interview

Interview: David McCullough, The Wright Stuff

AUTHOR DAVID MCCULLOUGH has produced some of the most celebrated biographies in recent history. For half a century, he’s brought the past to life, introducing readers to topics that range from the American...
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 arrived in time to change the course of the air war during the Spanish Civil War and continually improved to become a top-notch German fighter during World War II. (Illustration by Adam Tooby. From "Air Vanguard No. 18 Messerschmitt Bf 109 A–D Series," by Robert Jackson © Osprey Publishing, Ltd.)

Messerschmitt Bf 109D-1

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 arrived in time to change the course of the air war during the Spanish Civil War

In the Mustang’s Wake

The P-51 Mustang was fast. Historian Ray Wagner called its last iteration, the 490-mph P-51H, “probably the fastest prop-driven plane actually used in wartime.” The cautious “probably” and “actually...
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Living in the Age of Airplanes

Producer/director Brian Terwilliger’s love letter to aviation, Living in the Age of Airplanes reminds us of the myriad ways in which flying has transformed our lives and our world. At the film’s April 8...
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Bata Lockheed Electra

Many of us assume that corporate flying was developed by Texas oil barons and Midwestern entrepreneurs during the 1930s, but it was a Czech shoe company, Bata, that pioneered a particularly productive form...
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Drones vs. Poachers

Poachers are killing so many elephants and rhinos in Africa that biologists predict both species may soon be extinct without massive intervention. According to the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh...
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Widow Makers at Work

It has been 70 years since Northrop P-61B-1NO no. 42-39445 of the 550th Night Fighter Squadron, Thirteenth Air Force, left Hollandia airfield on a “proficiency flight” on January 10, 1945, only to crash...
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Savannah’s Flying Fortress

They called it the Mighty Eighth—the Eighth Air Force, the most effective bomber force of World War II. Though “thousand-plane raids” are bruited as the criterion of aerial enormity, at its peak the...
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Making ‘The Blue Max’

Filmed 50 years ago, long before the advent of CGI, "The Blue Max" required two air forces built from scratch.

Letter from Aviation History—May 2015

What’s the difference between a restored airplane and a replica? How far should a restorer go to preserve original components, and do remanufactured parts make a warbird less authentic?
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Smithsonian Treasures on Display

A recent media preview at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center provided an opportunity to check out some fascinating projects.