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(showing articles 641 to 660 of 687)
- 06/10/14--09:00: _Circuit d’Anfa
- 06/25/14--02:52: _Gardner & Schwantz,...
- 06/25/14--09:00: _Ryan VZ-3RY Vertiplane
- 06/25/14--11:00: _Godier Genoud Kawas...
- 06/26/14--04:58: _Assen TT start 500...
- 06/26/14--09:00: _Rockstars' Garage: ...
- 06/26/14--11:00: _Honda RC166
- 06/27/14--03:30: _Dutch TT first race...
- 06/27/14--09:00: _Yamaha RD400 by Mot...
- 06/27/14--11:00: _Assen TT, Giacomo A...
- 06/28/14--09:00: _Assen TT, Harm van...
- 06/28/14--11:00: _Audi Quattro Sport ...
- 06/29/14--09:00: _Norton Team at Asse...
- 06/29/14--11:00: _Porsche Type 804 Fo...
- 06/30/14--09:00: _Guerciotti 1980
- 06/30/14--11:00: _Graeme Crosby on th...
- 07/01/14--04:05: _Yamaha France
- 07/01/14--09:00: _Aston Martin Atom F...
- 07/01/14--11:00: _Mr. Pops
- 07/02/14--09:00: _Vought OS2U Kingfisher
(showing articles 641 to 660 of 687)
- 06/10/14--09:00: Circuit d’Anfa
- 06/25/14--02:52: Gardner & Schwantz, Suzuka 8H 1987
- 06/25/14--09:00: Ryan VZ-3RY Vertiplane
- 06/25/14--11:00: Godier Genoud Kawasaki, Bol d'or 1974
- 06/26/14--04:58: Assen TT start 500cc 1947
- 06/26/14--09:00: Rockstars' Garage: Frank Sinatra's Zebra Mustang by Barris
- 06/26/14--11:00: Honda RC166
- 06/27/14--03:30: Dutch TT first race 500cc, Rolde, Jansen on Sarolea, 1925
- 06/27/14--09:00: Yamaha RD400 by Moto Hangar
- 06/27/14--11:00: Assen TT, Giacomo Agostini 350cc 1968
- 06/28/14--09:00: Assen TT, Harm van der Wal & G. van Gelder, Norton 1957
- 06/28/14--11:00: Audi Quattro Sport Ev02
- 06/29/14--09:00: Norton Team at Assen 1937
- 06/29/14--11:00: Porsche Type 804 Formula One
- 06/30/14--09:00: Guerciotti 1980
- 06/30/14--11:00: Graeme Crosby on the Ross Hannan Yoshimura Kawasaki
- 07/01/14--04:05: Yamaha France
- 07/01/14--09:00: Aston Martin Atom Factory Prototype
- 07/01/14--11:00: Mr. Pops
- 07/02/14--09:00: Vought OS2U Kingfisher
We tend to think that in Africa there was roughly biker culture and so it was. But there were little oasis and one of them was motorcycle racing circuit in Anfa.
The Vertiplane, built for the US Army under the technical direction of the Office of Naval Research, was a simply-constructed single-seat V/STOL research monoplane of fairly conventional high-wing configuration but with very extensive double retractable wing flaps which extended far below and to the rear of the wing trailing-edge.
The Vertiplane was powered by a single 1,000 shp Lycoming T53-L-1 shaft-turbine engine which drove two wing-mounted Hartzell three-blade wooden airscrews of large diameter. Large end-plates at the wing-tips provided structural support for the flaps and confined the slipstream to the flap span for maximum efficiency.
Conventional stick and rudder pedal controls were fitted in the cockpit to operate the rudder, elevator, variable-incidence tail-plane and the spoilers which were inset in the upper surface of each wing ahead of the flaps and which took the place of the usual ailerons. A universally-jointed jet-deflection nozzle at the rear of the tailpipe from the engine was intended to ensure adequate control during hovering flight.
As originally completed by Ryan in October 1957, the Vertiplane had a tail wheel undercarriage and a hood over the pilot's cockpit (shown above). Problems with the gearbox prevented taxiing trials from starting until February 7, 1958, with a protection roll-bar frame over the forward fuselage. Prolonged ground testing followed, including three months of tests in the full-scale low-speed wind tunnel in the NASA Ames Laboratory at Moffett Field.
Modifications made to the aircraft prior to the first flight, were the addition of a nose-wheel, fitting of a deep ventral fin, new gearboxes, new retractable wing flaps, and an open cockpit with a Martin-Baker Mk. YRN4 ejection seat. It made its first take-off as a conventional aircraft on December 29, 1958.
In a subsequent six-weeks' test program, it proved its ability to make near-vertical take-offs at a ground speed of 25 mph (40 kmh) after a run of only 30 ft (9 m) and to land at 19.5 mph (31.5 kmh). It hovered at zero air speed at both low (100 ft, 30 m) and high (3,700 ft, 1,125 m) altitudes and accomplished transitions from hovering to forward flight. In one flight it operated for 17 min at speeds below 25 mph (40 kmh) and at a height of less than 100 ft (30 m).
After making 21 successful flights and being delivered to NASA, the Vertiplane was virtually destroyed in an accident at Moffett Field, California, USA in January 1960 when it pitched up 180 degrees and dived 5,000 ft (1,524 m) to the ground in an inverted attitude, the NASA test pilot ejected at 1,000 ft (305 m) and suffered a sprained back.
NASA decided to rebuild the aircraft in modified form for further testing. Changes included lengthened forward fuselage, fitting of centre supports for the lower flaps, relocation of thrust line, a shallower ventral fin and a redesigned cockpit. In this form the Vertiplane underwent an extensive flight test program till late 1962. It was donated to the Museum of Army Aviation, Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 1963.
Customized cars from various eras provoke an odd range of reactions, everything from wistful nostalgia to biting sarcasm. Then there’s something in between, an amused reflection about times gone by, and how a car characterizes the attitude of an era. For instance, consider the Barris Zebra Mustang, which appeared in the farcical Frank Sinatra romantic comedy, Marriage on the Rocks.
The odd plot, along with Sinatra’s period lingo (indicated in quotes), are right in tune with the quizzical styling of the car. While Sinatra the singer was the “living end,” the movie was “Endsville,” revolving around a love triangle and a married couple, Dan and Valerie Edwards (Frank Sinatra and Deborah Kerr, better known for playing opposite Yul Brynner in The King and I). Seeking to put the “wow-ee wow wow” back in their relationship, they take a second honeymoon in Mexico, where a shyster lawyer (Cesar Romero, who played The Joker in the Batman TV series) gets them divorced without their full knowledge.
While attempting to renew their vows, Dan’s roguish friend Ernie Brewer (Dean Martin), accidentally marries her instead, since he doesn’t speak Spanish and can’t figure out the meaning of the ceremony. Martin’s devil-may-care character is about the only bright spot in the film, besides the Barris Mustang. Some might feel that’s not saying much, but we found this wacky car (now stored in the vault of the Petersen Automotive Museum, after being acquired from a private collection in Anaheim, California), to be curiously compelling, largely for its extensive bodywork and quirky aesthetics. (Wish we could say the same thing about the movie, but we won’t spoil the ending.)
According to the book, Barris Kustoms of the 1960ies (by George Barris and David Fetherston, now out of print), Barris and his project engineer Richard Korkes built the car by extending the nose of a ’65 Mustang a full 10 inches. The scalloped and rolled metalwork was hand-formed and gas-welded in 20-gauge sheet steel into a gaping oval, then fitted with an all-aluminum, seven-rib, V-shaped grille and a double set of deeply recessed Cibie headlights. (This dual treatment was actually ahead of its time, as it would be used on later production designs.) The horizontal split between the upper and lower headlights continues around the sides of the front fenders, forming a flared body contour, just below the beltline, that extends past the front wheelwell and angles sharply downward to the rocker panel.
The rear end was completely restyled as well, with a Targa-style roof and removable Landau top (also used on a ’66 Thunderbird that appeared in the movie). The fastback roofline slopes down into a pair of mini-fins protruding from the sides of the tail panel. Body creases starting in front of the lower section of the rear wheels flow into the rear quarters, dividing the upper and lower halves of the pointed fenders. Barris and Korkes fabricated a full-width tail panel, plus a new rolled rear pan, and frenched license plate holder.
Although requiring a fair degree of technical skill, the styling was not to everybody’s taste (even back then), especially the car’s signature finish: fake Zebra fur. Groovy baby! This cloth treatment covered not only the cockpit, but also the roof, rear deck and coved side panels, all trimmed with chrome molding. (Clearly this was only a fair-weather ride.)
The body had a two-tone color scheme, pearl white with a satin-black rear decklid underneath the Zebra skin. It featured also some Pearl red fadeaways around the body moldings.
To use Sinatra’s terms, a “player” who likes to “swing” would fit right in with the gamey cockpit, with its liquor-bottle sized cupholders (unusual for the time) and calliope plastic-tube speaker covers. Just the thing when you’re headed to a “clam bake” (party) to enjoy a few shots of “gasoline” (Jack Daniels, Frank’s favorite drink). A small-screen black-and-white TV graces the dash, also unusual for its day, long before LCD monitors came into vogue. This must have been a groovy ride for going out on the town with a ring-a-ding “barn burner” (a very stylish, classy woman).
For going “scramsville” a 289 Ford V8 purrs under that elongated hood (though the radiator was prone to overheating during our photo shoot). In the movie, Nancy Sinatra twirled the Rally-style, smallish steering wheel in several scenes. We can just imagine the Sinatra-style reaction to her arrival: “You’re platinum, pussycat!”
Of course this customized Mustang was a really strange cat, but it hails from the time of hepcats, when movie cars (and stars) were outlandish, even outrageous. After all, it’s from the hands of George Barris, known for such wild and wacky creations as The Batmobile, Munster Koach, and the Flintstone-mobile.
Not all of them were remarkable or memorable, however. That’s understandable given the sheer volume of cars done by Barris. “It would take me a couple days to count how many cars I’ve done for TV and movies,” he says. “I quit counting after 1,000.” That’s probably not much of an exaggeration, judging from his numerous Autorama and museum displays, and the stacks of Barris-inspired model cars overflowing his office shelves (where we sat down with him for a fascinating interview).
Though widely known for his movie and TV cars, Barris actually got his start by customizing cars in Sacramento, California, back in the ’40s. His first mildly modified car was a 1925 Buick. “We had no tools, we were like cavemen back then,” he recalls. “I put air hammers (for repairing dents) on a stand so I could shape metal with them, and made custom dies so I didn’t have to depend on hand labor.”
Barris went on to craft some of the most legendary and beautiful cars with innovative craftsmanship, chopping tops and sectioning frames to produce flowing, uninterrupted lines. Some of his more noteworthy, high-fashion Kustoms (as he spells the word) have been displayed at the renowned Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, along with a full-scale diorama of customizing workshop outfitted with special tools donated by Barris.
“I put the ‘K’ in Kustom,” he says with a note of pride. “As long as I changed cars, I used a ‘K’. They’re not the same as other customs.”
One of the most famous and beautiful on display is the Hirohata Merc, a hybrid design incorporating parts from several other cars. After it appeared in the 1955 movie, Running Wild, the Hirohata Merc became the calling card Barris needed to take the quantum leap into becoming the premier “kustom” house in America. One of his most famous kustoms, the “Ala Kart” (based on a ’29 Ford) was the only car ever to win the prestigious Oakland Roadster Show two years in a row.
Custom 1977 RD400 Cafe racer. Full frame off restoration. Featuring NOS Assault rear shocks, front suspension adjusted and lowered 1". LED indicators mounted in top triple, one off custom flush mount LED tail light and fog light style headlight with H4 bulb. JL expansion chambers, K&N air filter, Rebuilt and detailed engine, custom paint and body work, stylized with a vintage race look. Oil filler cap relocated to top of tail piece. Riding on Dunlop tires.
In 1958, Porsche entered Formula 2. With Jo Bonnier and Stirling Moss driving, Porsche was successful in its F2 endeavors. Beginning in 1961, F1 rules changed to resemble prior F2 regulations, and these rule changes enabled Porsche to conveniently pursue F1 racing.
The 1961 F1 regulations called for a maximum engine displacement of 1,500cc. Porsche decided to develop an entirely new engine for its F1 debut, and chose a flat-eight configuration. Designated Type 753, the 1,494cc engine was air-cooled in proper Porsche tradition. Its block was constructed of magnesium alloy. The mill used separate aluminum cylinders to better engine cooling, and each cylinder was topped by its own aluminum alloy head with two valves. The twin overhead camshafts operating the valves on either bank of cylinders were actuated by shafts instead of by a belt or chain. Type 753's horizontal cooling fan was mounted above the cylinder banks and surrounded left and right by the eight polished velocity stacks of four Weber carburetors. With the engine cover removed, this arrangement made for a dazzling display of air-cooled pride. Type 753's internals were designed to withstand 10,000rpm, which was essential as peak power of 180hp was not reached until 9,200rpm.
The Type 753 engine transmitted power through a 6-speed gearbox with a limited-slip differential. It was mounted behind the cockpit of the Porsche 804, the car with which the Stuttgart miracle brand was to enter F1. All of the 804's mechanical bits were housed within a steel space frame clothed in sleek aluminum bodywork. Suspension was by double wishbones front and rear, using torsion bars and inboard shock absorbers. The front torsion bars were longitudinally mounted, but the transverse rear unit served double duty as an anti-roll bar. Disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering completed the capable package.
Racing success followed after Porsche debuted its 804 for the 1962 season. With Dan Gurney driving, a Porsche 804 emerged victorious from the French Grand Prix in Rouen. Just a week later, Gurney and an 804 again captured a first-place finish, this time at the Solitude racetrack in Porsche's hometown. There were 300,000 excited witnesses to this latter win.
Porsche retired from Formula 1 just as abruptly as it entered, pulling out at the end of the 1962 season. The team had been successful, but Porsche could not justify the heavy expenditures necessary to the development of competitive F1 products. Porsche felt that little of its F1 technology could be translated to its street cars, prompting the brand to shift its racing focus back to the grand touring and long-distance events that it considered essential to the development of advanced road cars.
The 804 was a short but successful chapter in the rich history of Porsche. It may have been the only Porsche ever able to secure a Formula 1 win, but it at least proved that the brand could be successful even in racing styles to which it was not accustomed. Porsche constructed four examples of its 804, racing three of them. At least three are believed to survive.
The bike has a Campagnolo Nuovo Record gearing group and brake set, the crankset is a Ofmega Strada. Headset is a lightweight OMAS. The wheelset is build new from Campagnolo low flange Record hubs and Mavic Monthlery Pro rims.
The bike has been completely overhauled. New chain, new cables, new Benotto cello tape, new Christophe toe straps and clips, new tubulars and a new white Selle Italia Turbo saddle. Renewed fresh and original Campagnolo brake hoods. The freewheel, chainrings and brake gums are all in excellent condition.
The bike is free from rust. No dents. Original color and decals in good condition. One touch up near the right shifter.
The ground-breaking Aston Martin Atom compact, lightweight, sophisticated, a design before its time, a prophetic forerunner of all the high power-to-weight ratio, high-performance Coupe, or Berlinetta Grand Touring cars which became such a defining feature of the 1950s and '60s to follow. Here is an all-British concept car to be recalled and mentioned in the same breath with the much more celebrated and trend-setting Alfa Romeo 8C-2900Berlinetta cars of the late 1930s, and the SavonuzziAerodinamica Coupes from Cisitalia in the late 1940s.
This avant-garde, and highly-original aerodynamic Coupe concept car has been both renowned and revered for decades by Aston Martin owners and by the inner circle of knowledgeable and confirmed classic car enthusiasts.
But while Aston Martin's unique Atom is less well-known to the public at large, this 1939-1940 one-off prototype from the legendary British marque is in fact a hugely significant and influential landmark within motoring history.
As the specialist British marque's frontier-technology test-bed, the 1939-40 Aston Martin Atom survives today in fantastically well-restored, highly-original specification as one of the World's earliest fully running motor industry concept cars. It featured in period:
A fully-patented, lightweight yet rigid integrated body and tubular spaceframe chassis structure (years ahead of the multi-tubular spaceframe Mercedes-Benz 300SLs)
Lightweight aluminium body paneling, which permitted speedy styling changes.
Patented parallel-linkage coil-sprung independent front suspension
The first UK use of the later almost universal Salisbury back axle
Cotal electromagnetic semi-automatic gearbox forerunner of the modern 'paddle-shift' system.
Aerodynamic 'fastback' style Coupe coachwork
Aeronautical-style 'hammock' seats
Come 1945 the Atom would also provide the first use of Aston Martin's newly patented 2-litre (DB1) engine. This had high lift exhaust valves later used on F1 Judd engines and, slightly modified, powered the 1948 Belgian Grand Prix winning Aston Martin.
While the General Motors Buick 'Y-Job' of 1938 is widely accepted as having been the very first pure 'concept car' (in the modern meaning of that term) ever confected, the Aston Martin Atom emerged just a few fleeting months later.
The Atom was finished and UK road-registered only six weeks after the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. Aston Martin's contemporary owner, enthusiast businessman Gordon Sutherland, had ordered the car to be designed and built by a dedicated engineering team led by Claude Hill. At that fraught time when park railings, pots and pans were being melted-down to aid the War effort, the Atom was amongst fewer than 750 private cars to be UK registered in the entire year.
Gordon Sutherland himself explained that, "The whole point of the Atom was to make the smallest, lightest, quietest enclosed saloon possible". It was intended to combine the performance, roadholding and handling of the finest contemporary sports car with quietness and the comfort of an aerodynamically efficient, saloon body, easily modified and economically produced. Within this latter discipline the Atom's concept was probably even further forward-looking than, even ten years ago, we would have appreciated....
In that pre-nuclear age Gordon Sutherland and his colleagues simply knew of the 'atom' as being the smallest, yet potentially most powerful, item conceivable the essence of everything and that is why the name was chosen as the perfect title for this technically advanced and futuristic
Grand Touring car and registered with the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders).
The Aston Martin design unit's ambitions had no British exemplar, but Gordon Sutherland would admit they considered the contemporary BMW 328 quite closely during their design period in 1939. Both the company owner and engineer Claude Hill appreciated that the entire era of 'vintage' motoring was over. Future customers would expect more comfort in terms of ride and weather protection. To achieve such objectives with traditional manufacture meant hand-built heavy coachwork demanding huge and extravagantly fuel-thirsty engines to suit.
Major motor manufacturers were beginning to make unitary-body cars with independent suspensions widely derided by true car enthusiasts as floppy, wallowy rust-buckets but of obvious appeal to the mushrooming motoring market at large.
Although high-achievers within the motor sporting world, Aston Martin's vintage-era chassis were undoubtedly heavy and Claude Hill in particular considered them insufficiently rigid. For the Atom he created a lightweight, torsionally strong box-frame chassis welded-up from rectangular steel tubing and clothed in aerodynamically-sleek aluminium body paneling a constructional method ideal for Aston Martin's low-volume high-quality practices.
Gordon Armstrong drew the Atom's patented suspension system, independent at the front by short trailing arms and coil springs while the live rear axle was suspended upon long, supple leafsprings. Hydraulic lever-arm dampers featured all round. Direct, high-geared steering with only 2.25 turns lock-to-lock was tailored to the feel required from a high-performance car of true quality. The French Cotal electric-magnetic four-speed semi-automatic gearbox was 'the latest thing', and in early testing Sutherland's team timed the Atom at 98mph, running its original 1950cc long-stroke 4-cylinder engine on wartime 'Pool' petrol stupendous performance for a small notionally 'four-seat' (though in truth rather confined 92-inch wheelbase) saloon of that era.
The Aston Martin Atom's wartime press reception was ecstatic. 'The Autocar' described it as: "The future in the present...a complete breakaway from existing Aston Martins and the general run of British cars...The saloon body breaks with British car convention...see it as the comfortable, convenient sports car of the future..."
'Motor Sport' magazine enthused: "This is a machine which convinces you it is all the way a winner...", while'The Motor' was emphatic that "...in this car we can see the new order of motoring...".
This unique 90-100mph 2-plus-2 Coupe was used as much as possible by Mr and Mrs Gordon Sutherland for both personal and private transport, their children often travelling in its cosy rear seats. Indeed it took part in the exclusive Chessington 1941 and Cockfoster 1945 rallies organized by Rivers-Fletcher. However lack of publicly available fuel during wartime saw the Atom stored at his factory for up to three months at a time, but Gordon Sutherland knew its technology-proving value for a postwar resumption of Aston Martin production. He is said to have driven it personally for more than 100,000 test miles and immediately postwar the experience of driving the Atom persuaded industrialist David Brown to buy the company that had created it.
In 1944 the Atom was fitted with a Claude Hill-designed 1970cc pushrod engine breathing through twin SU carburettors, and Gordon Sutherland's notes confirm an intention to add an extra 6-inches wheelbase, to render the occasional rear seats properly habitable. He also projected a reduction in fuel tank size (from the original 17 gallons) to provide more luggage space, either a higher back-axle ratio or overdrive, minor front suspension refinement, a redesigned rattle free window mechanism and a lower roof and scuttle line.
Against a background of wartime shortage and privation, Mr Sutherland's list envisaged the time when materials might again become available. While the Atom influenced David Brown's decision to acquire the company, many of its innovations and lessons-learned would be built postwar into the David Brown-owned Aston Martin company's illustrious DB-series of Grand Touring cars.
Today the Aston Martin Atom, taxed, tested, with UK V5C registration document and FIVA passport, is ready to rally or exhibit, being well-restored/conserved with painstaking attention to retaining absolutely as much of its surviving originality as possible, it is believed to have completed some 250,000 miles running; including that during the ownership by W.O. Bentley's godson Bob Gathercole of Samurai racing and Pebble Beach fame. The car comes complete with an impressive archive of documents and photographs that chart its provenance, together with essential and valuable running spares.
This most significant cornerstone of Aston Martin marque history has changed hands only once over the past 49 years. The current owner , recognizing the once in a lifetime opportunity acquired the Atom sight unseen in 1986 from France where it had been in an ex Aston racing driver's collection and had been loaned from time to time to the Musee de l'Automobile, in Chatellerault, Vienne, and the exclusive Le Mans Motor Museum. This largely unsung little jewel yet one so absolutely iconic amongst truecognoscenti has long been conserved and maintained by one hyper-enthusiast owner.
Such is the importance of the Atom that it receives numerous invitations to events worldwide. Most recently it has received accolades by being voted Best Car of Show 2012 at the NEC International Classic Car Show and being chosen for the AML Centennial timeline at Kensington Palace in 2013. The new owner will have the opportunity of enjoying many more such occasions.
The Atom is, in short, one of Aston Martin's absolute landmark designs. It is certainly one of the most exciting one-off British cars that Bonhams has have ever been asked to offer. It is unique, it is super sophisticated, and - when one considers it within the context of 1939-40 its creation alone represents a monumental achievement.
That the Atom has survived in almost constant use, and is today so beautifully conserved in highly original order, is a great tribute to the enthusiasm and taste of the Aston Martin connoisseurs who have fostered it for so many years...
In short, if it were not for the Atom, David Brown might not have bought Aston Martin. What fate would then have befallen the company we do not know, but without David Brown, there would be no Aston Martin DB series cars - no DB3S, no DBR1, no James Bond DB5. We all owe so much to the mighty Atom.
Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division's OS2U Kingfisher was the U. S. Navy's primary ship-based, scout and observation airplane during World War II. Rex Beisel, a design engineer at Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Company, crafted the OS2U in 1937. Beisel also designed the Vought F4U Corsair fighter (see NASM collection). Beisel's Navy scout was a two-seat monoplane that employed revolutionary spot welding construction to create a smooth, non-buckling fuselage structure. He also used old technology to save weight and increase performance when he covered the wings with fabric aft of the main spar. The Kingfisher handled well in slow flight, thanks to several innovative control features. In addition to the deflector plate flaps that hung from the trailing edge of the wing, the ailerons also drooped at low airspeeds to function much like extra flaps. Beisel also incorporated spoilers to supplement aileron control at low speeds.
The Kingfisher could carry a respectable load. For antisubmarine work, ordnance men could suspend two 45 kg (100 lb) bombs or two 146 kg (325 lb) depth charges. A fixed .30 caliber machine gun was mounted in front of the pilot to fire forward. A gunner seated several feet behind the pilot fired another .30 caliber machine gun on a flexible mount.
The Navy contracted for the prototype XOS2U-1 on March 22, 1937, and this airplane first flew in July 1938, equipped with an air-cooled Pratt & Whitney R-985-4 Wasp Junior radial engine. The first production Kingfisher, the OS2U-1, was delivered early in 1940 and assigned to the battleship "USS Colorado." Fifty-four OS2U-1s soon followed. By early 1941, Vought had built 159 OS2U-2s and the Navy had stationed these airplanes at Naval Air Stations in Pensacola, Florida, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Alameda, California. The next version, the OS2U-3, was fitted with a Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-2 or -8 engine. This aircraft had more fuel capacity in self-sealing fuel tanks and armor protection for the crew. This was the last production model and Vought built more of them than any other variant. The Naval Aircraft Factory outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also manufactured the Kingfisher under the designation OS2N-1. All production ended in 1942.
Under the Lend-Lease program, the United States sent many Kingfishers to Great Britain where they served in the Royal Navy as the Kingfisher I. Other countries received Kingfishers both during and after the war including Australia, the Soviet Union, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
The Kingfisher could perform a variety of tasks - training, scouting, bombing, tactical and utility missions such as towing aerial gunnery targets and chasing practice torpedoes, and even anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic Ocean. Most OS2Us operated in the Pacific Theater where Kingfisher pilots rescued many downed airmen.
In 1942, a Navy pilot flying a Kingfisher rescued America's World War I ace, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, and the crew of a B-17D Flying Fortress (see NASM collection) forced to ditch in the Pacific. With Rickenbacker and two other passengers, the bomber and its five-man crew had left Hickam Field, Hawaii, bound for Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands group, 2,898 km (1,800 miles) southwest of Hawaii. The Flying Fortress wandered off course and the crew got lost. When the aircraft eventually ran out of fuel and ditched, the eight survivors put to sea aboard three life rafts. Several weeks passed without food or water. By chance, a Kingfisher crewed by Lt. Willam F. Eadie, pilot, and L.H. Boutte, radioman, spotted the raft carrying Rickenbacker and two other crewmen. Eadie strapped the sickest man into the gunner's seat, and then he lashed Rickenbacker and another man to each wing. A Kingfisher could never take off with such a load, so Eadie began to taxi toward his base on Funafuti Island, about 64.4 km (40 miles) distant. Soon a Navy Patrol Torpedo boat met the airplane and the other five men were soon rescued. Only one of the eight failed to recover from the long ordeal.
The U.S. Navy accepted the museum's Kingfisher, OS2U-3 (Bureau of Aeronautics serial number 5909), on March 15, 1942. In April it left Naval Air Station (NAS), New York and arrived at NAS Norfolk. The following month, it was assigned to the recently commissioned battleship "USS Indiana." After the Indiana arrived in the Pacific, Navy pilots flying this OS2U performed a variety of missions including bombing, utility, and administrative chores at many locations. In December 1942, Navy planners assigned the airplane to the Com F Air scouting squadron VS-5-D-14 (later designated VS-55) at White Poppy, a codename for New Caledonia. Following a six-month stay in the fall of 1943 at NAS Alameda, California, for overhaul, and to receive new combat equipment, the aircraft was shipped to Pearl Harbor and rejoined the "Indiana" in March 1944. This Kingfisher had now flown for 957 hours, 300 of them aboard the "Indiana."
On July 4, 1944, "Indiana" was underway near Rota and Guam to support naval air strikes on those two islands. Lt. jg. Rollin M. Batten, Jr., was flying the NASM OS2U-3 when he was vectored to rescue two U. S. airmen shot down over Guam. Accompanying Batten was Lt. jg. Jensen. Ignoring the fire from nearby Japanese gun batteries, Batten picked both men up and returned them to the "Indiana." This rescue earned Batten the Navy Cross. The award citation reads, in part, "With utter disregard for his own safety, he fearlessly brought his plane down within a mile of many shore batteries, and, in the face of an intense barrage directed at him by the enemy guns, proceeded calmly and deliberately to rescue a downed pilot and his crewman who were swimming in the water and also under enemy gunfire. His intelligent and courageous appraisal of the situation was responsible for the successful rescue, after which he took off cross-wind with the additional load, under extremely difficult circumstances."
By August, this Kingfisher was flying in the Carrier Aircraft Service Unit-34, or CASU-34. This was its last Pacific assignment and the Navy shipped it to NAF Alameda aboard the USS "Bougainville" in December 1944. After six months at Alameda, the Navy shipped the floatplane back to NAS Norfolk. It flew very little and underwent a variety of overhauls and inspections before Navy personnel finally processed the airplane for storage in the spring of 1947. A year later, Kingfisher 5909 was earmarked for the National Air Museum (NAM, now NASM, the National Air and Space Museum). It was prepared for "flyaway to NAS Weeksville (Elizabeth City, North Carolina) for storage until such time as called for by the proposed NAM." However, in January 1949, it returned to NAS Norfolk and remained stored there until the summer of 1960.
In October, the Navy transferred the OS2U to the NAM and it was trucked to what is now the Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland. The Museum lent the aircraft to the USS Massachusetts Memorial at Battleship Cove, Massachusetts, in July 1968 and the Kingfisher returned to the Garber Facility in December 1980. A full-up restoration began in November 1983 and was completed in April 1988. Many components were discovered missing and proved difficult to find during the project. Edward Good of St. Petersburg, Florida, donated the main float and beaching gear and Doan Helicopters Inc., of South Daytona Beach, Florida, provided the wing floats