S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Aviation Page 7 keywords = aviation air plane Avianca Flight 52 Tennis Court Lane Cove Neck SE-5 Ed Jurist Vintage Aircraft Nyack

Updated:   07 Feb 2017; 20:05  ET
[Page created 24 Dec 2012

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/aviatn-7.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 7

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.

On the main Aviation page:
  George C. Dade
  V-1 Buzz Bombs
  Bell FM-1 Airacuda
  TWIN-FUSELAGE AIRPLANES (moved to Aviation page 5 on 09 Jul 2002)
  All-Time Favo(u)rites - My Choices (moved to Aviation page 4 on 29 Mar 2002)
  Boeing 307 Stratoliner
  Strombecker Kits

On Aviation Continuation Page 2:
  Berliner and Aviation
  More on the Bell FM-1 Airacuda.
  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 00)
  Strombecker Kits
(moved from main Aviationpage 09 Mar 00)
  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.

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"

On Aviation Continuation Page 6:

XP-49 Lockheed Lightning.
XP-58 Lockheed Chain Lightning.
Twin Cub.
    Champlain Flying Club's 1946 Aeronca Champ.
    Long Island Air Museums.
Cradle of Aviation Museum.
American Airpower Museum.

On this Aviation Continuation Page 7:   new.gif (24 Dec 2012)
    Avianca Flight 52. (25 Jan 1990/24 Dec 2012)
    Coffman Starting System. (25 Mar 2013)
    Weird Turboprop Shots. (22 Apr 2014)   new.gif (22 Apr 2014)
    Airplane Caught in Satellite View of Hull, MA. (05 Apr 2015)   new.gif (05 Apr 2015)
    Farnborough Weirdo. (08 Jun 2015)   new.gif (08 Jun 2015)
    Ed Jurist and the CAF.   new.gif (18 Jul 2015)
    1943 - a Mid-Air Collision (Bf-109 vs. B-17).   new (05 May 2016)

On Abandoned, Forgotten, and Little-Known Airfields Page:   new.gif (12 May 2018)
    Old St. Pierre Airport
  new.gif (12 May 2018)

Aviation Tri-motor Page).

See also the Aviation Humor 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.

Aviation Page 7

Avianca Flight 52 (25 Jan 1990)

I wouldn't normally concern myself with old aviation tragedies but I happened upon a Nassau County (NY) Fire Commission report with a map that didn't look quite right to me.  As it happens, dear friends of a dear friend (mostly now "the late") bought the house at 16 Tennis Court Road in isolated Cove Neck, Nassau County, Long Island, New York, immediately after the crash.  I became aware of just which house they bought upon first visiting them on 31 Aug 1995   On the night of the crash, hearing of it on the radio and being in the immediate vicinity, I had parked FAR away and trekked in to see if I could be of any assistance (no way, Hose A - first responders were there almost at once!) and I instantly realized just where I was four years later.  As it turned out, the prior owner of the house had just had a realtors's open house the very day of the crash!  Later that day, shortly after 9:30PM, the Avianca Boeing 707 ended up in three pieces just yards from the house, with its tail blocking the narrow road which is the sole access to the area; the nose demolished the front porch as it skidded by (posted 24 Apr 2008).

There are many images on the Net of the crash and it's aftermath.  Here are two aerial shots that best show the immediate location (I rotated the left image to match the maps):

Avianca52VertRotated  Avianca52AngleColor

These are current (as of Dec 2012) satellite views, far and near, of the house:

16TennisCtRdFar  16TennisCtRdNear

Now, the Nassau County map as published (left) shows the correct area but the standardized aircraft locator image implies (or, at least, I inferred) that the airplane was headed due north, whereas it was actually bearing SSE, so I doctored the image to suit (right):

Avianca52MapOrig  Avianca52MapRev

My friends said that, while the area had had a clear view of Long Island Sound and the Greenwich, Connecticut, area shore beyond when Teddy Roosevelt lived on Cove Neck (at Sagamore Hill, just north of the crash site and shown shaded on the above maps), it was heavily wooded by the time they bought the house.  The morning after the crash, they found they had that clear vista once more (but at what a terrible cost!); it all grew in again within a few years.

From the NEW YORK TIMES of 27 Jan 1990:

"Descending like an enormous silent shadow in the rain and fog, the plane began clipping off the tops of trees; then, striking the larger trunks, the right wing sheered off and fell away.  Finally, the aircraft struck ground near the top of a steep hillside, plowed up on a lawn and came to rest with its nose 20 feet from the home of Sam Tissenbaum. >P> Mr. Tissenbaum was watching television and his wife was taking a shower when the plane struck, shaking the house like a roaring seismic event. Other residents of the area also described the impact as resembling an earthquake.

The cockpit broke away from the fuselage, which cracked open near the top, but there was no fire or explosion, survivors said. They told of a cabin strewn with dead and injured people heaped upon one another, of people screaming and moaning in the darkness, of children crying for their mothers and pleading for help."

Coffman Starting System (25 Mar 2013) - on the Aviation Humor Page, I relay an old story about Clutch Starting an F-100, in which a black-powder cartridge is used to generate gas to fire up a jet; this is the Coffman Starting System, still in use and originally developed for piston-engined aircraft.  While looking for information on an unrelated subject, I ran across this clip from POPULAR MECHANICS Magazine for Sep 1937:   added.gif (25 Mar 2013)


Weird Turboprop Shots - A cell phone camera has no shutter (so DSLR’s shouldn’t exhibit this visual aberration); the image is literally read out line by line, top to bottom.  By the looks of it, all pixels on one horizontal scanline are read out or replicated to memory in parallel, but different scanlines belong to different times, with a sampling time gap between lines.  Meanwhile, the propeller moved on.  Since the angle between attachment points of the blades is reduced in (1) and expanded in (4), the propeller is spinning clockwise. {from an MIT blog, possibly by Zong}:   new.gif (22 Apr 2014)

prop1 prop4
Prop Shots 1 and 4

prop2 prop3
Prop Shots 2 and 3

If you say so.  You see this also in aviation videos and by flapping your open fingers between your eyes and an electric fan or other rotating object.  Weird, indeed!

Whoa, Nellie!  Checking out old ca. 1952 haunts around Boston (Massachusetts) harbor, I ran across one of many old forts set up in the Revolution and after to defend the harbor.  My satellite-view wanderings took me over to Squantum Head and thence westerly to Hull, to whence I'd crewed an International 110 Class sailboat from the Charles River basin by MIT in early Spring of 1952.  Hull is out at the end of a long peninsula (Nantasket) and just east of the middle of Hull is Ft. Revere.  Note that little red icon on the locator maps:   new.gif (05 Apr 2015)


Ft. Revere, Hull, MA

"So;", you say, "what's all this got to do with aviation?" Only that just as the shutter snapped on the camera taking the view, a light-twin of ~30' wingspan was caught in the act of overflying the fort:

Plane over Ft. Revere, Hull, MA

Perhaps spotting a plane in flight in a satellite view is old hat to you but not to me; it sure caught my eye!

If the Ft. Revere shot above is an odd one, how about this weirdo spotted on a satellite view of famed Farnborough Airport, some 15 miles SW of London?  Sort of like a modern version of the DC2½, eh?   new.gif (08 Jun 2015)

Farnborough 2015

Now, just what in HELL are we seeing here?  Whatever it may be, it's at the SW area of the airport, on the west side of Berkshire Copse Road, roughly 200' SSW of the intersection of Stirling and Spitfire (run)Ways. (27 Oct 2016)

It's STILL there [per Google Maps]!  added (07 Feb 2017)

On 18 Jul 2015, poring through my old aviation files, I found a copy of a long letter from "Col." Walter W. Estridge, Deputy Commander of the (then-)Confederate Air Force to "all Confederate Air Force colonels", dated 10 Mar 1975.  [It should be noted here that the CAF was renamed in 2002 as the Commemorative Air Force and that all members are dubbed "Colonels".]  For brevity, it concerns sale of some World War II aircraft owned by "Col." Edward Jurist of Vintage Aircraft International of Nyack, NY!  Ed Jurist is/was famed among classic car devotées as the owner of the Vintage Car Store in Nyack; I never knew of his interest in aircraft, logical though it be.  The gist of the letter is that Ed had found and bought no less than six (6) Republic P-47D Thunderbolts (in 1969) and a DeHavilland Mark 35 Mosquito, and a Supermarine Mark IX Spitfire (in 1972) in Europe and brought them all to the U. S.  They were then parcelled out on loan to various CAF units around the country.  Ca. 1979, "Col." David Tallichjet, president of the Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation of Long Beach, California. agreed to buy the aircaft, restore them, and return them to CAF units to be displayed and flown in regular CAF tradition.  The rest of the letter is devoted to organizational detail but it does note that the Mosquito was flown from England to the States in 1972 by "Col." Ed Jurist and "Col." Duane Egli. (18 Jul 2015)

1943 - a Mid-Air Collision (Bf-109 vs. B-17).   new (05 May 2016) and rev (07 Feb 2017) As a WWII child and a history buff and avaition aficionado, I've been aware all along of this incident but, on 05 May 2016, I got an e-mail forward with details and pictures that were new to me so I thought I'd share them.

The planes involved were the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "All American" of the 414th Bomb Squadron, 97 Bomber Group, and (apparently) a Messerschmitt Bf-109.  The B-17 crew consisted of:

Pilot - Ken Bragg, Jr.
Co-pilot - G. Boyd, Jr.
Navigator - Harry C. Nuessle
Bombardier - Ralph Burbridge
Engineer - Joe C. James
Radio Operator - Paul A. Galloway
Ball Turret Gunner - Elton Conda
Waist Gunner - Michael Zuk
Tail Gunner - Sam T. Sarpolus
Ground Crew Chief - Hank Hyland
The mid-air collision on 01 Feb 1943 between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of WW II.


The story* {edited a wee bit} starts with a letter from the pilot to his wife, with a photo taken from an accompanying plane by "Cliff" Cutforth {sp.?}:


An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot, then continued its crashing descent Into the rear of the fuselage of the "All American",

When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17.

The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away.

The two right engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak.

The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through, connected only at two small parts of the frame, and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged.

There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4 feet wide at its widest; the split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunner's turret.


Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft miraculously still flew! The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane.

The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart.

While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his bomb run and released his bombs over the target.


When the bomb bay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so great that it blew one of the waist gunners into the broken tail section. It took several minutes and four crew members to pass him ropes from parachutes and haul him back into the forward part of the plane. When they tried to do the same for the tail gunner, the tail began flapping so hard that it began to break off.

The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the tail section, so he went back to his position.

The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off. They actually covered almost 70 miles to make the turn home.

The bomber was so badly damaged that it was losing altitude and speed and was soon alone in the sky.

For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters attacked the All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off the fighters. The two waist gunners stood up with their heads sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane to turn.


Allied P-51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown.

They also radioed to the base describing that the appendage was waving like a fish tail And that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out. The fighters stayed with the Fortress, taking hand signals from Lt. Bragg and relaying them to the base. Lt. Bragg signalled that 5 parachutes and the spare had been "used" so five of the crew could not bail out. He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely, then he would stay with the plane to land it.


Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its landing gear.


When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition.

The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed.


* - there may well be (are) serious inaccuracies in this yarn and there are several versions and debunkings posted on the Net.  Clearly, England and the Channel are NOT involved (certainly not for an action over North Africa!).  IPOne version identifies the German pilot as 16-victory ace Erich Paczia of I/JG 53.

Regardless, the photos are real if out of sequence; you can note that the tail settled further between some of the pictures.  Lets hear it yet again for Boeing!

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.:
frstpage.gif    prevpage.gif    nextpage.gif
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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