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Cover Caption: Chuck Gardner, instructor and ride program pilot at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, flies an AD-5W that served with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron Twelve (VAW-12) from November 1956 through December 1960. In 2014, the Guppy returned to its VAW-12 paint scheme and currently serves as the only Skyraider in the world authorized to fly paying passengers.
Photo by Scott Slocum; Photo plane pilot: Mark Todd
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Able Eyes by Stephen Chapis
Towards the end of the Second World War, two decades before the purpose-built Grumman E-2 Hawkeye joined the fleet, the Navy began fielding a series of makeshift airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, including the Douglas AD-5W Skyraider. While not as heralded as the "Able Dog" attack version or supersonic jets in which it shared carrier decks, the AEW Skyraider performed the all-important role of extending the eyes of the fleet.
Season Of The Witch
by Joe Kates
As far back as the 17th century, Italian folklore speaks of Strega, or "the Witch", as one who possesses magical powers to cast spells, and one who is revered by others. This is a very fitting description for the 12-time National Champion, a highly modified P-51 Mustang known as Strega. For as large of a following that Strega commands, she was just one of many fan favorites returning to do battle at the altar of speed for the 52nd Annual National Championship Air Races held at Reno-Stead Airport near Reno, Nevada from September 16-20, 2015.
Madras A2AX by Glen Tagami and Matt Booty
For the second year, the Erickson Aircraft Collection (EAC) in Madras, Oregon, hosted the Madras Air-to-Air Experience (A2AX), a three-day workshop that brings together photographers of varying levels of expertise, vintage warbirds, renowned professional aviation photographers, and highly talented and experienced pilots. The Madras A2AX was conceived and organized by Lyle Jansma, the owner of AeroCapture Images and producer of the innovative ACI Cockpit360 smartphone app. Photographers, some from as far away as Japan, with experience levels from beginner to master, converged at Madras. They were treated as VIPs with two catered parties and meals during a busy weekend that included the A2AX and the airport's Airshow of the Cascades. Great hospitality and special access to warbirds were capped off by the special opportunity to learn from two icons of aviation photography: Scott Slocum and Paul Bowen. Another icon of the art, Phil Makanna, was welcomed as an attendee.
The Legacy Of 502 by Stephen Chapis
On November 21, 2014, the warbird community lost one of its true pioneers when Walter Ohlrich, Jr. (Warbirds of America membership #1) passed away after a brief illness. For 40 years Warbird #1 and SNJ 502 (Five Oh Two) had become synonymous at airshows across the country. In July 2006, in the twilight of his flying career, Walt sold 502 to fellow Military Aviation Museum Pilot John "Pappy" Mazza, who has vowed to honor Walt's memory by preserving this famous paint scheme for another half-century.
Whistling Death" At Planes Of Fame
by Frank B. Mormillo
Known to the Japanese as "Whistling Death," the Vought F4U Corsair was the subject of the Living History Flying Days hosted by the Planes of Fame Air Museum (PoF) at the Chino Airport, California, on August 1, 2015. The event featured a panel of five former U.S. Navy and Marine Corps combat veterans who flew the Corsair and concluded with a flight demonstration of the museum's Vought F4U-1A Corsair. The speakers were: USMC pilots Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol) William R. Lucas, Colonel (Col) Richard Watson and LtCol Mel Locke, along with USN Commanders (CDR) Mitchell Flint and Willis E. Hardy.
Third Time's A Charm
Frank B. Mormillo
OnNovember 20, 2014, John Romain, owner and chief pilot of The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC), took off in the world's only flyable Bristol Blenheim light bomber for a post-restoration test flight. The historic flight took place at the Battle of Britain era Duxford Airfield near Cambridge, U.K. Ironically, this was the third time since 1987 that "a world's only flyable Bristol Blenheim" made its post-restoration test flight at Duxford. Two of those were actually made by the same airplane!
by Ron Kaplan
Donald Douglas' now iconic workhorse of the sky, the twin-engine DC-3, or in warbird parlance, the C-47 "Gooney Bird," or in Europe the "Dakota," made its maiden flight in Santa Monica, California, on December 17, 1935. The 80th anniversary of that historic aviation milestone has been marked in 2015 by museums and air shows across the map with special exhibits and events. But for one man, the evocative DC-3 has held a nearly lifelong allure. No, obsession might be a more apt description-one that he has shared in both book and film formats. Hopefully, with interest from a savvy media executive, his adventures will soon appear on cable television.
Warbirds on Paper
Review by Ann-Marie Loos
Flights of No Return Aviation history's most infamous one-way tickets to immortality.
By Steven A. Ruffin
What happened to them? Discover the fascinating and sometimes controversial and occasionally weird stories behind some of aviations greatest mysteries.
The annals of aviation history are full of accounts of historic and spectacular flights. But what of the stories of flights from which pilots and crews failed to return?