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, […]
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.
Many British and Commonwealth air routes were established by airlines using de Havilland’s 6-passenger seat, twin-engine biplane, the DH84 Dragon. The Dragon’s first flight (November 1932) pre-dated the better-known DH89 Dragon Rapide (or Dominie in military service) by two years, although both aircraft made their maiden flights at the DH airfield of Stag Lane in […]
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 […]
The backbone of the initial Allied assault against Erwin Rommel’s Atlantic Wall was the unsung heroes of the AAF’s Troop Carrier Command. Evolving from the pre-war Air Service & Ferrying Command, a specific need for the Army’s expanding parachute units led to the division of the now AAF’s transport units into the more commonly recognized […]
In the classic 1969 movie The Battle of Britain, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding (Sir Lawrence Olivier) reviews the impending clash with a cabinet minister. After an unsatisfactory discussion, the minister exasperates, “So I tell the cabinet that you’re trusting in radar and praying to God?” Dowding retorts, “More the other way around. I’m trusting […]
They must have been a sight for sore eyes to the soldiers on the beach as wave after wave of fighters, bombers, and paratrooper-stuffed transports, some towing gliders, passed overhead, all of them adorned with black and white painted stripes. The invasion was on, and many of the fighter pilots expecting a Luftwaffe slugfest were […]
In his memoir, Lt. Col. Richard E. Turner recalled D-Day for the Ninth Air Force’s 354th Fighter Group at Maidstone, Kent. He described the “Pioneer Mustangs’” rare D-Day missions: night escort of troop carrier aircraft and gliders. Since the 25th of May, the group had been informed that it was on a six-hour alert status, […]
Flying Skulls over Burma By the time I graduated from high school in Oklahoma during 1940 at the ripe old age of 19, I could see that the United States was going to get dragged into a world war. I had grown up in a farming family during the Great Depression and had felt the […]
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 […]