Saturday, June 30, 2012

Floating Cessna

Alrighty... here's one yours truly caught at Prior Aviation back in August of 2005. I was there to see something else, but this little ship caught my eye and I just had to grab a few snaps...

'Tis a Cessna 185 Skwagon... on floats. (as if you hadn't already figured that last part out)

Oh, and here's what I was actually there to see... more on this bird later, perhaps tomorrow... or the next day... or next week... or three fortnights from the Tuesday after the Wednesday two weeks from now... or... or... or whenever I feel like gettin' around to it. =P

All photos: S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Tante Ju

Well, this post is the result of what we here at BuffaloWingz refer to as 'calling an audible'. Actually, there was no planned post yet, and your blogmeister was out at his Sister's place for one of his niece's birthday, trying to figure out what to put on the cyber-rag tonight when he heard a very distinctive sound coming from the sky...

I tell ya, I knew this 'ole gal was coming to our side of the pond, and was hoping that I could see her at some point before she went home... but never did I dream that I'd catch a glimpse of her from my Sister's backyard! Tante Ju was someways off, and I don't have a really long lens on the picture box, so this image ain't so hot. But what the hey... it's not every day you see a Junkers 52 in the skies over Western New York!

S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz photo

There is a website devoted to this bird, which you can check out HERE. View info concerning the ship's trans-Atlantic flight and North American tour HERE.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Advertising for War

Today at BuffaloWingz we bring you a selection of advertisements featuring the two most well-known aircraft to be produced here in Western New York... the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and the Bell P-39 Airacobra.

During the second World War advertising took on a second role from that of its intended purpose, which was, of course, to sell stuff. In this second role, whether by accident or by design, advertising served to help increase morale on the home-front. Military-themed advertising appeared everywhere, and images of aircraft, tanks, and soldiers helped sell everything from actual war materiel to home appliances, clothes, paint, and cigarettes...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Shiny Cobra

This is your blogmeister's most-favoritest pikshur of the Bell P-39 Airacobra... an early example (a YP-39 me thinks) in bare-metal finish, as was the norm with most aircraft of the mid to late 1930s US Army Air Corps.

Project 914 Archives (S.Donacik collection)

Like the P-40, the P-39 has been much maligned during the six-and-a-half decades since the Second World War came to an end... perhaps more so. It was not used as extensively by AAF combat outfits as the P-40, and was arguably not as capable or effective. But the AAF had only two 'modern' pursuit types available in any appreciable numbers at the beginning of that soire... the P-39 was one of them, and it did its part to hold the line until more advanced types became available.

Putting capability and operational effectiveness aside to concentrate on aesthetics and sheer bad-assness, as many of us winguts are wont to do, there's no denying that the Airacobra is one grooooovy lookin' bird... and if your blogmeister weren't a P-40 fanatic, the P-39 would most certainly be #1 in his book.

More P-39s and other Bell products to come!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hap!

Today is Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold's birthday... and here at BuffaloWingz, we're celebrating with this shot of the Chief of the Army Air Corps, accompanied by Defense Commission Chairman William S. Knudsen, inspecting P-40s under construction in Buffalo, NY. The photo is dated September 1st, 1940...

Project 914 Archives

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new...

A Curtiss P-40B keeping company with a Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver in Western New York skies, circa 1941. Production of the SBC had pretty much wound down at this point, whereas production of the P-40 was just beginning to ramp up; only a few hundred had been produced of an eventual 13,738...

LIFE photo archives

More groovy color and more P-40s to come!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Thunderbolts at Niagara

Waaaay back a long time ago in 1948... December 8th, 1948, to be exact... the 107th Fighter Group officially gained recognition from Uncle Sam and came into being at Naval Air Station Niagara Falls, New York as part of the New York National Guard's newly formed 52nd Fighter Wing. The first of four component squadrons, the 136th, was also activated on that day and was tasked with the defense of Western New York skies.

Although HQ for the 107th would eventually move to Syracuse, NY in 1951, the 136th Fighter Squadron would remain in Niagara Falls... and they're still here, although they're no longer in the fighter business; they traded in their last fighters long ago for tankers, and now they're an airlift outfit. (Since this bit was written, the 136th changed mission again; now they're flying toy airpla... uhhh... I mean, they've been re-equipped with UCAVs. The MQ-9 Reaper to be exact.)

Anyhoo, back when they first opened shop in 1948, the 136th Fighter Squadron's first mount was the Republic P-47D Thunderbolt... or should I say, F-47D... which they flew until 1952. They were also equipped with a C-47, a pair each of AT-6s, AT-11s, and L-5s, as well as four A-25 target tugs. But it is the Thunderbolt that's covered in this installment of 'BuffaloWingz'... enjoy...


P-47D 44-32669 had previously served with the 1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron, attached to the 350th Fighter Group, Twelfth Air Force, during World War II. She eventually served as a gate guardian at an unknown (to me) USAFB and apparently still survives today... according to this ship's entry in the WRG Warbird Registry, her last known location was Chino, California circa 1988.

Peter Bowers via David Menard collection via Replica in Scale

P-47D 44-32849 went on to serve with the Dominican Air Force.

Jug drivers of the 136th Fighter Squadron pose with one of their steeds... note the early rendition of the 'Electric Chicken' emblem worn by some of these pilots on their flight jackets.

Without the guys in this next photo, the fellas in the shot above wouldn't have had any fun. They say that fighter pilots make movies and bomber pilots make history. That may be, but the guys with the wrenches make it all happen.

And here they are, the guys who make it all happen. Making it happen...

Without the 'wrench jockeys', scenes like this next one would not have been possible... a ramp full of Jugs, ready to go. This photo may have been taken during annual field training at Dover AFB, Delaware in 1949 or at Grenier AFB, New Hampshire in 1950. During the latter outing, the 136th set a record for flying time... 1000 hours in two weeks; a record which stood for at least the next forty years and which may still stand today.

Airmen of the 136th lined up for inspection in front of what may be one of the old Bell hangars. I wouldn't want to have been the window washer.

Every outfit has a leader... here we see the 107th FG's commanding officer, Major Lawrence Dissette, on the right with two unidentified members of the 107th. Dissette flew P-47s and P-51s with the 358th FS, 355th FG during WWII, scoring one confirmed victory in the air, another damaged, (both Bf 109s) and six on the ground. He was shot down on April 16th, 1945 while strafing but evaded capture. Look HERE for a French webpage with more info about Dissette's accomplishments during the war. (The link will open up in 'Google Translate' and the page should be displayed in English. If not, click on the '(View) Translation' button.)

Source for all photos, unless noted:
 Niagara's 107th Fighter Interceptor Group
40th Anniversary Book

Visit this page on the 107th Airlift Wing's website for some old 136th FS newsletters... they're on the right-hand side under 'Historical T-Birds' and are downloadable PDF files. You'll be treated to a glimpse of the past, to a time when this world of ours was a somewhat different place, when there were no cell phones, tablets, or other whiz-bang gizmos to help us all keep abreast of the news or keep in touch with one another instantly, at the press of a button.... or to help us print out a fancy-schmancy newsletter... or to let us blog on the net about our favorite subjects.

(NOTE: Since this installment of BuffaloWingz was first written, the 107th changed mission, was redesignated as the 107th Attack Wing, and converted to the MQ-9 Reaper. The website for the 107th also changed and your blogmeister has been unable to find the above mentioned newsletters on the new website. Hopefully they'll resurface at some point. Until then, though, we're SOL.)

That's it for this installment... if all goes well, the next time we look in on the boys of the 136th Fighter Squadron, they'll be flying the ugliest P-51 ever made...

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The Hawk and the Commando

Today's bit of historical WNY aviation imagery shows the two principal types manufactured by Curtiss here in Buffalo during the Second World War... the P-40 Warhawk and the C-46 Commando.

The Hawk is a P-40F, while the C-46 is said to be the first produced...

Project 914 Archives

Here's the news tag from the reverse of the photo...

More Curtiss factory photos to come!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Black Aces Tom

This super-freakin'-groovy-lookin' jet is F-14A 162689 of VF-41, 'The Black Aces'. The modex, '101', makes this the Skipper's jet. Photos were taken by yours truly at the Niagara Falls airshow in 1988... on a very wet morning...

S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz photo

 S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz photo

Many photogs scream bloody murder if they don't get 'good light', and I dunno how many people have dissed these photos, albeit mostly in a polite manner, presumably because the lighting conditions at the time were 'less than ideal'. I dunno if I picked this up from my Dad, or if it's just the result of artistic tendencies, or what, but I'm of the opinion that you don't need a clear sky and bright sun at your back to make good pikshurs with natural light... but then I suppose, as with everything, it all comes down to preference. It's just that I personally prefer not to wait for three-quarters of an entire day to get 'good lighting'.

Anyhoo, enjoy these dark, dingy, 'blah' photos!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Crapola Color

Here at BuffaloWingz we are often somewhat persnickity about the quality of the images we present. We prefer to bring you really nice, clean, crisp images whenever possible. But, when that's not possible, rest assured that we will toss whatever kinda crap we can find into this here cyber-rag for your viewing pleasure...

This image does not fall under the category of 'total crap'... it's colorful and and the photo itself is a very nice one. It's just that it was apparently scanned from a publication of old, and thus the image quality is not what it could be. A little effort with Photoshop has cleaned it up somewhat, but it's still not the bestest lookin'.

Regardless, it *is* a nice bit of eye candy for civilian aviation buffs. And speaking of civvies... your blogmeister is horrible with airplanes that are not camouflaged and which do not carry things under the wings that go 'boom'... so what's the deal with the 'FAA' on the tail of this Goony Bird? Does that indeed mean what I think it means?

Oh, I guess I should actually post the image, huh? Here 'tis... according to the image file name, this was taken at Buffalo in 1961...

Source: somewhere on the web

That's it for now... ciao...

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

For Bruno

This is the tenth Father's Day since we lost my Dad.

There's a gazillion things I could say, but I won't.

I'll simply post some of my Dad's grooviest photos and let them do the talking...













All photos: Norb 'Bruno' Donacik/ BuffaloWingz

Happy Father's Day, Dad...