Tuesday, October 19, 2021

coolest thing I've seen in a while, built by the guys in the stuctures and electrical shop at VU 4, in the early 1950s, from a JD1 wing tank and drone parts.

Looks like a wing tank from a  JD1

JD1s were versions of the A26

Utility Squadron 4(VU-4) was stationed at NAS Oceana, Va. Beach, Va. and NAS Oceana, Va. Beach, Va, NAS Chincoteague, VA and NAS Norfolk, VA. and was considered a Sea Duty assignment 

 The VU-4 mission was to provide aerial target practice support for selected ships of the Atlantic Fleet in the Va. Capes area. Aircraft support partially involved 16 F8 Crusader aircraft modified for towing a bomb shaped styrofoam target with internal flares remotely activated by the pilot when on station. The pilot remotely deployed the target on a cable/winch assembly. The targets were painted red and approximately 3 to 4 ft. in size. Approximately one mile of wire cable could be deployed by the pilot via a motorized cable/winch assembly. Most of the time there was no target to recover. Typically daily almost 1/2 of the F8's would be in a non flyable status due to various hydraulic and electrical issues. The F8s had no exterior paint modifications or special markings. Towing these targets had special dangers. I recall one aircraft from VF-102 after shooting a Sidewinder missile at the target forgot where he was and sliced through the wire cable. Fortunately his aircraft damage occurred near the end of one of his wing tips and he was able to land safely. The F8 towing aircraft pilot felt only a slight momentary tug.

The other aircraft used by VU-4(V=heavier than air and U=Utility) were 3 WWII B26 Army bombers modified for target towing capability.  In the photo taken in 1962 at San Juan Naval Air Station when the squadron had a detachment TDY to support Operation Springboard, an annual exercise, the two "bubble" windows were used by the cable/winch operator to view whatever he could subsequent releasing or rewinding the wire cable.

 Usually after a ship's firing practice there was not anything left of the red sleeve target cloth target. This was because in addition to tracking the cloth sleeve target visually, the ship's guns used radar tracking and after the target was destroyed continued to track the wire cable destroying whatever piece. Rarely was a mile's length of cable rewound in the aircraft. This was an extremely dangerous situation for the aircraft and involved frantic radio comms to the ship to stop firing. 

Unseen under the aircraft is a small entry/exit area for the cable/winch operator. The cable/winch operator had to open the bottom area of his compartment to enter/exit the aircraft and for operating the winch/cable/target assembly. He had very little maneuvering room for movement and if not careful he literally could fall through the open area. The operator did not wear a parachute nor did the pilots.

What was very scary was the 3 B26 aircraft assigned to VU-4 had their operational "lives" extended three times when I joined the squadron in 1961. This meant the B26s should have been flown to Litchfield Park, Arizona for parts/disposal years ago. The problem was the Navy no replacement aircraft that could do that unique mission until the mid-60s when several S2F sub tracker aircraft were modified for target towing and Utility Squadrons were decommissioned and Composite Squadrons created.



this 50 year old AMC Ambassador Brougham wagon just sold on Bring a Trailer for $28,000




check out this station wagon that stopped in traffic next to me yesterday

comparison of San Diego county cheapest gas prices, Costco, vs on base, vs on the res, vs ordinary gas stations

 Horizon Fuel Center in Valley Center - $3.49 

Costco in La Mesa - $3.95 

 MCCS Autoport in Camp Penleton - $3.99 

and yesterday I filled up for 4.45 at the inexpensive local station on Texas and Madison


John C. May is Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and President of Deere & Company sold $72,473 of Deere company stocks a few days before the strike began.

 May became the company’s Chief Executive Officer in November 2019 and assumed the position of Chairman in May 2020. He was named President & Chief Operating Officer earlier in 2019

So I assume he makes all the decisions at Deere, and that includes not meeting the unions strike demands, and opening the door for them to walk out on strike



The bridge the Russians almost built in 1977.... in West Virginia

When the coal mines of Vulcan, W.Va., gave out in the early 1960s, the only legal route by which to enter and exit the town was a swinging bridge too narrow to accommodate a vehicle. The 200 remaining residents pleaded with the state to repair the bridge, but no action was taken, and in 1975 the bridge collapsed, leaving the residents hemmed in between a river to the west and impassable mountains to the east, reduced to using a hazardous gravel road owned by the Norfolk and Western Railway. Still state officials were reluctant to rebuild the bridge, noting the limited traffic it would carry and the competing priorities in the state.

So the residents of Vulcan wrote to the Soviet embassy in Washington, requesting foreign aid. Soviet journalist Iona Andronov arrived on Dec. 17, 1977, to survey the problem. “He was sincere,” said resident John Robinette. “The Russians said they would keep an eye on the bridge and see if it were built. If not, they would.”

Within an hour the state announced it would do the work, and today a one-lane bridge connects Vulcan to the outside world. “Our government was afraid the Russians would build the bridge,” Robinette said. “They were embarrassed into it, and nothing will convince me otherwise.”  



Vulcan, too, sits in a straight line between the Tug Fork River and the tracks. The only legal way in and out of the town is the Vulcan Bridge, which connects residents to the unincorporated community of Freeburn, Kentucky — also in Pike County.

Just like the Nolan Toll Bridge, the Vulcan Bridge was originally built in the early 1900s to assist the local coal business. With a bridge, workers in Vulcan — which was a thriving coal camp — could walk to work in Kentucky’s mines instead of rowing across the river. Eventually, the Norfolk & Western Railway established a passenger stop on its line running through the town, meaning more workers could access the mines.

By the 1970s, though, trains traveling through weren’t carrying passengers or workers anymore, only coal and other resources. The mines across the river needed fewer workers, not more, and most of the bridge’s use came from day-to-day activities by the residents of Vulcan.

In 1974, the wooden bridge gave way to rot and collapsed.

For the 50 or so families in Vulcan, the only way in and out of the town without the bridge was by a narrow, rocky right-of-way sitting on the top of a small cliff and owned by the railway.

For a year following the collapse, John Robinette, a former carnival worker, bartender, notary public and the self-proclaimed mayor of Vulcan, tried working with legislators to repair the bridge.

He spoke to the county, with no luck. He reached out to lawmakers in both Kentucky and West Virginia, with no luck. He tried working through the governor’s office to receive federal help, but again, had no luck.

He was told time and time again that there was no money available to spend on the bridge, according to reports in the Gazette at the time.

Finally, in 1976, growing increasingly frustrated with what he saw as American bureaucratic run around, Robinette took his community’s problems overseas.

He wrote to the Soviet Union and detailed the situation in Vulcan — the bridge, the state’s lack of funding and, in his opinion, the country’s lack of concern. His first letter — sent to the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C. — went unanswered by the Soviet government, at first. Eventually, though, he was contacted by Iona Andronov, a Soviet journalist interested in hearing Robinette’s story in person.

On Dec. 16, 1977, Andronov set foot in Vulcan for the first time. Within hours of the Russian’s visit, according to news reports, word came down from then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller’s office that West Virginia would begin working with Kentucky immediately to build a new Vulcan Bridge.

Charles Preston, of the West Virginia Highways Department, speculated to the Gazette at the time, “that somebody in Washington said, ‘do it and shut this guy up.’ The story was embarrassing. It became an international incident.”

Even with the assurances from the state government, Andronov said he reported to Soviet authorities after his visit that a bridge could quickly and easily be built. The Russians, he said, would have built the bridge if the state “had not kept its promise.”

To Robinette, though, the source of the funding for the bridge didn’t matter as long as it got done — and soon. “If the Russians call tomorrow and say they’ll build a bridge, I’ll say go ahead,” he told the Gazette on Jan. 4, 1978. “It’s first come, first serve.”

Two years later, on July 4, 1980, the 300-foot bridge opened — costing a little over $1 million (almost $4 million in today’s dollars), with the price split between West Virginia and Kentucky.

Robinette and Vulcan’s residents celebrated the opening of what they called “the bridge the Russians almost built” with illegally imported Russian vodka and an American flag hung high.





Monday, October 18, 2021

good gif!


how does anyone just give up on a car so cool, and easy to repair, as a GT 350? After all, they are paid for by the time they become barn dwellers, or yard art, surely it can't take years to realize that a repair or two keeps them useful


compliment of the day from Jeff

 Hi there. Stumbled across your blog today, while looking for something. Been on it for two hours. What a fantastic site. Especially the B-29, Flying Tiger and B-36 write ups. Looks like there's a zillion other things to see. 

 Thanks, Jeff.

thrown away by a tire shop

in about 3 minutes of unsupervised charging, three vehicles are burnt badly, in a chain reaction because of their proximity to each other


if you have any questions, read the comments on You Tube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2F9HKZ5VzA  as I have no answers beyond that this happened in China, May 2020

Tesla’s support van runs on gasoline


It's been about 80 years since truckers started hauling cars, over railroad crossings. HOW do they still not know what crossings will high center hang up the trailers YET?


Saturday, October 16, 2021

best wishes to you and yours this autumn




I don't think there is anything they can do to make a new Bronco look as cool as the originals


I am fed up with digital renderings that are photo realistic, as they get my hopes up, that such vehicles are real





drag racing in Mexico, just skip the first 4 minutes and 20 seconds, no one know how to effing edit a video. Or skip to the 9 minute mark for the wheelie race

when the red car crashed back to earth, he smashed the passenger side front suspension, and that caused it to veer left

1970s VW portable fire pump


Top Gear in Lego





AMC Matador coupe NASCAR Barcelona II and the 1975 AMC Matador “X”

In racing conditions, these open Opera windows significantly improved airflow, giving the vehicle's aerodynamics better lift in the race.


Reynolds Buick-GMC of West Covina, next to Pomona, was into drag racing


Starting with a virtually stock bright red 1959 Invicta, known in lore as the "winningest Buick of all time", the Reynolds-Kenne-Bell association was instrumental in establishing the reputation of the Buick nailhead engine as a performance powerplant and were so influential that Buick Headquarters not only touted their successes, they supplied prototype parts to Reynolds for evaluation. This partnership fielded several cars- the 1959 Invicta, a nearly identical 1961 Invicta, a very early 1965 Gran Sport (which was rolled and replaced with second '65), 1967 and 1968 GS 400 coupes, and the most famous Reynolds Buick racer of all, a white 1970 Gran Sport 455 Stage 2 which ran 10.89 at 126.85

ha! I haven't seen this before



it's either analog, or mechanical.... I'm not sure. It's certainly simple and always correct


a full size Dodge on the ring is probably not a common sight, and it sounds terrific


nice brakes!



educational cutaways



when the tire parts ways with the bead on the rim... leathers, helmets, and gloves are about to get tested, and things are about to get ugly


it fits!



young and free, enjoying the ride, not stressed out about time and destination


an interesting design, that to me, seems to favor the late 60s / early 70s, when sissy bars, beer keg fuel tanks, and ape hangers were the style



I think this would get the job done, and look good at the same time


back when life was photographed with black and white film. Was it simpler? More elegant? Or just less constrained by lawyers and lawsuits?



a nice little collection