OshKosh Awesomeness #2 – Doolittle Raider

The aircraft was a B-25 Mitchell bomber and the date was April 18, 1942.

It became known as the Doolittle Raid and only four of the 80 men who flew into history that day are still alive.

One of them is Retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, who was co-pilot to Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle.

He flew into Airventure 2014 on board “Miss Mitchell”.

“Miss Mitchell” completed over 130 missions in North Africa and Italy. She had no crew fatalities during all of her missions which is a rare feat.

The B-25J went through a 12 year restoration and took her first flight 50 years to the day of the Doolittle Raid.

When she’s not in the air, you can find her at the Minnesota Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

OshKosh Awesomeness – Damn it Janet

Aircraft of all kinds and aviation enthusiasts have started their annual gathering at EAA’s Airventure in Wisconsin.

David and I are yet to experience the avgeek insanity that is OshKosh (as it’s better known and the name of the place its held) but we thought we’d put up the best bits and pieces that we find over this very special time of the year.

Day 1 has got to be about “Janet”.

Janet is the world’s last flying T5 Fairey Gannet (sad face) and in August this year, she’ll be celebrating 60 years since her first flight as a prototype.

Janet’s first public outing was Farnborough in 1954 but she initially started life as a dual control T2.

In 1957, Janet was recalled, rebuilt and used as Fairey Aviation’s prototype new development. Janet had become a T5.

She was sold to the Indonesian Military (but remained in the UK), was reacquired by the British Government where Janet became XT752 until finally the need to restore a Swordfish (pfft!) saw her sent across seas to a new home in the States.

Janet spent some time in climate control before returning to the U.S skies in 2013 and because of this – we salute you XT752!!!

 

 

Airmen the Focus of New Stage Play

An avgeek from an early age, Comedian Michael Veitch has always been fascinated by the airmen of World War II.

Signing books at the Queensland Air Museum recently.

Signing books at the Queensland Air Museum recently.

Veitch is already the author of two best-selling books, Flak and Fly which tell the true stories from the men who flew.

Flak took Veitch a year to interview over 50 RAAF veterans across Australia with some never speaking of these stories to their own families.

Now some of these stories have become the centre piece of Veitch’s one man play of the same name.

“One of the first stories I included in the show, is a guy called Bruce Clifton who was a Lancaster pilot shot down by the Swedes cos he strayed into neutral Sweden and some anti aircraft shells hit the bomb bay of his Lancaster” says Veitch.

“It exploded and he was sort of blown out of it, totally unscathed. The aircraft disintegrated around him. He sort of came to, falling down through the wreckage of his aircraft, wondering where he was and thought ‘I should pull the parachute maybe’ and he did.

The rest of the crew were killed and he was the sole survivor, totally unscathed. Never told anyone about it, even his own family but he told me for some reason”.

Veitch recently bought his one man performance to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast but is planning a much bigger tour in 2015.

“Next year we hit the big time and it’s an extensive tour right through regional Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania”.

Find out more at Flak

Review: Queensland Air Museum Open Cockpit Weekend.

Aircraft or aviation related events are just one of the ways David and I choose to spend our weekends, holidays and any other free time we have when not at work.

But the Queensland Air Museum‘s Open Cockpit and 40th anniversary celebration was one of the most well organised events we’ve ever been to.

Celebrating 40 years of the Queensland Air Museum with the aircraft that started it all - a Canberra bomber.

Celebrating 40 years of the Queensland Air Museum with the aircraft that started it all – a Canberra bomber.

Let’s start with parking at the event. In our experience, it can either be really easy and straight forward or downright frustrating.

Take for instance the time we left Avalon (just as spectators, no media pass) one year in the dark, only to find that all the markers had been removed and with little to no light on the subject, let’s say it took us a while to actually leave the car park.

This wasn’t the case at QAM, where we were quickly directed to a park. If you couldn’t get a park near the museum, shuttle buses were running from a nearby car parking site which meant no long walks.

Getting into the event. Regardless of whether we go as media or as general spectators, the experience can be pretty much the same. But not so on the weekend. We did attend as media and found in no time we were in and directed to the media person who had us briefed and in an F-111 cockpit before we could say hi.

I’d love to know how the general crowd felt about entry, but it looked like it flowed well and the volunteers were numerous and extremely helpful.

Tiger Moths galore! These two were especially pretty.

Tiger Moths galore! These two were especially pretty.

Like everyone else, we love our food. And having great food is a bonus when working or just standing on a flight line for hours sometimes days.

The best we’ve had so far would’ve been at the Centenary of Military Aviation Airshow at Point Cook (Victoria) in March. To be fair, not all of us can be Melbourne but we weren’t expecting that anything would come close to being perfection like that airshow did.

But from the Vietnam Veterans’ sausage sizzle, to the Vietnamese pork noodle salad, the wood-fired pizza and I didn’t even get close to the dumplings – the food at QAM, came pretty close to Point Cook. The lines were kept moving and everyone seemed pretty happy and relaxed.

There was plenty of information about what was coming up during the day. The loud speakers weren’t trying to break decibel records and you could hear every announcement clearly and at the right volume.

So what were our highlights?

1)The Canberra bomber adorned 40th birthday cake

2) Getting Michael Veitch to sign his books and put on his one man show, Flak (genius!)

3) Checking out what had flown in or on display at the Caloundra Aerodrome (just wanted to use that in a sentence).

4) For me, I can’t not mention sitting in the back seat of the Wirraway while it did its engine run. Might have taken three goes, but we got there in the end – poor old girl.

Rhianna was a passenger of Matt Denning while he did the engine run in the Wirraway

Rhianna was a passenger of Matt Denning while he did the engine run in the Wirraway

5) Seeing a De Havilland Dove do a random fly by just be a part of the celebrations. Beautiful machine!

The only thing we would say is that the formal anniversary proceedings probably needed to be in an area of its own or at a different time. It was lovely listening to speeches between the Ventura and the Huey but the walk through traffic made it difficult to concentrate on what was being said and knowing where was best to stand.

After seeing the well oiled machine at work, it’s no wonder that the Queensland Air Museum has lasted 40 years.

We’ll definitely put this on our annual calendar of events to attend next year.

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