Southern Cross Airways

When the Empire of Japan swept across the western Pacific with re-imagined mobility, the nearest safe territory was literally an ocean away from America’s arsenal of democracy. And getting from the US West Coast to Northern Australia by air would be a 12,446-kilometre-long life-or-death game of join-the-dots across the Pacific. In December 1941 only four men had ever made the flight in a land plane … Continue reading Southern Cross Airways

Yeaahh!

On fire The 2017 Yuma Airshow was held on Saturday March 18th, 2017, under typically azure Arizona skies, at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma (which shares tarmac with Yuma International Airport, KNYL). Appearing alongside several civilian performers was an array of USMC hardware – including UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helos, as well as the F-35B Lightning 2, AV-8B Harrier, MV-22B Osprey, F/A-18E Super Hornet … Continue reading Yeaahh!

First strike

Birth of the bomber Long before Curtis Le May billed airborne devastation as a weapon of peace, or Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris promised Winston Churchill that the unrestricted bombing of Germany would cost Britain ‘400 to 500 aircraft…[but] cost Germany the war’, the full power of air attack had been clearly seen by its inventor and first advocate. No, not Billy Mitchell or Hugh Trenchard, but … Continue reading First strike

Heavenly Bodies – Part III

Wondering how we got here? Click to catch up with Heavenly Bodies – Part I and – Part II Flight without wings On June 4th, 1982, a Kosmos-3M launcher shot BOR-4 serial number 404 out of the atmosphere for the first time. Once in space the vehicle deployed itself into orbit, eight micro-thrusters orienting the tiny craft as it flew. The wings, which had been … Continue reading Heavenly Bodies – Part III

Heavenly Bodies – Part II

Feature Image: X-24 research pilots (L to R) Einar Enevoldson, John Manke, Richard Scobee, Tom McMurtry, Bill Dana, and Michael Love. (NASA photo) Missed Heavenly Bodies – Part I? Catch up here Down to earth By the second half of the 1960s, the future of lifting bodies was looking bright. Thanks to R. Dale Reed’s lightweight M2-F1, followed by the heavyweight M2-F2/M2-F3 and HL-10, NASA … Continue reading Heavenly Bodies – Part II

Heavenly Bodies – Part I

Falling with style Dangling below a thundering 234-UT Chinook helicopter on August 30th, 2017, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser® was lifted 12,500 feet above Rogers Dry Lake to have its flight systems tested. It may have been a rather undignified ride for the small, re-usable spacecraft, but while the Chinook was thrashing at thin air near it’s practical flight ceiling, the Dream Chaser was nearer … Continue reading Heavenly Bodies – Part I

Gee-whiz

America invaded! From this distance, Flying Cadet magazine could look like a cynical attempt to profit from World War 2 – specifically a whole generation of patriotic teens who dreamed of proving themselves in the air before the whole thing was over. On the other hand, at 10¢ per month the short-lived magazine probably did perform a valuable service for US recruiters and their training … Continue reading Gee-whiz