Friday, September 13, 2013

Hatching Hawks

Today we bring you a super-groovy photo of  several P-40B/Cs under construction here in Buffalo, New York circa early-mid 1941... the photographer may have been LIFE's Dmitri Kessel.

It's sad to think that only a few short months after this photo was taken, it's quite possible that some, or all, of these ships would lay as smoldering wrecks in Hawaii and the Philippines... never having been used to perform the task for which they were built.

Project 914 Archives

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Monday, September 9, 2013


Today we bring you an old Curtiss advertisement with several shots of the original Buffalo factory, from the August 15th, 1917 issue of 'Aviation' magazine. The aircraft under construction appear to be early variants of the 'Jenny'.

Project 914 Archives

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's News to Me

The last installment of 'BuffaloWingz' brought you, the readership of half a dozen or so, coverage of the arrival of 'Air Force One' at Buffalo Airport in Western New York.

Today's installment covers the earlier arrival on that same day of another bird which brought a buncha folks who would cover the aforementioned arrival of 'Air Force One' and subsequent events of the day for a much broader audience.

This charter jet, a 737-400, is owned and operated by Miami Air International. MAI is often contracted by the USAF Air Mobility Command for troop and cargo transport. On this occasion, they had apparently brought in some media folks to cover the President's visit to Western New York and subsequent bus tour across the state.

In this first shot, we see N752MA just after touching down. She would eventually come to rest and offload her passengers at Prior Aviation, in front of the large hangar in the right background of the photo.

And here we see N752MA departing KBUF later in the morning...

All photos: S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz

As a side note, for any music fans, back in 2010 this very jet was chartered to transport Paul McCartney and his band from Miami, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico during Macca's 'Up and Coming' tour.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Big Boss Bird

On August 22nd, 2013 President Obama visited Western New York, and your blogmeister was on the spot to capture these snaps of 'Air Force One' upon its arrival at Buffalo Airport at approximately 10:15AM.

The Presidential chariot is a Boeing VC-25A, a highly modified 747-200B. Two VC-25As were manufactured, their original serial numbers being 86-8800 and 86-8900, later changed to 82-8000 and 92-9000, respectively. Both jets are maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group, 89th Airlift Wing, based at Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base) in Maryland.

The nose gear hits the runway with a streak of smoke...

This Eurocopter AS-350B2, operated by the Erie County Sheriff's Office, was keeping vigil throughout the morning...

A closer look at three sets of eyes looking back...

One last glimpse of the blue, white, and silver bird just before she comes to a rest...

All photos: S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What the Fleet? (Redux)

Alrighty... a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far... no, wait. Wrong blog.

Sometime back we shared a neat shot of a groovy little airplane made by Fleet Aircraft of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. Fleet was an offshoot of Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, NY and a number of designs previously manufactured by the latter were also produced by the former, albeit under different designations. Eventually Fleet was acquired by Consolidated... quite frankly, your blogmeister hasn't really looked into all the particulars of this Consolidated/Fleet tangle, and he currently has a hard time distinguishing one type from another, more often than not. But he really digs these little flying machines.

So here's a couple'a shots, one old, one new... one borrowed, one... well, not blue, but we'll try to find a rhyme that works. 'Til then, enjoy these groovy images...

Consolidated Fleet Model 10 (we think)

Project 914 Archives

Here's a closer look at the tail brand...

Project 914 Archives

Not too far from the place your blogmeister calls home is another place called Clarence Aerodrome. Based at this little strip is a Fleet Fawn (Fleet Model 7, we think) which is owned and operated by the Niagara Frontier Vintage Aircraft Group. Your blogmeister would love to get out there to Clarence and get some snaps of this little bird for a future installment of this-here cyber-rag but, until then, here's a shot from fellow Western New Yorker, Don Erwin. Thanks for the green-light to include this shot here, Don...

Don Erwin photo

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Phoenix Risen

A quickie today...

A U.S. Airways Express CRJ-200LR (leased from Air Wisconsin) taxis along near Mercy Flight at Buffalo Airport, August 4th, 2013. This jet was involved in an accident back in 2007, more HERE...

S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz photo

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pipers and Beechcrafts and Cessnas, oh my!

As was reported in our last installment, your blogmeister spent half a day or so at the Buffalo Airport this past weekend to say hello to an old friend. But there was plenty more to see than a big 'ole OD and gray B-17.

Here's a few shots for the light civvie fans... no commentary, just pix... enjoy...

All photos: S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz

More civvies to come!

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Monday, August 5, 2013

An Old Friend Comes to Visit

Your blogmeister missed the Geneseo Airshow a couple weeks back, but yesterday he claimed a consolation prize by saying hello to an old friend...

'The Movie Memphis Belle' was back in Buffalo, NY this past week. As some of the half-dozen or so whom we call our readership may recall, the 'Belle's last visit to KBUF was reported here on this very cyber-rag, but on that occasion your blogmeister was not able to stick around for very long and we had only a few photos to share. Well, this time 'round he loitered on the ramp at Prior Aviation for a bit longer and even meandered on over to a prime spotter's roost with a friend, and was able to grab a few decent shots... many more than last year.

Without further adieu, here they be... enjoy!

We mentioned a friend earlier... here's a shot taken by this fella, with whom your blogmeister spent a while jawin' and shootin' pix of things with wings. You can see more of his stuff HERE...

Rick Schenauer photo

The final photo above would probably have been the last one for this installment of BuffaloWingz had it not been for a lucky bit of timing. As the B-17 was rolling out for its last hop of the day, your blogmeister departed KBUF to head home, stopping for a minute or three to take some snaps of an interesting non-aviation subject. Upon his arrival at home-sweet-home, actually about 5-10 seconds after walking in the door, your blogmeister heard the unmistakable sound of four round engines, walked back outside, and, camera still in hand, swung the lens skyward to capture a few final snaps of his old friend... a fitting end to the day...

All photos: S.Donacik/BuffaloWingz (unless noted)

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Making History, Selling Horse Slop, and Chasing Fifty-Large

Today at BuffaloWingz we're cranking the dial in the 'ole way-back machine a few more turns to the left than usual...

Back in the year nineteen-hundred-and-ten, famed book-man William Randolph Hearst offered up the prize of $50,000 to whomever could make the first successful coast-to-coast flight across the United States of America. The following year a fella named Calbraith Perry Rodgers decided he was gonna make a grab for the green... heck, he had not only been the first private citizen to buy a Wright aeroplane, he had even received a whopping 90 minutes of flying instruction from Orville Wright himself! So he was good to go. But, as they say, (whoever 'they' are) 'ya gotta spend money to make money'... and Cal needed someone to foot the bill that was sure to pile up during what would likely be a several-week endeavor.

Enter J. Ogden Armour of Armour & Company, then-king of the meat-packing industry. Aside from  providing folks across the country with steaks, roasts, smoked hams, and various other related food products of whose contents we'd all probably prefer to remain ignorant, Armour also delved into other consumables such as soft drinks. One such drink was 'Vin Fiz'... one of the most reviled grape soda drinks in the history of history. (The original 'Vin Fiz', that iz... the name has been dusted off and the drink re-invented in recent years. And, although your blogmeister has not yet sampled any of the new brew, he hears that it iz quite palatable.) Apparently the preservation-of-quality-of-product methods used by the 'Vin Fizzers' were somewhat poor, and what was probably a fairly tasty beverage when shipped from the factory more often than not turned rancid upon arrival at its final destination, weeks or months hence. It was described at the time as 'tasting like a cross between river water and horse slop', but your blogmeister's favorite contemporary reference to the original 'Vin Fiz' iz, 'you have to sneak up on it to get it down'.

Anyhoo, eager for an effective and unique method of advertising the diz-mal 'Vin Fiz', Armour agreed to sponsor Cal Rodgers in hiz coast-to-coast attempt. The plane to be used, a Wright Flyer EX, was plastered with the 'Vin Fiz' name and logo, as was the 'Vin Fiz Special', a three-car train that accompanied Rodgers across the country, carrying a back-up aeroplane, a support team of wrench-turners to keep 'em flying, Rodgers' wife Mabel to provide 'other' support (presumably... none of our business, though), hiz Mother to nag everyone and provide tuna casserole, a platoon of reporters to... report, and, undoubtedly, a number of traveling salesmen for Armour and Vin Fiz to handle the biz.

Rodgers carried a bottle of the grape soft drink with him all the way across the country, from Sheepshead Bay, NY to Pasadena, CA and it apparently survived intact, (physically, not palatably) which iz something of a miracle as many 'oopsies' were suffered along the way... sixteen in all, we believe, including at least five major accidents that required considerable repair efforts. One of these 'oopsies' happened while Rodgers was in Western New York, on takeoff from a field in Redhouse, near Salamanca, to be exact.

So, finally, this brings us to the reason for this latest installment on BuffaloWingz... here's a much-cleaned-up image taken from a real-photo-postcard that shows Cal Rodgers departing Salamanca, NY, although we don't know if this was the aborted departure which resulted in the 'oopsy' or if this was 'take-two'.

Project 914 Archives

Here's a look at the crate after the 'oopsy'...

In the end, Cal Rodgers made it all the way across the country, from New York to California, and became the first person to fly coast-to-coast. However, book-man Hearst had stipulated a time limit of 30 days from departure from one coast to arrival at the other... and Rodgers did not collect the prize, as his journey took more than a month and a half, beginning on September 17th  and ending on November 5th, 1911. He was, however, handily compensated by Armour for the advertising provided by the flight.

Sadly, Rodgers was not to enjoy this compensation or the accolades from the historic journey for very long, as he bought the farm on April 3rd, 1912 while flying a Wright Model B (the back-up crate for the coast-to-coast flight, carried on the 'Vin Fiz Special') during an exhibition in Long Beach, California. Sad as it may be, interestingly, even this tragedy scored another 'first' for Rodgers... the crash occurred after he flew into a flock of birds, making him the first pilot to auger in due to a bird strike.

Okay, that was a bit more typing than your blogmeister had intended, but what the hey. Until next time...

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Turk Herk

A couple's years back this Turkish Air Force Herky Bird was visiting at Niagara Falls ARS for some reason or other. The official captions for these photos indicated that the C-130E had received a bit of extra TLC from the folks of the 914th AW, but we're unclear as to whether or not that was the prime reason for the Herk's visit.

Regardless of the 'why', the 'who', 'when', and 'where' were dutifully documented by Staff Sergeant Joseph McKee with this set of photos, taken on April 20th, 2011. Worthy of note is the special marking carried over the crew-entry hatch... 2011 saw the 100th Anniversary of the Turkish Air Force...

All photos: S/Sgt Joseph McKee

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Bomber Destroyer

Someone once said that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.

Someone else (namely, your blogmeister) once said that if you can't do something right, you should at least make an attempt to look groovy doing it wrong.

Such was the case with the Bell FM-1 Airacuda. Plagued from the get-go by numerous flaws, Bell's first foray into the world of aviation was an utter failure. Conceived as a long-range heavy fighter, meant to intercept and obliterate enemy bombers with its dual-cannon armament, the Airacuda was itself comparable in size and weight to many of the types that would be its prey, and was slower than most of them. And had it somehow made it into front-line service, seen combat, and encountered more conventional enemy fighters... well, can you say 'good-night, Irene'?

Now, as you, the readership of half a dozen or so might be aware, we like to try to keep things fairly brief here at BuffaloWingz. So a detailed description of the myriad other problems which ensured the Airacuda's status as a hangar queen will not be forthcoming. We will simply say that the Airacuda suffered from problems ranging from chronic and severe engine overheating, to major issues with the electrical system, to unusual flight characteristics. Heck, we haven't been able to confirm it, but as far as we know, the thing didn't even have cup-holders.

What a deplorable state of affairs...

But hey, it was one super-freakin'-groovy-lookin' airplane, wasn't it?

Project 914 Archives (Hans Groenhoff photo)

Project 914 Archives (Hans Groenhoff photo)

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Buffalo Dawn

Here at BuffaloWingz we really dig purty-pikshurs.

We think that this snap fits that bill.

Buffalo Airport, October of 2007.

J. Hallet photo (Source)

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