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The World’s Largest Airplane Flies Again

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by NYC Fred, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. Ridgeback

    Ridgeback Rookie

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    #26 Ridgeback, Apr 2, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    Bob, I was at Abbotsford in 1989 too. I knew both escort leaders, MAJ Bob Wade (RCAF, F-18B) and LTC Mike "Squeaky" Frohm (USAF, F-15A). When they arrived on the Wednesday, I met them to drive them to their hotels. Bob's whizzo was a fluent Russian speaker so we ended up getting the tour, too. But ours ended in the crew quarters, which were packed from floor to ceiling with......vodka! That was all they had. They were penniless, didn't have much but some awful tinned food, but an awesome selection of vodka.

    We started a hat and all chucked in as much as we could, sent out for pizzas for everyone, and made sure the next morning that they had b'fast delivered. They had a stock of officers caps, and the winter fur hats that they were selling for US$10 each. I still have mine. Then the KGB arrived on Friday and suddenly they didn't even acknowledge us..

    MAJ Bob Wade became the first Western pilot to fly the MiG-29Bis on Sunday afternoon, after hanging in the Russian tent for three whole days! The gang were in Hangar 13 when he walked in after the flight, with Anatoly Kvochur and Mikoyan's Chief Test Pilot Valery Minitskii, who'd been Bob's WSO for the flight. Wade was a taciturn cowboy from the Prairies, but his face was wreathed in smiles. I asked how it was. His answer? "Ridge, I wouldn't have swopped that ride for a hundred BJs!!" I just looked at him and when we'd all finished falling about laughing, I said, "Wade, I keep telling you. You're going out with the wrong type of woman!" Everyone fell about again and Anatoly asked the interpreter what I'd said. He was told.

    He turned, laughed and put out his hand. It was like taking a chunk of granite. No give whatsoever. Suddenly, I knew why I never saw him wear a G-suit.

    Happy Days indeed...:)
     
  2. vincep99

    vincep99 Formula 3
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    Jun 8, 2009
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    I too thought the Spruce Goose was the world's largest airplane? Maybe it is the largest wooden airplane.

    I saw it two years ago when I was touring the Willamette Valley (great Pinot Noir)
     
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  3. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I was at Abbotsford in 1989 (as well as Farnborough 1990), so I got to see the An-225 fly on both occasions, as well as the MiG-29 and Su-27. It was amazing to think of seeing current Soviet equipment being flown at Western airshows! I only regret never seeing a Tu-95 in the air. It made one North American tour but I was never in the right place at the right time.
     
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  4. Mule

    Mule F1 Rookie
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    I know Squeaky...
     
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  5. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I recall that when the crew was out of the airplane their tan jumpsuits were somewhat shabby and poorly made. And, yes, they were selling anything that they find to the crowd. Later on that summer the Russians were at Paine Field and we spent a lot of time with them. The AN225 wasn't there but a plane load of Russians were there and their jets and aerobatic planes were there. I got to meet the leader of the whole thing, Viktor Zabolotsky, an ex-Cosmonaut, and his contingent of translators and staff. They were some of the most intelligent, competent, and resolute people I had ever met . He had two lovely translators, Galena Sakarova and Tatyana Nicholai, that could keep very technical conversations going between Viktor and us Boeing people without a hitch. My son and I helped to fly some of the crew up to San Juan Island on a Saturday for a luncheon at friend's place and what an eye opener that was. They were a helluva lot of fun and full of laughs. We flew back to Paine in two airplanes with my son flying ours and a friend in the other. He turned it over to one of the Russians and they tucked into us in formation and stayed there to Paine Field and remained there during the landing. We had a farewell party at their motel that night and they brought their tinned food and, yes, it was awful, full of fat and grease. We had a helluva party though and left with a good taste in our mouth. . During the weekend they were buying out every computer and printer that they could lay their hands on. They left the next Monday in an IL-76 , I think (engines aft) and my son said that most of them were in tears.
     
  6. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Friend's father saw the Tu-114 (airliner version of the Bear) at Andrews when Khrushchev visited. Same unbelievably loud engines/props as the Bear. Had to use a ladder to reach the door.
     
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  7. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 19, 2008
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    Note an An-124 delivered medical equipment
    that was bought from the Russians
    to the US today or yesterday . Made the national news.
     
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  8. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    If the engines were aft, it would have been an Il-62. This story belongs in your next book!;)
     
  9. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Thanks, Jim. I'm trying but I'm kinda slow now at 93 & 7/8ths. Eight more weeks and it'll be 94. Still trying to finish a couple of paintings but this summer I'm going to have to clear everything out if I can still avoid the virus. Lots and Lots of prints and 12 originals. We're in lock down and following all procedures, tho. I hear that alcohol kills this thing so I have doubled up on the scotch.
     
  10. skyshooter

    skyshooter Rookie

    Apr 15, 2014
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    Pretty sure the AN-124 was what I saw parked at Indianapolis back at the first F1 race 2000? I only saw it from the air as I flew in, though it could have also been O'Hare at Chicago can't remember which place I flew into (visiting friends). I do remember the plane was so big it made the nearby parked 747s look small. Could've been the second or third years there too, I was at all of the Indy races. IIRC some of the F1 teams used it to haul their gear over, or maybe it was Bernie moving the F1 digital TV set up they were trying to get going then?
     
  11. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Many years ago, Pepsi hired a 124 to carry an entire Pepsi bottling plant intact.
     
  12. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I should add that those who attended the luncheon and motel party were the pilots and staff members that were many levels above the airplane crew. They were the ones buying so much elex in Everett. They were open, humorous , and fun loving people but I wouldn't relish fighting them. Their resolve, discipline, intelligence, and sense of purpose was obvious. Great experience to meet them and I can't believe that it was 30 years ago.
     
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  13. john a barnes

    john a barnes Karting

    Dec 19, 2018
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    Back in the day it was smuggled out of USSR. A local place here named Ladish Co. was the only shop that could form it. In Cold War secrecy.
     
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  14. zygomatic

    zygomatic F1 Rookie
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    We were good customers, though -- we let the titanium revisit home every now and again
     
  15. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    An old friend who was ex Viet Nam era Navy pilot flew on a contract in India for a while said a number of his coworkers were exmilitary Russians. His comments about them mirrored yours. Said they were a lot of fun on the ground and good, serious aviators. Would not want to fight them.
     
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  16. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    I am sure in the old days titanium made a world tour on its way to the USA.
     
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  17. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Thanks, Brian. If you want to get an idea of how the Russians go about facing an adversary, read the history of the Battle of Kursk. The number of Russian combatants (1.4 million), tanks, artillery tubes (heavy and light), aircraft, and land mines is staggering. The losses are staggering but they had the reserves that the Germans lacked and they simply kept feeding it all into the conflict until the Germans were chewed up. It was the defining battle of the war for Germany and they never recovered.They were put on the defensive until the war ended. I read that years later one could still see the remnants of the Wermacht, human and material, in the ground of the Kursk battlefields.
     
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  18. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    I have. I have actually read extensively about the Eastern front. Most Americans have little idea how big it was. At the battle of the Kursk Salient they lost more tanks daily than Patton commanded. Crews would crawl out onto the battlefield at night to try and repair them. My comment on how only a Tiger could tow a Tiger, that was very important because it meant when a Tiger was damaged it took two out of action. Germans lost because of logistics. 70% of their over the road transportation was horse drawn. They did not have manufacturing capacity to build both weapons and trucks. Over a 30 mile front at the Kursk Salient the Russians literally had heavy artillery axle to axle firing on the Wehrmacht. When supplies needed to be moved up they had to cease fire and move a few.
     
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  19. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Again, Hitler shot himself in the foot when he delayed the Kursk assault to wait for more Tigers to be built. That took two months to accomplish, thus giving the Russians much time to build their defenses. The Tiger again displayed it's cumbersomeness while the 3000 T-34's ran rings around everything. Amazingly , the T-34 was an American design, the Christy Tank, that was turned down by the American Army before the war. The Russians didn't make a fancy copy of it either. It was simple and crude and they cranked them out like cakes of soap. Such interesting history!
     
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  20. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    #45 Rifledriver, Apr 4, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
    The entire war was based on the belief they could overwhelm their opponents quickly with massive force and surprise. Worked most of the time but he badly misjudged the Russians and the British. They had a level of resolve he didn't understand. Nor was he a student of history. The Russians had done it before. A strategic retreat and let mother nature beat down the invaders. It was very ugly. The Russians gave them a lot of payback when they marched all the way to Berlin. Germany had no national capacity to fight a drawn out war. It is a wonder it went on as long as it did.
     
  21. zygomatic

    zygomatic F1 Rookie
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    During the initial invasion of Russia, Hitler's generals on the Western front were sending reports back that must have seemed almost impossible. Despite envelopments that took hundreds of thousands of prisoners (which Hitler loved), German generals were incredulous as they watched the Russian Order of Battle actually grow stronger.
     
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  22. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Correction. CHRISTIE TANK. I remember seeing photos of it with the tracks removed and cruising down the road at 50mph. It was featured in the Britannica in 1937 and I first saw it there.
     
  23. LVP488

    LVP488 F1 Rookie

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  24. tritone

    tritone F1 Rookie
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  25. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    No. The wings are set with anhedral,(cathedral), to offset the wing sweep stabilization effect.
     

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