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Posted by David Reed on 01/04/2022

World News

Why The 1049?

At the start of World War Two, the airlines had been on the verge of going big. There were two four-engine airliners to choose from- the DC-4 and the L049. Lockheed came out of the war with the L749, which eclipsed the DC-4 in performance. So Douglas stretched the DC-4 and created the DC-6. The DC-6B was 8' longer, carried 80 passengers like the L749. Lockheed sales people knew though that the market was about to leap forward. Everyone had been in an airplane now it seemed like, and airlines would need seats. The big restriction was pilot duty times, so westbound flights may have been scheduled at just under eight hours, but in reality usually ran a little over. Pilots were running the L749's ragged with max power settings, trying to beat the eight hour rule. Crew rest was an old mattress thrown over the baggage, and the FAA didn't think this was legal rest. Then along came the L1049 idea. So Lockheed actually bought back Connie #1 from Howard Hughes, overloaded it 30,000 lbs and flew it. There, see? It'll do it (Testing in 1948- true story). After the original Ship #1 proved the concept, production jigs were set up and the L1049 was in production. All the windows were enlarged, including the cockpit windows. Larger engines were to include the Wright R3350 rated at 3250 hp. They then added 9' plugs just in front of and behind the center section. It had either a 500 gal fuel tank in the wing center section, or a big cargo bay, your choice. Eastern went with the cargo bay, as did just about everybody else. After all, avgas is an expense, whereas cargo and bags are income. Which do you want? BUT, there was a problem. Lockheed L1049's had 2700 hp engines, not the advertised 3250. The 3250 hp versions weren't available until 1953 (L1049C), so in the meantime everybody just bad-mouthed Wright Aeronautical. They had built many radial engines during the war, notably the Cyclone series. The R3350 as it was known, was a complex idea that was just being talked about over coffee when suddenly the war started, and Boeing comes up with an order for hundreds of R3350's for the B-29. The R3350 was rushed into production and this was a huge mistake. The B-29 suffered many engine issues. The goal of 3250 hp was taking forever to make. The big issue was reliability. The B-29 never saw it, but improvements after the war saw the R3350 eventually reach 3250 hp, 3500 hrs between overhauls with a decent fuel consumption record. By 1953 the DC-7 was out and providing competition with the same engine. The airlines liked the airplane, not so much the engines. They were a lot of work, very complex, and so you didn't see them running a lot of very long New York to Los Angeles type flights. Those high-speed runs burned up airplanes. So they made a good, medium range, 100 seat airplane that could carry a good load of baggage or cargo too. An airplane that will carry one hundred paying passengers across the country with a stop in St Louis (TWA), Chicago (Eastern), Minneapolis (NWA) or Dallas (Braniff). This is how most L1049's spent their careers. Those that flew them, loved them. Very stable, very comfortable. Then the 707 came along and took all the long-range flights. Then the 727 appeared and suddenly the L1049's were parked one last time. 

 

January Special Event

   Our Special Event for January, as the temps drop into the single digits, is to go circumnavigate the Pacific Rim. You must depart from either LAX or LGB to begin the event. You must visit these cities (though not neccesarily in this order): Seattle, Anchorage, Tokyo, Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brisbane and Honolulu. Finally, at least one third of your flights must be in a piston engine aircraft. No charters. Flights may be freight or passenger, published routes only. 

 

 

 

Icing

     One of the non-benefits of not flying for the airlines is the vast amount of time you spend flying around in the weather. Sometimes it's just cold. Sometimes it is wet and cold. This is where you get problems. 

     Recently we had an accident near me, and it brought back a lot of memories, for they were doing the very same thing I used to do. They were in a Baron 58, whereas I was in a KingAir 350i or Metroliner IV. All I can say is thank God for turbines. We could usually punch up through icing pretty quick, but we didn't do well in extended icing conditions. The deicing boots only work well up to a certain accumulation rate. I have no idea what went on that night in that Baron. The cloud tops were around 9000'. Temperatures on the ground were in the upper thirties. So the fog was thick, and the icing conditions were right. Any pilot knows that the worst icing is in the thousand feet just before you reach the top of the clouds. They took off for Denver and headed west, maneuvering some around weather. They levelled at 8000', just around 100 kts. That's a normal climb speed in the Baron, so long as it's clean. Normal clean stall is around 84 kts. Now there you are, just level at 8000' and it isn't accelerating or doing anything. This is the worst altitude for collecting a lot of ice and you got plenty. So you say the heck with this, let's go back. Been there, done that.

     Now that's a good idea. Except don't forget, with ice on the wing, the stall speed is easily in the 94-97 knot range now. So at 100 kts, you're actually just barely above stall speed. So you make the call and start a turn back. At around 10 or more degrees of bank you get the surprise of your life. It stalls, in a bank with full power and lots of torque. In a second you're upside down at night, falling, in the clouds with a load of ice on the airplane. Yeah, they didn't get out of it, and my heart goes out to them. So next time you're flying your sim in icing conditions, remember this basic rule about Vref speed: Add 10 knots if in icing conditions. Add twenty if you have visible ice accumulation. Now with all this extra speed, be sure to plant it in the touchdown zone quick. You can't make a hard landing on snow or slush. If you're climbing, get through the icing layers quickly, and keep the speed up.


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