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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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P-38 Lightning: A country boy way out of his element

P-38 Lightning: A country boy way out of his element

When I flew a P-38 for the first time, I had to admit that I had a hard time hearing the engines over the noise of my knees knocking. What was a grassroots pilot like me doing strapped into such a huge piece of iron? That was simple: I wanted a type-rating in the airplay […]
Stearman PT-17/N2S: The Biplane With So Many Lives

Stearman PT-17/N2S: The Biplane With So Many Lives

The PT-17 Stearman is literally the airplane that has always seemed to just be “there.” Although, it is most often thought of as the school marm that taught a generation of airmen the skills necessary to win a war, she has actually lived three distinct lives and is entering a fourth, from military trainer to […]

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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 […]
Ford Trimotor  – Ford’s Fabulous Tri-Motor classic airplane

Ford Trimotor – Ford’s Fabulous Tri-Motor classic airplane

When you climb on board some airplanes, there’s a feeling that can only be described as passing through a portal into history. As I worked my way between the rows of seats up to the cockpit of the Ford 4AT Trimotor, that was one of those moments: there was no doubt that what I was […]

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Model 12 Pitts Special Biplane –  The Definition of “Bitchin'”

Model 12 Pitts Special Biplane – The Definition of “Bitchin'”

What’s better than a biplane? That’s obvious: a biplane with a round motor. And what ís better than a biplane with a round motor? A round-motored biplane that’s designed by Curtis Pitts! When you’re saddling up the Model 12, it feels like a much bigger than a normal two-place Pitts, when in reality it’s not. […]
Piper J-3 Cub: Piper’s Lightweight aircraft is a  gift to mankind

Piper J-3 Cub: Piper’s Lightweight aircraft is a gift to mankind

Like most pilots, I’m not certain I can remember a time before I flew a J-3. That’s probably because I too started out in a Cub. I was fifteen years old and even then found one of the biggest hurdles to flying a Cub to be simply getting in it. The dance includes the following […]

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GeeBee R-1 and R-2: Air Racing with the World’s Fastest Pony Kegs:

GeeBee R-1 and R-2: Air Racing with the World’s Fastest Pony Kegs:

Today it’s impossible to think of the golden age of air racing without an R-1 or R-2 Gee Bee roaring across the mind’s eye. To the aviation public, the Gee Bees air racing — and vice versa. And that’ s only right. When Granville engineer, Pete Miller, drafted the first lines for the “R” series of […]
Aviation Photography – The Words Are the Easy Part

Aviation Photography – The Words Are the Easy Part

Barrett Tillman, historian, author and Flight Journal regular is fond of saying, “God forgives man that time spent looking at airplane photos.” Outside of actually flying, nothing gives aviation types as much pleasure as looking at high-quality (or interesting) photos of flying machines. It almost makes no difference what kind of airplane. We’ll look at […]
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