S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Aviation Page 2 keywords = aviation air plane Roosevelt Field Curtiss Mitchel Floyd Bennett hangar George Dade Lindbergh rail road Cradle museum historical Berliner Joyce EEMCO ERCO Ercoupe Aircoupe Paul Mantz Cole Palen Rhinebeck aerodrome Bell Airacuda FM-1 SE-5 JU-52/3m Caidin

Updated:   25 Apr 2014; 21:50 ET
[Page converted 21 Mar 2013

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/aviatn-2.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/aviatn-2.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Page 2

See also the Aviation Page, et seq.

World War I Eberhart SE-5E
(American-built Version of the Royal Aircraft Factory's SE-5a)
Image from USAF Museum Site.

For aviation matters in general, see the main Aviation page.

Nota bene - I am a passenger; NOT a pilot!  Although I logged many hours in the Link trainer at NYC's late (and, by many, lamented) Museum of Science and Industry, I only had the command controls once, ca. 1980, in the right-hand seat of a Cessna 210, when our pilot seemed determined to B-25 the Empire State Building and I conned us away from that fate.

You might visit my other pages which are replete with aviation-related historical information, such as railroads, Emile Berliner and his son Henry A. Berliner*), Chrysler and SS and Jaguar, the ordnance page, and the Fairchild Aerial Survey page.

AVIATION - continued


On the preceding page:
  George C. Dade
  V-1 Buzz Bombs
  All-Time Favo(u)rites - My Choices (moved to page 4 on 29 Mar 2002)
  Boeing 307 Stratoliner
  Strombecker Kits

On Aviation Continuation Page 1:

  Bell FM-1 Airacuda
  More on the Bell FM-1 Airacuda.
(both moved from the preceeding and succeeding pages 02 Jun 2005)

On this Aviation Continuation Page 2:
  Berliner and Aviation
  Bell P-59 Airacomet.
  Junkers Ju52/3m.

On Aviation Continuation Page 3:
  LTA - Lighter Than Air
  More Aviation Apocrypha.
{so far}, plus miscellany.
(moved from the main and second Aviation pages 27 Jan 2000)
  Strombecker Kits
(moved from main Aviationpage 09 Mar 2000)
  Long Island Chopper - H34 to fly again

On Aviation Continuation Page 4:
  All-Time Favo(u)rites - My Choices (moved here from main page 29 Mar 2002)
  Marine Air Terminal (La Guardia).
  Casey Jones' Academy of Aeronautics.
  Dinky Meccano Aircraft Models.
  Comet Authenticast 1:432 Aircraft Models.

BIG NEWS! - the full set of original Comet brass dies are for sale!

On Aviation Continuation Page 5:
    TWIN-FUSELAGE AIRPLANES (moved from the main Aviation page on 09 Jul 2002)

P-38 Lockheed Lightning
F-82 Twin Mustang
Twin Ercoupe
FW 189 Uhu
He 111Z "Zwilling"
    Me 321/323 "Gigant"
    American Airpower Museum

On Aviation Continuation Page 6:

Twin Cub.
Champlain Flying Club's 1946 Aeronca Champ.     Long Island Air Museums.
Cradle of Aviation Museum.
American Airpower Museum.
    Stout/Ford Trimotors (see also the Tri-motor Page).

On Aviation Continuation Page 7:   new.gif (24 Dec 2012)
    Avianca Flight 52 (25 Jan 1990).   new.gif (24 Dec 2012)

Aviation Tri-motor Page).

On the Aviation Humor Page:
    Good Chute!.
    Clutch-Starting a Jet!.
    Good Stretch!
    Kulula Airlines

Berliner and Aviation

I write extensively elsewhere about Emile Berlinerand his son Henry A(dler). Berliner, of gramophone fame, and their extensive contributions to aviation.

A kind gentleman formerly in the employ of Henry Berliner's Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) in the early 50's e-mailed me 08 Feb 2000 with the following (edited only very slightly):

"When the light airplane market folded in the early 50's, Henry had the foresight to get into the flight simulation business which proved to be very sucessful.  He sold the business (ERCO) to ACF Industries {formerly American Car & Foundry}.  It later was sold to General Precision Inc. and later to The Singer Corporation.  The ERCOUPE business was sold prior to that to a company which later produced the design as the AIRCOUPE."

[For more on this venture, see also the Hebrew History Federation, Ltd. Website
where there are two pages devoted to "Emil{sic}Berliner; An Unheralded Genius",
"Part I - The Early Years", and and "Part II - The Later Years", by Samuel Kurinsky
(links below).  The two pages noted here represent a highly-detailed and slightly different
and most interesting take on the life of this most inspired and inspiring man, with
lots of new material on his various inventions (gramophone, helicopter, Ercoupe, etc.);
I strongly recommend that you look at them, but do come back.

"Henry was very visible at his ERCO plant and knew most of the employees on a first-name basis.  We had about 2,000 when I first started working there.  He was a very gregarious type of person and treated his employees with great respect.

He continued to experiment with all manner of gadgets -- a propeller driven car, an aluminum hull cabin cruiser, one of the first hovercraft, a twin-engined version of the ERCOUPE airplane, and many other interesting projects.

You can find a photo of him flying his father's helicopter at College Park Airport on the Web at Aerofiles* {formerly Aero Data Files}.  The museum at College Park Airport now has the helicopter on display.  {I requested permission to reproduce the photo here and received it 11 Feb 2000.}

Henry Berliner in Helo
[Image courtesy of Aerofiles - provenance as noted - all rights reserved.]

Henry Berliner flying the "Berliner 1921 single-wing, rotary-powered, helicopter with deflector vanes at the wingtips (Aviation)" - text from Aerofiles (by permission); described as "the first helicopter to achieve controlled horizontal flight -- a war-surplus Nieuport biplane fighter with tilting tail rotor, and a short-span upper wing with 14'0" helicopter blades at the tips."  Clearly, there was no upper wing or tail rotor at the time this photo was taken.
As I've noted elsewhere, one of the nicest things about this Website is the wonderful people who contact me; on 05 Dec 2002, I heard from Richard Sanders, a grandson of Emile Berliner and nephew of Henry A. Berliner, and he confirms that the Berliner helicopter is, indeed, at the College Park museum, writing {slightly edited}:

"The Berliner Helicopter was developed at College Park Airport, which you may know is the oldest operating airport in the world {I did NOT know}.  It was here that the Wright Brothers taught the army officers to fly.

Currently there is a small museum located just off the remaining east-west runway.  In this museum is the helicopter that Henry Berliner built for the military.  Unlike the first machine, this model has wings to be used in case of engine failure.

My brother and I took over Ercoupe sales and service and had Erco produce just over 200 aircraft.  We developed the Model 'G'; with the 'kiddy' seat which my daughter occupied on a delivery trip to California."

[Living history sure beats apocrypha, hands down!
 Photos at my Emil Berliner continuation page.]

The Berliner-Joyce Aircraft Corporation produced some of the most advanced aircraft designs of the day and should not be forgotten as one of the pioneering aircraft corporations."

Henry Berliner went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1927 as a spokesman and partner of a group who operated Hoover Field in Washington and opened and operated The Gettysburg Flying Service, Inc., in Gettysburg.  By 1929, Henry had apparently sold out and went back to manufacturing airplanes.

* - This Aerofiles site has some of the most amazing aircraft information I have ever seen; I heartily recommend it to you.  Their page on Berliner, alone, is worth every moment.

01 Oct 2000 - A gentleman whose late father-in-law, Slim Mayfield, was a barnstormer and pilot of every kind in the late 20's until he retired from American Airlines in 1969 writes that his father-in-law owned a Berliner-Joyce CM-4 with the OX-5 motor from 1930 to 1936 and flew this aircraft in eastern Pennsylvania as a barnstormer for almost all of those years.  Mayfield mentioned to him once that a man named Emile Berliner had developed the first aircraft radio and successfully used it around Long Island for a short period but there was no interest in it and he quit trying to promote it.  I don't recall ever hearing of or reading of any such in EB's biography, which is packed away, so I can't readily check on this.  I seem to remember the facts are right but not the inventor.  Does anyone know better?

(Incidentally, George Dade's NYS license plate was "OX-5".)

Another bit of Berliner aviation apocrypha involves me, NOT Emile or Henry.  When I worked at Servomechanisms in 1955-56 in their offices at the south-east corner of Stewart Avenue and Clinton Road in Garden City, I was quite aware that the buildings were the former plant and offices of the Glenn L. Curtiss experimental aircraft facility.  They are still standing there and contain an unremarkèd historical wonder.  The "T"-shaped main building, fronting on Clinton Road, was the engineering office and it connected, at the second floor rear, with a balcony running across the west wall of the factory (from which many of the famous plant photos were taken).  In the south wall of that connector, one could plainly see the side of the throat of the famed Curtiss wind tunnel, once (ca. WWI) the longest wind tunnel in the world.  The last time I was allowed access (ca. 1980), it had been covered over with dry-wall, but I'd bet it is still in there and it should be removed, restored, and put on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at nearby Mitchel Field.

[This was already posted somewhere on my site but seems to have evaporated over the years.]

Another story that seems to have evaporated was the time I was driving over the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvania on I-80, heading for the George Washington Bridge and running late.  It was sometime around 1990 and somewhere around the top of the Poconos, just towards dusk, with the slider sunroof wide open and under a heavy overcast, when a powerful prop plane headed over the hill in front and roared directly at me, only a few hundred feet over the road.  It was an old P-40 in WWII OD camouflage; what a thrill!  I would guess the old warbird was heading home from Rhinebeck or some such place and ground-hopping in the gathering darkness. (05 Sep 2006)

This related one, from an 2006 e-mail, is as sentimental and flag-waving as all get out, but I can't resist posting it:

"This is a good little story about a vivid memory of a P-51 and its pilot by a fellow when he was 12 years old in Canada in 1967.  Some of you may know a few others who would appreciate it.

It was noon on a Sunday as I recall, the day a Mustang P-51 was to take to the air.  They said it had flown in during the night from some US airport, the pilot had been tired.

I marveled at the size of the plane dwarfing the Pipers and Canucks tied down by her.  It was much larger than in the movies.  She glistened in the sun like a bulwark of security from days gone by.

The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver, then stepped into the flight lounge.  He was an older man, his wavy hair was gray and tossed... looked like it might have been combed... say, around the turn of the century.  His flight jacket was checked, creased, and worn - it smelled old and genuine.  Old Glory was prominently sewn to its shoulders.  He projected a quiet air of proficiency and pride devoid of arrogance.  He filed a quick flight plan to Montreal (Expo-67, Air Show) then walked across the tarmac.

After taking several minutes to perform his walk-around check the pilot returned to the flight lounge to ask if anyone would be available to stand by with fire extinguishers while he "flashed the old bird up... just to be safe."  Though only 12 at the time I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher after brief instruction on its use -- "If you see a fire, point, then pull this lever!"  I later became a firefighter, but that's another story.

The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror from fuel fumes as the huge prop started to rotate.  One manifold, then another, and yet another barked -- I stepped back with the others.  In moments the Packard-built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar, blue flames knifed from her manifolds.  I looked at the others' faces, there was no concern.  I lowered the bell of my extinguisher.  One of the guys signaled to walk back to the lounge.  We did.

Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his pre flight run-up.  He'd taxied to the end of runway 19, out of sight.  All went quiet for several seconds, we raced from the lounge to the second story deck to see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the runway.  We could not.  There we stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19.  Then a roar ripped across the field, much louder than before, like a furious hell spawn set loose---something mighty this way was coming.

"Listen to that thing!", said the controller.  In seconds the Mustang burst into our line of sight.  Its tail was already off and it was moving faster than anything I'd ever seen by that point on 19.  Two thirds the way down 19 the Mustang was airborne with her gear going up.  The prop tips were supersonic; we clasped our ears as the Mustang climbed hellish fast into the circuit to be eaten up by the dog-day haze.

We stood for a few moments in stunned silence trying to digest what we'd just seen.  The radio controller rushed by me to the radio.  "Kingston tower calling Mustang?"  He looked back to us as he waited for an acknowledgment.  The radio crackled, "Go ahead Kingston."  "Roger Mustang.  Kingston tower would like to advise the circuit is clear for a low level pass."  I stood in shock because the controller had, more or less, just asked the pilot to return for an impromptu air show!

The controller looked at us.  "What?" He asked.  "I can't let that guy go without asking... I couldn't forgive myself!"  The radio crackled once again, "Kingston, do I have permission for a low level pass, east to west, across the field?"  "Roger Mustang, the circuit is clear for an east to west pass."  "Roger, Kingston, I'm coming out of 3000 feet, stand by."  We rushed back onto the second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze.

The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, a muffled screech, a distant scream.  Moments later the P-51 burst through the haze, her airframe straining against positive Gs and gravity, wing tips spilling contrails of condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic as the burnished bird blasted across the eastern margin of the field shredding and tearing the air.

At about 400 mph and 150 yards from where we stood she passed with an old American pilot saluting... imagine... a salute.  I felt like laughing, I felt like crying, she glistened, she screamed, the building shook, my heart pounded... then the old pilot pulled her up... and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out of sight into the broken clouds and indelibly into my memory.

I've never wanted to be an American more than on that day.  It was a time when many nations in the world looked to America as their big brother, a steady and even-handed beacon of security who navigated difficult political water with grace and style; not unlike the pilot who'd just flown into my memory.  He was proud, not arrogant, humble, not a braggart, old and honest, projecting an aura of America at its best.  That America will return one day, I know it will.

Until that time, I'll just send off a story; call it a reciprocal salute, to the old American pilot who wove a memory for a young Canadian that's stayed a lifetime."

[P-51 on the deck (from the e-mail message)]

Well, I don't know how authentic this might be (a Canadian wanting to be an American?) but I sure hope that Canuck is right!

More on the Bell FM-1 Series Airacuda

Here, courtesy of the Confederate Air Force's Air Group One, is the YFM-1 for your delectation:

Bell YFM-1 Airacuda

For more (MUCH MORE!) on the Bell FM-1 Airacuda,
see Aviation Continuation Page 1.

Bell P-59 Airacomet

(Bell P-39 Airacobra and P-59 Airacomet - stock USAF photo)

Elsewhere on these aviation pages I mention an early, if fleeting, interest in the Bell P-39/63 Airacobra/King Cobra.  When the USAAC found out about Frank Whittle's jet engine, they got all hot and bothered and contracted Bell Aircraft, known for its odd-ball approach to design, to build America's first jet plane (too little, too late, as so often happens).  First flown in Oct 1942 using an imported Whittle, it was soon upgraded with GE's first aircraft jet turbine.  The plane was far too heavy and slow for any useful application and the engines simply were not up to the task, shedding blades and burning out regularly; the two prototypes and production P-59a's and YP-59a's were relegated to training roles, serving into the '50s. (26 Aug 2006)

P-59-Chino1 P-59-Chino3 (Images from e-mail submittal)

In 1942, this was a Top Secret project located at Edwards AFB; when the dry lake flooded, they had to transport it by road, so it was disguised with a dummy wooden propeller on the front and covered with a shroud.  There is also a story behind the hats; on one test flight it was spotted by pilot's getting checked out in P-38's operating from Van Nuys Airport.  When the P-38 pilots reported seeing an airplane with no propeller, their account met with skepticism but the story kept circulating, so on a subsequent flight the test pilot of the P-59 dressed up in a gorilla mask, put on a derby hat, and smoked a cigar.  He then made a point to fly next to the P-38 pilots and waved at them.  When the P-38 pilots got back to their base, they told everyone about the plane with no propeller flown by a gorilla wearing a derby and smoking a cigar.  The result of their reports was total disbelief, so the airplane remained a secret until after the war.

(Image from e-mail submittal)

The restoration crew has special shirts, derby hats, and a fancy baseball cap designed by one of the guys; no doubt they'll have gorilla masks soon.

There are only six P-59s left; this one, s/n 42-108777, is a YP-59A, undergoing restoration to flying status out in Chino, CA, at the Air Museum Planes Of Fame.

The Airacomet was the first jet aircraft in U.S. service and s/n 12-108777, believed to be the tenth airframe in the production run, served at Santa Maria AFB, California in the 1950s.  Volunteers have spent the past ten years restoring this airplane, and they put the wings back on recently just in time to be on static display at an air show that very weekend.

The Junkers Ju52/3m:

About 05 Sep 1990, Lufthansa brought their newly restored 1941 Ju-52/3m, "Tante Ju" (Aunt Judy) to Republic Field in Farmingdale here on Long Island for a visit; I didn't get a ride but I did get a nose-to-aluminum inspection of her.  She was Martin Caidin's old Norwegian baby, "Iron Annie", w/n 5489, LN-DAH, originally on floats and named "Falken".&nsnp; Ca. 1947, after arduous Luftwaffe duty, she was rebuilt with the stronger fuselage of Ju-52/3mg8e, w/n 130714, and renumbered LN-KAF, using the new fusleage s/n and nicknamed "Askeladden".  Then, in 1956, after flying for DNL and SAS, she was sold to Transportes Aéreos Orientales of Quito, Ecuador, and was being towed on her floats to a freighter when her floats split and she sank!  Raised, stripped, and rebuilt yet again, she was finally shipped to Quito, 9,000' above sea level, where, as HC-ABS, she was put back in service.  The jungle (and the urine that streaked back from her evacuation tube) finally got to her and she started rotting away until rescued by one Lester Weaver, reregistered as N130LW, and ferried here in 1970.  Later reregistered as N52JU by Caidin, who completely restored her from the ground up in 1975, she was bought back by Lufthansa and returned to Germany and reregistered (sound familiar?) as D-AQUI.   rev.gif (22 Apr 2014)

DNL Ju52 LN-DAF CAF Ju52/3m landing Ju52/3m D-AQUI in flight

Left:  DNL Ju52 LN-DAF at Forsvarsmuseets Flysamling , Bodo, Norway (museum photo).

Center:  CAF Ju52/3m landing - sure looks like "Iron Annie"(photo by Canadian Aces).

Right:  DL Ju52/3m D-AQUI in flight (over monument) (H. Duddeck photo).

Ju52/3m D-AQUI over fields Ju52/3m D-AVUP from below Ju52/3m D-AQUI over Gorch Fock

Left:  DL Ju52/3m D-AQUI in flight (over fields) (Deutsche Lufthansa photo).

Center:  DL Ju52/3m D-AVUP in flight (from below) (photo provenance lost).

Right:  DL Ju52/3m D-AQUI flying over the tall ship Gorch Fock (Deutsche Lufthansa photo).

All photos (except as noted) are from Horst Zoeller's The Junkers Aircraft Type Pages, Part 3: Hugo Junkers' Final Aircraft Designs (1926 - 1932) - Ju52 photo gallery;
this is a FANTASTIC site - NOT to be missed!

Devotees of the Ju52 should (MUST) read Caidin's book, "The Story of Iron Annie", Doubleday & Co., Garden City, New York, 1979, LoC 78-1189, ISBN 0-385-13350-2,
from which much of this information was excerpted..

Tante Ju D-AQUI is still running strong as of Apr 2014 - I ran across her in a feature article in Lufthansa's in-flight magazin for Apr 2014, front cover; pp. 14, 68-75, and 88; she is used as a reward for their most exceptional pilots to train in props and for charters (their version of her history does not quite jibe with Caidin's).   new.gif (22 Apr 2014) and rev (25 Apr 2014)

Kurinsky's Fact Papers, noted at the top of this page, are at:

"Fact Paper 27-I The Early Years", and

"Fact Paper 27-II The Later Years".

As you are obviously air-minded (take that as you choose), you must see the Lion Air site!  I'd be Lion if I didn't warn you to keep your tongue in your cheek on this one!

On a more serious note, if you like aero engines, see Steve Vardy's Aero Engine Central.

Glenn Whitener has a great model helo index.

Because of former page size limitations, this page is a continuation of the Aviation Page 1.  Visit it and the Aviation Continuation Page 3, et seq.

As you are obviously air-minded (take that as you choose), you must see the Lion Air site!  I'd be Lion if I didn't warn you to keep your tongue in your cheek on this one!

On a more serious note, if you like aero engines, see Steve Vardy's Aero Engine Central.

Also, pilot Paul Freeman has an absolutely fascinating Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields site.

See also the main Aviation Page, et seq.:
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of this series of Aviation pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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