Browsing: Vehicles

A Brief History On February 25, 1933, the USS Ranger was launched at Newport News, Virginia, as the first American aircraft carrier built for the purpose of carrying aircraft.  Smaller than later aircraft carrier types, Ranger nonetheless operated effectively throughout World War II, providing important naval air power, mostly in the Atlantic. Digging Deeper The fourth US ship designated as an aircraft carrier, Ranger followed ships converted from a collier and the unfinished hulls of two battlecruisers.  Lexington and Saratoga were more than 100 feet longer than Ranger, and Langley much smaller. Ranger was impressive for its day, 769 feet…

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A Brief History On February 23, 1945, with World War II in Europe rapidly approaching its end, the RAF targeted the German town of Pforzheim in a massive bombing raid that killed almost a third of the residents and destroyed 83% of its buildings, including virtually its entire city center.  The reason for leveling this German city?  The jewelry and watch making industry located there! Digging Deeper The RAF sent 367 Avro Lancaster heavy bombers and 13 Mosquito medium bombers to lead the way, dropping the usual mix of high explosive and incendiary bombs to blow up and burn the…

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A Brief History On February 20, 1959, the government of Canada cancelled the Avro Arrow supersonic jet fighter program, creating conjecture and controversy that continues to this day.  Within two months of the cancellation, the government ordered all plans, tools, and all five existing prototypes to be destroyed. Digging Deeper Designed to fly at Mach 2 and at 53,000 feet, the Arrow would have been cutting edge technology to protect Canada.  Avro was the third largest company in Canada, one of the 100 largest in the world, but the Arrow fiasco basically ruined the company, and it went out of…

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A Brief History On February 3, 1998, a bizarre aircraft accident occurred on the ski slopes of Italy when a USMC EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare jet flew below allowable altitude and cut the cable to a cable car carrying skiers. Digging Deeper The cable car was carrying an operator and 19 passengers, all of whom were killed as the car fell 300 feet from the severed cable.  The pilot and navigator of the jet were uninjured, and the damaged jet made a safe landing. The accident happened in the Dolomite mountains at Cavalese, and of course, the Italian public and…

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A Brief History On January 27, 1961, the Soviet Navy proved how dangerous the lives of submariners can be, when the Whiskey class submarine S-80 managed to sink with all hands without any outside help, what we call an “Oops moment.” Digging Deeper The S-80 was in a prolific class of submarines with 236 built between 1950 and 1960.  About 249 feet long with a normal crew of 52, the subs were powered by the familiar diesel-electric combination motors. On the fateful day, S-80 was patrolling the Barents Sea using its snorkel to allow the use of the diesel engines…

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