S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Aviation Page 3 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

Updated:   12 May 2018 ; 18:00 ET
[Page created 27 Jan 2000 (from Page 2); converted 20 Apr 2013

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/aviatn-3.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/aviatn-3.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 3

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.

On the Aviation Humor Page:
    Good Chute!.
    Clutch-Starting a Jet!.
    Good Stretch!
    Kulula Airlines
  new.gif (20 Jul 2011)

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

Because of former page size limitations, this page is a continuation of Aviation Continuation Page 2.

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


On main Aviation page:
  George C. Dade
  V-1 Buzz Bombs
  Boeing 307 Stratoliner

On this 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 preceding Aviation Continuation Page 2:
  Berliner and Aviation
  Bell P-59 Airacomet.   new.gif (26 Aug 06)
  Junkers Ju52/3m.

On this 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 Aviation page 09 Mar 00)
  Long Island Chopper - H34 to fly again

On Aviation Continuation Page 4:
  All-Time Favo(u)rites - My Choices (moved from the 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"

On the preceding Aviation 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).

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.

LTA - Lighter Than Air

Rigids, Blimps, and Balloons

(moved from the main AVIATION page 27 Jan 00)

My dad also took me to Lakehurst NAS, ca. 1940, to see the giant Zeppelin hangar, the home of the ill-fated Akron and the ill-starred Hindenburg; it was filled with (about-to-be-)war-time blimps* and the sight was simply staggering!

* - I wrote this caving in to my certitude that I wasn't old enough to have seen a dirigible in there but now I really wonder if I didn't; the strong visual image I have is of one dirigible and lots of blimps; see following:

Holy mackerel, Andy!  I seem to have forgotten to note the time when I was very, very young and crossing a wide avenue (I thought it was Park, but that makes no sense) in NYC with my Mom when we heard a loud rumbling from the sky and saw an immense conical object appear above the tall buildings, heading east.  The apparition finally turned into a gigantic silver cylinder that slowly passed overhead, much as Alexander the Great, watching a giant fish (whale?) from one of history's earliest-recorded diving bells, said it took "days" to pass.  Eventually, the narrowing of the tail appeared and the fins went by.  Could it have been on 06 May 1937 - the Hindenburg, or, two years earlier, the Macon?  Unlikely.  What bothers me is that most rigids seem to have ceased operating over the U. S. (and especially NYC) before I could have seen them.  ???

Where did my story go about the UFO that approached my Mother's apartment on the 18th floor on East 79th Street in Manhattan one sunny day ca. 1990?  Mom, who was not given to strange occurrences, was shaken to the core when the whole apartment started vibrating heavily, especially the south-facing picture window!  Looking out, she beheld with awe and trepidation a giant disc heading rapidly straight toward her, whereupon it turned and became a Goodyear blimp making a run uptown across the City!  Whew!

And then there was the time that my sister was out in Colorado ca. 1960 and got to con one of the Goodyear blimps.  Jealous?  Who, me?

Blimps run around on Long Island all the time, for Shea and the other stadia, and some smaller ones are based nearby at Republic Field (the old Republic Aviation flying field); I saw them up close, being handled on the ground there.  I was out in Belle Pré, Ohio, in Aug 1996, when one of the big Goodyear blimps landed in a field directly across from where I was visiting; Belle Pré isn't much bigger than the blimp - talk about small-town excitement!

Ca. 1990, I visited the museum at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and stumbled on their LTA Room; it's well worth a visit.

On 14 Aug 1998, I visited Moffet Field in Mountain View/Sunnyvale, California,and toured Hangar #1, the home of the also-ill-fated Macon.  It was once home to an entire Aircraft Carrier Squadron and later to a squadron of 50 blimps, all of which fit neatly inside in 5 rows of 10 each!  Better (worse?) yet, two RMS Titanics could have fit neatly inside, sitting side by side on their keels, and three if the outer lifeboat davits had been removed!  The Akron and Macon were so big that they could pick up, hangar, and launch 5 Sparrowhawk biplanes and could have accomodated a string of Boeing 747s inside with room to spare outboard the wingtips!  An intact Sparrowhawk was located on the Pacific Ocean floor at the Macon wreck site and photographed in recent years.

Teterboro Airport, just west of NYC, has a neat little museum with some LTA stuff, including Hindenburg memorabilia.

While I'm not really a dedicated LTA nut, in case you are or might become one, you might start off by looking at Don and Chris Overs' LTA page and the new (reborn?) ZEPPELIN homepage, or at John Dziadecki's ZEPPELIN page or his more-inclusive AIRSHIP page.

Combining my aviation and RR interests, I note that starting in 1928, special trains were operated by the Central RR of New Jersey under contract to the American Zeppelin Transport Co. to carry Zeppelin passengers and mail between Lakehurst and NYC.  The CNJ also operated special trains for sightseers to each arriving and departing Zeppelin.

For some incredible renderings of airships, both real and fanciful, see Alexander karnes work hosted on this site.   new.gif ()


I promised a story about flying from Keesler Field in a Lockheed Lodestar (or Hudson?) ca. 1946 (actually, I think it was immediately after the war, and thus 1945); I had to go to a specialist (read "quack") in Biloxi, Mississippi, and we decided to go from Gulfport to New Orleans for a day.  The puddle jumper was based at then-abandoned Keesler; when we arrived very early in the morning, we found no buildings whatsoever, only a tiny wooden shack with a huge wind sock.  Soon, there came a shiny aluminum flying machine and we boarded, only to discover that there were no runways, either; the pilot lined up by the the sock and just went straight on across the endless concrete and up!

Oh, yeah!  I'd also promised the tale of the TCA (or was it already Air Canada?) flights on the opening day of Expo '67 (so you already know what year).  I got to Idlewild for a 07:30 flight to Montréal's Dorval and was told that I had no seat, in spite of a confirmed reservation!  I was on joint U.S./Canadian government business so they finally found me the last seat on a plane leaving shortly from Logan (Boston); a quick shuttle flight to Beantown put me on the tarmac (no gate) in front of an unrestored DC-4 pulled out of a graveyard or mothballs for the opening of the Expo.  Once aboard, I discovered that every seat was occupado!  A stew told me to walk all the way into the tail where, beyond a pair of Plexi (Perspex) panels, (elegantly engraved with peacocks, no less!), I found a semi-circular banquette in genuine leather, with a set of seat belts in the center, and a tiny porthole on either side!  You got it; that was my seat!  Man, that was one aged old clunker; it had no airline markings whatsoever, only the ID letters on wings and tail and an outline of the Morro Castle on the vertical stabilizer, and it was so overloaded and sick that they actually (I kid you not) backed it up so the main gear touched the seawall at the end of the runway, such that I was sitting over Boston harbor (as clearly visible through those portholes)!  They revved the living bejeezus out of that poor crate and nothing happened after the brakes were released, until slowly, agonizingly, she started to roll as if through molasses and I could see the opposite seawall coming up through the portholes on either side and we were still taxiing at a slow roll.  Rotation had barely started when the gear was up and the seawall flashed underneath (I wonder if the belly beacon cleared).  After a fruitful day in St. Laurent, I decided I might as well take in the Expo and have dinner there and catch the last flight out to Idlewild.  On my return to Dorval, there was a Trans-Canada Vickers Vanguard, which looked great but turned out to be the "flying wreck" noted earlier.  Oh, Mama, did that bird vibrate!  Finally, about half-way to NYC, a large HT bolt (about a 3/4" beast) fell out of the overhead into my lap in a delicate area!  I surreptitiously advised the stew, to avoid general panic if not her private one, and the Flight Engineer came scrambling back post haste; when I explained carefully what happened, he stood on the arms of my seat (with me still belted in) and poked around in the ceiling panels.  He was NOT a happy camper.  We slowed to a crawl and eventually vibrated into NY and I was given a free dinner chit at Windows on the World for my trouble; WotW was less than thrilled when I turned up just before closing to redeem my dinner!

"Caseys" shooting landings at Robins AFB - while (whilst) waiting for clearance to take off from Robins AFB ca. 1985 or so in a small private plane, after calling on Warner-Robins AMA, we were called back to the tower for a priority passenger in need of a lift.  He turned out to be a desperate West Pointer who'd missed connections!  Sitting interminably on the tarmac waiting again for clearance, we watched KC-135 tankers coming and going on "touch-and-go"s at one minute intervals; they really smooshed down hard when they landed!  Well, it turned out they were a graduating class of avgas jockeys running their final exercises fully loaded (and NOT with referee fluid)!  We were sitting up against hundreds of thousands of gallons of volatile avgas smashing down right in front of our noses!

And then there was the day ca. 1985 that I and a colleague were treated by an oil company executive friend to a day of flying around the Mississippi Delta in an original (meaning 95% replacement of airframe), one-owner/one-pilot Grumman Widgeon*.  We were told to be at Moisant{?} Field early in the morning and ask for Sam somebody-or-other (everyone would know who he was!).  We did that and there was no Sam (other than me); finally this ancient Grumman amphib. taxied up to the terminal and out got an equally ancient pilot - Sam!  Well, we tootled around the Delta at about 20' off the deck, looking down into muskrat dens and ruined Spanish forts with old cannon still in them.  Sam had taken the Southern and the Pennsy and the Long Island railroads from New Orleans to Bethpage and taken delivery of the plane, flown it down to New Orleans, and flown it continuously ever since!

* - That's not likely; as I recall, the plane was new in 1939 or so and the G-44 Widgeon (Gosling in the UK) prototype only first flew in 1940.  Most likely, then, it was the lightly-larger G-21 Goose, which first flew in 1937.   added (12 May 2018)
Screaming Mimi! - ca. 1990 or so, in an absolutely ancient twin Beech, the model with struts running diagonally right across the cabin windows, we ran into an awful thunder-and-lightning storm somewhere over northern Alabama.  The only other passenger was a middle-aged woman who got increasingly hysterical as we slammed around inside a thunderhead.  I tried to explain that the pilot knew what he was doing and wanted to live as badly as we did, but she went wild when golf-ball-sized hailstones started slamming into us and totally bonkers when St. Elmo's Fire began streaming off the prop and wing tips!  The cockpit door wasn't even mounted and the co-pilot (yes, there WAS a co-pilot) came back and begged me to calm her down.  I couldn't, not nohow, but we were able to break out into the clear before she went catatonic, not that that wouldn't have been a relief!

Yikes!  I thought for sure I had put up my wildest air adventure of all here but can't find it.  When the 747 was brand new, I put the top down on my convertible and drove my little kids back and forth under the main taxiway at JFK until one of the monsters taxied over us as we drove underneath!  WOW!  I don't know who was more excited, the kids or I!  It was akin to my mom driving me to opening ceremonies at Idlewild (now JFK), ca. 1948, when we drove in under one wing of a giant Convair B-36 and out under the other (I'd swear I'd written this up).  Be that as it may, on my very first 747 flight, to LA, the captain was an old AAL veteran on his retirement flight and, when we got over the Grand Canyon, he told us to stay in our seats and we'd get a thrill; he put that damn great beast down below the rim like a P-40 and flew about five miles before regaining altitude.  Radar must have gone bananas but he was quite nonchalant about it all, "What are they gonna do?  Fire me?"  We were, of course, quite dwarfed by the canyon, but still - - - .  What a kick!

My sister's near-disastrous encounter (in a doorless J3 Cub) with a Sud Alouette may well be as much a figment of my failing memory as reality; as I recall the story, she was flying out of Zahn's on a solo practice run and the Alouette, then being evaluated by Republic Aviation for production, rose straight up from the Republic field, whizzed past her wingtip, flipping the J3 only about 1,000' above the ground!  Not having manoeuvering room, my sister coolly put her into a deliberate stall and spin from which she could recover and thereupon quit flying (as pilot), in spite of personal appeals from Casey Jones and Jackie Cochran.

["Good Chute!" story moved to the Aviation Humor page on 11 May 2006.]

I could swear I'd written up visiting the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility of the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum and seeing a canvas-shrouded hulk on a flat bed and thinking, "That's a Convair Sea Dart!"  I can't find a trace of that but here, from "Rob"'s WWII WarBirds site, is a Convair XF2Y-1 Sea Dart on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum:

XF2Y-1 Sea Dart at SDAM

She took off and landed on water on two (later only one) ski but kicked up a blast of spray, was underpowered, did not yet have an "area effect" fuselage, and was dropped.

Then, there's my old childhood book, packed away somewhere, entitled "Stratosphere Jim and His Flying Fortress" (by Oskar Lebeck and Gaylord DuBois, illustrated by Alden McWilliams. -- Racine, Wis. : Whitman, 1941.), which I'd thought predated the moniker of the B-17 (and may well have been its source).  In this book, the authors predicated a giant, multi-engined (6 or 8?) bomber very much like the B-15, with wing roots so thick crewmen could walk out to service the engines (shades of the little Bell FM-1 Airacuda and the much-later B-36.  Gotta find that book!

Another book I grew up with was "Chennault of the Flying Tigers", by Sam Mims (his name sticks after 60+ years! - Macrae- Smith, 1943); I still have it somewhere.  Eric Shilling was one of the Flight Leaders in the 3rd Squadron, AVG.  The AVG (American Volunteer Group) was that band of intrepid flyboys who saved Chiang Kai-Shek's tail in the days before Pearl Harbor, flying Curtiss P-40's against the far-superior Zero-sen.  Shilling's memories of the Bell XFM-1 Airacuda are reproduced in full on my preceding aviation page.  Claire L(ee). Chennault and the AVG were the personal project of the redoubtable Madame Chiang, until her passing in 2003, a neighbor on Long Island (geographically, only!).


The Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Company

(or some such name)
[Moved from main Aviation page 09 Mar 2000]

Just before World War II and through it, there was a line of wooden kits under the STROMBECKER name; they had detail parts made of wood that was so hard that the turnings, such as engine nacelles, couldn't be whittled to fit the wing sockets, etc.  They were so hard that it took hours of sanding to get them shaped; that's why my fleets of P-40s and Stratoliners never got built.  Their railroad models were just as impossible to complete properly; I still have an aluminum tire (must be just-post-war) from Stephenson's Rocket (or some such engine).

A voice from the past!  I got (08 Mar 2000) an e-mail message from the Strombeckercanada.com, which appears to be affiliated with Disney in some way.

So, where did all my StromBecKeR models go?  ???  I am quite sure I must at least still have my post-war Beech Bonanza, with my own intricately-crafted and detailed tricycle landing gear, but where is it hiding (what if, like the SE-5A, it's NOT a StromBecKeR)?  The kit came with wooden wheels to be pressed onto stamped aluminum "gear" but I modified it with rubber tires and oleos and even a scale right-side step.  Well, along comes Dave Kingman on 28 Sep 2001 to advise that it was probably "Strombecker's kit number C41, a Beechcraft Bonanza in 1/48 scale (8¼" wing span).  That kit was introduced in 1948 or 1949, had stamped-metal main gear with rubber tires and a wire nose gear with small wooden tire."; not quite as I remember but almost certainly correct (I could have sworn the main gear wheels were wood, but they could just have well been fairly crude rubber blobs which I either replaced with hubs and rubber tires or painted to simulate hubs).

This is an old posting and completely missed the fact that 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)

HELP! - When I used to call on RCAF (it was that long ago#!) Rockcliffe, my contacts would take me to the Officer's Mess, where I was famed for my endless stock of politically-incorrect, but uproarious, ethnic jokes; actually, all I did was turn every ethnic joke I'd ever heard into stories about a certain far-northeastern Canadian group@.  One of the best things about the meals there was the honey tart {?} they served for desert, an open pastry cup the size of a small muffin, filled with a mix of honey and ground walnut or hazelnut/filbert; it was a melt-in-your-mouth treat.  Some Canadian milling (flour) company had a recipe but I forgot which one (is there a "White Rose"?).  Does anyone out there know, please?

@ - Some foul-mouthed person, signing anonymously as "A Newfoundlander", took exception to the above and sent me a vile message on a phoney return e-address on 19 Jan 2000; he/she obviously didn't know that most of the best of those specific ethnic jokes I ever heard were told me by the very people about whom they were told!
[In all the time I've been on the Net, this is the first really unpleasant response I ever got.]

However, on 04 Oct 2000, a forceful, yet polite and reasoned, objection came in and so I have removed the offensive ethnic term once and for all and apologize for my insensitivity.

# - [Back when a telephone "extension" was a "local", eh?]

A Long Island Chopper - H34 to fly again!

Marine Helicopter Squadron 361 Veterans Association, Inc., has an old Vietnam Sikorsky H34 "Dog" chopper (S/N 150570) they are restoring out in Jamesport.  Check out their site or that of their President, Alan Weiss.  Jine up and help them restore the Dawg to flyable condition or at least make a contribution.

[Ref.:  NEWSDAY, 11 Nov 2001, Section G, LI Life (Oyster Bay edition), pp. G12-G14.]

Here's an odd one - an historian in the UK reports that two U. S. 8th AF bomber groups stationed in England during WWII, the 43rd BG (H) and the 385th BG (H), both had nose art based on Frank Buck's* exploits (see my Frank Buck (and his Zoo) page.  Part of the scenario is that they were lettered "BEBA", believed to stand for for "Bring 'Em Back Alive" and they would like to establish some background to all this; any information which can be provided would be appreciated.

* - actually, it is believed that some of the planes may have had "Frank Duck" on the nose
(from the 1946 Disney cartoon noted on my Frank Buck page).

The gentleman in question is Ray Bowden, who runs a fantastic Website (and writes books) all about nose (and flight jacket) art; the two aircraft turn out to be most specifically a B17 Flying Fortress reportedly named "BEBA" (apparently short for Bring 'Em Back Alive) which was assigned to the 385th Bomb Group and the other a B24 Liberator bomber reportedly named "Bring Em Back Alive" which was assigned to 448th Bomb Group.

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.

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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