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Aviation History

Aviation History March 2019

Aviation History Magazine is an authoritative, in-depth history of world aviation from its origins to the Space Age. Aviation History offers air enthusiasts the most detailed coverage of the history of manned flight, with action-packed stories and illustrations that put the reader in the cockpit with pilots and military (army, navy, and marine)aviators to experience aviation’s greatest dramas.

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1 Min.
aviation history online

You’ll find much more from Aviation History on the web’s leading history resource: HistoryNet.com Eagle of the Eastern Front Stuka pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a veteran of more than 2,500 Luftwaffe missions, mastered the art of dive-bombing and was awarded Germany’s highest military honor during World War II. F-14 Tomcat Sharpens Its Claws at Topgun Topgun graduate and instructor Dave Baranek vividly describes a complex combat training mission at the Navy Fighter Weapons School, where eight students in Grumman F-14s are pitted against an unknown number of bandits. The Unconventional Burt Rutan The life and aeronautical loves of maverick aerospace engineer Burt Rutan—dreamer, designer, builder, pilot and salesman. Rutan’s self-professed crowning achievement came in 2004, when his SpaceShipOne flew 100 kilometers above the Earth in the world’s first private space flight. HISTORY NET Now Love history? Sign up for…

4 Min.

B-52 PIONEER Of all the pictures that could have been used in your “Stratosaurus” article [January 2019], I was surprised to see the picture of my father briefing a training crew at Castle AFB. Please note his last name is Hedlund, not Hedlung. I have a few more interesting details about my father [above] to share in addition to his being part of the test flight team for the B-52. He was on a training flight in July 1956 when the aircraft caught on fire in flight due to a turbine bearing failure in the alternator hydraulic system, as described in the article. This flight was in tail no. 52-8710, one of the first two production B-52Bs delivered by my father from Boeing to the Air Force in 1955 and retired by…

2 Min.
russian lakes give up treasures

The lakes and swamps of the former Soviet Union shelter thousands of World War II German and Russian aircraft (as well as Allied Lend-Lease airplanes). But in June 2018, their number was reduced by one when a remarkably well-preserved Messerschmitt Me-109G-2 was lifted from a Russian lake near Murmansk. The fighter came out of the water intact and was only disassembled for shipment to a Russian museum, where it is currently undergoing conservation in preparation for an eventual restoration. Both Soviet and German pilots often chose frozen lakes for forced landings, and many of their airplanes either slowly broke through the ice or remained intact on the surface until the spring thaw. It was the perfect situation for preserving battle-damaged aircraft, especially when combined with cold, fresh water. Such lakes are…

2 Min.
a pilotless record

An aviation record is an aviation record—and in the age of drones, it doesn’t necessarily take an aviator to set one. On July 11, 2018, what looked like a model airplane of cartoonishly extensive wingspan, with a long spar holding its tail surfaces, lifted off from the hands of multiple personnel and began a leisurely, autonomous ascent into the Arizona sky that ultimately carried it to an altitude of 70,000 feet. Entirely solar powered, with a battery that stores energy by day and releases it at night to drive two wing-mounted propellers, the strange craft weighs about 165 pounds and is capable of supporting up to five times its own weight. The Zephyr S high-altitude pseudo-satellite, or HAPS, is the latest in a line of unmanned aerial vehicles built by Airbus…

1 Min.
nahi returns to reno

Fans of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational competition were delighted to see its return to the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., this past year. Due to space restrictions in 2016 and 2017, NAHI was held at alternate airfields, but without the usual air race crowds. The 2018 NAHI gathering was a dress rehearsal for the full competition in 2019. Aircraft owners and restorers fly to the NAHI competition to compete for trophies in various categories and the People’s Choice Award. The ultimate prize is the coveted Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy, a perpetual trophy that resides at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Virginia. On display this year were aircraft from the Vintage, Classic and Warbird categories, including a 1942 Waco UPF-7, 1942…

1 Min.
first around the world nonstop

At 12:21 p.m. on February 26, 1949, U.S. Air Force Captain James G. Gallagher and his crew of 14 took off in Lucky Lady II (right), a Boeing B-50 Superfortress, from Carswell Air Force Base in Texas and headed east. Its mission: to become the first airplane to fly nonstop around the globe. Three pilots rotated at the helm every few hours and flew at an average ground speed of 249 mph for the next four days. Even with a fuel tank added to the bomb bay to provide extra range, the B-50 still required midair refueling four times by KB-29 tankers—over the Azores, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Hawaii. On March 2, 94 hours and 1 minute after takeoff, Lucky Lady II landed back at Carswell, its 23,452-mile circumnavigation completed. On…