Dr.1

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This is a series of posts where I talk about my aircraft collection in about 250 words. Here I mostly explore the history of my aircraft and sometimes pose a personal opinion. Feel free to learn and comment if you agree/disagree.

THE FOKKER TRI PLANE

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The First World War gave birth to a new kind of machine – The Fighter Aircraft. The Aeroplane being only a decade old during the war, became an indispensable weapon for both sides.

Control over the skies of Europe was key for victory, for which both sides designed and manufactured legendary aircraft. One such aircraft manufactured by Fokker for the Germans was the Dr.1 (Dreidecker).

Known as the Fokker Tri Plane she had the distinctive three wings. These wings did not require bracing wires for support and hence made it difficult to be shot down. They generated incredible amount of lift which enhanced its climb rate. Also with its inherent instability, the aircraft was extremely manoeuvrable, if flown under old hands.

It also gained celebrity status when the world’s greatest fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron) endorsed and praised the Dr.1 for her fine flying ability. He gained his last 19 kills (total 80) in the Dr.1 before he was shot down. With all these factors the Tri Plane seemed to be the perfect fighter.

However, the wings became her own undoing. Thick, heavy and large they induced severe drag which reduced the top speed. It also faced a severe problem with visibility as the pilot was obstructed from view, again thanks to its wings. All this meant that her rival the Sopwith Camel could run circles around her.

Yet the Fokker Dr.1 will go down in history as one of the most iconic machines of World War 1.

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Battle of Sargodha

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An offshoot to 250 Knots.

It’s been 53 years since the 1965 Indo-Pak war and every now and then I hear new unsung stories of our armed forces and their feats of bravery during the war. Hence on the anniversary of the war I would like to shed light on the Battle of Sargodha.

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After the raid of the Pathankot AFB by the PAF on 6th September retaliatory action was imminent from the Indian Side. And this action took shape in the form of the bombing of PAF Base Sargodha (now PAF Base Mushaf) in Panjab province some 100 miles from the border.

The responsibility of the bombing was given to No.1 Tiger squadron based out of Adampur, Punjab armed with the Dassault Mystere IVA a ground attack fighter. Just before dawn on 7th September a 12 aircraft formation (3 groups of 4 aircraft) led by the CO Wing Commander Om Prakash Taneja took off from the AFB in complete darkness and radio silence. To avoid being detected by radar, altitudes of just 300ft AGL were maintained and navigation done only by compass and stopwatches.

After the 45 min raid it was learnt that only 2 of the 3 groups successfully bombed the runway and one of the pilots a Senior Flight Instructor, Squadron Leader AB Devayya was missing.

The 3rd group led by Squadron Leader Sudarshan Handa in order to redeem themselves were sent out on a second raid at 0945 hrs in broad daylight, a dangerous mission indeed. However all 4 aircraft returned home safe after bombing all pre-planned targets and as an added bonus a parked F-86 Sabre, despite continuous rounds of anti-aircraft fire.

Later it was learnt that Sqn Ldr AB Devayya hailing from Kodagu district Karnataka, downed an enemy F-104 Starfighter and was himself downed due to the damage he sustained. Twenty three years later he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra.

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B747

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This is a series of posts where I talk about my aircraft collection in 250 words more or less. Here I mostly explore the history of my aircraft and sometimes pose a personal opinion. Feel free to learn and comment if you agree/disagree.

THE QUEEN OF THE SKIES

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The decade of 1960 brought in new challenges to the US civil aviation market. Coupled with the glamour of flying it was seeing drastic increase in passengers where most of them were flown on small aircraft. Well as the saying goes “necessity is the mother of all innovation” Boeing along with the initiative of Pan Am stepped up and gave birth to the B747.

Work began in 1965 and was being developed to be twice the size of the then biggest Boeing aircraft B707 with never-before-used turbofan engines. With challenges five times greater than usual, the aircraft was designed in a mere 28 weeks and was inducted in 1970 thanks to the team that was nicknamed as The Incredibles who were led by Joe Sutter.

Initially Boeing envisaged the 747 as a freighter aircraft with front loading doors to be incorporated in the nose cone. Hence they moved the cockpit to a partially stretched upper deck thus giving it the characteristic hump.

The obvious competitor to the 747 is the Airbus A380. With larger wings, fully stretched upper deck and with a record 525 passenger capacity she is the true Jumbo Jet, however with an induction year of 2007 she was obsolete from day one. With the glamour of flying dying down and with the introduction of more efficient larger twin engine aircraft four engine planes will soon be history.

Hence the 747 with her rich heritage and history will always be the Queen of the Skies.

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F-16

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This is a series of posts where I talk about my aircraft collection in 250 words more or less. Here I mostly explore the history of my aircraft and sometimes pose a personal opinion. Feel free to learn and comment if you agree/disagree.

THE LOW COST EAGLE

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Named after the fastest creature on the planet, the F-16 Falcon is the most widely used single engine fighter aircraft today.

Today it seems impossible to perceive the modern fighter era without the F-16, its birth however resulted from the search for a small and agile aircraft during times when the concept of “Bigger the Better” was hard set in everyone’s mind.

Aptly named as The Falcon, the smaller F-16 is the younger brother to the larger F-15 Eagle. To truly understand its origins one must venture back to the Cold war era. An era where aviation innovation knew no bounds and when scientists and engineers were given powers rivalling the Gods. This is evident in the number of legendary aircraft that were inducted one after another.

It was like an intense ping pong match, the US begins with a precision serve with the SR-71 Blackbird only to be hit back with a crude and powerful smash by the Soviets in the form of the MiG-25 Foxbat. It was in this intense desire to win the match that the F-15 Eagle and the F-14 Tomcat were decided to be developed. These high cost twin engine fighters thus helped give birth to the F-16.

I personally believe that the Falcon was more revolutionary than either of those twin engine monsters. The way it has influenced the air forces of smaller nations is unbelievable. One could possibly argue that the Tejas is where it is today thanks to continuous bench-marking with the Pakistani F-16s, but that’s for another day.

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