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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 […]
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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The Marvelous Gooney Bird: Douglas DC-3/C-47

The Marvelous Gooney Bird: Douglas DC-3/C-47

It could be argued that modern air transportation began in 1931 with the tragic death of Knute Rockne, the much-loved Notre Dame football coach. A national figure of legendary status, his death in a Fokker Tri-motor airliner touched off a national furor to upgrade airline transportation. The airlines responded immediately with frantic demands to the […]
Focke-Wulf FW-190D: The Luftwaffe’s Long Nosed “Butcher Bird”

Focke-Wulf FW-190D: The Luftwaffe’s Long Nosed “Butcher Bird”

When Grumman engineering pilots climbed out of a captured FW-190A in England after their first flight, they were astounded: it made their beloved Hellcat look like a plow horse. It was light, rolled like lightning and climbed like an artillery shell. It represented a whole new world of performance that was only just beginning to […]

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Pitts Special: The soul of the man lives on

Pitts Special: The soul of the man lives on

by Budd Davisson Okay, let’s get one thing absolutely clear: the Pitts Special is NOT, repeat NOT, just an airplane. I know some people think that it is, but ask any long time Pitts driver and we’ll all tell you the same thing: there are airplanes and there are Pitts Specials and the two shouldn’t […]
Super Stearman: Bulging Biplane Biceps

Super Stearman: Bulging Biplane Biceps

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 […]

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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 […]
Extra 300S: Patty Wagstaff and her Magic Machine

Extra 300S: Patty Wagstaff and her Magic Machine

If you’ve ever seen her fly, you’ll never forget it. She’s razzle-dazzle personified. If you meet her and spend a few moments with her, you’ll come away with much the same feeling. It’ll be obvious that the pilot fits the airplane. Or is it the other way around? Patty exudes confidence laced with huge amounts […]

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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 […]
Douglas C-47: A Gooney by any Other Name is Still a Gooney

Douglas C-47: A Gooney by any Other Name is Still a Gooney

Supreme Commander-Europe, General Dwight Eisenhower, didnít hesitate when ask to list the Allied weapons that most helped end the war. In no particular order he said, ìThe bazooka, the jeep, the atom bomb and the C-47. The bazooka made the lowly GI into a feared tank killer. The Jeep gave his commanders incredible flexibility to […]
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