From the Magazine

Grasshopper Roundup

Grasshopper Roundup

In the summer of 1941, with a world war knocking at America’s door, the U.S. Army was itching for a “low and slow” observation plane. The Army wanted one that could loiter near and over the hidden enemy and, when spotted, could then coordinate with artillery units to rain destruction down upon the foe. During […]
The Day I Shot Myself Down

The Day I Shot Myself Down

  Some days you just can’t win for losing, as F-14 test pilot, Pete Purvis found out much to his chagrin. Read how a test shot of a Sparrow missile went severely wrong and 39 seconds later, he and his RIO were hanging in their parachutes. Not a good day! Click here.

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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 […]
My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

My Target is What?! Embarrassing Non-shootdowns

Not all of fighter aviation is aimed at protecting the fair damsel from the marauding Count von Evil. In fact, history shows that fighter jocks themselves have often provided whimsical, if not overly efficient episodes that have left their mark in the annals of fighterdom. “Ever shoot down a balloon?” Sam Flynn was in an […]

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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 the 18th of September, a victim of flak over Belgium.

P-47 Thunderbolt on D-Day

From its inception, the 56th was destined for excellence and historical significance. As the first fighter group to be challenged, and possibly intimidated, by Republic’s new radial-engined beast, the group took on that mission and remained faithful to its charge till the end of hostilities. As part of a pre-war build-up of 35 Army Air […]
Fighter Pilot: The Hero Comes of Age

Fighter Pilot: The Hero Comes of Age

The movies and the fighter pilot were made for each other. The motion-picture concept is generally credited to Thomas Edison in 1889, and he continually improved it through the 1890s into the next century. By the time World War I had begun, crude commercial movies were available, with the first heroes frequently being cowboys with […]

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The USAF’s Contract Killers – Rental Bad Guys

The USAF’s Contract Killers – Rental Bad Guys

“Kill the F-16, right-hand turn, 18 thousand feet, over the Farms.” And so another victory is claimed in the perpetual war occurring in the Nevada skies north of Las Vegas. It is not part of some separating-a-tourist-from-his-money air-combat experience but the deadly game of “good guy” Blue Air jets fighting the “bad guy” Red Air […]
The Boy Next Door Goes to War

The Boy Next Door Goes to War

Like every other new pilot in 1942, Cary Benjamin “Ben” Jones experienced an abrupt introduction to combat. At that point in the war, the enemy had been flying combat for several years, but almost every American pilot, Jones included, was new to that particular lethal game. Still, he flew P-40s in the Mediterranean, Africa, Sicily, […]

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Martha’s Vineyard’s Workin’ Wacos

Martha’s Vineyard’s Workin’ Wacos

Contrary to a bit of universally accepted fake news, the 1940s are not actually over. The decade is still alive and well, although somewhat disassociated from the main landmass of America, and lagging behind the new millennium. If you don’t believe that, head for Katama Airfield, 1B2, owned by Edgartown, Massachusetts. And don’t plan on […]
Voodoo Magic: Learning to dance with a high-spirited lady

Voodoo Magic: Learning to dance with a high-spirited lady

By 1959, Major Ernest Craigwell, Tuskegee Airman and a current Air Defense Command fighter pilot, had already enjoyed his fair share of time flying hot jets and a certain modest measure of notoriety. Two years earlier, his role flying F-51s alongside Korean War legend Dean Hess had been dramatized in the popular Universal-International feature film […]
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