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Flight Paths
May 10  |  
Stray bullet stopped cold by old plane's bulkhead The FHC’s P-40 had a hard life. Sent to the wilds of Northwest Russia, the plane fought with the Soviet Air Forces for almost a year before being blasted from the skies by a German fighter in late 1942.

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May 3  |  
Lighting up at 18,000 feet? It happened Smoking while in flying? Yep, it happened all the time during World War II. Adolph Galland reportedly had a cigar lighter in his Bf 109. And you just know "Pappy" Boyington would crack the canopy of his Corsair during those long missions over the Pacific.

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April 25  |  
What's in a nickname? The Flying Heritage Collection has a total of three Mitsubishi A6M Zero aircraft. As a result, when the staff communicates, they have to find a quick way to tell one from another. I suggested A6M3-22 serial 3852, A6M-52 serial 4400, and so on, but for some reason it never seemed to catch on … 

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April 21  |  
That's not a stump, that's the Il-2 carb intake The "stump" on the starboard wing root of the Il-2 is the plane’s carburetor intake. 

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April 19  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Believe it or not, the first version of the P-47 was a tiny, speedy-looking machine. It was to be powered by an Allison engine and have two pea-shooter guns. This is an image of the full-scale mock-up of what was designated the XP-47. 

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March 3  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Light aluminum vs. strong steel in plane airframes The wings and fuselage of an aircraft are built to be quite light. Everything part and piece of a plane you pull into the skies will limit performance. However, warplanes have to stand up to lots of punishment and hard use including tough, bouncy landings. Peeking into the inner workings of the FHC’s Bf 109 E-3, one can see the burliest parts of this entire aircraft. In the place where the main wing spar, fuselage, engine firewall, and landing gear meet is a very husky...

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February 25  |  By Cory Graff Flying Heritage Collection
Tail skid protects planes — and scares pilots The FHC’s B-25J has a basketball-sized bump on its underside. The odd appendage is a tail skid, protecting the rear of the tail from damage should the pilot pull the nose up too high on takeoff. Early models of the plane were equipped with a retractable skid. Later aircraft had simple fixed skids. A tail strike on takeoff was a rare occurrence and never a good thing. While Jimmy Doolittle’s pilots were training to fly from a carrier deck, some of them got a little...

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February 18  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Exhaust plugs keep Mustang engine free of debris Interesting for all you modelers out there, the FHC’s P-51D Mustang has exhaust stack plugs. These simple wooden shapes were lathed by the hundreds, strung together, and went everywhere the warplane landed. In the warm, dry FHC hangar, however, they serve more as decoration than function. But in the field, Mustangs were always parked outside. The plugs kept moisture and dirt (as well as birds and bugs) out of the Merlin engine.

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February 11  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Debate lingers over the function of this tank's armored skirts The FHC’s Hetzer is equipped with thin (5 mm) armored side skirts. The Germans called them "Schürzen." There is lots of debate as to why they were used and what weapons they helped stop. Certainly, they were not significant protection for stopping big armor-piercing shells fired from Allied tanks. Most think that the skirts were originally affixed to German vehicles to help protect vulnerable areas from Russian high-velocity anti-tank rifles. Without the...

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February 4  |  Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Sherman tank equipped with Did you know the Sherman tank has a siren? Provided by the Mars Signal Light Company of Chicago, the siren is a quick and easy way for primitive communication with those immediately outside the 30-ton armored behemoth. A quick blast on the "horn" could mean, "Move" or "Watch out" or, in our case, it means, "Heads up, we’re firing." Mars made lights and sirens before the war and still are in business today as Tri-Lite, making...

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December 29  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
A Mitsubishi Zero design mystery solved Anybody that has built a model of a Mitsubishi Zero has wondered about those strange "biscuits" that stitch their way down the side of the fighter’s engine cowling. Today, we get to see what is underneath. Hooks connect the top half of the engine cover to the bottom. The oval covers ensure that the hooks have no way of coming loose in flight. The "biscuits" are held in place by Dzus fasteners on the top and bottom.

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December 17  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Putting a debate to rest: Shooting through the engine There was a ton of drama and debate after we re-posted a discussion of the Fw 190 D-13’s armament arrangement from a Classic Under the Cowl. How could a bullet pass not only through the hub of the 190 but through the whole engine? And hey, wink, wink, if bullets pass through the engine, how do they not get all oily? I’ve trundled together three different drawings to give you guys a rough idea of what’s going on. All...

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December 10  |  Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Museum
Little relics found in old military vehicles You never quite know what you are going to find when you look inside a sixty year old vehicle. While prepping the M55 Self-Propelled Howitzer for paint, a restorer found this primer shell (left) tossed into a mechanical bay decades before. The little "bullet" helps set off the powder in the gun breech. The explosion pushes the big projectile out the gun’s 8-inch diameter barrel. The other discovery is a bit more odd. The FHC’s T-34 came from the Czech...

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