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PBY Catalinas at Pearl Harbor


When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, their main targets were battleships and aircraft carriers. However, they were worried about the big PBY Catalina flying boats, which had the range to find the Japanese fleet and track it for hundreds of miles.

The PBY’s role in the attack began at 7 am, when a patrolling Catalina found a Japanese minisubmarine just off the entrance to Pearl Harbor. Along with the destroyer Ward, the PBY dropped its depth bombs on the submarine. The PBY sent a coded message to its base at 7:15, but by the time this message was decoded and passed on to CINCPAC, the Japanese bombs had begun falling.

In fact, the Japanese attack began when a Val dive bomber dropped a 550 pound bomb on Ramp 4 at the south end of Ford Island. This bomb hit among Patrol Squadron 22’s twelve aircraft. In the blast and subsequent fire, seven VP-22 PBYs were destroyed and the remaining five were placed out of commission for several days. Other patrol squadrons did little...

Phoenixes, Dragons and Cranes…Oh, My!


At the start of the battle, the crew of an American ship killed the Deep Blue Dragon. Enraged, the Flying Dragon destroyed the ship that had killed her sister. But the crew of another American ship, plus survivors from the first, returned and slew the Flying Dragon. The Battle of Midway was over. Many people know the Japanese names of the aircraft carriers we faced in World War II, but few know the translations of these names. This is sad because, in the case of aircraft carriers, a lot is gained in translation. The Imperial Japanese Navy generally gave their flattops poetic names of flying creatures, including real birds such as cranes and the falcons and mythical birds such as phoenixes and dragons. The Romanized “ho” is a phoenix. Japan’s first carrier was the Hosho (Flying Phoenix). Another phoenix was the small Shokaku (Happy Phoenix), which was sunk at midway. Her sister ship was the Zuiho (Fortunate Phoenix). Later in the war, Japan built the carrier Taisho (Great Phoenix)....

Aircraft Carrier Ops


With every successful Navy is the integration of aircraft carriers and air superiority capabilities. The evolution of the aircraft carriers is equally as impressive with the switch from propeller to jet engines and the need for more specialized aircraft aboard. pictured below is the USS Essex CV-9 as it was configured in WWII and the Korean War.

USS Essex CV9

After the Wars end, the carrier was refitted to include an angled deck for increased flight capabilities and functionality. In addition, the front of the ship was fixed with a hurricane bow to increase stability and storm worthiness of the ship. Below is an image of the same ship pictured above after it was modernized to be an Anti-Submarine carrier.

Essex CVS9

With all the changes being made to the carriers themselves, there was also allot of change on the flight deck as well. Aviators refer to the rear of the ship as the "Business end" and the front of the ship as the "Pointy end". This terminology refers to how...

The F-4C Phantom II


Introduction

The MacDonnell F-4 Phantom II was the West’s premier Cold War fighter during the 1960s and most of the 1970s. This big Mach 2 fighter was flown by all three U.S. services, providing all-weather interception, air superiority, bomber escort, tactical bombing, deep interdiction, reconnaissance, and SAM suppression services. Vietnam was its first war; its final combat deployment came enforcing the Iraq no-fly zone in 1996. During its long production life, 5,195 were built—the most of any U.S. supersonic fighter. The F-4 was used by many other Western countries in combat, especially by the Israelis. The Phantom II was enormously fast, able to exceed Mach 2 in level flight. It also had a spectacular rate of climb. In its first two years, it set many speed, altitude, and climb records. One record was a flight from Los Angeles to New York in only two hours and forty-nine minutes. In Vietnam, the F-4 was used most heavily as a tactical bomber. It could carry an amazing...

Amelia Earhart’s crash on Ford Island, March 20, 1937


THE MOVIE CRASH

The movie Amelia graphically depicts Amelia Earhart’s crash on Ford Island in March, 1937. Ford Island is located in the heart of Pearl Harbor and is home to Pacific Aviation Museum. The crash ended her first attempt to fly around the world. The scene perfectly captured the suddenness, confusion, and terror of the crash. But what really happened?

Earhart's Crashed Plane on Runway of Luke Feild

 

THE REAL FORD ISLAND CRASH

Simply but sadly put, Amelia Earhart ground-looped her Lockheed Electra on take-off. To begin her departure, she had taxied her aircraft to the Northeast end of the island (the nearest end to the current bridge). After lining up with the runway, she revved the engines on the powerful Electra. The aircraft started veering to the right. Earhart adjusted he throttles to correct the drift, but she overcorrected. It had rained heavily the night before, and the field was slick. The plane spun left into a full ground loop. All of the...

New Arrival F-102A Delta Dagger


During the dangerous period between the late 1950s and 1960s, the F-102A Delta Dagger was the heart of America’s Air Defense Command. If war had broken out, the U.S. SAGE network would have directed flights of Mach 1.25 F-102As to attacking Soviet bombers. Near the bombers, the “Deuces” would have taken over using their powerful on-board radars and computerized weapons control systems. They would have fired volleys of heat-seeking missiles, radar-guided missiles,

seeing+the+unseen+jet

unguided Mighty Mouse rockets, and even nuclear-tipped missiles. This radical interceptor was the first production aircraft with a delta wing. During its development, it pioneered aerodynamics in the transonic flight realm from Mach .8 to Mach 1.2. It was the first plane designed (actually redesigned) according to the area rule, giving it a distinctive wasp waist when viewed from above. The Deuce was America’s first supersonic interceptor. The Deuce had a long service life. First fielded in 1956, it remained in...

Biggest Little Airshow Gets Bigger!


Honolulu, HI--Visitors to Ford Island will be greeted by the F-14 Tomcat on the tarmac and the AT-6 Advanced Trainer plane in front of the red and white control tower as Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor presents the 2nd "Biggest Little Airshow on Ford Island," Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9, 10am to 4pm. The Birds of Paradise will pilot their massive remote controlled 1 to 5 scale planes for dog fights, candy "bombing," aerial stunts, and more. The Airshow is free with paid Museum admission. Due to the popularity of the initial event in March, the August show has been expanded, adding many more planes, lots of dogfights, and two big days of fun, food, prize drawings and festivities. At the event some lucky visitors will win a chance to pilot a remote control aircraft. There will be tours of the Restoration Hangar that still bears the bullet holes of the December 7, 1941 attack. Inside, they'll see helicopters, fighter planes, and a 1941 machine shop busy restoring...

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