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D-Day Fighter Pilot Accounts: Little Friends over the Beach

D-Day Fighter Pilot Accounts: Little Friends over the Beach

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 […]
A Pilot’s View of D-Day

A Pilot’s View of D-Day

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, […]

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P-40 Warhawks Aerial Assualt on Burma

P-40 Warhawks Aerial Assualt on Burma

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 […]
Carrier Aviation’s Greatest Error: Landing on the wrong deck.

Carrier Aviation’s Greatest Error: Landing on the wrong deck.

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 […]

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Classics: Curtiss B-2

Classics: Curtiss B-2

Before the Gooney Bird, there was the Condor By Joe Gertler The T-32 design originally focused on The Condor as a twin-engine biplane, bomber, ambulance and troop transport. It was first flown in 1933. Curtiss Company blueprints and reports showed the Condor with its many machine gun ports in the nose, and on the top […]
Iconic Firepower: Sidewinder

Iconic Firepower: Sidewinder

By Barrett TIllman Kern County, California, 1952: a 1949 Kaiser raced down a desert runway with a streamlined object fitted to a crude bracket on the right side. Lacking a wind tunnel, the passengers — engineers in the front and back seats — took notes on the model’s aerodynamic performance. They were testing the XAAM-N-7, […]

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P-47 Thunderbolt on D-Day

P-47 Thunderbolt on D-Day

By Stan Piet P-47D UN-V, named “Pat,” from the famed 56th FG, 63rd FS, prepares for another fighter sweep in support of the invasion.  The second mount of Capt. Gordon S. Stevens, it survived until early September, being lost with Capt. Roy Fling at the controls. Stevens himself was lost in a “Pat” replacement on […]

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The Junior Birdmen of America

The Junior Birdmen of America

A time when aviation was a youth activity By John Lockwood. As airplanes ceased to be novelties and became a major part of American life, the 1930s saw an explosion in the number of aviation clubs across the country. Probably the most successful of all was the Junior Birdmen of America, founded by the newspaper […]
In Theater: What They Wore

In Theater: What They Wore

The P-47 Thunderbolt pilot of 1945 wore and carried lots of stuff, and little of it gave meaning to the military term “uniform.” At Metz, France, in January 1945, the group and squadron commanders of the “Hell Hawks” 365th Fighter Group, posed in their gear in front of a wrecked Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf 190. The men […]
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