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Lockheed Super Constellation walkaround — elegance in red stripes (Part I)

14 April 2014

Lockheed Super Constellation walkaround — elegance in red stripes (Part I)

47° 31′ 09″ N / 122° 18′ 00″ W

 

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation in the Museum of Flight’s Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Is there is an aircraft more elegant than Lockheed’s Constitution? It is difficult to think of one other than the “Connie”, if there is one. The long slender fuselage paired with a high performance wing (scaled up from the Lockheed P-38 Lightning) and characteristic triple tail is certainly a hard combination to beat. What better than the Connie — well, the “Super Connie” of course. The Super Constellation was a bit longer, carried much more fuel and had more powerful engines — the example photographed in this series of posts is a Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation in the piped colors of Trans-Canada Air Lines (known now as Air Canada, the name it has always been known in French) located in the air park of the Museum of Flight. Four powerful Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone twin row radial engines powered this Super Connie. These engines are rated at 3400 hp/2535kW and have 18 cylinders divided evenly in twin rows. The engine is as elegant in design as the Super Connie is in appearance with its turbo-compound design collecting and utilizing the conventionally wasted power of the exhaust gas force. Cruising at 305 mph/491kph and ranging as far as 4140 miles/6650km with 50–120 passengers the Connies began to usher in the age of affordable air travel. Connies and Super Connies mark the conclusion of reciprocating engine powered major airline aircraft, along with the Douglas’s DC-6 and DC-7 aircraft, but what a lovely conclusion to this era was made by the Constellations!

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation’s flight deck and note the small panel alongside the fuselage which is part of the nose gear landing gear door system — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

The Lockheed Super Constellation’s nose could be fitted with a weather radar — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

The Lockheed Super Constellation is sleek from nose to tail — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

Canada’s flag carrier early on was Trans-Canada Air Lines (the English name from the beginning while known always, in French, as Air Canada, by which it is now known) and always has used the red maple leaf — photo by Joseph May

 

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation’s wingtip tanks increased total fuel capacity by ~67% with each tank having a capacity of  1037 gallons/3925L — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation’s left tail fin  — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed Super Constellation’s triple tail in profile — photo by Joseph May

More of this Super Connie in Wednesday’s and Friday’s posts :)

Zeppelin in black — the model of the LZ 20

9 April 2014

Zeppelin in black — the model of the LZ 20

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 in the Personal Courage Wing of the Museum of Flight (note the gondolas forward and aft) — photo by Joseph May

There is precious little information displayed with this large model, only the name of the vessel, the LZ 20 though it is a large model that is about 15 feet (~4.5m) long and finely detailed, making it well worth a study. It is about 1:48 scale, ebony black and shows the sophistication of German industry with Zeppelin’s ability to build enormous lighter-than-air flying machines. Crew figures can be seen manning positions to operate the LZ 20 as well as defend it as they flew through the night — likely using the night as well as altitude to best defend their craft against opposing fighters as well as antiaircraft fire.

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

Perspective view of the model LZ 20 showing the forward gondola — photo by Joseph May

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

The fine detail of the LZ 20 model shows the numerous tension cables used to support the cruciform tail  (barely seen is the rear defensive machine gun station in the tail cone behind the dorsal fin) — photo by Joseph May

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

The forward upper defensive machine gun position of the model LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

Closer view of the forward upper machine gun position shows it was a platform supporting three pedestal mounted machine guns open to the elements no matter how fast the LZ 20 or how cold and wet the weather — photo by Joseph May

 

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

The forward gondola detail of the LZ 20, note the sandbags as well as crewman on the ladder connecting the gondola to the fuselage as well as pusher mounted engine — photo by Joseph May

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20 — photo by Joseph May

Model of the WW I German Navy Zeppelin LZ 20  as it sits in the upper gallery of the Personal Courage Wing — photo by Joseph May

This model, as well as many more, can be seen among the aircraft in the Personal Courage Wing of the Museum of Flight — not to mention many, many more in the other display areas :)

Caught! B-29 in the open in tightie whities, oh my!

7 April 2014

Caught! B-29 in the open in tightie whities, oh my!

47° 31′ 10′ N / 122° 17′ 49″ W

 

Boeing B-29 Superfortress — photo by Joseph May

Boeing B-29 Superfortress in protective white plastic wrapping — photo by Joseph May

This Boeing B-29 Superfortress, known as T-Square 54, flew combat missions in World War II and then served as a KB-29 during the Korean War before use as a ground gunnery target. Restored level by level it is now on loan to the Museum of Flight from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and under protective wrapping (the outer wing panels are in a nearby warehouse) until a display facility can be built where it will stand with a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (a side-by-side comparison will show how far technology advanced in only a few years, though on a wartime footing).

Boeing B-29 Superfortress — photo by Joseph May

An impression of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress’s  right wing as well as Numbers 3 and 4 engines — photo by Joseph May

Boeing B-29 Superfortress — photo by Joseph May

Boeing B-29 Superfortress, this angle sans the outer wing panel better shows the contours of the engine nacelles — photo by Joseph May

Boeing B-29 Superfortress — photo by Joseph May

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is marked by an impressive vertical stabilizer and rudder assembly — photo by Joseph May

Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut

3 April 2014

Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut

Earthrise: my adventures as an Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell PhD, 2014, ISBN 9781613749012, 208 pp.

Earthrise: my adventure as an Apollo 14 astronaut by Edgar Mitchell, PhD

Earthrise: my adventure as an Apollo 14 astronaut by Edgar Mitchell, PhD (jacket design by Sarah Olson)

Edgar Mitchell, the author, is one of the few to become a space traveler and one of those rarefied few who have walked on the Moon. He tells his story not as much as an autobiography but as a trusted family uncle — a person family members go to searching for a particular understanding from a person who can easily explain things, or simply recall events for what they were without embellishment or convenient omissions of fact.

He tells a tale only few can tell and his first hand accounts of moon walks are enthralling as is his riveting description of reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, not to mention being one of the last three astronauts quarantined upon return from the Moon. A few of the of the many subjects addressed, other than obvious ones, in his smooth but exciting manner are:

  • What the food was and what is was like to eat in zero gravity
  • The excitement of losing the lunar landing radar and the race to get it back on-line with the seconds counting down
  • The actual hiking experience and the lugging hundreds of pounds of gear on the lunar surface
  • The work transferring the lunar rock samples from the lunar ascent stage to the Apollo command module
  • Reading of the Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law [CFR* Title 14 Section 1211]

The reader will learn more than NASA acronyms, as well — words such as metanoia and noetic. Mitchell makes clear his opinion regarding the existence of ESP though he has a clear rationale for his belief and makes food for thought. He is an astronaut so he is nothing if not a clear and deliberate thinker. Mitchell also briefly describes an organization he co-founded which is the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). He does not use his book as a recruiting tool but mentions his involvement with ESP and IONS in order to make for a complete story of his Apollo 14 mission experience.

Edgar Mitchell writes in a comfortable friendly way, making this book a natural for a young adult, or advanced child, as well as an easy read for the adult looking to read beyond the cold facts (as told by NASA) of this lunar mission. He has also included a rich resource section and excellent index.

* Code of Federal Regulations

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As is the publishing business custom, Chicago Review Press provided a copy of this book for an objective review.

Seattle’s Museum of Flight — so much bigger since 2003

2 April 2014

Seattle’s Museum of Flight — so much bigger since 2003

47° 31′ 07″ N / 122° 17′ 50″ W

 

Museum of Flight — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight parking lot entrance — photo by Joseph May

The Museum of Flight has been greatly enhanced since we last saw it during November 2003 when there was only the large atrium — known as The Great Gallery — to explore as well as The Red Barn. We revisited the museum last month to re-explore that gallery and the barn; along with its newer aircraft as well as the newer constructions of The Personal Courage Wing and Air Park (along with the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery). This is a mega-sized facility and spending two hours to an entire day would be reasonable planning. Parking is free, adult tickets are a bit less than $20 with other lesser fees available (including a return the next day), the architecture is spectacularly — marked by curves with right angles notably absent, aircraft appear factory fresh (except a few in dioramas for context and a few in the air park, though they hardly appear abandoned), bathroom facilities of course, child friendly and a pleasant café run professionally by a catering business — on a fair day sitting on the café’s patio overlooking Boeing Field watching the aircraft come and go is an enjoyable break, as well. The entire museum is handicapped accessible, as well.

The museum’s lobby has several exhibits suspended from the ceiling (see table below) and are nearly within reach so their details are quite easy to view — as is how frail looking they seem to be (intrepid pilots required for these aircraft).

Museum Lobby

Chanute-Herring 1896 biplane glider [reproduction] Da Vinci Cigno (Swan) [interpretation] Lilienthal 1893 glider [reproduction]
Rumpler Taube (Dove) [reproduction] Wright 1902 glider [reproduction]
Museum of Flight ATC section — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight ATC section with the WB-47 Stratojet in the background — photo by Joseph May

The main building’s architecture is modern in appearance while meeting its purpose quite handily. A control tower-like structure contains the Air Traffic Control (ATC) exhibits as well as standing over the parking lot giving a good view of Boeing Field.

Museum of Flight — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight from another aspect angle — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight Red Barn — photo by Joseph May

The Red Barn as seen from the pedestrian bridge with The Great Gallery to the right — photo by Joseph May

The Red Barn is a substantial remnant of the original Boeing factory and is in newly built condition with all the roof carpentry joinery in view. The Boeing Company history is largely displayed in this long two-story structure. A stylish pedestrian bridge protects visitors from street traffic and adverse weather when they wish to see the Air Park as well as the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.

Museum of Flight pedestrian bridge — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight pedestrian bridge to the Air Park and Charles Simonyi Space Gallery — photo by Joseph May

The Air Park has five aircraft which are either unique or historic and the area adjoins the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery housing, among a few things, the Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer.

Museum of Flight Air Park— photo by Joseph May

Charles Simonyi Space Gallery (L) and note the Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer as well as the Air Park (R) with the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde in full view from the street — photo by Joseph May

Air Park & Charles Simonyi Space Gallery

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde Boeing 727-022 Boeing 737-130
Boeing 747-121 Boeing VC-137B Stratoliner “Air Force One” Lockheed 1049G Super Constellation

In the neighboring Charles Simonyi Space Gallery

Blue Origin Charon Test Vehicle

Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer

Soyuz TMA-14 Descent Module

The Great Gallery is the main event in terms of numbers of aircraft an is essentially a soaring atrium. Aircraft are on the ground, on platforms as well as suspended so visitors can see most of them from individual angels — especially with the use of a second story platform to one side. There is also a Space Exploration room which is accessed on the lower floor.

The Great Gallery

Aeronca C-2 Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper Beech C-45H Expeditor
Bell UH-1H Iroquois “Huey” Boeing 247D Boeing 80A-1
Boeing B&W [reproduction] Boeing Model 40B [reproduction] Bowers Flybaby 1A
Bowers Flybaby prototype Bowlus-Hawley BA-100 Baby Albatross Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk6 (license built F-86 Sabre)
Cessna CG-2 primary glider Curtiss-Robinson Robin C-1 DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Perlan glider
Douglas A-4F Skyhawk Douglas DC-3 Fairchild 24W
Fiesler Fi 103 “V-1 Buzz Bomb” Granville Bros. Gee Bee Z Super Sportster Grumman F9F-8 Cougar
Heath Model V Parasol Howard DGA-15P Insitu Aerosonde Laima
Insitu ScanEagle Lamson L-106 Alcor glider Lear Fan 2100
Letov LF-107 Lunak glider Lockheed D-21B Tagboard drone Lockheed M-21 “Blackbird”
Lockheed Martin RQ-3A Dark Star Lockheed Model 10-E Electra Lockheed NF-104 Starfighter
Lockheed YO-3 Quiet Star MacCready Gossamar Albatros II McAllister Yakima Clipper glider
McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 15bis “Fagot” Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 21 PFM “Fishbed”
Northrop YF-5A Freedom Fighter Piper J3C-65 Cub Pratt-Read PR-61 glider
Ryan M-1 Sikorsky HH-52 Seaguard Sorrel Cool Crow I Parasol
Stearman C-3B Stearman PT-13A Kaydet Stephens Akro
Stinson Model O [reproduction] Stinson SR Reliant Swallow Commercial
Taylor Aerocar III Taylorcraft Model A Wright 1903 Flyer [reproduction]
Museum of Flight main hall — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed NF-104 Starfighter in the Great Gallery — photo by Joseph MayMuseum of Flight main hall — photo by Joseph May The Great Gallery from the second floor — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight WW I gallery — photo by Joseph May

Fokker Eindecker replica (above) and RAF S.E.5A among other aircraft in the Personal Courage Gallery — photo by Joseph May

The Personal Courage Wing is a two-story interpretive and emotive affair housing exhibits of World War II fighters on the lower floor as well as World War I fighters on the upper floor. Many other exhibits are present as well as aircraft displayed in settings which bring the visitor to what life was like back in those days of combat.

Personal Courage Wing

Aviatik D.I [rare] Caproni Ca.20 [rare]
Albatros D.Va [reproduction] Curtiss J4-4D Jenny [reproduction]
Curtiss P-40N Warhawk Fokker D.VII [reproduction] Fokker D.VIII [reproduction]
Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker [reproduction] Fokker E.III Eindecker [reproduction] Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
Lockheed P-38 L Lightning Bayerishe-Flugzeuwerke Bf 109E-3 Nakajima Ki 43-III-a Hayabusa “Oscar”
Nieuport 24bis [reproduction] Nieuport 27 [reproduction] Nieuport 28 C.1
North American P-51D Mustang Pfalz D.XII Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5A Sopwith Camel [reproduction] Sopwith Pup [reproduction]
Sopwith Snipe [reproduction] Sopwith Snipe 7F.1 [reproduction] Sopwith Triplane [reproduction]
SPAD XIII [reproduction] Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX Yakovlev Yak 9U “Frank”
Museum of Flight WW II gallery — photo by Joseph May

The lower floor of the Personal Courage Gallery — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight grounds— photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight on the main entry road — photo by Joseph May

A handful of fighter and attack aircraft stand as parade guard along the main entry road to the parking lot as well as a Boeing WB-47 Stratojet at the main entrance.

 

Museum Grounds

Boeing WB-47E Stratojet Fiat G.91 PAN Grumman A-6E Intruder
Grumman F-14A Tomcat McDonnell Douglas AV-8C Harrier Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 17 “Fresco”

More posts on the galleries and their exhibits will appear in during subsequent weeks since this museum is too large, thankfully, to cover in a single post.

 

McChord Air Museum & Heritage Hill Air Park — a Washington State gem

31 March 2014

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — a Washington State gem

47° 07′ 18″ N / 122° 29′ 40″ W   [McChord Air Museum]

&

47° 07′ 56″ N / 122° 28′ 57″ W   [Heritage Hill Air Park]

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum (its retired control tower lends a pleasant view and is highly recommended) — photo by Joseph May

This museum is a gem and absolutely should be visited when in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Two main parts comprise the facility: McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park. McChord Air Museum is both intimate and dense with its artifacts, relics and displays. Their two largest exhibits are the B-25 Mitchell nose which is positioned just below eye level (easily viewing the bombardier’s work space) and the cockpit simulator of the Delta Dart known formerly as the F-106 Aircrew Training Device (ATD). Displays, artifacts and models abound showing the variety of history witnessed, and made, at what is now known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord (a merging of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base). For example, the Doolittle Raider force began here when volunteers were called for a dangerous mission of no description — and the request only need to be made that single instance! There is also a charming display to this brave unit as there are many other displays ranging from NCOs to Project Firewall.

Especially rewarding are the museum staff. While it is rare to meet a docent who is not good, the two met during our visit, Randy Getz and Greg Christian, were wonderfully able to deliver a stream of information but had the experience to instead have a nicely rambling conversation. Some visitors want information and some want to tease out details — Getz and Christian can switch modes without batting and eye, making a visit rewarding as well as memorable :)

The Heritage Hill Air Park is artful and delightful — not the usual rowed arrangement of aircraft. Instead, the fifteen aircraft (some historic and some nearly rare) are arranged along a slightly rambling lawn walk with each aircraft on a custom shaped pad (the purposeful omission of easily poured right angles is harder work but much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye). All the aircraft are in mint condition and are sitting on wheel mounts, as well, so the tires do not get destroyed by the weight of the aircraft. A large picnic area and aircraft set in the middle of slightly rolling green landscape — definitely a visit worth making with water and snacks to enjoy the aircraft as well as the environment.

Visiting the McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park is easy but go to the base visitation link to ensure entry. The visitor center is accessed from the left lane on the main gate approach and make sure to bring in ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance — we also noticed that mobile phone use by drivers were allowed but only when hands-free. More posts are forthcoming but please enjoy these images for the present :) There are eateries on base (a Burger King sits opposite the museum) but policies regarding serving civilians on military bases often change so check first or make use of the closely neighboring towns. The museum is for children as well as adults and has restroom facilities, of course.

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum interior is on the small (many more artifacts are in storage so the displays are periodically refreshed) but rich, note the B-25 Mitchell nose and captured Iraqi towed ZPU-1 type 14.7mm antiaircraft machine gun — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

The F-106 Air Crew Training Device (ATD) cockpit section at the McChord Air Museum which enhanced cockpit procedures, though not a moving simulator the ATD technical staff could make pilots sweat all the same — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

The F-106 ATD cockpit is as real as it gets. Note the targeting radar at top, the situation screen below and the double grip joy stick. Also observe the distinctive absence of nearly all forward visibility. All are encouraged to have a seat! — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park F-106 sim stick — photo by Joseph May

The double grip joy stick features a left grip gimbal so that it could be moved and twisted to control the direction of the F-106′s radar dish — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park Doolittle Raid bombsight replica — photo by Joseph May

Replica of the bomb site used on the B-25 Mitchell bombers assigned to the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. Volunteers were sought at the B-25 unit assigned at McChord at the time and  note several of them have signed the replica — photo by Joseph May

B-17 "Dumbo" McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Model of a B-17 “Dumbo” search and rescue aircraft with the parachute deployed lifeboat attached on the belly — photo by Joseph May

C-124 model McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

C-124 Globemaster II model of the paradigm setting aircraft also known as “Old Shakey” — photo by Joseph May

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C-124 and C-141 McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Douglas C-124 Globemaster II and Lockheed C-141 Starlifter at the McChord Air Museum Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park Aircraft

Consolidated SA-10 Catalina Douglas C-124C Globemaster II Lockheed C-141B Starlifter
Douglas B-18A Bolo Douglas B-23 Dragon Douglas TC-47D Skytrain
Convair F-102A Delta Dagger Convair F-106A Delta Dart Beechcraft C-45H Expeditor
Fairchild C-82A Packet Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star
North American F-86D Sabre McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle McDonnell CF-101F Voodoo

Coming Soon from the Restoration Hangar

Lockheed C-130 Hercules Kaman HH-43 Huskie
McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Cargo aircraft as well as fighter aircraft are exhibited at the Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Modern and retired aircraft at the Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

McChord Air Museum and Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Retired fighter types at Heritage Hill Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Watch for posts on the aircraft displays during the coming weeks!

German Aces Speak II

28 March 2014

German Aces Speak II

The German Aces Speak II: World War II through the eyes of four more of the Luftwaffe’s most important commanders, Colin D. Heaton & Anne-Marie Lewis, 2014, ISBN 9780760345900, 304 pp.

The German Aces Speak II: World War II through the eyes of four more of the Luftwaffe's most important commanders by Colin D. Heaton & Anne-Marie Lewis (layout by Helena Shimizu)

The German Aces Speak II: World War II through the eyes of four more of the Luftwaffe’s most important commanders by Colin D. Heaton & Anne-Marie Lewis (layout by Helena Shimizu)

Heaton and Lewis’s sequel to The German Aces Speak is as good as the original since it compliments and reinforces but does not repeat or rehash the Luftwaffe’s perspective of World War II by four additional aces — as well as the Luftwaffe’s rebirth due to the onset of the Cold War. The four aces treated in The German Aces Speak II are: Erich Hartmann (most successful fighter ace in history), Johannes Steinhoff (high scoring ace who served in the entire war as well as remarkably after WW II), Dietrich Anton Hrabak (known for his abilities in command and leadership as well as superior career in NATO) and Günther Rall (super high scoring ace with all victories obtained in a Bf 109 and distinguished NATO career) .

  • The material regarding Erich Hartmann comprise half of the book and well it should, given his wartime experiences in Russia and Romania, his post war Russian captivity of nearly a decade as well as Cold War Luftwaffe career. The reader learns that most of his front line combat was living in the field with lice as well as the incredibly gifted, brave and faithful mechanic Crew Chief Heinz “Bimmel” Mertens. His story of survival and resistance to his Russian captors until well after the end of World War II is a lesson both in endurance as well as integrity. Hartmann’s post World War II career in the Luftwaffe is also fascinating to read as is his opinion on an inadvertent penetration into East German airspace by Luftwaffe F-84s — here, again, the reader witnesses Hartmann’s integrity and the long view as opposed to being a successful bureaucrat.
  • Approximately one third of the book’s pages are on Johannes Steinhoff’s experiences and insight from the Battle of Britain, the Eastern Front (i.e., Russia) as well as in North Africa. The experiences detail early victories, flying night fighters and tactics with respect to attacking bomber boxes. His discussion regarding RAF and USAAF fighters (he was able to fly captured Allied aircraft) is interesting as is his opinion on Hermann Göring’s orders regarding the German Forces defense of Sicily. Steinhoff does not polish his recollections as evidenced by his description of a poorly planned and executed fighter intercept mission with 100 Luftwaffe fighters attempting to chase down 100 Allied bombers low over Italian waters.
  • Dietrich Hrabac talks of flying combat in France, the Battle of Britain, Yugoslavia as well as over Russia. His description of Luftwaffe pilots flying at the front until severely wounded or killed is gripping — describing especially his two years as Kommodore of JG 52 with a tactical situation so fluid they flew from 47 different airfields as the amorphous front was continuously reshaped.
  • Günther Rall completed World War II assigned to Home Defense but only after surviving both the Eastern Front (including Romania) and the Western Front. His descriptions are also accurate as well as vivid describing, for example, dogfights against elite Russian Red Star unit Spitfires as well as intercepting 800 Allied bombers escorted by over 1000 fighters while leading his 75 fighters.

Heaton and Lewis should be commended for addressing, through the first person experiences of these pilots, aspects of World War II, as well as the Cold War, which are too often left silent. World War II in Eastern Europe (where nearly half of the war’s effort was expended) is addressed, as are the USAAF strafing of Me 262 pilots while helplessly suspended under parachutes (though there is no report of Luftwaffe pilots strafing Allied pilots in the same circumstance), as well as the Cold War Luftwaffe’s Lockheed F-104 Starfighter controversy (three of these men were and still are against the choice to purchase the F-104 but one supports that decision).

The reader will enjoy this book for its setting of historical perspective, since it is not history written by the victors, as well as the rebirth of the Luftwaffe due to Cold War necessities. German Aces Speak II is well indexed, well written, as well as remarkably clear.

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As is the publishing business custom, Zenith Press and On-line Bookstore provided a copy of this book for an objective review.

 

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