News and Stories

New Zealand Rail freight train waits for a Fieldair DC-3 topdresser (crop duster) to clear the runway

Aug 27, 2007 No Comments

A sight seen nowhere else in the world: a New Zealand Rail freight train waits for a Fieldair DC-3 topdresser (crop duster) to clear the runway before proceeding across at Gisborne Airport on the east coast of New Zealand. This is believed to be the only place in the world where a main trunk railway [...]

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F8 Wings Folded

Feb 02, 2007 1 Comment

On January 22, 1968, I was a young LTJG at Miramar, attached to Navy Fighter Squadron VF-53 preparing for a deployment to Vietnam aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. As a final part of the pre-deployment regimen, all pilots were briefed to fly [ FMLP ] Field Mirror Landing Practice about 2100 that night. This was our last chance [...]

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A Close Encounter North of Hanoi

Feb 02, 2007 No Comments

It was 1967, I was an F-4 IP at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School (FWS), assigned there in May 1965.  My area of expertise was conventional weapons and I had two combat tours in Vietnam flying A-26 (Douglas Version) and AT-28Bs out of Bien Hoa and satellite locations.  Out of the blue I was [...]

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No Power, No Ejection Seat, No Altitude

Feb 02, 2007 No Comments

It was a nasty early winter day in the Florida Panhandle, with fog, drizzle, and occasional rain as its norm.  I had been directed to fly an AT-28 B [  Navy trainer converted to fighter with nearly P-47 performance ] from Hurlburt to Eglin AFB and get the aircraft there on that day. The ferry [...]

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Christen Eagle

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

The Rainbow Bird With the Dacron Plumage by Budd Davisson With fabric feathers and 200 horsepower in its beak, the Eagle II was Californian Frank Christensenís idea of what a two-place, good time flying machine should look and fly like. A slicked-up city cousin of a Pitts Special, the Eagle has its own following that [...]

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Grumman’s Ace Maker: F6F Hellcat

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson Okay, so weíll admit it: just about every successful fighter of WWII was sleeker and sexier than a Hellcat. However, when it comes to fighters, ìbeauty is in the doingî and the Hellcat could do it. In spades! In terms of what it contributed to victory, it was the uncontested King of [...]

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Stearman PT-17/N2S: The Biplane With So Many Lives

Jan 30, 2007 1 Comment

by Budd Davisson The PT-17 Stearman is literally the airplane that has always seemed to just be ìthere.î Although, it is most often thought of as the school marm that taught a generation of airmen the skills necessary to win a war, she has actually lived three distinct lives and is entering a forthófrom military [...]

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Laser 200: The Monoplane Legacy of Leo Loudenslager

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson You can no more talk about Laser 200ís without mentioning Leo Loudenslager than you can talk about Pitts Specials and not talk about Curtis Pitts. These landmark airplanes are the direct result of the landmark people behind them. Leo is the primary reason for the demise of the Pitts Special as the [...]

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