FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 1st and 2nd 2017

Happy Labor Day

Well here it is Labor Day already.  The long weekend holiday is the unofficial end of summer (hate that thought), the beginning of school (hated that), the time for expansion of the baseball rosters (hate that – 40 man rosters change the game too much going into the playoffs), and it’s time to save 50% or more on your next mattress set with no payments for at least two years (don’t need a new mattress).  But it is also the beginning of college football (Go Navy), the start of professional football (that’s good, but they only play once a week), a great weekend to grill some steaks (love that), International Bacon Day (love that – you can look it up), catch some of those Atlantic salmon that made good their escape and now need to be caught (love that), NASCAR’s  Southern 500 NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015 (like it as it’s usually a good short track race), ride your bike (gotta love that), at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association holds their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals (some great names and cars show up for this one), and of course it’s the last day it’s considered acceptable to wear white or  seersucker (who knew – OK fashion folk like Friend of FOD Mr. Fuzzy have this marked on their calendars to go along with the opening day of elk season).  Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.  Photo below right shows first Labor Day Parade in NYC in 1882.  I was pretty much against labor unions until I joined Northwest Airlines.  There was a snap back clause in the contract under which I was hired providing for a pay raise of the lesser of 3% or the average pay increase of the seven major airlines in business at the time.  The math clearly pointed to the 3% option as all those airlines had received increased wages as airlines were making money.  Imagine then our surprise when our paychecks in mid-September only included a 1.4% pay increase.  When management was queried as to this decision, the reply was, “we think that’s what it should be.”  Eight months later and utilizing binding arbitration, it took less than fifteen minutes for the pilot’s to prevail.  The back pay was returned over a two month period and we each received a note from management in our company mailbox stating, that as the company didn’t have to pay back interest on the monies withheld over that time period, it shouldn’t be taken as a personal matter as it was only a prudent company business decision.  They had an eight month interest free $84M loan paid for by the pilots.  That’s why pilots have unions (but I’m not bitter – well just a little – no a lot – OK, I’ll let it go – someday).

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day March 5 through 7, 2017

Good Morning Friends of FOD.  I am trying to evaluate whether the subscription block and the comments sections are actually functional.  If you could/would, please attempt to subscribe if you see the PICK UP FOD block either on the side or at the bottom.  And attempt to leave a comment of some kind. You can also send me a note at fireballtoday@gmail.com in regards to what you’re seeing on your particular device.  And of course I’m always interested in your particular experiences that might be of interest.

Thanks in advance, Fireball

 

 

Massacre in Boston in 1770

The Boston Massacre, known as the Incident on King Street by the British, was an incident on March 5, 1770, in which British Army soldiers shot and killed people while under attack by a mob. The event occurred at the Custom House, later know as the Old State House on King Street, now known as State Street (photo left).  The incident was heavily propagandized by leading Patriots, such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, to fuel animosity toward the British authorities.  British troops had been stationed in Boston, capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, since 1768 in order to protect and support crown-appointed colonial officials attempting to enforce unpopular Parliamentary legislation. Amid ongoing tense relations between the population and the soldiers, a mob formed around a British sentry, who was subjected to verbal abuse and harassment. He was eventually supported by eight additional soldiers, who were subjected to verbal threats and repeatedly hit by clubs, stones and snowballs. They fired into the crowd, without orders, instantly killing three people and wounding others. Two more people died later of wounds sustained in the incident.  The crowd eventually dispersed after Acting Governor Thomas Hutchinson promised an inquiry, but reformed the next day, prompting the withdrawal of the troops to Castle Island. Eight soldiers, one officer, and four civilians were arrested and charged with murder. Defended by lawyer and future American president John Adams, six of the soldiers were acquitted, while the other two were convicted of manslaughter and given reduced sentences. The men found guilty of manslaughter were sentenced to branding on their hand.  It is interesting to note how closely this incident parallels recent acts of protest.

 

“…AN IRON CURTAIN HAS DESCENDED ACROSS THE CONTINENT…”

Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” address of 5 March 1946, at Westminster College, used the term “iron curtain” in the context of Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe:   “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an “Iron Curtain” has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.”  Churchill, who had actively pursued a course of negation with Stalin with regard to who would control vast expanses of countries that had existed prior to WW II was not just realizing  Stalin’s overall goal was to rule as much of Europe as possible.  Churchill had only recently been defeated at the polls for reelection as British Prime Minister.  Much of the Western public still regarded the Soviet Union as a close ally in the context of the recent defeat of Nazi Germany and of Japan. Although not well received at the time, the phrase iron curtain gained popularity as a shorthand reference to the division of Europe as the Cold War strengthened. The Iron Curtain served to keep people in and information out, and people throughout the West eventually came to accept and use the metaphor.  He expressed the Allied Nations’ distrust of the Soviet Union after the World War II. In the same year September, US-Soviet Union cooperation line collapsed due to the disavowal of the Soviet Union’s opinion on the German problem in the Stuttgart Council, and then followed the U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s announcement of enactment of hard anti-Soviet Union, anticommunism line policy. Since then, this phrase became popular and was widely used as anti-Soviet Union propaganda term in the Western countries.

 

Spitfire’s First Flight

5 March 1936: At 4:35 p.m., Vickers Aviation Ltd. chief test pilot Captain Joseph (“Mutt”) Summers took off on the first flight of the prototype of the legendary Supermarine Spitfire, K5054, at Eastleigh Aerodrome, Southampton, England. Landing after only 8 minutes, he is supposed to have said, “Don’t change a thing!”  The Vickers-Supermarine Type 300 was a private venture, built to meet an Air Ministry requirement for a new single-place, single-engine interceptor for the Royal Air Force. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout WW II. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; about 54 remain airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.  During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the Spitfire was perceived by the public to be the main RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hawker Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the Nazi German air force, the Luftwaffe. Spitfire units, however, had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes because of its higher performance. Spitfires in general were tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters (mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E series aircraft which were a close match for the Spitfire) during the Battle of Britain.  After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the EuropeanMediterraneanPacific and the South-East Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and trainer, and it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s.

My neighbor in Camarillo and friend of FOD Steve McCartney flies  Spitfire XIVe NH749 of the Commemorative Air Force, based at Camarillo airport, Southern California, seen with period-dressed crew members in 2011.

 

Remember the Alamo

For all of us who completed some type of flight training in Texas, or had the opportunity to live in Texas,  we know Texas is a different kind of state.  In that light, it’s good to remember the Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission 
near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio), Texas,  Several months previous to the Battle of the Alamo, Texians had driven all Mexican troops out of Mexican Texas. About 100 Texians were then garrisoned at the Alamo. The Texian force grew slightly with the arrival of reinforcements led by eventual Alamo co-commanders James Bowie and William B. Travis (right). On February 23, approximately 1,500 Mexicans marched into San Antonio de Béxar as the first step in a campaign to retake Texas. For the next 10 days, the two armies engaged in several skirmishes with minimal casualties. Aware that his garrison could not withstand an attack by such a large force, Travis wrote multiple letters pleading for more men and supplies, but the Texians were reinforced by fewer than 100 men.  During the siege, newly elected delegates from across Texas met at the Convention of 1836. On March 2, the delegates declared independence, forming the Republic of Texas. Four days later, the delegates at the convention received a dispatch Travis had written March 3 warning of his dire situation. Unaware that the Alamo had fallen, Robert Potter called for the convention to adjourn and march immediately to relieve the Alamo. Sam Houston convinced the delegates to remain in Washington-on-the-Brazos to develop a constitution. After being appointed sole commander of all Texian troops, Houston journeyed to Gonzales to take command of the 400 volunteers who were still waiting for Fannin to lead them to the Alamo.  On the afternoon of April 21 the Texian army attacked Santa Anna’s camp near Lynchburg Ferry. The Mexican army was taken by surprise, and the Battle of San Jacinto was essentially over after 18 minutes. During the fighting, many of the Texian soldiers repeatedly cried “Remember the Alamo!” as they slaughtered fleeing Mexican troops. Santa Anna (below) was captured the following day, and reportedly told Houston: “That man may consider himself born to no common destiny who has conquered the Napoleon of the West. And now it remains for him to be generous to the vanquished.”  Houston replied, “You should have remembered that at the Alamo”.  Santa Anna was forced to order his troops out of Texas, ending Mexican control of the province and giving legitimacy to the new republic.

 

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning

On March 6, 1899, the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin registers Aspirin, the brand name for acetylsalicylic acid, on behalf of the German pharmaceutical company Friedrich Bayer & Co.  Medicines made from willow and other salicylate-rich plants appear in clay tablets from ancient Sumer as well as the Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt. classical antiquity and the Middle Ages.  Willow bark extract became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain and inflammation in the mid-eighteenth century.  By the nineteenth century pharmacists were experimenting with and prescribing a variety of chemicals related to salicylic acid, the active component of willow extract.  In 1853, chemist Charles Frédéric Gerhardt treated acetyl chloride with sodium salicylate to produce acetylsalicylic acid for the first time, in the second half of the nineteenth century, other academic chemists established the compound’s chemical structure and devised more efficient methods of synthesis. In 1897, scientists at the drug and dye firm Bayer began investigating acetylsalicylic acid as a less-irritating replacement for standard common salicylate medicines, and identified a new way to synthesize it.  By 1899, Bayer had dubbed this drug Aspirin and was selling it around the world.  The word Aspirin was Bayer’s brand name, rather than the generic name of the drug; however, Bayer’s rights to the trademark were lost or sold in many countries. Aspirin’s popularity grew over the first half of the twentieth century leading to fierce competition with the proliferation of aspirin brands and products.  Aspirin’s popularity declined after the development of acetaminophen/paracetamol in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1962. In the 1960s and 1970s, John Vane and others discovered the basic mechanism of aspirin’s effects,  while clinical trials and other studies from the 1960s to the 1980s established aspirin’s efficacy as an anti-clotting agent that reduces the risk of clotting diseases.   Aspirin sales revived considerably in the last decades of the twentieth century, and remain strong in the twenty-first with widespread use as a preventive treatment for heart attacks and strokes.

 

SR-71 sets speed records on her last flight

6 March 1990: On its final flight, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond E. (“Ed”) Yeilding and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph T. (“J.T.”) Vida established four National Aeronautic Association and three Fédération Aéronautique Internationale speed records with a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, U.S. Air Force serial number 61-7972.  Departing Air Force Plant 42 (PMD) at Palmdale, California, Yeilding and Vida headed offshore to refuel from a Boeing KC-135Q Stratotanker so that the Blackbird’s fuel tanks would be full before beginning their speed run. 972 entered the “west gate,” a radar reference point over Oxnard on the southern California coast, then headed east to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) at Washington, D.C.  (I was at NAWCWPNS Pt Mugu when we tracked this historic flight).  The transcontinental flight, a distance of 2,404.05 statute miles (3,868.94 kilometers), took 1 hour, 7 minutes, 53.69 seconds, for an average of 2,124.51 miles per hour (3,419.07 kilometers per hour).  The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” was a long-rangeMach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the USAF.  It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for many of the design’s innovative concepts. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile.  The SR-71 was designed with a reduced radar cross-section.  The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents and none lost to enemy action.  The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including Blackbird and HabuIt has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft since 1976; this record was previously held by the related Lockheed YF-12, mentioned in FOD a few days ago.

This was 61-7972’s final flight. The total time on its airframe was 2,801.1 hours.  61-7972 is on display at the Steven V. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum.  Visit it on your next DC trip.

 

And on March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his first practical telephone.    Bell’s father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work.  His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in the development of the telephone.  Many other inventions marked Bell’s later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunicationshydrofoils, and aeronautics. Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day February 26 through 28, 2017

Spring Baseball is here!

My faith in mankind is once again renewed!  Spring baseball has started.  “You can observe a lot by watching.” And, “You can see a lot just by observing.”  Of course those are both quotes from Yogi Berra.  Anyway, catch a game over the next couple days before many of the players depart for the World Baseball Classic (WBC).  The WBC is an international baseball tournament sanctioned from 2006 to 2013 by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and after 2013 by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). It was proposed to the IBAF by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. It is the main baseball tournament sanctioned by the WBSC, which grants to the winner the title of “World Champion”.  After a 3-year gap between the first two installments of the tournament, plans were made for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event. The third installment of the Classic was held in 2013, and the next is scheduled to commence in the next few days in South Korea.

 

Bye, Bye, Bilden

I find it interesting that Philip Bilden, President Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of the Navy has withdrawn his name from consideration.  “After an extensive review process,” Bilden said, “I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests.”  He’s a Hong Kong-based venture capitalist with Harbour Vest Partners and very rich money dude.  His only military experience is 10 years as an Army Reservist.  He attended the US Army Intelligence Center and School at Fort Huachuca, AZ.  He never deployed and his time on active duty is … unclear.  During, his time in the Reserves, he attended Harvard Business School however. No word on whether he used Veterans benefits to pay for his education.  Thanks for playing, Mr. Bilden!  We wouldn’t want your personal investment interests to become secondary to any possible service to your nation.

 

China To Spy On Camp Lemonnier

And yet another place to keep an eye on these days is Djibouti.  China is constructing its first overseas military base there — just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important foreign installations.  Camp Lemonnier is a United States Naval Expeditionary Base, situated at Djibouti‘s Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport and home to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) of the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM).  It is the only permanent US military base in Africa.  The camp is operated by U.S. Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia; CJTF-HOA is the most notable tenant command located at the facility as of 2008. It was established as the primary base in the region for the support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA). After negotiations between March and May 2001, the Djiboutian government allowed for the base’s use by the U.S., providing for demininghumanitarian, and counter-terrorism efforts, and it now serves as the location from which U.S. and Coalition forces are operating in the Horn of Africa. The access agreement made by officials from the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti with the Djiboutian government allows for use of the camp, as well as a nearby airport and port facilities.   The base is a deployed station for around 4000 personnel.  Some are involved in highly secretive missions, including targeted drone killings in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and the raid last month in Yemen that left a member of the Navy SEALs dead. The base, which is run by the Navy and abuts Djibouti’s international airport, is the only permanent American military installation in Africa.  With increasing tensions over China’s island-building efforts in the South China Sea, American strategists and readers of FOD worry that a naval port so close to Camp Lemonnier could provide a front-row seat to the staging ground for American counterterror operations in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

 

AN-22 First Flight

27 February 1965: The first flight of the Antonov Design Bureau AN-22 Antheus took place at Sviatoshyn Airfield, Kiev, Ukraine.  It is a heavy military transport aircraft designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. Powered by four turboprop engines each driving a pair of contra-rotating propellers, the design was the first Soviet wide-body aircraft and remains the world’s largest turboprop-powered aircraft to date. The An-22 first appeared publicly outside the Soviet Union at the 1965 Paris Air Show. Since then, the model has seen extensive use in major military and humanitarian airlifts for the Soviet Union. The An-22 was the world’s largest airplane at the time, and it remains the world’s largest turboprop airplane.

 

Two New National Parks Established

On this day in history, two national parks were established in the United States10 years apart–the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Teton National Park in 1929.  Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park is the product of millions of years of excavation by the mighty Colorado River. The chasm is exceptionally deep, dropping more than a mile into the earth, and is 15 miles across at its widest point.  The canyon is home to more than 1,500 plant species and over 500 animal species, many of them endangered or unique to the area, and it’s steep, multi-colored walls tell the story of 2 billion years of Earth’s history.  In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the site and said: “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled through-out the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”  I completed a raft trip through the Grand Canyon a few years ago.  I recommend it highly.  The Grand Teton National Park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. It is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding National Forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems in the world.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) passed well north of the Grand Teton region. During their return trip from the Pacific Ocean, expedition member John Colter was given an early discharge so he could join two fur trappers who were heading west in search of beaver pelts. Colter was later hired by Manuel Lisa to lead fur trappers and to explore the region around the Yellowstone River. During the winter of 1807/08 Colter passed through Jackson Hole and was the first Caucasian to see the Teton Range.  John Colter is widely considered the first mountain man and, like those that came to the Jackson Hole region over the next 30 years, he was there primarily for the profitable fur trapping; the region was rich with the highly sought after pelts of beaver and other fur bearing animals. Between 1810 and 1812, the Astorians traveled through Jackson Hole and crossed Teton Pass as they headed east in 1812.   After 1810, American and British fur trading companies were in competition for control of the North American fur trade, and American sovereignty over the region was not secured until the signing of the Oregon Treaty in 1846. One party employed by the British North West Company and led by explorer Donald Mackenzie entered Jackson Hole from the west in 1818 or 1819. The Tetons, as well as the valley west of the Teton Range known today as Pierre’s Hole, may have been named by French speaking Iroquois or French Canadian trappers that were part of Mackenzie’s party.  Earlier parties had referred to the most prominent peaks of the Teton Range as the Pilot Knobs. The French trappers’ les trois tétons (the three breasts) was later shortened to the Tetons.  Leave it to the French to notice that.  The Colter Stone pictured here has a story as well. Sometime between 1931 and 1933, an Idaho farmer named William Beard and his son discovered a rock carved into the shape of a man’s head while clearing a field in Tetonia, Idaho, which is immediately west of the Teton Range. The rhyolite lava rock is 13 inches (330 mm) long, 8 inches (200 mm) wide and 4 inches (100 mm) thick and has the words “John Colter” carved on the right side of the face and the number “1808” on the left side and has been dubbed the “Colter Stone.”  Its authenticity has not been verified.

 

It’s Mardi Gras Time!

And this year, February 28th  is Mardi Gras.  There are many events and celebrations around the world associated with the beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash WednesdayMardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.  In the US, the biggest and most famous in the one in New OrleansLouisiana, where they consider Mardi Gras to stretch the entire period from Twelfth Night (the last night of Christmas which begins Epiphany) to Ash Wednesday.

 

Meet Hannah Reitsch

Hannah Reitsch, was Germany’s most famous female aviator and test pilot during WW II.  She was the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Pilot/Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. She set more than 40 altitude and endurance women’s records in gliding before and after World War II. In the 1960s she founded a gliding school in Ghana, where she worked for Kwame Nkrumah.  On 28 February 1944 she presented the idea of Operation Suicide to Hitler at Berchtesgaden, which “would require men who were ready to sacrifice themselves in the conviction that only by this means could their country be saved.” Hitler “did not consider the war situation sufficiently serious to warrant them…and…this was not the right psychological moment.” He gave his approval; the project was assigned to Gen. Günther Korten.   There were about seventy volunteers who enrolled in the Suicide Group as pilots for the human glider-bomb.  I note she wasn’t one who added her name to the list.  Reitsch was interviewed and photographed several times in the 1970s, towards the end of her life, by Jewish-American photo-journalist Ron Laytner. In her closing remarks she is quoted as saying: “And what have we now in Germany? A land of bankers and car-makers. Even our great army has gone soft. Soldiers wear beards and question orders. I am not ashamed to say I believed in National Socialism. I still wear the Iron Cross with diamonds Hitler gave me. But today in all Germany you can’t find a single person who voted Adolf Hitler into power … Many Germans feel guilty about the war. But they don’t explain the real guilt we share – that we lost.”

 

$1.2B Payday for Getty Museum

And on February 28, 1982, the J. Paul Getty Museum became the most richly endowed museum on earth when it received a $1.2 billion.  The bequest followed years of legal wrangling over his fortune by his children, ex-wives and of course lawyers who kept his will in probate for the six years following his death.  During that period of time the original $700 million bequest nearly doubled.  The Getty Center, in Los AngelesCalifornia, is a campus of the Getty Museum and other programs of the Getty Trust. The $1.3 billion Center opened to the public on December 16, 1997 and is well known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles.  Located in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Center is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum and draws 1.3 million visitors annually. (The other location is the Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los AngelesCalifornia.) The Center branch of the Museum features pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American, Asian, and European photographs.  In addition, the Museum’s collection at the Center includes outdoor sculpture displayed on terraces and in gardens and the large Central Garden designed by Robert Irwin. Among the artworks on display is the Vincent Van Gogh painting Irises.  Designed by architect Richard Meier, the campus also houses the Getty Research Institute (GRI), the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Center’s design included special provisions to address concerns regarding earthquakes and fires.  Both facilities are well worth your time to visit.

 

Why it’s … an …  A-11.  Ya, That’s what it is…

And since this year is not a leap year, we might remember that on 29 February 1964,  President Lyndon B. Johnson  publicly revealed the existence of the Top Secret Lockheed   YF-12 prototype interceptor, a Mach 3+ interceptor designed and built by Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson’s “Skunk Works.” President Johnson referred to the interceptor as the “A-11.”  The reason for President Johnson’s announcement of the existence of the YF-12A prototypes was to conceal the existence of the Central Intelligence Agency’s fleet of Lockheed A-12 Oxcart reconnaissance aircraft based at Groom Lake, Nevada. Any sightings of CIA/Air Force A-12s based at Area 51 in Nevada could be attributed to the well-publicized Air Force YF-12As based at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  The YF-12 was a twin-seat version of the secret single-seat Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft, which led to the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird twin-seat reconnaissance variant. The YF-12 set and held speed and altitude world records of over 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h) and over 80,000 ft (later surpassed by the SR-71), and is the world’s largest manned interceptor to date.  On your next visit to the National Museum of the USAF, you can view one.

 

 

 

Beech Baron First Flight

And on February 29, 1960, Beech Aircraft Corporation test pilot S.Little made the first flight of the Beechcraft 95-55 Baron, serial number TC-1.  One of the most popular light twin airplanes, the original production variant was flown by a single pilot and could carry 3 to 4 passengers. This was the time of a great many developments in light civil aircraft.  The direct predecessor of the Baron was the Beechcraft 95 Travel Air, which incorporated the fuselage of the Bonanza and the tail control surfaces of the T-34 Mentor military trainer. To create the new airplane, the Travel Air’s tail was replaced with that of the Beechcraft Debonair, the engine nacelles were streamlined, six-cylinder engines were added, and the aircraft’s name was changed. In 1960, the Piper Aztec was introduced, utilizing two, 250 hp Lycoming O-540 engines; Cessna too had improved their 310 with two Continental IO-470 D, producing 260 hp.  Meanwhile, Beechcraft’s Bonanza had been improved with a Continental IO-470-N, but the answer to competition was to make a true Twin Bonanza. The first model, the 55, was powered by two, six-cylinder IO-470-L engines, producing 260 hp at 2,625rpm; it was introduced in 1961. It included the fully swept vertical stabilizer of the Debonair, while still retaining the four to four+five place seating of the Travel Air.  The T-42A Cochise is a military version of the Baron 95-B55 for use by the United States Army as an instrument training aircraft. The Army Aviation School took delivery of 65 aircraft.