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Clear the Deck! Aircraft Carrier Accidents of World War II

by Cory Graff, Specialty Press, North Branch, Minn., 2008, $16.95

If Japanese and American carrier pilots displayed remarkable mastery in their early WWII encounters, it reflected the skill they needed just to be able to land aboard the heaving flight decks of their ships. But no matter how much experience they had, anything could happen in the course of fast-paced carrier operations—and inevitably did. Sometimes the crews could look back and laugh when things went wrong, but all too often the mishaps were fatally serious.

Cory Graff, assistant curator for military collections at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, has assembled an extensive portfolio of U.S. Navy photographs that captures the gamut of these aero-nautical misadventures in Clear the Deck! Anyone who has ever landed a plane will appreciate all the more what these sea going flyboys were dealing with. But there’s something here for everyone with an interest in flight’s rough side.


Originally published in the November 2008 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here