Saturday, December 26, 2009
Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation was recently updated. As before it is narrated by actor Harrison Ford, an EAA member, pilot, and former Chairman of the EAA Young Eagles program. The 17-minute video presents an insider's look at people who share the passion for aviation as they participate in "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration."
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The above movie is a 5 part series entitled "Thunderbolt" (1947) (Part 1 of 5) featuring "Operation Strangle"
Director: William Wyler, John Sturges
Production Company: Carl Krueger Production
Introduced by the famous actor James Stewart
Filmed in 1944 and early 1945 but edited only in 1947, this 45 minutes well preserved and almost forgotten documentary (by the great William Wyler) is about the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter bomber and its use in missions over Italy. In the prologue outstanding shots showing various placements of 1944 late model automatic color movie-cameras on board of the planes.
This post is a tribute to 1st Lt William (Bill) Grubb Smith, P-47 pilot (October 10, 1923 - August 19, 2011), actually filmed in this movie “Thunderbolt.“ He is mentioned in the second movie at time frame 8:06 as he lifted off the runway with his wingman. Bill was a neighbor and personal friend living in the Charlotte, NC, area. He had long been considered a walking encyclopedia of WWll Aviation. Bill is also pictured in our EAA 309 B-17 Album. In 2015 The EAA Historical Museum honored Bill by editing and publishing a video that my friend Ellie and I made into their Timeless Voices found at http://eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=4427654373001
His fighter group, the 57th, was providing air support for ground troops in the PO valley of Italy in 1944. There were many peach orchards in the area. They received a request for help from the ground commander:
"We are pinned down by Germans and can't move, can you boys help us?" We'll try, where's the fire coming from?" "Mostly from that church steeple over there." "We could see the church and my wingman and I started strafing it with our 50 caliber machine guns." (The P-47 has four guns in each wing.) "After several passes we sawed that steeple off. After that, the ground fire got so heavy we needed to leave the area. "I said to my wingman, we've got to get out of here, it’s getting too hot!" and he replied, "My engine's down on power and not running right. I got the pedal to the metal and it just won't go."
Bill followed his wingman back to base, landed safely and the ailing fighter was given a thorough inspection by the Crew Chief. The engine checked out okay and finally the air intake for the turbocharger was removed.
"About a wheelbarrow load of green limbs and peaches came rolling out of that inlet and that was the reason for the power loss."
The pilot had flown into peach trees and sucked them up and in the process bent all four tips of his large propeller. Bill added, “In the heat of combat a pilot’s adrenalin is so high he sometimes doesn’t really know how low he’s flying. A major cause of fighter fatalities happen when pilots forget to pull up in time and fly into the ground.”
Bill was also shot down by enemy ground fire and ditched his fighter in the ocean near the Yugoslavian coast. He said,
"That ocean was as smooth as glass. I loosened everything but my seatbelt so I could get out fast, then brought my plane down and flared the nose up just before I hit. I got bruised up a little bit but my May West inflated okay and I was picked up pretty soon by a British PT boat. They took me to a larger ship and treated my injuries.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
CLICK PICTURES FOR FULL SCREEN VIEW
Click for EAA SportAviation Charlotte GA Serves America article
General Aviation is facing the greatest challenges of its 100-year history! Now the two largest pilot organizations in the world have joined together to protect GA Interests, promote GAA Safety, and Grow the GA Community!
General Aviation Serves America came to Wilson Air Center, Charlotte, N.C., on July 20, 2009.
The Presidents of AOPA and NATA recently started traveling around the country, meeting with pilots, aircraft owners and operators, FBO personnel, airport managers, and others to share the General Aviation Serves America message and seek support for their ongoing outreach efforts. The event was organized by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the association that represents FBOs and other GA businesses. NATA is also a critical partner in our General Aviation Serves America outreach efforts.
The Charlotte event was hosted by Bob Wilson, President and Founder of Wilson Air Center at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Bob is an active member of AOPA and EAA and has been a pilot for over 30 years. Bob and his wife, Susan, recently donated and dedicated the Timeless Voices of Aviation exhibit at the EAA AirVenture Museum. Mr. Wilson sits on the NBAA Security Sub-Committee aviation boards, and meets regularly with Congressional delegations.
Some 250 people attended and Bob, well-known for his hospitality and customer service, put on a very impressive event, the largest to date. More than a dozen members of the local EAA Chapter 309 volunteered their time to help shepherd guests and provide information, and contributed a beautiful RV-7 to the aircraft display. Naturally, AOPA brought the Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes Cirrus to be displayed alongside such diverse offerings as business jets, trainers, and turboprops of varying sizes and makes.
It was great to see so many different segments of the aviation community coming together in one place for one purpose—to help protect and promote our freedom to fly. The diversity of the audience and the aircraft, and the active involvement of members of NATA and EAA along with AOPA was a great show of strength and unity.
And at this event, many in the audience were already familiar with the campaign and its goals—great evidence that this message is being heard. They listened attentively as NATA President Jim Coyne and AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller talked about the issues of greatest concern and the importance of spreading the General Aviation Serves America message. “We’re building momentum behind our message, now it’s up to all of us in aviation to keep it growing!” See the AOPA Charlotte Event Site and be sure to watch the video.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The objective of the EAA 309 Dead Reckoning Competition is to conduct a safe, fair and fun event which promotes the sport of general aviation while improving pilots' skills through flying and navigation. A number of waypoints will be assigned and the winner will be determined on (1) accuracy of the predicted time around the course and (2) accuracy of predicted fuel consumption.
The event is not a race. The event rules have been developed to assure maximum safety for all participants. They are in addition to, but do not supersede, the Federal Aviation Regulations. Every effort has been made to plan the event so that each team has a successful completion of the route. The event relies on each pilot exercising good judgment at all times. The EAA 309 Navigation Contest is open to all EAA Members.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I was raised in
I was raised in
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
New Sport Pilot Kit named Onex from Sonex Aircraft - announcement at AirVenture 2010:
I toured the Sonex Factory in Jan 2010 - see my Photo Album.