You cannot participate in any tactical aviation forum these days without getting caught in the controversy over the monthly on again-off again retirement and resurrection of the A-10 Warthog. No new arguments are being forwarded on either side. All has been said over and over since the early 1970s, and the fight is not so much in the military arena but rather in the political arena; so what else is new? The two basic arguments seem to be whether the A-10 is the “only” viable close air support platform and whether the USAF really wants to do the CAS mission. I’d like to explore that controversy from the point of view of someone whose 1,800 hours in type qualifies as having “been there.”
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 […]
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.
The Mustang soldiered on longer than any other WWII fighter and we tend to forget its valuable role in Korea. There, most of the airplanes and their pilots were replaying roles they had executed so well only five years earlier in various parts of the globe. In Korea they were very much showing the patina […]
By Barrett TIllman Kern County, California, 1952: a 1949 Kaiser raced down a desert runway with a streamlined object fitted to a crude bracket on the right side. Lacking a wind tunnel, the passengers — engineers in the front and back seats — took notes on the model’s aerodynamic performance. They were testing the XAAM-N-7, […]
A time when aviation was a youth activity By John Lockwood. As airplanes ceased to be novelties and became a major part of American life, the 1930s saw an explosion in the number of aviation clubs across the country. Probably the most successful of all was the Junior Birdmen of America, founded by the newspaper […]
Designed from the successful Curtiss racers of the early 1920s, the Curtiss P-1 was the first Aircraft to carry the “P” fo Pursuit, designation, The classic lines of this taper wing with the powerful Curtiss D-12 aero engine, gave birth to the iconic Hawk line that would be carried on, up through WWII with the […]
By Robert F. Dorr and Charles E. DiSipio The P-47 Thunderbolt pilot of 1945 wore and carried lots of stuff, and little of it gave meaning to the military term “uniform.” At Metz, France, in January 1945, the group and squadron commanders of the “Hell Hawks” 365th Fighter Group, posed in their gear in front […]
We’ll lose the XC-99 and it won’t be alone By Robert F. Dorr Big, historic airplanes could be the aeronautical definition of “conundrum” for museum people. No one wants to see a truly historic airplane, such as the XC-99 disintegrate into powdery oxide while in outside storage. However, the realities of space and financing determine […]
Keeping the cold beer flowing By Budd Davisson Does this picture really need explanation? It’s unknown whether the Axis routinely ferried beer to the front lines in drop tanks, but, reportedly, most of the Allied powers did. What’s more, it wasn’t unusual to top off a Mustang’s or Thunderbolt’s drops with beer, then have the […]