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The Aviation Historian (No.30)

The Aviation Historian (No.30) Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review April 2020 Title The Aviation Historian (No.30)
Author multiple Publisher Scale Publications
Published 2020 ISBN n/a
Format 130 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $19.99


Looking for, arguably, the most remarkable combat scheme applied to a USAAF B-17 in WWII?

Grab Issue 30 of The Aviation Historian.

That’s where you’ll find that – and a raft of the respected journal’s typically superb studies:

  • DECLINE & FALL. Of Britain’s post-war aircraft industry, notably the demise of Handley Page.
  • AIRACOBRA: HERO OF THE SOVIET UNION. Notes on Soviet P-39s during WWII.
  • IRAN’S WEASEL DIESELS. F-4D Phantom IIs in Iranian service – possibly the world’s oldest operational examples.
  • CES HOMMES MAGNIFIQUES. First in a projected series on early Frenchy aeronautical pioneers.
  • OK-JET! THE Tu-104A IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. The Tupolev jetliner in CSA service.
  • FROM FLYING TO SPYING: PART 1. Surveillance of Imperial Japanese activities by Australia’s DCA.
  • NATTJAKT! The de Havilland Venom in Swedish Flygvapnet service – including personal recollections by a former Flygvapnet J 33 pilot.
  • THE USAAF’S MEDITERRANEAN FERRETS. USAAF radar-hunting B-17s the 16th RS in the Mediterranean during WWII.
  • REFLECTIONS ON A TRAGEDY. A son recalls his father’s post-WWII flying career.
  • SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA. A survey of the four Ryan B.1 Broughams in Australia during the 1920s.
  • STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. Project and prototype expert Tony Buttler outlines Armstrong Whitworth’s AW.58 series of supersonic research designs.

The tale of Czechoslovakia’s six CSA Tu-104 “Brontosaurus” airliners proved both interesting and illuminating. But I had never heard that the Tu-104’s glazed nose was “reportedly easily adaptable into a bomb–aimers position”.

Was that literally true?

I immediately read anything on P-39s – which my father would have flown had an ocular condition not forced him into another aircrew position during WWII. And Dan Zamansky conveniently and capably chronicles the Airacobra’s surprising success in Soviet hands.

But what about that striking Flying Fortress scheme?

Turn to Bill Cahill’s terrific “The USAAF’s Mediterranean Ferrets” – and savor the jaw-dropping, field-applied warpaint on 42-3055 B-17F “Ferret V” of the 16th RS.

Cahill calls it “mottled” livery. But it’s really an eye-arresting, Italian-style reticolo (“lattice”) of sprayed black stripes over AN41 Olive Drab.

Either way, it’s simply stunning. I’ve never seen anything like it. And Cahill’s feature provides multiple shots for modeling reference.

Photos, drawings, maps, archival artwork, and extended captions, annotations, and sources season contents. And editorial commentary, readers’ letters, and book reviews further augment the effort.

Order copies directly from The Aviation Historian or, in North America, from distributor Kalmbach Publications.

Robustly recommended!

My sincere thanks to The Aviation Historian for this review sample!