Boasting colourful buildings, detailed designs, and great history, Miami’s Art Deco Historic District is located between 5th Street and 23rd Street, along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue. The district is made up of over 800 buildings, that were built from 1923 to 1943, during the golden era of the Art Deco Movement. This is the first 20th century neighbourhood to be listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.
After decades of being neglected, and under the threat of demolition, the neighbourhood was restored and revived, thanks to campaigning by local Miami resident Barbara Baer Capitman. Capitman founded a not-for-profit organisation, The Miami Design Preservation League, that promoted protecting the Art Deco buildings in Miami. The League also run walking tours of the area.
For the first time ever, the Tico Warbird Airshow hosted a night performance at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida.
In these photos, we see the AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying North American AT-6 Texans in precise formation, with aircraft strobelights constantly blinding each other’s vision. Matt Younkin flies his Beechcraft Model 18 (built in 1943, never designed for a loop or a roll) through graceful maneuvers in the inky darkness. Mig driver, Randy Ball, lights up the surroundings with the afterburner of his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F. At the time of this writing, Ball is the only pilot in North America certified to fly unlimited jet fighter aerobatics at night.
As if photographing an airshow isn’t hard enough, why not try it without the help of sunlight? This proved to be extremely challenging, but the product is rewarding. The same could be said for the performers, as night flying (let alone night low-level aerobatics) is considerably more harrowing. These aviators made it look easy.
The B-17 is one of the iconic allied bombers of WWII. First flown in 1935 and in service up until 1968 in the Brazilian Air Force, the B-17 was a sturdy, heavy lifting power house. Practically anyone familiar with military aviation will be familiar with the B-17, but what many are not aware of are the interesting and unique B-17 modifications that were constructed during WWII. The most notable B-17 modifications were the XB-38, The YB-40 and the C-108.
The XB-38 was a converted B-17 modified to mount 4 Allison V-1710 engines. This replaced the usual complement of 4 Wright R-1820 radial engines.
The XB-38 was built in 1943 and first flew in May of that year. It was capable of a higher top speed (287 mph increased to 327 mph) but saw a decrease in it’s service ceiling(35,600 feet to 29,600 feet.) The project was canceled due to a number of accidents, including a serious engine fire that resulted in the destruction of the only prototype. Additionally, the Allison V-1710 engine was needed for production of the P-38 Lightening and the P-51 Mustang, among others. In 1944 a similar project was started to install inline engines on a B-29 Superfortress. Called the XB-39, the modified aircraft performed well enough, but cost concerns prevented the new design from entering production.
Introduced in 1943, before the P-51 arrived in Europe for high altitude escort missions, the YB-40 was B-17 modified to act as an escort gunship for bomber formations penetrating into the European continent.
While the normal B-17 carried 13 Browning 50 caliber Machine guns, the YB-40 carried, on average, 18 and had room for up to 30 machine guns of various calibers. Some YB-40s even carried guns up to 40mm. Additionally, the YB-40 was full to the brim with ammunition, allowing it to sustain fire for far longer than the normal B-17. The YB-40 carried approximately 10,700 rounds of 50 caliber ammunition with 4,000 rounds stored in the bomb bay.
Compare this with the normal B-17 which carried approximately 2,000 rounds total. The trade off was, of course, speed, and climb rate. The YB-40 was reported to take 48 minutes to climb 20,000 feet while the bombers it was escorting only took 25 minutes to climb to the same altitude.
This drawback, along with the fact that the YB-40 could not keep up with the B-17 formations, especially after they had dropped their bombs, meant that the YB-40 did not see use after the introduction of the P-51 Mustang. Despite its drawbacks, the 25 completed YB-40s flew 48 sorties and shot down 5 German aircraft plus 2 probables. The last recorded YB-40 combat mission was in July of 1943, however, the new turrets developed for the YB-40 such as the Bendix chin turret (pictured below) and the improved “Cheyenne” tail turret proved effective enough to be mounted on late war B-17 bombers.
A single Consolidated B-24 Liberator, called the XB-41, was modified in a similar fashion to act as a long range bomber escort, but it never saw combat.
The XC-108 was a modified B-17 bomber converted to act as a V.I.P. transport for General Douglas MacArthur.
The plane was stripped of arms and armour except for the nose and tail turrets. The interior was converted into a private office for the General. The plane was fitted with a kitchen and living space. After the success of this model, the USAAF, with plenty of obsolete bombers laying around, began looking into ways to convert bombers into transport craft. A number of models were produced including the XC-108A, cargo and troop transport that could carry up to 64 fighting men, and the XC-108B which was converted into a fuel tanker. The B-24 Liberator was similarly modified into a transport known as the Liberator express. This model saw widespread use with 287 aircraft built.
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This is a MC AU loosely based on the movie The Lake House
Rating - T
Emma had picked up the letter from Killian that explained her Saturday instructions a few days previously and so when the day arrived she woke early and excited about spending the day with him. She got out of bed, dressed carefully and drove to the Art Deco district, Killian’s letter in hand. Having not been to this area of Miami before, she was anxious to see it as most of the buildings in South Florida were newer ones. If a building had some age on it, more often than not, it seemed they were torn down instead of remodeled. While she knew this had to do with making sure the buildings met the current hurricane codes, she couldn’t help but wish for a way to bridge the old with the new and was happy that it seemed Killian might have had similar thoughts. The Art Deco District, a small area of land that included over 800 structures of historical significance, built between 1923 and 1943, was located along Miami Beach and situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Biscayne Bay. Parking her car and grabbing her bag, Emma was ready to go.
Good morning Swan,
Today I want to show you a piece of my family, for my father, Brennan Jones had a hand in the rejuvenation of this area. Follow these instructions and I’ll be there with you all along your journey.
———– Once you’ve parked your car, start at 5th street, which dead-ends at Ocean Drive. Head north and notice the porthole windows, metal rails, and flags, just like the many Ocean Liners that used to dock at the Port of Miami in the 1930’s. The first hotel I want you to take a look at is the Park Central. It is most famous for stars such as Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth staying there. ————– Emma slowly walked down the street taking in everything around her. The buildings were old Florida, very grand in style. There were colors everywhere. So many things to see and with the sea breeze blowing softly she tried to take it all in. People were milling about, some looked to be dressed for the beach, others like they just stepped out of the theater, even this early in the morning. Shaking her head, she kept walking noting that the Beacon Hotel looked a bit like a wedding cake with its design and color, white with lacy trim. Glancing through the doors as she passed she noted the marble flooring. She smiled to herself thinking about Killian walking in this same area and enjoying the old windows, flags and metal railings, which made him feel close to the sea, while on land and that didn’t even take into account that his father was responsible for the rejuvenation of many of these buildings. Moving into an area close to the Colony Hotel, she read her next set of instructions, ————- When you reach 7th street, cross and take some time to wander through Lummus Park. You will be able to smell the salt and feel the breeze blowing off the ocean and hear all of the many musicians who are always singing and playing instruments, like the guitar and the bongos. There’s a man who plays his guitar and always seems to be standing in the same place, every time I happen upon the park. He plays the guitar and sings music that haunts me. Listen to him and imagine that I am standing there with you. If he’s still there, you’ll know him by the red beanie, that he always wears, no matter the weather. Look for him Emma and know that I am with you. ———- She took a minute to absorb what she had just read. I feel his presence she thought to herself. How can that be? How can someone whom I can’t even touch be so real to me? Fate, he says, but I’m a doctor, a woman of science, how can fate have such a strong impact on me? At that moment she didn’t know and didn’t really care, she just wanted to enjoy being in the here and now. She stepped away from the building and walked to the corner to cross over to the park. It was beautiful. People skating and biking and jogging. She could smell the coconut scent from the suntan lotion and see nets for volleyball, most of them occupied. Bright umbrellas here and there lined the beach and people could be seen floating in the water, laying on chairs or on colorful towels in the warm sand or standing around talking to others or walking along the shore looking for shells.
And music, everywhere she looked she could hear music playing. Wondering if the musician that Killian enjoyed could possibly still be there, she entered the park and began to walk slowly. She saw a person with a red hat on but he was playing the bongos so she kept walking. Suddenly she heard a melody whose chords resonated in her brain as it reminded her of Killian and their talk of fate and magic. The song the man was playing was Overthe Rainbow, a song of dreams possibly coming true. Turning she spotted a man that had to be the one Killian had mentioned in his letter. He was standing off the beaten track just a bit, on his own, playing his guitar and wearing a red beanie. He didn’t fit the stereotypical street musician and she wondered what his story was but the closer she got to him, the less she cared as his ability to convey the feeling behind the music was wondrous. Emma felt her blood soar and when she looked down at his guitar case her heart stopped for leaning against the case was a small sign. And on that sign was Emma Swan? For all to see. She was shocked but slowly reached down and picked up the sign, turned to the man, who by this time had stopped playing, ”I’m Emma Swan,” she said quietly, “Where did you get this?”
He smiled at her, “I’ve been waiting for you, Emma. A man with dark hair gave me this sign and asked me to wait for you. He said when you came to give you this,” and he pulled a tattered envelope out of his pocket and handed it to her. “He made me promise, which I always try to keep, and he asked me to play this for you.” He closed his eyes and started strumming the strings of his guitar.
Emma immediately felt tears well up in her eyes, for not only was the music he was playing incredibly beautiful but he was playing Unchained Melody, the haunting tune played during the movie Ghost. It was a very warm day, yet she felt chilled and goose bumps appeared on her arms and then, it was as if someone was standing behind her and had their arms wrapped tightly around her. She looked over her shoulder to make sure she was still alone but no one was there, still, she couldn’t shake the feeling she wasn’t alone. Realizing she hadn’t opened the envelope in her hand, she did so and pulled out a single piece of paper with Killian’s hand writing on it:
Do you feel my arms around you Emma? I’m right here.