At the time, standard operating procedure dictated that the air attack plane orbit the fire at 1,000 feet above ground level with right turns. The tankers made left turns at 500 feet AGL. In those mountains, picking which terrain to use for a benchmark often proved an interesting challenge.
What’s Behind That Loser?
Behind the XP-79 shown on p. 39 (“Loser X-Planes,” Aug. 2011) is a twin-engine airplane with twin tails and U.S. markings. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is.
Editors’ reply: According to National Air and Space Museum archivist Brian Nicklas, it is a Fairchild AT-21 bomber crew trainer, made of Duramold, a plastic-bonded plywood-like material that replaced critical metals during World War II. “It was pretty much a flop in its own right,” says Nicklas.
- Aug. 2011 “Stopping the A380” (How Things Work): The Boeing 767 that crashed in 1991 departed from Thailand, not Indonesia, and 223, not 313, were killed.