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Double Nickel Killers

Double Nickel Killers

Late war aerial combat with the 55th Fighter group by James P. Busha The early strategy of the 8th Air Force fighter groups was to stay with the bombers, escort them, save them, and to not leave them and go chasing after the Luftwaffe. That all changed when General Jimmy Doolittle took over in early […]
Hunting the Hunters

Hunting the Hunters

Memories of a Night Intruder Pilot The seemingly endless air war over Europe did not stop when the sun went down. The skies over England came alive almost every night as British Bomber Command sent wave after wave of medium and heavy bombers to selected targets all over the Nazi-controlled continent. These bomber crews had […]

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

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Ruff Stuff

Ruff Stuff

Memories of an Early War South Pacific Fighter Pilot By the time newly minted U.S. fighter pilots entered WW II in late 1941, they faced a Japanese adversary whose pilots had been flying combat since 1937. Not only were these “flying Samurai” pilots old hats, but they also flew a trump card in the form […]
General Delivery

General Delivery

From Gliders to the Guinea Short Lines When I was a senior in high school in 1942, I took advantage of the Civilian Pilot Training Program and earned my pilots license flying Waco UPF- 7s and PT-17s off a red dusty Oklahoma airfield near my hometown. As I waited to be called to active duty, […]

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WW II First Dogfights

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Idiot’s Loop

Idiot’s Loop

The Day I Nuked Los Angeles During the early 1950s, I fooled around with football, girls, and socializing while I was attending college and really didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life. When I saw the Korean War movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri, I knew right then I wanted to be a […]
Four Down!

Four Down!

The Korean Combat the U.S. Tried to Forget By: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver November 18, 1952: The cloud cover was 500 feet above the freezing Sea of Japan; visibility estimated at two miles in blowing snow as the Siberian blizzard howled over the pitching, rolling shapes of the ships forming Task Force 77. On the flight […]

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Rare Bird: Pitcairn Autogiro

Rare Bird: Pitcairn Autogiro

A piece of Jurassic aviation is reborn “This is a real prehistoric monster in flight. Once the helicopter was built, these autogiros became dinosaurs,” stated the late Jack Tiffany of Spring Valley, Ohio, at the time, co-owner (with Jim Hammond of Yellow Springs, Ohio) of the Pitcairn PA-18 N1267B (c/n G-65), the only example of […]
If Looks Could Kill

If Looks Could Kill

WW II’s Most Beautiful and Deadly Fighter By: James P. Busha It has been said that every soldier in every foxhole lives a different life in combat: even though the troops are all fighting the same battle, each soldier and pilot sees only the exact actions in which he is involved. That’s their private war. […]

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The Wilder Wildcat

The Wilder Wildcat

If you’ve never heard of the Grumman XF4F-8 Wildcat, don’t worry. Hardly anyone has. But it led to one of the most unappreciated fighters in history. In late 1943, with Grumman committed to building F6F Hellcats, the Navy sought another source of Wildcats and Avengers. The answer was General Motors, with large plants lying idle […]
C3B: The Original Stearman

C3B: The Original Stearman

When the name Stearman is mentioned in aviation circles, the first thought that comes to mind is of the popular World War II PT-13, PT-17 and N2S biplane military primary training planes that introduced thousands of military pilots to flying. However, for the most part, those airplanes were actually Boeing Model 75 Kaydets. The Stearman […]
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