Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

My apologies for the tardiness of this headline post.

And, for taking "poetic license", in posting a non-aviation headline.

The headline I intended to post will be up on the next thread- delayed as it were, by reflections upon December 7- 1941 in particular. Which was the "trigger event" for the US entry into WW2.

I have thought long and often on this, and I still can't understand why the United States entered WW2 with such enthusiasm. How did we go from such an isolationist stance (or maybe not so isolationist, given the industrial significance of the "lend lease" deal), to such a seemingly non-linear reaction; the horror of over 400,000 combat deaths for the US for the war, in response to over 2,000 deaths at Pearl.

(And one of the later combat deaths involved a special uncle- his specialness becoming known to me only as older relatives relate details to the "younger generation". Which I suppose is why I have pondered the events ultimately precipitating his death with more "critical analysis" this year- certainly something which our blog has excelled at over the past years.

In today's parlance, it would seem a more "limited response" would have been both more appropriate, and less costly for the US.

The only rationale I can surmise, was that it was envisioned to be a short war. Maybe that's the way ALL wars start- it seems Hitler thought so when he invaded Russia (and probably the same goes for Britain and France when they declared war on Germany after Poland was invaded).

(I thought the US did respond with, in retrospect- frankly surprising appropriateness after 9/11- it would seem that moderation would have been considered in 1941. I not disagreeing that the world is better off with the response we had- although decades of Stalinist and Red Chinese rule were arguable no less evil than Nazism and Japanese Imperialism; I'm just perplexed how we swung from mostly isolationist to "total war" in about one day in late 1941).

Rest assured, I do not intend to change the focus of the blog away from aviation. And I don't want to interrupt the ongoing dialog, particularly on two items I'm most interested in, light GA and the 787 (I'm still not sure it will fly this year!, although word is "before Christmas"). But there are a lot of smart people who read and post here- and I would appreciate their reflections upon the why the U.S. entered WW2 with such vigor, rather than participating in a more specific, measured response, as well as their insightful observations on aircraft and the aircraft industry.



Phil Bell said...

As I get older, I have ever more comprehension of my older relatives as "real people" rather than beloved titled fixtures in my life. (And I was a little miffed there was so little observance of Dec 7 this year).

In my opinion, World War 2 made the United States, the United States. Transportation, Education, Infrastructure, a Mobile Society -both geographically and economically, all dramatically, even radically I think, transformed the United States as the WW2 vets returned from service, with a sense of commonality and shared purpose.

WW2 also transformed the aviation world, both during and after the war. (I can't help but wonder how Orville Wright d.1948, felt about the airplane's role in WW2- I know of no comments regarding it. However, he was focused on obtaining a contract with the USArmy in the 1900's...)

And of course, aviation wasn't just transformed in the US. I found it interesting that a country like Italy, with a rather undistinguished record in WW2, did produce some rather distinguished aircraft:

Italian Fighter Aircraft of WW2

Including the Reggiane RE.2005 with eliptical wings (like the Spitfire).
(421 mph at 23K')

Not a shabby competitor to the early U.S. P-51D
(D model, 437 mph at 25K).

(There are some Fiat models in there too- maybe there is hope for Chrysler yet, after Fiat investment earlier this year :)

Phil Bell said...

I was always a little puzzled why the P-40 seemed so much less aclaimed than the seemingly quite similiar P-51;

MTOW = 8810 lbs,
HP = 1150 hp,
Wing Loading = 35.1 lb/sqft

MTOW = 11500 lbs,
HP = 1500hp (2200hp "emergency"),
Wing Loading = 40.4 lb/sqft

A main advesary was the Japanese "Zero"
MTOW = 5313 lb
HP = 950 hp,
Wing Loading = 22.0 lb/sqft

(With such a power-to-weight advantage (P40E: 7.66, P51D: 7.67,
A6M: 5.59), and weight-to-wing area advantage (A6M was almost half the P40 and P51), it's easy to see why the "zero" was such a formidible weapon, although it's top speed was only 331 mph at 15K ft).

Phil Bell said...

A childhood friend's father was a POW in WW2. He still had sunken eyes, and was rather frail.

The U.S.S. Arizona is leaking one quart of fuel oil per day- the Navy is looking at plugging the leak- I can understand the environmental concerns, but even a "green techie" like me has always thought that was rather a dignified "living" memorial to those who perished on her. (Possibly allowed to continue until the last survivor passes away- I hope so...).

Lots of horror all the way around during WW2...

The Polish had good horses, but not such good airplanes....

(Unfortunately for the Poles, the Germans had good tanks, and good airplanes...)

(Unfortunately for the Germans, the Poles had an Enigma machine...)

Unfortunately for those the US, the Japanese Naval encryption was not cracked on Dec 7.

Fortunately for the US, the Japanese Naval code WAS cracked in time to set up an ambush at Midway (May 1942).

(Give the location of Midway, it is hard to underestimate the strategic importance it held- the same with Pearl Harbor).

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Phil, my opinion as to the manner in which WWII was fought by the U.S. is simple, we had, on December 7th, one clear event that showed that regardless of our isolationist bent at the time, the evils going on around the world (in some cases for nearly a decade already) would not ignore us nor leave us alone.

In a shining example of clarity of thought and understanding of the world in which we live, the U.S. sought to end the ability of the Axis powers to be a threat to us or our allies.

Further, like no other country before or since, the U.S. is a nation where trade is an understood life's blood and seen rightly as a national security concern.

With U-Boats in the Atlantic and a beligerent Empire of the Sun in the Pacific, the handwriting was on the wall, our trade routes and trading partners were under attack, therefore, we were under attack, well before that morning in Hawaii.

WWII could not be fought by current politicians in the 24 hour news cycle - they do not have the testicular fortitude, and we as a people no longer have a stomach for it.

People forget that the U.S. occupied Japan for a decade. A full-on military occupation. We outlawed the national religion, unmasked the Emperor as a mere human, executed political dissidents, enforced brutal curfews and still, 60 years later, deny Japan the right to a military larger than necessary for self-defense.

We are a much different and softer people now, and I for one do not believe it to be better.

Now back to airplanes.....

Deep Blue said...

The war and inter-war years also "made" aviation. Advanced recips went to t-prop then to pure jet.

Wars are really competitions and 3-4 countries competed in the aviation domain. The backbone of our current civil fleet (still)was incubated and developed under military programs (including radar and various ATC systems):

1. The B-47/B707

2. The Gloster Meteor/Comet

3. The Me-262 of course

The V1/V2 rocket program was "imported" to the states and made a fundamental impact on rocket design/development here; as did the A and H-bomb programs and nuclear energy power.

The list goes on and on.

Of course, WWII never really ended; the cold war and Korea, then V-nam all provided enormous acceleration to aviation development. The GI Bill trained thousands of civil pilots.

The first civil GA "light jet," the Lear 23, was based on a Swiss fighter design.

julius said...


seems the A400M "wins" the first flight before the 787 ...
(I know the A400M is only 3 (years) late while the 787 is as much as 24 (months) after schedule)! See the numbers!)
But the 787 will make the first "revenue" flight (first quarter 2011), while the A700M will need two more years for first delivery to a mil customer!

Which numbers will EAI present:
N technicians attended or will have attended the Global Service E500 line maintenance courses until March 2010? M fpjs were sold in the last quarter?
There will be more fpj maintenance shops around US and Europe?


P.S.: My grandmother said, when the US "officially" entered the WWII she envisaged the German defeat. She was reminded to WWI.
But I am not sure if she knew that the Lend-Lease Act of March 11 1941 was the first step to that engagement.

Shane Price said...


The 'real' question is why the US adopted a 'Europe first' policy, after being attacked by the Empire of Japan.

FDR and his far sighted military left hand man General Marshall both understood that Hitler was a much more dangerous opponent than Hirohito.

The Emperor only wanted the Dutch East Indies and some isolated Pacific atolls. Adolf had his beady eye on all of Europe, most of Russia, north Africa and the Middle East.

Never forget that on the 7th of December 1941 the German army were on the outskirts of Moscow, had driven the British Army out of Libya and had occupied almost the entire European heartland, to include France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. In addition, Germany, Italy and Japan were members of the Axis alliance, and the Italians had invaded Albania. Spain remained neutral, although inclined to support Germany and Italy.

But, as it happens, Hitler saved FDR the bother of making up an excuse to attack by declaring war on the US on the 10th of December.

Simply put, the Axis decided to attack the US, leaving FDR no choice. Only one Congresswoman (Miss Jeanette Rankin, a Republican from Montana) voted against the motion to declare war on Japan, and there was no opposition in the Senate.

I have a small problem with your view that WW2 'made' the US. I'm a firm believer that the Civil War (or the 'war Between the States' or the 'war of Northern Aggression, take your pick) was the seminal the event in the formation of your country.

WW2 established, undeniably, that the US would be the dominant international power for the second half of the 20th century.

But, in a delicious twist, the vast majority of Americans never bother to get a passport, so don't ever see the States like the rest of us. Like the unlikely pacifist Republican from Montana, most of 'you' don't seem to know or care about the rest of the world, so heavily shaped by policies decided in the Pentagon....

To finish, let me also say that the two most moving places I've visited were graveyards. One was where a short speech by an Illinois lawyer ("The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here") changed, forever, human understanding of the value of freedom.

The other overlooks a beach in Normandy, where the (largely) American invasion of Europe began. It was the first time in history that an invader actually honored a promise not to stay, and ended one of the darkest chapters in world history to date.

It was a privilege to have seen both.


baron95 said...

The US and FDR absolutely had no clarity in WWII.

Yes, fighting Japan all out was inevitable - Japan was all out in the Pacific.

Fighting Germany, was, "understandable", though an accommodation by the US/UK would have saved a lot of lives at the expense of an uncomfortable tyrant or two in Europe.

All that is OK.


FDR's propping up, feeding, arming, ceding technology to the biggest monster in history - Stalin - is NEVER EVER going to be justifiable.

He (we) created an adversary that, to this day, has the ability to kill, in 30 minutes, every American.

It was stupid. It was misguided. It was evil.

Stalin was no better to mankind than Hitler, and certainly a lot worst for Americans.

FDR, because an attack from Japan, decided to enable Stalin to kill tens of millions in Europe and to threaten every American.

Patton was right - from 1944 and on, we should have, together with the remnants of the German army, changed the focus to defeat Stalin.

But that is not here nor there.

The biggest distinction we have, in the history of warfare, is that we transformed our defeated enemies (Japan and Germany) into some of our strongest allies.

Specifically, Japan, is one of the few countries (perhaps the only one), that is at least a serious candidate to receive our most advanced aviation product - the F22.

It just shows, that all out war and all out destruction of a nation is not inconsistent with long term friendship.

Since WWII, the US has been engaged in limited warfare with disappointing results.

baron95 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baron95 said...

Here is the B787 wing deflection at 100% (3.8G) loading.

Static test to 100% complete on static frame above, ZN-001 to 003 have the mods. Gauntlet tests complete on 001. High speed tests and FAA Experimental Test certificate expected this weekend or early next week.

I'd say that is 6 cm dilation.

The cork is ready to pop.

michal said...

FDR's propping up, feeding, arming, ceding technology to the biggest monster in history - Stalin - is NEVER EVER going to be justifiable.

He (we) created an adversary that, to this day, has the ability to kill, in 30 minutes, every American.

It was stupid. It was misguided. It was evil.

Baron, I rarely agree with you but here I agree with you 150%. I never understood America's love affair with FDR. OK, he created social security, perhaps there is some small glory in it..

julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julius said...


The cork is ready to pop.

Hmmmm - first flight 7.8.7 (plus 4 or 5 weeks)- now 12.15.9?

Water or Coke would be better....

Weight increases, no new wing for -9 (yes, we can - or we do not know?)...There had been expensive wind tunnel test and now?

The first delivery to first customer (ANA?) might be the first event for the cork to pop... hopefully by the end of this year!


P. S.: A new wing (for -9) was the key for a much bigger 787?
Furthermore there is a need for a 737 successor!

BassMaster said...

And this blog is called what? Phil if you have nothing avition related maybe it's time to throw in the towel. Maybe you can help Shane write his book. Once upon time a great variety of people with first hand knowledge of the e500 came here...often e workers wondering if they were going
to have have jobs the following week or better yet get paid and depositors wondering if they would ever see their planes. Guess things just change.

Shane Price said...


I applaud Phil for varying the headline post. It was precisely because of the 'Eclipse' part of the blog I ran for 18 months that I stopped.

After all, EAC had gone bust and the 'revival' looked to be heading exactly the same route. It was very hard, sometimes, to keep the blog fresh when the source material had dried up. At times, the only thing that kept me going was advice from Stan (the original, and still the best) that EAC could always be relied upon to do something stupid.

As for the original EAC depositors, they all know they're shafted by now. Ex EAC staff understand, more than a year after Chapter 11 and 9 months after full bankruptcy, that the phone is NOT going to ring. Suppliers were the first group to contact me, en masse, about the perilous state of Vern/Roel's finances, so they had no illusions, at all, about the chances of restarting production.

So, before you take a brickbat to Phil, try running a blog.

Or writing a book!


KnotMPH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julius said...

The first delivery to first customer (ANA?) might be the first event for the cork to pop... hopefully by the end of this year!

Sorry, it should be "by the end of next year" and not "by the end of this year"!


gadfly said...

It's most interesting to observe the views of a younger generation of the attitude and conduct of a past generation, when some of us experienced the uncertainties of 1940, 41, 42, etc. Some of us waited for the school bus in front of "The Old Vienna" German beer garden on Sunland Blvd., . . . our interest was in the tad poles in the ditch next to the bus stop . . . but we all knew that the place was filled with "Nazi spies", with Lockheed just the other side of "downtown" Roscoe (changed to "Sun Valley, California" a few year later). We experienced the "blackouts", with "Air Raid Wardens", expecting the possibility of bombing by the enemy at any time . . . and the ration tickets and "tokens" (little red things the size of dimes, that limited the amount of things a person could buy). Our parents turned in "bacon grease" that was a basic in manufacturing gun powder. Rubber tires were worth almost their weight in gold. Lockheed was literally covered with "chicken wire" and a covering that duplicated an entire city of houses, from the air.

The amazing thing in retrospect was how fast an entire nation could react to a real or probable threat, come up to full speed, and literally overwhelm enemies across two oceans . . . without wanting to destroy either enemy nation. Newsreel footage of the time showed the compassion of our great nation in those terrible times . . . a little girl shivering in fear . . . and my heart breaks as I hold my own little grand-daughters close.

The bad guys were "three" . . . Togo, Mussolini, and Hitler . . . "Uncle Joe" was yet to come (because of FDR who played the fool and gave away much . . . !). The only firm anchor, back then, was Churchill . . . but few would listen.

(Did you know that “Stalin” is not his real name? . . . He gave himself that name . . . “Man of Steel”. But then, most power-hungry leaders are not what they first appear. Consider the “paper hangar from Austria”, the little corporal, “Herr Shicklegruber!”) I had a friend, once, a brilliant man who called me, “You old Shicklegruber”. My friend was a fellow pilot and A&P . . . and close to getting married, a woman in a Ford ran "head on" at high speed into his Porche 911 . . . and I'll see him again in eternity. Life is brief!

Anyway, the events of the 1940's, before and after, are closely linked with aviation, no matter how you slice it.

Rather than enter into the argument, I find it both amusing, and sad, that so few really understand the events of that day, when our nation rose to its highest level . . . maybe equal or surpassing the events of the mid 1800's, and the final decades of the 1700's. For a brief moment, Ronald Reagan got our attention . . . and laid the foundation for a great future . . . but few took it seriously. Even the Republicans treated it as a "joke", spending on their own selfish agendas. The "Demos" can answer for their own behavior . . . and, indeed, they will!

It appears that in light of the present leaders of our nation, we may be approaching our own self-imposed sunset.


(The Boeing saga is far from over. But then, it's just a "symptom" of deeper problems. And I’ll make a prediction: You do not successfully “patch” a discontinuity in fiber reenforced plastics without creating serious stress concentrations . . .but then, what would I know?! Static testing is a far cry from dynamic life-cycle testing. But then, in time the testing “Will” take place. Right?)

michal said...

In my opinion, World War 2 made the United States, the United States. .

I heard this expression a few times except that it was always in reference to World War I. By World War 2 the US was already a major superpower.

BassMaster said...

Good points all. And Shane good rebuttal. Point understood.

The last thread was getting into the e500 again and I guess I miss those discussions.

Sorry to offend anyone.

Phil Bell said...

Well, being told I suck only once a month is a little disappointing.

(I fear most people aren't paying attention to how bad I really am!

No offense taken, but some obvious items noted:

"Phil if you have nothing aviation related maybe it's time to throw in the towel."

Hmm- Sorry you didn’t appreciate the first two posts on this thread, related to the P-40, P-51, Re.2005, and A6M, with relative wing loadings and power-to-weight ratios, and altitudes. And likewise ignored my exhortation to "Rest assured, I do not intend to change the focus of the blog away from aviation".

"Maybe you can help Shane write his book."

I’d be delighted. In fact, I’ve been told I’m in the running to be on the back cover.

I’m sure that little advanced order for the first 1000 copies had nothing to do with it. Although I was tempted with the offer of a centerfold spread if I went for the first 5,000 copies.

(Most purchasers will be no doubt delighted that Sarah Palin had more cash than I. Drat- if she had only won the Veep, I be the Secret Service would be keeping her "under wraps", so to speak. Regarding the book's cover? Well, Shane made me promise to leave some things a surprise!)

"Once upon time a great variety of people with first hand knowledge of the e500 came here..."

Some still do. Or, for $150 one may join the E5C club.

"...often workers wondering if they were going to have have jobs the following week".

All I can say is, I’m glad the suspense is over- hopefully the blog had given as many as possible forewarning. (Jolly good show, Stan and Shane!)

"...or better yet get paid and depositors wondering if they would ever see their planes".

All I can say is, I’m glad the suspense is over- hopefully the blog had given as many as possible forewarning. (Jolly good show, Stan and Shane!)

"Guess things just change".

Good suggestion- TAG- you’re it!

Bassmaster, you’re a great writer and sage observer of the aviation industry- so I would encourage you to email an aviation-related expose of your choice to:


Really! The same for all our fellow bloggers: this isn’t the Phil blog- I’m only a moderator (/instigator)- I think of it as "our" blog, conceived and initiated by Stan, continued and expanded by Shane- I'm just a humble facilitator for continued great commentary by the many, many readers they attracted.

BTW, I like to get the posts up in time for a Monday morning read for our European friends.

(So, no whining- start writing! It is a PARTICIPATORY blog, not a paid subscription :)

And I AM serious- I’m sure we all have some good expose’s in us- I should think everyone who is an airplane enthusiast has AT LEAST a dozen great themes to explore. I would appeal to all readers to take a few days and compose their thoughts- into a nice article for a headline. I’d prefer to put up the headline with credits, but if preferred, as an anonymous post.

I have written about two dozen headlines, and enjoy doing it, and hope they have been likewise enjoyed. And I’m quite certain there are a lot of great articles to be written by many others- and I most enthusiastically encourage them to do so.

The one thing which probably constrains people the most, is concern about being corrected or nit-picked.

I’d say: don’t sweat it- go ahead and send the article. I might suggest a change here or there- but probably not. And yes, there might be some feedback with corrections and/or dissent, but hey, to each and every reader and poster out there:

YOUR thoughts ARE worth expressing-

(And you really will learn a lot more from the feedback, both positive AND negative- PLUS: so will a lot of others, who probably have the exact same thoughts you have. I think lots of time we're all thinking and wondering the same things).

So don't be modest, or shy-



julius said...


perhaps I am wrong:

I believed, that GA (in US) become so vivid after WWII because quite a lot of people had learnt to fly and now - after the wars (Korea included) - wanted to fly planes in peace time. Naturally the conversion from mil industries to civil industries took some times and GA was just a intermediate step for some companies.
Therfore the December 7 1941 could be seen in a GA context!


P.S.: Writing headlines is a lot of work (and also fun, when the ideas are coming...). But criticising the headlines is much, much easier and should done with the due respect to the work!

Thanks for your good work!

gadfly said...

Yes, Phil, I join with "julius" in thanking you for your good work!


baron95 said...

Julius, there were two ingredients for the Personal/Owner-flown GA boom following WWII.

1 - Plenty of pilots (as you correctly pointed out). That is the Software.

2 - Up-to-date technology. A Beech Bonanza in 1947 compared very favorably in speed, technology, reliability, etc with the DC-3 airliner of the day. That is the Hardware.

What has happened since then?

The Software aged, died, didn't get updated by new generation SW.

The Hardware fell more and more behind since the advent of the Jet age. It never made it to the owner-flown segment. So professional (airline, biz av) flying, left personal flying in the dust.

The only way this will get fixed is by new Software (pilots) and new Hardware (planes).

And, it will likely come from the automotive and consumer electronics world.

Just like cheap (as in $10 each) solid state accelerometers from car electronic stability systems enabled AHDRS for GA (replacing $250K laser rings) and LCDs/GPS Maps completed the avionics picture, so too will be the evolution of airframes and powerplants.

Once low-cost aluminum and carbon-fiber materials and manufacturing techniques and tooling gets perfected in the mass automotive segment, GA will benefit.

Same for engines, from Diesel's to advanced gas-engines, to, YES, you heard it first, automotive turbines.

New York City is running a trial (currently 3 going to 100) turbine/electric buses.

And Capstone's CMT-380 is a turbine/electric hybrid supercar.

Think about it. A diesel/gas/turbine single engine, feeding a 5min-15min capacity advanced battery.

Quiet take offs/landing, and if the engine packs it in, you have a few minutes of power on battery to put it down.


Use Battery bower for the take-off/climb boost, and charge it back on the descent for next flight.

While most of the improved efficiency of auto ICE engines is only applicable to the variable load (i.e. lots of accelerate, stop, etc) cycles, some of it is happening in the steady state that is applicable to aviation.

Things like low-loss turbos, throttle-less engine power control, high-pressure direct injection, high compression with detonation prevention, multi-spark ignition, advanced engine materials, etc, are being accelerated by the enviro-mandates.

Just think about it. BMW this year will produce more turbos than were produced in the entire history of owner-flown GA.

If they ever decide that turbine/electric hybrids are the right technology for say 10% of their cars, that will be 100,000 turbine engines per year, right there.

That is the type of thing that makes a $250,000 turbine turn into a 10,000 turbine.

Go ahead - laugh.

But a $250K laser-gyro turned into a $10 MEMS.

Lets see. Of course this is decades away. But my guess is that automotive cross feeding is what will re-energize GA.

mountainhigh said...

Phil, great idea to solicit material (exposes) for headline posts. Keep up the good work.

Maybe someone with knowledge of the Excel-Jet case will send in an "expose" post. Word on the street is that this case is about a lot more than just a plane crash...some system-wide issues/motives may be exposed. However, it's always touchy when an ongoing legal matter. [have Bob's permission for the following]

Things are getting interesting in Excel-Jet's litigation regarding the crash. At least one US reporter, who has followed all the pre-tail hearings, will be attending the trial. It seems that this case has caught the interest of the Brits and Kiwi's who also will be present. Maybe it was the comment from a very senior BA engineer who after reviewing the flight DVD and other information on the aircraft & crash made the comment "what planet is the US government on?"

Maybe these folks see a real story in the making. It isn't often that a small company has the 'balls' to take on the US government. Bornhofen has said "This is a case about GA and revealing the truth because what happened to our pilot could happen to anyone. Everyone knows that if we don't honestly identity the cause of a crash we cannot take the remedial steps to prevent a similar recurrence. I am not going sit idly by and let the government or their experts attempt to destroy 100 years of aviation knowledge in the courtroom on my watch."

And speaking of uncovering the truth one of the "tidbits" Bob mentioned... when the plaintiff demanded to have a 3rd party independently validate proprietary material being presented by DOJ...that material (and witness) was quickly withdrawn from the case. As Bob put it...why after spending millions would this material be withdrawn?

airsafetyman said...

"Julius, there were two ingredients for the Personal/Owner-flown GA boom following WWII."

Boom? I thought it was a major bust. The GIs came back from war and death and only wanted to go to school on the GI Bill and learn to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen, and engineers and make a life for themselves and their family. A whole lot of pilots hung the war photos on the walls and never looked back. The returning servicemen were kids of a whole middle class that never attended college before. They went, and transformed the nation in the process. It was "government-supported" college too, the kind that is standard today in western Europe but causes strokes in the right-wing fruitcakes in our country today.

BassMaster said...

Baron you mention some neat projects that will give me a great excuse to web surf.

Phil your doing just fine, I'm just an asshole! Nothing for nothing though it can stimulate dialogue ;).

Whilst we're in a WWII thread I'm wondering if the axis powers had any idea that the US could be as industrious as we were in producing warplanes and ships. Someone can correct these numbers if needed (and I'm sure they're off) but it appears that we built over 250k warplanes from 40 to 45. Close to 13k B17s, 18K B24s, 3600 B29s. Did the axis seriously underestimate what could be done? Did the axis not realize that auto factories would become bomber factories?

One of the many interesting engineering products in aero during WWII was the discovery and utilization of the 'Merideth Effect' that allows the cooling drag (which is proportionately major with respect to other parasitic and induced) to be almost completely negated through the use of ingenious radiator cowl arrangements. It's involved on the P51, P40, FW190 and I'm sure many others. F.W. Meredith gave the principal it's namesake. Some have claimed to actually make more thrust with this than cooling drag (net:net) through the use of spray bars in front of the radiators which of course expanded behind or after the rads as steam. The Reno guys are all over this.

Floating Cloud said...

KnotMPH said

"Lindbergh, Post and Earhart were homespun pioneers who managed to demonstrate how small the earth had become in the last 15 years. Over there was no more. It could be over here any time."

And brave pioneers they will always be and the world has never been the same since.

Knot, you reminded me of one of the all time greatest songs and one of my favorites by Joni Mitchel. Please enjoy, all you aviation enthusiasts. You are a rare and much admired breed indeed!

Floating Cloud

Phil Bell said...

Thanks to all for their kind words of encouragement- and critiques.

Regarding military cemeteries, Shane mentions two moving ones- Normandy and Gettysburg.

(The Gettysburg address is THE most moving speech that I know of. And it wasn't said to garner votes or favor, but offered as a tribute. Some men are great- Lincoln was one. I fear in this age of appearance over substance, such great men are no longer attracted to public service).

Phil Bell said...

From what I've read, the civil war was when "the United STATES" became "THE United States"- one nation, instead of a collection of states.

I would agree that the US became a world-class "power" after WW1, but I feel that pales compared to the transformation from 1939-1945.

And not so much in a military sense- but more as an industrialized nation, with a trained/educated and mobile work force- the later being probably THE most dramatic change. Post-war manufacturing capacity led to farm mechanization on an epic scale; cities boomed, and the railroads, highways, and airways facilitited a mobile society- unprecidented, perhaps anywhere in the world- even now 60 years later.

The GI bill, and the later "red scare" investments in science and engineering, made the US a technological power house during the 1950's and 1960's.

The 1970's until now? Well, seems like a little less spectacular, but PC's and the internet, biotechnology, cell phones, GPS, all pretty cool stuff too...Just not as flashy, I suppose.

(It is interesting to consider: the techonological advances of the 1940s-1960s were due to government-financed R&D, and it occurs to me that the advances I mention for the 1970s onward were ALSO largely spurred by government R&D).

Phil Bell said...

Regarding aviation and WW2, I heartily concur- general aviation benefited immensly from WW2 technology. And airfields. And surplus aviation industrial infrastructure. And just plain a sense of adventure and "can do" enthusiasm which seems to have been prevelent then.

Maybe that's what we need a bit more of lately...

gadfly said...

Maybe it’s stretching it a bit, but since so much of the “hype” of the Eclipse was centered around computer generated “reality”, (not to mention Boeing), we have a ready example on the internet . . . and, give the “gadfly” a little license . . . here’s something:

A story has been going around lately on the internet that someone put together a fantastic music machine, built from “John Deere” tractor parts, and donated it to the Smithsonian, but it’s a hoax. The truth behind it is almost more fantastic. These are computer generated images with music. The first clip (below) is the one referred to in the false story, but the company that made the video is “real”, :
(Pipe Dream)
(Resonant Chamber)
(Possibly the best of the “demos”.)
(Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussourski)
(Comments of the animator and the composer)

Notice the realistic CAD images throughout, and see how a startup company might use these either honestly, or dishonestly, to convince an all-too-naive “public” or “potential customer base” to believe almost anything.

Education should be enjoyable . . . so Enjoy!


(If the “gadfly” were just a couple decades younger, I’d be in the middle of this sort of thing . . . guaranteed! With my high-end CAD/CAM system . . . and cut the parts out with a CO2 laser, Wirecut-EDM, multi-axis “machining center”, 3D printer, and/or “waterjet”, and actually build the stuff.)

(But nothing replaces the fun of building a balsa glider from "scratch", of my own design, at age eight or nine, and watching it glide a few hundred feet down the hill.)

gadfly said...

One more thing that I just noticed: In the piece "Pictures at an Exhibition", one of the numbers is the "Great Gate of Kiev", the painting of a proposed gate that would have bankrupted the city of Kiev. Notice the image of that painting on the base drums . . . the subtle images that can be used to move emotions, and financial decisions. In the music video it's a minor element, but "there it is" . . . and if thought of by this artist, it's obvious that such things are used throughout every part of our world.

(In the classical piece, "Mussorgsky" (your spelling may vary), the composer and a "fat man", is walking through an exhibition of an artist's friend (who recently died) display of various paintings. He musically tells us of his "waddling" walk, called "promenade". The last picture is the "Great Gate of Kiev", a proposed building project that was never carried out . . . too expensive! Sound familiar?)


(In the early days, we saw "formations" of the little jet(s) flying high over the landscape . . . did you for a moment think those were actual images? Part of the image was real, but which part?)

BassMaster said...

Wow Gad. Interesting to say the least!

I must pose you a question. Around 20 years ago I was living in Florida and was a teenager with an idea of a motorized BMX bike that used a chainsaw engine. At first the protos used blank chainsaw chain (no blades, so it would work with the integrated chainsaw clutch bell) sourced from Oregon and I needed a secondary sprocket of unusual dimensions (it was a dual reduction chain drive deal using a jackshaft with no tire friction stuff). I ended up sourcing out and sending drawings to a company in Albuquerque (can't remember the name) that did waterjet cutting...unheard of back then (at least to me). It was a primitive proof of concept set of 3 that they made. They were rough but inexpensive (I think under $100 for all 3, which was actually 9 pieces of I think 308SS). Worked great and allowed me to prove the concept (to myself at least) before going to local shops and spending more $. Was that your shop or was it the shop adjacent to the old SP11? They were a waterjet specialty shop.

gadfly said...

By now, many of you have examined these entertaining audio/video files. Yes, the music was a great work of art, but think also of the artistic gifts of the man who designed and programmed these great virtual images. That is the bottom line of true design . . . and understanding of all manufacturing . . . with the artistic touch of a “Stradivarius” or a “Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri”, with an understanding of the science, and the ability to carry out the manufacture of the item needed.”

The famous violins of the above mentioned men have been studied until the cows have come home . . . and died of old age. But all the study of the variable thickness of soundboard, the position of the bridge, the shape of the “f” hole, the wood . . . its grain and age, and all the rest . . . fails to duplicate the subtle things that make these unmatched masterpieces.

The same is true in many professions . . . including the design and manufacture of aircraft. There are many things that can’t be explained even by the designers. And a computer with the finest and most complete programs cannot “design” the best of very light jets, nor the finest violin. Some things are beyond the control of modern thinking. It’s a humbling fact, but there it is. In some, God has given a basic “feel”, a “gift” (if you will) to accomplish great things, while others are able to support such individuals, but must learn to appreciate and enjoy those rare qualities of certain gifted individuals.

More things to consider!


(Friday, my son made a comment about how some folks think that we ‘just “plug in a program”, and the machine does it all . . . as we struggle to work out the subtle parameters to produce a “Barley Twist” in Black Walnut on a four-axis Mazak 25hp, 12,000 rpm machining center, with about sixty thousand lines of code . . . and all this time you thought the “gadfly” was goofing off, with nothing to fill his empty brain.)

gadfly said...

BassMaster . . . it was not us. However, we are seriously looking into a waterjet system.

There is another company who did some work for Eclipse . . . providing the "counter weights" on a rush order before a "Dog and Pony Show", when the little jet sat down on its fanny, and needed some weight in the nose befor the public showed up a day or so later.

Back a few years, I designed a "zero clearance" spur gear, but it was for internal use, and machined on our Wirecut-EDM. Gear design is an extremely demanding thing . . . and I would have pursued it further had there been a demand . . . but a person can only do so much in the time God provides . . . and at the time we had other fish to fry. And to just do things because they need to be done is often "not enough". Someone has to pay the bills.


(Waterjet requires a willingness on the part of the owner to keep the "garnet" or "grit" replaced often, to go to the next generation of 60,000 psi, replace nozzles often, and use machines that "tilt" to compensate for "kerf" angle, etc. And that brings us back to the basic philosophy that machining is not a "science", but an "art" . . . you miss that, and you don't have a superior product.)

gadfly said...

And BassMaster . . . It wasn't you, but back many years someone came to us wanting a light-weight chain-saw blade . . . not the "chain", but the blade. He was into some sort of high-speed sculpturing in competition. We “wirecut” the new blades from 6-4 Titanium (6% aluminum/4% vanadium . . . if memory serves). We did what the customer wanted, but they did not match the standard steel blades. Other than cutting firewood, which I’ve done my share on the mountain, I’ve never had to do anything more than sharpen all the teeth on many a chain. (And, yeh, I can do it "by hand" on a power grinder in about five minutes or less.)


(It’s the “pits” when you hit a rock buried in the middle of an old log, and have to change a chain on a saw, with the snow falling and the temperature somewhere around ten or twenty degrees. Those days are over . . . my “kids” have offered to bring us a cord or two of wood this winter. I’ll take them up on it . . . actually they haven’t given me a choice.)

KnotMPH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gadfly said...

KnotMPH makes me remember the famous words of "Herman Goering":

"If Allied planes ever bomb Berlin, you can call me Meyer."

And later:

"When I saw Mustangs over Berlin, I knew the jig was up."


baron95 said...

And brave pioneers they will always be and the world has never been the same since....
Floating Cloud

I'm sorry, but, exactly what has Amelia pioneered?

She was made famous by the press for being a passenger on a North Atlantic crossing....and went from there, till she likely got lost due to poor skills and vanished.

Was she instrumental in promoting and romanticizing aviation - sure. I give her all credit for that.

But she was not a particularly skilled pilot nor was she a pioneer.

baron95 said...

In my mind, WWII in Europe ended in the 1990s, when we finally defeated the Soviet Union and helped liberate the other half of Europe that we had gifted to Stalin in the 1940s.

Yes, in the 40s we helped liberate half a dozen countries in western Europe that were under dictator's occupation for 4 years.

But, we did it by doing a deal with the devil and condemning over a dozen countries and 2 hundred million people to live under tyranny for 40 years, including tens of millions that were tortured, murdered and starved to death, with our acquiescence.

WWII in the Pacific probably ended late last decade or early this decade when China changed its posture to a more co-operative one. Or maybe it will only truly end once Taiwan becomes peacefully another Chinese SAR, like Hong Kong.

But our greatest adversaries in the world today, continue to be Russia and China, two minor powers that we propped up during WWII.

I.e. the true consequences of our actions in war can only be seen decades after.

We haven't seen the true results of our actions/in-actions in the Korean war. Let alone our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We may be flying anti-matter powered planes before those are truly known.

Barry said...

Sorry to interrupt the current topic. But I think someone mentioned missing the good old EAC days of insider info and exposes.

This isn't EAC or EAI related but references another program somewhat recently mentioned here, Piper. More issues with the jet program. Reliable sources say the VP of Engineering is always right and his staff always wrong. Can you say micromanage! Good engineers wanting to leave the jet program but there are very few jobs. So they keep their heads down, mouths shut and collect the check. It doesn't appear the investment group or Sultan know what is going on. As others have mentioned here, the program seems DOA. FYI, the VP of Eng. comes from two failed programs, Visionaire and Adam.

Unfortunately, when things hit the fan again re another redesign, most likely the VP will point to the engineering staff as the problem. Maybe someone at Piper will step up with some more info.
Hey, I just want to see some good old fashion engineering! And not the same old blame game and hiding of info from the investors/customers.

julius said...


Lets see. Of course this is decades away. But my guess is that automotive cross feeding is what will re-energize GA.

automotive ideas will have some impact (e.g. ergonomic, interior safety).
I think car engines are treated like fighter engines. GA piston engines dislike that.
Car engine may be bigger and heaveier than comparable GA engines etc. Thus I do not expect any major engine input for GA unless a new fuel which can be used in GA a/cs is available for cars.
(Diesel engines are too heavy..etc.)

I am not sure if futurologists look at GA in 20 or more years. PW's or RR's views are based on their current stakes and not on a future society & economy.

Hopefully the GA a/cs will get a little bit more space!!!


julius said...


WWI is going to finish next year - if you are looking at payments! Germany will do the last payment in spring 2010!

WWII ended for West end East Germany and Poland(!) March 15 1991
("Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany") - apart from US, United Kingdom and USSR.

I do not know what the people in Tibet or the Tibetian refugees in India think... China and Taiwan should have a look at the former Czechoslovakia...


BassMaster said...

Barry sounds interesting. Sounds familiar. Towards the end of eac I watched the CFO tell engineers that wanted to straighten out an issue on a plane before delivery that it was THEIR paycheck in jeapordy since the deal had to be closed. That's how tight it was in the end. Don't know about pipers culture or their deposit situation but folks like to keep the paycheck comming so they will do what they're told.

airsafetyman said...

"More issues with the [Piper] jet program. Reliable sources say the VP of Engineering is always right and his staff always wrong."

I hope not. The former VP of enginering was bumped up to the President's position only a few months before he was let go. He was not well liked or respected within Piper by his staff. Now we have another dysfunctional leader in that position? The President/CEO, Kevin Gould, doesn't have much following within Piper either, being another member of "the Adams family".

Floating Cloud said...


GEEZ, I am afraid as ususal you miss anything subtle. My comment/link was an acknowledgement and salute to all aviators in history and not just about Amelia Earhart. (And you, my dear, are one of them.) I did read her biography and believe me she WAS a pioneer for women - no matter how good or bad a pilot she may heve been. Without her exposes do you think Rita the Riveter would have ever existed? She gave ALL women during WWII the inspiration and dignity to roll their sleeves up and really make a difference -- the world has never been the same. Gadfly, you above all would know more about this than anyone. Those butterfly pins say it all.

Floating Cloud

Floating Cloud said...


That would be "Rosie" the Riveter. Rita was her cousin living in New Mexico working for the precurser to Eclipse. Mary Rose and I both know her...

Phil Bell said...

New headline post is up!

(Floating Cloud- to my continued amazment, Wikipedia has the answer to -almost- everything:
Rosie the Riveter
! :)