Friday, December 31, 2010

Polikarpov I-16

January 3 in my Golden Age of Flight Desk Calendar, by Walter J. Boyne. (Probably still available at your local Barnes & Noble or calendar store for half price)

Designed by Nikolai Polikarpov in 1932, the I-16 "Ishak" (or "Rata" as it was known in Spain) made its first flight in December 1933. It was the first cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to reach squadron service. "Despite its tricky handling, it did well against the Japanese in Manchuria."

From Wikipedia:
The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the Spanish Civil War]—where it was called the Rata (Rat) by the Nationalists or Mosca (Fly) by the Republicans. The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava ("Flying Squirrel").

Design and development
While working on the Polikarpov I-15 biplane, Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov began designing an advanced monoplane fighter. It featured cutting-edge innovations such as retractable landing gear and a fully enclosed cockpit, and was optimized for speed with a short stubby fuselage (similar to Gee Bee R-1) and a Wright Cyclone radial engine in a NACA cowling. The aircraft was small, light and simple to build.

Full scale work on the TsKB-12 prototype began in June 1933 and the aircraft was accepted into production on 22 November 1933, a month before it took to the air. The TsKB-12 was of mixed construction using a wooden monocoque fuselage and wings based around a KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar, dural ribs and D1 aluminum alloy skinning on the center and leading edges, with the remaining portions of the wings fabric covered. Another modern feature were the ailerons which ran almost the entire trailing edge of the wing and also operated as flaps (in the manner of more modern flaperons) by drooping 15°.

The cockpit was covered by a 40 cm (16 in) wide canopy which featured an Aldis tubular gun sight which could slide back and forth on runners fitted with bungee cords of rubber. A 225 l (59.4 US gal) fuel tank was fitted directly in front of the cockpit. The main gear was fully retractable by a hand-crank. The armament consisted of a pair of 7.62 mm (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns in the wings, mounted on the outboard side of the main gear and carried 900 rounds of ammo.

These features were proposed at first by Andrei N. Tupolev, however the NII VVS was more concerned about the stresses a typical combat aircraft was subjected to in combat, and initially considered the risk too great. However TsAGI, with the help of the 3rd Design Brigade under the leadership of Pavel O. Sukhoi and Aleksandr P. Putylov eventually convinced NII VVS that what was being proposed was not only feasible, but would enhance the aircraft's performance.

The TsKB-12 was designed around the Wright Cyclone SR-1820-F-3 nine cylinder radial engine (rated at 529 kW/710 hp); a license to build this engine was being negotiated. As the license was not yet approved, Polikarpov was asked to settle for the less powerful M-22 (Soviet-built version of the Gnome-Rhone Jupiter 9ASB which itself was a licensed version of the Bristol Jupiter VI ) with 358 kW (480 hp). This was deemed acceptable because the projected top speed still exceeded 300 km/h (185 mph).

The M-22 powered TsKB-12 first took to the air on 30 December 1933 with the famous Soviet test pilot Valery Chkalov at the controls. The second TsKB-12 with a Cyclone engine and three-bladed propeller flew in January of the following year. Initial government trials in February 1934 revealed very good maneuverability but the aircraft did not tolerate abrupt control inputs. Thus the TsKB-12 was deemed dangerous to fly and all aerobatics were forbidden.

The M-22 version was preferred due to vibration of the Cyclone-powered aircraft. Pilots commented early on about difficulty in climbing into the cockpit, a trait that persisted through I-16's service life. Before continuing test flights the designers had to answer the question of spin behavior. Wind tunnel testing suggested that TsKB-12 with its short tail would enter an unrecoverable flat spin, but real-life trials were necessary to confirm this. Since Cyclone engines were rare it was decided to risk the M-22 prototype for this purpose.

On 1 March and 2 March 1934, Chkalov performed 75 spins and discovered that the aircraft had very benign stall behavior (dipping a wing and recovering without input from the pilot when airspeed increased) and intentional spins could be easily terminated by placing controls in the neutral position. The stories of vicious spin behavior of the I-16 perpetuated in modern literature is unfounded (perhaps extrapolated from Gee Bee experience). In fact, the I-16's stablemate, the biplane Polikarpov I-153, exhibited much worse spin characteristics.

Service trials of the new fighter, designated I-16, began on 22 March 1934. The M-22 prototype reached 359 km/h (223 mph). The manually-retracted landing gear was prone to jamming and required considerable strength from the pilot. Most of the test flights were performed with the gear extended. On 1 May 1934, the M-22 prototype participated in the flyover of the Red Square.

Approximately 30 I-16 Type 1 aircraft were delivered, but were not assigned to any V-VS fighter squadron. Most pilots who flew the I-16 Type 1 for evaluation purposes did not find the aircraft to have many redeeming characteristics. Regardless of pilot opinion, much attention was focused on the Cyclone powered aircraft and the M-25 (the license built Cyclone). On 14 April 1934, the Cyclone prototype was damaged when one of the landing gear legs collapsed while it was taxiing.

The third prototype with a Cyclone engine incorporated a series of aerodynamic improvements and was delivered for government trials on 7 September 1934. The top speed of 437 km/h (270 mph) no longer satisfied the Air Force, who now wanted the experimental Nazarov M-58 engine and 470 km/h (290 mph). Subsequently, the M-22 powered version entered production at Factory 21 in Nizhny Novgorod and Factory 39 in Moscow. Because it was the fourth aircraft produced by these factories, it received the designation I-16 Type 4. Aircraft fitted with these new engines required a slightly changed airframe, including armor plating for the pilot and changes to the landing gear doors to allow for complete closure.

The M-25 fitted I-16, the I-16 Type 5, featured a new engine cowling which was slightly smaller in diameter and featured nine forward facing shuttered openings to control cooling airflow, a redesigned exhaust with eight individual outlet stubs, and other changes. The M-25 was rated at 474 kW (635 hp) at sea level and 522 kW (700 hp) at 2,300 m (7,546 ft). Due to the poor quality of the canopy glazing, the I-16 Type 5 pilots typically left the canopy open or removed the rear portion completely. By the time the Type 5 arrived, it was the world's lightest production fighter (1,460 kg/3,219 lb), as well as the worlds fastest, able to reach speeds of 454 km/h (282 mph) at altitude and 395 km/h (245 mph) at sea level. While the Type 5 could not perform the high-g maneuvers of other fighters, it possessed superior speed and climb rates, and had extremely responsive aileron control which gave the Type 5 a very good roll rate which lead to precision maneuvers in loops and split-Ss.

A total of 7,005 single-seat and 1,639 two-seat trainer variants were produced.

My Tiny Paper Airplane #2: Thunderbolt

Unlike my Mustangs from yesterday, I folded the Thunderbolt out of one sheet of paper. (The weekends consist of two teeny tiny planes, as the one sheet had to be cut into two) the weekdays out of one large sheet. By large I mean 3 inches by 3 inches.)

Now this is more like it. After the folding and cutting (this isn't exactly origami, as I don't think you use scissors in origami), the colored part of the paper is all that's visible on the wings. It is visible on the tail, but you can believe that's the paint scheme!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Restored de Havilland D.H. 89A "Dominie"

My Golden Age of Flight desktop calendar has, for January 1/2, 2011, a photo of a Restored de Havilland D.H. 89A "Dominie".

Here's the description:

This magnificent de Havilland D.H. 89A "Dominie" was restored by the Croydon Aircraft Company, New Zealand's premier restorer of de Havilland aircraft. The prototype's first fight was April 17, 1934. This Dominie has a top speed of more than 150 mph and is powered by de Havilland Gypsy Queen engines.

The above photo is from: Since its painted in the same colors as the photo in my calendar, I'm going to assume it's the same aircraft.

My Teeny Tiny Paper Airplane #1: Mustang

As is the way of things, as soon as Christmas is over, the prices of calendars go down at all the stores. I visited my local Barnes and Noble, therefore, and picked up two desktop calendars for half price. One is the Golden Age of Flight, by Walter J. Boyne. (Cost $14 orginally, so I picked it up for $7). I also bught a 365 Tiny Paper Air Planes Calendar. Although it has only 30 different models, nevertheless I'll get to fold one each day.

Being too impatient to wait until January 1, I have started today, December 30. And I will make one a weekday, and one on the weekends, for the next 365 days. And I shall take a photo of each one and of my fleet as it progresses.

Today, unfortunately, my camera refused to focus, so you don't get the full impact of my skill. I will say its annoying. The papers are full color on one side, and the other side is ligth blue and has all the lines you're supposed to fold (I couldn't be doing this otherwise!) but for the Mustang, at least, in folding the wings up, the top of the wings have the light blue color, not the colored paper color. So that's a bit annoying. Other than that minor little flaw, I anticipate having a bit of fun each day, amusing myslf with this airplane origami...

And rest assured future photos will be in focus, if I have to buy a new camera to accomplish it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Press Release: 5th International Exhibition of General Aviation

AOPA France and the Cannes AirShow partnership:

AOPA Members Worldwide Can Register for Free Admission

Cannes, December 29, 2010 - For the 5th edition of the Cannes AirShow, that will take place from June 9 to 11th, 2011 at the Cannes LFMD airport, the AOPA France renews its partnership with the International Exhibition of General Aviation of Cannes, France.

The Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association has nearly 23,000 members in Europe, and any general aviation pilots or owner-members will be welcome on their stand. AOPA also welcomes interested pilots or aircraft owners to bring their question, or just to have information about the activities of the association.

Under the aegis of the Association's dynamic President, Patrick Charrier, and as part of this partnership, all AOPA members are cordially invited to come to what will be the 5th edition of the air show.

Beginning in April, AOPA members will be able to order free tickets (35€ value each) directly from their website,

AOPA was a partner of the 2009 and 2010 editions; in fact they held their annual meeting there, during the show in 2009.

This year, in addition to their active booth presence, they will participate in a number of the conferences Cannes AirShow is organising. And as always, they will be defending the rights and interests of their member pilots

About the AOPA
AOPA is the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association for pilots and owners of general aviation aircraft.

It was created in the United States in 1939, and has been defending the rights and interests of general aviation pilots ever since. In France, as in the other 66 countries where it is present, AOPA is a rallying point for pilots. With over 470,000 members worldwide, of which nearly 23,000 are in Europe, it is the largest organisation representing and defending general aviation users in the world.

About the Cannes AirShow, The only General Aviation Exhibition in France:
The Cannes AirShow brings together the leading protagonists in general and business aviation to allow a demanding clientèle discovery the latest developments and industry innovations in a geographically logical and appealing setting.

This professional exhibition is designed for owners and pilots, whether passionate fans or professionals, in general and business aviation throughout Europe, Africa and Russia, offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry.

The Cannes AirShow is southern Europe’s leading exhibition in general and business aviation.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Not Earhart, It's Haizlip!

You've just got to laugh at the Reno ... something (The website says RGJ...but doesn't explain what it is. THe name of some newspaper, no dout.)

Reno Man Has Rare Footage of 1933 film that may show Earhart
In any event, on the front page of the site is a headline saying "1933 film may show Amelia Earhart" accompanied by a photo, which I reproduce, of a woman who is clearly not Earhart. Since when did Earheart every wear plus fours, or a skirt, or whatever this woman is wearing, let alone look so bulky.

But more than the actual text of the article it is also clearly stated that the woman is definitely not Earhart and is probably Mary Haizlip. Yet the website newspaper nevertheless uses that headline..just a ploy to get people to read the article, I guess. After all, people would want to look at photos of Earhart...but of obscure (to the unitiated) Mary Haizlip...not so much.

It's still a silly headline and a silly ploy. I'd like to see the film however, to see all these aviation pioneers walking around - that would be something.

A Reno man has come into possession of a film of the 1933 National Air Races in Los Angeles that shows aviation pioneers, possibly including Amelia Earhart.

The 12-minute, 16-mm film has been in the family of Fred Holabird for many years, and it was digitized and delivered to Holabird just days before it was announced that bone fragments found on a South Pacific island are being checked to see if they match Earhart's DNA.

The story passed along to Holabird is that film includes footage of Earhart. The canister has "Erhardt" written on it.

If Earhart, who was declared missing in 1937 in a flight around the world, is in the film, it's not clear. A few seconds of the film show an unidentified woman dressed in goggles and a flying helmet pilot walking and talking with others.

The Reno Gazette-Journal had Dorothy S. Cochrane, curator of general aviation at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, review that video posted at

Cochrane said she is almost certain that clip does not depict Earhart, saying it does not look like the famed pilot.

It most looks like Mary "Mae" Haizlip, who won the 1933 female Aerol Trophy Race at the National Air Races flying a Wedell-Williams Model 92 aircraft, Cochrane said.

The video posted at also shows Jimmy Wedell, an early pilot and airplane builder who would die in a crash in Lousiana the following year. Wedell made national news when he flew a child from Houston to Baltimore for a life-saving operation.

"Jimmy was a well-known racer and designer of the early 1930s," Cochrane wrote in an e-mail. "In 1933 he won the Thompson Trophy race (a closed-course unlimited speed race) and placed second in the transcontinental Bendix Trophy race in his own Wedell-Williams Model 44 aircraft."

The other 12 minutes of the film shows aircraft flying around the race course, which Holabird said looks like Signal Hill, a community south of Los Angeles now surrounded by Long Beach. One of those aircraft could be piloted by Earhart.

Holabird is part of Holabird-Kagin Americana, which deals in coins, certificates, bottles and other items of historical significance from the American West.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

25 December, 1942

I'm reading On Final Approach: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II. It gives a chronological history of the WASP, but it is not thoroughly chronological, for example ther is an entry on December 19, 1942, but then nothing further until December 28, 1942.

Pesumably, there was a Christmas celebration at the airfield in Houston where the first women pilots were training (not yet called the WASP) in the Women's Flying Training Program, which had begun on November 6, 1942 and would extend until February 13, 1943.

I'll continue this chronology on December 28, 1942 (but prior to that will make a few posts summarizing the history of the WASP until that date). I'll do that tomorrow as today is Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and may 2011 be a great year for all of us.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Press Release: DirectFly Alto is Newest SLSA

Training and Personal Transport Configurations Cover the LSA Spectrum

Salem OH, Dec 15, 2010: Corbi Air, Inc. of Ohio and DirectFly s.r.o of the Czech Republic announced ASTM conformance verification of the DirectFly Alto Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA) today.

Alto enters the Light Sport Aircraft market as a purpose-built LSA, tailored at the factory for Flight Training use. Corbi Air and DirectFly have been able to produce an affordable, cost-effective aircraft that is durable and reliable enough to work in the flight school environment while including features of the best general aviation aircraft today. Standard equipment includes a Mode S transponder, internal corrosion protection, electric pitch and aileron trim, nosewheel steering, Teflon coated aviation grade wiring, Vertical Power’s electrical distribution system, and the U.S.-made Sensenich composite propeller with its stainless steel leading edge. Another unique feature is the U.S.-supported Beringer wheel and brake assemblies with ALIR™ anti-skid system, ideally suited for training (no more tires with flat spots).

Where other manufactures use separate oil coolers, Corbi Air has included as standard equipment a laminar flow oil to water heat exchanger proven in Europe on the “Glider Tow” version of the Alto. This warms the engine oil to the proper operating temperature more quickly for the day’s first flight, or on those cold winter days; and it also provides superior cooling on those hot summer days.

Not “just another great LSA”
The Alto comes equipped with an aluminum main landing gear, proven stronger and more durable than competing carbon “legs,” while retaining a comfortable ride. The Training configuration includes larger main wheels and tires, a huge 600+ pound useful load – enough to carry full fuel (24 gallons, or about 6 hours), two 210-pound pilots, and over 30 pounds of luggage. Even better, the Alto stays within its center of gravity range at any loading: from zero fuel and a single 120-lb pilot, to any combination of fuel, pilot(s), and luggage, up to its 1,320-lb. gross weight!

Owner- Pilots have not been forgotten.
Corbi Air has developed a style and function package tailored to the owner-pilot including wheel pants and upgraded leather upholstery. This Personal version also sports a useful load of over 600lbs and offers a wide array of optional instrument panel/avionics configurations including such names as Dynon, Advanced Flight, and Garmin, making the Alto a truly desirable and capable personal aircraft.

The Mechanic has not been left out.
The all-metal Alto is easy to work on, using traditional and universal techniques. Convenience and accessibility are emphasized by design features like the removable instrument panel and top cover plus the utilization of the Pro Hub avionics connectors and Vertical Power wiring system, to the floating Beringer brake discs, to an engine installation that allows access on all sides.

President Ron Corbi and Aviation Consultant Dan Coffey have achieved their goals of delivering an aircraft that is durable enough to take the punishment of high utilization and student use, and is stable and predictable, fun to fly. The Alto is straightforward and inexpensive to operate, maintain and insure; best of all, its low acquisition cost (starting at $97,500 FOB Ohio) helps to maximize flight school profitability. Current orders are to be delivered in the first quarter of 2011.

The factory demonstrator will be available for press flights at Spot 612 at the Sebring Sport Aircraft Expo, January 20-23, 2011, in Sebring, Florida.

CorbiAir Inc,
11800 Salem Warren Rd.
Salem Air Park (38D)
Salem, OH 44460

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yahoo News: Lab scans bones that may belong to Amelia Earhart

Lab scans bones that may belong to Amelia Earhart
NORMAN, Okla. – Three bone fragments found on a deserted South Pacific island are being analyzed to determine if they belong to Amelia Earhart — tests that could finally prove she died as a castaway after failing in her 1937 quest to become the first woman to fly around the world.

Scientists at the University of Oklahoma hope to extract DNA from the bones, which were found earlier this year by a Delaware group dedicated to the recovery of historic aircraft.

"There's no guarantee," said Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery in Delaware. "You only have to say you have a bone that may be human and may be linked to Earhart and people get excited. But it is true that, if they can get DNA, and if they can match it to Amelia Earhart's DNA, that's pretty good."

The remains turned up in May and June at what seemed to be an abandoned campsite near where native work crews found skeletal remains in 1940. The pieces appear to be from a cervical bone, a neck bone and a finger.

But Gillespie offered a word of caution: The fragments could be from a turtle. They were found near a hollowed-out turtle shell that might have been used to collect rain water, but there were no other turtle parts nearby.

"This site tells the story of how someone or some people attempted to live as castaways," Gillespie said in an interview with The Associated Press. Bird and fish carcasses nearby suggested they were prepared and eaten by Westerners.

"These fish weren't eaten like Pacific Islanders" eat fish.

Lab officials said results of the tests could take week or months.

Gillespie has been traveling to the site since 1989 but acknowledges there's been little progress toward solving the Earhart mystery. It did not help that bones and a sextant box found three years after Earhart's disappearance disappeared themselves after being sent to Fiji.

"It's like science. You take the information you have and formulate a hypothesis, but 9 1/2 times out of 10 you turn out wrong, then you go through the whole thing again — but you're closer," Gillespie said.

Anthropologists who had previously worked with Gillespie's group suggested that he ask the University of Oklahoma's Molecular Anthropology Laboratory to try to extract DNA from the fragments for comparison to genetic material donated by an Earhart family member.

Cecil Lewis, an assistant professor of anthropology at the lab, said the university received a little more than a gram of bone fragments about two weeks ago.

"I think it's best to talk about more when we have something say about it," Lewis said. "Think how disheartened people will be if it's just a turtle bone."

Gillespie said the group had tried to test possible genetic material recovered during a 2007 expedition, but a Canadian lab was unable to extract DNA from dried excrement.

Other material recovered this year also suggested the presence of Westerners at the remote site on Nikumaroro Island, 1,800 miles south of Hawaii:

• Someone carried shells ashore before cutting them open and slicing out the meat. Islanders cut the meat out at sea.

• Bottoms of bottles found nearby were melted on the bottom, suggesting they had been put into a fire, possibly to boil water. (A Coast Guard unit on the island during World War II would have had no need to boil water.)

• Bits of makeup were found at the scene. The group is checking to see which products Earhart endorsed and whether an inventory lists specific types of makeup carried on her final trip.

• A glass bottle with remnants of lanolin and oil, possibly hand lotion.

Some evidence has suggested that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, landed on the island, but, Gillespie said, "we are constantly agonizing over whether we are being dragged down a path that isn't right."

Still, the island is on the line Earhart planned to follow from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, which had a landing strip and fuel. Gillespie, a pilot, said she would have needed only about 700 feet of unobstructed space to land because her Lockheed Electra would have been traveling only about 55 mph at touchdown.

"It looks like she could have landed successfully on the reef surrounding the island. It's very flat and smooth," Gillespie said. "At low tide, it looks like this place is surrounded by a parking lot."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wondering what to get your kids for the holidays?

Plenty of aviation themed books for kids out there.

PowderPuff Pilot offers their Claire Bear series, as well as other aviation related fiction books for pre-school kids.

Tami Lewis Brown's new book, Soar Elinor is an excellent book for children. You can purcahse that at, and read our interview with her at: Tami is a pilot as well as an author.

For teens, there's Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith, about a young light-skinned black woman pilot who passes for white in order to join the WASP and serve her country. We've interviewed Sherri as well, and you can read that interview at:

There are plenty of toher books as well. I recommend Hollywood Buzz, by MAefir Liesche. It's the second book in a mystery series featuring WASP Pucci Lewis (a fictional WASP) as the detective.)

And don't forget my own ebook offering, The Lady and the Tiger...Moth! Only $1.99, for the Kindle (at You can't beat that. (If you dont have a Kindle, don't worry. You can download a Kindle emulator FREE for your Mac or PC, or a variety of phones.) Do it today!

Press Release: BERINGER Switches to New Lube

Better for Product, Employees, Environment
Châtelneuf, France ; December 15, 2010: Beringer Wheels & Brakes, responding to many years of testing and evaluation, has switched to a better‐performing, non‐petroleum assembly oil in its assembly process.

“Beringer always looks for ways to improve its products and processes, and this change is better for the product, for our employees, and for the planet,” said Gilbert Beringer, co‐founder and president.

Practical testing and bench‐testing over 100,000 cycles (including exhaustive tests on a fatigue bench – a pressure‐cycling dynamometer) – far more than the assemblies will do through their lifespans in aircraft – have shown that the newly‐employed vegetable‐derived oil does the job better, while creating a smaller health and environmental hazard than traditional petroleum‐based lubes.

Beringer Company is always looking for ways to achieve more sustainable development through eco‐friendly design and practice.
Their brake cylinders and calipers, for example, are 98% recyclable and have no effective life limit: all wear parts can be replaced
and are available in rebuild kits. Toxic compounds commonly found in the industry, like chrome hexavalent, are not part of the Beringer process.

Reducing shipping byproducts and waste while reinforcing the local industrial network, 90% of Beringer subcontractors are located
near the Beringer plant, further helping the local industry and maintaining nearly a dozen jobs.

Even the wooden building of Beringer Company represents low energy and materials consumption; and their cars burn LPG and help reduce particulate emissions.

BERINGER Company’s commitment to business integrity and sustainability is reflected in the MADE IN RESPECT recognition which the 25‐year‐old company has held for over two years. The certification is proudly displayed near the company’s ISO 9001 certification award.

Friday, December 10, 2010

WASP Files: May 1940 - Nancy Harkness Love writes to General Hap Arnold

Sometime during May, 1940, Nancy Harkness Love writes to Colonel Robert Olds. She knows of 49 women, perhaps 15 more, all having accumulated at least 100 hours of flight time, "on a great many ships". She suggests these women could be used by the Army to ferry aircraft.

Olds broaches the subject with General Hap Arnold. Arnold responds that the Army Air Corps has no need for women pilots, but such women could perhaps take the place of commercial pilots who could then take on military dities.

Here's the background behind Nancy Love's suggestion:

28 September, 1938
Brigadier General Henry H. Arnold, nicknamed Hap, attends a conference at the White House to discuss the possibility of war with Nazi Germany.

Arnold points out that Germany has 8,000 combat-planes, of which 6,000 are combat ready. The United States, on the other hand, has fewer than 1,000 bombers and fighter aircraft, and most of these are obsolete.

Arnold suggests that the Army Air Corps must have 7,500 modern combat planes, plus 2,500 training planes, along with the men - pilots and mechanics.

At this point the Army Air Corps has only 1,650 air officers and 16,000 enlisted men.

President Roosevelt agrees with Arnold's assessment and orders the Air Corps be beefed up immediately.

29 September, 1938
Arnold is appointed Chief of the Air Corps. Knowing that the military at that time has the capacity to train only 750 pilots a year, he sets a plan in motion whereby civilian flying schools witll give Air Corps cadets their initial training.

3 September, 1939
Only days less than a year later, Nazi Germany invades Poland. As soon as President Roosevelt hears the news, he names George C. Marshall Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

28 September, 1938
Jacqueline Cochran, the United States' most famous woman pilot at that time, reads the headlines. Cochran is married to millionaire Floyd Oldum, who controls Atlas Corporation and its subsidiary, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft, writes to Eleanor Roosevelt suggesting that women pilots could help the US Army Air Corps by releasing men for combat duty, taking over "ambulance planes, courier planes...and transport planes." She suggests that a force of 650 women be allowed to start pilot training immediately. Although Eleanor Roosevelt is in favor of the idea, President Roosevelt is not yet ready to consider it.

January 1940
England forms the ATA (air transport auxiliary), a civilian group, and eight women are signed on to ferry planes across the country. (The ATA also has male pilots, who are unfit for miilitary service. The male pilots were of course paid more than their female colleagues.)

9 April, 1940
German panzers invade Norway and Denmark. Meanwhile in the United States, aircraft production has been delayed as various factions in Congress argue the program's merits.

16 May, 1940
Congress is told the news that France is expected to surrender to Germany shortly. Congress approves the funding for 11,000 planes.

It is amid this atmosphere that Nancy Love, independent of Jacqueline Cochran, makes her suggesiton to General Arnold, via Robert Olds.

On Final Approach: The WOmen Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, Byrd Howell Granger, Falconer Publishing Company, 1991

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interview with Tami Lewis Brown

Tami Lewis Brown, author of children's picture book (and a very good one at that) Soar Elinor, recounting Elinor Smith's record-breaking flight beneath all of the bridges spanning New York's East River, a feat no one had done before, or has done since, was kind enough to give Winged Victory: Women in Aviation an interview.

Check it out at:

And note that if you're looking for someone to speak to school groups, scout troops, book clubs or pilot groups, Tami is more than happy to do so. She'll even do it long distance, via Skype!

Monday, December 6, 2010

German Valentine: Woman pilot

Front of Valentine card, male pilot with bouquet.

Open the door of the plane and girl pilot looks out.

The inscription is "This is not sent to give you the air my Valentine"

When you pull the TAIL of the plane the DOOR FLAP lifts up and reveals a GIRL PILOT inside.. His ARMS also raise a bouquet of flowers up, and his eyes google from side to side...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Read...and The Lady and the Tiger...Moth at Youtube

The graphic novelette portion of The Lady and the Tiger...Moth is now available at YouTube. Remember you can buy the complete book (the rest of the story is told in prose form) for your Kindle - or Kindle emulator - for only $1.99!!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

PR: Avionics announces the MGL Avionics MGL-880 Aviation Headsets

MGL MGL Avionics Headsets Available Now

High class anthracite look, metal frame - hand adjustable, no tools required.
Very comfortable headband resulting in no pressure points due to light overall weight.
Operates as mono or stereo headset with volume and balance controls and very good audio quality.
Super soft gel ear seals with soft material allows for a good acoustic seal even if you are wearing glasses.
Very high passive noise suppression figures over the full audio band.
Filtered, noise canceling microphone.
Gold plated connectors and high quality, long life cable.
Reversible microphone boom.
The MGL Avionics aviation headset offers exceptional value for money - a quality passive headset at a fantastic price!

Stereo and mono operation
Soft silicone gel filled earcups
Gold plated Headphone and Microphone plugs
Metal swivel gooseneck and metal microphone boom
Extremely light and strong at only 20.5oz / 580g
Excellent passive noise reduction rating of 27dB
Clear frequency response from 20-17,000Hz, distortion free through entire range
Adjustable open foam cushioned headband
Quick response noise canceling filter amplified electret microphone with wind muff

Note: Conforms to FAA TSO C57a and TSO C58a

Volume Control:
The headset features two volume control knobs - one on each earcup. The first knob is used to select between stereo and mono operation, and select the volume level of that earphone (if stereo operation is selected). The other knob is used to control the volume level of the other earphone in stereo mode, and both earphones if mono mode is selected.

This headset is manufactured to MGL Avionics's own specifications by one of the world's largest headset manufacturers.
Perfectly matched for use with the MGL V10, but suitable for use with any intercom or transceiver.

Price: $125 each