The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948–12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.
The Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift (26 June 1948–30 September 1949) to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city's population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food. The Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict.`
By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. On 12 May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the competing ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe.
Leland Stolberg volunteered for military duty immediately after graduating high school, right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was trained as a Radio Operator, and flew in that position on the C-46 aircraft on missions flying over the "Hump", resupply missions flown from Assam, India to China in support of American and Chinese forces. The mission was extremely hazardous because of enroute weather challenges and poor single-engine performance. Altogether almost 1700 American crewmembers were lost in this operation.
Leland once had a very close call when his plane lost an engine. He went to the cargo area and dropped all of the 55-gallon fuel drums of cargo to lighten the plane enough for it to maintain altitude.
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) based in China. Creating an airlift presented the AAF a considerable challenge in 1942: it had no units trained or equipped for moving cargo, and no airfields existed in the China Burma India Theater (CBI) for basing the large number of transports that would be needed. Flying over the Himalayas was extremely dangerous and made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, and a dearth of information about the weather.
The task was initially given to the AAF's Tenth Air Force, and then to its Air Transport Command(ATC). Because the AAF had no previous airlift experience as a basis for planning, it assigned commanders who had been key figures in founding the ATC in 1941–1942 to build and direct the operation, which included former civilians with extensive executive experience operating civil air carriers.
Originally referred to as the "India–China Ferry", the successive organizations responsible for carrying out the airlift were the Assam–Burma–China Command. (April–July 1942) and the India-China Ferry Command (July–December 1942) of the Tenth Air Force; and the Air Transport Command's India-China Wing (December 1942 – June 1944) and India-China Division (July 1944 – November 1945).
The operation began in April 1942, after the Japanese blocked the Burma Road, and continued daily to August 1945, when the effort began to scale down. It procured most of its officers, men, and equipment from the AAF, augmented by British, British-Indian Army, Commonwealth forces, Burmese labor gangs and an air transport section of the Chinese National Aviation Corporation(CNAC). Final operations were flown in November 1945 to return personnel from China.
The India–China airlift delivered approximately 650,000 tons of materiel to China at great cost in men and aircraft during its 42-month history. For its efforts and sacrifices, the India–China Wing of the ATC was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on 29 January 1944 at the personal direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first such award made to a non-combat organization.
From the Washington Post, 20 June 2018:
The FBI in Maryland is warning travelers taking to the skies this summer to be cautious as airlines nationwide have seen a recent spike in the number of sexual assaults reported on commercial flights.
The assaults, which typically occur on long overnight flights, are “increasing every year . . . at an alarming rate,” said David Rodski, an FBI special agent assigned to investigate crimes out of Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.
“This is statistically still very rare; however, it is very good advice for people traveling to have situational awareness,” said Rodski, one of several law enforcement officials who gathered at the airport Wednesday to warn travelers about the disturbing trend.
In 2014, airline passengers reported 38 instances of sexual assault on flights, compared with 63 reports in 2017, according to the FBI.
Rodski said the reports are coming from airports across the country and urged passengers to flag assaults immediately so law enforcement officials can effectively investigate and prosecute the cases.
“What we’re finding is a lot of people do not report the act” or report long after the incident occurs, Rodski said. “Hit that call button . . . notify the flight crew immediately.”
Brian Nadeau, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Division, said sexual assault on an airplane falls within the FBI’s jurisdiction and is a federal crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Nadeau said assaults range from strangers grazing other passengers to explicit acts. The assaults typically involve alcohol, a passenger who is asleep, or someone who is sitting in a middle or window seat when the cabin lights are darkened. Nadeau warned passengers on red-eye flights to be particularly careful if they’ve taken medication or sleep aids.
“We find offenders will often test their victims, sometimes brushing up against them to see how they will react or if they will wake up,” Nadeau said. “Do not give these offenders the benefit of the doubt.”
Renee Murrell, an FBI victim specialist in Baltimore, said many sexual assaults on airplanes go unreported because victims are ashamed or blame themselves.
“They are very scared and they don’t know what to expect,” Murrell said. In some cases of passengers assaulted while they’re asleep, “you wake up and you really don’t know what happened.”
Paul Hudson, president of the airline consumer organization Flyers Rights, said victims may not be reporting assaults on airplanes because the process can be onerous and flight attendants do not always have clear guidelines for how to handle complaints.
Hudson and others have called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would create standards for enforcement and reporting.
“If you’re a victim of a crime on the ground, what do you do?” said Hudson, who is an attorney and represented rape victims in New York. “You call 911 and report it to a police officer. But if you’re in an airplane, you can’t do that. You have to report through a flight attendant, and they have to report it to the captain, and the captain has to report it to a ground supervisor for the airline. . . . In many cases, too much time has passed.”
The union representing flight attendants recently conducted a survey asking about reports of passenger-on-passenger sexual assaults.
About 20 percent of 2,000 flight attendants who responded said they had received a report of a passenger-on-passenger assault while working, but law enforcement got involved only half the time. They complained that airlines often do not offer written guidance or training on how to handle such reports, the union said, with flight attendants relying on their own “resourcefulness” to intervene.
Pam Mannon was transfixed by aviation ever since she was a child. When she told her parents she wanted to be a pilot, they were not too happy. In fact, since they were both college professors, they wanted Pam to avail herself of the free tuition at their school rather than attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). Pam created a win-win solution by attending their school until attaining all the credits that could be transferred to ERAU, then completed her education at ERAU. She later earned a dual Master's Degree from ERAU in Aerospace Operations and Human Factors.
Once she graduated with all the ratings, she worked at numerous aviation jobs, from managing an FBO front desk to flying as copilot in various jets. She eventually became a flight Instructor at FlightSafety International, and subsequently became a pilot and instructor for Continental Express.
For the past 15 years Pam has been a pilot for Honeywell Aerospace, and as the Lead Program Pilot she travels internationally to conduct training, and also flies operational missions.
Dynamic Hydroplaning: Water on the runways reduces the friction between the tires and the ground and can reduce braking effectiveness. The ability to brake can be completely lost when the tires are hydroplaning because a layer of water separates the tires from the runway surface. This is also true of braking effectiveness when runways are covered in ice. When the runway is wet, the pilot may be confronted with dynamic hydroplaning. Dynamic hydroplaning is a condition in which the aircraft tires ride on a thin sheet of water rather than on the runway’s surface. Because hydroplaning wheels are not touching the runway, braking and directional control are almost nil. To help minimize dynamic hydroplaning, some runways are grooved to help drain off water; most runways are not.
Tire pressure is a factor in dynamic hydroplaning. Using the simple formula of 8.6 times the square root of the tire pressure in p.s.i., a pilot can calculate the minimum speed, in knots, at which hydroplaning begins. In plain language, the minimum hydroplaning speed is determined by multiplying the square root of the main gear tire pressure in psi by nine. For example, if the main gear tire pressure is at 36 psi, the aircraft would begin hydroplaning at 54 knots. Landing at higher than recommended touchdown speeds exposes the aircraft to a greater potential for hydroplaning. And once hydroplaning starts, it can continue well below the minimum initial hydroplaning speed. On wet runways, directional control can be maximized by landing into the wind. Abrupt control inputs should be avoided. When the runway is wet, anticipate braking problems well before landing and be prepared for hydroplaning. Opt for a suitable runway most aligned with the wind. Mechanical braking may be ineffective, so aerodynamic braking should be used to its fullest advantage.
Viscous Hydroplaning: Slippery surfaces can cause tires to slip. One of the most common factors is rubber build-up on the runway, generally in the touchdown zone.
From Wikipedia: Viscous aquaplaning is due to the viscous properties of water. A thin film of fluid no more than 0.025 mm in depth is all that is needed. The tire cannot penetrate the fluid and the tire rolls on top of the film. This can occur at a much lower speed than dynamic aquaplane, but requires a smooth or smooth-acting surface such as asphalt or a touchdown area coated with the accumulated rubber of past landings. Such a surface can have the same friction coefficient as wet ice.
Reverted Rubber Hydroplaning:
Reverted rubber (steam) aquaplaning occurs during heavy braking that results in a prolonged locked-wheel skid. Only a thin film of water on the runway is required to facilitate this type of aquaplaning. The tire skidding generates enough heat to change the water film into a cushion of steam which keeps the tire off the runway. A side effect of the heat is it causes the rubber in contact with the runway to revert to its original uncured state. Indications of an aircraft having experienced reverted rubber aquaplaning, are distinctive 'steam-cleaned' marks on the runway surface and a patch of reverted rubber on the tire.
Reverted rubber aquaplaning frequently follows an encounter with dynamic aquaplaning, during which time the pilot may have the brakes locked in an attempt to slow the aircraft. Eventually the aircraft slows enough to where the tires make contact with the runway surface and the aircraft begins to skid. The remedy for this type of aquaplane is for the pilot to release the brakes and allow the wheels to spin up and apply moderate braking. Reverted rubber aquaplaning is insidious in that the pilot may not know when it begins, and it can persist to very slow groundspeeds (20 knots or less).
Scott Weaver hails from a long line of pilots, starting with his grandfather, Leo Purington, who had a 4-digit pilot certificate number. Scott was immersed in aviation from a young age, but had initially aspired to a career as a professional baseball player.
Finally, the flying bug bit him, and he entered the Air Force and attended Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). Following UPT, he stayed in Air Training Command as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP), instructing student pilots. Then it was time for him to get his fighter assignment, and he selected the F-16. Scott continued to fly the F-16 for the rest of his career, including his time in the DC Air Guard. He retired from the Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After leaving active duty, Scott hired on with a major airline, and currently flies B777's on international routes.
Scott also wrote a book that chronicles the history of Thunderbird Field and his family's role in that history.
As part of his research, he met Jerry Yellin, the pilot who flew the last combat mission of World War II, who trained at Thunderbird Field.
From Flying Magazine: "In all, an estimated 13,000 Allied aircraft participated in the D-Day operations. It remains the single largest aerial operation in history. As it was an unprecedented action, it was a learning process, and there were fundamental misunderstandings about how aircraft would operate and interact. The operation was so critical and so complex that commanders made clear early on that they were willing to accept great losses in order to establish a beachhead."
From History on the Net: "However, success was not achieved without cost. During June 1944 the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces lost 904 aircraft: 284 in aerial combat, 400 to flak, and 220 operationally. The total included 320 Eighth Air Force B-17s and B-24s plus 44 B-26s and A-20s of the Ninth Air Force. Combined Eighth and Ninth fighter losses amounted to 540 Thunderbolts, Lightnings, and Mustangs."
From Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: "The planners feared friendly fire - anti-aircraft fire from Allied naval vessels and Allied troops - against their own air flotilla, and pilots mistakenly engaging in dogfights against their own comrades in arms. The existing system for identifying friendly aircraft, Identification Friend or Foe, would in all probability be overwhelmed by the sheer number of aircraft over the beaches. To avoid fratricidal incidents, the D-Day planners called for paint and brushes, and ordered that the aircraft of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force and supporting units be painted with alternating black and white stripes on wings and fuselage - 18 inches wide on single-engine aircraft, and 24 inches wide for twin-engined craft. They were called invasion stripes." D-Day stripes article https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/stripes-d-day
From Wikipedia: "CG-4As went into operation in July 1943 during the Allied invasion of Sicily. They were flown 450 miles across the Mediterranean from North Africa for the night-time assaults such as Operation Ladbroke. Inexperience and poor conditions contributed to the heavy losses. They participated in the American airborne landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and in other important airborne operations in Europe and in the China Burma India Theater. Although not the intention of the Army Air Forces, gliders were generally considered expendable by high-ranking European theater officers and combat personnel and were abandoned or destroyed after landing. While equipment and methods for extracting flyable gliders were developed and delivered to Europe, half of that equipment was rendered unavailable by certain higher-ranked officers. Despite this lack of support for the recovery system, several gliders were recovered from Normandy and even more from Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and Wesel, Germany."
Kathleen (Kay) Hilbrandt started taking flying lessons in 1942, and in 1943 was accepted into the Womens Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) program. She attend Army Air Corps flight training (the same course as male pilots) in 1944, flying PT-17s, BT-13s and AT-6s. Then she served as a safety pilot in Eagle Pass, Texas, for aviation cadets performing instrument flights "under the hood".
After the war, when the WASP was disbanded, she joined the Ninety Nines and returned to New Jersey to work for Bendix Aviation Corporation. Following that, she was a flight instructor, training veterans who were using their GI Bill to obtain flight training.
In 1960 she flew in the All Women Transcontinental Air Race ("Powder Puff Derby") in a Cessna 172.
In 2010 the WASP were awarred the Congressional gold Medal for their service during WWII.
In 2013 Kay received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. She continues to fly for pleasure.