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Up Close: Hurricane Hawker

Up Close: Hurricane Hawker

The Overlooked Warrior by Barrett Tillman Nearly 20 years after WW I, the RAF still flew biplane fighters. Consequently, the Hawker Hurricane made its mark as Britain’s first monoplane fighter, heralding a new era in military aviation. Designed by Sir Sydney Camm and first flown in late 1935, the Hurricane featured a thick airfoil that […]
World War II Trainers – The Ace Makers

World War II Trainers – The Ace Makers

It was a global war foughton an industrial scale unlike anything before or since. Conservatively, it consumed at least 55 million lives while overturning the way humans regarded their nations, their worlds, and themselves. It also spurred the greatest technological revolution of all time: in five years, going from 250mph biplane fighters in some nations to 550mph jets and ocean-spanning bombers that delivered atomic weapons. Supporting the vast American effort were huge training establishments for the U.S. Army Air Force (AAF) and the U.S. Navy (USN). This is their story.

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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 […]
Mission into Darkness

Mission into Darkness

Flying the SB2C Helldiver into probable suicide On June 19, 1944, Task Force-58’s (TF-58) fighter and dive-bomber aircrews celebrated the combined destruction of 380 Japanese airplanes during the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. But our exhilaration was almost dashed the very next day when we went hunting for the fleeing Japanese fleet. Those of us flying […]

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Curtis SB2C Helldiver and Ben Case: Bombing in the Beast

Curtis SB2C Helldiver and Ben Case: Bombing in the Beast

Ben Case and the SB2C Helldiver. We were launched while our fleet was 180 to 200 miles northeast of Manila. My group was assigned to hit Japanese ships in Manila Harbor. As we approached our dive area at 10,000 feet, big, black puffs of smoke from anti-aircraft fire began popping all around us.” Leslie Bennett […]
Pearl Harbor: the Inside Story

Pearl Harbor: the Inside Story

At approximately 7:55 AM (local time), on December 7, 1941, the US Navy was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy, and the US forces were taken completely off guard. 96 ships were stationed at Pearl Harbor, but the Japanese aircraft’s primary targets were the big battleships moored on Battleship Row at Ford Island. The Japanese aircraft […]

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WW II Pilot Bernie Sledzick – Little Guy in  a Big Airplane

WW II Pilot Bernie Sledzick – Little Guy in a Big Airplane

Back then, junior year of high school should have been filled with coming-of-age memories, football pep rallies, and homecoming dances. Visiting colleges, choosing high-school sweethearts, and exploring possible careers should have been in the thoughts of soon-to-be seniors. Pearl Harbor changed all that. The very real world war and deciding to fight his country’s enemies […]
Bad Kitty! VF-19 “Satan’s Kittens”

Bad Kitty! VF-19 “Satan’s Kittens”

VF-19 “Satan’s Kittens” Chew Up the Enemy “I had well over 1,000 hours of time in the air before I entered combat. Most of that was as an instrument instructor flying the SNJ. Instrument flying really teaches you the finer points of flying an airplane. It also makes you focus and for some reason I […]

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Aviation Insider: A Tale of the Times

Aviation Insider: A Tale of the Times

We’ll lose the XC-99 and it won’t be alone  Big, historic airplanes could be the aeronautical definition of “conundrum” for museum people. No one wants to see a truly historic airplane, such as the XC-99 disintegrate into powdery oxide while in outside storage. However, the realities of space and financing determine the prioritization for every […]
Gallery: de Havilland  DH84 Dragon

Gallery: de Havilland DH84 Dragon

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 […]
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