The first effective drone. Gerhard Fieseler remains one of the most unappreciated airmen of the 20th century. At age 22, Fieseler came to prominence as Germany’s leading World War I ace on the Eastern Front, scoring 19 victories. A world-class aerobatic pilot, by 1930 he earned enough to buy out a sailplane company that became […]
Somewhere there is probably a list of the world’s most beautiful airplanes but the process of selecting those airplanes has undoubtedly prompted numerous fistfights. However, when it came to putting the Spitfire on, or at the top, of the list, it’s doubtful anyone anywhere disagreed. Reginald Mitchell created a piece of art as much as […]
Living history has a shelf life, and the expiration date cannot be extended. I’ve been interviewing WW II veterans since the early 1970s when I got serious about writing history, and it’s been a bittersweet experience. Anyone who’s made a career documenting aviation (or anything else) will tell you the same thing: you make older […]
Our next issue will be a salute to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which we think is not universally recognized as one of the more pivotal events in the 20th century. If England had fallen, the remaining Allies would have had no place to base all of the subsequent military actions. In […]
You cannot participate in any tactical aviation forum these days without getting caught in the controversy over the monthly on again-off again retirement and resurrection of the A-10 Warthog. No new arguments are being forwarded on either side. All has been said over and over since the early 1970s, and the fight is not so much in the military arena but rather in the political arena; so what else is new? The two basic arguments seem to be whether the A-10 is the “only” viable close air support platform and whether the USAF really wants to do the CAS mission. I’d like to explore that controversy from the point of view of someone whose 1,800 hours in type qualifies as having “been there.”
Everyone has a first flight: Mine was in a Gooney Life is a million episodes stitched together to form a ragged continuum. However, regardless of how many episodes are involved, there is always the first one. This is especially true of those of us who have lived a sizeable portion of our lives in the […]
Today the name of Isaac Newton Lewis is little known outside of firearms circles, but he exerted a major influence on aerial combat.
In 1911, Colonel Lewis, a U.S. Army ordnance officer, adapted a machine gun design patented by inventor Samuel McLean. With a soldier’s eye toward utility, Lewis worked with the Automatic Arms Co. in New York to simplify the original design as a workable weapon. Light and potent, it was a revolutionary design.
The Mustang soldiered on longer than any other WWII fighter and we tend to forget its valuable role in Korea. There, most of the airplanes and their pilots were replaying roles they had executed so well only five years earlier in various parts of the globe. In Korea they were very much showing the patina […]
By Barrett TIllman Kern County, California, 1952: a 1949 Kaiser raced down a desert runway with a streamlined object fitted to a crude bracket on the right side. Lacking a wind tunnel, the passengers — engineers in the front and back seats — took notes on the model’s aerodynamic performance. They were testing the XAAM-N-7, […]
A time when aviation was a youth activity By John Lockwood. As airplanes ceased to be novelties and became a major part of American life, the 1930s saw an explosion in the number of aviation clubs across the country. Probably the most successful of all was the Junior Birdmen of America, founded by the newspaper […]