Wing Tips

For Spotters Only

To answer hundreds of spotters simultaneously, bring Air News "Spotters' Quiz" up to date, this issue inaugurates a new series of aircraft recognition photographs and silhouettes. From time to time, readers have reminded us that specifications and drawings of the Spitfire and other planes which appeared in Air News six months or a year ago are no longer accurate. Obviously, we cannot repeat the same planes every time a change is made in their equipment or design. Instead, we have waited until all of the more important planes had been presented, will now publish late information on all of these ships and any new ones which have appeared recently. These silhouettes will be in true relative scale each month — with one inch to thirteen feet the scale for planes in the thirty to forty foot wing span class on Page 34 of this issue. Succeeding issues will use a smaller scale so that the large planes can be accommodated in the established "Spotters' Quiz" format. At the same time, we are answering L M Lyons of Elmhurst, Long Island, who has asked us to clarify the Japanese situation, so far as duplication of plane designations is concerned. We have assembled the so-called "MacArthur designations," present here — with a list complete within the limits of military security.
All bombers have feminine names as follows:

Masculine names denoting fighter planes in MacArthur dispatches are: Miscellaneous types carry the following names: Silhouettes and performance data on many of these planes have appeared in recent issues of Air News. The others will be covered in "Spotters' Quiz" as soon as material is available for publication.

Soldier Guinea Pigs

Six officers and three enlisted AAF men, all volunteers, set adrift in two small rubber rafts on the sun-scorched Gulf of Mexico, late in June, to give fliers forced down at sea a better chance for survival and more comfort while adrift. They spent six days and nights floating about the Gulf, in a human guinea pig test of life-raft equipment standard on all Air Force bombers. Rafts carried rations and life-maintaining equipment common to all such floats today, with a few extra items suggested for use. Throughout the experiment, the men duplicated as near as possible conditions undergone by shipwrecked airmen. For the first 24 hours none of the men ate or drank, but after that each one followed a different routine. One went without food or water, another drank a limited amount, a third took water and ate K rations. A definite water-consumption discipline was developed and will, no doubt, be recommended as standard procedure. While adrift, the men from the raft went aboard a crash boat standing by to get quick physical checkups. This data will determine most adequate diet for raft existence. Despite strong sun the first part of the week, heavy rains the latter part, men showed few signs of fatigue, except sunburned and bearded faces. Largest single weight loss was 13 pounds. The AAF Flight Control Command of Winston-Salem, NC, sponsored the test, medical section of the AAF School of Applied Tactics at Orlando, FL, staged it.

AAF Chief Gets Infantry Trophy

A Samurai sword captured by an Infantry Officer during action on Guadalcanal now belongs to General Henry H Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces. It was presented to him "in appreciation for superb air support" in the engagement in which the trophy was seized. Battle prize was taken by Capt Bruschwein, who not long ago received the Silver Star for his gallantry.

New Insignia for AAF Planes

US Army planes are beginning to wear a new wing insignia which will leave the Nips and Nazis in no doubt as to their identity even at great distances. It consists of the present white star on a circular field of blue with a white rectangle attached horizontally at the right and left of the circle and a red border enclosing the entire device. The War Department says the new design has been adopted to improve identification of Air Force planes, avoid confusion at a distance with planes of enemy countries. The Proving Ground Command, where visibility tests were made, established that the old AAF insignia, Japan's red dot and Germany's black cross superimposed on a wider white cross, all resolved into invisibility at the same distance from the eye, that as they came closer they all looked like a dot — all angular figures take this form at great distances. New insignia is visible at 60% greater range than our old device or German and Jap markers. In the distance it always maintains shape of a long narrow bar because circular center appears to flatten out and blend into the rectangle. All US Army Air. Force units throughout the world received instructions to apply this new insignia to their planes immediately.

Anti-Gremlin Gun

At Southwest Airways' Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ, one may hear an RAF cadet voice calling, "Quick, Henry, the flit, that Gremlin's here again!" For Joe Wischler, head of Falcon's maintenance department, tired of cadet alibis, rigged up a flit gun with a ring-bead sight, comparable to that of a machine gun, to combat the scourge. The "anti-gremlin" gun is available now for use in spraying training planes should any cadet fear the little men who have been accused of such tricks as kicking the wrong rudder, spinning the compass around so trainees become lost on cross-country flights, even moving an airport down thirty feet when cadets are shooting landings.

Ramblings on Wright

Considerable space in the press has been turned over to the honorable versus dishonorable intentions of Wright Aeronautical Corporation toward the US Army. To help clear up the matter somewhat, Acting Secretary of War, the Honorable Robert P Patterson, recently reported that in no instance, were any engines known to be faulty put in service. Patterson's statement had this to say:

"The results of the situation at the Lockland plant of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, which is discussed in the recent Truman Committee Report, have been much less sensational than some of the inferences drawn in recently published statements. Investigation showed there had been a falling off in inspection procedures. Changes in the contractor's personnel and methods were promptly made. The officer serving as resident representative was removed, as was also the officer in charge of the inspection section at Wright Field, OH. Army inspection personnel was substantially increased.
"The Army always requires that each engine produced be run for several hours prior to acceptance. This constitutes the best assurance of proper functioning and quality of the finished product. The time for engine test runs at Lockland was lengthened and other important steps of a technical nature taken. The report of the Army board confirmed the greater part of the information furnished by the Truman Committee, which throughout, gave the AAF every assistance. No instance, however, was found where any engines known to be defective were ever placed in service. It is important to bear in mind that failures in the engines delivered from the Lockland plant have not exceeded normal experience with engines in combat planes. In the war emergency Curtiss-Wright has responded to every call made by the armed forces and its performance on the whole has been creditable."

Parachute Tops

An Army doctor who had never before made a parachute drop voluntarily stepped out of a plane seven and a half miles in the air to test his own oxygen device, suffered nothing more than a temporarily frozen hand. Lt Col William Randolph Lovelace, 2d, 35-year-old chief of the Aero-Medical Laboratory at Wright Field, Dayton, OH, made the jump of 40,200 feet near Ephrata, WA, without any free fall. This is one of the highest jumps on record, perhaps the highest ever made with the parachute opening immediately upon leaving the plane. Col Lovelace undertook his leap to test in actual conditions the bail-out equipment developed to supply oxygen to a parachutist sweeping through oxygen-thin air. He found it highly efficient, equal to all demands. Equipment consists of a small cylinder containing approximately twelve minutes supply of oxygen. It is sewn in the flyer's clothing and connected in his mask by a special tube. A flyer bailing out must disconnect his mask from the plane's regular oxygen supply. Since unconsciousness occurs within fifteen seconds without oxygen at 40,000 feet, the bail-out equipment is as necessary to get out of the plane, as it is for the descent. For the test, Lovelace wore clothes developed at the Field's parachute and clothing laboratory, donned two parachutes. Chute on his back opened automatically as he jumped, by a device attached to the plane. On his chest he wore an emergency chute. As his plane sped ahead at 200 mph. the Colonel stepped off into air registering -50°. Blast of onrushing wind and sudden jerk of the opening parachute tore thick outer gloves from both his hands and snapped off the thin inner gloves on his left hand, leaving it bare. Inner glove remained on his right hand, kept it from injury.

Photo from Japan

Cruelly drawn by Japan's practiced hand comes a picture of five of the eight airmen who were forced to bail out over Japanese territory following the raid on Tokyo last year. The photograph was taken after their capture, came to this country recently through a neutral source. A while back, you remember, Japan informed a shocked world that, contrary to international law, some of these flyers had been executed. At this time, it's sheer guesswork as to whether the men pictured were the fortunate ones or the victims of Jap brutality. Although the Jap caption named none of the men, two of the officers, according to Time magazine, appear to be Lt William Farrow (top left) and Lt Robert Hite (top right).

Marauder Unit

There's a powerful new air unit in the Mediterranean theater of operations made up exclusively of B-26 Marauder bombers. It is believed to be one of the largest forces of Marauders battering Axis targets anywhere. In one 33-day, action-filled period since the fall of Tunisia, the unit made about fifty trips over enemy territory. During four days of operations against Pantelleria alone it dumped nearly 600 tons of bombs. 46 enemy fighters which challenged the Marauders were shot down. A number of grounded enemy planes were destroyed, many more damaged.

This column was originally published in the August, 1943, issue of Air News magazine, vol 5, no 2, pp 8, 40.