So what’s a “Cornell” anyway…?

The recently formed Commemorative Air Force New England Wing just received its first aircraft, a Fairchild PT-23. The aircraft arrived at its new home, the Hampton Airfield (7B3) in NH, yesterday afternoon, after being diverted to KMHT on Friday.

A fly-by for the awaiting crowd before landing.

Some people refer to this aircraft as “Cornell”, so let’s figure out why.

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Confusion over RLM colors 81/82/83

Over the past year I have been working on a model of the Dornier Do 335A. The 335 is the unconventional late-war design that used two DB 603 engines with two propellers, one pushing and one pulling. The model will eventually nicely complement my model of the Göppingen Gö 9, the experimental prototype Dornier designed to test the new concept. The project has now progressed to a point where I am painting the airframe. I am building the model to represent the 7th pre-production A-0, Werkenummer 240107. There are plenty of pictures of this aircraft from the time when it was being initially test flown by Dornier; for example [1, pp.74-75].

In the title I used the word “confusion”… I could also have said “frustration”. Here’s why: one of the late-war camouflage schemes used by the Luftwaffe consisted of the RLM colors 81/82/65. Color 65 is easy, it is the darker shade of light blue that Luftwaffe used a lot. The problem is with the definitions of 81 – often called “braunviolett”, sometimes “dunkelgrün” (dark green) – and 82 – called either “dunkelgrün” or “hellgrün” (light green, go figure). When I look at the black-and-white photos of the Do 335, I can hardly see the difference between the two greens, but when I look at the – thoroughly researched – aircraft preserved at the NASM, the greens seem quite garish, almost cartoon-like. And even though not used in Do 335, the color RLM 83 is also called “dunkelgrün” and is almost identical to 81.

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Beach City Baby Flies!

Low pass past the hangar that will be her new home.

After almost three years of restoration work, “Beach City Baby”, a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (41-20095, c/n 4865) flew for the first time in more than 20 years this past Saturday. Jason Capra, a captain for Republic Airways, and his band of volunteers completed the aircraft to a point where FAA could grant a “ferry permit”. This allowed the aircraft to be flown from Beach City, OH to her new home at Venango Regional Airport (KFKL) in Franklin, PA.

This aircraft was built in 1941 and was accepted by the US Army Air Corps in January 1942. She served with the Air Transportation Command in places like North Africa and Italy as a troop and VIP transport. After the war, the aircraft was sold to Danish Air Lines (later SAS); many European airlines were “jump started” after the war with surplus DC-3s. She returned back to the US, and from 1963 until 1983 served as the official transport of the Governor of Ohio. Eventually, she ended up in Beach City where she sat since 1992.

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One Vampire’s Story


In Halli in July 1979.
In Halli in July 1979.

The de Havilland Vampire needs no introduction. The aircraft was originally designed to meet the British government’s 1941 specification E.6/41. First flight of the Vampire prototype took place in September 1943. After the war the Vampire became a commercial success and was eventually delivered to the air forces of over 30 countries.

Among the export customers was Finland whose small air force (“Ilmavoimat”) was in dire need of new equipment in the early 1950s (last Messerschmitt Bf 109s were retired in 1954). The first single-seater Vampires were delivered to Finland in January 1953 and subsequently served with the No. 11 Fighter Squadron (HävLv 11). Vampires were phased out (replaced by Folland Gnat and Fouga Magister -aircraft) in the early 1960s.

Aircraft “VA-2”

The pictures in this blog post depict “VA-2”, c/n VO692, a Mk.52 variant. The aircraft served with several Ilmavoimat units (including HävLv 11, 33, 13, and 21) and was finally retired in 1962. It then spent almost 10 years as a “gate guardian” near the Halli air base, and as is evident from the pictures, its mixed wooden structures (plywood and balsa) did not fare particularly well in Finnish weather. In the 1990s the aircraft was restored and is now displayed at the Finnish Aviation Museum – the full history of “VA-2” is described in an article in Feeniks 1.1997 (see bibliography below). Continue reading