Die Nachthexen

Die Nachthexen

So feared were these pilots, flying almost silently over the German positions at night to attack any movement or light, that the Nazis called them Night Witches.  With just the wind whistling through the wires of their old Po-2 biplanes, again and again the brave young women of the Soviet Air Force flew with such skill that many were made Heroes of the Soviet Union.

Senior Lieutenant Irina Sebrova who flew 1,008 missions.

 

The wood-and-canvas Polikarpov Po-2 biplane.

 

Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Douzeff.  Other images from public domain.

Tenerife

Tenerife

Recorded on the anniversary of the world’s worst air accident.  A enormous loss of life that highlights the vital importance of standard radio procedures and the pressures of command.  A word that still puts an icy hand around my heart when I hear it… Tenerife.

The KLM 747.

 

The Pan Am 747.

 

Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Dutch National Archives, clipperarctic and Michel Gilliand.

Pi in the Sky

Pi in the Sky

The art of Skywriting began with an ex WW1 fighter, the venerable SE5a, saved from the scrapyard.  This is the colourful tale of airborne advertising!

The last of Jack Savage’s SE5a fighters that he used for skywriting, now to be found in London’s Science Museum.

 

Traditional Skywriting over the EAA Airventure Oshkosh.

 

A novel marriage proposal on a flying banner.

 

Images used under a Creative Commons licence with thanks to Alan Wilson, Sky Ads, FutureUApilot and the U.S. Navy.

The Short Life of Neerja Bhanot

The Short Life of Neerja Bhanot

It’s common for airline Cabin Staff to be treated will little respect and the travelling public assume that they are little more than waitresses.  However, if you have a heart attack, suffer anxiety, need oxygen or directions in the case of an emergency evacuation it’s these highly trained professionals who will be the ones to help you.  Some are also brave and resourceful beyond all expectations.  One of those was Neerja Bhanot and this is her story.

A poster for the film made about Neerja.

 

The hijacked Pan Am 747, flight 73.

 

Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the Indian Government and aussieairliners.org

 

Capture Prone

Capture Prone

There is a particular class of Military personnel who, at least in my time, were referred to as Capture Prone.  Whilst for me it was something that was treated as a mild annoyance, during conflict, being captured represents a true hazard.  For the crew of a downed B-24 Liberator, Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am, during WW2 who faced the fury of the German people, it would be deadly.

 

A Consolidated B-24 Liberator

 

Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Jerry J. Jostwick and the US Gov/USAF archive.

Some More of our Bombs are Missing!

Some More of our Bombs are Missing!

Six turning and four burning… what a sight it must have been to see the mighty Convair B36 Peacemaker fly.  Less of a welcome sight would be watching a nuclear weapon being dropped by one in Canadian territorial waters only a few hundred miles North of Vancouver! This is the story of Bomber 075 and its sad ending!

 

The later marks of the Peacemaker had an additional 4 jet engines!

 

Convair XB-36 main landing gear.

 

The US Mk4 nuclear bomb.

 

 

Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the USAF and the US Gov.