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Aviation History January 2020

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.

United States
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min
aviation history online

You’ll find much more from Aviation History on the web’s leading history resource: HistoryNet.com OPERATION SPRING HIGH: THUDS VS. SAMS In 1965 the U.S. Air Force launched the Rolling Thunder bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Flying sorties near Hanoi, McDonnell F-4 Phantoms and Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs were among the first victims of a lethal enemy anti-aircraft system when they encountered the infamous SA-2 surface-to-air missile. SEVEN DOWN IN GREENLAND: AN AIR RESCUE DISASTER A forced landing by a Douglas C-53 on Greenland’s ice cap during World War II set in motion one of the most extensive—and deadliest—search-and-rescue operations ever mounted. The frigid five-month ordeal cost the lives of five men and five rescue planes. THE 10 GREATEST EMERGENCY LANDINGS All pilots know they might someday be called upon to land an airplane someplace and sometime they’d…

3 min

HOLLYWOOD MOVIE AIRPLANE MIXUP Well done on another informative issue [September], especially Hollywood’s aviation movies. Just wanted to forward a couple of comments/corrections. In “Thunder in the Cinema,” author Mark Carlson briefly recounts a scene in one of my favorites, Toward the Unknown, the rarely televised salute to America’s U.S. Air Force test pilots of the 1950s. This particular scene depicted coolheaded precision flying by William Holden’s character to collapse a deployed but unreleasable drag chute on the aircraft flown by his commanding general, played by Lloyd Nolan. The airplanes involved in this daring maneuver were both Lockheed F-94 Starfires, the radar-interceptor version of the T-33 jet trainer, and clearly not the F-92 and “XF-120,” as stated by the author. In fact, I don’t believe Holden’s character flew the F-92 at all…

1 min
relic of roddenberry’s b-17

Readers might be interested in this brief postscript to my story about Gene Roddenberry’s experiences flying B-17s in the Pacific War [September]. I was surprised to learn that a section of the nose art from Los Lobos, serial no. 41-2644, the B-17E Roddenberry flew with Bill Ripley, survives to this day! When the 5th Bomb Group retired its B-17s in 1943, Los Lobos was acquired as a personal transport by Brig. Gen. George McCoy Jr., commander of the sprawling 13th Air Depot at Tontouta, New Caledonia. Details of the bomber’s ultimate fate are unknown, but 41-2644 was condemned in Hawaii in 1945. The relic [above right] was recovered from a scrapheap more than 20 years ago and is currently on display at Charles Runion’s Wings Remembered aviation museum in Lebanon, Tenn. Steve…

2 min
anniversary commemorations continue

The summer tour of Douglas C-47s over Western Europe saw some of the transatlantic transports linger after the D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies. The Commemorative Air Force’s C-47 That’s All, Brother and C-53 D-Day Doll were on hand for the Paris Air Show following some stops in France and Germany. The two veteran transports flew during the huge biennial Paris event. On the ground, crews stood by their aircraft, occasionally autographing commemorative D-Day T-shirts for airshow visitors. Doug Rozendaal, one of the CAF pilots of That’s All, Brother, expressed respect for the young crewmen who flew transports across the Atlantic 75 years ago with less experience and fewer aids than today’s fliers enjoyed. “We flew the same airplanes across but what we did in no way compares to what they did,” he said. The…

1 min
end of a line… and an era

It is to a commercial airliner’s credit when it goes out not with a roar, but with a whimper. So it was on September 4, 2019, as the last of the 26 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s remaining in American Airlines’ fleet made its final run from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International with the same smooth reliability that had characterized most of its flights. With that, American’s last MD-80s will be shipped to a storage facility in Roswell, N.M., ending nearly four decades as the backbone of the airline’s domestic service. Affectionately known to its builders and crews variously as the “Super 80” and “Mad Dog,” the MD-80 series entered production in 1980 and 1,191 of its variants, accommodating anywhere from 130 to 172 passengers, were built by 1999, when…

2 min
nahi returns to reno

The crowd-favorite National Aviation Heritage Invitational competition returned to the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., during the week of September 12-15. Twenty pristine restored aircraft and one Vietnam War–era helicopter gunship arrived to be judged based on which ones had been restored as close to factory original condition as possible. The judging criteria was established by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and awards are given in seven categories. Trophies were presented by test pilot Dick Rutan, former astronaut and air racer Robert L. “Hoot” Gibson, World War II triple fighter ace Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson and legendary pilot Clay Lacy. The top-honor Neil A. Armstrong Trophy and the People’s Choice Award were awarded to Chris Galloway of Woodland, Calif., for his 1931 Waco QCF biplane. Galloway’s airplane was…