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May 06, 2021


Can you (or HH) explain the colour scheme?

Stu--I can explain the orange color, but not the specific placement of it. Note the additional photo of an earlier model B-52 in which HH spent much time, on the ground and in the air, during the early sixties, and the paint chips of "International Orange" from Wikipedia (link is in the posting.)

Back in the day, we referred to the non-specific oranges that were used on equipment as "International Distress Orange". I have a terrible memory for colors; but, to the best of my recollection the photo of 669 is truer in colors than is the photo of 004; although, from the paint chips one might conclude that each photo may be (mostly) true to the color on the specific airplane. Obviously, the International Orange color is for visibility. In early days of its use, it allowed better visual tracking from the ground. In addition, for visual tracking and/or photographic tracking, the paint distribution allowed better assessment of the aircraft's orientation. Finally, if the plane should go down, the color made the wreckage/pieces easier to spot.

I would point out that the "International Orange" paint used on the light poles that appear to be growing out of 669 near the wing root differs from that used on 669, itself.

I didn't realize the flights were that long. Actually, I guess I never thought about it but am surprised they were that long. I mean, sure, if they were delivering the aircraft somewhere, I could see it. But, I guess they needed to take a lot of time to make sure no latent gremlins appeared once things really got warmed up.

Bogie--One should probably assume that I exaggerate, slightly; although, the guys were always tired and grimy by the end of a flight - more than ready to get through the post-flight conference so they could shower and change into street clothes. (In 1960 I was assigned to attend pre- and post-flight conferences for the Vibration & Instrumentation Group. I did attend the pre-flights, but I bowed out of the post-flight conferences upon learning they were held in the locker room.)

Part of the flight time was getting to/returning from geological features against which USAF/Boeing wished to test your dad's navigation equipment. I recall that they flew against Ratón Peak (Colorado-New Mexico border area) quite often - not that far away. Too, I don't recall HH's ever mentioned their needing to aerial refuel, so that puts a limit to the number of hours they stayed airborne.

The longest flight that I recall was when they re-traced the path of an operational B-52 that had crashed, to see what they observed on their instruments while duplicating the flight conditions. I recall that at least part of that flight was during darkness and that the wife of one of the crew members called me to see if I had heard anything. It had grown late and she had grown nervous. Of course, I knew no more than did she.

P.S. Please recall that these were developmental/experimental flights rather than shake-down cruises.

P.P.S. Even one of the operational test flights that I made in an experimental R172 lasted for over five hours. As luck would have it, I had signed up for what turned out to be the last flight in the test series. I told the experimental flight test pilot not to expect to see me back until I ran out of fuel - and took Dennis Coulter with me. We were trying to put a lot of cycles on the landing gear; thus, we made multiple touch-downs per approach. Toward the end of the flight, I alternated approaches with Dennis at the Newton Airport. For each approach, we had enough runway length to allow us to make three touchdowns. Dennis' job on the way back to Cessna was to keep track of likely landing spots in case the engine ran out of fuel.

You may remember Dennis & Suzie from our trip to the Grand Canyon. He and I flew together a lot as we were both working on our instrument ratings. He was an experimental flight test engineer, then.

When I first bought my 1969 PA28-140, it was white as were most small planes at that time.
However, when I flew up north of the Arctic Circle, I was told that the colour was too dangerous, should I have to put the plane down in snow. So I had to paint a couple of square meters on the wings top and bottom and fuselage in that flourescent orange you showed on the left just in case. And had to add an ELT too.

For the trip to Oshkosh, I had to add a short wave radio and carry a gun to shoot any bears should I have to make an emergency landing, besides carrying an inflatable orange raft for ditching.

Stu--That's a ways to travel, from the Arctic Circle to Oshkosh. Was the short wave radio a receiver, only, or did you also have transmitting capability?

As I recall, my original SEL check ride was in a PA28-140, in which I probably put in a total of under 10 hours. My training had all been in Cessna 150s, but we moved to Seattle just as I readied for my check ride. Our nearest airport (Bellevue Airport - now a business park) had only Pipers for rental. Flying with low wing seemed wobbly to me, of course.

Misunderstanding : there were 2 separate trips.
One up Norway to the North Cape and back via Sweden.
Both demand some orange paint north of the arctic circle.

Another long trip was Germany-England-Outer Hebrides-Iceland-Greenland-Canada-
Canada again-Oshkosh in 1984.
The shortwave radio prescribed for transatlantic flights could also transmit. It was on loan, as was the dinghy.
Canada demands you carry a (large caliber) gun against bears.
Also on loan, as my pistols were small bore.

A German PPL for SEL requires you to train on both high and low wing planes. My SES times were all high-wing, aerobatic planes mostly low/mid wing, a few hours in a C150 Aerobat too.

All--Sorry for slipping in terminology with which some may be unfamiliar. Definitions: SEL = single engine land; SES = single engine sea; CFI = certified flight instructor; CFII = CFI, instrument. As I recall, Stu has all of the defined ratings. Additional definitions: ELT = emergency locator transmitter, and from Wikipedia, "A complex airplane is defined by the United States, Federal Aviation Administration as an aircraft that has all of the following:

"A retractable landing gear (land aircraft only; a seaplane is not required to have this)
"A controllable-pitch propeller (which includes airplanes with constant-speed propellers and airplanes with FADEC which controls both the engine and propeller).
"Movable or adjustable flaps."

Stu--Thanks for the clarification. I obviously missed a lot of what you had to convey.

Interesting, the requirements for SEL training in Germany. Nearly all of my time was in high wing craft, including the C152 Aerobat, although I did most of my (small amount of) aerobatic flying in bi-wings. I do know that, later, requirements for flying at night required special training/currency and, even in my day, there were special requirements for flying "complex" aircraft - which we merely had an appropriate CFI attest to in our log books following a check flight. Come to think of it, most of my low-wing experience was in Cessna crop dusters - all three versions of the Model 188 series. I never had need for SES rating.

Don't turbochargers and/or cabin pressurisation make the plane "complex" too, in the USA?

Stu--Not to my knowledge - at least, not back when I was flying. I don't have first-hand knowledge of pressurisation (or, as we in the States spell it, pressurization) as the only pressurized model that I had a chance to check out in had a chief experimental test pilot who stopped the operational testing when my slot came up. He wasn't comfortable checking out a woman in the P210!! He was a nice guy; but, he really ticked me off on that one. The P210 was the only then-modern Cessna SEL model in which I did not check out.

Obviously, I flew turbo-charged models. As far as I recall, the FAA imposed no special requirement. I ditched my flight and parachuting log books, years ago, so I can't check out whether anything in them would confirm/deny my having met any such requirements. Cessna required a checkout in each model of which a person would be flying a Cessna-owned aircraft. (Cessna gave a "by" on the 207. A checkout in a U206 was also good for the 207.) I flew Cessna-owned aircraft for four different purposes and had to complete paper tests/checkouts for addition to each list of approved pilots: operational flight testing, delivery, exercising engines of aircraft languishing on factory property, and Air Transportation Division (to provide transportation in doing our jobs or for proficiency flights).

I believe my "complex" checkout was in a 177RG. The aero club planes that I flew at Tyndall AFB were T-41s - the Reims Cessna 172F.

Some pilots shut down turbocharged engines far too quickly, without giving the turbocharger time to spool down, thus without ANY oil circulation :-(

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