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Geoff Wellum: Teenage Spitfire Pilot

Geoff Wellum: Teenage Spitfire Pilot

One of the “Few” Remembers. The mood was, “We’ll have a go at you.” You didn’t allow yourself to dwell on the losses, or the seriousness of the situation. You had tomorrow morning to look to. You made a resolve to do the best you could. The thought of defeat never entered our heads. Nobody […]
Oops! Wrong Carrier

Oops! Wrong Carrier

Other than a ramp strike, probably the most embarrassing error in carrier aviation is landing on the wrong flight deck. That’s what happened to this VF-111 “Sundowners” pilot who returned to his home, USS Lake Champlain (CVA-39), with a billboard’s worth of non-regulation markings applied to his F9F-5 Panther. During the period immediately after the […]

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ITA 1/72 Shawnee "Flying Banana" - 600x120

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My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

Not all of fighter aviation is aimed at protecting the fair damsel from the marauding Count von Evil. In fact, history shows that fighter jocks themselves have often provided whimsical, if not overly efficient episodes that have left their mark in the annals of fighterdom. “Ever shoot down a balloon?” Sam Flynn was in an […]
Hellcat at Work – free wallpaper!

Hellcat at Work – free wallpaper!

The mighty Grumman F6F Hellcat needs no introduction. It carried the fight to the enemy throughout the Pacific and emerged as the most successful fighter of the Pacific Theater of Operations. More important, it was the airplane that could be counted on to bring a pilot home almost regardless of the amount of damage it […]

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HSG 1/12 Honda NSR500 600x120

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SAAB 37 Viggen – The Bird of Many Feathers

SAAB 37 Viggen – The Bird of Many Feathers

Sweden is an aeronautically unique country. After WW II, the military realized that it needed better equipment to protect the nation, so beginning in 1946, the Air Force became one of the world’s largest operators of the most state-of-the-art fighter available, the P-51 Mustang. However, while doting over what were probably the most pristine Mustangs […]
Habbaniya Surprise  – Battle of Britain, Iraqi Style

Habbaniya Surprise – Battle of Britain, Iraqi Style

At 2:00 on the morning of 30 April 1941, employees of the British Embassy in Baghdad were awakened by large military convoys rumbling from al-Rashid barracks, across bridges and out into the desert in the direction of the town of Habbaniya, Iraq, where the Royal Air Force (RAF) maintained its largest flight school in the […]

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Pearl Harbor: the Sleeping Giant Awakens

Pearl Harbor: the Sleeping Giant Awakens

War was coming to the ocean called “Pacific.” Imperial Japan, in need of oil to feed its growing ambition, squirmed under the stricture of an American embargo (implemented because of Japan’s aggression toward China). Japan would not be denied its self-proclaimed destiny, so Tokyo’s warlords cast covetous eyes southward to the petroleum-rich Dutch East Indies, […]
P-47 Thunderbolt In Theater: In Support of D-Day

P-47 Thunderbolt In Theater: In Support of D-Day

By Stan Piet P-47D UN-V, named “Pat,” from the famed 56th FG, 63rd FS, prepares for another fighter sweep in support of the invasion.  The second mount of Capt. Gordon S. Stevens, it survived until early September, being lost with Capt. Roy Fling at the controls. Stevens himself was lost in a “Pat” replacement on […]

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On a Flying Wing and a Prayer

On a Flying Wing and a Prayer

Spring, 1944. My head wound had healed but my back was still killing me when I jumped off the train in occupied France. I had recently escaped from neutral Switzerland after being blown out of my B-24 Liberator while making my 20th bomb run into Germany. Although I landed on the German side of the […]
Luftwaffe’s  Bf 109E “Emil”

Luftwaffe’s Bf 109E “Emil”

Apart from its combat record, the Bf 109 remains a historic aircraft for sheer numbers produced. More than seven decades after WWII, only the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik exceeds the Messerschmitt’s total of 34,000 produced, even under the pressure of continual Allied bombing. Nothing else comes close. Frequently, the Soviet Yakovlev fighter series is compared to […]
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