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“They Had What It Takes – Part 27: C. P. T. Ulm” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on June 8, 2011 @ 9:14 pm in

Starting with the February 1937 issue of Flying Aces, Alden McWilliams began his illustrated tribute to the pioneer aviators of that era. He called it “They Had What it Takes”. It appeared in each issue of Flying Aces until June 1940. Part 27 apeared in the April 1939 issue and featured Another great Austrailian Air Pioneer—Charles Thomas Philippe Ulm!

Ulm is probably best known for his association with Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith who was covered by McWilliams two years earlier. He was Kingsford-Smith’s copilot on many of his famous flights including the 1928 first crossing of the Pacific in the Southern Cross. And together they founded Austrailian National Airways.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 26: Geoffrey De Havilland” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on June 5, 2011 @ 5:47 pm in

“They Had What It Takes” was Flying Aces‘ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation by Alden McWilliams that ran from 1937 through 1940. Part twenty-six is all about that British aviation pioneer and ace aircraft designer, Geoffrey De Havilland.

De Havilland built his first plane with money borrowed from a Grandparent and worked his way into being the cheif designer at Airco where he designed planes, all designated by his initials DH, flown by the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force during WWI. In 1920 he formed his own aircraft company and started producing the Moth series of aircraft. Their Mosquito plane played an important part in WWII and their Comet planes were some of the first jet airliners used by major airlines.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 25: Assen Jordanoff” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on March 22, 2011 @ 1:08 pm in

This week we bring you the twentyfifth installment 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 one appeared in the February 1939 Flying Aces and featured Assen Jordanoff, competant and versitile flyer, noted inventor, aviation author and the pride of Bulgaria.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 24: “Jackie” Cochran” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on March 15, 2011 @ 3:41 pm in

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 1939 issue they featured Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran, a pioneering American aviator who was considered to be one of the most gifted racing pilots of her time. Originally working in the cosmetics industry, her husband encouraged her to take up flying as a means to travel more efficiently, Jackie took to it like a duck takes to water and soon realized that flying was her passion, not cosmetics.

A few career highlights beyond McWilliam’s piece: in 1942 Jackie was asked to organize the Women’s Flying Training Detatchment (WFTD) to train women to handle basic military flight support; the following year she was appointed to lead the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP); in 1953 she became the first woman to break the sound barrier, and set eight more speed records in 1967 when she was over 60 years old!

Jackie kept going until a serious cardiac condition finally grounded her. By the time of her death in 1980, Jackie had recieved more than 200 awards and trophies and set more speed and altitude records than any other pilot.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 23: Bert Hinkler” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on March 7, 2011 @ 4:26 pm in

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

Link - Posted by David on March 3, 2011 @ 3:18 pm in

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.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 21: Jack Knight” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on March 1, 2011 @ 4:06 pm in

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

Link - Posted by David on February 23, 2011 @ 4:12 pm in

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

Link - Posted by David on February 22, 2011 @ 2:29 pm in

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

Link - Posted by David on February 21, 2011 @ 1:20 pm in

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

Link - Posted by David on December 14, 2010 @ 6:40 pm in

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

Link - Posted by Bill on September 9, 2010 @ 3:24 pm in

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

Link - Posted by Bill on August 26, 2010 @ 9:06 pm in

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

Link - Posted by Bill on August 12, 2010 @ 10:26 am in

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

Link - Posted by Bill on August 4, 2010 @ 7:22 pm in

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”.

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