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Oops! Wrong Carrier

Oops! Wrong Carrier

Other than a ramp strike, probably the most embarrassing error in carrier aviation is landing on the wrong flight deck. That’s what happened to this VF-111 “Sundowners” pilot who returned to his home, USS Lake Champlain (CVA-39), with a billboard’s worth of non-regulation markings applied to his F9F-5 Panther. During the period immediately after the […]
The Words Are the Easy Part

The Words Are the Easy Part

Barrett Tillman, historian, author and Flight Journal regular is fond of saying, “God forgives man that time spent looking at airplane photos.” Outside of actually flying, nothing gives aviation types as much pleasure as looking at high-quality (or interesting) photos of flying machines. It almost makes no difference what kind of airplane. We’ll look at […]

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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 […]
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 […]

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My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

Not all of fighter aviation is aimed at protecting the fair damsel from the marauding Count von Evil. In fact, history shows that fighter jocks themselves have often provided whimsical, if not overly efficient episodes that have left their mark in the annals of fighterdom. “Ever shoot down a balloon?” Sam Flynn was in an […]
Hellcat at Work – free wallpaper!

Hellcat at Work – free wallpaper!

The mighty Grumman F6F Hellcat needs no introduction. It carried the fight to the enemy throughout the Pacific and emerged as the most successful fighter of the Pacific Theater of Operations. More important, it was the airplane that could be counted on to bring a pilot home almost regardless of the amount of damage it […]

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SAAB 37 Viggen – The Bird of Many Feathers

SAAB 37 Viggen – The Bird of Many Feathers

Sweden is an aeronautically unique country. After WW II, the military realized that it needed better equipment to protect the nation, so beginning in 1946, the Air Force became one of the world’s largest operators of the most state-of-the-art fighter available, the P-51 Mustang. However, while doting over what were probably the most pristine Mustangs […]
Habbaniya Surprise  – Battle of Britain, Iraqi Style

Habbaniya Surprise – Battle of Britain, Iraqi Style

At 2:00 on the morning of 30 April 1941, employees of the British Embassy in Baghdad were awakened by large military convoys rumbling from al-Rashid barracks, across bridges and out into the desert in the direction of the town of Habbaniya, Iraq, where the Royal Air Force (RAF) maintained its largest flight school in the […]

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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, […]
P-47 Thunderbolt In Theater: In Support of D-Day

P-47 Thunderbolt In Theater: In Support of D-Day

By Stan Piet P-47D UN-V, named “Pat,” from the famed 56th FG, 63rd FS, prepares for another fighter sweep in support of the invasion.  The second mount of Capt. Gordon S. Stevens, it survived until early September, being lost with Capt. Roy Fling at the controls. Stevens himself was lost in a “Pat” replacement on […]
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