Category: The Planes!


solarimpulsesolar impulse in airThe Solar Impulse – on the longest nonstop leg of its Round-The-World attempt has now broken the record for both longest solo flight and longest SOLAR flight (by time). André Borschberg and the Swiss team are attempting to set the record for circling the globe without using a single drop of fuel.

None.

No gas.

Not only from Japan to Hawaii – that’s the hardest, longest, most dangerous part.

But around the world.

The first-in-flight record books are filled with points-on-a-graph success stories all heading toward one goal… flight without limitations of time or distance.

Flying like a bird is not enough for mankind, we must fly like the wind.

Without polluting it.

Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight is the most famous of the record setters. He flew solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.

But before that was the first round-the-world flight in 1924. Not nonstop, not solo. It was four biplanes under the command of Major Martin. That record was broken seven years later by Wiley Post who flew it solo, in a Lockeed Vega.

In 1949 came the first nonstop round-the-world flight, in a B-50A Superfortress built by Boeing. Eight years later in 1957, three Boeing B-52 bombers topped that record by flying round-the-world nonstop by jet engine.

With round-the-world and nonstop accomplished, many years went by without a technological record-breaking advance in aviation. Not until after the 1970s and the energy crisis. Then the race turned to fuel efficiency.

In 1986,  Rutan and Yeager flew round-the-world, nonstop, without refueling. The plane was the Voyager – and a whole new technology.

Naturally, the next record had to be round-the-world, nonstop, without refueling, solo. That was set in 2005 by Steve Fossett with the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.

The team behind the Solar Impulse is blowing the record book sky high now. Forget “without refueling”… they are going for “without fuel” in their round-the-world flight.

And in this leg, claiming longest nonstop solo – even aside from without fuel.

Congratulations Solar Impulse. Those of us sitting under skies changed by global warming cheer you on.

 

 

 

Colonel C. J. Tippett and Joe Mashman set first in flight records in helicopters in 1947.

Colonel C. J. Tippett and Joe Mashman set first in flight records in helicopters in 1947.

In 1947, Argentina had a problem. An unusual series of winter rains in the northern provinces had triggered a succession of locust plagues.The insect swarms were unmerciful, and Argentina was losing critical grasslands which fed the beef cattle that were the nations most important export.

Pilots in conventional aircraft were trying to combat the locusts, but were failing as engines clogged with the insect’s bodies and lives were being lost. Efforts to fight the locusts from the ground were limited and ineffective.

There was one new aviation technology that came to the forefront at this time – the helicopter. It was the ideal aircraft for fighting the locust plague, and there just happened to be a helicopter manufacturer who was looking for a way to showcase commercial helicopter abilities.

In Chapter 14 of “When No One Else Would Fly“, Tip wrote:

“While I was in New York City, I was called to an office in the State Department and advised that a phone call would be coming through from Mr. Larry Bell, president of the Bell Helicopter Corporation, who wished to speak to me personally. Over the phone, Mr. Bell told me that the Argentine government and the State Department wanted me to be the head of an operation and that it was a most important assignment. The helicopter was the only instrument that could combat the locusts successfully. I advised Mr. Bell that I did not feel qualified to accept the position, as I knew nothing about helicopters, having never seen or flown one. Bell replied that if I would come back to Buffalo, they would teach me all they knew about the machine in a matter of weeks.”

Tip did learn in a matter of weeks, and he joined Joe Mashman, Bell Helicopters primary test pilot, and solved Argentina’s locust problem. Together, they stayed on and formed TAYR, Trabajos Aereos Y Representaciones. Tip and Joe mashman, along with C. W. Wes Moore, set first in flight helicopter records almost every time they took to the air.

Read more about Tip’s helicopter exploits, and more, in “When No One Else Would Fly”, now available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

Colonel C. J. Tippett’s record breaking flight is described vividly in his biography When No One Else Would Fly, and the level of detail is amazing. He not only kept a meticulous flight log during the flight, but he also preserved it throughout his life and travels. It is one of many gems in his archive.

Tip described the flight in his own words, including his first approach to the Amazon River:

“… on Saturday, February 20, I started the leg of the trip that held the most apprehension for me… “

My previous post offers more tantalizing previews. But what is even more interesting is that Tip turned around and made the flight again, in a Cessna T-50, and then AGAIN… !

For the full story, check out When No One Else Would Fly, now available on Amazon.com!
PT19A_When_No_One_Else_Would_Fly

Before he was a Colonel, C. J. Tippett flew the Lycoming Stinson out of Clover Field in California.

Before he was a Colonel, C. J. Tippett flew the Lycoming Stinson out of Clover Field in California.

One of my blog post series about my grandfather’s aviation pioneering life is “Where In The World… On This Day”… because he left such an awesome, museum-quality collection of documents, photos, logs, articles, memos, letter, photos and more that I can track where he was on a given day. Like today, for instance.

76 years ago, on May 16th, 1937, Tip was beating the Sunday sunrise at Clover Field, Santa Monica, California. He was running pre-flight checks on a Lycoming Stinson, registration number NC-13843. I know this from his pilot’s log, which he not only kept in great detail, but he had it notarized and signed off with each new flight certification. At age 24, he was aiming for a career as commercial pilot and he needed this flying time to count.

He would eventually go far beyond the career of a commercial pilot. He would become the Director of the South American Office of the International Civil Aviation Organization – and more. The story of his life, including his flights out of Clover Field, is told in his own words, as well as with my background, in “When No One Else Would Fly,” soon to be available on Amazon.com.

The Lycoming Stinson that Tip was flying that day was a day hire. Tip often flew passengers, flight students, or business men needing fast transport out of Los Angeles. Or he traded flight time with local fleet operators, but he flew almost every day. In this way, Tip flew every model of aircraft that was commonly available on 1937 civil aviation airfields, and some that were not so common.

The Lyoming Stinson was also known as the “Reliant.” It was a tail dragger, meaning that until the pilot had enough runway speed to take off, his view out the windshield was of everything except the ground in front of him. The airplane had a single overhead wing, and one engine on the nose. It could carry two passengers in addition to the pilot. True to its name, it was reliable and rugged.

“Lycoming” refers to the engine, and “Stinson” was the aircraft’s maker. This common standard for referencing aircraft in Tip’s day illustrates how important the two pieces of information were to pilots like Tip. The engine and the aircraft were two separate entities, and Tip knew them both intimately well.

Clover Field was the flight testing base of the Douglas Aircraft Company, and the maiden runway for the Douglas DC-3. Tip also knew that aircraft and company well, as they provided his day-job when he wasn’t flying overhead… as he did on Sunday, May 16th 1937.

 

Colonel C. J. Tippett in the cockpit of a Lockheed T-33 in Panama, 1955 - 1960

Colonel C. J. Tippett in the cockpit of a Lockheed T-33 in Panama, 1955 – 1960

For Colonel C. J. Tippett, aviation pioneer and Director of the South American Office of the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1960, active duty orders were literally a license to fly…. the T-Bird, the Lockheed T-33 jet trainer!

Tip, while living and working in Lima, Peru, had qualified in the T-33 in 1955 and any chance to report for duty at Albrook Air Force Base in Panama was a chance to climb into the T-33 cockpit.

Tip’s orders speak for themselves:

“Headquarters 

Caribbean Air Command 

United States Air Force 

Albrook Air Force Base 

Canal Zone 

Reserve Orders Number 13 May 5, 1960

Personnel Data: By direction of the President Colonel Cloyce J. Tippett AO (redacted) (Ready Reservist) (Command Pilot-On Flying Status) (Primary AFSC-redacted) (Present Address: Apartado redacted Lima Peru) is ordered to active duty for a period of 15 days for the purpose of training.

Security Clearance: Secret.

Assignment: DCS/Operations HQ Caribbean Air Command Albrook Air Force Base Canal Zone.

Reporting Data: Effective date of training 16 May 1960. Report to DSC/Operations this headquarters not later than 16 May 1960. Officer will be released from organization assigned in time to arrive at place from which ordered to active duty on effective date of release from training 30 May 1960 on which date he will revert to inactive status unless sooner relieved. (this is not my syntax, I swear – it is gen-u-ine USAF order speakery)

General Instructions: Officer is authorized to participate in flying activities during the period of active duty covered by this order.

Authority: Paragraph 1b. AFR 45-28 6 3 1957.

Transportation: You will proceed from present address on effective date of training. Travel by military aircraft is directed when available. PCS. TDN. Pay and allowances are chargeable.

For the Commander: W.H. Fleetwood 

SIGNED CWO. W-4 USAF Asst Director of Administrative Services”

For more T-33 flight adventures, and the full story of Tip’s aviation history life, check Amazon.com for the book “When No One Else Would Fly” or contact us to be added to the list for upcoming release.

 

The Cessna T-50 was a twin-engine trainer and Tip flew it from Washington D.C. to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1943. Thank you wikipedia for the public domain photo!

The Cessna T-50 was a twin-engine trainer and Tip flew it from Washington D.C. to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1943. Thank you wikipedia for the public domain photo!

The Cessna T-50 is not a very big plane, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a very long way from Washington D.C.

The flight would be a challenge in today’s modern times, with all of the GPS navigation equipment now available – but back in 1943, it was beyond challenging, it was a record!

Colonel C. J. Tippett made that flight in October, 1943 to bring a Cessna T-50 twin engine plane to Rio as a gift from the US Government to the civil aviation program of Brazil. Tip was in charge of the pilot training program, and his students needed access to a twin engine trainer. The US Government wanted to keep Brazil’s good will during wartime, and due to enemy submarine attacks in the Atlantic, the only way to get the plane to the students was to have Tip fly it down.

Additionally, Tip wanted to bring his wife and young son to Brazil. The Cessna could seat up to five, so off they went – with a State Department diplomat named Tony Satterthwaite.

Tip wrote:  “The newest twin-engine trainer at that time was the Cessna T-50; a five passenger wood and fabric aircraft powered with two 245-hp. engines. I was very familiar with the aircraft, as we had used the first ones at the Houston Standardization Center for the training of our inspectors.”

Louise, Tip’s wife, wrote:  “My husband, Cloyce Tippett, a special representative of the Civil Aeronautics Administration in Brazil, met his son, Mike, and me in Washington on his return from his foreign assignment. One day he came in from the CAA office bursting with news and asked me if I’d like to go with him to Brazil. I said sure I would. But Tip had been sent the year before to Argentina for “six weeks” and he had stayed more than a year. All that time, I had one bag packed while I perched precariously on the assurance I was to join him, but I never did. So now I put a strong dash of salt on the Brazil talk.

He assured me patiently that this time it was different and did I, or did I not, want to go to Brazil? I played another card. He had flown down there in a two-seat Fairchild single-engine plane and I wanted very little of that. Tip was a patient guy; tall, good-looking, with smile wrinkles mixed in with the lines that usually frame a pilot’s eyes. He described the Cessna that the CAA was turning over to him. Cozy, he said, as a small apartment. Long back seat where you and Mike could curl up and sleep. Now being converted from its military purposes at the factory. Make the trip in ten days. Magnificent scenery. New places. Rio’s wonderful.

It took more than ten days, but they did it – and their account of the flight is one of the best chapters of Tip’s aviation pioneering story “When No One Else Would Fly”, which is VERY close to being released on Amazon.com. Contact Us to be added to the book release list, or search the title on Amazon.com in the next month. The book is part memoir, part background story, and totally riveting.

 

Col C. J. Tippett flew the Sikorsky OA8

Col. C. J. Tippett flew the Sikorsky OA-8 on February 14th, 1939… on his 26th birthday!

Cloyce Joseph Tippett was born on February 14th, 1913.

Twenty-six years later, on February 14th, 1939, he was at Kelly Field, Texas, flying a Sikorsky OA-8, also known as a JRS-1 or S-43.

Flying at Kelly Field was an accomplishment Tip had been trying to achieve since he was 16, flying his own Jenny biplane in the fields of Port Clinton, Ohio.

The amphibious twin-engine Sikorsky “Clipper” was only one of the many aircraft Tip learned to fly, at Kelly Field, and afterwards. This was a passenger craft and could hold up to 25 people in addition to the crew. Tip was learning every aspect of aviation, including navigation and communications.

Amphibious aircraft enjoyed the extended landing and take-off options afforded by waterways, but there were techniques specific to using those waterways that Tip had to master. Calm water was one thing, but any chop or waves presented a unique set of problems.

The extraordinary detail of Tip’s life as an aviation pioneer, described in the soon-to-be-released book “When No-One Else Would Fly”, was made possible by the flight logs and other documents that Tip carefully preserved throughout his life and travels.

Tip’s birthday flight in 1939 at Kelly Field, Texas was recorded in his flight log, along with every other flight he took as he studied with the US Army Air Corps. His descriptions of those times are a delightful read, and the book is almost ready!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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