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One Lucky Bastard: December Issue

Martha’s Vineyard’s Workin’ Wacos

The Boy Next Door Goes to War

Mission into Darkness

World War II Trainers – The Ace Makers

My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

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BMW Electric Wingsuit reaches 186mph!

BMW Electric Wingsuit reaches 186mph!

BMW partnered with German automaker Designworks and Peter Salzman, a professional skydiver and BASE jumper to test fly a chest-mounted twin jet power pack. After 3 years of testing in an indoor wind tunnel, Salzman dropped from a helicopter at 10,000 feet and reached 186mph on the inaugural flight—about 3X faster than a standard nonpowered […]
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Spitfire Guns

Squadron Leader Ralph Sorley is widely unappreciated for his contribution to the Spitfire’s armament. The original specification listed four .303-caliber guns, which, considering the nature of combat, would have been woefully inadequate. But Sorley, who had flown with the Royal Navy in WW I, was the right man in the right place at the right […]

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Last Dogfight of WW I

Last Dogfight of WW I

Did you know that on April 11, 1945 the last aerial combat of WW II was fought between a U.S. L-4 Grasshopper and Luftwaffe Fieseler Storch over Vesbeck, Germany? Here’s the story, in the words of the Grasshopper pilot, Lt. Merritt Duane Francies, U.S. Army, Retired, 5th Armored Division, 71st Field Artillery, 9th Army. “I […]
Photo by John Dibbs/planepicture.com

One Lucky Bastard!

I grew up during an exciting time for aviation. My first recollection of flying was at about 10 years old when I shook Lucky Lindbergh’s hand. In fourth grade I won a model airplane contest, and the prize was my first ride in an open cockpit plane. I had no goggles. When I raised my […]

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Veterans Day and Me: A Personal Essay

Veterans Day and Me: A Personal Essay

Although Veterans Day has the stated purpose of remembering the vets and those in uniform, in reality it means different things to different people. For some it is the half-off sales that surround us. For me, it reminds me of one of those could-of-should-ofs that will always haunt me: I never served in the armed […]
Veteran’s Day–Their warrior spirit lives on

Veteran’s Day–Their warrior spirit lives on

The mechanical warriors of WW II will always be with us in one way or another, but the day is coming when those brave young men who sat at the controls and gambled their lives for freedom will be gone. They may be much older now and moving more slowly, but if you corner them […]

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Grumman TBF Avenger – World War 2 Torpedo Bomber

Grumman TBF Avenger – World War 2 Torpedo Bomber

Entering service in 1942, the Grumman TBF Avenger first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Developed by Grumman for the US Navy and Marine Corp, the torpedo bomber, was also used by several allied air and naval services. The Avenger’s crew members included the pilot, a turret gunner and a radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner. For armament, […]
Largest Flying Boat Never Built—the Witteman Air Liner

Largest Flying Boat Never Built—the Witteman Air Liner

The Witteman Air Liner was proposed in 1915 by Charles R. Witteman, but never built. It was touted as an inherently stable design with controls “arranged for operating by either one or two persons.” It had a planned span of 50 feet, length of 96 feet and was to be powered by two motors spinning […]

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DRACO: The Ultimate STOL Bushplane

DRACO: The Ultimate STOL Bushplane

Short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft have been in development since the mid-1930s, when the Germans produced the Fieseler Storch. The Storch was famously used to rescue deposed Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini from his 9000ft high mountain-top prison in the Gran Sasso Massif in Italy, and was flown by Hanna Reisch on a trip to […]
Grasshopper Roundup

Grasshopper Roundup

In the summer of 1941, with a world war knocking at America’s door, the U.S. Army was itching for a “low and slow” observation plane. The Army wanted one that could loiter near and over the hidden enemy and, when spotted, could then coordinate with artillery units to rain destruction down upon the foe. During […]
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