Despite having flown between US and Finland for a few decades now, up until last week I had never done that on Icelandair. Now I wonder why, since I discovered that the BOS-KEF-HEL route is certainly the most convenient way to get from New England to Finland. Draw a great circle route from Boston to Helsinki and it pretty much goes over Iceland.
Last April I reported about the beginning of the Presidential Election season, given that this is an exciting time for an airplane spotter here in NH, our state being very early in the primary calendar and always getting disproportionate attention from the presidential hopefuls. Now that the NH primary is well behind us it is time to see what kind of aircraft were spotted here.
A few days ago I wrote about what I would like to see in photo captions I find on the Web. Among other things, a caption should include the date on which the photo was taken. So, can you tell what this date is: 12/3/10? Americans would say that is December 3rd, 2010. Most Europeans would probably say March 12th, 2010 although I have seen people write like this and mean either March 10th, 2012 or October 3rd, 2012. Not helpful, is it…?
There are a lot of really nice photographs of aircraft one can find on the Internet. Not only do people create galleries of photographs, but you can find pictures by “following” individuals on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or by joining specific Facebook groups.
What irritates me – and I am saying this because I tend to look at photographs as a form of historical record – is the lack of information about what all these photographs depict. I started So Many Aircraft as a means of providing and distributing reference information about aircraft, based on my own interest on building scale models. Collecting reference material for a model project often involves attempts to understand where and when a particular aircraft was used, and correlating multiple photographs found from different sources (as a model of an aircraft is like a snapshot of history). Against this, finding a (nice) photograph of, say, a Boeing 737 labeled “737 taking off from runway 17” is frustrating: Exactly what variant of 737 is this (I can see that it is a 737, but is it a -300, -7H4, or what?), what specific aircraft is this (what is its tail number and/or construction number?), where was this picture taken (runway 17 where?) and when?
This February I participated in a photo challenge on Instagram where each day I was to post a picture where the aircraft in the picture had some connection with the number of the day. I decided to go entirely with type designations (e.g., Cessna O-1 for February 1st, MiG-23 for February 23rd, etc.). See if you can identify the aircraft (each image is a link to the original Instagram entry which will give ample details about what the aircraft is).
Several presidential hopefuls have already announced that they will be (attempting to) get to the White House in the 2016 election. Here in New Hampshire we – thanks to the primary election calendar – get disproportional attention from the candidates, including visits to our state. For an airplane spotter, this is exciting. Last time around, we had several visits to KMHT by Air Force One (the picture here was taken on 2012-10-18).
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.
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
The author spent an afternoon with SMA advisor Mike Hirsch, a pilot with Delta Airlines, taking Mike’s 1959 Piper PA-22-150 Pacer for a quick spin from Beverly Municipal in Massachusetts. Perfect clear day for flying, albeit a bit cold.
The small plane has cramped quarters in the cockpit. Scenery was very interesting, though, flying around Gloucester and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Continue reading
This is the blog for So Many Aircraft. From time to time we will post about our current activities at SMA, whether that be books we are working on, interesting photo shoots we have had, or scale modeling projects that are underway.
Please visit the So Many Aircraft home page for more information.