Blog 5th Anniversary Survey Results

All Quiet on the Survey Front

After a month of having the reader surveys open for both my blogs, I have to say the amount of feedback was rather less than I hoped for. However, there was enough to indicate where the blogs are succeeding.

Looking at Pickled Wings question by question:

1: How well does Pickled Wings meet your needs?

The responses to this question all fell into the “Very well” and “Somewhat well” brackets with the majority in “Very well”

2: How easy was it to find what you were looking for on Pickled Wings?

Responses were spread across “Somewhat easy”, “Very easy” and “Extremely easy” with a majority in “Very easy”

3: Did it take you more or less time than you expected to find what you were looking for on Pickled Wings?

Responses ranged from “About waht I expected”, “A little less time” and “A lot less time”. While there was not a large majority, slightly less than half the respondents voted “A little less time” putting it a bit ahead of the other two.

4: How visually appealing is Pickled Wings?

By a wide margin, “Extremely appealing” got the majority here with “Very appealing” and “Somewaht appealing” taking smaller shares.

5: How easy is it to understand the information on Pickled Wings?

Happily, the responses here were split between only “Very easy” and “Extremely easy” wit h”Extremely easy” getting a majority.

6: How much do you trust the information on Pickled Wings?

Responses were split between “A moderate amount”, “A lot” and “A great deal”. There was a tie between “A lot” and “A great deal” with both cioming in at just under half with the rest going to “A moderate amount”.

7: How likely is it that you would recommend Pickled Wings to a friend or colleague?

Just over half of respondents said they would recommend Pickled Wings while smaller percentages were passive or said they would not recommend it.

8: Do you have any other comments about how we can improve our website?

Not much was said in this area, but here’s a couple of comments:

“I am partial to Soviet aircraft, so please add more articles about Tupolevs, Yaks, etc.”

I will do that as the opportunities present themselves. I prefer to use my own photos in posts, so that does limit what I can present to the aircraft I can gain access to. Also, Soviet aircraft do present a research obstacle in that a great deal of information about them is still tainted by biases of the Cold War era, so greater care must be taken in researching them.

I currently have articles on the Ilyushin Il-28, Yakovlev Yak-11 and Yakovlev Yak-40 in the works, so you can be assured of more Soviet aircraft articles in the coming year.

 

“None really. I Love reading the posts along with the wide range of photos. All very good!”

This is good to hear. 🙂

 

9: How did you learn about Pickled Wings?

Most respondents found the blog via the WordPress reader section or through an internet search.

A smaller number found it through following a link from another site.

 

While the results of the surveys certainly aren’t scientific, I’m happy to have them.

Thanks all who responded.

 

 

 

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Remembrance and Reflection

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Poppy with Czech national colour ribbon attached

Remembrance Day is upon us once again and, thanks to a couple of conversations this week, I find myself with a bit more to reflect on this year than simply being thankful to veterans.

Bear with me, I’ll try not to be too long winded or self-indulgent:

This week someone thanked me for wearing a poppy. I don’t think anyone has ever thanked me for that before now.

An elderly lady started chatting to me at a tram stop on Wednesday morning, pointed to my poppy a couple of times and thanked me for wearing one and lamented that younger generations of Czechs hardly know a thing about the contributions Czechs made in the Second World War.

As soon as I started replying, she caught my foreign accent (and certainly Czech grammar errors) and asked where I was from and so forth. In the space of four tram stops (ten minutes or so) she told me how her father had been a soldier in the exiled Czechoslovak army under British command during the war.

She also asked where I had bought my poppy as she’d never seen them for sale here; her eyes lit up when I told her it was a shop just down the street from where we had got off the tram.

I’m pretty sure she got one for herself before the day was finished.

Later on Wednesday, I related the above conversation on my Facebook page and one of my friends asked about how acceptable it would be for her to acknowledge on the day those of her ancestors who fought under German and Austrian flags.

It’s something I’d not really thought about until she asked, but I couldn’t see a reason for her not to so long as those ancestors had simply been regular military and not in the SS or similar branch.

Whenever I have passed by the German war graves section of the central cemetery in Brno, there have always been a few graves with tributes placed by them. In light of that, someone is clearly remembering them and not afraid to show it.

The latter conversation made me think about what level of obligation, if any, younger generations should be made to feel when it comes to the guilt and grudges between previous generations.

There is, of course, the well known proverb of those who forget the past being doomed to repeat it; but is it required for younger generations to be made to feel some need to bear an older generation’s guilt or hold their grudges in order to be sure the past is not forgotten? Surely such attitudes only serve to ensure that not only is history not forgotten, but that the chances of it being repeated are increased.

That question transcends the Second World War and can be extended to other events that created much bloodshed and bitterness between people, especially those events which we are separated from by not only many years but also several generations.

When those of the generations most directly involved in the actions and conflicts leave us, but could in their lifetimes find it in themselves to reconcile and even become friends, the excuses for later generations to feel guilt or hold grudges on the part of previous ones seem very frail and few indeed.

To put that into more material terms:

If you came into the possession of a family heirloom that you knew represented a darker chapter of your family or peoples’ history that happened three or four generations or more prior, should you personally feel any shame for having it?

You can’t deny your connection to the item even if you personally didn’t have a hand in creating it. However, is anyone else really in a place to tell you that it is irrelevant precisely who created it and that you personally should be ashamed of it as if you had been its creator and hide it away somewhere even though those who created it are long gone from the world?

When you’ve been able to reconcile a dark corner of your family’s or peoples’ past to its rightful place in the past, how much of an obligation should you feel to bear the previous generations’ guilt in the face of someone who has opted to hold the previous generations’ grudge?

When I read about men who fought each other in wars and later became friends sometime after hostilities had ceased, I can’t help but think we should be honouring that ability in them just as much as we honour the sacrifice of those who didn’t survive the conflict.

Lest We Forget

 

 

Aero Ae-45/145 Revisited

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Further to my goal of revising and improving upon some of my older existing posts, I’m happy to announce the completion of revisions to my article about the Aero Ae-45 and Ae-145 aircraft family.

This was one of the blog’s earlier articles and in the interim I’ve had several opportunities to see the two examples that remain airworthy in the Czech Republic and talk to the owner of one of them.

I’ve also been able to find some extra online reference sources to help me make significant expansions to the text and give you a more rounded insight into this remarkable aircraft.

The revised article has more text, mostly fresh pictures and is waiting for you:

https://pickledwings.wordpress.com/aero-ae-45-and-ae-145-success-in-the-wake-of-war/

Kunovice Air Museum Update

I very recently received an email from the Kunovice Air Museum with some very exciting news to see out the 2017 season and give good reason to eagerly anticipate the start of the 2018 season.

As regular followers of Pickled Wings will know, the museum took on a former Czech air force Tupolev Tu-154 in 2016 for restoration and eventual display. Not only did the museum set a national record for the most successful crowd funding project in the country to date in order to achieve the goal of moving the aircraft by road from Prague to Kunovice, they also received some very generous help from the Kunovice town council.

The help from the town council includes the expansion of the museum land in order to accomodate the Tu-154 in close proximity to the rest of the museum’s collection.

Here, I provide for you an English translation of the content of the email I received from the museum:

***

The Kunovice town council has prepared and approved the extension of the land of the Kunovice Air Museum.

Dear friends,

We are pleased to inform you and your readers about the fact that the Kunovice town council, headed by Mayor Ivana Majíčková, has prepared and approved the extension of the museum’s land. This will not only save us a lot of work, but it will also allow for a more appropriate exposure of our new eagerly awaited exhibit, the Tupolev TU-154M, and free up space for other exhibits.

Bez názvu

Image: Proposed design of the presumed location of the TU-154M in the extended area of the museum. (image credit: Kunovice Air Museum)

Apart from the extension of the land, the town of Kunovice also offered help with the preparation of the area for the Nagano Express. Thanks to this, the aircraft will have a dignified place in the Kunovice Aircraft Museum.

Museum Head, Martin Hrabec, said:

“This unexpected and generous offer was a very pleasant surprise for our team and we are very happy about it. Immediately we started to prepare everything needed to build a paved spot at a new location so we did not incur a significant time deficit and have been able to prepare a place for the airplane before it starts to freeze. The primary goal is to keep to the planned airplane movement which is scheduled for the beginning of next year, when we assume that the soil will be sufficiently frozen.”

Moving the Tupolev will be followed by the finishing work on the airplane and its surroundings, so that it can be publically unveiled and made available for viewing in the 2018 season.

***

 

For all the latest updates of museum activities, you can visit the museum’s web page:

http://www.museum-kunovice.cz/

You can also visit their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/leteckemuzeumvkunovicich/?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser

Pickled Wings Turns 5!

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The Five Year Flypast

I started Pickled Wings in November of 2012. That means November of 2017 will mark a full five years of this blog’s existence.

When I started blogging, at the urging of a friend, I had no idea that I would enjoy it as much as I do or that anyone would enjoy what I choose to blog about as much as it seems they do.

I most certainly didn’t imagine myself still blogging after five years.

Flying Straight and True

Reflecting on five years of this blog and the current content of it, I can happily say that I have largely stayed true to my goal for it to be a general interest level aviation history resource with the focus on the human end of the aircraft rather than technobabble and jargon.

In the course of creating articles for individual aircraft types, I have also experimented with additional features to keep things fresh. Happily, going by the blog stats page, most of what I’ve added as new features has been well received by the readership.

On the matter of the information available through the stats page, let’s take a look at some Pickled Wings trivia (all figures current as of October 2017):

Number of followers: 305

Top 5 visited posts:

Sukhoi Su-7 “Fitter” – Fast and Fiendish (Total views: 1,443)

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 “Farmer” – The Forgotten MiG (Total views: 1,117)

Bucker Bu-131 Jungmann – Germany Returns to the Sky (Total views: 938)

Let L-13 Blaník – Gliding Globally (Total views: 694)

The MiG-15 – The Plane that Made MiG (Total views: 685)

Top 5 visitors by country:

United States of America (Total visitors: 9,863)

Czech Republic (Total visitors: 5,200)

United Kingdom (Total visitors: 3,581)

Germany (Total visitors: 2,244)

Canada (Total visitors: 1,749)

Of course, the stats page only gives numbers and general ideas of what works and what doesn’t in the content. It says nothing for how individual visitors actually feel about the website.

After five years, I’d like to know this.

Your Place to Speak

I’m grateful for everyone who takes the time to visit Pickled Wings, even if they decide not to become followers.

I’ve put together this short and informal survey to give me some additional information about the readership that the stats page doesn’t give.

I hope you will take a bit of time to fill it out and give me the information I need to continue making this blog an enjoyable place and useful resource for you.

The survey is annonymous and I’ve set the deadline for responses as November 8, 2017 at 14:00 Central European Time. I plan to post the results on the blog shortly after that deadline.

Please take care when responding as you will not be able to edit your responses once you leave the survey page.

Please follow this link to the survey and thank you in advance for taking the time to fill it in:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GM6WX39

Book Review: “Tornado F3 in Focus”

Tornado F3 in Focus: A Navigator’s Eye on Britain’s Last Interceptor
By: David Gledhill
Fonthill Media (2015)

“All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR2 simply got the first three right.” – Sir Sydney Camm

No truer words can be spoken about modern aircraft development than the above famous quote from the legendary aircraft designer, Sir Sydney Camm, when reflecting on the 1965 cancellation of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) TSR.2 tactical strike and reconnaissance aircraft program.

Politics will always hold some sway in procuring new military technology of any sort. A shift in power resulting from an election can utterly hamstring a much needed and well progressing project while those who control the flow of money will often get their way at the expense of the needs and safety of those charged with operating the equipment in the field.

Thus began the story of the Panavia Tornado F3…

The Tornado Air Defence Variant (ADV) program which would eventually lead to the F3 was quite controversial and well under many microscopes before the first prototype flew in 1979. It courted even more criticism when the lacklustre interim Tornado F2 variant entered RAF service in the early-mid 1980s.

From the first prototype flight in 1979 to the final retirement of the F3 by the Royal Saudi Air Force in 2014, the members of the Tornado ADV family would become both maligned and appreciated by various parties.

It was an aircraft that, in spite of its many detractors and early setbacks, would mature into a credible and valuable air defence asset which provided the Royal Air Force with a quarter century of service before they retired it in 2011.

In this book, David Gledhill lays out the Tornado ADV story in the RAF context from start to finish and covers in great detail all of the various road blocks in the aircraft’s development that held it back as well as the various incremental improvements that pushed it forward during its life.

Mr. Gledhill is a uniquely qualified voice to speak on matters of the Tornado ADV variants. He was one of the very first Tornado F2 navigators trained for the aircraft and his subsequent RAF flying career was dedicated to Tornado F3 operations as both an instructor navigator and an operational one.

Prior to his time as a Tornado navigator, he did the same job in the F-4 Phantom. As such, his knowledge and expertise of the air defence arena is extensive and he is well placed to not only compare the various stages of Tornado ADV development, but also to compare the Tornado and the Phantom in the the air defence role in a first hand and meaningful way.

Where this book really shines, in my view, is in Mr. Gledhill’s inside knowledge of the politics and other bureaucracy inside the halls of the Ministry of Defence that so often held the Tornado F3 back but kept the media and most other outsiders quite ignorant of why the aircraft seemed lacking.

The author is able to give us such an insight as he did two non flying tours of duty at the Ministry of Defence and was directly involved with many of the upgrades made to the Tornado F3 during that time. He relates tales of various projects jockeying for funding, his own extensive experience with the aircraft being placed second by those of higher authority who knew far less about the aircraft and perhpas nothing about the needs of the crews operating it.

The sections on procurement are particularly eye-opening and give a look at the intricacies of the development and procurement process of complex military technology that some who are keen to discredit contemporary military projects, such as the Lockheed-Martin F-35, but are dubiously informed about them might do well to read before going on a tirade in cyberspace against them.

The author also describes squadron deployments to the Middle East, the Balkans and the Falkland Islands in good detail.

Along the way, Mr. Gledhill also dispells many of the lingering myths and misconceptions about the Tornado F3 that followed it through its service life.

While there are a few typographical errors peppered through the book, they are not major impediments to undertsanding the text of the book.

If there is a more authoritative and well rounded book on the Tornado F3, I’m not aware of it.

Here is the book’s profile on the publisher’s website:

http://fonthillmedia.com/epages/a72b332e-5c82-4e84-ad34-4c5316ee7a6b.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/a72b332e-5c82-4e84-ad34-4c5316ee7a6b/Products/978-1-78155-307-7

Buy with confidence.

The L-13 Blaník Revisited

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I’ve decided, with the airshow season and outdoor museum season in the Czech Republic at an end for 2017, I’d take this weekend as a housecleaning one at Pickled Wings. I’ve moved all of my pre-summer posts to the permanent menus and deleted a few others.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to revisit my existing entry on the Let L-13 Blaník sailplane. the Oldtimer Weekend event held at Brno’s Medlánky airport in early September provided me with more than enough pictures of Blaník family members to completely refresh the photographic content of that article.

Additionally, I did some text editing in the section of the article concerned with motorized variants of the Blaník.

I hope you’ll enjoy the fresh look of that article:

https://pickledwings.wordpress.com/let-l-13-blanik-gliding-globally/