Nagasaki Nightmare

I really appreciated having the chance to read “Near Disaster Over Nagasaki” [September]. Chuck Sweeney was never given the same “star” treatment as was given to Paul Tibbets. The story was extremely well researched, extremely well written and extremely informative.

One of the reasons I enjoyed the article was seeing the map showing mission routes. When I was an airline pilot, I flew routes to and from Tokyo to Saipan and Guam. I was able to take a short flight from Saipan to Tinian and saw what is left of North Field and the atom bomb pits. The weather along those routes was really variable.

Paul A. Ludwig

Via e-mail

New Look

Sincere appreciation for every aspect of the new format. Congratulations! Even though the covers during the past several years have been increasingly attractive, this new cover with block lettering is superb. The new heavier stock provides a whiter appearance that makes reading easier, and the page numbers are quickly apparent, too. The heft of the magazine as a whole is very satisfying; there is a tangible journal in one’s hands…and overall the entire issue is visually stunning!

William Bachman

Euless, Texas


I like the new layout. I enjoy reading each and every article and story. I know that
I am guaranteed to learn something new with every issue.

I am 58 years old. I know the publishing world is rapidly changing, but I think you folks are doing a great job keeping up. I just renewed my subscription for another year. I don’t currently have a job, but I made a point of finding the money to keep the magazine coming to my mailbox.

Ray Charlton

Corvallis, Ore.


I have for several years subscribed to Aviation History and always enjoyed the magazine. So it was with the usual expectation I opened the September issue, and to my horror discovered a layout change that makes it very annoying to read! Splitting up the pages in four narrow columns—sometimes with only three to four words in a line—is hard to read and makes for a very disturbing, unpleasant experience. Please bring back the old two-column per page layout!

Steen Hjuvler Nielsen

Lemvig, Denmark


I just wanted to say how pleased I am with the revamped format. Another aviation-related magazine I subscribe to also recently revamped their magazine, but it was not done correctly in my opinion. You guys hit the mark. Happy 25th anniversary as well!

On another note, I was interested in reading Walter Boyne’s top 10 list of aviation movies on your website, but I can’t locate it.

Tim Chaloner

Newton, N.J.


Thanks to you and all the other readers who wrote in to comment about Aviation History’s new look. Sorry you were unable to locate Walt’s article. Our website is also undergoing a full makeover, and it’s currently a work in progress. But you can always use the search function to find articles using a few keywords from the title. –Ed.


The First Crusader

I was overtaken by nostalgia at seeing a photo of the first Vought XF8U-1 Crusader in September’s “Briefing.” In 1987, when I first went to work for South Seattle College, I found myself doing the inventory for the A&P aviation school. The dean of the division, Ted Rigoni, was otherwise occupied, so as the one other administrator who knew anything about aviation (I had just come off a two-year stint as a curator at Seattle’s Museum of Flight), I was tagged for the job.

Upon my first entry into the aviation school hangar, I let out a loud gasp. I was confronted with the greatest array of aviation memorabilia I had witnessed since my last visit to NASM’s Garber restoration facility. There was a very early General Electric (not Allison) J35; all manner of additional jet engines; a T-33 in flyable shape; numerous GA aircraft, including several Lockheed JetStars; and significantly…a Vought Crusader, no. 138899—the original prototype.

Where had it come from? How? Why? I never did get the full story, save that some years back Rigoni had been instrumental in rescuing it from a reincarnation as pop cans and Cessnas. From then on, it sat inside a heated building, lavished with liberal amounts of TLC. I visited it often and had many conversations with Ted about one day fully restoring it.

Ted’s gone now, but I think he’d have been delighted at what the Museum of Flight has done with the old girl since acquiring her in the mid-’90s. We often jokingly accused him of not actually running an aviation school at all, but instead curating a highly eclectic air museum. It was an accusation he never categorically denied.

Michael McCrath

Seattle, Wash.