attorney!
Above left is my first "RV". Had a sleeping platform and storage, plus carried the bike inside. Worked OK; but after awhile I was longing for more creature comforts. I bought the Pleasure Way in 2007 and put the bike on the trailer.
In the early days as a child we camped all over the West. Those were the days! Often touring in a 1957 Chevy Nomad - new at the time. Father had a big and heavy canvas tent. Sometimes we would just go hunting and shooting trips,; mostly to Bear Mountain in Tehachapi about two hours East of Los Angles. Sleep under thes stars and wake to the aroma of Italian sausage and scrambled egges grilling over a wood fire. Thanks Dad, those were the best of days!
Days at Avila Beach, CA Golden Hills of Colorado Camping and riding around Silverton, CO
Like Goldilocks, you have to sample all the possibilities of RVs out there. And boy are there a bunch!
Recently was at what is billed as the largest RV show in the Country; it may be too. Over 1,500 on display. From the small to the "estate" on wheels.
Like Goldilocks, you need to sample all the possibilities out there. Some may be too small, many are too big; and then there is the one that is just right. Back then it ws the Class B. Great advantage of the "B" is you can drive and park anywhere a car can. With a Class A you are pretty much stuck to driving the interstate and parking at Walmart.
My solution since 2016 was to buy a Toyota 4 Runner and turn it into an RV. Video below:
This worked great for me. It allowed access into areas where a 4x4 can go..
Now two years later and feeling the effects of aging; once again looking at perhaps buying an RV. This time, should I do it, would be a Class C with slide outs. Still tow the motorcycle. Of course one must weigh the reality of RV ownership. In the case of the above, with a purchase price somewhere north of $115,000.00 you can buy many a night in 5 Star hotels!
Have fun and do your research, Rv's range from Tear Drop trailers and the small "Adventure " trailers to multi-million dollar Class As.
The photo below: I must ask: What were they thinking? ! I guess you can close the doors.
The other fantasy is to go "Full Time". Dump the cost of owning a home:
At some point - Roof
RVs will give you the freedom to roam. It will also cost you in depreciation.
Goldilocks has some thinkin' to do. Stay home and venture out once in awhile, or buy an RV.
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The good folks at POLARIS/INDIAN comped me to the race with VIP credentials that gave me access to the pits, but I didn't have access to the restricted areas where the best photo opportuninty was. I did my best.
Put me up in a nice hotel. Only five miles from the track. Very comfortable with kitchen, living room and king bed.
walkable without issue, however trying to get to the edge to shoot required a muddy sticky trek.
Walking was like having ten pound ankle weights. Should have had "muck boots". Who knew? Definitely not a Louboutin or Ferragamo day - save these for a F1 race, perhaps Monaco!
See You Down The Road
Following are some of the adventures in the West over the years; by motorcycle, RV and 4Runner.
Fine hotels and sleeping under the stars. Great memories of my life in the Wild and Open West. The majestic Rockies and Sierras. The deserts. Miles upon miles of open travel with hardly a structure in sight! Unlike the East where it is dificult to escape mans footprint.
Drove the Alcan. Hint, drive/ride one way and take the Alaska Ferry Inside Passage one way. Either by car, RV, or motorcycle however you do it - go West. Motorcycles alone have logged well over 300,000 miles in the saddle. I do love the West. Perhaps I will find my way back to live out there again.
Been living in the Mid-Atlantic for fifteen years and can't tell you much of the rides in the East. Moved here because my son got orders to USNA. Have been to AMERICADE a couple of times. Seen the beautiful Fall Colors in New York, Vermont, New Hapshrie and the Blue Ridge. Maybe later this month will return. May drive the northern half of the Blue Ridge too. We will see. I have become rather satisfied at home with Lynn and the fuzzes. Do miss my cats when gone. Yes, dear, miss you too.
Custer and the Badlands of South Dakota.
Wherever you are: "Go West Young Man" Just avoid the cities. Wonder the outback. Occassionally ride a train or shoot the Snake RIver in a raft or kayak! Go horseback riding on a packtrip. Throw yourself off a mountain - LIVE life while you can and are healty. Don't get old and wish you had done stuff! Now at 72, still in pursuit of the next adventure.
Now "New" Horizons and the new Ride
SIDECAR. Sweet ride! Sad to give up the off road capabilities of the BMW R12; but this will be a great scoot to the fine hotels and dinning. After all think I am done with sleeping on the cold hard ground and eating beans over a campfire....maybe. Still have the 4Runner for the "outback" and for camping.
Again as a reader you have seen in the previous posts that there were issues with both the Indain and with Hannigan Motorsports. All was made good. Kudos to Dave Hannigan and the fine folks at Polaris
There have been many trips here in the East. In the next post we can explore some and introduce you to places you may wish to go; be it by motorcycle, car or RV. Come back to this blog and enjoy the rides!
Oh and if you wish to purchase one of the photos here in the blog. please see them in the blog store or find them at my photography website: http://www.karlhjohnsonphotography.com.
Purchases help buy gas and cat food. Thanks for your patronage.
See You Down The Road
Unfortunately I did not take into consideration the dates of travel - July 4th weekend. Lodging was not a problem, traffic was not a problem; but I was under orders to be home not later then the 3rd!
Maggie Valley and the riding in the area is wonderful. If you are into the twisties continue through town and pop up and over the mountain to Cherokee. Be advised this is somewhat trecherous and often there are acciedents. Still a fun ride. Below is a video of the Chambers site. You can see lots of activities in the area no matter the season.
Lots of motels in the area. I choose a delightful one on the south of the town, JOHNATHAN CREEK INN & VILLAS Very pleasent. My upstairs room had a private deck and view of the creek. Do to the temperature still a bit warm and humid - it was raining. I did not leave the door open at the back of the room. Had I, could have had a lulliby of the creek to put me to sleep.
Unfortueate that I had the restraints of time and the weather. This would be a great place to stay.
After the ride relax on the deck.
Oh, I should mention the INN has a box of cleaning rags to wipe down your bike.
At the left is the TUSCAN OMELETTE, Italian Sausage, Chesse, Mushrooms, Red and Green Peppers and their special Hashbrowns - Chesse and Onion. That and a good cup of coffee I was ready to take on The Blue Ridge Parkway.
Oh, but if you have the time to drive another "must do" is the ALCAN HIGHWAY. If you d this I would recommend drive it one direction and take the ALASKAN INSIDE PASSAGE the other.
But back to this ride. I have done Northern part of The Blue Ridge and was looking forward to this section; however the weather was not to coopororate. Most of the ride was in light rain or low clouds. Still a great ride.
So, as of this writting all the problems with Indian and Hannigan have been addressed. Both have
stepped up and are, or will shortly fix the issues. My love for the rig is slowing returning
See You Down The Road
Indian. Always been a BMW rider. I guess in honor of my father, who rode Indians back in the 1920's; thought I'd give one a try.
Next morning picked the bike up at around 7AM and hit the road for a trip back via the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was the worst week for a road trip due to extreme heat and humidity.
Was I in for a surprise! The photo at left is the morning departure forecast. I was at the 106 degree area.
There was no BANG or BOOM - NOTHING! In the middle of the road the bike just stopped! Dead!
Guess you can say it was a monumental WTF moment. Wouldn't start.
I pushed it to the side of the road. At about 8:00 in the morning it was already HOT the HUMIDITY
stiffling! It was to get worse. After trying to assess the problem to no avail. I called Indian Roadside Assistance. The cell phone connection was sketchy; but was able to make contact. Was told they would try to find a tow truck; had to be a roll off since it was a sidecar rig.
There are good people in the world. Just so happened a lady that lived in the area was driving by and was kind to stop when I flagged her. At this point I was already feeling the effects of the heat. Indeed
the beginning stage of Heat Exhautstion was setting in. She turned around and went back to her home
and within several minutes returned with chilled bottles of water and let me sit in her car - air conditioning! I honestly think if it was not for her, I may have had a medical issue due to the exposure to the heat and the humidity. Thank you Deb for your kindness!
I waited for "Indian Roadside Assistance" to get back to me and found out through my own searching for a tow truck that a company named S&S Towing had indeed been contacted BUT Indian was shopping his rate! Leaving me to sweat in the heat! I told S&S that I'd pay for the tow. POLARIS/INDIAN a four billion dollar company and they are shopping to save a couple of bucks! Really?! Hey Polaris - I could have died out there! Five long hours later the tow truck arrived and $350.00 later was dropped at JPM PERORMANCE POWERSPORTS in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I had called these folks with updated arrival time and they assured me they would stay open to fix the problem. What a great company! Thank you!
Unbelievable the problem that left me stranded in the heat and humidity was due to a known problem
and yet Indian did nothing to elert the owners/dealers of the issue. The part was the Volt Regulator.
As of this writing POLARIS INDIAN has yet to assume responsibility! They are passing the buck to Hannigan. This inexcusable! The FAILURE IS AN INDIAN ISSUE! If they don't step up and do what is right, well guess will have to litigate.
The honorable company is HANNIGAN. In a conversation with Dave Haningan he has taken complete responsibility for the damages suffered while in their shop. It is unfortunate that there were issues, but they are making it right. Life (ride) goes on.
I was so tired and worn out, only got down the road about eight miles from JPM. Checked into a hotel around 6PM. Took a cold shower and crashed. To beat the heat of the next day, left at 2:38 AM CST.
See You Down The Road
1. In snow country you can ride all year.
2. If out adventure riding, you can carry so much gear you will think you drove the pick up
3. You won't drop it
4. You will never have to pick it up if it did fall over, and we all have dropped our bikes.
5. Hot days you can ride in shorts - I mean, not like you will fall over!
Wondered around the dealership and saw this beauty above. Darn, it was pretty. Brand new 2017 Indian Vintage Chief and priced to sell. I bought it!
Since I love sidecars, had it shipped to HANNIGAN MOTORSPORTS to have one of their classic sidecars built and painted to match.
As to the build, experiened some issues. Hopefully both INDIAN and HANNIGAN will step up and make it right. More on the problems later. The next post will speak to the issues and how they were resolved.
See You DownThe Road
Here now, we have for years given tribute to those men and women that gave to the war effort. There are many Air Shows and re-enators events that bring us a glimpse of those days.
This is one of those air shows. It did start out not to promissing, the first two days of the three days it was unbearably hot and humid. The last days started out with rain and the threat of more rain. Thankfully it was considerably cooler.
the war. Kodos to those re-enactors for all the effort. Truly they do a outstanding job!
Re-enactors every year give a salute to the Airborne members. Above is "Whiskey 7. This C-47 flew in the June 5, 1944 airborne drop in Normandy. As you can see the re-enactors put out great expense and effort to insure historically correct presentations.
Thank you all for your contribution to the air show.
Teeth Of The Tiger
If you can't get there - Buy a photo:
about a month ago have put on display the real MEMPHIS BELLE. For those that don't know, it was the first B17 to complete the required twenty-five missions. This was almost an impossible task and the plane and crew were sent back to the "States" and did War Bond tours.
See You Down The Road
Thank you to those that have servered!
See You Down The Road
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