News and Stories

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 […]
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 […]

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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 […]
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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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. […]
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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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 […]
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 […]

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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 […]
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. […]
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