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Unarmed and Unafraid

Unarmed and Unafraid

RA-5 Vigilante: Going to war with a camera The Vigilante was doing 650 knots near the North Vietnamese port of Hon Gai when there was a huge explosion behind the tail from either heavy caliber antiaircraft fire or a SA-2 missile. On fire and with the flight controls failed, the crew, Lt. Cdr. James Bell, […]
Two-Hole Killers

Two-Hole Killers

The Tradition of the Two-Seat Fighter By Barrett Tillman FRANCE, OCTOBER 5, 1914. Sergeant Josef Frantz and mechanic Louis Quenaut were in a Voisin III biplane returning from a bombing mission along the Belgian border. En route home, they engaged a German Aviatik B observation plane over Johchery-sur-Vesle near Reims. The French crew immediately attacked, […]

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A Role of the Dice

A Role of the Dice

A lucky Liberator crew survives When Allied airmen strapped on their aircraft for a combat mission during World War II, especially when piloting a heavy bomber like the B-24 Liberator over the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the situation usually provoked the same thoughts from pilots and crew members alike. “Will we get this overloaded […]
Double Nickel Killers

Double Nickel Killers

Late war aerial combat with the 55th Fighter group by James P. Busha The early strategy of the 8th Air Force fighter groups was to stay with the bombers, escort them, save them, and to not leave them and go chasing after the Luftwaffe. That all changed when General Jimmy Doolittle took over in early […]

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Hunting the Hunters

Hunting the Hunters

Memories of a Night Intruder Pilot The seemingly endless air war over Europe did not stop when the sun went down. The skies over England came alive almost every night as British Bomber Command sent wave after wave of medium and heavy bombers to selected targets all over the Nazi-controlled continent. These bomber crews had […]
Ruff Stuff

Ruff Stuff

Memories of an Early War South Pacific Fighter Pilot By the time newly minted U.S. fighter pilots entered WW II in late 1941, they faced a Japanese adversary whose pilots had been flying combat since 1937. Not only were these “flying Samurai” pilots old hats, but they also flew a trump card in the form […]

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General Delivery

General Delivery

From Gliders to the Guinea Short Lines When I was a senior in high school in 1942, I took advantage of the Civilian Pilot Training Program and earned my pilots license flying Waco UPF- 7s and PT-17s off a red dusty Oklahoma airfield near my hometown. As I waited to be called to active duty, […]
Idiot’s Loop

Idiot’s Loop

The Day I Nuked Los Angeles During the early 1950s, I fooled around with football, girls, and socializing while I was attending college and really didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life. When I saw the Korean War movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri, I knew right then I wanted to be a […]

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Four Down!

Four Down!

The Korean Combat the U.S. Tried to Forget By: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver November 18, 1952: The cloud cover was 500 feet above the freezing Sea of Japan; visibility estimated at two miles in blowing snow as the Siberian blizzard howled over the pitching, rolling shapes of the ships forming Task Force 77. On the flight […]
Rare Bird: Pitcairn Autogiro

Rare Bird: Pitcairn Autogiro

A piece of Jurassic aviation is reborn “This is a real prehistoric monster in flight. Once the helicopter was built, these autogiros became dinosaurs,” stated the late Jack Tiffany of Spring Valley, Ohio, at the time, co-owner (with Jim Hammond of Yellow Springs, Ohio) of the Pitcairn PA-18 N1267B (c/n G-65), the only example of […]
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