Boating & Aviation
Aviation History

Aviation History September 2018

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
Read More
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
aviation history online

RECORD-BREAKING BLACKBIRD On September 13, 1970, a Lockheed SR-71 overcame headwinds of up to 115 mph to break the speed record from London to Los Angeles. The Blackbird completed the 5,447-mile flight in 3 hours 47 minutes, averaging 1,436 mph. SUPERSONIC TRANSPORT GAMBLE In 1963 President John F. Kennedy challenged America’s aerospace industry to build a better SST than the Concorde being drawn up in Europe. Lockheed and Boeing took up the mantle, but technical and political problems proved too great, and the project died a slow death. AIR POWER PIONEER After battling the Germans in World War I headstrong William “Billy” Mitchell soon clashed with American military brass. His aggressive efforts to promote the U.S. Army Air Service over other service branches led to his eventual court-martial. HISTORY NET Now Love history? Sign up for our…

3 min.

I greatly enjoyed “The Immortal DC-3” as it brought back fond memories of my experience with a C-47. Back in the 1950s our Boy Scout troop went to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois for a weekend. One of our activities was a flight in a C-47. Once in the air we could go up into the cockpit. When it was my turn I asked the pilot what the different gauges were and he showed me. After I returned to the back of the plane the crew chief came back and asked who the Scout was who had asked about the instruments. I said it was me and he told me to go forward as the pilot wanted to see me. When I got there the copilot went to the rear…

1 min.
more dc-3 memories

As a new subscriber to Aviation History, I have enjoyed your diverse articles. In the May issue, I particularly liked the articles about Japanese ace Saburo Sakai, whom I met twice, and the famous DC-3. Many years ago I wrote Donald Douglas seeking his autograph on a photo. In my letter I asked him, of all the planes he designed and built, which was his favorite. He replied, “The DC-3.” The signed photo [above] shows Douglas at far right with a Martin MB-1 bomber at the Glenn L. Martin Company factory in Cleveland, Ohio. The other men pictured are (from left) factory manager Lawrence Bell, pilot Thomas Springer and Martin himself. Bob Jaques Hartselle, Ala.…

2 min.
restoring an unmolested spitfire

With so many Bitsa Spits out there (bitsa this, bitsa that), it’s surprising to discover an original, intact, combat-historical, unmolested Supermarine Spitfire, currently being restored to flight in Australia. It’s a Mark IX, the early Spitfire variant that was rushed into production to counter the threat posed by Germany’s new Focke-Wulf Fw-190A. Powered by the just-in-time Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engine, which featured a two-stage supercharger, the Mk. IX was a “quantum leap” in performance, in the words of Supermarine test pilot Jeffrey Quill. It indeed blunted Focke-Wulf’s round-engine spear. The widely admired Australian restoration shop Vintage Fighter Restorations acquired Spitfire MH415 in 2014. The airplane was intact, though not flyable, and came with a résumé that included frequent fighter-sweep missions over Europe during 1943. Following a brief postwar career with both…

2 min.
original 25-mission bomber memorialized

Anyone who has seen Memphis Belle—the 1944 documentary or the 1991 film dramatization—knows of the eponymous 91st Bombardment Group B-17F that on May 19, 1943, became famous as the first Eighth Air Force bomber to survive 25 missions. But that wasn’t quite true. Another B-17F, Hell’s Angels of the 303rd Bomb Group, completed its 25th on May 13, but remained in service until its mission tally totaled 48. Before both of them, however, there was the B-24D Liberator Hot Stuff, which completed its 25th sortie on February 7, 1943, and 31st on March 31. What Memphis Belle did accomplish, on June 9, was to return Stateside for a war bond tour and public acclaim. Hot Stuff had been flying home for the same purpose on May 3 when inclement weather led…

1 min.
retired neptunes find homes

It has been an extraordinary final fling for Neptune Aviation Services’ last Lockheed P2V firebombers. After being retired in response to a U.S. Forestry Service requirement for younger airframes—in the form of nine modified British Aerospace BAe 146 airliners—the Neptunes were briefly returned to service to battle the spate of wildfires that rampaged through California last winter. Now they are to be retired again, but fortunately not forgotten. “Over the past two years 14 different organizations submitted official proposals to Neptune Aviation to acquire our retiring P2V air-tankers,” reported chief operating officer Dan Snyder. Six will be going on static display at Alamogordo Airport, N.M.; Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles, Calif.; Glendive Airport, Mont.; Klamath Falls Air Base and T61 Memorial in Klamath Falls, Ore.; Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti,…