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Rocket Mail – It seemed like a good idea at the time

Rocket Mail – It seemed like a good idea at the time

Even in these days of the Internet, sending paper mail by airplane remains a major part of everyday life. The early efforts to build upon airmail and experiment with rocket mail, however, never quite caught on. There had been earlier efforts at home and abroad, usually over short distances and using handcrafted rockets. It all came […]
The First Ride

The First Ride

Everyone has to start somewhere The trainer theme of this issue reverberates with me personally, so I hope you won’t mind if I climb out from behind my editor’s desk and talk like the pilot I am and always have been. When looking at some of the trainer images, I couldn’t help but reflect on […]

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Don’t Worry about It!

Don’t Worry about It!

On January 23, 2010, a retired Air Force officer died in San Diego, California, age 96. His name was Kermit A. Tyler. For most of his life, he was one of the least understood players in the Pearl Harbor tragedy. On December 7, 1941, Tyler was the officer who told radar operators plotting a large […]
Pacemaker:  Bellanca’s 1929 Heavy Hauler

Pacemaker: Bellanca’s 1929 Heavy Hauler

An old workhorse goes back to work We only have roads into town three months of the year, while all the lakes and rivers are frozen. Otherwise the only way into Norman Wells and many of the other communities around us is by airplane. Usually float planes. That’s why I had the Bellanca CH-300 restored. […]

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Hawk 33 – A Day in the Life of a Vietnam Cobra Pilot

Hawk 33 – A Day in the Life of a Vietnam Cobra Pilot

March 20, 1971, was not a good day for American and Vietnamese forces engaged in Operation Lam Son 719. Originally billed as the operation that would prove the success of “Vietnamization,” that the South Vietnamese Army and Marines were capable of taking on North Vietnamese main force units successfully, the incursion into Laos was becoming […]
Teddy’s Excellent Adventure

Teddy’s Excellent Adventure

Roosevelt Wasted No Time Being the First Prez to Fly The very name of Theodore Roosevelt brings up an image of a man of limitless energy, always seeking new adventures. In 1910, he added another one to his list when he flew in an airplane. Roosevelt started life as a sickly child, but he didn’t […]

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Little Friends Over the Beach

Little Friends Over the Beach

They must have been a sight for sore eyes to the soldiers on the beach as wave after wave of fighters, bombers, and paratrooper-stuffed transports, some towing gliders, passed overhead, all of them adorned with black and white painted stripes. The invasion was on, and many of the fighter pilots expecting a Luftwaffe slugfest were […]
Georgie Boy – Inspiration to a Fighter Pilot

Georgie Boy – Inspiration to a Fighter Pilot

The “greatest generation” as a whole did not need a reason to fight. Provoked by a ferocious Axis that threatened to enslave the world, hundreds and thousands of young men answered the call to arms.  Preserving freedom, peace and security for future generations were the primary reason men signed up for service. Others saw it […]

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Bombing in the Beast

Bombing in the Beast

Ben Case and the SB2C Helldiver. We were launched while our fleet was 180 to 200 miles northeast of Manila. My group was assigned to hit Japanese ships in Manila Harbor. As we approached our dive area at 10,000 feet, big, black puffs of smoke from anti-aircraft fire began popping all around us.” Leslie Bennett […]
The Mighty Eighth

The Mighty Eighth

What a difference a year can make The changes came unbelievably fast. On January 1, 1943, the U.S. 8th Army Air Force in Britain numbered six bomb groups and one fighter group. Twelve months later the lineup had expanded to 26 bomb groups and 10 fighter. But even that was incomplete. Through 1944, the Eighth […]
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