Cover Caption: Sierra Sue II, is a rare combat veteran P-51D Mustang (Serial No. 44-63675) that was restored by AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota, to its original wartime configuration for owner Paul Ehlen. While most Mustangs are restored to better than new condition, AirCorps Aviation chose to restore the aircraft with historically correct inconsistencies and imperfections, making it arguably the most authentic combat veteran P-51 in existence. Photo: Matthew McLaughlin
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Sierra Sue II - Revealing a Combat Veteran's True Colors by Chuck Cravens
The push to Berlin was on. Sierra Sue II joined her squadron performing strafing missions and escorting B-17s on bombing raids, clearing the way for Allied troops to secure victory. Sadly, the maiden warrior's role in helping win the war was lost when the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) sold her as surplus soon after the conflict ended. For decades the P-51 Mustang shuffled countries and owners, her valuable history forgotten-hidden below numerous paint applications.
Mentors Galore - Still Flying Strong
by Frank B. Mormillo
It has been out of production since 1959 and has been retired from operational United States military service for several decades; however, the Beechcraft Model 45 is still flying strong around the world. Of the 1,904 Continental-powered Model 45s produced in the United States and under license overseas, about 230 are still flying on the U.S. civil register, a rather impressive percentage for a 50-year-old "mini-warbird" design.
Thunder Over the Desert - Airbase Arizona Looks to Future at Historic Falcon Field by Neal Davis
In July of 1941, the civilian airline, Southwest Airways, broke ground for a new military airport seven miles northeast of the little town of Mesa, Arizona. Originally called Thunderbird, just four months later it was named Falcon Field after the English fighting hawk to symbolize the spirit of British aviators.
The Flying Barrel - Chris Prevost's Grumman F3F
by Luigino Caliaro
The Grumman F3F Bureau Number (BuNo) 0972 made its mark on history in a tragically unexpected way. According to news articles reported in 1941, three young marines, determined to execute the mission they had been assigned, dis-regarded menacing skies. Decades after the mission failed, the Grumman fighters were recovered and restored to glory.
The Ghost of Midway - Flying the Savior of Midway
by Stephen Chapis
On June 6, 2014, during the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum (MAAM) 24th Annual WWII Weekend, Warbird Digest flew a very special photo mission with the Douglas SBD Dauntless of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing. On this 72nd Anniversary of America's victory at Midway, Mark Todd took to the air executing his first solo flight in the iconic dive-bomber that turned the tide of the Pacific War.
Warbirds on Paper
Author Cory Graff gets up close and personal with Paul Allen's world-class aviation collection. Flying Warbirds reveals an illustrated history of The Flying Heritage Collection's Rare WWII Era Aircraft.
by Ron Kaplan
The Last Man on the Moon gets down to earth with Astronaut Gene Cernan. This 95-minute documentary from United Kingdom-based Mark Stewart Productions was directed by Mark Craig who was inspired to make this film after reading the 1999 memoir written by Capt. Gene Cernan, USN(Ret). As a young attack pilot in the Navy, NASA recruited Cernan for the Apollo Program. Candid reflections of his life as an astronaut, he shares the tragedies, triumphs and hard truths..
On The Horizon
by Stephen Chapis
There is a break in the "space-time continuum" just east of Bethel, Pennsylvania. Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and Pennsylvania's Interstate 78, Grimes Airport is the home to a "Field of Dreams" for pilots: the Golden Age Air Museum (GAAM). While most of the collection's aircraft are original civilian aircraft, a trio of World War One warbird replicas will be joined by a fourth sometime in late 2015. Museum founder, Paul Dougherty, Sr. and his son, Paul, Jr., along with a small band of volunteers, are currently building a SPAD XIII to original specifications, albeit with modern materials.