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Aug
23

ABC Book Club

ABC Book Club

By Scott McGuyer – Education Coordinator

Inspire a reader with the ABC Book Club! The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum holds a weekly book reading every Saturday at 10:00AM in the Space Museum. The “ABC Book Club” (Aerospace Book Club) includes books about weather, space, aviation, science and more along with a fun and educational activity for kids. Kids receive their every own passport for visiting the readings and their passport will get marked every time they attend. After attending 6 readings, kids enjoy receiving a prize and are hooked on the ABC Book Club. Check out some of the books that are read at the ABC Book Club:

WEATHER & RELATED THEMES:

Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today? by Tish Rabe

What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda DeWitt

 

AVIATION THEMES:

Christopher’s Little Airplane by Mark S. James

Sadie the Airmail Pilot by Kellie Strom

Let’s Make Noise at the Airport by Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson

 

SPACE THEMES:

Hedgie Blasts Off by Jan Brett

How to Trick or Treat in Outer Space by Kathleen Krull

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

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Killer Cat

IMG_8049

By Stewart Bailey Museum Curator

It is a well known axiom that war is endless periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.  Nowhere else is it more true than for those aircrews who fly long-range patrol aircraft.  During World War II, in the days before radar warning systems covered the globe, it was patrol planes and their crews that would fly interminably long missions looking for any threats in the air or on the sea.  Often flying over long, lonely stretches of open water with only their eyes or primitive radar to look for the enemy, the men who flew patrol missions were unsung heroes of the war.

Of all the aircraft that flew patrol missions in World War II, probably the most outstanding was the Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat.  First flown in March 1935, the PBY would become the most widely used patrol plane, and would see combat in every theater of the war, from the cold of Alaska to the jungles of the South Pacific and the sunny shores of the Mediterranean.  Nicknamed the “Cat,” or “P-boat,” or the “Canso” in Canada, it was more commonly called “Dumbo” in reference to Disney’s animated flying elephant. It was called that with great affection by those thousands of ship-wrecked sailors and downed airmen who were rescued by the big plane.

The development of the Catalina began in the 1930s when the US Navy was looking at the possibility   of a war in the Pacific, where there were wide stretches of ocean and few available airfields.  A flying boat-type aircraft solved these problems, as it could operate from sheltered harbors or aboard specially designed seaplane-tending ships.  So the Navy commissioned Consolidated and Douglas to design a new flying boat to meet its needs for a patrol plane.  Although the Douglas design was good, Consolidated’s XP3Y-1 proposal offered many revolutionary design features including a cantilevered parasol wing and retractable outrigger floats that reduced drag.  Plus, it was cheaper!  In early 1936, the Navy ordered 60 examples under the designation PBY-1, and was so impressed with the design that they ordered 50 more before the first PBY-1 had been delivered.

Consolidated had finished all of its deliveries to the Navy and it was looking like PBY production had come to an end after 213 examples had been built when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.  Suddenly, orders flooded in from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands East Indies, the US Coast Guard and even the US Navy who needed an extra 200 PBYs to patrol the Atlantic to enforce American neutrality in the European conflict.  All of these orders were for the new version of the PBY; the PBY-5, which featured more powerful engines, and the bulbous “blister” turret on the sides that gave gunners better visibility and protection from the wind.  The British gave the aircraft its name “Catalina” which the US Navy adopted in 1941.

When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the PBY Catalina was right in the thick of it and many were destroyed during the attack.  Those that were still flyable got into the air that day in a vain attempt to locate the Japanese fleet.  From that day forward, the PBY would serve in every major sea battle of the Second World War, including the campaigns for Midway, Guadalcanal, the Aleutians, and the struggle against the German submarines in the Battle of the Atlantic.  Its ability to stay airborne for hours at a time and its 2500+ mile range meant that it could serve as the eyes of the fleet, spotting enemy ships and following them, until friendly forces could be marshaled to attack.  During the epic chase of the German battleship Bismarck, a British Catalina was able to shadow the ship and helped the Royal Navy’s surface ships to intercept and sink the powerful intruder.  Then, during the Battle of Midway, US Navy PBYs similarly found the Japanese fleet sailing to invade the island, and helped the American aircraft carriers to set a trap, which destroyed the Japanese and turned the tide of the war.

But the PBY was not destined only to observe the war, for the “Cat” had claws.  Armed with bombs, depth charges and torpedoes, PBY crews took the war to the enemy, in places like the islands of the South Pacific, where black-painted PBY’s called “Black Cats” participated in highly successful night time raids against Japanese ships, using radar to target their prey.  In the Atlantic, PBY Catalinas were invaluable in the war against the German U-boats, sinking over 40 enemy submarines.  But probably its most remembered role is that of a search and rescue (SAR) aircraft, that could land in the water to pick up survivors of sunken ships or pilots shot down in combat.   No one knows how many thousands of lives were saved by PBYs, but their usefulness in the SAR role kept them in service well into the 1980s.

In the end, over 4000 PBY Catalinas were built and they would serve in 29 air forces and navies around the world.  And, after the war, the PBY would find new fame fighting a new enemy, as a flying fire fighter.  Modified to scoop up water from lakes “on the fly” and dump it precisely on target, the Catalina was in great demand as a fire fighter and most of today’s surviving Catalinas owe their survival to their usefulness in that role.  Although never receiving the glory of the fighters and the bombers of World War II, the PBYs and their crews served all over the globe waiting for those “moments of sheer terror” when they would make history.

*   *   *

On August 6, 2011, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum was pleased to add a PBY Catalina to its collection when Canadian built Canso-A  (identical to a US built PBY-5a) #249 touched down at the McMinnville Airport on the end of a two and a half hour ferry flight from Nanaimo, British Columbia.  Acquired by the Captain Michael King Smith Foundation in July 2010, it had taken a year to get the aircraft airworthy after a decade or more of neglect, sitting out in the Vancouver weather.

Originally built for the Royal Canadian Air Force at the Canadian Vickers plant in St. Hubert, Quebec, the aircraft was delivered on June 2, 1943 and would serve with the RCAF Eastern Air Command before going on to 13 Squadron at RCAF Rockliffe near Ottawa.  After retirement from military service in 1955, it was purchased by Kenting Aviation Ltd. of Toronto, who converted it to a fire bomber.  From 1963 through 1968 it fought fires in France before returning to Canada were it was sold to Norcanair Ltd. in Saskatchewan.  It would remain there for 17 years; acquiring its gaudy red, yellow and green paint job in 1981.  In 2002 it was purchased by Aero Service Ltd. in Nanaimo and modified for an eco-tourism project in Indonesia, but that deal fell through and the airplane was left to sit and deteriorate.

After its purchase by the Michael King Smith Foundation, the Catalina, now registered N249SB, was made flyable by Victoria Air Maintenance (VAM) for its final flight to its new home.  As part of the process the engines, which were in very bad condition, were replaced with engines borrowed from VAM.   Then, on Saturday August 6th, the flight crew of Lynn Hunt and Bob Dyck took the big bird back into the air for the final time and flew it to its new home.

Since its arrival, the Canso/Catalina has been receiving constant attention from the Evergreen restoration and paint crews, and is getting a new lease on life.  The borrowed engines were returned to VAM and the old engines and props re-installed; a new set of blister turrets acquired through the Pima Air & Space Museum were refurbished by the restoration team in Marana, AZ and the aircraft has received a new coat of paint.  Gone are its fire-fighting markings; the eye-popping yellow scheme replaced with the blue and grey scheme of a US Navy PBY-5a from Patrol Squadron VP-44.  It depicts the aircraft that Ens. Jack Reid and his crew flew on the morning of June 3, 1942 when they spotted the Japanese fleet approaching Midway Island, opening a battle which would seal the fate of the Japanese Empire.  When completed, the Catalina will be placed on display in the museum as lasting tribute to the men and machines of patrol aviation, which served the Allies so well in World War II.

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Air Raid: America

By Curator, Stewart Bailey

While it is well known that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutians Islands of Alaska, few people know that Japan made one more air raid on US soil, attacking of all places: Brookings, Oregon!  This raid took place on September 9th, 1942 and while few remember it today, it was a major undertaking that risked many lives on both sides.

Despite early success in the first six months of their war against the US in World War II, the Japanese were frustrated by set-backs that they suffered in the summer of 1942.  The Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in April had been a major surprise and the defeats at the Battle of Coral Sea in May and Midway in June left the Imperial Japanese Navy in chaos.  They needed to strike back at America, and needed to come up with something quick.  Their plan?  Attack America’s vast natural resources using aircraft launched from submarines.

When the submarine I-25 left Japan in August 1942 on its fourth war patrol, it headed for the west coast of the US carrying a small observation plane in a tubular hangar on its deck.  The single engine aircraft was a Yokosuka E14Y floatplane, which the Allies had codenamed “Glen.”  It was built with the I-series submarines in mind and was broken down into 12 sub-assemblies that could be put together very quickly.  Normally only used to find targets distant for the submarine to attack, on this mission the E14Y would carry bombs.

The pilot selected for the mission was Warrant Officer Nobuo Fujita, an Imperial Navy pilot with nine years of experience including combat in China, and service as a test pilot under Lt. Minoru Genda; the man that planned the Pearl Harbor attack.  Fujita, having flown a number of reconnaissance missions from submarines early in the war, made the suggestion that if the float plane could be equipped with bombs, perhaps they could add to the havoc created by a submarine’s attack on surface ships, or perhaps even attack the Panama Canal.  His suggestion made it up the chain of command until it reached the desk of an admiral who saw the brilliance of the idea, and knew just the target; the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Patrolling off the Oregon coast in the pre-dawn hours of September, 9, Commander Meiji Tagami, the captain of submarine I-25, spotted the light from the lighthouse at Cape Blanco, Oregon.  Amazed that in a time of war, the Americans would leave a light on that could aid enemy ships; he smiled at his good luck.  He quickly ordered the boat to the surface, and sent the crew out to extract the E14Y.  Working in silence, they pulled the aircraft from the hangar with ropes until its moving dolly rested on the catapult rails built into the deck.  They quickly attached the wings, tail, rudder and pontoons while Fujita tested the engine.  With everything working properly, he and his observer Shoji Okuda launched eastward into the rising sun.

Because the little airplane was burdened with two 154 pound bombs, it could only make a speed of 100 mph and Fujita feared that they would be discovered by the American defenses.  Not wanting to risk detection, he flew approximately 50 miles to a point a few miles outside of Brookings, and ordered Okuda to release a bomb.  As he watched, Fujita saw the bomb hit.  As he said in a postwar interview, “Our bomb hit and burst, splashing a brilliant white light over the earthscape. Good! I thought.  I had been moored near Chitose [a seaplane tender] at Yokosuka when one of Doolittle’s bombers hit her, killing some men.  Now I was returning the enemy’s attack.”  Ten minutes later, he ordered the second bomb dropped then headed back to the I-25.

The bombs that Fujita had dropped were each equipped with 512 incendiary “bomblets” that were to scatter on impact to start a circle of fire, 200 feet across.  Each bomblet burned at a temperature of 2000 degrees F.  Fujita had been instructed to drop them far from inhabited areas so that it would take fire fighters a while to arrive, thus allowing the blazes to develop into large scale forest fires and spread panic.  But the actual results were far less spectacular.

Fire lookout Howard Gardner, stationed on Mt. Emily in the Siskiyou National Forest, heard Fujita’s plane fly over, saw the plume of smoke from the fire and quickly called it in to the dispatch office.  Along with Keith Johnson, a spotter from another station, Gardner went to the site and worked to contain the fire.  Fortunately for them, not all the bomblets had exploded and recent rains had kept the ground damp, blocking the fire’s spread.  The two were able to keep the fire under control until a fire crew arrived the next morning.  As for the second bomb, no trace was found.

Upon return to the I-25, Fujita reported on his mission and also reported the sighting of two merchant ships north of the sub’s position.  The aircraft was quickly disassembled as the submarine started north.  However, just after the plane was stowed, an American A-29 Hudson arrived to make an attack on the sub.  The Hudson dropped two bombs which missed, but the sub dove and remained submerged for the rest of the day.  Later in the patrol, on September 29, the I-25 found itself back off of Cape Blanco and Cdr. Tagami decided to launch another raid.  Once more, Fujita flew off to deliver two bombs near Port Orford, but neither succeeded in starting a fire.

In 1962, Nobuo Fujita returned to Brookings, Oregon; this time as a guest, to be the Grand Marshall of the Azalea Festival Parade.  He presented his Samurai sword to the city, where it remains today on display in the Brookings Library.  He also returned several more times, including a 1992 visit to plant a tree at the bombing site as a gesture of peace on the 50th anniversary of the attack.  Nobuo Fujita died in 1997, and some of his ashes were buried at the site of the bombing.  His two air raids were the last time the mainland US was attacked until the terror strikes of September 11, 2001.

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Evergreen First Class Cooking: Summertime Grilling

By Executive Chef, David White

 

It’s Summer time!  Fire up your grill and let the festivities begin.  For many Americans summer signifies outdoor activities like conducting a picnic or firing up the barbecue.   Many people who think of the word “barbecue” envision cooking hamburgers and hotdogs, but it is so much more than that.  This summer is full of surprises, so why not surprise your family and friends with a delicious Beef Tri-Tip.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, most people would agree that a hamburger would satisfy their appetite, but with the summer in full swing add some flavor to your grill.  Tri-tip is a great choice and the perfect entree if you are hosting a small party of 6-8 or even for your family of four; the leftovers will make a delicious sandwich.  The tri-tip cut comes from the Bottom Sirloin of the cow and is of moderate tenderness and marbling.  The cut started to gain popularity in the 1950’s on the Central California Coast, and has grown in national popularity since. Generally tri-tip’s in your local grocery store range in size from 1 ½ – 2 ½ pounds and in price from $4.50-$6.50/lb. Keep an eye out for summer sales and specials to save you a few dollars.

 

Tri-Tip is not only known for its savory taste, but is also recognized for its size. Usually a tri-tip will be about 2 inches thick allowing for a wonderful, juicy medium rare roast.  Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the meat; it could take anywhere from 20-30 min to cook depending on your preference. For myself, I prefer   kosher salt & cracked pepper as the seasoning.  Don’t limit yourself to my tastings, be creative and try different seasonings, there are several various spice blends in your local supermarket.  After you take it off the grill allow the meat to rest about 5 min before slicing.  As a side dish, tri-tip will go well with any of these options, coleslaw, macaroni salad, creamy mac & cheese, baked beans or potato salad.

 

Tri-Tip is an excellent addition to your summer cooking plans.  It is a great choice that will satisfy your friends and family on a budget.  Break away from the hamburgers and hotdogs and start a new tradition this summer

 

Summer Time Tri-Tip

Ingredients:

1 ea – Beef Tri-Tip Roast 1 ½-2 ½ lbs

2 tbsp – Salt, Kosher or Sea Salt

2 tsp – Fresh Cracked Pepper

 

Method:

Mix salt & pepper and rub over roast. Let roast sit for 1-2 hrs, not in refrigerator. Light grill outside. Keep on high if using a gas grill or have coals mostly to one side if using charcoal grill. After grill is hot place roast on hottest section of grill. After 5 min turn roast over and grill for another 5 min. Now, turn down gas grill to med-low or place roast on the side with less coals and cook for about 10 min. Turn roast over and cook for another 10 min or when roast is at desired temperature,120 F for rare to 165 F for well. Take roast off grill and allow it to rest for approx. 5 min.  Slice the roast against the grain of the meat for most tender taste.  Serve immediately with your favorite sides and drink.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Evergreen’s Mystery Lady

By Stewart Bailey, Curator

 

July 28 marks the “birthday” of one of the most iconic aircraft in history, and one of the stars of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum collection; the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.  On that day, in 1936 the Boeing Model 299, the prototype of what was to become the B-17 first took to the air at Boeing Field in Washington with Boeing chief test pilot, Leslie Tower at the controls.

Out of the 12,731 B-17s built by Boeing, Lockheed-Vega, and Douglas, today only 58 aircraft remain in museums or private collections around the world.  Of those, one of the most unique and mysterious belongs to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.  Although marked with the serial number 44-83785, there is some question as to whether that is its true serial or not, and many aviation historians believe the aircraft is really serial number 44-85531.  Why the confusion?  That’s what makes her story mysterious.

Evergreen’s B-17 was a G-model built by either Lockheed-Vega or Douglas in early 1945 and never made it into combat, but rather it served in various utility roles until the mid-1950s.  At that point, her story gets interesting as she was selected for “secret duties” and removed from the Air Force’s inventory. One of a group of five black-painted Flying Fortresses used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), it operated out of Taiwan, where it was used to drop agents into China or support guerilla operations.

B-17 in Taiwan

Because the serial numbers painted on the tails were changed regularly to confuse the casual observer, her real one has been lost to history.  However, in September 1960, she gained the civilian registration number N809Z when she was sold to Atlantic-General Enterprises; a CIA front company.  From there she went to work for Intermountain Airways in Marana, Arizona in 1962.

Intermountain (also with CIA ties) was well known for modifying aircraft for use in specialized operations and the B-17G was no different.  Outfitted with a special rig on the nose called a Fulton Skyhook and a special hatch in the tail, the Fortress was actually able to pick up people from the ground without landing!  The user on the ground would release a helium balloon trailing a long cable that was attached to a special harness he wore.  The aircraft would then catch the line using long, whisker-like poles on the nose, and snatch the person off the ground where they would be winched up and into the plane.  In 1962, the Skyhook equipped Fortress was called upon to fly a mission deep into the arctic to grab vital information out from under the noses of the Soviet Union.

Fulton Sky Hook

Evergreen’s B-17 with Fulton Recovery System in place. (Robert Fulton photo)

After her work with the Fulton Skyhook, N809Z was converted into a flying tanker used by Intermountain Airways to fight forest fires in the western US. She was acquired by Evergreen Helicopters in 1975, and given a new registration; N207EV, which she wears to this day.  After 10 years of fighting fires, work began in 1985 to restore the venerable Flying Fortress was back to the war-time configuration with all of the gun turrets and a working bomb bay.  (The story is told that her rare nose turret was found as a decoration in a bar, but the owner was unwilling to sell it, so Evergreen bought the bar, removed the turret, and then re-sold the bar.)  The proudly restored B-17 took to the air again in 1990 and flew in numerous air shows until 2001 when concerns about the wing spar attachment points grounded her.

Evergreen’s B-17, Tanker 22, fighting a wild fire.

Today, the Evergreen B-17G Flying Fortress shares a place of honor in the museum, wearing the markings of the 490th Bomb Group, operating out of Eye air base in England during World War II.  As such, she is a fitting tribute to the men in women who built, maintained and flew the majestic Flying Fortress.

Evergreen's B-17

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