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Super Stearman: Bulging Biplane Biceps

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson What do you get when you take any airplane and more than double the horsepower? For one thing you get much bigger grins every time you move the throttle forward for takeoff. The 450 Stearman, the so-called ìSuper Stearman,î is a classic case in point. Originally born with a puny 220 hp, [...]

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Cessna 180 Skywagon

Jan 30, 2007 1 Comment

Aviation’s Pick-up Truck by Budd Davisson Personally, Iíve always been a sucker for blue-collar airplanesó those birds that work for a living and always look as if they have grease under their fingernails. And that pretty well describes the Cessna 180 . In 1952, when Cessna decided they needed to pump some testostrone into their 145 [...]

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Focke-Wulf FW-190D: The Luftwaffe’s Long Nosed “Butcher Bird”

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson When Grumman engineering pilots climbed out of a captured FW-190A in England after their first flight, they were astounded: it made their beloved Hellcat look like a plow horse. It was light, rolled like lightning and climbed like an artillery shell. It represented a whole new world of performance that was only [...]

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Fairey Swordfish

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

The Hundred Knot Warrior or Going to war in a Stringbag by Budd Davisson Itís impossible to look at the Fairey Swordfish, affectionately known as the ìStringbag,î and not say, ìYou have to be kidding! This was one of the Royal Navyís most effective weapons of WWII?î A gigantic, bi-winged personification of the word ìanachronistic,î [...]

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P-51 Mustang: John Landers and “Big Beautiful Doll”

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson One thing we often forget is that war is always fought by kids and, in the case of WWII aviators, that meant they were also extremely inexperienced. When I flew my first fighter, which happened to be the Mustang, I was 29 years old and had nearly 2,500 hours of flight time [...]

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SE-5a: A Fokker’s Worse Nightmare

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson When World War One broke out in 1914, the airplane was barely eleven years old and was nothing more than a plodding, noisy kite barely more dangerous than an observation balloon. As a weapon, it was difficult to take seriously. Four short years later it had been transformed into a multi-dimensional weapon [...]

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F4U Corsair: The Gullwing Legend

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson A peanut. Thatís what you feel like after youíve scaled the side of a Corsair and into the cockpit. You are so small and inconsequential compared to the airplane that you feel like a peanut. This thing is BIG! And intimidating! If looks could kill, you wouldnít even have to fire it [...]

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Pitts Special: The soul of the man lives on

Jan 30, 2007 No Comments

by Budd Davisson Okay, letís get one thing absolutely clear: the Pitts Special is NOT, repeat NOT, just an airplane. I know some people think that it is, but ask any long time Pitts driver and weíll all tell you the same thing: there are airplanes and there are Pitts Specials and the two shouldnít [...]

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