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Another title to pre-order

25 April 2019

It is lovely that new and significant books keep publishing—thanks to dedicated authors who are not getting rich from their work. We are all fortunate indeed.

The last post was about pre-ordering books due out late in the year and I’ve leaned of one tonight that is due out in June. It is by Ken Neubeck the author of The Blue Angels: The US Navy’s Demonstration Team, 1946 to the Present, recently reviewed in this post, which has this title, A-10 Thunderbolt II: Fairchild Republic’s Warthog at War. We have a special place for the grunts serving in the armed forces so we have a spot reserved in our hearts for the A-10—the CAS aircraft the USAF cannot rid itself of no matter how hard the USAF tries and no matter how well the Warthag has proved itself in the breach.


Books worth the pre-ordering

24 April 2019

I’ve gotten news of two books coming later in the year and I’ve pre-ordered them based upon knowing the work of the authors. Here they are and why:


By airship expert, Dan Grossman, a new, revised, and expanded edition of Zeppelin Hindenburg: An Illustrated History of LZ-129. This new edition includes additional information, some of which has never been previously published or available to the public, including:

  • A detailed list of every Hindenburg flight with:
    • Verified departure and landing times in local time
    • Flight duration
    • Commander
    • Information about crew and passengers
    • Quantity of post and freight carried
    • Notes about the flight
  • A detailed list of the passengers who were booked on Flight 64, the return flight to Germany that never happened, with biographical information
  • A weight and loading chart from the official Hindenburg flight log
  • Technical details about the ship from a memorandum prepared by a U.S. Navy observer
  • A copy of Hindenburg’s official 1937 Application for Landing Rights in the USA, with information about the ship’s proposed operations for 1937
  • A detailed list of the crew and passengers on the last flight

Other new facts and information have also been added to the text, and the authors have also corrected the errors that can sometimes creep into a book’s first edition.

The authors’ goal is to create a new edition that would serve as a useful and enhanced reference book with the bonus of the telling of the fascinating story of one of the world’s greatest airships. We hope you enjoy it!


By Taras Lyssenko, The Great Navy Birds of Lake Michigan: The True Story of the Privateers of Lake Michigan and the Aircraft They Rescued. For decades Taras has recovered WW II aircraft sunk during WW II pilot aircraft carrier flight training accidents in Lake Michigan. He does this as part of a non-profit operation in concert with the National Naval Aviation Museum and I’ve seen several of the aircraft recovered and later restored by the Navy. Taras Lyssenko is a force of Nature, I’ve seen him present at an aircraft recovery conference and studied his work, so this book promises to inform and excite as their troubles and challenges were met and overcome. This formerly lost heritage can be seen at museums and airports—these are the tales of how they came to be exhibits.

John F. Kennedy (JFK) Special Warfare Museum

24 April 2019

35º 07′ 34″ N / 79º 00′ 01″ W

The John F. Kennedy (JFK) Special Warfare Museum is dedicated to what is known today as Special Forces beginning in WW II with the OSS and continuing to the present day Green Berets of the U.S. Army. It is quaint and within the Fort Bragg Army Base where a visitors pass must be obtained before entering (it is free but take care to bring a photo ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance).

There are restroom facilities and artifacts likely to not be seen elsewhere. Admittance is free and the visiting hours a bit on the limited side but the displays are well done and thought out, often explaining little known but significant histories as special forces units and operators usually work alone or in small numbers. The loneliness of OSS work during WW II is shown by the devices employed by OSS agents in occupied territory which are small and easily hidden. The story of WW II’s 1st Special Service Force is told (the immediate ancestor to the special forces on the armies of both Canada and the United States) is well told as is unique equipment in the wars and conflicts through modern history.

The modern half of the museum was under renovation and off limits to visitors while I was there but I was able to get a photo of the model use in Operation Ivory Coast which attempted a PoW rescue of Americans held in the North Vietnamese prison camp near Son Tay. Although no PoWs were rescued it was spectacular operation all the same. It surely alarmed North Vietnamese leadership and must have made for significant exchanges with their USSR and Chinese allies.

The JFK Special Warfare Museum in Fort Bragg near Fayetteville NC—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

JFK Special Warfare Museum open time schedule—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Contingency pistols used by the OSS in WW II—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

M1941 Johnson light machine gun “Johnny Gun” from WW II which was used by U.S. Army commandos and Marines as a replacement for the Browning BAR—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Mauser M1916 autoloading pistol, German made though popular as well with the British during WW II—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

OSS Maritime Exhibit Cabinet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Swimmer mannequin with LARU Mk 10 an early rebreather—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

WW II weapons, Wermacht 7.92mm FG-42 LMG (T) and USA Thompson .45 caliber submachine gun (B)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

OSS were trained to use local weapons, in this case during WW II a .455 caliber Webley Mk IV break action revolver—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

OSS suitcase short wave radio of WW II—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Checkpoint Charlie Phone Equipment—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Korean War Gallery Exhibit—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The model made to plan the spectacular Vietnam War raid to rescue American PoWS at the Son Tay prison camp in North Vietnam—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

TPM News Flash! TPM News Flash!

19 April 2019


Important news flash from Ross Sharp (Director of Engineering and Airframe Compliance/TPM) of The People’s Mosquito (TPM) and the genius behind the curtain of Shortfinals—aviation and more!


Bringing an iconic aircraft type back to life is never easy. As the years go by, it gets harder and harder. Memories of skilled craftsmen fade, spare parts become harder to find and it takes a dedicated, highly skilled restoration company, such as Retrotec Ltd to provide the technical expertise required.

A few months ago, The People’s Mosquito (a Registered Charity, No 1165903) were given the chance to bid on a highly-prized set of CAD files for the major components of a de Havilland Mosquito. Not only that, but the CAD files came as part of a package of around 6 tonnes of jigs and fixtures, for the wing, tanks doors, flaps, fin, rudder, tailplanes and elevators and bomb bay doors. These jigs had been used to build these components for the latest flyable Mosquito FB.VI, PZ474.

Fitted carefully into a container the components started their 13,000+ mile sea voyage from Napier, New Zealand to the UK port of Southampton. Eventually, the container was off-loaded from the giant 200,000 ton container ship, the ‘Al Dahna’, and processed through Customs. A local company, SJG Haulage of Southampton, did a grand job of conveying our container to Retrotec’s works, where the Mosquito project will be based.

We cannot begin to express our delight at seeing the start of the active build phase of The People’s Mosquito project. Guy Black’s Retrotec Ltd – one of the most respected aircraft restoration companies in the world – are already making a start on the production of the first fuselage mould for a Mosquito; the first in the UK for more than 70 years! It is certain that Retrotec will work closely with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the work meets the high standards required.

How can you learn more? You can sign up for The People’s Mosquito’s own free newsletter, The Buzz, or to gain insider information, and get many other benefits such as exclusive Members’ Days events and four issues per year of our respected online Journal, Mossie Bites; see here.

Company participation in this exciting STEM-based restoration project is welcomed (contact for details) and aviation enthusiasts and the general public are urged to support The People’s Mosquito by direct donation, PayPal, by arranging a legacy and in many other ways; see

If a loved one was involved either as aircrew, groundcrew, or in the building or servicing of the magnificent de Havilland Mosquito, what better way to remember their work than by supporting The People’s Mosquito project?


Vision of The People’s Mosquito

The People’s Mosquito has a simple vision: to not only return a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB.VI to the skies above Britain, but, for the first time in more than 75 years, build this iconic aircraft in the UK.

As a not-for-profit restoration project and registered charity, our aim is to inform and educate the public and future generations on the Mosquito and its place in history.

The Mosquito was an exemplar of British 1940’s aeronautical engineering. A truly groundbreaking aircraft in so many ways, it was built by a network of often small and medium sized enterprises up and down the UK, all coming together to build what was then the world’s fastest production aircraft. More than any other aircraft of the wartime era, ‘The Mossie’ or ‘Wooden Wonder’ as she was affectionately known, was the peoples’ aircraft.

Our motto is: ‘To fly; To educate; To remember’. Through flying displays around the country and an ‘open hangar’ policy, with an emphasis on education, we aim to communicate to future generations the importance to the war effort of the Mosquito during World War Two, and the unique design and engineering techniques that went into its production. At the same time we will be honouring and remembering those who designed, built, flew and maintained the type in all its roles and locations.



Shop The People’s Mosquito for the unique and innovative!



Donate to The People’s Mosquito and join with a select group in this spectacular as well as unique project.

Airborne and Special Operations Museum

19 April 2019

35º 03′ 23″ N / 78º 53′ 08″ W

Fayetteville NC is no longer only the army town next to Fort Bragg. The Hay Street CBD is rejuvenated with many new shops occupying red brick structures well over a century old. The RR station has also been redone and was the center of downtown’s blight two decades ago when I was visiting there. Next to the station is the Airborne and Special Operations Museum which I was pleasantly surprised to discover is a national caliber museum.  The architecture is dramatic as well as inviting and more than lives up to its mantra of relive–share–understand.

The Airborne and Special Operations Museum uses full scale dioramas with great generosity, they are hardly separated from visitors—and ups their game by having many of these large-as-life dioramas immersive. It is quite impactful to walk through recalled moments when airborne or special forces operators are working with their lives in the balance. The odors and sounds may not be there but the sights and the feel are spot on. Unusually, the museum is not shy about showing wounded and deceased—though without gore or too much realism—and kudos for doing so lest the public not realize the depth of bravery and sacrifice the combatants we so heavily rely upon.

The museum is free with excellent restroom facilities and plenty of space for visitors to wander as well as discover. There are no eating spaces though these are hardly required as the museum is located in downtown Fayetteville.

This mug for the Airborne and Special Operations Museum states their purpose quite well—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Fayetteville NC’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum main entrance with “Iron Mike” out front and in charge (is that a subliminal “A for Airborne” at front?)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

“Iron Mike” stands at the entry to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Airborne and Special Operations Museum conventional and modern paratrooper exhibit—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The Airborne and Special Operations Museum’s of unconventional paratrooper under a square flying canopy used for free fall deployments—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Overhead in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum a reminder of the legendary Douglas C-47 Skytrain’s vital role during the eve of D-Day to bring in paratroops and glider assault troops—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full scale diorama of a landed (luckily without a hard landing) Waco CG-4A unloading a Jeep during WW II in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The nose of the Waco CG-4 glider could be swung upwards to better ease cargo loading as well as unloading—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

This is the start of the path through the museum, right away into an immersive experience, beginning just after the beachhead breakout of the Normandy Invasion during WW II—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Airborne! Full scale diorama of a paratrooper leaving his rig behind and forming up with whomever he can find on the eve of D-Day—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

A full-scale diorama of a single airborne trooper manning a 0.30 light machine gun position in the hedgerows of France during WW II—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale and immersive diorama of paratroops liberating a French village immediately after D-Day—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The “Courage and Compassion” full-scale diorama in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The “Courage and Compassion” full-scale diorama in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum is a composite of separate events showing battles fought by the 173rd Airborne Brigade about 50 miles north of Saigon near Dak To and Bien Hoa. Portrayed on the left is Spec 5th Class Lawrence Joel (medic) who rescued and tended to over a dozen casualties while wounded during an intense firefight lasting more than 24 hours (for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor) while on the right Chaplain Charles J. Watters is represented who parachuted in with a battalion leading to the Battle of Dak To and was known for his bravery comforting the wounded and giving last rites no matter the personal danger to himself (he was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Close up of the Huey in the “Courage and Compassion” full-scale diorama in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale diorama in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Exquisite detail of the Panama diorama showing tread marks and scuffed boots in this full-scale diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

A closer view of the mural work and forced perspective in this full-scale diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Special operations forces using an MH-6 Little Bird prior to a roof top insertion in Somalia in this full-scale and immersive diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Special operations forces using an MH-6 Little Bird coming to reinforce operators on a Somali roof in this full-scale and immersive diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

While the city burns troops work the rooftops in the full scale immersive Somalia diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale diorama of a modern day observation post in the Middle East—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale immersive diorama of troops clearing part of an Iraqi village in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale immersive diorama bring visitors into a huddle while patrolling—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale diorama of a well appointed Humvee somewhere in the Middle East—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

How to get from here to there?—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Full-scale diorama in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum of one of the ATVs, known as  “War Pigs”, which are used to carry supplies near the “front”—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The Blue Angels: The US Navy’s Demonstration Team, 1946 to the Present

8 April 2019

The Blue Angels: The US Navy’s Demonstration Team, 1946 to the Present, Ken Neubeck, 2019, ISBN 978-0-7643-5658-2, 144 pp.

The Blue Angels: The US Navy’s Demonstration Team, 1946 to the Present by Ken Neubeck

Every once in a while a book like this one is created. A book written by an author who both knows his material and loves his subject. Like a bandleader, Neubeck masterfully uses images and text in exquisitely correct proportions to create a statement of The Blues.

I first saw The Blues fly when they were piloting Grumman F-11 Tigercats and what a show it was in the clear sky over Corpus Christie on that day during the Vietnam War. As we watched surrounded by the air weighted down with humidity my memory can recall the supersonic solo pass with the wing vortices condensing the air’s water. I was in awe at the pilot’s mastery of place and time with the aircraft ahead of its sound by a second or so.

Neubeck writes with this same passion and admiration that is ageless. He writes of the use of the Tigercats as well as those aircraft at the start (Grumman F6F Hellcats) and the ones to be used in the nearest future (Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets). Details and descriptions of each aircraft type are rendered in a delightfully compact style. Images are outstanding with many from the author’s collection. Another aspect setting this book apart from many and making in worth a place on a library shelf, coffee table or desk are the aerobatic maneuver graphics. Not missing a beat, Neubeck also includes those of “Fat Albert”, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules currently used with the team. A special note: who knew the The Blues used a Lockheed C-121 Constellation back in the day? Neubeck did and has a beautiful image of it in Blue Angels livery.

This is a charming book useful to Blue Angels fans, aviation historians and those interested in aerobatic demonstration teams.

Pvt Steele/Ste. Mere Eglise/D-Day’s Eve and his E&E

6 April 2019

Created by Eugene Jouan and made of the rock which comprises Utah Beach this diorama was donated to the 82nd Airborne Museum on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Ste. Mere Eglise.

What happened that night was more complicated than you may think.

That night over Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France a stray bomb had ignited a fire in the village prior to the drop, in fact the garrison was fully alert when Steele’s C-47 mistakenly dropped his unit over the village. Not surprisingly, and tragically, most of his unit were casualties after being easily shot while dangling from their canopies. Although slightly wounded in the foot, Steele was one of the luckier members of his unit that night.

He was captured when daylight came to the village, of course, and this is where the story becomes truly remarkable. Although known for hanging from the steeple he won the Bronze Star for what he did after capture—he escaped the Wermacht to rejoin U.S forces—and that is part John Steele’s story not commonly known.

Adapting, overcoming, initiative and guile.

Steele was assigned to the 505th Regimental Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division and it is at the 82nd Airborne Division and War Memorial Museum where I saw the fitting remembrance in this post’s images, a diorama of his famous church visitation. The model of the Sainte-Mere-Eglise church is made from the stone of Utah beach and is a creation of Eugene Jouan.

The church can be visited and the town has an excellent D-Day museum. Like me, if you cannot jump into an airliner to immediately fly there, you can vicariously visit using Google Earth by going to these coordinates 49º 24′ 32″ N / 01º 18′ 59″ W, then, using Street View along the south side of the church, you can see a replica of the event hanging from the steeple’s southeast corner.


More information can be found here:


Private Steele’s D-Day trial diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Private Steele’s D-Day trial diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Private Steele’s D-Day trial diorama—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft