15 June 1969: At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the second Lockheed C-5A Galaxy transport, 66-8304, set several records, including the heaviest takeoff weight, 762,800 pounds (346,000 kilograms), and the heaviest landing weight, 600,000 pounds (272,155 kilograms).
15 June 1946: At Craig Field, Jacksonville Florida, the United States Navy’s Navy Flight Demonstration Team made its first public appearance at the municipal airport’s dedication ceremony. A flight of three lightened Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat fighters, led by Officer-in-Charge Lieutenant Commander Roy Marlin Voris, flew a fifteen minute aerobatic performance.
The team had been formed for the purpose of raising public political support for the Navy. Their fighters were painted overall glossy sea blue with “U.S. NAVY” on the fuselage in gold leaf. A single numeral, also gold leaf, on the vertical fin identified each individual airplane.
Five weeks later, 21 July, the team would first call themselves The Blue Angels.
In addition to Lieutenant Commander Voris, other pilots in the original demonstration team were Lieutenant Commander Lloyd G. Barnard, Lieutenant Melvin Cassidy, Lieutenant Alfred Taddeo, Lieutenant Maurice N. Wickendoll and Lieutenant (j.g.) Gale Stouse.
The Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat is single-place, single-engine fighter designed early in World War II to operate from the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers. It is a low wing monoplane of all metal construction. The wings can be folded against the sides of the fuselage for storage aboard the carriers. Landing gear is conventional, retractable, and includes an arresting hook. The Hellcat became operational in 1944.
The F6F-5 is 33 feet, 7 inches (10.236 meters) long with a wingspan of 42, feet 10 inches (12.842 meters) and overall height of 14 feet, 5 inches (4.394 meters). It has an empty weight of 9,238 pounds (4,190 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight of 15,300 pounds (6,940 kilograms).
The F6F-5 Hellcat is powered by a 2,804.4-cubic-inch-displacement (45.956 liter) air-cooled, supercharged, Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp SSB2-G (R-2800-10W) twin-row 18-cylinder radial engine with water injection. The engine had with a compression ratio of 6.65:1 and was rated at 1,550 horsepower at 2,550 r.p.m. at 21,500 feet (6,553 meters), and 2,000 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m. for takeoff. The engine drove a three-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic constant-speed propeller with a diameter of 13 feet, 1 inch (3.988 meters) through a 2:1 gear reduction. The R-2800-10 was 4 feet, 4.50 inches (1.334 meters) in diameter, 7 feet, 4.47 inches (2.247 meters) long, and weighed 2,480 pounds (1,125 kilograms), each.
The F6F-5 had a maximum speed of 276 knots (318 miles per hour/511 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level and 330 knots (380 miles per hour/611 kilometers per hour) at 23,400 feet (7,132 meters). The Hellcat’s service ceiling was 35,100 feet (10.698 meters) and it had a combat radius of 820 nautical miles (944 miles/1,519 kilometers). The maximum ferry range is 1,330 nautical miles (1,531 miles/2,463 kilometers).
The Hellcat’s armament consisted of six Browning AN-M2 .50-caliber machine guns, mounted three in each wing, with 400 rounds of ammunition per gun.
Between 1942 and 1945, the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Bethpage, New York, built 12,275 F6F Hellcats. This was the largest number of any aircraft type produced by a single plant.
15 June 1937: Leg 18. Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan fly from Assab, Eritrea, to Karachi, India (now, Pakistan), a distance of 1,880 miles (2,865 kilometers). Prohibited from flyng over Saudi Arabia, they skirt along the southern coastline.
“We left Assab early on the morning of the fifteenth, well before daylight. First we cut across a deep indentation on the Eritrean coast, and thence at an angle flew over the narrow southern entrance to the Red Sea called Bab-al-Mandah to the Arabian shore. That reached, we straightened out over the desolate southeastern tip of Arabia, checking over Aden after the sun was well up, one hundred and seventy-five miles on our way. . . Flying by foreigners over Arabia is not welcome. . . Finally the authorities relented. . . They gave permission to land at Aden, and permission to fly thence to Karachi, possibly stopping first at Gwadar, 350 miles up the coast at the mouth of the Persian gulf in Baluchistan close to the Persian border. It was stipulated that we were not to fly over Arabia itself but along the edge of the sea. So from Aden, as directed, I held a course along the coast. Sometimes the blue Arabian Sea was below. Sometimes clouds piled along the ocean’s edge forced us shoreward for brief stages. Flying high, we were able to see considerable of this forbidden and forbidding country. Surely some of the wastelands of the world bordered our route. One could scarcely imagine a more desolate region than that shore…Beyond Ras el Hadd, which is on the eastern end of Arabia, facing the Gulf of Oman, we cut across to Gwada, which we checked over at five o’clock. Thence we skirted the coast southeastward to Karachi, arriving at 7.05 P.M. I think our elapsed time for the 1,920 miles from Assab to Karachi was 13 hours and 10 minutes. . . .”
15 June 1928: Imperial Airways’ Captain Gordon P. Olley flew an Armstrong Whitworth A.W.154 Argosy Mk.I, G-EBLF, City of Glasgow, with 18 passengers aboard, from Croydon to Edinburgh Turnhouse in a race with the London and North Eastern Railways’ famed Class A-1 Flying Scotsman. The apple green steam-powered 4–6–2 Pacific-type locomotive pulled the world’s fastest passenger train in express service from London, England, to Glasgow, Scotland.
A novel “stunt” was carried out on June 15 when a simultaneous journey was made from London to Edinburgh by train and aeroplane—the “Flying Scotsman” and the Imperial Airways Armstrong-Whitworth air liner “City of Glasgow” respectively. After breakfast at the Savoy Hotel, the two parties of travellers proceeded to their respective points of departure—King’s Cross and Croydon. Train and aeroplane both departed at the same time, 10 a.m., the “City of Glasgow” being piloted by Capt. G. P. Olley, who was accompanied by Mr. J. Birkett, aged 79, a retired L.N.E.R. engine driver, Air Vice-Marshal Sir Vyell Vyvyan and Maj. Brackley. Capt. G. P. Jones, Imperial Airways pilot, was a passenger on the train! The “City of Glasgow” flew via the East Coast, and made stops at Bircham, Newton, and Cramlington; it arrived at Turnhouse Aerodrome, Edinburgh, 15 minutes before the “Flying Scotsman” reached Waverley Station.
—FLIGHT The Aircraft Engineer & Airships, No. 1017. (No. 25 Vol. XX.), 21 June 1928, at Page 464, Column 2
Gordon Percy Olley had been an aircraft mechanic during World War I, then became an observer. He was next trained as a fighter pilot flying Nieuport 17 and 27 fighters and is credited with 10 aerial victories between 1 June and 14 October 1917. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. After the War he became a civil aviator. Olley was the first pilot to have logged more than 1,000,000 air miles (1,609,344 kilometers).
City of Glasgow was the first of three Argosy Mk.I airliners built by Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Limited for Imperial Airways. It made its first flight 16 May 1925. A three-engine, three-bay biplane, it was 65 feet (19.812 meters) long and had a wingspan of 90 feet, 7½ inches (27.623 meters). The total wing area was 1,886 square feet (175.2 square meters). Its maximum takeoff weight was 19,200 pounds (8,709 kilograms). The Argosy was described as an “exceptionally comfortable airplane to fly in. . .”
The Argosy Mk.I was powered by three air-cooled, Normally-aspirated 1,511.89-cubic-inch-displacement (24.775 liter) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar Series IIIA two-row 14-cylinder radial engines, rated at 385 horsepower at 1,700 r.p.m., and 425 horsepower at 1,900 r.p.m. The direct-drive engines turned two-bladed propellers.
The Argosy had a cruising speed of 90–95 miles per hour (145–153 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 110 miles per hour (177 kilometers per hour). Its maximum range was 400 miles (644 kilometers).
During the airliner-vs.-passenger train race, the Argosy made three refueling stops which required a total of 1 hour, 24 minutes. Captain Olley and his airliner completed the 390-mile (627.6 kilometer) journey approximately 15 minutes faster than the train.
City of Glasgow was later upgraded to the Argosy Mk.II standard, which used the Jaguar Mk.IVA gear-reduction engines, rated at 420 horsepower. G-EBLF was withdrawn from use at Croydon, December 1934.
The Flying Scotsman is a Standard Gauge 4-6-2 Pacific steam-powered railway locomotive produced by the Doncaster Works, Great Northern Railway’s “Plant” at Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. It was built in 1923 as a Class A-1 locomotive for the London and North Eastern Railway. In January 1947, it was rebuilt to the Class A-3 configuration. It was later renumbered 502, 103 and 60103. Flying Scotsman set two world records for steam locomotives, for speed and distance.
The locomotive with its tender is 70 feet, 5-1/8 inches (21.463 meters) long, 13 feet, 1 inch (3.988 meters) high and weighs 156 tons, 12 centals (350,640 pounds, or 159,048 kilograms kilograms). The six driving wheels each have a diameter of 6 feet, 8 inches (2.032 meters). At 85% of maximum boiler pressure (225 p.s.i., 15.17 Bar), the locomotive produces 32,909 pounds of tractive effort. Flying Scotsman was the first locomotive officially certified to have a speed of 100 miles per hour (161 kilometers per hour).
The locomotive was originally assigned Great Northern Railway number 1472, before being taken over by LNER prior to completion. In 1924, it was given number 4472 and named Flying Scotsman. It was one of five Pacific-type express passenger locomotives designed by Sir Nigel Gresley that were used to pull the London-to-Edinburgh Flying Scotsman passenger train, beginning in 1928. The journey by rail was 392 miles (631 kilometers) and the train was able to complete this non-stop by carrying 9 tons (8.2 metric tons) of coal in a tender and replenishing the water supply with a system of troughs located between the rails.
Flying Scotsman was retired in 1963 after driving 2,076,000 miles (3,340,998 kilometers). The locomotive has been restored and is owned by the National Railway Museum. It was overhauled and began testing in January 2016.
14–15 June 1919: Captain John William Alcock, D.S.C., and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown, both of the Royal Air Force, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, non-stop, aboard their twin-engine Vickers Vimy F.B.27A Mk.IV biplane bomber. This was the very first successful non-stop trans-Atlantic crossing by air.
Alcock and Brown took off from Lester’s Field, St. John’s, Newfoundland, at 16:13 GMT (2:43 p.m., NDT), 14 June 1919. They flew 1,890 miles (3,042 kilometers) to Clifden, County Galway, Ireland.
During their flight, they encountered heavy fog, icing, snow and severe turbulence. Four times Brown had to go out on the wings to clear snow and ice from the engine intakes.
The Vimy crossed the coast of Ireland at 9:25 a.m., British Summer Time (08:40 GMT), and touched down on the soft ground of Derrygimla Bog, just south of Clifden, at 9:40 a.m., BST. The airplane pitched over on its nose and was damaged, but Alcock and Brown were not hurt.
The total duration of their flight was 16 hours, 27 minutes.
The following report was published in The New York Times:
Captain Alcock’s Own Narrative of His Flight From Newfoundland to Ireland
LONDON, June 16. (By telegraph from Clifden, Ireland.) We have had a terrible journey. The wonder is that we are here at all. We scarcely saw the sun or the moon or the stars. For hours we saw none of them.
The fog was very dense, and at times we had to descend to within 300 feet of the sea. For four hours the machine was covered in a sheet of ice caused by frozen sleet; at another time the sleet was so dense that my speed indicator did not work, and for a few seconds it was very alarming.
We looped the loop, I do believe, and did a very steep spiral. We did some very comic “stunts,” for I have had no sense of the horizon.
The winds were favorable all the way: northwest and at times southwest. We said in Newfoundland we could do the trip in 16 hours, but we never thought we should. An hour and a half before we saw land we had no certain idea where we were, but we believed we were at Galway or thereabouts. Our delight in seeing Eashal Island and Turbot Island (5 miles west of Clifden) was great. People did not know who we were when we landed, and thought we were scouts on the lookout for the “Vimy.”
We encountered no unforeseen conditions. We did not suffer from cold or exhaustion except when looking over the side; then the sleet chewed bits out of our faces. We drank coffee and ale and ate sandwiches and chocolate.
The flight has shown that the Atlantic flight is practicable, but I think it should be done not with an aeroplane or seaplane, but with a flying boat. We had plenty of reserve fuel left, using only two-thirds of our supply.
The only thing that upset me was to see the machine at the end get damaged. From above, the bog looked like a lovely field, but the machine sank into it up to the axle and fell over on to her nose.
—The New York Times, 16 June 1919, Page 1, Columns 7 and 8
The construction of the Trans-Atlantic “Vickers-Vimy-Rolls” was completed at the Weybridge Aeroplane Works of Messrs. Vickers, Limited.
This aeroplane is practically similar in every respect to the Standard “Vimy” as supplied to His Majesty’s Government.
Two standard 350 hp. Rolls-Royce engines are installed. The capacity of the petrol tanks has been increased to 865 gallons, and the lubricating oil tanks to 50 gallons, and with this quantity of fuel this aeroplane has a range of 2440 miles. The maximum speed is over 100 miles per hour. The span of the “Vickers-Vimy-Rolls” is 67 feet, and overall length is 42 feet 8 inches. The width of the planes is 10 feet 6 inches. A wireless telegraphy set capable of sending and receiving messages over long distances was carried, and the pilot and navigator wore electrically heated clothing.
—AIRCRAFT JOURNAL, Vol. IV., No. 25, Saturday, 21 June 1919, at Page 9, Column 3
After their historic flight, Captain Alcock and Lieutenant Brown were invested Knight Commanders of the Order of the British Empire by King George V in a ceremony at Windsor Castle, 21 June 1919. They also had won a prize of £10,000 offered by Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, owner of the Daily Mail, and which was presented to them at the Savoy Hotel, 20 June, by Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for War, and the future prime minister. The pilots insisted that £2,000 go to the Vickers and Rolls-Royce mechanics who had prepared their airplane. They also received 2,000 guineas from the Ardath Tobacco Co., and £1,000 from Mr. Lawrence R. Phillips.
Alcock and Brown’s airplane was a Vickers F.B.27 Mk.IV Vimy, serial number C105. The Royal Air Force registration was B9952. The owner of the aircraft was the manufacturer, Vickers Limited. On 1 May 1919, it was assigned Certificate of Registration No. 18, with the civil registration G-EAAR. Contemporary photographs of the Vimy do not show any registration markings, however.
The Vickers Vimy F.B.27 (named after the World War I Battle of Vimy Ridge) was designed and built by Vickers Ltd. (Aviation Department) at Weybridge, Surrey, England. It was a twin-engine, three-bay biplane night bomber built for the Royal Air Force. The Vimy’s construction was typical of the time: a wooden framework covered with doped fabric. The engines were placed in individual nacelles, midway between the upper and lower wings. Each nacelle was supported by four vertical struts. The horizontal stabilizer/elevator were also biplane, and it had two vertical fins/rudders.
The Vimy was 43 feet, 6½ inches (13.272 meters) long with a wingspan of 67 feet, 2 inches (20.472 meters) and height of 15 feet, 8 inches (4.775 meters). The upper and lower wings had a chord of 10 feet, 6 inches (3.200 meters). The total wing area was 1,330 square feet (123.6 square meters). The vertical gap between the wings was 10 feet, 0 inches (3.048 meters) and there was no stagger. Both wings had and angle of incidence of 3½° and 3° dihedral.
The bomber weighed 6,700 pounds (3,039 kilograms) empty, and had a gross weight of 12,500 pounds (5,670 kilograms).
The Vimy was powered by two water-cooled, normally-aspirated, 1,240.5-cubic-inch-displacement (20.3 liter) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII single overhead cam 60° V-12 engines with two valves per cylinder and a compression ratio of 4.9:1. These engines were rated at 350 horsepower at 1,800 r.p.m., and 360 horsepower at 2,035 r.p.m. (five minute limit). They turned four-bladed, fixed-pitch, wooden propellers through a 1.60:1 gear reduction. The Eagle VIII used four Rolls-Royce/Claudel Hobson carburetors and four Watford magnetos with two spark plugs per cylinder. Fuel consumption at normal power at Sea Level was 23 gallons (87 liters) per hour. The engine weighed 847 pounds (384 kilograms).
The Vimy had a maximum speed of 98 miles per hour (158 kilometers per hour) at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters). In standard configuration, the bomber had a range of 835 miles (1,344 kilometers). Its service ceiling was 10,500 feet (3,200 meters). Vimy C105 was modified by Vickers to carry 1,050 gallons (3,975 liters) of gasoline for the transoceanic flight.
The Vimy was repaired by Vickers and Rolls-Royce, then donated to the London Science Museum where it is displayed near Amy Johnson’s DH.60G Gipsy Moth, Jason. Its civil registration was cancelled in May 1920.
John William Alcock was born 6 November 1892, at Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, Stretford, a town near Manchester, England. He was the son of John Alcock, a coachman, and Mary Alice Whitelegg Alcock, a domestic servant.
He took an early interest in flying. Work as a mechanic at the Ducrocq School, Brooklands Aerodrome, Surrey, led to flight training. He was awarded pilot’s certificate No. 368 by the Royal Aero Club, 26 November 1912.
Alcock competed in various air races, winning the Easter Aeroplane Handicap at Brooklands with a Farman B, 24 March 1913. The prize for first place was 50 guineas.
With the onset of World War I, Alcock entered the Royal Naval Air Service, 12 November 1914. as a Warrant Officer, Second Grade (temporary). Alcock was assigned as a flight instructor at the Naval Flying School, Eastchurch, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England. He was commissioned a Flight Sub-Lieutenant (tempy) 29 December 1915 and was sent to a squadron based on an island in the Aegean Sea. Alcock was flying a Sopwith Camel when he shot down an enemy airplane and forced two others into the sea. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross:
13318 SUPPLEMENT to the LONDON GAZETTE, 19 DECEMBER, 1917.
Flt. Lieut. John William Acock, R.N.A.S. (now prisoner).
For the great skill, judgement and dash displayed by him off Mudros on the 30th September, 1917, in a successful attack on three enemy seaplanes, two of which were brought down in the sea.
After Alcock returned to base, he took a Handley Page O/100 bomber on a mission against Constantinople. When one engine failed, he turned back, but then the second failed and the airplane went down in the Gulf of Xeros. He and his two crewmen then swam to the enemy-held Gallipoli shoreline. They were captured and held as prisoners of war.
While held as a prisoner, Alcock was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (tempy), R.N.A.S., 31 December 1917.
On 1 April 1918, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service were combined to establish the Royal Air Force. Flight Lieutenant Alcock, R.N.A.S., became Captain Alcock, R.A.F.
When The War to End All Wars came to an end in November 1918, Captain Alcock was repatriated to the United Kingdom, arriving at Dover 16 December 1918. He left military service in March 1919 and joined Vickers Ltd. (Aviation Department) as a test pilot.
While flying the prototype Vickers Viking to the Paris Air Show, Captain Sir John William Alcock, K.B.E., D.S.C., was killed in an accident at Cottévard, France, 18 December 1919. His remains were interred at the Southern Cemetery, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Greater Manchester, England.
Arthur Whitten Brown was born at Crosshills, Glasgow, Scotland, 23 July 1886. He was an American citizen by birth. His parents were Arthur George Brown, a mechanical engineer for Westinghouse, and Emma Whitten Brown.
(Mr. Brown had been sent by Westinghouse to find a location for an electrical equipment factory, which was eventually built in Old Trafford, John Alcock’s birthplace.)
In 1914, Brown enlisted in the British Army.
In September 1919, Sir Arthur Whitten Brown married Miss Marguerite Kathleen Kennedy, at St. Martin’s, London. They would have a son, Arthur, who would become a pilot in the Royal Air Force. He was killed in action on D-Day, 6 June 1944, in Holland.
During World War II, Sir Arthur returned to active duty in the Royal Air Force. He instructed in navigation.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, K.B.E., died at his home in Swansea, Wales, 4 October 1948, at the age of 62 years. His ashes interred at St. Margaret Churchyard, Tylers Green, Wycombe District Buckinghamshire.