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  • Aviation History Magazine

    Homebuilt Macchi M.5 Replica

    When I first read that a Holland, Mich., aviation enthusiast and former pilot had built a Macchi M.5 “fighter plane,” I put that description down to a newspaper columnist’s overheated and underinformed enthusiasm. After all, the 1917...

  • Aviation History Magazinee

    The Navy’s Flying Cannon

    Built to counter the German U-boat threat in World War I, the Naval Aircraft Factory N-1 never fulfilled its purpose. In a peculiar contravention of American capitalist principles, the U.S. Navy established its own aircraft production...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Firebombers!

    As last fall’s California wildfires demonstrated, the demand for aerial firefighters and the dangers they face have never been greater  The world’s first practical firebomber was a Stearman, a 1939 Boeing 75 that had been...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    A Ghost in the Machine

    An airline pilot working to rebuild a Grumman Widgeon says he was assisted by a mysterious voice in his head. As Mark Taintor approached the hangar he heard a voice say “turn right.” He looked around and didn’t see anyone. The voice...

  • Aviation History magazine

    Building your own Martin PBM-5 Mariner

    Aviation historians generally agree that if it had not been for the Consolidated PBY Catalina, the Martin PBM-5 Mariner would have been considered the most famous flying boat of World War II. Model kits of Mariners are rare birds, mostly...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Crewing A Combat Mariner

    Ordnance specialist Jack Christopher helped turn the stately Martin PBM-5 flying boat into an aggressive attacker of Japanese shipping. Throughout World War II, fighters, bombers and reconnaissance planes dominated headlines around the...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Northrop’s Norwegian Seaplane

    Built to defend Norway’s fjords, the N-3PB ended up flying maritime missions out of Iceland after the Nazi invasion. The Northrop Aircraft Company is best known today for its radical flying wing designs, including the B-35 and B-49...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    “Ekranoplan,” the Soviet Union’s Flying Ships

    Russian dreams of gigantic ground-effect planes are dead in the water. The story of modern transportation is littered with vehicles that were supposed to be game-changers but that invariably became yet more deposits in the dustbin of...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Cat Tales: Consolidated’s PBY Flying Boat

    Consolidated’s rugged PBY set a standard for flying boats and amphibians that will never be eclipsed. 1935 was a vintage year for first flights. It saw the arrival of three enormously capable, ahead-of-their-time airplanes that played a...