S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Aviation Page keywords = aviation air plane Roosevelt Field Curtiss Mitchel Floyd Bennett hangar George Dade Lindbergh rail road Cradle museum Berliner Joyce EEMCO ERCO Ercoupe Aircoupe Paul Mantz Cole Palen Rhinebeck Airacuda FM-1 SE-5 Avro York

Updated:   27 Aug 2020; 21:15  ET
[Page converted 25 Dec 2012

  {missing images restored 22 Dec 2002}
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/aviation.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/aviatn.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



See also the Aviation Page 1, 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.

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.

Because of former page size limitations, this page is now continued on Aviation Continuation Page 2, et seq.


On this 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 05)

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:
      (overflow from the main and second AVIATION pages, moved 27 Jan 00)
    LTA - Lighter Than Air
    More Aviation Apocrypha.
    Long Island Chopper - H34 to fly again
  {so far}, plus miscellany.

On Aviation Continuation Page 4:
    All-Time Favo(u)rites - My Choices (moved there from this 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"
  and 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: (24 Dec 2012)
    Avianca Flight 52 (25 Jan 1990/24 Dec 2012)
Coffman Starting System (25 Mar 2013)
    Weird Turboprop Shots. (22 Apr 2014)
    Airplane Caught in Satellite View of Hull, MA. (05 Apr 2015)
    Farnborough Weirdo. (08 Jun 2015)

Aviation Tri-motor Page (Junkers, Fokker, Ford, etc.).

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

On Aerial/Satellite Views - Oddities, Anomalies, and Just Plain Weird Stuff   new.gif (27 Aug 2019)

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.

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.

  * - as in the world's first practical helicopter, early autogyros, Berliner-Joyce, EEMCO, and ERCO and the

Ercoupe/Aircoupe@, just to whet your interest!  There are exhibits on both Emile and Henry in the
Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the National Air & Space Museum.

    @ - Is it ERCOUPE or AIRCOUPE?  Berliner started it as Ercoupe and it was later changed to Aircoupe
        (for more facts, see the paragraph on Ercoupe/Aircoupe, below).


I note with sorrow the passing of three living legends, all black (back then); Mrs. Charity Adams Earley on 13 Jan 2002, the first black woman to receive a commission (1942) in the U. S. Womens Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Womens Army Corps - WACs) and the comander of the only battalion of black women to serve overseas in WWII, and Charles (Charlie) Roach on 11 Dec 2002, a friend and colleague who was a former Tuskeegee Airman (and I never knew until a few months before he died!); two gutsy people!  Then, on 04 Jul 2002, we lost Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., only the fourth black man to graduate from West Point (shunned all four years!), the first black Air Force general, and the C.O. of the famed Tuskeegee Airmen.

Anent the Comet "Authenticast" 1:432 aircraft recognition ("spotter") models, the original brass dies were for sale!

While not about aviation, per se, there is a book about the Fairchild Aerial Survey photos, "Cities from the Sky: An Aerial Portrait of America", by Thomas J. Campanella, which shows incredible views of aircraft, including Pan Am's Sikorsky S-40 "American Clipper" over Manhattan in 1931 (front cover and page 31), the airship Los Angeles "moored" to the Empire State Building in 1931 (page 35), and a glorious shot of bell Telephone's Ford Trimotor NC-417 H over Brooklyn in 1930 (page 120).  There are also a number of airfields such as East Boston (Logan, 1927, page 18), Glenn H. Curtis (cum-North Beach/LaGuardia/NY Municipal, 1931, page 45), and Floyd Bennett (1933, page 45).

03 Jul 2002 - American Steve Fossett landed his Spirit of Freedom balloon safely on 04 Jul 2002 (Australian time) at Durham Station cattle ranch, some 870 miles northwest of Sydney, thus ending a record-breaking first solo balloon flight around the world!

URGENT - help save Helsinki's historic 1930s Malmi Airport (at end of LaGuardia Marine Air Terminal coverage)!

GEORGE C. DADE - This page, while hardly limited to such, is especially about Long Island, the "Cradle of Aviation"; with quite a bit about George C. Dade, an early LI flier (born 26 Jul 1912 in Blackduck, Minnesota) who chauffered Lindbergh and soloed on 19 July 1929 at 16 in an OX-5-powered Roosevelt Aviation School Kinner-Fleet@ and then flew an identical plane (even in RAS livery!) on his 80th birthday!  George is the young kid helping Lindy on with a parachute in that famous photo (which was taken in 1928 AFTER the Paris flight; George's dad made him go to high school on the big day!*).  George Dade grew up on Roosevelt Field (he lived in the old Moisant hangar #11!) and made pin money by flying over the field lying down in the back of Aerial Advertising's converted old Keystone bomber, announcing the events and soliciting customers for joyrides through a big megaphone.  Things got modernized when they installed a public address system in the plane and he used a microphone; later, ca. 1932, A. A. added chase light signs under the lower planes.  This led to skywriting (single airplane), then skytyping (using five airplanes, which continues to this day), and finally chase signs on blimps (Goodyear and later Fuji, etc., also continuing).  Dashing young George flew back and forth over Long Island Sound in his little Aeronca C-2 to court his beloved (the late) Edith Motte Gorman in Connecticut and they were married 09 Nov 1935.

* - very specifically, George's own diary entry for 13 Mar 1928 reads,

    "Of course Lindy left as I was at school.".

George Charles Dade passed away on 27 May 1998 at the age of 85.  I had the honor of working with George Dade, taping his plentiful reminiscences for an oral history.  He was a great gentleman and will be sorely missed.  The new Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field in Nassau County, George Dade's "baby", opened on 20 May 2002.  See also George's recollection of his first experience of the Long Island Rail Road on my Long Island Motor Parkway page.

Do NOT miss this museum; it is "world class" - a jewel!

@ - the Museum actually has the exact aircraft in which George Dade soloed, the OX-5 Kinner Fleet 2, as proven by serial number and his log book!
    Here she is on 31 May 2002:

CoA Kinner Fleet 2
(31 May 2002 photo by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)

The Cradle of Aviation has both a poster about the Waco CG-4a troop glider for which George Dade's father's firm made the wings during WWII and a restored glider; here are the poster, the cockpit and cargo area, the right front, and the right rear (the starboard wing is off to fit her in), under simply awful lighting conditions:

CoA Waco CG-4a Poster

CoA Waco CG-4a Cutaway

CoA Waco CG-4a LF

CoA Waco CG-4a LR
(31 May 2002 photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)

Somehow, I seem to have neglected to note here that in 1973 George Dade located Lindbergh's original Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, the very plane in which Lindy had soloed, rotting away out in an Iowa hog narn.  Once he convinced the owner to part with it, he brought the wreck back to his Glen Head home and, working with a cadre of friends, proceeded to restore it to become the centerpiece of the Cradle of Aviation Museum collection.  While the framing was still open, Lindbergh himself dropped by and was able to identify his own initials he'd cut into a frame member.  When the work was finished, George had to have the opening in his basement wall opened up to get the plane out!   new.gif (27 Aug 2020)

My Ordnance page notes that my mentor at Aberdeen Proving Ground in the '50s was G(eorge). Burling Jarrett, the founder and curator of the Ordnance Museum.  He started the Museum with his own extensive private collection of ordnance materiel, which included much of what became the Paul Mantz and later Cole Palen collections and is now largely at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, New York, on the Hudson River 95 miles north of New York City.   rev.gif (19 Mar 2013)

[I started a page about Col. Jarrett 15 Jan 2011.]   added.gif (19 Mar 2013)

V-1 BUZZ BOMBS - Long Island's NEWSDAY for Tuesday, 14 Jul 98, reports (from AP) obits on three Werner von Braun associates on Page A35.  It states that they "were original members of von Braun's team of engineers who developed the V-1 and V-2 rockets"!  The V-2 was definitely a rocket but the V-1 Buzz Bomb was most definitely NOT!  The V-1 was nothing more than a pilotless jet plane.  It was powered by a pulse jet engine, exactly the same kind as the "Dyna-Jet" we kids could buy for models after the war, only much bigger; that's why it made its distinctive buzzing sound.  It was an early ballistic missile in that it was set on course at launch and went its merry (and often erratic) way from then on.  That's why our Allied pilots could fly alongside and gently touch its wingtips with theirs and flip it over so it would crash away from the city it had been targeted to hit.  The V-1 had no elaborate guidance system other than its gyros and so could neither take evasive nor corrective action.  NEWSDAY, AP's done you in.

Speaking of Buzz Bombs, there's an American one at the Cradle of Aviation Museum; seems we built a few copies, too late to use in WWII.

If you enjoy history, especially that of Long Island, visit:
The Oyster Bay Historical Society site.


(I really did lose it)

For some 50 years now I've been prattling about a Bell XP-30-something Airacuda with a bullet-nosed fuselage and two pusher props behind greenhouse-nosed nacelles with cannon in them.  The other day, a young man in a hobby shop had no idea about what I was talking so I started looking in earnest; I'd had a Hubley die-cast metal model (toy) as a kid in the late '30s / early '40s with silver fuselage and nacelles with extendable landing gear and red folding wings (do you have one for me?).  I ran across "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aircraft, a 4-volume set I'd never seen before, in the reference section of my local library and there it was, the Bell FM-1 Airacuda (page 289)!  So I got the model number all wrong; I knew it couldn't have been in the higher P-30-series because I know them all:  Curtis P-35 Hawk radial predecessor of the P-40, de Seversky P-36 stubby predecessor of the P-47 Thunderbolt, Curtis P-37 Hawk in-line predecessor of the P-40, Lockheed P-38 twin-boom Lightning, and Bell P-39 mid-engine Airacobra.  There's even a picture of the YFM-1, complete with wing stars and striped rudder, just as I remembered it all these years!  There is a vacuum-formed model of the FM-1 put out by Rareplanes in England in 1:72 with US decals and metal props, but it's hard to obtain here in the USA; I'm trying to get one.

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.


There was a Twin Ercoupe; I told a correspondent that it ran off with a Twin Mustang!

Clearly, this is not the end of the Twin Ercoupe story, so I moved it to the Aviation Continuation page 5, where there is more room.  There is an Ercoupe Owners Club keeping the marque alive.

The twin Ercoupe was two fuselages put together (one was #707), with twin cockpits for a total seating of four.  The plane could be controlled from either cockpit {rather like the the P-82 Twin Mustang - SB,III}.  "It was used in airshows during the 1950's."  The August 1998 Flying has a picture of it near the back of the magazine.

A Twin Ercoupe has been found in a field in New Mexico (2007); see Aviation Continuation page 5!

* - see the story of the Ercoupe/Aircoupe, the brainchild of prolific inventor Emile Berliner's son, Henry.

See also Richard Wilkens's Ercoupe site, where he has amassed a "genealogy" of them, leaving only some 1,248, of the more the 5,600 Ercoupes built, to be documented!


There were those with one cockpit in a short, single central fuselage and two extended engine nacelles that reached back to a common horizontal tailplane (P-38 Lightning, P-61 Black Widow) and those more rare ducks with two regular fuselages, each with a separate cockpit, as the P-82 and the Twin Aircoupe.  Focke-Wulf also made one during WWII, and Heinkel built a twin He-111 tow plane to pull the Gigant glider.

Coverage has been moved to Aviation page 5 and greatly amplified.

What others were there?  Would you believe a Twin Cub?  Ayuh!


The Sloppy* Albert (Sikorsky SA-16 amphibian) was the beast regularly assigned to USAF ASR (Air-Sea Rescue) duty at Thule in the late 50's and getting its landing gear down was a bit ridiculous; it jammed regularly.  The drill was to carry a long pipe, poke a hole in the hull, and push the gear down with the pipe!  Supplies were sent up by the book and, one fine day, a B-17 ASR lifeboat arrived at Thule; that was the one that was contoured to fit the lower bomb bay door area of the Fortress fuselage.  B-17's hadn't been used at Thule for a decade or more at that point!

    [* - my old buddy who was my SA-16 source called 16 Jan 2002 after a hiatus of some 30 years and,
        in the course of catching up, revealed that he'd said "Slobbery", not "Sloppy"; I dunno!]

Said buddy took his teen grandson to a small air museum to see an SA-16 and an H-21, both in very bad shape;after viewing both crates (er - aircraft), the young gentleman looked at his grandfather and opined that he (the boy) was lucky to to even exist!

How did that B-24D, the "Lady Be Good", end up in the Libyan desert in April of 1943?  [This is NOT funny!]  A long-gone buddy was a Merchant Mariner in the Mediterranean at the time and claims their LORAN (or whatever) bearings were reversed; they were heading north to Italy and the bearings indicated they were going south!  The B-24 was on the same heading and apparently reversed course.

Incidentally, in May 1959, that plane was found and the hydraulics were removed and shipped back to Bendix for evaluation.  Pall Corporation's Aircraft Porous Media subsidiary, where I was then Manager of Support Services, received the old filters for evaluation (not that we'd made them; we didn't exist back in WWII).  The components were fine, only the external surfaces of the O-rings were charred from long exposure to ozone at high ambient temperatures (this was true of all the hydraulics).

B-24 dates and name and model detail from USAF Museum catalog (see Favo(u)rites, below) ca. 1995, Page 56.

Similarly, in the 60's, we got back a B-58 Hustler bomber main hydraulic manifold, which we made for Convair; it included all the hydraulic filters and back-pressure valves and differential pressure indicators and such in one aluminum housing nestled in the nose-gear well.  Well (did I really say this?), this particular unit was from a plane that had landed with a collapsed nose gear and had run the length of the concrete runway nose-down.  Our manifold was the toughest component above the lower skin and formers and bore the brunt of the skid.  The USAF wanted it IRAN'd (Inspect and Repair As Necessary); HA!  The manifold had been neatly sanded down to half its diagonal size and there wasn't anything left with which to work; IRAN, indeed!

In the early 60's, I worked late and weekends at Pall/APM and one Saturday received a frantic call from American Airlines.  A new 707 had just lost its main hydraulic power when a paper filter disintegrated and the pump sucked up the paper.  Pall/APM made replaceble stainless steel mesh filter elements and had models for the entire 707 hydraulic system*, which Boeing had steadfastly refused to buy.  AA wanted them and NOW!  Some phone calls to top management and we were in production over the weekend!

    * - THAT'S NOT RIGHT!  In retrospect, what we had was a full complement of hydraulic, lube, and fuel filters
        for the Lockheed L-188 Electra/P-3 Orion in production and we adapted them.

When Boeing introduced the 727 trijet, both American and TWA restored Ford Tri-Motors for VIP publicity flights.  The company where I worked at the time (Pall Corporation/Aircraft Porous Media) got an invitation from AA and, as the resident air buff, I went.  One of the AA trikes (they restored two) had come from Shell Oil's Venezuelan oil exploration operations.  I found this out after the flight, in which we flew from Zahn's Airport over Long Island's Jones Beach at wave height and circled the KUNGSHOLM or GRIPSHOLM below its Promenade Deck level.  I took numerous detailed photos to show an ex-Shell pilot who had a Jivaro spear over his mantel with shreds of dried human flesh, no less!  It was his plane; his log book had the S/N and his photo album had pictures of his co-pilot skewered to the ground with the spear through his chest and that plane in the background.  Later, I was fortunate enough to wangle a ride in TWA's trike as well, without such gory revelations!

Going back in time, while at camp in the Adirondacks ca. 1942, I, for some incomprehensible boy's reason, buried my Meccano Dinky cast metal model of a British high-winged 4-engine transport (it turns out NOT to have been the Avro York), with red props and camouflage paint, under a tree behind my bunk, which I then forgot to retrieve; on a visit ca. 1980, the director kindly allowed me to dig up the area but, alas, no plane!  An antique toys and military miniatures shop in Manhattan gets $350 for a similar old model today!  In Jan 1999, I ran across a reproduction of an old Imperial Airways poster with an illustration of a similar airplane with registry G-ABTI; any Britishers out there know what plane this was?  No, but a Dutchman wrote from Holland 2003 May 00 that the York wasn't even test-flown until 1943 and that my Dinky was an Amstrong-Whitworth "Ensign" (see below and Dinky Meccano Aircraft Models on Aviation page 4):

Dinky AW Ensign
(Photo cropped from Dutch image of Dinky catalog)
[Thumbnail image - click on photo for larger image.]

AVIATION APOCRYPHA continues on Aviation Continuation Page 2 at More Aviation Apocrypha.

LTA - Lighter Than Air

Rigids, Blimps, and Balloons

(moved to AVIATION Continuation Page 4 27 Jan 00)

All-Time Favo(u)rites

My Choices

(moved to AVIATION Continuation page 4 29 Mar 02)

Boeing 307 Stratoliner

Speaking of favo(u)rites, one of them is the old Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the first cousin to the B-17 Flying Fortress and the world's first pressurized commercial airliner designed to fly at altitudes of 20,000 feet, and only one complete aircraft survives, Pan Am's old Clipper Flying Cloud, NC19903 (Boeing construction number 2003), now owned by the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and just fully restored to serviceable condition at Boeing Plant 2 (where she was built) by a devoted team of some 30 Boeing and PanAm retirees.  A 1940 model seating 33 (later 45), she flew to the EAA AirVenture 2001 Fly-In at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in Jun 2001 for her post-restoration debut and was destined for the NASM's new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport, scheduled to open in Dec 2003.

DISASTER STRIKES! - on 28 Mar 2002, the Flying Cloud, on her inbound leg for King County International Airport (Boeing Field) hit the water in Elliott Bay in Seattle!  She had an indicated malfunction* in the landing gear and the pilot put her gently into the water just by Salty's Restaurant; the crew of four stepped onto a wing and were rescued in minutes and she was fished out shortly thereafter, completely re-refurbished, and flew across the country for the last time, landing at Washington's Dulles International Airport on its last flight, 06 Aug 2003, (the first 307 flight had been on 31 Dec 1938).

[* - Actually, it turns out she ran out of fuel!]

Faller used to make (ca. 1960?) static model airplane kits of about 4"-6" wingspan that had plastic micromotors to turn the props.  The motors, which were about 6-8mm dia. x 25-30mm long, burned out fairly early on.  I still have a Bf-109 and an He-111k, somewhere, and should dig them out for photos.  Does anyone make replacement motors for these old Fallers?

There is some aviation-related material on my Champlain College pages; Champlain was originally the Army's cushy Plattsburgh Barracks and then Plattsburgh A.F.B.  Champlain was one of the five ACUNY (Associated Colleges of Upper New York), GI schools built in a big-ass hurry after WWII; another was Sampson College, formerly the WWII Sampson Naval Training Center and later Sampson A.F.B., and the Sampson AFB Veterans Association has a museum in Sampson State Park there.

The Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Company

Moved to Aviation Page 3 on 09 Mar 00 - click here to go there.

I found my StromBecKer Beech Bonanza!

I long since added a separate page about StromBecKer - The Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Company and even a subsequent StromBecKer Contnuation Page, q. v..   added (12 May 2018)

Because of page size limitations, this page is now continued on Aviation Continuation Page 2.
Visit it and the Aviation Continuation Page 3.

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.

This is the main Aviation Page; see also the:
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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