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The Definition of “Bitchin'” Model 12 Pitts Special

The Definition of “Bitchin'” Model 12 Pitts Special

What’s better than a biplane? That’s obvious: a biplane with a round motor. And whatís better than a biplane with a round motor? A round-motored biplane that’s designed by Curtis Pitts! When you’re saddling up the Model 12, it feels like a much bigger than a normal two-place Pitts, when in reality it’s not. As […]
J-3 Cub: Piper’s Gift to Mankind

J-3 Cub: Piper’s Gift to Mankind

Like most pilots, I’m not certain I can remember a time before I flew a J-3. That’s probably because I too started out in a Cub. I was fifteen years old and even then found one of the biggest hurdles to flying a Cub to be simply getting in it. The dance includes the following […]

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The World’s Fastest Pony Kegs: GeeBee R-1 and R-2

The World’s Fastest Pony Kegs: GeeBee R-1 and R-2

Today it’s impossible to think of the golden age of air racing without an R-1 or R-2 Gee Bee roaring across the mind’s eye. To the aviation public, the Gee Bees air racing — and vice versa. And that’ s only right. When Granville engineer, Pete Miller, drafted the first lines for the “R” series of […]
Fairey Swordfish: The Hundred Knot Warrior

Fairey Swordfish: The Hundred Knot Warrior

It’s impossible to look at the Fairey Swordfish, affectionately known as the “Stringbag,” and not say, “You have to be kidding! This was one of the Royal Navy’s most effective weapons of WW II?” A gigantic, bi-winged personification of the word “anachronistic,” as the saying goes, the Swordfish may have been ugly, but it was […]

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Extra 300S: Patty Wagstaff and her Magic Machine

Extra 300S: Patty Wagstaff and her Magic Machine

If you’ve ever seen her fly, you’ll never forget it. She’s razzle-dazzle personified. If you meet her and spend a few moments with her, youíll come away with much the same feeling. It’ll be obvious that the pilot fits the airplane. Or is it the other way around? Patty exudes confidence laced with huge amounts […]
Sukhoi Su-27: Is the Flanker the World’s Best?

Sukhoi Su-27: Is the Flanker the World’s Best?

The question on the table is: “Is the Su-27 the best fighter in the world?” Starting a conversation by saying any airplane is the best at anything is right up there with politics, religion and blondes vs redheads vs brunettes for sparking spirited debate. Still, if you read the popular press, the Su-27 is the […]

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Walt Boyne speaks from experience about flying

My first assignment out of flying school was to Castle Air Force Base, with the 330th Bomb Squadron of the 93rd Bomb Group. There in January, 1953 I was introduced to the Boeing B-50D Superfortress.    The introduction was a little rough, for the day I arrived, a B-50D from  another squadron had gone in, […]

F8 Wings Folded

On January 22, 1968, I was a young LTJG at Miramar, attached to Navy Fighter Squadron VF-53 preparing for a deployment to Vietnam aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. As a final part of the pre-deployment regimen, all pilots were briefed to fly [ FMLP ] Field Mirror Landing Practice about 2100 that night. This was our last chance […]

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

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 […]

Laser 200: The Monoplane Legacy of Leo Loudenslager

by Budd Davisson You can no more talk about Laser 200ís without mentioning Leo Loudenslager than you can talk about Pitts Specials and not talk about Curtis Pitts. These landmark airplanes are the direct result of the landmark people behind them. Leo is the primary reason for the demise of the Pitts Special as the […]
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