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July 4th 2018!

4 July 2018


July 4th Fireworks in Washington DC with the National Mall, Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background—Dept. of Defense image

July 4th Fireworks in Washington DC with the National Mall, Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background—Dept. of Defense image


Wings Over Dorset: Aviation’s story in the South

3 July 2018

Wings Over Dorset: Aviation’s story in the South, Leslie Dawson, 1983, ISBN 0 902129 44 9, 248 pp.

Wings Over Dorset: Aviation’s story in the South by Leslie Dawson

Dorset is a lovely county on the coast of southeastern Great Britain which is rich in historic towns, maritime history and beautiful countryside—among many other attributes. It is also home to Leslie Dawson who researches and writes wonderfully about aviation and, fortunately for us, lives in Dorset and was inspired to pen this wonderful book.

Wings Over Dorset: Aviation’s story in the South is a large format book filled with images and excellently scripted descriptions of aviation’s history which occurred there—often uniquely. Beginning with airships in 1881 Dawson takes us through a quickly paced tour including in-flight refueling, the World War II years, military gliders and those wonderful flying boats.

Dawson possesses a smooth and elegant writing style which is not unnecessarily wordy. He also has a niche specialty by including the human dimension and it is hard work for him to illustrate it as he spends countless hours delving through archives (often personal ones usually unavailable to the public) and with the numerous interviews. Readers are richer for it, however. Dawson is also an accomplished pilot bringing experience into the understanding of the facts making the reader fully aware of the context of the day—the next best thing to owning a time machine.

Aside from his access to personal and family archives, Dawson also finds remarkable photos. Of course there are photos we have seen before, the requisite ones for a book such as this, but there are also photos which make the history he is so wonderfully telling absolutely visceral.

Many things stand out in Wings Over Dorset: Aviation’s story in the South some of which are:

  • General Aircraft Hamilcars—those immense gliders the Allies used in World War II. The chapter on them is precious and Dawson’s sailplane pilot expertise sets this writing apart from other Hamilcar descriptions, especially in the flying of them.
  • Aerial battles during World War II—Dawson has examples as well as outcomes including the human aspect of the pilots flying for both flags.
  • Many aspects of Great Britain’s in-flight refueling development but, perhaps, most remarkably images of a Hawker Hurricane being refueled from a Wellington bomber with its propeller feathered.
  • An incredible photo of Geoffrey Tyson picking up a handkerchief from the ground with the lower left wing tip of his DH Tiger Moth while in flight!
  • The fantastic lore of the Short Brothers Empire Class, Sunderlands, Sandringhams and Solents in Poole—very gratifying to flying boat aficionados.

And much more within the 15 chapters of this outstanding book.

Long out of print, the book can easily be purchased as previously read through Amazon for pennies on the dollar. Dawson has two books out now and we hope a third occurs soon. His current book (also a fantastic read) is now in paperback as well as hard back is entitled, Fabulous Flying Boats: a History of the World’s Passenger Flying Boats.



Two of the Best

30 June 2018


The Blue Angels, performing a delta roll maneuver during the Wings Over Myrtle Beach Air Show—U.S. Navy/Mass Comm Spec 1st Class Ian Cotter

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performing at the Wings Over Solano Air Show at Travis Air Force Base CA—U.S. Air Force/David Cushman

Dragon Lady—60 years later and as exotically captivating as ever

27 June 2018



Lockheed’s U-2S Dragon Lady (today’s U-2)—Lockheed image

The U-2S Dragon Lady is not the improved U-2 of the Cold War Era—she is an evolved aircraft with a 30% larger airframe, a vastly improved engine (GE F118), a glass cockpit with an avionics and sensor suite almost beyond imagination. The long nose houses synthetic aperture radar and the dorsal pod allows an uplink for the dense data stream produced by the Dragon Lady’s sensors. All at 70,000 feet enabling discrete though deep looks into foreign territory without trespassing potentially hostile airspace.


Lockheed’s U-2S Dragon Lady (today’s U-2) showing the wing mounted sensor pods and the dorsal communications/uplink pod—Lockheed image


25 June 2018

One of NASA’s MRAP at the Shuttle Landing Facility supporting NASA’s Commercial Crew Program/Kennedy Space Center FL. The 45,000-pound mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP) was originally designed for military applications and offers a mobile bunker for astronauts and ground crews should the need arise to get away from the launch pad quickly—NASA image

The evacuee compartment of the NASA MRAP—NASA image

The brace of NASA MRAPs—NASA image

Art on Helicopter—tsunami on the boom

25 June 2018

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter attached to the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM)—U.S. Navy/Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Matthew C. Duncker


Cigar á lá Aviation

24 June 2018

The Traveler Nicaraguan cigar by Herrera Esteli–Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Detail of the label–Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft