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Horses Don’t Fly: the Memoir of the Cowboy Who Became a World War I Ace

18 September 2017

Horses Don’t Fly: the Memoir of the Cowboy Who Became a World War I Ace, Frederick Libby, 2012, ISBN 978-1-61145-710-0, 274 pp.

Horses Don’t Fly: the Memoir of the Cowboy Who Became a World War I Ace by Frederick Libby

This book was gifted and what a gift it was. Capt. Libby led an exceptionally gifted life from another time. He wrote the way he thought—with clarity and absolute logic. His prose is a joy to read with no extra words, an eye toward humor, and telling the tale of a man meeting extraordinary circumstances with daring and common sense. How nice to hear of these days!

Libby led the life of a cowboy as he grew up in the late 1800s and readers learn of how things were done—from going to school to running horses and all that was between the two. His telling the tale of his wild ride in his best Sunday-going-to-church outfit while tied to an antelope is absolutely a hoot. From Libby was also learn that good experience often comes from bad decisions.

Later he pilots fighters in World War I while losing his U.S. citizenship in the process though regained thank to Billy Mitchell. Libby also knew Billy Bishop and has opinions of him, as well as many other famous aviators, telling his opinion in the context of the day. Wonderfully observant and salient, his experiences are valuable to read—the happy ones, the sad ones as well as the description of his flight missions. Beginning as an observer, where we learn the position was one of many duties, then advancing to pilot learning that training was extraordinarily brief due to the precipitous loss rate of aircrews. Yes, in Horses Don’t Fly, readers learn the harsh realty of World War I statistics as if living it and not in revisionist history retelling.

This book is a memoir. A rich memoir written excellently by a man who can be trusted to relate his experiences accurately. Read this book to learn of an exceptional life well led. Read this book to comprehend and feel the life of an aviator on the first lines of World War I. Read this book.


Back from Irma—three museum lists, a Blue Angels Skyhawk walk around and an Me 262 walk around

17 September 2017

We were fortunate 🙂

On the run from Irma we revisited two museums and visited a new one for us—more posts in the future but some image teasers for now.

<><><><><> Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Blue Angel Walkaround <><><><><>

Near where we waited out Hurricane Irma—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

Pensacola loves their Blue and there are many reminders around town, this impressive one at the airport—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

Blue Angels Skyhawk at Pensacola International Airport—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

Blue Angels Skyhawk at Pensacola International Airport—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

Blue Angels Skyhawk at Pensacola International Airport—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

Blue Angels Skyhawk at Pensacola International Airport—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

<><><><><> The USAF Armament Museum <><><><><>

The USAF Armament Museum’s building proper (several aircraft are exhibited on the grounds surround the museum building) and that is a MOAB out front—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

One side of the building interior—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The other side of the building interior—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

<><><><><> The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park <><><><><>

F-4 Phantom II marking the entrance to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile AL—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park has a large parade ground where military equipment, memorials and aircraft are displayed for the $2 entry/parking fee (an additional fee is for viewing the USS Alabama, USS Drum and aircraft hangar). Yes, that is the USS Alabama as well as the Boeing B-52D Stratofortress “Calamity Jane” in the distance—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The Aircraft Pavillion with USS Alabama’s superstructure in the background—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The grounds of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

<><><><><> The National Naval Aviation Museum <><><><><>

The National Naval Aviation Museum (F-14 Tomcat at the main entry)—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

In the Cubi Bar (now a safe place for families) what I thought as a geologist was an interpretation pterodactyl is instead one of a Thunderbird but nice all the same—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

<><><><><> Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Schwalbe Walkaround <><><><><>

The excellent example is displayed in the The National Naval Aviation Museum which also provides this virtual 360º cockpit panorama.

The almost rare twin seat trainer Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Scwalbe—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The almost rare twin seat trainer Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Scwalbe—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The tandem cockpit arrangement of the Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Schwalbe, also note the wing sweep which was for trim not transonic requirements, a first at the time—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

The trainer Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Schwalbe retained its teeth (4 x 30mm nose mounted cannon) for downing heavy bombers attacking the Reich during WW II and could mount rockets on the wings—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

One of the subtle aeronautical design advances on the Me 262, the elevated tailplane, along with the flat ventral surface á lá lifting body—© Travel for Aircraft/Joseph May

Irma–revised plan

9 September 2017

Posting will be infrequent and irregular until Hurricane Irma makes her way by and we get things sorted-‘once she is distanced herself from us.

Zeppelin Hindenburg: an Illustrated History of LZ-129

6 September 2017

Zeppelin Hindenburg: an Illustrated History of LZ-129, Dan Grossman/Cheryl Ganz/Patrick Russell, 2017, ISBN 978 0 7509 6995 6, 192 pp., color as well as B&W photos drawings and renderings


Zeppelin Hindenburg: an Illustrated History of LZ-129 by Dan Grossman, Cheryl Ganz & Patrick Russell

Dan Grossman, an esteemed expert regarding the history of the Hindenburg, is the lead author on this spectacular piece. Text elicits his deep knowledge of this airship which captivates imaginations though it last flew 80 years in the past, in a vastly different era. Photographs show life and detail, many were rarely seen prior to Zeppelin Hindenburg as Grossman researched many private collections for this title. 3-D renderings bridge text and images to give perspective.

This book brings readers into the life of the airship—as a passenger, as a crew member and as a ship’s officer. It is especially refreshing, as well as original, who the text delves into the life and work of the crew. Stories of some of the individual passengers are captivating, as well. Count Hindenburg’s decisions and those of industry are additionally quite revealing—placing readers into the context of the day.

The writers run the gamut from playing the aluminum piano to stepping out into an 80 mph windstream while traversing to an engine gondola. There is little which the authors have not explained or told of the story and their telling is innovative, expressive and lively—this is a celebration of the life and times of LZ-129. The Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, naturally, is covered in detail and in the same style of the book bringing readers to thorough technical understanding (e.g., wind fields, static electricity build-up, flying and landing the airship) as well as the culture back in the day.

Each of the authors is expert in their own right and this book is a must-have title for a library, whether public or private. The resources cited in the book alone are invaluable. It is no wonder that the forward is written by staff from the National Air and Space Museum as well as the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen.

Dan Grossman also writes the authoritative website and his book is on this Amazon link.

Pan Am History, Design & Identity

5 September 2017

Pan Am History Design & Identity, Matthias C. Hühne, 2016, ISBN 978-3-9816550-6-3, 427 pp.

Pan Am History Design & Identity by Matthias C. Hühne

Hühne has done it again—written a marvelous book rich in imagery, historical knowledge and the Pan Am brand. His Airline Visual Identity:1945–1975, reviewed here, revolutionized understandings of most readers teaching as well as illustrating the emergence of branding as not only a science but for the strategy that often is.

His experience in art as well as business is more than equal to the task of comprehensively—yet conversationally—meeting the challenge of the title. There is the history. There is the imagery, with photographic and poster. There is the original illustration of aircraft and maps produced for Hühne’s work.

This book belongs next to biographies of Juan Trippe as well as those of his flying clipper ships. It is authoritative in ways beyond most reference books since it not only catalogues the pertinent facts but gives insight to the historical figures—telling a complex tale expertly and easily in Hühne’s unique way.


Axis Aircraft in Latin America

4 September 2017

Axis Aircraft in Latin America, Amaru Tincopa and Santiago Rivas, 2016, ISBN 9781902109497, 368 pp.

Axis Aircraft in Latin America by Amaru Tincopa and Santiago Rivas (front cover)

This is excellent work by the authors to bring Latin America’s aviation history to the English speaking world. Rich in facts and images, Tincopa and Rivas bring this exciting dimension of explorers as well as  military and airline entrepreneurs to the USA and the Commonwealth. Their use of Axis does not limit this enthralling material to the World War II years prior and post are also well addressed. Their use of Axis does capture the countries involved in the aviation efforts, or aircraft manufacture, of Germany, Italy and Japan. Yes…Japan. Who knew!

As readers are aware, Latin America covers a wide variety of hostile terrain with especially expansive rain forests and serrated mountains which offer little to none in the way of landing sites, especially before World War II in aviation’s Golden Age. This Golden Age had float planes galore flying, route finding, exploring using Latin America’s rivers—and the images in the book are plentiful, varied and intriguing in most cases. Aircraft types which rarely, if ever, flew in North America are seemingly as common as the local fauna in Central and South America back in the day. Readers learn of hardly heard of manufacturers such as Breda and Klemm, as well as how Argentina evolved nearly into a world influence in aviation design after World War II. Dornier, Fiat, Junkers, Focke-Wulf, Savoie-Marchetti, Caproni and others are also well represented. Absolutely fascinating is this book and it fills in the holes of aviation’s history we didn’t know existed to those of us who cannot read Español.

Tincopa and Rivas have the material organized quite clearly and logically by country and aircraft maker. Aviation routes are illustrated in a pair of beautiful maps in the beginning and appendices document individual aircraft as well as their pertinent details. Readers will want this book for its reference quality in regard to information as well as production quality. Readers will also desire this book for the chasm of history it fills for North Americans as well as those in the Commonwealth.

Axis Aircraft in Latin America by Amaru Tincopa and Santiago Rivas (rear cover)

Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History

3 September 2017

Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History, Saul David, 2015, ISBN 978-0-316-24541-8, 446 pp.

Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History by Saul David

A rescue mission as daring as can be—there can hardly be a more compelling story for an author to write, or a more challenging one to the honor, bravery and sacrifice required of its rescuers. Saul David does their effort well in his recounting of the mission in his brilliantly executed moment-by-moment fashion.

New information, only made recently available, describes the verbally made agreement with the Kenyan government as a contingency should there be heavy casualties—for the price to destroy Idi Amin’s MiG fighters—as well as Amin’s participation on the hijack planning of Flight 139. David’s palpable writing brings readers into the movement, lightning quick decisions and shooting. David also well explains the results to Amin losing prestige and power due to his support of the militants as well as the deaths of the few hostages and militants.

Operation Thunderbolt has been studied by many because of its daring and success. Thorough students will read this book for its explanation of risks versus benefit decisions on the many calculations involved in a rescue effort outside the boundaries of a home country. This book by Saul David serves those students well as it does the rescuers and hostages.