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TOPIC: LT Thomas (TA) Cook, Fighter Pilot USAAF


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RE: LT Thomas (TA) Cook, Fighter Pilot USAAF


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JohnC~Admin

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Off topic but I thought Tom would like to see these as well as Tarkey and others, wonderful quality

  http ://picasaweb.google.com/7thfighter/IwoJima?authkey=Gv1sRgCIW06db_6oth&feat=email#slideshow/5299163150448181842


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Great site John. One of the P51s was named " Hairless Joe, same as the Liberator in Tom.s collection being escorted by the Little Friends

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Hi John,
Great picture chronical of that time and place. I had no idea that the P-51 played such a vital role in the Pacific theater. I always thought that they used mostly Hellcats and Corsiars due to their more rugged, less tempermental radial engines. The pictures also illistrate just how important Iwo Jima was to our air strategy in the Pacific.
Thanks, Tom

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Another instalment from Tom

After my father served his time in the Air Corps; he went back to Akron, married my mother and attended Akron University from circa 1945 to 1949 when he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He told the usual college stories of disassembling and reassembling one of his professor’s cars on the roof of the university. He also spoke of a professor that would stand next to the door of the class and close and lock the door once class started. One day there was a loud knocking on the class door after class had started and one of his fellow students rolled a flat tire into the classroom. The student explained that he knew how the teacher probably wouldn’t believe the flat tire story so he brought it to class to show the teacher. He was allowed to attend the class as a result and everyone got a big kick out of the stunt.

After graduation; my father interviewed with many different types of industries. He interviewed with a fellow that managed a company that designed custom boxes to ship specific items in. He said that he knew that wasn’t for him. He finally accepted an offer in 1950 to start on the ground floor with the development of an entirely new product that Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach California was beginning to develop called the DC-8. It was to be the new generation of passenger air travel by jetliner and in direct competition with Boeing in Seattle that was developing the 707. Because of his previous pilot experience; he was assigned to the group that was designing the ****pit for this new jet. His scope of work was the development of the hydro pneumatic control systems that moved all of the control surfaces and their interface with the pilots. His design group also developed of control telemetry to the engines that was connected by a new interlocking system that would separate in the event of the loss of an engine. Before this; if an engine was lost it would often take related instrumentation in the ****pit with it.

Because these new Jetliners were to travel at much greater speeds; the wing configuration became a very important issue. Different flying environments required different wing designs. As an example: slow speed travel requires a wing design that is concerned with maximum lift while high speed design is concerned about low drag. Inevitably the designers compromised with an ingenious system of slots and flaps that would extend out in slow speed flight and retract at high speed. If you have ever traveled in a modern jetliner you can see this system at work during flight on even the most modern of aircraft. Slots are the movable leading edges at the front of the wing that rotate out and downward at slow speed. Flaps are the surfaces that extend outward and downward at the rear of the wing. These surfaces in the DC-8 were operated by a series of hydro pneumatic motors turning a worm screw leverage device to move these surfaces back and forth.  This is also how the other horizontal and vertical stabilizer control surfaces were powered as well.

If you have ever sat in a modern passenger jet waiting for a service person to deliver paperwork to the pilots before they sealed the plane hatch for flight. That service person is bringing to the pilots a document called a “Manifest” stating the approximate take off weight of the aircraft based upon the weight of the luggage and a per person average use to calculate passenger weight.  Once the pilots have this weight information they use a formula to preset the slots and flaps for take off configuration so that the wing is shaped to properly lift the aircraft off the runway during take off and for the same configuration when landing.

All of these mechanical control systems had to be crammed into an already busy wing structure holding fuel tanks and the engine nacelles. The hydraulic systems provide the leverage to make a simple control input by the pilot move these huge surfaces effortlessly (like power steering and brakes in a modern car). In earlier generations of aircraft these surfaces where operated manually requiring much effort by the pilots.  Modern take off regiment requires the pilot to preset the slots and flaps then set the power to take off performance and point the plane down the runway. With the pilot’s eyes outside the ****pit; the copilot calls out the airspeed. Once the aircraft achieves take off airspeed the pilot starts what is called a “rotation” of the aircraft into a flying configuration by pulling back on the control column and pitching the nose of the aircraft upward setting the plane into what is called an “angle of attack”. After the plane is immediately airborne the gear goes up and the pilot moves the control column back and forth to maintain a constant, specific airspeed until he gets to his assigned altitude.

While my father was busy with the tasks that he was responsible for at Douglas he was witness to other aspects of development of this new jet as well. He told of a story about the shop receiving the first jet engines for test. One morning when he came to work they were throwing frozen chickens into a fully throttled engine to see what it would do in the event of a bird strike.  When my father went to lunch later that day they were throwing nuts and bolts into the intake of the same engine. My dad said that with each test of the engine the manifold pressure world drop a little and then come right back up. At the end of the day as my father was leaving for home he said that the mechanics were mounting a Thompson submachine gun in front of the motor. Upon inquiring about the engine after the gun test, when my father showed up for work the next day, the mechanics told him that they eventfully had to shut the engine off because they couldn’t make it fail. In the early 1950s jet engines didn’t have the experience record that engineers could design around so everything was over designed. As an example; the DC-8 was designed to be able to sustain any altitude with any one engine operating. The four engine configuration of the time was required by the FAA for safety. The FAA also required 1 primary and 2 backup systems for all essential flight controls. This went on to be the prototype for the US manned space flight control design called: “The MAN” system. I do not recall what the acronym stands for. If you look at the evolution of heavy passenger aircraft we have gone from 4 engines to 3 engines and now down to 2 engines to carry even great numbers of passengers than that first generation of jets did. This is because as the dependability of the new generation of turbine engines have proved to be so reliable that the international agencies that control air travel safety eased the engine number restrictions respectfully.

When I first started in the civil engineering business as a draftsman my father told me a story about the importance of making sure all information on engineering plans be accurate.  He had designed a slave cylinder that had outside dimensions of a maximum of 4” in diameter and had a ½’ diameter hole to be machined through the middle of it. My father said that he meant to indicate the ½’ diameter hole on the plans that he drafted as .5” but he forgot to put the decimal point in front of the number five. The machine shop fellows brought his part up to him in the form of metal shavings swept up from the shop floor in a brown paper bag.

more photos to follow



-- Edited by tarkey on Thursday 17th of March 2011 10:46:18 PM

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