sentinelchicken sentinelchicken

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JP Santiago  Husband • Dad • Physician • Illustrator • Aviation Geek • Dallas/Fort Worth • All shots mine because I took them and licked them

The Douglas AC-47 Spooky gunship was the grand-daddy of a whole unique class of combat aircraft that came into existence in Vietnam. The first AC-47 gunships were converted at Bien Hoa AB in-theater with conversion kits created by the Air Force’s Aeronautical Systems Division. Two aircraft were converted as a proof of concept with three 7.62mm Miniguns, a Mark 20 Mod 4 gunsight from A-1 Skyraider mounted on the pilot’s left cockpit window, VHF, UHF, and FM radios, TACAN equipment for navigation, IFF gear, 45 flares, each producing 20,000 candlepower of illumination and over 24,000 rounds of ammunition for the Miniguns.
The new gunships were designated FC-47 (FC for “Fighter, Cargo). Aeronautical Systems Division crews flew the first two FC-47s on 54 combat missions where they were decisive in breaking Viet Cong night assaults. Not long after those first two prototype FC-47s were flying combat missions, the fighter pilots on the command staff of Seventh Air Force and the Pacific Air Forces which were in command of USAF assets in Southeast Asia, heard about the FC-47 designation and nearly lost their minds over aircraft that were built during World War II with “F” designators. In the interests of keeping the peace and avoiding an inter-service controversy, the FC-47 was redesignated the AC-47.
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I’ve always joked that the Lockheed P-3 Orion was the Navy’s answer to the B-52 and now with the Boeing P-8 Poseidon operational, the Orion’s days are numbered in the role that it has long excelled in- hunting subs. “I always know where my submarines are. I look at where the P-3 Orions are flying and that tells me where my submarines are.” -Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces, 1984-1989

Successor to the Lockheed P2V Neptune and Martin P5M Marlin, the Orion prototype was actually a converted Lockheed L-188A Electra airliner that the P-3 was derived from- the initial Navy requirement was that the new aircraft be a derivative of an existing airframe. The Navy got the contract to convert an Electra in October 1958 to the YP3V-1 prototype which first flew 19 August 1958, sixty years ago last month. The first seven P3Vs were for the flight test program and the aircraft was christened “Orion” in 1960.
The first operational squadron to get its Orions was VP-8 at NAS Patuxent River in August 1962. The following month, the US designation series was rationalized across the armed services and the P3V-1 became the P-3A.
The Orion’s baptism into operations came the following month with the Cuban Missile Crisis just as VP-8 was reaching its initial operating capability. VP-44 was rushed through its conversion and even Orions with the Navy’s flight test squadron VX-1 were pressed into service enforcing the blockade of Cuba.
It would be the start of an illustrious history in the annals of aviation!

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N440LV, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700, gets loaded up at Chicago Midway. Looking at the Bureau of Transportation’s statistics, it looks like of all of the airports Southwest serves, Chicago Midway is the most “dominated” by them with 95.8% of enplaned passengers June 2017 to May 2018.
By comparison, Southwest’s market share at Houston Hobby is 92% of enplaned passengers and at Dallas Love Field it’s 91%. Interestingly, what all three airports (MDW, HOU, and DAL) have in common is they’re the smaller of two major airports in the same metropolitan area. A cursory review of other cities with a large Southwest presence tend to be in the 30-40% market share range, but if the airport is one of several in the area, it tends to fall in the 60-75% range like Baltimore-Washington with a 69% market share with passenger air traffic to the area split amongst BWI, IAD, and DCA. Oakland is similar with a 72% market share (traffic in the Bay Area split amongst OAK, SFO, and SJC) as is Burbank (72%) with traffic in the LA Basin split amongst LAX, LGB, and ONT.
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Mad Dog throwin’ it all out to decelerate at Baltimore-Washington….N9628W is an MD-83 originally delivered to TWA in January 1999 that crossed over to American with the 2001 acquisition of Trans World Airlines. In its history, TWA operated a total of 104 MD-80s, all of them -82s and -83s, delivered between April 1983 to the very last MD-80 built, delivered to TWA in December 1999.
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The last of my “Flights of Fantasy” Westland Wyverns I did 12 years ago, this one is hypothetical McDonnell license built example in VNAF colors. This is my favorite of the bunch. Given the short distances from VNAF bases to Viet Cong targets throughout South Vietnam, they might have ditched the underslung tip tanks I came up with in the previous illustration to trade fuel for more bombs.
In the real world timeline, the 518th Fighter Squadron “Dragons" of the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) was established in 1963 and operated Douglas A-1 Skyraiders until the fall of Saigon in 1975. Often assigned difficult missions by the VNAF Special Operations Group, the 518th Fighter Squadron was considered the elite unit of the South Vietnamese Air Force. In the last days before the fall of Saigon on 29 April 1975, it was the pilots of the 518th FS that flew the last combat missions of the VNAF, all while trying to get their own families out of Saigon and to safety.
I did this profile back in 2006 and is not up to my current artwork standards. Check out the #WhatIfWyvern_SentinelChicken tag for all the Wyvern aircraft I did in this series.

#avgeek #aviation #aircraft #planeporn #thechickenworks (follow this tag to see more of my artwork) #Westland #Wyvern #instaaviation #aviationlovers #flight #Avgeekery #Adobe #Illustrator #aviationart #aviationillustration #IllustratorCC #Avgeekschoolofknowledge

From 1959 to 1974 Portugal fought a long running and eventually losing fight against the growing tide of African nationalism in its African possessions- the right-wing totalitarian government of Antonio Salazar threw the weight of the Portuguese armed forces into a series of conflicts throughout Portugal's African possessions. Their primary air weapon in this fight would be the tough Fiat G.91 which the FAP found to be well-suited to the harsh demands of African counterinsurgency warfare.

Suppose the Wyvern was just as tough given its carrier roots and is employed by the FAP in Africa? This illustration shows such a Wyvern in the colors of the first G.91s that were deployed to Africa- gray/green upper surfaces with light blue undersurfaces.
In the real world timeline, Esquadra 121 of the Forca Aerea Portuguesa operated the Dornier Do 27 light piston single in the FAC/observation and liaison role out of Osvaldo Viera Airport, the only international airport in Guinea-Bissau. The conflict there went from 1963 to 1974 when the Carnation Revolution in Portugal deposed the authoritarian regime in Lisbon. Peace accords soon followed between Portugal and Guinea-Bissau, allowing full independence after nearly 12 years of conflict. Brutal reprisals against those who supported the Portugeuse soon followed.

I did this profile back in 2006 and is not up to my current artwork standards. Check out the #WhatIfWyvern_SentinelChicken tag for all the Wyvern aircraft I did in this series.

#avgeek #aviation #aircraft #planeporn #thechickenworks (follow this tag to see more of my artwork) #Westland #Wyvern #instaaviation #aviationlovers #flight #Avgeekery #Adobe #Illustrator #aviationart #aviationillustration #IllustratorCC #Avgeekschoolofknowledge

Pushback time! What we have accepted as the standard for most jet aircraft at airports worldwide, nose-in parking with a pushback tug on departure, wasn’t always the case. In the days of propliners, most airliners of those days parked parallel to the terminal building and then maneuvered out and away under their own power.
But two factors converged to make nose-in parking a necessity- the growth in passenger numbers traveling by air and the arrival of larger jet aircraft in the late 1950s. Pan Am’s Worldport Terminal at JFK was a classic example- designed when Pan Am’s largest aircraft was the Douglas DC-7, the change to the Boeing 707 at Pan Am meant that for parallel parking to still be used, the Worldport would have to give up one gate so the larger 707s could be accommodated. With the Worldport still under construction in 1960, it had to be redesigned for nose-in parking which was a more efficient use of space and allowed for more gates than the older parallel parking layout.
At the United terminal at San Francisco, dual jetways were used with parallel parked DC-8s, but even this was a less than efficient use of space compared to nose-in parking which allowed more aircraft to be loaded/unloaded at the terminal.
In addition, jet blast meant that powering out of a parallel parking stand was more hazardous to ramp equipment and personal compared to the prop wash of older airliners.
Powerbacks were used for a while but only in tail-mounted airrcraft like the Boeing 727 or the DC-9/MD-80 as the risk of FOD damage was too high for an aircraft with wing engines to power back. Higher fuel prices, the need to reduce engine wear, and a gradual reduction in the number of airliners with tail-mounted engines meant that the most important vehicle at the airport is the ubiquitous push back tug!

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An American Eagle E170 just seconds from touchdown in the evening at DFW- operated by Envoy Air, Envoy has about 44 E170s in its fleet. Envoy is the 2014 rebranding of the American Eagle subsidiary that was part of a drive by the parent airline to have other regional carriers fly as American Eagle. Of course, as long as I have been in this area, for many long time legacy Eagle employees, the use of the name “Envoy” is pretty much a four letter word!
American Eagle (now Envoy) began as a collection of regional airlines contracted to provide regional feed to American Airlines. The first American Eagle flight was operated by Metroflight on 1 November 1984, flying Swearingen Metroliners fro Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Arkansas, to DFW.
Beginning in 1987, American’s parent holding company, AMR, began acquiring the airlines flying as American Eagle, eventually consolidating them into just two carriers by 1998- American Eagle and Executive Airlines. Executive operated ATRs for American Eagle at the SJU hub but was shut down in 2013 with the folding of the SJU hub in Puerto Rico, leaving American Eagle (now Envoy) as the sole regional carrier.
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Another one of my “Flights of Fantasy” Westland Wyverns that in our alternate history timeline, were license-built in the United States by McDonnell Aircraft.
I had to come up with a post-1962 MDS for the Americanized Wyvern, so I bent the rules and had the last AJ Savages being put out to pasture before 1962 so the A2H could become the A-2. So there! So sue me.

This version would have underslung tip tanks to free up additional hardpoints under the wing for ordanance, which in this case would be 7-shot rocket launcher pods for use against area targets. Basically the premise was using the Wyvern as a replacement for the A-1 Skyraider (implausible, really, given the myriad problems the Wyvern had, but had they been ironed out, you gotta admit a turboprop single engine with a contraprop sure would be cool). In the real world timeline, the 1st SOS “Hobos” started out as the 1st Air Commando Squadron in Vietnam at Bien Hoa AB in 1963 and to 1972 flew a variety aircraft on special operations missions including the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. In 1972, the 1st SOS converted to the C-130 Hercules and relocated to its current base, Kadena AB in Okinawa, where today the Hobos fly the MC-130H Combat Talon variant of the Hercules.
So what doesn't Southeast Asia tactical camo make look sexy?
I did this profile back in 2006 and is not up to my current artwork standards. Check out the #WhatIfWyvern_SentinelChicken tag for all the Wyvern aircraft I did in this series.

#avgeek #aviation #aircraft #planeporn #thechickenworks (follow this tag to see more of my artwork) #Westland #Wyvern #instaaviation #aviationlovers #flight #Avgeekery #Adobe #Illustrator #aviationart #aviationillustration #IllustratorCC #Avgeekschoolofknowledge

Another one of my “Flights of Fantasy” Westland Wyverns that in our alternate history timeline, were license-built in the United States by McDonnell Aircraft. The French Air Force operated Skyraiders in Africa in the counter-insurgency role through the 1960s, so I thought that might make for an interesting looking Wyvern with two-tone desert camouflage.
In our real world timeline, EAA 1/21 did operate Douglas Skyraiders in Djibouti in East Africa in the COIN role. The squadron is Escadron 21 the unit had two Escadrilles, or flights- 1/21 and 2/21. The squadron was established for French colonial duties, starting out in Oran in Morocco, then Djibouti, before being disestablished in 1973 in Madagascar.

The French Air Force (Armee de l’Air) acquired the Douglas Skyraiders second hand from the US Navy starting in 1956 to replace P-47 Thunderbolts in the French colonial possessions. The Skyraiders were tough and effective COIN aircraft France’s African colonies.

I did this profile back in 2006 and is not up to my current artwork standards. Check out the #WhatIfWyvern_SentinelChicken tag for all the Wyvern aircraft I did in this series.

#avgeek #aviation #aircraft #planeporn #thechickenworks (follow this tag to see more of my artwork) #Westland #Wyvern #instaaviation #aviationlovers #flight #Avgeekery #Adobe #Illustrator #aviationart #aviationillustration #IllustratorCC #Avgeekschoolofknowledge

Here's one in the later US Navy scheme of Light Gull Gray top surfaces with white undersurfaces. It's one of my favorite time periods in military aviation history from the standpoint of markings- though the camouflage wasn't interesting, some of the squadron and air wing markings were very flamboyant and appealing to the eye!

This is the squadron marking for VA-145 “Swordsmen” when they operated the Douglas AD Skyraider in the real world timeline. The Swordsmen operated the Skyraider 1950-1968 and flew combat missions in the Korean War as well as the Vietnam War. These markings used on my flight of fantasy Wyvern were used by VA-145 when they were embarked on the USS Ranger in 1958 when the Forrestal-class carrier was transferred to the Pacific Fleet from the Atlantic Fleet. VA-145 converted to the A-6 Intruder in 1968 and was disestablished in 1993.
I did this profile back in 2006 and is not up to my current artwork standards. Check out the #WhatIfWyvern_SentinelChicken tag for all the Wyvern aircraft I did in this series.

#avgeek #aviation #aircraft #planeporn #thechickenworks (follow this tag to see more of my artwork) #Westland #Wyvern #instaaviation #aviationlovers #flight #Avgeekery #Adobe #Illustrator #aviationart #aviationillustration #IllustratorCC #Avgeekschoolofknowledge

This one is an Aeronavale machine in the colors worn by French Corsairs with 15F which was embarked on the FNS La Fayette during the Suez Crisis.
In the real world timeline, the Aeronavale squadron 15 Flotille (15F) was established in 1953 with Vought F4U Corsairs which was the aircraft used by the squadron during the 1956 Suez Crisis. The markings I used in this hypothetical Wyvern illustration were very similar to what Aeronavale Corsairs wore during the conflict. The FNS La Fayette embarked both 15F and 14F during the conflict- after Suez, 15F was embarked on the FNS Arromanches and the squadron was disestablished in 1962 only to be reformed in 1967 to operated the Dassault Etendard IV, and then disestablished again in 1969.
The aircraft carrier FNS La Fayette was originally the Independence-class CVL USS Langley (CVL-27). The FNS Arromanches was formerly the HMS Colossus of the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy's Wyverns actually flew strike missions during the 1956 Suez Crisis, so it wasn't much of a stretch to imagine what French naval Wyverns might have looked like.
I did this profile back in 2006 and is not up to my current artwork standards. Check out the #WhatIfWyvern_SentinelChicken tag for all the Wyvern aircraft I did in this series.

#avgeek #aviation #aircraft #planeporn #thechickenworks (follow this tag to see more of my artwork) #Westland #Wyvern #instaaviation #aviationlovers #flight #Avgeekery #Adobe #Illustrator #aviationart #aviationillustration #IllustratorCC #Avgeekschoolofknowledge

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