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Military

Kettering Bug (USAF photo)

Early UAV Development and Dahlgren

Anyone familiar with Dahlgren history has almost certainly heard of Carl Norden and Dahlgren’s role in the development of his famous bombsight. It’s less well known that he came to Dahlgren two years before his first bombsight tests and almost five years before testing the first version of his famous bombsight in 1924. This earlier […]
Building the XQ-2C Drone

Building the XQ-2C Drone

In the early 1960s, the government needed an interim replacement for the U2 “spy plane”, one that would not carry a pilot. The new, still secret, Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” was not yet ready to replace the U2. As it turned out, eight days after Captain Francis Gary powers was shot down on May 1, 1960 […]

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“Wise Guy” is Back

“Wise Guy” is Back

Thirteen years after being retired on August 14, 2008, B-52H Stratofortress 60-0034 “Wise Guy” returned to the fleet at Minot AFB in North Dakota. The aircraft began its journey back to the sky at the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona in 2019. After initial refurbishment, she was […]
Out of India: How My Father Escaped WW II

Out of India: How My Father Escaped WW II

My dad, Lt. Col. Grover F. Nelson (Ret), was stationed in far North East India at the Allied Airbase at Chabua near Assam with the U.S. Army-Air Force during World War II flying supply routes between India, Nepal, Burma and China. At the end of the war, he was 29-year-years old. He was one of […]

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Their Finest Hour

Their Finest Hour

The summer of 2020 will mark 80 years since the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe fought the world’s first great air campaign. The brown-green fighters swept down from altitude, pushing 300mph to attack the serried ranks of gray-green bombers. Within 1,000 feet of the enemy formation, the fighters opened fire, each […]
Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

As soon as the airplane joined motorized ground vehicles as tools of war, its ability to see over the horizon made it an invaluable tactical device. It was more mobile than a tethered balloon and could be used to transport messages and leaders from point to point, whenever and wherever it was needed. There was […]

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Stalin’s Flying Hammer

Stalin’s Flying Hammer

Each of the major World War II combatants had an airplane that personified it and its people: the Japanese Zero, the German Stuka, the British Spitfire, and (of course) the American Flying Fortress, which symbolized the nation’s entire wartime concept of strategic bombing. Soviet Russia had the Il-2 Shturmovik. Built by Ilyushin, the Il-2 was […]
Butcher Bird  Hellcat & Corsair: A test pilot recalls

Butcher Bird Hellcat & Corsair: A test pilot recalls

During WW II, we in the military were not allowed to save notes, keep diaries or take pictures, and being a Boy Scout type, I lived by the rules. Now, decades later, when I’m called to write about some of my flight experiences, I wish that I had bent the rules a little. Thank goodness […]

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Creating the Military “IoT”

Creating the Military “IoT”

On Dec. 9, the joint force took another step toward achieving a military Internet of Things (IoT) when fifth-generation aircraft overcame long standing connectivity limitations to share actionable operational data in their native secure digital “languages” with and through multiple sources for the first time. This test was the latest demonstration of the transformative warfighting […]
The Grumman Skyrocket

The Grumman Skyrocket

Intended for use on carriers, the Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket had folding wings and was intended to have an airspeed of over 300mph. It used two Pratt & Whitney Wright R-1820 engines, and first flew on April 1, 1940. Although it had good flight characteristics and a maximum speed of 383mph at 20,000 feet, it had […]
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