Inside the Issues

Issue 16 - Saab: Northern lights

Issue 16 - Saab: Northern lights

24 May 2012

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a succession of different Aviation Classics, one where we are not covering a single type of aircraft or an event, but instead studying the entire history of one of the great aircraft manufacturers. The choice of Saab for this first issue came about due to a number of factors.

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Issue 15 - Hurricane: Contents

23 March 2012.

Two UK fighters have gone from being mere machines to become icons. The first is the Supermarine Spitfire, the second is the subject of the next issue of Aviation Classics... the Hawker Hurricane.

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Issue 15 - Hurricane: The pugnacious porpoise

23 March 2012.

How do you tell the story of a legend, a national icon and one of the most amazing flying machines ever built in a single page? Well, it’s difficult. Like the Mosquito issue, this introduction has seen a few drafts to get to this stage.

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Issue 15 - Hurricane: A Greek in the RAF Eagle Squadron

23 March 2012.

As one of the foreign pilots who flew with the RAF before the American squadrons arrived in England, Spiros ‘Steve’ Pisanos of Greece became a double ace and the first American citizen to be naturalised in an overseas ceremony.

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Issue 15 - Hurricane: Refining the breed - The Mk.II, IV and V

23 March 2012.

Service experience with the Hurricane Mk.I highlighted two operational requirements which would need to be addressed if the fighter was to continue in front line service. The first was for more firepower, the second for greater speed. Hawker began addressing these requirements as early as 1939, developing re-engined and re-armed variants that began entering service towards the end of the Battle of Britain. The increased firepower helped the Hurricane to fill new roles, and was to keep the aircraft on the front line until the end of the Second World War.

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Issue 14 - P-38 Lightning: Contents

16 February 2012.

On January 27, 1939, Lockheed test pilot Ben Kelsey took the prototype XP-38 Lightning into the air for the first time. The big, twin-engined, twin-boomed fighter was to become one of the most easily identifiable fighters of the Second World War, and was to be the only US fighter aircraft to remain in production throughout the conflict. Its unusual design had a number of advantages.

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Issue 14 - P-38 Lightning: Big, bad & dangerous to get in front of

16 February 2012.

Well, this turned out to be a fascinating aircraft to research, since it tied together so many famous people in a single design. One of the greatest aircraft designers of all time, Clarence L “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for the layout of the aircraft, famous test pilots such as Milo Burcham and Tony LeVier were responsible for working the bugs out of the advanced design, and many of the greatest US aces of the Second World War were to fly the big fighter in combat, achieving remarkable results with the large twin against much more agile opponents.

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Issue 14 - P-38 Lightning: Tricycle and twin – defining a classic

16 February 2012.

How to build a brand new type of fighter without anyone realising... When the US Army Air Corps issued Circular Proposals X-608 and X-609 for new fighter aircraft in February 1937, they went out to Bell, Boeing, Consolidated, Curtiss, Douglas, Lockheed and Vultee. From these six companies, just three proposals were considered. One remained unbuilt and the others, from Lockheed and Bell, would lead to two of the most unusual fighters of the Second World War.

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Issue 14 - P-38 Lightning: The ultimate Lightnings

16 February 2012.

The P-38K, L and M - The last three variants of Lockheed’s big fighter included the model produced in the largest numbers, a two-seat radar-equipped night fighter and the fastest and highest climbing Lightning, of which only two were built.

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Issue 13 - F-14 Tomcat: Contents

22 November 2011.

Born out of the US Navy’s Naval Fighter Experimental programme, the Tomcat first flew in December 1970 and was instantly recognised as the best fleet defence fighter and long range interceptor in the world. With its heavy armament of guns and air to air missiles, including the massive long range AIM-54 Phoenix missile, when combined with its powerful Hughes AWG-9 radar it gave the Tomcat the capability of engaging targets at up to 100 miles.  Aside from its excellent service with the US Navy and interestingly, the Iranian Air Force, the Tomcat also found fame as a movie star, firstly in The Final Countdown and later in the Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun.  This issue of Aviation Classics will tell the complete story of the aircraft, its development, service career and retirement from the US Navy as well as take the reader backstage to find out how the movie Top Gun was made, the story told by the aircrew who flew the aircraft in the film.

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