Pearl Harbor- December 7, 1941, “…a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It’s been 69 years since that day and everyone has seen the familiar picture of the USS Arizona blowing up and heard the famous speech by F.D.Roosevelt but did you know that the U.S. managed to score some air victories of its own that day?
On December 7th the Japanese heavily strafed Wheeler Field and few aircraft were able to get airborne in our defense. Haleiwa was an auxiliary airfield about 16 miles to the northwest of Wheeler and a temporary assignment of the 47th Pursuit Squadron (assigned the 3rd of December 1941). As you can see from the photo (below), Haleiwa could barely be called an airbase. It was little more than an open field with a wooden tower and eight Curtiss P-40B’s and 2 Curtiss P-36A’s transferred there as a dipersal precaution only 4 days before the 7th, but it is interesting to note that vary few airbases and units were able to put planes in the air during the attack. Three young Lieutenants from this field did manage to get airborne and down 7 Japanese aircraft that day.
|P-40 pilots 2nd Lts. Taylor and Welch||2nd Lts. Kenneth M Taylor and George S Welch raced in their car from the officer’s Club at Wheeler at 0800 to the airstrip at Haleiwa. Having phoned ahead for the crews to ready the aircraft they were quickly in the air to meet the enemy which outnumbered them six-to-one.|
|By the end of the day, 2nd Lt. Welch would have 4 “kills” to his credit and 2nd Lt. Taylor would have 2. Both were decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross for their heroic action on Decenber 7, 1941.|
|P-36 pilot 2nd Lt. Harry W Brown||Meanwhile, 2nd Lt. Harry W. Brown was also able to takeoff from Haleiwa airfield and managed to shoot down a Japanese Zero.
A total of 10 Japanese aircraft are said to have been shot down by U.S. airplanes that day, (7 from Haleiwa) The remaining 3 were from Lt. Lewis M. Sanders, 2nd Lt. Philip M. Rasmussen, and 2nd Lt. Gordon H. Sterling, Jr.
Haleiwa Airfield was eventually paved during WWII but is barely noticeable now due to the overgrowth. It’s quiet today but for a brief moment in time it was where brave men defended freedom.
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|I was browsing through some old photographs the other day and I saw several pictures of commuter aircraft that I once flew. It is hard to believe it but that was 25 years ago…. it seems like just yesterday!|
|Commuter aircraft are short-range civil aircraft used by regional or short-range charter airlines typically seating between 19 and 50 passengers. They are used to feed major airline “hub and spoke” operations where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes at an en route “hub” airport before reaching their final destination.|
|Turboprop powered aircraft dominated the market back then. Aircraft like the DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, BAe (British Aerospace) 3101 “Jetstream”, Short 330 and 360′s, Nord 262′s, Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante “Bandit”, Beechcraft 1900 and 99, Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners, DeHavilland DHC-7 “Dash 7″, and the Fokker F-27||DHC-6|
|were all popular models. There were even a few 3 engined (piston powered) Britten-Norman Trislanders flying but no-one was using regional jets like we see today.|
|BAe 3101||Short 330
The larger commuter aircraft like the Short 330 (above) and Nord 262 carried 30 passengers while the smaller commuter aircraft like the Twin Otter and Jetstream carried 19 passengers. ( It is the number of seats an aircraft has that determines whether a flight attendant is
|present as part of the flight crew. ) Aircraft seating less than 50 but more than 19 require one flight attendant plus a public address and crewmember interphone systems.|
Of all the commuter aircraft that I flew one stands out as being somewhat special and it is the Short 360 numbered N360SA . There were 165 Short 360′s produced but 360SA was the first Short 360 to enter airline service (my airline) in November 1982.
The 360 is slightly larger than the 330 and seated 36 passengers. The biggest difference between the 360 and the 330 is the swept tail which replaced the twin rudders of the 330 model. This resulted in less yaw
|and less drag than the twin ruddered 330′s had. ( Short 330 rudder trim tabs were all worn shiny from constant use. ) Because both Short models had trailing link landing gears, which retracted into the gear fairings ( no, they aren’t pontoons and they can’t land on water ), great landings were a breeze.
All in all the 360 was not the fastest or sexiest turboprop in its market, nor was it pressurized, but it offered more than acceptable performance, payload, ease of service and maintainabilty for a reasonable price. I am happy to have flown it.
|Short 360 interior
• Crew: Three (Two pilots plus one flight attendant)
• Maximum speed: 196 kts.