View Full Version : New Aviation Programs on NOVA

9th Jan 2003, 16:39
For those of us who are able to access the American PBS TV network, there is a series of new aviation oriented programs scheduled on NOVA.
The first was on Tuesday past, titled "Spies That Fly," about unmanned drones. The second program in the series will be about one of five Lockheed Venturas that went missing on a flight from the Aleutian Islands to bomb northern Japan in the '40's. The remains were found recently on the Kamchatka peninsula.
Here's the link to the program from WGBH, the PBS Boston outlet. As they say, check your local listings because these programs are often re-broadcast later.

Footnote. The first program showed the little unmanned Predator being used as a spotter for the Navy BB's used to shell Iraq in GW1. The US military couldn't completely mask the lawn mower engine sound the thing made, so the Iraqis cottoned on that shortly after they heard a lawn mower, they would get the sh!t blasted out of them. There is camera footage of a tank crew waving a white flag after hearing one go over.:)

Iron City
10th Jan 2003, 13:33
Twasn't a Predator, Twas a Pioneer UAV/Drone. Rather smaller, simpler and less sophisticated but worked fine for spotting the fall of shells from the 16" main battery and 5" secondary battery guns of BBs. Don't know if they were used to spot fall of Harpoon cruise missiles. however.

Don't know that it would take much to see where a shell the weight of a small automobile landed and exploded, however.

If one is interested in the WW II in Alaska can recommend a book "Thousand Mile War". Weather conditions truly apalling, good probablity of aircraft being lost, to wx, CFIT, and running out of gas...not enemy action. Stories of the first intact Zero fighter the Americans got hold of and flew, bombing Attu by radar from PBYs, as well as rubber padded C-47s to haul guys back after they went mad and other stuff you wouldn't believe people could do.

10th Jan 2003, 14:50
The documentary regarding the Ventura has been screened a few times on Discovery Wings.

It really is compelling viewing.

The wreckage has been picked over many times since the crash so don't expect the discovery of a 'never been seen before' crash-site.

A bit like the B17 in the lake/ long-lost P38 - both in the same programme.

The P38 had been completely stripped down to its basic fuz components. The B17 - a belly landing on a frozen river post-war and 'never been seen since(!) - had scuba-divers graffiti written in the scum on the fuselage! It too was picked clean.

Now the Glacier Girl P38 story is really interesting - well covered in other threads.

Pity there isn't any real likelihood of the other aircraft being recovered from the ice.

Lake Michegan seems to be giving up some superbly preserved wrecks. Fresh water makes all the difference to aluminium!

THese programmes are so interesting - not all with a happy ending. The B29 KeyBird - Oh dear....


2nd Feb 2003, 18:34
There are many (hundreds?) of WW2 aircraft in Lake Washington in Seattle, Washington. The US Navy still claims ownership and will not allow them to be brought up. Occasionally they relent but to my knowledge the aircraft when restored has to go to a Navy museum.

2nd Feb 2003, 18:43
On the next NOVA, they have the story of the competition between the X-32 and X-35 fighters, with a lot of never before seen flight video.

Iron City
4th Feb 2003, 14:15
I recall being told or reading the applicable law that Army Air Corps/USAF aircraft lost before a certain date were abandoned and except in particular cases were the property of whoever owned the land. Probably a great way of getting out from under a lot of hazardous materials and other lawsuits.

The U.S. Navy (and this includes USMC becaue they are all Navy aircraft) maintains ownership of all aircraft wrecks.
There should be lots of Navy aircraft in Lake Michigan lost off the boat holding the record ( I believe still) for the most carrier takeoffs and recoveries ...the U.S.S. Wolverine.