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Six Months to Victory

Six Months to Victory

Flight Petty Officer Saburo Sakai was having a good day. His squadron of A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Wing had departed Rabaul, New Britain, more than 500 miles northwest of the previously obscure island of Guadalcanal, responding to an American amphibious landing. In a series of combats north of the island, Sakai had shot down […]
The Luftwaffe’s Femmes Fatales

The Luftwaffe’s Femmes Fatales

Hitler and his Luftwaffe don’t have the kind of image that would brighten a feminist’s day. Even so, if today’s public is asked to name German test pilots, the only two names likely to be uttered would be Hanna Reitsch and Melitta Schiller/von Stauffenberg. From debugging piloted buzz bombs and making heroic rescue flights to […]

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Bomber Crew: A Day in Their Lives

Bomber Crew: A Day in Their Lives

B-17 crewmen remember the German missions Aboard each of the thousands of B-17 Flying Fortresses that left the soil of England bound for targets in Europe were 10 young men. Outwardly, they were no different from any late-teen or early-twenties boy you’d meet anywhere in America. Same faces, same names, same youthful vigor and sense […]
Superfortress Atomic Bombs: Little Boy & Fat Man

Superfortress Atomic Bombs: Little Boy & Fat Man

Known as Little Boy and Fat Man, the atomic bombs that the Superfortresses dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were game changers Development of nuclear weapons began in early 1943, following years of scientific and engineering research. The Manhattan Project managers identified two methods of firing a nuclear weapon, and given the prospects for ending the […]

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Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-10 “Gustav”

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-10 “Gustav”

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 series went through innumerable major and minor design changes throughout its career. However, three were most significant—the E or “Emil,” the F or “Friedrich,” and the G or “Gustav.” The Emil was best known as the Battle of Britain 109, readily distinguished from earlier models by its more streamlined nose, yet […]
Aviation Photographer Phil High’s Night Vision

Aviation Photographer Phil High’s Night Vision

Phil High’s Aviation Photography taken at night results in aircraft photos of unexpected beauty and drama. As a longtime volunteer photographer for the Experimental Aircraft Association at their annual orgy-of-all-things-aerial in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Phil High will regularly be seen lying on the ground, getting dramatic angles of an airplane. Or homing-in on the details that […]

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On this Day in Aviation History — Japan Fighters Intercept Chinese Plane

On this Day in Aviation History — Japan Fighters Intercept Chinese Plane

Japan scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese plane was seen Thursday near small islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both countries. This is the first time that the dispute over the islands — which Japan calls Senkaku and China refers to as Diaoyu — has involved aircraft, introducing a new sphere of […]
Pearl Harbor: the Sleeping Giant Awakens

Pearl Harbor: the Sleeping Giant Awakens

War was coming to the ocean called “Pacific.” Imperial Japan, in need of oil to feed its growing ambition, squirmed under the stricture of an American embargo (implemented because of Japan’s aggression toward China). Japan would not be denied its self-proclaimed destiny, so Tokyo’s warlords cast covetous eyes southward to the petroleum-rich Dutch East Indies, […]

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T-6 Texan II

USAF Grounds T-6A Texan II Aircraft

The Air Force grounded T-6A Texan II flying operations Nov. 15 after pilots reported oxygen problems — the fourth incident since Nov. 1. According to officials of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, four instructor pilots and one student pilot reported physiological incidents while flying. “Vance Air Force Base is […]
P-38 Lightning: A country boy way out of his element

P-38 Lightning: A country boy way out of his element

When I flew a P-38 for the first time, I had to admit that I had a hard time hearing the engines over the noise of my knees knocking. What was a grassroots pilot like me doing strapped into such a huge piece of iron? That was simple: I wanted a type-rating in the airplay […]
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