The Three Mosquitoes vs. “The Riderless Plane” by Ralph Oppenheim
THEIR familiar war cry rings out—“Let’s Go!” The greatest fighting war-birds on the Western Front are once again roaring into action. The three Spads flying in a V formation so precise that they seemed as one. On their trim khaki fuselages, were three identical insignias—each a huge, black-painted picture of a grim-looking mosquito. In the cockpits sat the reckless, inseparable trio known as the “Three Mosquitoes.” Captain Kirby, their impetuous young leader, always flying point. On his right, “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito, who loved his sleep. And on Kirby’s left, completing the V, the eldest and wisest of the trio—long-faced and taciturn Travis.
Were back with the second of three Three Mosquitoes stories we’re presenting this month. This week the inseparable trio tangle with the menace of the western front—the riderless plane! The mere thought of it sent a cold chill coursing up Kirby’s spine. It was all right to pit your skill and wits against an enemy pilot who, after all, was just a human being like yourself. But to face a freak plane which flew of its own accord, with its cockpit utterly empty—that was asking too much of any man. It seemed incredible, preposterous, this horrible machine without a pilot, shooting through the air like a streak, doing its deadly work, and then mysteriously vanishing. And yet, incredible as it was, it had taken its hold on the entire Allied air force and was slowly but surely breaking down their morale. From the February 1930 issue of War Birds, it’s “The Riderless Plane!”
Here, gang, is one of the great mysteries of the late war revealed at last! The hair seemed to rise beneath Kirby’s helmet, while a chill sensation of horror drove needles into his spine. He almost stalled the Spad as he kept staring, looking at that incredible sight—expecting to find his eyes deceiving him. The cockpit of that all-red plane was empty. It was the riderless plane!
- Download “The Riderless Plane” (February 1930, War Birds)
If you enjoyed this tale of our intrepid trio, check out some of the other stories of The Three Mosquitoes we have posted by clicking the Three Mosquitoes tag or check out one of the three volumes we’ve published on our books page! And come back next Friday or another exciting tale.