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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Winter’s here!

We were blessed with snow yesterday while our Ontario and New England neighbours dealt with freezing rain.

Snow and cold is not enough to deter some Montreal cyclists, who steadfastly continue to bike along Sherbrooke. When not lined with mounds of snow, the part of Sherbrooke near our home is narrow…

I/E. DRIVING SCHOOL CAR/SHERBROOKE BLVD. – DAY (FLASHBACK)

Webs drives, the instructor’s in the right seat. In each direction, the street has one full-width lane and a parking lane, plus an additional lane between them that fits compact cars if it’s not too hot out, because metal expands with heat.

INSTRUCTOR

How many lanes are there here?

WEBS

One and a half.

The instructor shrugs.

(END FLASHBACK)

…yet one cyclist today wasn’t going to let that stop him. Despite the bike lane on relatively deserted de Maisonneuve one block south, this cyclist stayed on Sherbrooke, zipping through and tying up traffic on a street that had been reduced to one lane (each way) by snow and parking. Good on ya!

I finished the travel database job that this blog snagged for me. I wasn’t paid enough for the work I ended up doing. I’m too conscientious. Now I have some work to do for Alex E. before I start working on the Avia book with Alex Y. Speaking of things 1948-y, I’ve solved a minor mystery regarding the war.

The first 101 Squadron mission took off May 29, 1948, about 7:45 p.m., bombed an Egyptian column, and returned within less than an hour. That’s late, and historians have assumed that the mission launched at dusk and returned at night.

I did a little research into what time the sun set that day. I found a database of historical astronomy and chronology – and it held that the sun set in Tel Aviv that day at 8:40 p.m. If that page is accurate, the aircraft did not return in the dark, or even in gloom. That sun hadn’t set yet.

Still, a mystery remained. If you look at the page, you see that the time of sunset jumps two hours between May 22 and May 23. But why? Shouldn’t Israel have been on British time, which that year advanced the clock one hour in March? Why did this two-hour time change end August 31?

I figured that if Israel had brought a time change into effect, the change would have been announced in a newspaper. Amazingly, anyone can read an archive of the Palestine Post (the former name of the Jerusalem Post) for free. Sure enough, I found this in the May 21, 1948 edition:


There it is. The first mission took place in full daylight, albeit the hour of sunset. Eddie Cohen did not mistake Qastina for Aqir in the dark. Either he suffered enough damage to make him crash (likely) or he was blinded by the setting sun and confused the two vastly different airfields (the opposite of likely).

Bonus teaser:

Look for an update on Troy “Project Grizzly” Hurtubise next.

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