The Lockheed/Martin F-35 Turkey “One A Day In Tampa Bay”, by Steve Candidus

Your tax dollars at work. From Steve Candidus at

File this one under the title – ‘Some things never change’.

In the early stages of WWII the US Army Air force had a medium bomber called the B-26 Martin Marauder.

It was known as a ‘hot’ airplane with high performance and a perchance for coming back to the ground in the uncontrolled high speed way rather than the nice slow speed safe way.

In fact, it got the nicknames of, “The Widow Maker, and The Baltimore Whore” and since some of its pilot introduction flights were performed in Florida, they used to say “One a day in Tampa Bay”.

Hardly complimentary tags.

Then-Congressman Harry Truman visited the Martin Company in Maryland to determine what the problem was.

To his surprise they already knew quite well what was wrong. They had made a mistake in their wing loading calculations. The wings were simply too small for the aircraft – hence the nickname “The Baltimore Whore” as it had no visible means of support.

When Truman inquired as to when the needed fixes would be implemented they informed him that they had no intention of fixing the airplane. They didn’t have to. They had a contract.

The story goes that Harry T. didn’t even wait to get back to Washington DC, and that he placed a couple of phone calls and by the time he got back to DC Martin’s contract for the B-26 had been summarily cancelled.

All of a sudden, they saw the light and decided they had better fix the wings.

The B-26 went on to have a remarkable career with the US Army Air force and had one of the lowest loss rates of any aircraft of its type.

Fast forward to 2017. Martin is now a part of Lockheed/Martin and their F-35 Lightning II spends more of its time in the hanger than it does in the air. You know, where an airplane is supposed to be. In the air…

Its reliance on over-the-horizon long-range detection makes its importance of a stealthy design open to debate. In order to detect an enemy aircraft it has to turn on its radar. That’s like shining a flashlight in the dark. The enemy can see exactly where YOU are.

To continue reading: The Lockheed/Martin F-35 Turkey “One A Day In Tampa Bay”


One response to “The Lockheed/Martin F-35 Turkey “One A Day In Tampa Bay”, by Steve Candidus

  1. My step-father’s younger brother trained in the B-26 back in 1943 or so, which is when I first heard the saying. The laminar-flow small wing made for a high stall speed. Stall on final and you could winnd up upside down, tail-first. A safe approach speed on final could mean landing long without enough room or brakes to avoid Tampa Bay.

    However, the wing-fix made them very useful in Europe. A positive aspect was the amount of damage they could sustain yet remain flyable.


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