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Aviation History

  • Aviation History Magazine

    A Pusher Ahead of Its Time

    The Curtiss-Wright XP-55 sweptwing pusher was a plane ahead of its time. “Thinking Outside the Box” is a catchphrase that is heard perhaps too often today, but in 1939 it had not yet come into wide usage. Nevertheless, the concept did...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    The Saab J21

    Saab’s J21 was among the few aircraft produced in both piston engine and turbojet versions. To most Americans, the name SAAB brings to mind a line of modish and distinctively Swedish auto­mobiles. It might come as a surprise that Saab...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    ‘Patton in a P-51’

    Don Blakeslee’s grit, guts and guidance helped make the “Fighting 4th” one of the finest combat air groups in Europe. Like his British and Commonwealth comrades in the Royal Air Force, American Don Blakeslee of No. 133 “Eagle”...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Hirano’s Zero

    A Mitsubishi Zero shot down at Pearl Harbor revealed surprisingly few facts about the mysterious fighter, but did yield a map that provided tantalizing clues about the location of the Japanese fleet. Shortly before 8 a.m. on December 7,...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Delta Dreamer

    Artist-engineer Alexander Lippisch conceived more than 50 radical aircraft designs, including the Nazis’ rocket-powered Me-163. Few aircraft configurations are more familiar than the delta wing, which dominated the sky for many years,...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Workhorse of the Fleet

    Vought’s versatile Kingfisher served as a gun spotter, patrol plane, anti-submarine scout, utility transport and trainer, but downed aircrews remembered it best as an “angel on floats” Legendary World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Aviation History Review: HAWX and Endwar

    Two stylish wargames take aerial combat into the future. The futuristic Micro soft Windows XP/Vista, 2.0 Ghz processor, 1GB system RAM, DVD ROM HAWX ($30, requires player, 3D video card with 128MB video memory, Ubisoft, www.ubi.com) looks...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    The Sky My Kingdom

    The Sky My Kingdom: Memoirs of the Famous German World War II Test Pilot by Hanna Reitsch, 2009 edition from Casemate, Philadelphia, Pa., $29.95. I first read this autobiography sometime in the 1950s, and then again in the 1970s, after...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    LeMay

    LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay by Warren Kozak, Regnery, Washington, D.C., 2009, $27.95. Curtis LeMay remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. His reputation as an unrepentant destroyer of Nazi...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Aviation History Book Review: Flying For Her Country

    Flying For Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II  by Amy Goodpaster Strebe, Potomac Books, Dulles, Va., 2009, $15.95.  Historian and journalist Amy Strebe, who has researched America’s Women...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Aviation History Book Review: Aces High

    Aces High by Bill Yenne, Berkley Caliber, New York, 2009, $25.95. Bill Yenne’s name on the cover is reason enough to buy this book, since he has produced a seemingly unending series of high-quality books that could serve as foundation...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Made in America

    Long before the United States officially entered World War II, it was the world’s biggest exporter of fighter aircraft. From early 1938 through the end of 1941, the United States, though still technically neutral in the conflict that was...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Kamikaze Killer

    The naval version of the Spitfire had its share of teething troubles, but by the end of World War II it had found its sea legs in the Pacific. The ready room deep inside HMS Indefatigable offered little relief from the constant tropical...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Duel in the Rising Sun

    A young aviation machinist’s mate and a veteran Japanese Zero pilot squared off at Pearl Harbor. Only one would survive. The date December 7, 1941, had been etched in my father’s memory, as it had for so many of his generation. Decades...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Amelia

    Why the endless fascination with a woman who by most accounts was a mediocre pilot, best known for disappearing in the Pacific? With the exception of two or three famous astronauts, there are only four pilots in the entire history of...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    World’s First Ace

    Adolphe Pégoud enjoyed international fame even before World War I. The fighter ace—that dead-eyed hotshot who has downed five or more adversaries in aerial combat—is an iconic figure of the air age. The term derives from the French...