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Super Stearman Saturday

Super Stearman Saturday

What do you get when you take any airplane and more than double its horsepower? For one thing you get much bigger grins every time you move the throttle forward for takeoff. The 450 Stearman, the so-called “Super Stearman,” is a classic case in point. Originally born with a puny 220 hp, W-670 Continental radial […]
DeHavilland Comet: Wooden Artistry

DeHavilland Comet: Wooden Artistry

In 1934 the public still viewed aviation as something special. In fact, air racing had become a worldwide obsession, which, like NASCAR many years later, offered great publicity opportunities for the sponsors and the participants. Australian millionaire Sir MacPherson Robertson, recognized the public relations value of air racing and announced he was sponsoring a race […]

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Monday Multi-Wing S.E.5a Scout

Monday Multi-Wing S.E.5a Scout

by Budd Davisson When World War One broke out in 1914, the airplane was barely eleven years old and was nothing more than a plodding, noisy kite barely more dangerous than an observation balloon. As a weapon, it was difficult to take seriously. Four short years later it had been transformed into a multi-dimensional weapon […]
Friday Fighter: Grumman’s F6F Hellcat

Friday Fighter: Grumman’s F6F Hellcat

by Budd Davisson Okay, so we’ll admit it: just about every successful fighter of WWII was sleeker and sexier than a Hellcat. However, when it comes to fighters, “beauty is in the doing” and the Hellcat could do it. In spades! In terms of what it contributed to victory, it was the uncontested King of […]

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Cold War Wednesday! Sukhoi Su-27

Cold War Wednesday! Sukhoi Su-27

The question on the table is: “Is the Su-27 the best fighter in the world?” Starting a conversation by saying any airplane is the best at anything is right up there with politics, religion and blondes vs redheads vs brunettes for sparking spirited debate. Still, if you read the popular press, the Su-27 is the […]
Monday Mustang Story

Monday Mustang Story

One thing we often forget is that war is always fought by kids and, in the case of WW II aviators, that meant they were also extremely inexperienced. When I flew my first fighter, which happened to be the Mustang, I was 29 years old and had nearly 2,500 hours of flight time in a […]

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The Dragon’s Den

The Dragon’s Den

As everyone knows, few DH 89 Dragon Rapides remain airworthy today. Constructed of wood and fabric, time has deteriorated their glued joints, and timber airframe components have rotted on these iconic 1930s British passenger biplanes. So the arrival of a Dragon Rapide at the EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh was a delightful surprise. Touching down at Oshkosh […]
MiG-15: Crude but Effective

MiG-15: Crude but Effective

The Yalu river runs wide and dark across the huge peninsula that is Korea. On either side, the topography is the same and at 40,000 feet, the hard blue sky doesn’t change color just because the politics below are different. One morning in 1950, however, when American and ROK (Republic of Korea) pilots came back […]

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F/A-18 Hornet: a Dynasty in the Making

F/A-18 Hornet: a Dynasty in the Making

The Hornet has been a highly controversial airplane from the day it was initially proposed. Hornet detractors point at their hero, the massive F-14, and say the Hornet isn’t worthy of following in that great airplane’s steps. No range, no load, no nothin’. Well, folks, guess what? Right or wrong, the Tomcat’s on it’s way […]
The A-10 Has No Warts

The A-10 Has No Warts

The A-10 isn’t an airplane. It’s a terrifyingly effective ball peen hammer designed from the onset to do one job and one job only: support the guys on the ground. At the beginning that meant it was to blunt the tank attacks cold war planners knew the Russians would send rolling across Europe in waves. […]
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