Ride of a lifetime

Thunder and Lightnings As promised, here is John Bentley’s account of his English Electric Lightning flight, from Flight International for April 23rd, 1970. In what would certainly get a well-deserved ‘#bestweekeva’ tweet today, Bentley joined 29 Squadron during their month-long deployment to RAF Akrotiri on the southern coast of Cyprus, to report on their mobile Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) capabilities. It was a textbook example … Continue reading Ride of a lifetime

Flying the Fourteen

A few weeks back, the hugely admirable John Mollison posted a new Old Guys & Their Airplanes clip to accompany his finished illustration of F/L John Wilkinson’s Spitfire Mk.XIV. Perhaps I should have that the other way around… Anyway, John’s post, clip and artwork reminded me that I had a pilot’s review of the XIV in my collection, and it seemed appropriate to share it. Unlike … Continue reading Flying the Fourteen

Southern Knights

A century ago, World War One changed the course of history. Total, global, industrial and mechanical, it was a new kind of conflict that redrew maps, destroyed families – from royal to rural, helped emancipate women, and hand-propped the infant aviation industry. For the first time in history, young men would wheel simple but surprisingly advanced machines high above the mud-bound stalemate of artillery and trench sieges. And … Continue reading Southern Knights

Heavy going (Pt.2)

In Heavy Going, Part One I shared a British pilot’s impressions of flying the RAF’s “American heavies” during World War Two. However it’s never easy to understand which B-17 and B-24 models the British used when. They didn’t simply follow the American alphabetical system, and the Mark numbers they did use were largely assigned in the order that the purchase agreements crossed some overworked Whitehall clerk’s desk. Still, an outline of … Continue reading Heavy going (Pt.2)

Time off for good behaviour

A while back, I shared Indicator’s impressions of flying the De Havilland Mosquito – and promised to bring you more from that Flight magazine series. Time to make good on the offer… So, following our recent jaunt across America in four Fairey Swordfish, it seems most relevant to share a quick sketch of the venerable ‘Stringbag’. Time off for good behaviour One of the more pleasant wartime holidays from … Continue reading Time off for good behaviour

Mosquito Bites

    Fancy yourself at the controls of Military Aviation Museum’s DH98 Mosquito FB Mk.26? I don’t know; maybe if Jerry Yagen was super-impressed by your glass-smooth arrival at Osh Kosh or something. Anyway, it would certainly be a priceless opportunity, even if the Timber Terror is reputed to have a nastier bite than its malarial six-legged namesake. But back when KA-114 was brand new, vast … Continue reading Mosquito Bites