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Aviation History September 2021

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

THE LAST FLIGHT OF HOBO 28 On January 21, 1968, a fire erupted in the cockpit of a Strategic Air Command B-52G heading to Thule Air Force Base in Greenland when the heating system ignited several polyurethane seat cushions. The fire quickly spread out of control, forcing the crew to bail out. But there was a bigger problem: The Stratofortress, now plummeting in flames toward Greenland’s Bylot Sound, was carrying four massive hydrogen bombs. FIVE AVENGERS LOST IN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE Three months after the end of World War II, 14 officers and enlisted men in five TBM Avengers took off from Florida’s Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale on a routine training mission. Somewhere over the Atlantic, in the area now known as the Bermuda Triangle, all five planes of Flight 19 vanished.…

5 min

GOOD F-107 PILOT Each month I look forward to the new issue of Aviation History for informative articles and interesting perspectives about historically significant and just plain cool facts from your researchers and contributors. When I began paging through the May issue I stopped cold when I saw the short article about the North American F-107A “Ultra Sabre” [Extremes]. As it turns out, I was fortunate to have rubbed elbows with one of the pilots who actually flew the F-107A. After serving with the U.S. Navy flying A-7s and F/A-18s, I went to the airlines and moved to the quiet town of Satellite Beach, Fla., about a mile south of Patrick AFB. Within two weeks I met a neighbor one morning as I walked by his house on my post-run cooldown. I…

2 min
piecing together a condor

A mashup replication of one of World War II’s more unusual combat aircraft, a Focke-Wulf Fw-200 Condor, is underway in Germany. The completed airframe, engines and partial cockpit are on display in the German Museum of Technology’s Tempelhof Airport hangar in Berlin, while work is proceeding to re-create an airliner interior. The core of this renewed airplane is a Condor maritime bomber, not an early 26-seat long-range civil transport Condor. The core hulk was raised from the waters off Trondheim, Norway, in 1999, and it literally fell to pieces while being craned onto a barge. The “restoration” is actually a yard sale of parts from four different military Condors. The outer wings are from an Fw-200C-4, cockpit framing from another C-4, empennage from a C-1 and various parts from a C-3, all…

1 min
alpine anteater returned to flight

Switzerland was the Rottweiler of neutral nations during World War II, happily blowing away accidental tourists, whether Allied or Axis, that strayed across its border. To do that job the Swiss relied on a fleet of Messerschmitt Me-109s bought from Germany. The hot-pepper-red Swiss airplane shown here, an EKW C-36, had an entirely different job: providing close air support for Swiss infantry had anybody dared to penetrate their mountain fastness by ground, which of course never happened. The C-36 was ultimately built in five versions, C-3601 through C-3605. The first four were piston-powered by various Hispano-Suiza and Hisso-like Saurer V-12s built by a Swiss truck manufacturer. The C-3605 used a Lycoming T53 turboprop at the far end of a hose nose that gave the airplane its nickname, Alpine Anteater. The well-regarded German…

1 min
one-eyed pilot completes world flight

Since he was a kindergartener in Hokkaido, Japan, Shinji Maeda dreamed of flying airplanes. Those dreams seemed shattered, however, after an auto accident left the 18-year-old with a fractured skull and a crushed optic nerve. “Doctors gave me a 50/50 chance of survival,” he later said. Maeda did survive, though he was permanently blinded in one eye. Since Japanese regulations prohibit licensing of one-eyed pilots, his father recommended that he try flight training in the United States. After graduating from Nihon University’s College of Science and Technology, he went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., and emerged with a master’s degree in safety science and a single-engine pilot’s license in 2005, followed by multiengine and instrument ratings. Maeda went on to be a flight instructor for Snohomish Flying Service…

1 min
milestones off to the races

The decades between the two world wars are often dubbed the golden age of aviation. It’s no coincidence it was also the premier era for air races—hugely popular competitions sponsored by wealthy patrons that pushed aviation technology to new and greater heights. In 1920 publishing giant Ralph Pulitzer backed one of the era’s first major trophy races. Intended to spur development of faster American airplanes, the Pulitzer was a timed speed challenge that went to the racer who flew four laps around a 32-mile closed course in the fastest time. It was followed in 1929 by the Thompson Trophy, similar to the Pulitzer except that all the competitors flew at the same time—an Indy 500 of the skies. In 1931 inventor and manufacturing magnate Vincent Bendix, founder of the Bendix Aviation Corporation,…