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On this Day in Aviation History – Boeing XP-9

On this Day in Aviation History – Boeing XP-9

1930 The Boeing XP-9 monoplane fighter makes its first flight in Dayton, Ohio. The Boeing XP-9 (company Model 96) was the first monoplane fighter aircraft produced by the United States aircraft manufacturing company Boeing. It incorporated sophisticated structural refinements that were influential in later Boeing designs. Designed in 1928 to meet the requirements of a […]
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 […]

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North American B-45C (S/N 48-001) in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Tuesday Tornado

Manufactured by North American Aviation aircraft company (the maker of the P-51 Mustang and B-25 Mitchell), the B-45 Tornado was an early American jet-powered bomber. It has the distinction of being the first operational jet bomber to enter service with the United States Air Force (USAF), as well as being the first multiengine jet bomber […]
Happy Birthday Beech Staggerwing

Happy Birthday Beech Staggerwing

At the height of the Great Depression, aircraft executive Walter H. Beech and airplane designer Ted A. Wells joined forces to collaborate on a project to produce a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive. The Beechcraft Model 17, popularly known as the “Staggerwing”, was first flown on November 4, […]

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Bird Takes Down “Doomsday” Plane

Bird Takes Down “Doomsday” Plane

A E-6B Mercury airborne communications aircraft was forced to land after a bird was sucked into an engine, destroying it. The E-6B is designed to act as an important communications relay during a nuclear war, ensuring that the President of the United States can send orders to the nuclear triad, including launch orders. The incident […]
Record-Setting Transcontinental Glider Flight

Record-Setting Transcontinental Glider Flight

After the Wright brothers’ first successful flights on December 17, 1903, it wasn’t long before adven­turous souls of both sexes began attempting to set distance and speed records. It was truly the golden age of barnstorming and of stunt flying. In 1911, for instance, Calbraith Perry Rodgers piloted the Vin Fiz, the first airplane to […]

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Lost Cause: Luftwaffe Bombers

Lost Cause: Luftwaffe Bombers

In World War II, the Luftwaffe produced a galaxy of combat airmen whose records can never be approached. Maj. Erich Hartmann remains the world’s leading fighter ace, and Col. Hans-Ulrich Rudel dominates the lethal trade of tank buster. Their names, and others, are known to two generations of aviation-history students. But who were the Reich’s […]
Up Close: Hurricane Hawker

Up Close: Hurricane Hawker

The Overlooked Warrior by Barrett Tillman Nearly 20 years after WW I, the RAF still flew biplane fighters. Consequently, the Hawker Hurricane made its mark as Britain’s first monoplane fighter, heralding a new era in military aviation. Designed by Sir Sydney Camm and first flown in late 1935, the Hurricane featured a thick airfoil that […]

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U.S. 8th Army Air Force – The Mighty Eighth

U.S. 8th Army Air Force – The Mighty Eighth

What a difference a year can make The changes came unbelievably fast. On January 1, 1943, the U.S. 8th Army Air Force in Britain numbered six bomb groups and one fighter group. Twelve months later the lineup had expanded to 26 bomb groups and 10 fighter. But even that was incomplete. Through 1944, the Eighth […]
DAYTON, Ohio -- Curtiss P-40E Warhawk at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The P-40 Warhawk Turns 81!

On 14 October 1938, Curtiss test pilot Edward Elliott flew the prototype XP-40 on its first flight in Buffalo, NY. The XP-40 was the 10th production Curtiss P-36 Hawk, with its Pratt & Whitney R-1830 (Twin Wasp) 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine replaced by a liquid-cooled, supercharged Allison v-1710 V-12 engine. The first prototype placed the […]
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