Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Original Turbo the Flying Dog - Circa 1944

Turbo's Navy ID
I would like to thank aviation enthusiast, Russell, for bringing another amazing Turbo to my attention. The "original" Turbo was a female flying dog who served with our nation's Navy in World War II. What's great is that judging by the pictures, present day Turbo and WWII Turbo shared the same floppy ears for a short period of time! Below is a short history on Turbo, in Russell's words:

Rescued at sea
Turbo was born November 19, 1944 and became the mascot of a Navy Patrol Bomber crew in the latter part of WWII, primarily cared for by co-pilot Loyd Malcolm Bettis.
Ens. Loyd Bettis (later promoted to Lieutenant junior grade), was a member of Squadron VPB-121 and was copilot on a Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer.

Turbo trained with the crew in the Privateer during their training at Camp Kearny.
This crew's original Privateer was the first aircraft of this type that was lost in WWII January 12th 1945. After multiple engine failures, the crew had to ditch their plane 500 miles off the coast of California. All were saved, and happily, Turbo was rescued also after 9 hours in a rubber life raft.

Turbo ^ Ens. Bettis. Tinian, 1945
Turbo on Tinian
Turbo in training (see the ears?!)

Turbo became a member of The Sea Squatters Club, which honors airmen that ditched and survived in a rubber life raft.  The society was created by the Walter Kidde Company.  Presumably, Turbo was also honored as a member of the Goldfish Club, a British organization with the same mission as the Sea Squatter's organization, since Ens. Bettis was inducted.

The crew was assigned a new plane, noseart "Abroad for Action," and Turbo went with her crew to the war in the Pacific. 

They performed their assigned role as a Navy Patrol Bomber in the Marianas Islands:  Eniwetok April 1945, Guam July 1945, Tinian August 1945, and Iwo Jima later in August 1945. Yes, Turbo was at Tinian, the island where the B-29s took off and delivered atomic bombs on Japan, greatly shortening the war. She was likely a witness to this historic event.

After the war, Turbo returned to the States, but sadly, she didn't live a long life as a veteran of WWII. 

The only flying Consolidated Privateer was at Oshkosh this year, although it looks considerably different than wartime planes, without the nose and tail gun turrets and side blisters.

Years ago, Loyd Bettis wife, Elinor, allowed me to make a copy of her husband's WWII Navy scrapbook, so that other family members could have a copy.

He became an Eastern airline pilot after the war.  He passed away early in 1973 from cancer.  I never met him since I didn't become acquainted with his daughter until 2000.  He is survived by his wife, Elinor, and daughters, Ann, and Kathe.  His son, Alan passed away in 2006.

Enjoy the history of the first Turbo and remember our veterans! (human and canine)

Turbo's Sea Squatters Card

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Trip of Choices - Part 3

The last night Up North
Life is nuts. Previously I had written about our flight to upper Michigan. Now it's time to tell you how we (finally) got back! The morning it was time to leave upper Michigan we awoke to some nasty storms on the radar. What was once predicted as "scattered storms" was now a frontal system the size of the whole state. That's summer weather for you! A call to Flight Service told us we would not be departing for at least another 8 hours. Although our plans were once again disrupted, we made the best of it and had lunch at our favorite spot, did some shopping and hit the beach one more time.

Friday, October 2, 2015

SMAC105 Preparing for a Real In-Flight Emergency

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Pre-Flight Checklist
Photograph: Jacob Steinberg for the Guardian
Photograph: Jacob Steinberg for the Guardian

Carl, Rick, Larry, Eric, and Sean are here, as well as a special guest Tom Frick.
Carl realized recently that he is an "AV Geek," or Aviation Geek.