“They Had What It Takes – Part 23: Bert Hinkler” by Alden McWilliams
Alden McWilliams’ “They Had What it Takes” was a series of illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation that ran in Flying Aces from 1937 through 1940. Part XXIII features the aviation life of the “Australian Lone Eagle”—pioneer aviator and inventor, Herbert John Louis Hinkler. Bert Hinkler, as he was better known, designed and built early aircraft and was the first person to fly solo from England to Australia in 1928 and solo across the southern Atlantic Ocean in 1931. Hinkler started out in Canada and flew to New York then non-stop to Jamaica; on to Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil then across the Southern Atalntic Ocean to Africa!
“They Had What It Takes – Part 22: John Alcock” by Alden McWilliams
They Had What it Takes was Alden McWilliams’ series of illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation that ran in Flying Aces from 1937 through 1940. Sir John William Alcock is the focus this time.
Alcock was a Captain in the Royal Air Force who, together with navigator Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown, piloted the first non-stop transataltic flight in 1919 in a converted Vickers Vimy Bomber.
A fighter pilot in WWI, Alcock designed and built a fighter plane out of the remains of other crashed ships a’la The Red Falcon while stationed in Greece. Alcock constructed his “Sopwith Mouse” as he called it out of the forward fuselage and lower wing of a Sopwith Triplane, the upper wings of a Sopwith Pup and the tailplane and elevators of a Sopwith Camel, and married them to a rear fuselage and vertical tail surface of original design with a 110 hp Clerget 9Z engine and armed with a .303 Vickers gun. Alcock never flew his eponymous Alcock Scout, but squadron-mate FSL Norman Starbuck flew it a couple times until it crashed after several months—returning to field of crashed planes from whence in came.
More Great Blakeslee Covers!
For anyone who’s seen a number of G-8 and his Battle Aces covers, then you know Frederick Blakeslee was not as adept at rendering the human form as he was machinery. Trained as a draftsman and with his work at the Curtiss-Sperry Company, Blakeslee excelled in the minutia of areoplane design. And no where was this more evident than in the beautiful and dynamic covers he painted for Popular Publication’s air war anthology series: Battle Aces, Battle Birds and Dare-Devil Aces. The covers were never reflective of the stories within, but Blakeslee usually supplied a brief write-up of the events behind his monthly cover spectacular!
This time we have his twelve covers for the year of 1938 joining those already posted from 1932 through 1937 in our Dare-Devil Aces Cover Gallery! The July and November covers include a bonus of planes battling over a train yard–Blakeslee loved to paint trains as well, providing many covers for Popular’s Railroad Magazine.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 21: Jack Knight” by Alden McWilliams
Alden McWilliams’ They Had What it Takes was a series of illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation that ran in Flying Aces from 1937 through 1940.
In the October 1938 issue, McWilliams rendered the air career of James H. “Jack” Knight, best known as an early pioneer of the US Air Mail. He signed on to the Air Mail service in 1919 often flying treacherous legs like the aptly titled “Hell Stretch” from Cleveland to New York over the Alleghenies. Flights like that prepared him to take part in the first night runs for that service in 1921. He eventually moved on from transporting the mail to transporting people with United Air Lines in 1927 and moved on to help out the war effort until he contracted malaria in South America while trying to find new ways of harvesting rubber and transporting it back to America and died in 1945.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 20: Juan de la Cierva” by Alden McWilliams
Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation ran in Flying Aces from 1937 through 1940. The September 1938 installment covered the father of the autogyro—Juan de la Cierva. Born in Spain, his father wanted young Juan to go into politics, but his interests lied elsewhere. It was when he was trying to solve the problem of planes stalling, that he came up with the idea of the autogyro. Sadly, with his death at an early age, for all intents and purposes, the autogyro died with him being replaced by the helicopter.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 19: Glenn H. Curtiss” by Alden McWilliams
Flying Aces ran Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation from 1937 through 1940. This time McWilliams chronicles the life of Glenn H. Curtiss—the ace of plane makers! Like the Wright Brothers, Curtiss started out in bicycles, but went through motorcycles on his path to building planes. He is perhaps best known for the “Jenny” which the army used as a training plane during WWI. Curtiss was also a pioneer in sea plane development—here Curtiss tests a seaplane glider.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 18: Glenn L. Martin” by Alden McWilliams
Age of Aces presents the eighteenth installment of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. In the 16th part McWilliams chronicled the life of Capt. Edwin Musick, famed for piloting PanAm’s China Clipper. This week, McWilliams dotes on Glenn L. Martin, noted airplane designer and, in fact, designer of said China Clipper. Also an astute business man, he managed to guide his company to the forefront of the aviation business where it remains to this day as part of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
“They Had What It Takes – Parts 16 & 17: Capt. Edwin Musick & Sir Hubert Wilkins” by Alden McWilliams
It’s been a while, but we’re back with two of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. McWilliams’ “They Had What it Takes” ran for several years in Flying Aces magazine in the thirties and these installments appeared in 1938. Part 16 appeared in the May issue and featured beloved early commercial aviator Capt. Edwin Musick, famed for piloting PanAm’s China Clipper! Following this in the June issue, McWilliams featured Sir Hubert Wilkins, the famed Australian Arctic Explorer. Here’s some newsreel footage of him and the plane he had just piloted over the North Pole in 1928 and thirty years later signing in on the game show What’s My Line as Mr X in 1958.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 15: Major Alexander de Seversky” by Alden McWilliams
In the late thirties Flying Aces ran Alden McWilliams’ monthly illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation which was called “They Had What it Takes”. In the April 1938 issue they featured Major Alexander de Seversky, the Russian born aircraft designer who also invented a bomb sight and a mid-air refueling device.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 14: Eddie Rickenbacker” by Alden McWilliams
This week we bring you Part 14 of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. He called it “They Had What it Takes” and this installment appeared in the March 1938 Flying Aces. It features the immortal Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s “Ace of Aces”.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 13: Bernt Balchen” by Alden McWilliams
Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation was called “They Had What it Takes”, and this week we bring you the 13th installment, which appeared in the February 1938 Flying Aces. It features Bernt Balchen, the Norwegian pilot known as the “Viking of the Skies”.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 12: Dick Merrill” by Alden McWilliams
In the late thirties Flying Aces ran Alden McWilliams’ monthly illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation which was called “They Had What it Takes”. In the January 1938 issue they featured Dick Merrill. Considered the greatest airline pilot of his time, Merrill accomplished the first trans-Atlantic round trip when he flew to London to retrieve photographs of the Coronation.
Next week McWilliams looks at the career of Bernt Balchen, the Norwegian known as the “Viking of the Skies”.
“Hell’s Hangar” by Donald E. Keyhoe
Save for some strange, organ-like trills that had sounded from his radio, Dick Knight’s flight had been uneventful. But Knight did not know that those weird tones he had heard were the ominous notes of an overture to a drama of death. Nor did he know that just five minutes before, a gaunt Prussian, with feverish eyes on a black clock, had whispered: “Five more minutes! Only five more minutes to wait after all these years!”
“Death Flies to Fukien” by Arch Whitehouse
This is the second story in Arch Whitehouse’s series about flying newspaperman Tug Hardwick. Tug and his sidekick, Beansie Bishop, knew where they could find Old Man Trouble if they wanted him. Shanghai was the place—for the welcome they’d get there would be a rousing one profusely punctuated with bullets! But meanwhile, Old Man Trouble had grown tired of waiting for them. That was something those two Yanks didn’t know—until a man fell at their feet with a knife in his back!
“Scourge of the Steel Eagles” by Arch Whitehouse
“Coffin” Kirk sought rest—but it was stark tragedy that he found in that jungle village at the foot of massive Mount Dulit. For the “death that does not speak” had cut a ghastly swath through that peaceful Kayan settlement—had left but a single horrified native to describe the merciless wrath of the “steel eagles that leap out of solid rock.” Yet Kirk could not turn back. And Fate was beckoning him onward along a path that led to— the fires of hell itself!