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Aviation History July 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
R 86,71
R 434,12
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 MOTHER SHIPS AND PARASITES From early British attempts to ferry Bristol Scouts up to attack Zeppelins during World War I, mother ships designed to carry and launch small airplanes have conducted a wide variety of missions—some successful, others disastrous. Mother ships came of age during the Cold War, when B-36s experimented with parasite fighters and B-29s and B-52s carried X-planes to launch altitudes for record-setting flights. FLIGHT OF THE POLAR EAGLE On July 11, 1897, three Swedish aeronauts set out in a balloon for the North Pole from Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle. Unable to maintain altitude three days later, the team was forced to ditch 500 miles short of their goal. The trio eventually succumbed to the elements on…

4 min

X-14 ENCOUNTER I read with great interest Douglas G. Adler’s article “Forgotten X-Plane” [March] and how it came to the Ropkey Armor Museum in Indiana. In September 2007, during a visit to the museum, I was astounded to see the X-14B in the corner of the hangar. I had no idea that it still existed in one piece! Fred Ropkey was amazed that I knew anything about it and proceeded to tell the tale of his X-plane. I was thrilled… and a little depressed. > > You see in 1990, as a member of the New England Air Museum’s Curatorial Committee, we were offered the X-14B by the Army Aviation Museum. At the time it was well understood that the airframe was a “wreck” and many thought it had been scrapped. Without…

2 min
farewell to the dc-7

The world’s last flying Douglas DC-7 was parked, probably forever, on October 14, 2020. Owned by Erickson Aero Tanker of Hillsboro, Ore., and outfitted as a 3,000-gallon firefighting-retardant bomber, the 1956 DC-7B Tanker 60 was flown from Medford to nearby Madras and made one final local flight, putting paid to a long career that began with Eastern Airlines. Erickson owns three DC-7 tankers, all of them now out of business: The U.S. Forest Service won’t issue contracts to operate large, elderly piston-engine aircraft, and Erickson’s final state contract, with Oregon, ended last September, when Tanker 60 helped to kill the Ritter Fire, a small lightning-strike burn that was spotted early and quickly shut down. It was the end of the 2020 fire season for Tanker 60, which had dropped more than…

1 min
boeing retires vintage chase planes

December 2020 saw two classic Lockheed aircraft retired from service—by Boeing. The colorful jets in question, T-33s N109X, nicknamed “Red Bird” by its aircrews, and N416X “Blue Bird” had served in flight test support roles for about 40 years. As it announced their retirement, Boeing stated that these relics of jet power’s formative years had been safety chase planes “for every new and commercial airplane starting with the 767 in 1981 through today’s 777-9.” The T-33 Shooting Star was originally a two-seat jet trainer that traced its pedigree to 1943, when Lockheed began development of the P-80 fighter. In 1948 the company unveiled a two-seat trainer version, originally called the TP-80C but later redesignated the T-33. Boeing’s two “T-Birds” were not built by Lockheed, however. In 1954 Canadair began producing the…

1 min
daughter flies her father’s wwii fighter

Last October the daughter of a former Royal Air Force fighter pilot went up in a two-seat restoration of her father’s Hawker Hurricane. The two-seater is unique among the fewer than 25 Hurricanes now in existence, and its maintenance is partially financed by taking up paying passengers. During World War II, Flight Sgt. John William Brooks of No. 174 Squadron flew the Hurricane Mark Ib, attacking German shipping and coastal installations along the English Channel from March 1942 to April 1943, when the unit was re-equipped with Hawker Typhoon Mark Ibs. During that time Brooks earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Flying Medal. Brooks died in 1993, but in September 2019 a team from Hawker Restorations spent the next year returning his Hurricane to the air for the 80th…

2 min
dizzying heights

The new science of aerology took off in the 1890s, as scientists from several European countries conducted high-altitude balloon experiments to decode the mysteries of the upper atmosphere and its effects on the weather. Efforts led by German physician and meteorologist Dr. Richard Assmann in Berlin led to a series of 65 flights, both manned and unmanned, from 1893 to 1899 to measure climatic data high above the Earth. On July 31, 1901, 120 years ago, German meteorologists Arthur Berson and Reinhard Süring, both colleagues of Assmann’s and seasoned veterans of the previous decade’s experiments, entered the open gondola of the balloon Preussen for the most ambitious high-altitude flight to date. Loaded with scientific instruments to measure air temperature, moisture, air pressure and radiation levels and with its 300,000-squarefoot envelope filled…