Tag Archives: Aircraft

End of An Era

In my mind, there are few purpose-built machines made for optimal speed that are also beautiful to the eye. One is the Ford GT-40, the result of Henry Ford II’s decision to beat Ferrari at its own game. The Ford Budget was virtually unlimited, with a signed card by Ford to key designers with the admonition that “You’d better win”.

Or else.

Another is a plane that took the world by storm in 1964. The term “genius” has been inflated over the years; I believe. But Bill Lear, with an 8th grade education, would get the title.

He was a key player in the invention of the car radio, and years later, invented the 8 Track tape player.

I know.

I had a Learjet 8 Track in my 67 Camaro.

Oh, and he produced a jet that fired the world’s imagination.

What’s more it was certificated in a record time. From the Lear 23’s first flight in June 1963, it was certificated in July, 1964. I seriously doubt that anyone, even certificating a simple single piston engined plane, will ever duplicate.

A couple of years ago, I was on a road trip through Washington and Oregon and had to stop at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. And next to my parked car was a most unusual stable mate. A Lear 23 or 24 (I could never tell the difference).

An unusual car in the lot next to mine. A Lear 23 or 24. A 23 could be upgraded in the field to a 24.

There are plenty of Bill Lear stories during the development, but here’s one I like.

One of the engineers was having trouble with the design of the nose gear retraction assembly. This, of course, is before the days of CAD-CAM. Unknown to him, Lear was standing behind him and a few minutes later, gave him a solution.

There were other “Executive” jets out at her introduction, such as the Lockheed Jetstar and the North American Saberliner.

But none captured the public’s imagine like the original Learjet.

Perhaps this post about Frank Sinatra’s original Lear, found abandoned in San Jose in 2005, will give you a feel for the times.

Lear was a driven man.

The 23 projected speed, just sitting on the tarmac.

And on takeoff?

I had thought it could do a max performance climb of 10,000 fpm, but Wikipedia says “only” 6,900.

Still, that plane would impress anyone on the tarmac watching her go.

Take a look at this 25 taking off ,which came out a few years later and is a bit bigger.

Orpo1 put up a post on Facebook announcing that the parent company of Learjet, Bombardier, will cease production.

We’ll miss you Lear.

Thanks for firing our imaginations.

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Filed under Airplanes

Bitchin’ Betty Says Farewell To Her Super Hornets

If you have been an F/A-18 driver, you have probably heard her voice, if not seen her. Here she is, retiring from Boeing. 

H/T to Spill.

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Filed under Carriers, Flying, Uncategorized

Shayne Meder and the Team finished the MH-60

The Best Looking Helo Paint Scheme Ever.

The Scorpions CAG Bird is finished.

Shayne with HSM-49 CO Bobby Brown

Shayne Meder with the Scorpions CO, CDR Bobby Brown. I do believe the Skipper is very happy with the results.

Scorpion 100 Bureau Number Scorpion 100 Dog House Scorpion 100 nose Scorpion 100 tail 1 Scorpion 100 tail 2 Scorpion 100 tail 3 Scorpion 100 tail 4 Scorpion 100 tail 5 Shayne Scott Jim Shayne with gun in hand


Filed under Really Good Stuff

Warbird Restoration

There’s a great article about restoring old warbirds in this month’s issue of Air Force Magazine.  Here are the lede grafs and a screen-shot of one of the article’s accompanying pics:


The scarcity of some World War II airframes today drives a small industry that can take what can only be described as airplane DNA and deliver a restored, flying aircraft. Restoration technology now makes it feasible to resurrect historic aircraft from little more than dented scraps of metal.

A striking example of this artistry is one Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk that survived a crash landing in 1942 to emerge as an award-winning restoration indistinguishable from the day it rolled off the Curtiss assembly line in 1941. The restoration shunned the iconic, but now ubiquitous, “Flying Tiger” shark’s mouth paint scheme to create instead a rugged-looking US Army Air Corps fighter of the type that rose to meet Japanese warplanes over Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The Tomahawk’s odyssey began when it was earmarked for the British Royal Air Force and then transferred to the Soviet Union in December 1941. Identified with the RAF number AK295, it was technically a Tomahawk IIB—essentially equivalent to the USAAC’s P-40C.

The text version of the article is here but I recommend reading the PDF version for the photos.


Filed under Air Force, History, Other Stuff


From a fellow Lexican comes this from his blog RUMBEAR CHRONICLES. Thank you, Charles Mellor for this.

That is an awesome picture BTW!

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by | September 28, 2013 · 11:54 pm

Dual 1,000th ‘Traps’ Achieved Aboard USS Nimitz

From the Navy Website. I am proud that one of these Aviators, Cmdr. Robert Loughran is the Commanding Officer of VFA-147, The Argonauts! I served in the Argonauts when they were VA-147 operating the venerable and dependable LTV A-7E Corsair II. The tradition remains. It is one of only three commands that I served in that still is in service……………………………………..

GULF OF OMAN (Aug. 28, 2013) -- Cmdr. Robert Loughran, commanding officer of the

1,000 traps is a big deal. Bank on it. Ask some of our Lexicans that are Aviators and NFOs about that.

Dual 1,000th ‘Traps’ Achieved Aboard USS Nimitz.

via Dual 1,000th ‘Traps’ Achieved Aboard USS Nimitz.


Filed under Airplanes, Carriers, Good Stuff, Naval Aviation, Plane Pr0n, Shipmates

The Beginning of the End

From the Usual USAF Source

Final F-4 Regenerated for Use as Aerial Target
The final F-4 regenerated from storage in the Air Force’s aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., earlier this month departed the base for Mojave, Calif., for conversion to a QF-4 target drone, announced base officials. This RF-4C airframe, dubbed “Last One,” left Davis-Monthan on April 17, states the base’s April 19 release. “It’s a great feeling to see such a magnificent aircraft fly again to serve the warfighter,” said Eddie Caro, the crew chief assigned to the aircraft since December 2012. BAE Systems will convert the platform into the QF-4 configuration in California and then deliver it to Tyndall AFB, Fla. This airframe arrived at Davis-Monthan for retirement in January 1989 and had been dormant until technicians with the base’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group last year began restoring it to flying status, according to the release. The Air Force is transitioning from the QF-4 to using QF-16s as its full-scale aerial targets. (Davis-Monthan report by Teresa Pittman) (See also Three-Hundredth QF-4 Delivered.)
I suppose goin’ down in flames is preferable to rusting away in The Boneyard… or, as Neil put it: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away…
Cross-posted at EIP.


Filed under Plane Pr0n, USAF

Lego Plane Pr0n

The pic is from the author of the post at The Brothers Brick.


by | March 2, 2013 · 3:25 pm

Helicopter Pron

National Guard UH-60A

National Guard UH-60A

Trying to take low light pictures of a helicopter that is supposed to be hard to see at night provides some interesting challenges…


Filed under Airplanes, Uncategorized

416 Promotion.

January 20, 1974 was the beginning of what we know as the F-16 Fighting Falcon legacy began. It is also the day I first reported aboard USS Independence CV62.

This is the promo for the 416.

Hot Rod Jets. The Captain would be pleased, I do believe.

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Filed under Airplanes, Flying, History, Outside the Box, Plane Pr0n, Uncategorized