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WWI’s Albatros D.III

WWI’s Albatros D.III

Lethal Wooden Wonder Let’s try to put the Albatros-Flugzeugwerke series of WWI fighters in perspective. First, the Wrights flew in 1903 but didn’t really reveal many secrets to the world until 1905. Then it was closer to 1908-1910 that Glenn Curtis jumped into the game with ailerons, elevators and all that other ìrealî airplane stuff. […]
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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P-51 Mustang: John Landers and “Big Beautiful Doll”

P-51 Mustang: John Landers and “Big Beautiful Doll”

by Budd Davisson One thing we often forget is that war is always fought by kids and, in the case of WWII 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 […]
Magnificent Pain: The Art of the Sukhoi 31

Magnificent Pain: The Art of the Sukhoi 31

The world of serious, unlimited aerobatics, as seen from the inside is primarily one of grunts and groans and the never ending search for better and better machines capable of illiciting said grunts and groans. Standing at the head of the search for aerobatic excellence is the Sukhoi design bureau in Moscow. For nearly thirty […]

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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 Warthog Has No Warts

The A-10 Warthog 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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deHavilland DH82 Tiger Moth

deHavilland DH82 Tiger Moth

The World’s Primary Trainer The first time I strapped on a Tiger Moth I had to laugh. For one thing, there was this HUGE compass projecting up off the floor between my knees. It was fashioned of polished brass and swung in gimbals to keep it level in all attitudes. It would have been more […]
Travelair Mystery Ship: Model “R” for Racing

Travelair Mystery Ship: Model “R” for Racing

Dawn of a New Era It was September 2nd, 1929 and before the day was over, the world of military airplanes had been changed forever.As Doug Davis roared across the finish line and took the checkered flag at Cleveland that afternoon, he had done more than win a race. He and the red and black […]

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Christen Eagle — The Rainbow Bird With the Dacron Plumage

With fabric feathers and 200 horsepower in its beak, the Eagle II was Californian Frank Christensen’s idea of what a two-place, good time flying machine should look and fly like. A slicked-up city cousin of a Pitts Special, the Eagle has its own following that is every bit as rabid about their airplane as the […]
Super Stearman: Bulging Biplane Biceps

Super Stearman: Bulging Biplane Biceps

by Budd Davisson What do you get when you take any airplane and more than double the horsepower? For one thing you get much bigger grins every time you move the throttle forward for takeoff. The 450 Stearman, the so-called ìSuper Stearman,î is a classic case in point. Originally born with a puny 220 hp, […]
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