I just finished watching a YouTube video on a comparison between the Focke-Wulf FW-190 and the P-51 Mustang.
Learned a lot of things. I knew that the Mustang really came into its own when a Rolls Royce test pilot, Ronald Harker, decided to substitute the Allison V12 for a Merlin. Didn’t realize that (A) the Merlin was still more powerful at 20,000 feet than the Allison was at sea-level, and (B) fuel consumption was significantly improved. It was a win-win, and turned the Mustang from a good fighter to an icon. Actually it was a “win-win-win” as it gave the Mustang the high altitude performance that it lacked.
Last year, I screened The Cold Blue, which was an amazing film. In WW2, 5 famous Hollywood directors, William Wyler, John Huston, John Ford, George Stevens, and Frank Capra went into harm’s way with small film crews and documented the war. John Ford, for example shot – I believe- the only footage of Midway as it was being attacked.
I’m in danger of swaying into this fascinating story, but I will say one thing. The war affected them all, and it can be reflected in their post war work. George Stevens, for example, having seen so much death and destruction in Europe, in making Shane, thought gunfire and being shot should be portrayed realistically, a first for a Hollywood Western.
A beautiful P51-D I shot at the 2007 Reno Air Races
The other day, I wrote a bit about the talk given by WW2 aces Bud Anderson and Dean Laird.
What a day that was. I felt I was a witness to living history. What an honor it was to meet these 2.
And me being me, I had to buy Anderson’s book at the museum store to learn more. Just started it, but I figured any book about flying that has accolades by Ernest Gann, and forwards by Chuck Yeager and Günther Rall, has to be some aviation ride.
I’ve just started it, and Anderson is describing the battle he had as shown from the History Channel.
What I didn’t know was the workload involved in flying that plane while someone’s trying to kill you.
Over at ChicagoBoyz, someone made an observation that in transportation, most of the progress was made in a 50 year period by 1969.
Which got me thinking.
The cars that many of us baby boomers idolized, such as the Jaguar E-Type, Corvette Sting Ray, Shelby Cobra – all came out about 50 years after cars first started making inroads with the Model T.
Having served in Independence and Ranger, this does tug at the heart strings a bit. I did serve in those years with men who were aboard Forrestal during the tragedy of 1967.
The Navy has paid one cent under a contract to have the 60-year-old vessel dismantled by All Star Metals in the Gulf port of Brownsville.