Monday, March 12, 2007

Kittyhawk AK987 Fan Club

One of my maxims about the web is that there is nothing too obscure to not have a following. I was reminded of this the other day when I noticed I had a new comment on my Flickr site. Hawk914 had formed a Flickr group for pictures of a P-40. Not just P-40s in general (I have a P-40 picture from the Udvar-Hazy Center on this post), but a specific P-40: the one with tail number AK987 that is on display in the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. This plane flew as part of the Flying Tigers in China, which was a squadron of American volunteers flying lend-lease P-40s for the Nationalist Chinese before Pearl Harbor.

I had visited the Air Force Museum as a side detour on my cross-country round trip last summer. Everyone had told me that the Air Force Museum was way more comprehensive than the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in DC. In many ways they are right. The AFM is four hangers of planes just jammed everywhere. From the dawn of flight to the latest stealth planes, they seem to have one of everything. Some planes like the twin-cockpit F-82 were only legends from my youthful OCD obsession with military hardware, but they had one on display.

The AFM has a much narrower focus than the Smithsonian. The National Air and Space Museum covers the entire of history of flight and tries to delve deeper into the science and technology of flight. Still, the AFM has plenty of interpretive displays, including a very poignant one about Vietnam War era POWs. We only had a few hours to tour the place, but I had a great time. I sat in the cockpit of an F-4 like the one my dad flew. I got plenty of pictures of great planes that I put in a Flickr set, but never blogged about until now.

One of the most famous fighters in history were the P-40 Fighting Tigers. With the shark mouth cowl, these planes are the archetypal ferocious image of a World War II fighter. Hawk914 had noticed that there are a lot of pictures of the one in the AFM but they all seemed to look alike. That’s because the way they have planes stacked in there, only two angles make any sense. As a tongue-in-cheek joke he started a Flickr group dedicated to this particular plane and somehow found my picture.

I am proud to be a part of the Kittyhawk AK987 fan club and hope many more will follow Hawk914's lead and celebrate this famous plane.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: What is the most obscure thing you have been a fan of?


Anonymous said...

The Air Force museum is a place where an airplane affecianado can spend days. I spent two full days from opening to closing and I still didn't read all the lables on the displays.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, what a neat museum! I guess being a huge fan of the AMC Hornet is kinds obscure. I love the Gremlin and Eagle too, but the Hornet is my favorite!

Anonymous said...

Obscure? I have a thing for World War II vintage print advertising. But it can't be just any old thing to come down the pike; I like the stuff that makes some oblique reference to the fact that there's a war going on. For example, the Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix ads that promise the stuff isn't rationed.

Is that obscure enough?

Anonymous said...

elizabeth, I'm an AMX fan.

Also, I'm working on a Berkeley, which is about as obscure a British sports car as there ever was.

yellojkt, God is *Your* Co-Pilot.


Mooselet said...

I went to the AFM about 20 years ago when I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. My favourite memory was reaching up to shake the wing, and thereby the entire wing span, of a B-52 bomber.

As for the obscure fan thing, I confess I'm a Tudor history geek, specifically Elizabeth I. I have an entire shelf of books on the subject, most of them about the Queen.

PsychoToddler said...

We're members of the EAA and try to get up there at least once a year.

I've got pictures on my blog somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Well, let me tell you something; I'm sure it will surprise you.

For a person to live in South Florida and be a fan, in general, of "people who write for the Washington Post" is considered weird. Can you imagine. And then, to be, like, the "number one fan" of a particular WaPo staffer whom I shall refrain from naming, okay you forced it out of me, "Joel Achenbach"--that is so bizarre as to be almost literally unspeakable. It's necessary to hang out on Achenblog just to be in contact with the 100 or so people in the world who understand this--well, is obsession the right word? Hobby? Pastime?

It's not the internet which has made me weird. I promise you I was an Achenbach devotee before I knew what the internet was. But without the blog and the ability to contact other Achenreaders I would have to keep it in a more realistic perspective. The blog allows it to take over a bigger part of my psyche.