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Legendary Heavy Hitter: June Issue

The Legend of Maj. Paul "Pappy" Gunn

Their Finest Hour

Butcher Bird Hellcat & Corsair: A test pilot recalls

Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

Stalin’s Flying Hammer

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Ryan XV-8A (Fleep), 1963

Building the Rogallo Wing & Mercury Recovery Capsule

You have probably read accounts about the recovery systems for space capsules. I was an employee in the Flight Engineering Department at Ryan Aeronautical Company in San Diego, California and participated in this and many other aviation projects. This was a time, beginning after the end of WWII, that no longer exists in the field […]
Kettering Bug (USAF photo)

Early UAV Development and Dahlgren

Anyone familiar with Dahlgren history has almost certainly heard of Carl Norden and Dahlgren’s role in the development of his famous bombsight. It’s less well known that he came to Dahlgren two years before his first bombsight tests and almost five years before testing the first version of his famous bombsight in 1924. This earlier […]

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The Andermat Aeroplane Saga

The Andermat Aeroplane Saga

I am a volunteer at my local historical society in Sunnyvale, California. When the Covid-19 pandemic began, I started to research the spread and impact of the Spanish flu 100 years prior. I began looking through the local paper, the Sunnyvale Standard from 1916, starting earlier so that I could find the first mention in […]
Building the XQ-2C Drone

Building the XQ-2C Drone

In the early 1960s, the government needed an interim replacement for the U2 “spy plane”, one that would not carry a pilot. The new, still secret, Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” was not yet ready to replace the U2. As it turned out, eight days after Captain Francis Gary powers was shot down on May 1, 1960 […]

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Convair Model 48 “Charger”–Behind the scenes of an unsuccessful project

Convair Model 48 “Charger”–Behind the scenes of an unsuccessful project

Beginning March 19, 1964 at the Convair facilities in San Diego some thirty engineers and production workers dropped out of sight and were not seen on the job again for six months. Eventually approximately 200 Convair people “disappeared.” What happened to these people? Where did they go? What were they doing? This is the story […]
“Wise Guy” is Back

“Wise Guy” is Back

Thirteen years after being retired on August 14, 2008, B-52H Stratofortress 60-0034 “Wise Guy” returned to the fleet at Minot AFB in North Dakota. The aircraft began its journey back to the sky at the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona in 2019. After initial refurbishment, she was […]

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Out of India: How My Father Escaped WW II

Out of India: How My Father Escaped WW II

My dad, Lt. Col. Grover F. Nelson (Ret), was stationed in far North East India at the Allied Airbase at Chabua near Assam with the U.S. Army-Air Force during World War II flying supply routes between India, Nepal, Burma and China. At the end of the war, he was 29-year-years old. He was one of […]
Historic Mars Landing

Historic Mars Landing

The NASA Perseverance rover has safely landed on Mars after a nearly 300 million-mile 6-month journey from Earth. “Percy” had a perfect touchdown and will soon begin to explore the Red Planet. Even more exciting, a micro helicopter, “Ingenuity,” is attached to the underside of the rover. Over the next few weeks, it will first […]

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Their Finest Hour

Their Finest Hour

The summer of 2020 will mark 80 years since the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe fought the world’s first great air campaign. The brown-green fighters swept down from altitude, pushing 300mph to attack the serried ranks of gray-green bombers. Within 1,000 feet of the enemy formation, the fighters opened fire, each […]
Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

As soon as the airplane joined motorized ground vehicles as tools of war, its ability to see over the horizon made it an invaluable tactical device. It was more mobile than a tethered balloon and could be used to transport messages and leaders from point to point, whenever and wherever it was needed. There was […]
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