Friday, April 26, 2013

Following up on some mysteries..

In the wake of the second part of 2LT Abram's marvelous presentation on First Flights, Linda attempts to unravel the mystery of the "Fox News" icon in one of the pictures of her briefing.

Linda writes that she is still puzzled:
"It was pointed out tonight that there is a "Fox News" sign on a hangar in the background of one of the Lindbergh pictures.

"Here's what appears to be a magazine cover on Lindbergh that says "FOX."

"Notice the call-sign "wxin" in the above URL. When I google "WXIN" I get "Fox59."

"So it looks like there was a magazine or station or some news outlet called "Fox" before our modern "Fox News." But what?"

Turns out Linda was correct that the WXIN was a radio (or TV) station call sign. But, as everyone except Joe Biden knows, television was not around -- at least commercially -- in the 1920s. Looking up the history of the commercial station WXIN reveals little except that it was given by the FCC to a Rhode Island college station and a TV station in Indianapolis -- as Linda discovered.

Also in her fine talk was an allusion to a video Lindbergh's take off on that foggy, damp May morning.

The video, not embeddable, can be found here. It's great to watch as it presents a literal preamble enunciating the excruciating agony that beset Lindbergh as he weighed the decision to launch himself and the Spirit of Saint Louis into the air despite foreboding weather, an overloaded craft, a muddy field, and inclement weather.

The video depicts Lindbergh's description of his departure -- dramatically narrated by Linda -- particularly the three times the wheels rejoined the ground on that takeoff roll.

But what has always boggled my imagination is the fact that there was no forward looking windscreen in the craft and only a crude periscope device.

Coupled with the fact that Lindbergh slept only sporadically the night before, the decision to leap off must have been an onerous one and it makes the epic 33.5 hour journey across the Atlantic a riveting drama.

ADDITIONAL TEASE: The famous Bell X-1 was designed with the Browning .50-caliber machine gun bullet in mind because it was known to be stable at supersonic speeds.

Linda rejoins us in June for additional exciting presentations. Check the calendar.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander
Squadron 150