Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Kong's last stand

I don't have much time to post but thought I'd leave any readers who care to think about it with this question: against what biplane aircraft did King Kong make his famous last stand atop the Empire State Building?

  1. The Boeing F4B4? Known, I think in the Army Air Corps as the P-12.
  2. The Curtis Falcon? See here for more.
  3. Something else.


I've always wondered.


Blogger wretchard said...

One source identifies it as an Curtis Helldiver, not the World War 2 one, but apparently the SBC4 biplane model, which guess what, is a development of the F-12.

12/07/2005 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger Christopher Hlatky said...

It was a Curtiss-Wright F9C-2 Sparrowhawk.

12/07/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The pictures I have seen show that it was clearly the Boeing F4B-4 or P-12E.
When the P-12E model came out they eventually added a life raft to the aircraft, identifiable by the pronounced hump behind the cockpit. This was done at the request of Army pilots flying in the Canel zone, who had a lot more water areas available in the case of an emergency landing than they did suitable spots on land (a modification which uglied up the airplane considerably. but you really can't blame them).
The addition of the life raft to the P-12E made the two aircraft so similar, that aside from markings, you would need a copy of the maintenance manual to tell them apart.
The P-12E and F4B-4 was both the ultimate achievement of and the end of the Army and Navy keeping up with the Jones by buying basically the same fighter plane. This was necessitated by General Billy Mitchell's sinking of target ships in 1921.
The next Army fighter was also out of Boeing, but it was a monoplane, the P-26, and its landing characteristics were unsuitable for carriers.
The resultant rivalry between the two services had vast implications in WWII.
My article covering all of this is in work!

12/07/2005 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger JackT said...

I watched a segment on this on some TV show the other day; Peter Jackson had to use original drawings and plans to build replica Curtis Helldivers for the movie. The colors, apparently authentic, looked really nice. They said this was a training aircraft.

12/07/2005 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"My article covering all of this is in work! "
Perhaps you should give the name of the publication, so we can have our subscriptions in force and not miss it!

12/07/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Bob Baer, formerly of the CIA and currently of "Siriana" fame, will be a guest on FOXnews in about 5 minutes.

It's now 12:30 PM, eastern standard time.

12/07/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Asked why the new Zawahiri tape had English subtitles, Baer responded: "They're trying to demoralize us".


As you must all know by now the Clooney character in Hollywood's latest conspiratorial project "Syriana" is based on the agreeable Baer's former exploits in his service of the company.

12/07/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

BBC NEWS Programmes Panorama Robert Baer
Robert Baer is one of the last men you would expect to oppose an attack on Iraq. The former CIA officer was one of the key men operating inside Iraq during ...

12/07/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I talk to people in the CIA. They're worried about the stability of the region."

Mr Baer claims that his fears are echoed by his former paymasters in the intelligence business.

He added: "I talk to people in the CIA. They're worried about the stability of the region."

"A land war or a massive air war, against an Arab country is going to cause several governments in the Middle East to fall. Among them Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and possibly Egypt.

"I think people in Washington are so hurt, so damaged by the attacks on September 11th, that they want to take revenge. And Saddam happens to be the vehicle."

12/07/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Goodness, don't the neocons and the chimp realize they have caused INSTABILITY?

12/07/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Langley said...

"It wasn't the airplane. It was beauty killed the beast"

12/07/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger jeff said...

Yeah, it was real stable when Khobar Towers, USS Cole, and our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya got bombed.

12/07/2005 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger tbrosz said...

You can see an apparent photo of the plane Jackson is using here.

12/07/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

I would think if you were going to cruise down memory lane on Decemeber 7 you might think of some other event.

I wonder if you and your readers can guess what is. The rest of us mourn their sacrifice.

We don't forget.

12/07/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger HealeySteve said...

The plane in tbroz' link is a Curtiss Falcon 2-seat observation plane. It's the same as the planes used in the original King Kong. Note the distinctive tail design with the notch in the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer--I believe this tail design is unique to the Falcon.

12/07/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

A reader writes to say:

"Examining the famous still, I would say the planes can't be F4B4s for three reasons. First, the planes in the film have four vertical struts between the wings, the F4B4 only two; second, the F4B4 fuselage is stubbier than the film planes' and the former contains a hump behind the cockpit that the latter lack; third, the pictured wheel struts are triangular, with oblique struts fore and aft, whereas the F4B4 lacks a fore oblique. ... The plane is the Packard Le Pere LUSAC-11."

12/07/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Sorry to continue OT, but Baer et al want us to get Real (ism). My question is, precisely who are the new 'et al'?

'Syriana' will continue the development of this new coalition, one whose parameters even its participants aren't fully aware of.

It was Baer, of course, who was cut loose from the CIA for once plotting to take Saddam's life. The film is based on his book.

12/07/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Okay sorry, we'll stick to airplanes now.

12/07/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Speaking of planes, there's been a report of a shooting on a Miami plane, apparently someone with a bomb, who was shot by an air marshal. There's your Pearl Harbor and airplane thread rolled in one.

12/07/2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

First Internet report up on the shooting.

12/07/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Plane inbound from Columbia.

12/07/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

And none too soon. Someone told me last week that it was "ridiculous" to think of FARC in terms of "international terrorism" and the WOT.

Of course I'm not saying that it was FARC on that plane today, but it wasn't a rightwing death squad either (also terrorists).

12/07/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The plane had arrived and was on the ground when the incident occured so it doesn't seem that big a deal.vy

12/07/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Horace Finkle said...

Very cool blog. Definitely worth the read.

Check out:

12/07/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

The aptly named Langley, namesake of the man who litigated for years he invented the airplane, not the Wright Brothers, beat me to the punch.

"Twas beauty that killed the beast".

The original movie though is one of those near-perfect productions that still enthralls audiences.

Special effects light years ahead of it's time and which aged far better than "Star Wars" FX for example.

White damsel in distress done better than FOX's Greta Van Susteren does milking her "missing white girl" of the month or year.

Tossing in all sorts of themes. Noble savage vs. all-powerful modernity. Compassion, love in unlikely quarters. Exploitative capitalism. Our need and craving for a Shangri-La or Lost World of any sort where life can be more exciting and rewarding than the one we are in. Racial fears and overtones. Sexual fears and overtones. Journey of discovery. Journey of adventure. Theme where film-making fiction melds into a more interesting, emerging reality..

I remember sitting with my grandad, dad as a kid and all of us saying we had the same reactions as kids...It worked exactly the same on 3 generations...We all found the dinosaurs and Kong incredibly real, though Fay Wray was ummmm... stirring somehow to a young boy, all of us had been in the Empire State Building for a visit before seeing it, all of us wondered how machine gun bullets got through the biplane propellors (mechanically inclined family), and all of us said the line that stuck was "It was beauty that killed the beast".

Great flick.

12/07/2005 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger GEB4000 said...

When somebody like Baer says he's worried about stability in the Middle East, I hear, "I'm worried there won't be the right kind of Middle-Eastern despots around who will pay for my consulting services when I retire from civil service."

12/07/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger N. O'Brain said...

I don't know about the airplane, but the chalk outline was HUGE!

12/07/2005 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

The dead suspect is a US citizen of Costa Rican descent. His wife stated that he suffered from bipolar disorder and was off his meds. Heard some muttering on Fox that she should have given him his meds. My nephew is bipolar and doesn't want his meds because he feels that they mark him as different. No one has the authority to force him to take the meds. It was discovered that there was no bomb. No one knew this at the time.

12/07/2005 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

So only a poor troubled soul. Well I'm glad it's wasn't terrorism. Still, any opportunity to review the FARC is an opportuntiy well taken IMO.

I liked the Baer dig geb.

12/07/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger DEANBERRY said...


12/07/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Re: Baer (awesome picture, dude), et al.

T'would be a mercy to stuff a sock into the mouth of every has-been whose smug criticism, I have tentatively concluded, is to some degree a means of venting frustration at being out of the game (and not in control of the universe). Everything else is preening.

With apologies to former and retired everywhere - God save us from the former and the retired. Like the two old balconey hecklers in The Muppet Show. Shut up already.

12/07/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I'll join you Trish, with the addendum that he also save us from the almost there and never were.

12/07/2005 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/07/2005 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/07/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Sorry about the above two, decided not to drag it off a tangent.

12/07/2005 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I'll join you Trish, with the addendum that he also save us from the almost there and never were."

Agreed. You stick it in your prayers, I'll stick it in mine. We'll see how it goes.

12/08/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger cylkryl said...

How about I ask my Dad what planes they were? He made them, so that should be able to stop all arguments.. haha, if I remember to ask him, and if I bother coming back to tell you, of course :P

12/22/2005 06:16:00 AM  

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