by Barrett Tillman It really was possible to be lonely in a crowd. His was the only Mustang in a crowd of Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs. Minutes previously, he had had been leading the 356th Fighter Squadron; now he was the lone defender of a box of heavy bombers deep in German airspace. On January 11, […]
by Budd Davisson Okay, so we’ll admit it: just about every successful fighter of WWII was sleeker and sexier than a Hellcat. However, when it comes to fighters, “beauty is in the doing” and the Hellcat could do it. In spades! In terms of what it contributed to victory, it was the uncontested King of […]
by Budd Davisson When World War One broke out in 1914, the airplane was barely eleven years old and was nothing more than a plodding, noisy kite barely more dangerous than an observation balloon. As a weapon, it was difficult to take seriously. Four short years later it had been transformed into a multi-dimensional weapon […]
by Budd Davisson Okay, let’s get one thing absolutely clear: the Pitts Special is NOT, repeat NOT, just an airplane. I know some people think that it is, but ask any long time Pitts driver and we’ll all tell you the same thing: there are airplanes and there are Pitts Specials and the two shouldn’t […]
1895 – Birth of Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi, Belarusian Soviet aircraft constructor and designer. 1920 – Donald W. Douglas and Davis R. Davis found the Davis-Douglas Co. in Los Angeles, Calif.; the Cloister (shown) is its only product. 1933 – Wiley Post lands back at New York City’s Floyd Bennett Field in his Lockheed Vega “Winnie Mae,” completing the first round-the-world […]
1890 – Birth of Marcel Robert Leopold Bloch, French World War I flying ace. 1921 – U.S. Army Air Service Martin NBS-1 bombers sink the decommissioned German battleship Ostfriesland in the Atlantic Ocean off the Virginia Capes after Billy Mitchell urges bombing trials to show the power of aircraft to sink major warships. 1932 – Wolfgang […]
What do you get when you take any airplane and more than double its horsepower? For one thing you get much bigger grins every time you move the throttle forward for takeoff. The 450 Stearman, the so-called “Super Stearman,” is a classic case in point. Originally born with a puny 220 hp, W-670 Continental radial […]
Today the name of Isaac Newton Lewis is little known outside of firearms circles, but he exerted a major influence on aerial combat.
In 1911, Colonel Lewis, a U.S. Army ordnance officer, adapted a machine gun design patented by inventor Samuel McLean. With a soldier’s eye toward utility, Lewis worked with the Automatic Arms Co. in New York to simplify the original design as a workable weapon. Light and potent, it was a revolutionary design.
One thing we often forget is that war is always fought by kids and, in the case of WW II aviators, that meant they were also extremely inexperienced. When I flew my first fighter, which happened to be the Mustang, I was 29 years old and had nearly 2,500 hours of flight time in a […]
Representatives from the newly launched D-Day Squadron’s fleet of American C-47 and DC-3 aircraft are making their way to EAA’s AirVenture for the annual “World’s Greatest Aviation Festival.” Eleven aircraft that are part of the D-Day Squadron will join forces to wow audiences and commemorate the D-Day invasion of Normandy nearly 75 years ago. The group aims […]