It’s been a while since I posted an airplane, so tonight I bring you the “Hawker Hurricane Mk XIIA”.

This model helped turn the tide of the Battle of Britain, allowing the Allies to continue their fight against Nazi Germany.  The Hurricane made use of construction methods from its biplane predecessors, including a fabric-covered tail.  Because of its simplicity and adaptability, the Hurricane would serve in every major theater of air warfare in World War II.

While the Supermarine Spitfire is more famous, the Hurricane destroyed more German aircraft.  The Hurricanes were often dispatched to fight against lumbering bombers, while the Spitfires often took on the more agile fighters.  Historians still debate which aircraft was more important in the victory.

This Mk.XIIA was manufactured by Canadian Car & Foundry Company at Fort William, Ontario.  It was powered by a U.S. Build Packard Merlin XXIX engine.

This aircraft was was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on January 22, 1942, but never saw combat.  After the fighter was involved in a crash landing, it was discarded by the RCAF.  After it was recovered from a farm in Ontario, Canada, Hawker Restorations Ltd. rebuilt the fighter at Milden, England.  The first flight of the restored aircraft took place on March 15, 2006 at Wattisham, England.

While everyone “loves” the Spitfire (I do too of course) I have a soft spot for the Hurricane.  When I saw this plane I had to capture a shot.

The boys got nice and cozy with a pussy tonight.  Not sure the cat was that impressed thought!

While visiting the Flying Heritage Collection museum we got to see LOADS of planes.  But one of the challenges was to capture a plane on its own without others in the way.  The hanger the exhibits were in was full (I say exhibits but they are all working planes that are taken out “for a fly” regularly).  So when we saw this old Messerschmitt I couldn’t resist taking a picture, it was, well so alone!

This model plan was considered the first truly modern fighter plane.  With its all-metal stressed-skin and mono-wing design with enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear there was nothing like it.  It was also the fastest military plane in the air until it was replaced by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.

This particular plane was commissioned in 1940 and was shot down over Dover in an air battle.  The pilot managed to get the plane back to France but didn’t survive the landing.  In 1988 somebody walking along the beach in Calais saw a tip of the planes wing sticking out of the sand and the plane was excavated and sent to England for restoration.

Now, living in Everett Washington, the plane looks brand new.  I’d love to see this flying over head, perhaps with a spitfire on it tail, definitely something you don’t see everyday.

This plane reminds me of an old joke, which I probably shouldn’t tell but it’s my blog so here goes.

An old World War II British fighter pilot is being interviewed on the radio and the host of the show asks him what his most terrifying dog fight was like. “Well” say’s the veteran, “I was over Dover and out of the sun came this Focke straight for me, I was so surprised I had to bank quickly to the right, where I found two more Focke’s.  They came at me so fast I was terrified.  We fought in the air over the channel for 10 minutes and it was terrifying.  Fortunately I hit one Focke in the wing, and another Focke in the tail, then the other guy flew off”.  Sounding a little concerned the host of the show reassured his audience by saying “I should point out to all you listeners at home that the Focke-Wulf was a German plane”.  “That’s true”, said the pilot, “but these Focke’s were Messerschmitt’s”

Well I didn’t say it was funny.

You know how sometimes you feel like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders? Well Carter actually is!

So tonight we have a great American plane, the Mustang P-51D.  The Mustang came into service early on in the Second World War and saw service over Germany and later in Korea.  Interestingly the Mustang was commissioned by the British and was designed and built in just 117 days.

Another (useless) fact is that the Ford Mustang car was actually named after this plane.  Executive stylist John Najjar at Ford was a fan of the P-51 and suggested the name.  Later Ford added the Mustang horse as the cars emblem.

This particular plane saw action over German in the hands of Captain Harrison Tordoff and participated in many air-to-air combats and shot down a German Me 262 jet fighter.  After the war the plane served with the Royal Swedish Air Force and after that was sold to the Dominican Republic.  After 30 years in the Caribbean the aircraft came back to US when it was purchased by the Flying Heritage Collection.

This plane was really cool and was almost polished steel.  The checkered nose and black and yellow propellers really set the plane off.  Just under the cockpit there were nine swastika’s showing how many German planes Harrison shot down.  A small plaque in front of the plane stated that Harrison Tordoff was reunited with his plane back in 2003 and stated it hadn’t changed since 1945.

This composition isn’t the best in the world, but as I’ve said before in other postings the planes were very close together and you don’t really have a lot of options.  But I really like this plane and think under the circumstances the picture came out well.

Master Chief learnt an important lesson today, Gorilla Glue is very sticky – and you shouldn’t play with it!

Tonight I thought I’d post another plane from the Flying Heritage Collection and chose this simply named Focke-Wulf FW 190 D-13 – yeah I know it’s a bit of a mouthful.

While I was there I was trying to find a different perspective for some of the pictures, you know what I mean, not just a side on shot of a plane.  Sometimes it’s interesting to see something familiar from a different angle.

So when I got home I looked at my images, and guess what?  I had a load of side shots of planes, or even more common, the shot from directly in front, looking at the propellers.   Wonderful!  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those shots, some looked good (and I’ll post them too), but it’s not exactly original.

But then I came across this D-13 and immediately loved the angle from the rear.  Having the tail so close and tack sharp in focus delivered I thought a great image.  Add to that great green camouflage and this plane looks cool.

You can probably see how close these planes are packed in the hanger so getting something different is a little challenging.  But fortunately there were lots of exhibits from the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Russia, so there was lots to choose from.

So what about the plane (got-a make it a bit educational).  This German design came quite late in the second world war and competed well against the US Mustang and the late model British Spitfires on even terms.

This particular plane is the only 190 D-13 that survived the war, the aircraft entered service in March 1945 and served as a commanders plane in “Fighter Wing 26”.

Carter and Master Chief wanted some nuts.  ‘nough said!

Ask yourself this question.  You make your first billion dollars, what do you do?  Well if you’re Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), you might start collecting World War II aircraft and decide to display them in a massive hanger.  I don’t know when he started to do this but that’s exactly what Paul did.  He purchased aircraft from all over the world and shipped them to Everett in Washington.  What’s more, he insisted that they all work and are taken out and flown each year.

His collection is exhibited by what’s called the Flying Heritage Collection.  So today I drove to Everett with a friend (Chris) to check out the collection.

There were no planes flying today, but we thought we’d check it our anyway.  On their web site all the planes appear to be outside on grass or on the runway.  But when we arrived they were all inside a large hanger.  This was both good and bad.  The good part was that there was no hard sunlight on the aircraft making lighting and pictures difficult.  The bad part was that the surroundings weren’t as nice.

As a result I took a lot of close up shots, trying to minimize the other planes and distractions around the subject I was going for, but I couldn’t help myself take some wide shots of a complete plane too, and at the end of the day I captured a lot of really nice pictures.

Today’s image is a B-25J Mitchell Bomber.  These planes were used by all the allied forces in World War II and in 1942 the B-25 was the first U.S. aircraft to bomb mainland Japan.  This particular plane was build towards the end of 1944 in Kansas City and severed in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 10 years before being sold as surplus in 1961.  After spending some time as a “fire-bomber” carrying water for the Cascade Drilling Company in Calgary it was purchased by the Flying Heritage Collection.

The aircraft is both amazing and terrifying at the same time.  The thought of sitting in the nose cone shooting the enemy just scares me to death.  I talked to some of the retired pilots and none of them talked of fear.  They were all young at the time of active service and just talked about the thrill of battle and the exhilaration of “winning”.   I served in the Armed Forces for 9 years but I don’t think war is like that.  I suspect the years have somewhat romanticized their experiences, but they were all amazing characters to talk to.

So look for more planes in the coming weeks, I’ll try to spread them out so you don’t get them all at once.  Enjoy.

After today’s visit to the Flying Heritage Collection (Museum) Master Chief had an OCD moment and insisted on washing all over in Purell!