Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The amazing Harvard aircraft - and other boisterous things

The Amazing Harvard - Click on image for a larger view
Picture © tia-mysoa.blogspot.com
We South Africans can be truly proud of our magnificent European heritage on the African continent, and specifically South Africa’s rich aviation history which during its early years included participation in both World Wars, the Berlin Airlift, and the Korean War.

I spent a large portion of my childhood living next door to Zwartkop AFB. It was a noisy place back in those days, and I can clearly recall the incessant racket made by, among other aircraft, the Harvard trainer planes - (how can we ever forget?) It was a commotion we miraculously grew accustomed to over the years and longed for when they ceased making a racket. This is perhaps why I will today seldom miss an air show and why I have a particular fondness for the Harvard and the boisterous noise they make.

This past weekend I attended another fantastic air show at Zwartkop AFB, after acquiring my entrance tickets on Thursday last week already, directly from the SAAF Museum at Zwartkop. While I was there and while there weren’t many people around I decided to shoot a quick video of some of the historic exhibits on display. I was basically done in the main display hall and on my way out when I heard an extraordinary sound (something I was not accustomed to) coming from another display hall. The last portion of this video will reveal what the strange sound was… Enjoy!

Here’s a short video-tribute to the Harvard aircraft and the lucky buggers who have the privilege of flying these amazing machines:

P-51 Mustang whistling sound, recorded at the air show on 11 May 2013:

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Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Thanks for posting, Tia.

Brought back some great childhood memories of watching the Harvard aircraft performing at the old Oribi Aerodrome in 'Maritzburg, many years ago.

I recall an announcer saying that the incredible noise these planes generate, was as a result of the tips of their props breaking the sound barrier, and it's a comment that's stuck with me ever since.

Just how true that is I don't know, but it's a truly wonderful sound that once heard, can never be forgotten.

Thanks again for posting - that really made my day.

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@ Anon – I’m glad it made your day!
Most sources on this subject claim that the "whistling" sound is caused by the air flowing through the cooling duct under the wing. Others say it is caused by the gunports in the wings, but this cannot be correct because some Mustangs do not have gunports, yet they still make the peculiar "whistling" sound.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Pensioner says;

The sound the Harvards make when flying towards you is the sound of the props breaking the sound barrier.
My brother worked at Airways for many years where they had a couple of Harvards used by their Engineering Section for the training of apprentices, and he confirmed that those engines revved at a speed fast enough to cause the tip of the props to break the sound barrier. The old Junkers that used to belong to Airways was retro fitted with three Harvard engines and this also made that sound!

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I failed to mention the following info in this posting:

The SAAF fighter, bomber and reconnaissance squadrons played a key role in the Western Desert and North African campaigns from 1941 to 1943. A memorable feat was the SAAF Boston bombers of 12 and 24 Squadrons who dropped hundreds of tons of bombs on the Afrika Korps as it was pushing the Eighth Army back towards Egypt during the "Gazala Gallop" in early 1942. The SAAF bombers were also instrumental in continually harassing the German forces retreating towards the Tunisian border after the Battle of Alamein whilst the South African fighters of 223 Wing contributed towards the Allied Desert Air Force attaining air superiority over the Axis air forces by the beginning of 1942. Between April 1941 and May 1943, the eleven SAAF squadrons flew 33 991 sorties and destroyed 342 enemy aircraft. [Source]

The South Africans had the distinction of dropping the first and last bombs in the African conflict - the first being on 11 June 1940 on Moyale in Abyssinia and the last being on the Italian 1st Army in Tunisia. [Source: Brown, James Ambrose (1974). Eagles Strike: The Campaigns of the South African Air Force in Egypt, Cyrenaica, Libya, Tunisia, Tripolitania and Madagascar: 1941 - 1943. Cape Town: Purnell. p. 382.]

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Lovely machines.

Alysa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

This is cool!

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