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Legendary Heavy Hitter: June Issue

The Legend of Maj. Paul "Pappy" Gunn

Their Finest Hour

Butcher Bird Hellcat & Corsair: A test pilot recalls

Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

Stalin’s Flying Hammer

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Their Finest Hour

Their Finest Hour

The summer of 2020 will mark 80 years since the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe fought the world’s first great air campaign. The brown-green fighters swept down from altitude, pushing 300mph to attack the serried ranks of gray-green bombers. Within 1,000 feet of the enemy formation, the fighters opened fire, each […]
Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

Stinson’s Big-Guy L-Bird

As soon as the airplane joined motorized ground vehicles as tools of war, its ability to see over the horizon made it an invaluable tactical device. It was more mobile than a tethered balloon and could be used to transport messages and leaders from point to point, whenever and wherever it was needed. There was […]

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Stalin’s Flying Hammer

Stalin’s Flying Hammer

Each of the major World War II combatants had an airplane that personified it and its people: the Japanese Zero, the German Stuka, the British Spitfire, and (of course) the American Flying Fortress, which symbolized the nation’s entire wartime concept of strategic bombing. Soviet Russia had the Il-2 Shturmovik. Built by Ilyushin, the Il-2 was […]
Butcher Bird  Hellcat & Corsair: A test pilot recalls

Butcher Bird Hellcat & Corsair: A test pilot recalls

During WW II, we in the military were not allowed to save notes, keep diaries or take pictures, and being a Boy Scout type, I lived by the rules. Now, decades later, when I’m called to write about some of my flight experiences, I wish that I had bent the rules a little. Thank goodness […]

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The Legend of Maj. Paul “Pappy” Gunn

The Legend of Maj. Paul “Pappy” Gunn

“Pappy” Gunn had served in the U.S. Navy for twenty years before retiring to start airlines in Hawaii and the Philippines. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he returned to the service — and received a Distinguished Flying Cross for flying in medical supplies to besieged troops on the Bataan Peninsula. He was evacuated to Australia, […]
Creating the Military “IoT”

Creating the Military “IoT”

On Dec. 9, the joint force took another step toward achieving a military Internet of Things (IoT) when fifth-generation aircraft overcame long standing connectivity limitations to share actionable operational data in their native secure digital “languages” with and through multiple sources for the first time. This test was the latest demonstration of the transformative warfighting […]

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The Grumman Skyrocket

The Grumman Skyrocket

Intended for use on carriers, the Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket had folding wings and was intended to have an airspeed of over 300mph. It used two Pratt & Whitney Wright R-1820 engines, and first flew on April 1, 1940. Although it had good flight characteristics and a maximum speed of 383mph at 20,000 feet, it had […]
Boeing’s Uncrewed Refueler

Boeing’s Uncrewed Refueler

Boeing  and the U.S. Navy have for the first time flown the MQ-25 T1 test asset with an aerial refueling store (ARS), a significant milestone informing development of the unmanned aerial refueler. The successful 2.5-hour flight with the Cobham ARS – the same ARS currently used by F/A-18s for air-to-air refueling – was designed to […]

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Fairey Rotodyne Compound Gyroplane

Fairey Rotodyne Compound Gyroplane

The Fairey Rotodyne was a 1950’s British compound gyroplane designed and built by Fairey Aviation and intended for commercial and military uses. The Fairey Rotodyne’s first flight was on 6 November 1957. The first transitions to horizontal powered flight were begun in April 1958. Initial problems with tip jet reignition at altitude were solved by […]
Russian & Chinese Stealth Fighters

Russian & Chinese Stealth Fighters

Russia and China are producing stealth fighters, but how good are they? A recent Forbes commentary is illuminating. China’s Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon has been described as the first credible operational fifth-generation stealth fighter designed outside the U.S. The 2017 photo at the top shows China’s domestically built J-20, courtesy of XINHUA News Agency via […]
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