Dying to fly

War Birds: The Diary of a Great War Pilot Elliott White Springs Annotated by Lieutenant Horace Fulford. Introduced by Mark Hillier. Published by Frontline Books, 2016. ISBN 978-1-47387-959-1 I imagine most Great War aviation enthusiasts are more or less familiar with Elliott White Springs’ War Birds – Diary of an Unknown Aviator. If it isn’t actually out of copyright, the internet is doing a grand … Continue reading Dying to fly

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

Red Baron down

Who shot down the Red Baron? Not who you’re thinking. And not when or where you’re thinking either. So park what you know about Canadian fliers and Australian gunners on the Somme for a moment, and put April 21st, 1918 aside too. Manfred von Richthofen was actually shot down on March 6th, 1917, over Lens in Belgium. As he attacked a Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter, von Richthofen found … Continue reading Red Baron down

Safety, Edwardian-style

  If you still can’t believe World War One pilots were never issued with parachutes, this glimpse into Edwardian attitudes may help… Last post, I shared Flight magazine’s account of the first fully documented spin recovery (‘Parke’s Dive’), from August 31st, 1913. But before we move on, here’s an editorial that appeared just two weeks later, on September 13th, 1913. Even though Parke was restrained … Continue reading Safety, Edwardian-style