For the love of historic aircraft I feel very privileged, as curator of this meandering and irregular blog, when I’m able to share a special piece of aviation culture. And this is one. A few months ago, loyal airscape follower Hannah Salzman, asked if I’d be interested in sharing some photos she took with ‘her sister’s good camera’. Well of course I would. Who wouldn’t? … Continue reading Star!
World Leader It’s a question that’s easily answered for celebrities, business leaders and heads of state, but how do you get between engagements when you’re a pre-eminent trophy…? Okay, you may not have devoted that much brain space to the issue before now. And I know that not everyone is obsessed with soccer. But with 209 participating countries, an expected TV audience of over 1 … Continue reading Passing The Cup
Merci beaucoup, Albert Kahn Long before the convenience of high speed Kodachrome colour film, and even before hand-tinting black-and-white images became a thing, the Lumière Brothers (of motion picture fame) created an ingenious colour photography process called Autochrome. Based on glass plates coated in specially dyed potato starch grains behind a conventional silver emulsion, Autochrome Lumière was patented in 1903 and remained the pre-eminent colour process … Continue reading Dawn’s early light
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!
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
Gold fever Even today, New Guinea is a hell of a place to commit aviation. The entire island (now bisected into Indonesian West Papua and Papua New Guinea) is literally bigger than Texas – by about 100,000 km2 – and steep mountains soar over 14,000 feet into the hot, equatorial air, creating a deadly home for the term ‘clouds with rocks in them’. Huge rivers … Continue reading On aviation’s frontier
The Lost Aviator The True Story of Bill Lancaster I just want to quickly share with you this trailer for The Lost Aviator, a documentary film by director Andrew Lancaster – investigating the life, flying, murder trial and disappearance of his uncle, Bill Lancaster. The 90 minute feature was brought to my attention by Chrystopher Spicer, whose The Flying Adventures of Jessie Keith ‘Chubbie’ Miller … Continue reading True Story
Cool reception For a generation of Westerners, the first words of Russian we learned were Mikhail Gorbachev’s offers of glasnost (гла́сность – openness) and perestroika ((перестро́йка – listening) which culminated in the end of the Berlin Wall, the USSR and, theoretically at least, the Cold War. So you may be surprised to learn that as you read this, two pairs of RAF fighter pilots are … Continue reading QRA encounters
Electrifying ads For a generation of jet jocks, it was the ultimate ride – a seat you didn’t say ‘no’ to: The English Electric Lightning was a thundering, twin-Avon brute of a point defence fighter, designed around the single-minded mission brief of reaching high-flying hostile bombers before they could harm the UK’s vital airfields and other infrastructure… It was an echo of the Battle of Britain, re-imagined … Continue reading Lightning for sale
Turning the corner While I was doing some extra research for last week’s Flying Boats article, I found this particularly historic photo of Boeing’s ‘big fours’ flying together. The unique formation brings together the prototype B-17A, at this stage still the 14th Y1B-17 and the 15th Type 299 (c/n 1987), in formation with the prototype Type 314 Clipper, NX18601 (c/n 1988) – two massive projects that were … Continue reading Boeing’s big moment