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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1938 – First flight of the Bell P-39 Airacobra, a principal American fighter in service at the start of World War II. It is the first fighter in history with a tricycle undercarriage and the first to have the engine installed in the center fuselage, behind the pilot. 1962 – The Royal Canadian Air Force […]
F8 Wings Folded

F8 Wings Folded

On January 22, 1968, I was a young LTJG at Miramar, attached to Navy Fighter Squadron VF-53 preparing for a deployment to Vietnam aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. As a final part of the pre-deployment regimen, all pilots were briefed to fly [ FMLP ] Field Mirror Landing Practice about 2100 that night. This was our last chance […]

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Forgotten DC-3 Caught on Camera

Forgotten DC-3 Caught on Camera

Lying on a black sandy beach in the south of Iceland, the wreckage of a crashed U.S. Navy aircraft looks like something from a post-apocalyptic movie. Amazingly, the crew all survived the impact, when the Douglas Super DC-3 was forced to crash land on Sólheimasandur beach on Nov. 24, 1973. But the plane was abandoned rather than recovered, […]
Looking Back: Project FICON

Looking Back: Project FICON

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers are a dominant presence in waters around the world, and interestingly enough, the Air Force once tried to make a flying version. During World War II, bomber aircraft could fly thousands of miles to their targets, unlike gas-guzzling fighters, which had much shorter ranges. This was a big problem for bombers, since they were sitting […]

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World War II  – The Pioneer Jets

World War II – The Pioneer Jets

The history of technology is replete with a concept called “multiple independent discovery.” Examples are the incandescent lightbulb by the American inventor Thomas Edison and the British inventor Joseph Swan in 1879, and the computer by Briton Alan Turing and Polish-American Emil Post in 1936. During the 1930s, on opposite sides of the English Channel, […]
A Tale of Two Mules

A Tale of Two Mules

It has been said that an Army travels on its stomach—and depends on its ammo. This is another way of saying that, although the Quartermaster Corps is probably the most mundane and unheralded segment of any military, it should share top billing with the most elite of the frontline combat troops. If the Quartermaster Corps […]

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Rockoons: A Short Chapter  in Atmospheric Research

Rockoons: A Short Chapter in Atmospheric Research

At first glance, rockets and balloons would appear to be entirely separate technological species that would have little to do with one another. A modern rocket is a highly complex feat of engineering and, if powerful enough, can escape the Earth altogether. A balloon is as simple as simple gets (within reason), but even modern […]
Mitsubishi A6M Zero: Terror of the Pacific

Mitsubishi A6M Zero: Terror of the Pacific

Zero! Normally that’s a number signifying nothing, but to those who know history it indicates an able foe. A dainty, but lethal, dancer that cut a swath across the Pacific so bloody that for the first six months of World War Two it appeared as if nothing could stop it. The stories that filtered back […]

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10  Aviation  Myths  of World War II Fact vs. Fiction

10 Aviation Myths of World War II Fact vs. Fiction

Seventy years later, the Second World War remains the defining event of the 20th century and for the generations who experienced it. It led to the half-century Cold War and still shapes the geopolitical map today. Decades of lies and legends still swirl around the crucial events of mankind’s greatest conflict, and many of them […]
In Theater: Chariots of the Vanquished

In Theater: Chariots of the Vanquished

By Stan Piet By mid-August 1945, the Japanese Empire was near collapse. Months of sustained bombing and two atomic attacks had devastated its prime cities and a widening blockade was strangling its faltering war industry and starving citizens. But Tokyo’s ingrained militaristic “fight to the death culture” still held sway, and an all out invasion […]
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