Night Before Takeoff

Night Before Takeoff

Night Before Takeoff   Let’s look under the wing of a B-25 into the night sky.  Just think of how many WWII airmen had a similar view the night before their next mission.  This B-25’s next mission will be a “milk run” to the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH to participate in the 75th Doolittle Raid Anniversary.  But, they weren’t all milk runs.

Martin JRM Mars Making a Drop

Martin JRM Mars Making a Drop

Martin JRM Mars Making a Drop  The Martin JRM Mars flying boats are the world’s largest flying boats ever flown operationally.  Although seven were built, only two remain flying, the Hawaii Mars JRM-3 pictured here and the Philippine Mars.  They have been refitted as firefighting water bombers carrying 7,200 gallons of water.

This Martin JRM Mars is dropping 7,200 gallons of water on runway 18/36 at AirVenture 2016.  You might ask: how do they get the water?  Well, the Captain lands on the water normally, but keeps the the aircraft “on the step” at  60-70 knots. The Flight Engineer controls the power to keep the aircraft “on the step” and selects the scoops to the “down” position to inject the water into the tanks at the rate of about a ton per second.  The 7200 gallon pickup time averages 25 seconds.  When the tanks are full, the scoops are raised, takeoff power is applied by the Flight Engineer and the Captain makes a normal loaded takeoff.  Pretty slick!

Unfortunately water landings are not without risks.  This Hawaii Mars JRM-3 flying boat sustained some damage to the hull when it was scooping up water on Lake Winnebago.  One of the scoops hit something hard that was submerged in the lake.  Hopefully, it will return this summer.  With spring here, it’s time to begin looking forward to fly-in and air show season; better known as summer.  Actually, the first big fly-in close-by is only 3 1/2 weeks away.