The movies and the fighter pilot were made for each other. The motion-picture concept is generally credited to Thomas Edison in 1889, and he continually improved it through the 1890s into the next century. By the time World War I had begun, crude commercial movies were available, with the first heroes frequently being cowboys with […]
What do you see in this picture? Sharper than most WW II images, this one is of a fairly tranquil scene on the deck of CV-6, USS Enterprise. The shot was taken on May 15, 1942, and the red circles in their insignias had been painted over. That’s barely five months after Pearl Harbor and […]
Hunched in the cockpit of an F4U-2 Corsair in the darkest, blackest night he could remember, Second Lieutenant Frank Lang peered at the 6-inch scope in the center of his instrument panel and saw nothing significant to break up the green-yellow line inscribing a circle around the dial.
The last ditch defense By Barrett Tillman Murvaux, France, September 29, 1918. The mortally wounded American ace slid from his SPAD and staggered into the tall grass. As German infantry approached he drew his Colt M1911 pistol and prepared to die fighting. The Arizonan fired at least three rounds in the dusk encounter before he […]
Today the name of Isaac Newton Lewis is little known outside of firearms circles, but he exerted a major influence on aerial combat.
In 1911, Colonel Lewis, a U.S. Army ordnance officer, adapted a machine gun design patented by inventor Samuel McLean. With a soldier’s eye toward utility, Lewis worked with the Automatic Arms Co. in New York to simplify the original design as a workable weapon. Light and potent, it was a revolutionary design.
Drones are not, as is often assumed, a 21st-century development. Far from it. Their history goes back more than 100 years, but the rate at which they are changing our everyday life continues to accelerate. So we thought it is worth looking back and seeing where the concept came from, how it developed, and where […]
Everyone has a first flight: Mine was in a Gooney Life is a million episodes stitched together to form a ragged continuum. However, regardless of how many episodes are involved, there is always the first one. This is especially true of those of us who have lived a sizeable portion of our lives in the […]
The world’s air forces continue developing and buying extremely expensive fighter aircraft amid a continuing conundrum: Significant air combat has been nearly extinct for decades. Since the last air combats over Vietnam in 1973, American fighter pilots have shot down merely 54 hostile aircraft. (Of those, six were helicopters and four were trainers.) That’s barely […]
Back then, junior year of high school should have been filled with coming-of-age memories, football pep rallies, and homecoming dances. Visiting colleges, choosing high-school sweethearts, and exploring possible careers should have been in the thoughts of soon-to-be seniors. Pearl Harbor changed all that. The very real world war and deciding to fight his country’s enemies […]
Tale of the FW 190 In August 1941, a new shape appeared over the French coast: a blunt-nosed, elegantly pugnacious profile possessed of startling performance bearing black crosses. It was the product of a two-year program that immediately changed the Channel air war. Britain’s standard Spitfire Mk V could not compete with the Luftwaffe’s new […]