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December 5, 2011 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Mowing the lawn. A collection of aircraft taxiing with the wheels up...
posted by bitmage (49 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looking at these photos earlier today reminded me to watch again Kyle Franklin's amazing performance as a "drunk pilot" at an airshow. It's like low passes, only with turns.
posted by Nelson at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Classic metafilter post: something fascinating assembled at length by someone I've never heard of on a site I never would have found on a topic I didn't even know I was interested in. Thanks!
posted by Rumple at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2011 [16 favorites]


This old Southwest Airlines ad is one of my favorites...
posted by nushustu at 11:54 AM on December 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reminded me of this post from earlier this year.
posted by Kabanos at 11:57 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What was that quote from Le Grand Illusion?

"It is every guard's duty to secure his prisoners and every prisoner's duty to down asshole pilots."?
posted by Slackermagee at 12:00 PM on December 5, 2011


See also: Mow the Lawn. (SLYT, heh)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:01 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


FUCK ME!
posted by unSane at 12:02 PM on December 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


That drunk pilot thing is pretty scary. I was like "nice acting!" until he's got the door open and is waving his arms around and I'm all..."right?"
posted by DU at 12:03 PM on December 5, 2011


This one, not so funny but on topic, seems to be missing...
posted by Namlit at 12:09 PM on December 5, 2011


What a Catch - 22!
posted by keratacon at 12:14 PM on December 5, 2011


My late uncle-in-law was a decorated flyer, and in fact helped fly in supplies to Chiang Kai-Shek in '42. He flew P-38s, B-24 bombers and others. A hellion, he was known for antics both on the ground and in the air.

In an oft-recounted family story, he was flying with a friend in an AT-6 Texan over a river and remarked, "you know, if you hit that water just right, you can bounce the plane off of it." Against protest, he proceeded to do just that. Elated with his success, he attempted a repeat, and sank the plane.

Another time, on a combat bombing mission, he had a photographer along to record the results. Apparently he came in hot, fast and low, and the photographer was so terrified he didn't make a single exposure. Having regained altitude, Dave was furious to learn there were no photos.

"Okay," he declared, "I'll do it again. And this time, use your camera!" He then duplicated the same run. He got his pictures.

The first story has been corroborated, which makes the second easier to believe.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:15 PM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amazing photos. Great post!
posted by xedrik at 12:16 PM on December 5, 2011


This has got to be one of the most amazing photographs I have ever seen. Part of me really wants to know what happened next.
posted by strixus at 12:17 PM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


the "Human Fly" on top of the jet airliner made me do a double take.
posted by tommasz at 12:25 PM on December 5, 2011


Lots of great pictures, but the B-52 flying lower than the deck of a carrier really blows my mind.
posted by COBRA! at 12:27 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Classic metafilter post: something fascinating assembled at length by someone I've never heard of on a site I never would have found on a topic I didn't even know I was interested in. Thanks!


It's the opposite of an OWS post....thanks...awesome
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:27 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


An Allied pilot flying a Macchi 200 buzzing Taranto, Italy. It sadly proved that these kind of stunts aren't without danger as the pilot hit a member of the ground crew and more or less decapitated him. The pilot hadn't noticed a thing and after landing was confronted with a dent in his wing's leading edge, containing skull fragments.

Such a jolly lark, buzzing the airfield, what?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2011


This brings back some memories of stories I used to hear from my great-uncle, who loved bragging about buzzing downtown St. Catharines, Ontario at 2nd story level in Ontario during WWII as a flight training instructor.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:31 PM on December 5, 2011


Muffley:

General Turgidson, is there really a chance for that plane to get through?

Turgidson:

Ah... If the pilot's good, see. I mean, if he's really... sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low spreads his arms like wings., laughs you oughtta see it sometime, it's a sight. A big plane, like a '52, vroom! There's jet exhaust, flyin' chickens in the barnyard!

Muffley:

Yeah, but has he got a chance?

Turgidson:

Has he got a chance? Hell Ye... ye... [covers mouth in solemn realization]

posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:31 PM on December 5, 2011


Argh. [spreads his arms like wings], rather.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:33 PM on December 5, 2011


collection of aircraft taxiing with the wheels up

I read this literally, as in "How do you know when you've forgotten to put the landing gear down? When it takes full power to taxi to the ramp."
posted by exogenous at 12:42 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I almost forgot to say: GREAT POST.

Next time I need a shot of adrenaline, I just need to check those pics. That guy riding the DC-8... whoa.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2011


Oh, man:
It sadly proved that these kind of stunts aren't without danger as the pilot hit a member of the ground crew and more or less decapitated him. The pilot hadn't noticed a thing and after landing was confronted with a dent in his wing's leading edge, containing skull fragments.
Ouch. Also, regarding the real-life military career of an actor best known for playing a fictional starship engineer:
Although never actually a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Doohan was once labelled the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Force." A story from his flying years tells of Doohan slaloming a plane – variously cited as a Hurricane or a jet trainer – between mountainside telegraph poles to prove it could be done, which earned him a serious reprimand.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:59 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks Nelson, those old Piper Cubs are tough. And easy to fly.

I'm happy to have grown up in the age of cheap computers, but I regret missing the age of cheap airplanes.
posted by bitmage at 12:59 PM on December 5, 2011


Everything about all of this terrifies me.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:10 PM on December 5, 2011


Cooking the grass.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:37 PM on December 5, 2011


Airliners landing at Saint Martin (st Maarten): Airbus A340, Boeing 747, many others...
posted by elgilito at 1:55 PM on December 5, 2011


Is it still "mowing the lawn" if you don't have an engine?
posted by phliar at 2:30 PM on December 5, 2011


Poor Kid Sampson. He never stood a chance.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 2:45 PM on December 5, 2011


Great memories as a child in Scotland hiking in the mountains, and having RAF jets pass by below us in the valleys, sound trailing behind them.
posted by alasdair at 2:52 PM on December 5, 2011


The Arc de Triumph is just too tempting a target is it not?
(more about the pilot - I like the detail that the French police banned the screening of this footage at the time.)
posted by rongorongo at 3:25 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Had a prop plane pass below us unexpectedly while walking Derwent Edge. Apparently recreating the dambusters run on it's way back from an airshow. We heard the sound, looked up, and then down.
posted by squealy at 3:42 PM on December 5, 2011


This seems as good a place as any to share the new sport I created while bored during a multiplayer round of IL-2 Sturmovik: Aero-Skiing.

1) Load the multiplayer map with the large, snow topped mountain.
2) Approach mountain from above
3) Lower landing gear (making sure that your speed isn't high enough to rip of the undercarriage, that would spoil the fun!)
4) Dive towards slope of mountain, as if your were going to land on the mountain (you are)
5) Land on the mountain slope
6) Assuming that you've completed step 5 without crashing and burning, taxi down the mountain at speed. Good times!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:56 PM on December 5, 2011


This whole YT clip is worth watching, but Hollywood stunt pilots Frank Tallman and Paul Mantz [previously] flew through a prop billboard (03:13), buzzed the control tower (06:00, 07:10, 08:28), flew through a hangar (08:11), and did touch & goes (09:02) in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).

Crashing wasn't an option — notice the fire rescue crew (04:10).
posted by cenoxo at 4:50 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I could find the video, but this was taken off the USS Constellation in 1999 while we were off the coast of Hawaii.

Contrary to many accounts, he wasn't suspersonic (but was damn close...). It was taken at a pretty low altitude, about 75ft.

I can corroborate this because, well... I was there.
posted by matty at 5:00 PM on December 5, 2011


Bob Hoover's piloting of a twin-engine Shrike Commander corporate aircraft — especially his 'Conservation of Energy' routine with both engines shut down — deserves more than a few low-level props also.
posted by cenoxo at 5:10 PM on December 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


If there was ever a Jesus Of Aviation, it's Bob Hoover.
posted by Thistledown at 6:05 PM on December 5, 2011


I want to echo that this is a fantastic post, classic MeFi, amazing find.
posted by spitbull at 6:28 PM on December 5, 2011


Maho Beach is the place to see planes flying very low. Literally right on the beach. (And airliners.net is the place to find the photos...)
posted by autopilot at 7:26 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a better search query on Airliners.net for TNCM/SXM, sorted by popularity.

Another good query for low passes

My personal favorite "I need a new pair of underwear" photo.
posted by joshwa at 7:51 PM on December 5, 2011


If there was ever a Jesus Of Aviation, it's Bob Hoover.

From his wikipedia article, with footnotes to sources:

"He managed to escape from [Stalag Luft 1 after being shot down], stole an Fw 190, and flew to safety in the Netherlands."

That dude is going to Valhalla.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:58 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Valhalla: where Jesus is a Viking.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:29 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fantastic find. Wonderful pictures and stories.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:22 PM on December 5, 2011


This is the most interest I've had in anything today. Someone explain the term "feathered" to me as it relates to propellers. I can see it in the photos, but how does it equate to skill?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:25 PM on December 6, 2011


Feathering the props basically means disengaging them and, if they are of variable pitch, turning them so they present the least resistance to the wind. The idea is to reduce the drag of the prop to a minimum while it isn't producing thrust.
posted by unSane at 5:50 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It relates to skill because if your prop(s) are feathered, you're flying a rather ungainly glider.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:29 PM on December 6, 2011


Strixus: This has got to be one of the most amazing photographs I have ever seen. Part of me really wants to know what happened next.

Except for some sizable water leaks, perhaps not much. Although this WWII gun camera film still (captioned photo here) is usually explained as an American P-47 strafing a German flak tower in France, it may actually be a concrete water tank (note the conical roof).

Flak towers typically had anti-aircraft gun platforms on top completely open to the sky (more discussion here).
posted by cenoxo at 7:24 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cenoxo, then why strafe a water tower?

One way or another, that looks like a horribly tight turn to be making that low to the ground.
posted by strixus at 8:30 AM on December 7, 2011


Destroying a water tower would still deprive the enemy of resources, and perhaps it was used as an observation post or a (rather obvious) sniper's nest over the surrounding flat countryside.

It's difficult to determine the scale of the tower, although it appears to fenced in with a man-sized access door at its base. Due to the perspective of the following plane's gun camera, the attacking P-47 Thunderbolt may be farther from the tower than it seems, and it's already banking away in a turn to the right. Additional examples of low-altitude P-47 maneuverability can be seen in P-47 Gun Camera Footage [YT].
posted by cenoxo at 6:49 PM on December 10, 2011


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