Monthly Archives: July 2013
Most of us are pretty familiar with Have Donut, Have Drill and Constant Peg programs. Nowadays it’s also fairly to see MiGs or Sukhoi’s either flying around or in museums throughout the U.S. What about US military aircraft in the Soviet Union during the Cold War?
Searching around the interwebs doesn’t reveal much but here I’ve started with a photo in the Winter 2002 issue of International Air Power Review.
This is a photo of what may be an F-4 Phantom and a Mirage III (with an 3M bomber in the foreground) taken at the Zhukovskiy airfield outside of Moscow. The caption dates the photo 11 August 1971.
Zhukovskiy was (and still is in Russia) the Soviet Union’s equivalent to the USAF’s Edwards, AFB and as such numerous types of aircraft underwent evaluation there. The Phantom in the picture appears to be covered with a protective canvas cover. The nose shape is reminiscent of the YF4H-1 prototypes. I don’t think this is a flyable model and may be a mockup with pieces of actual Phantoms shot down over North Vietnam and aircraft lost in the Middle East wars. The Mirage III also looks like a mockup and include pieces of actual Mirages lost in various Middle East wars.
The Israeli Air Force was the only user of both aircraft at the time.
Some other interwebs searching reveals some interesting finds at the Moscow Aviation Institute.
This is a fuselage from a Northrop F-5. This is probably one of the 2 Skoshi Tiger aircraft formerly operated by the Air Force of South Vietnam. This is 1 of 2 F-5s transferred to Soviet soon after the Communist North invaded in 1973.
This is an escape capsule from an F-111 that was shot down over North Vietnam. The USAF lost 6 of these aircraft during the Vietnam.
This is a piece from an A-7A from VA-82 Marauders. I was unable to find the aircraft this piece belonged to.
This is the vertical stabilizer from Scott O’Grady’s F-16C shot down over Bosnia in 1995. These and other pieces of western military aircraft were used by Soviet/Russian experts to examine Western aircraft construction techniques.
Unlike the Constant Peg program, it’s unknown what if any flight evaluations the USSR made of these for any other Western/US aircraft.
There are also rumors of Iranian F-14 Tomcats (along with the aircraft’s AIM-54 Phoenix AAM) and a few F-4Es and F-5 being brought to the Soviet Union for evaluations. Again these are just rumors.
Thought some of my pals might enjoy some of the links in this post (wot I rote)
Re-printed from “Hog Day Afternoon”
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
My Dad was on the ground in 50-51………………………………………………
. . . at 2200 hrs local time (approximately 0900 Eastern), major hostilities in Korea ended. The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed at 1000 local on 27 July 1953. It became effective twelve hours later.
The war had lasted 3 years, 1 month, and 3 days. Negotiating the Armistice had taken slightly over two years.
After I got to Australia I learned something that surprised me. And while I forget the exact distance, virtually all of Australia’s population lives in a “ring” along the shore – maybe 100 miles deep.
Beyond that is the Outback.
We left in the morning from Townsville – and drove.
There was literally nothing until we reached a mining town, Mt Issa, 564 miles away.
We came into Mt Isa just as the sun was setting.
Next stop, with nothing in between, was Alice Springs, 727 miles away.
We got there early the next morning.
My main reason for going to Alice Springs was to see Ayers Rock. And Ayers Rock, I learned, was 290 miles from Alice Springs.
Australians know about distances.
Since the Outback is so inhospitable (restaurant names in the US aside), Australians have been inventive in traversing it. For a while from the 1800s, they tried using camels, with Alice Springs being a way point. Motorized transport eliminated the need for the camel, and the herds were just set loose.
Today there are an estimated 1 million feral camels roaming the outback.
They are actually a problem, growing exponentially, and herds are being culled.
And there are feral horses too, called brumbies.
I remember several things about my time here. One was amazement that anyone could live here without technology and modern conveniences. My hat’s off to the Aborigines.
When I was stationed in El Paso, ( Ft Bliss), I flew overnight coming from Ft Ord in Monterey with the ocean and cool breezes.
I can remember looking out the barracks window the next morning and seeing a sea of sand. I grew to like the desolation and isolation there , and so it was with the Outback.
The Outback is very unforgiving, particularly to naïve tourists, as I’ll show you during our walk through the Olgas.
Never heard of them? I hadn’t either, but to me this rock formation is in its own way as majestic as Ayers Rock.
I’ll show you another place “in the area” that few outsiders have heard of – Kings Canyon.
One other thing I remember, and you’ll be amazed at this peculiar recollection.
For such a thing to be remembered nearly 30 years later might surprise most, but until you are there and experience them, it is hard to understand.
Picture every waking moment having literally 100s of flies all wanting to land on you – biting you. After a day there you search for suitable attire and don’t care how ridiculous you appear.
Anything for a respite.
Even tried smoking a cheap cigar – and I don’t usually smoke.
As to how many flies ended up in the Outback in looking around the web the only thing that makes any sense is the explanation that when cattle and livestock were introduced came the flies, and they have no natural predators.
But you learn about the unofficial Australian Salute, a joke not only in Australia but around the world. It’s a brush across the face, right to left.
Or for lefties, left to right.
With that, lets start our tour.
Australians & New Zealanders have been no stranger to war. In the first World War, they lost so many, starting at Gallipoli.
It has become their Memorial Day, honoring all those who died in the service of their countries.
This was one of the first places I stopped in Alice Springs.
…Alice Springs, as seen from Anzac Hill
With people so isolated in the Outback, several unique solutions came into being. Children would receive school lessons by radio, and doctors made their round by airplane.
…this was the headquarters of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
…anyone know who made this plane?
Before I headed off towards Ayer’s Rock, I wanted to see a more local site – Standley Chasm.
I rented a car and got to experience RHD for the first time. Everything, of course, is backwards from what I was used to. The fast lane is on the right, traffic travels on the “opposite side”…. The way I simplified is to think “lane is closest to the wheel”.
Shifting with my left hand took some getting used to.
I only messed up once, in the town of Alice Springs, when leaving from the curb (kerb?) I instinctively pulled out to “my side” – meeting a wedding party coming head on.
I can imagine what they were thinking, but better here than in Melbourne or Sydney…
Standley Chasm, just 40km from Alice Springs
My best definition of a camel is that it is a horse that a committee designed…
From Alice Springs it was pretty much an all day trip to Ayers Rock
I wanted to climb Ayers Rock. Didn’t know how difficult it would be but didn’t feel that special climbing skills would be required.
But before we went to Ayers Rock, we went to another rock formation, called The Olgas.
It is about 15 miles from Ayers Rock.
…It was January by the time I got here, Australia’s summer and the heat can be insidious. It is very dry but temperatures in the Gorge can get up to 130 I was told. And about every year some tourists die of dehydration. They start walking, get lost and the heat takes car of them. Happens fairly frequently, I was told.
…Now we headed to Ayer’;s Rock. Didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to climb it. Uluru is the aboriginal name.
They had a hand rail to help you – Wikipedia says that it was installed in 1976.
Nevertheless about 35 have died climbing it.
…at the top. It’s about 1150 feet high.
Next I went to a place called Kings Canyon – about 70-90 miles down a road like this…
Stayed here….the showers were in trailers . BTW a funny story (actually in all honesty I suppose that I should tell you the story and you decide whether it is funny). During the night I got up to use the W.C. Put on the flip-flops, trudge down the dirt road to the trailer.
Next morning someone asks me if I saw “Old George”. Of course I have to ask who “Old George’ is – turns out he was a 6′ Australian Brown Snake.
Who liked to cool off along the dirt path during the night.
Australians have a rather perverse pride in having more reptiles, spiders and marine life that and kill you – you will see beautiful beaches and hot days with nobody in the water because of box jellyfish.
Anyway the brown snake will kill you rather quickly and fortunately I did not get to meet Old George. More on these deadly creatures down the travel road…
Next morning a tour guide took us in his Toyota land Cruiser (a popular vehicle in the outback) to Kings Canyon. Note the radio antenna in front – a good thing to have out there if you are in trouble – another dirt road 20-30 miles long…
A lot of climbing here, too.
There really was an absents of tourists here – we were the only ones…
This tree was interesting – half palm tree and half some-other-kind-of tree – a holdover from the prehistoric times. Forget what they called it.
…like I said there was climbing here. Although is kind of climbling, well, Buck could probably relate to it. The guide took us in one section along a narrow – a foot or less – ledge with a good 50-70′ drop.
And an overhang so you couldn’t even walk completely upright. I don’t have full blown acrophobia but hated this kind of stuff – all I could do was “suck it up”.
Or stop the tour and make a spectacle of myself 😉
Came time to leave Alice Springs. The question was, head west – to Perth or East – to Cairns?
Perth is in Western Australia – a state so big it is half the country. Most of it, of course, is desert and outback.
I decided to head to tropical Cairns – in northern Queensland. If you look at the “finger” on Australia’s northeast corner – the Cape York Peninsula – Cairns is at the base of that finger.
It is more tropical than Hawaii or Tahiti – and a favorite destination for sport fisherman wanting blue marlin.
I was talking withthe flight attndent on the Ansett 727 – she liked my Akubra hat – the ‘Snowy River” model – and I was a bit smitten with her 😉
Still have the hat.