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“Please Omit Flowers” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 26, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

With Mannheim gone, the morale of the Fokkers had waned a bit and, for the past few days, the Spads of the Ninth Pursuit Squadron had been enjoying the upper hand in the sky. But today something hit the tarmac with greater force than a Gotha egg. C flight came back tattered and bruised with some very bad news—Von Holke and his The Death’s-Head Squadron had moved in to the area! And they were looking for the pilot who had taken out Mannheim—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

There was one thing von Holke, famous German ace, wanted more than anything else—to see Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham lowered into the ground in a long, black box. And Phineas would do—well, almost anything to oblige an enemy!

“A Fiery Rescue” by J.W. Scott

Link - Posted by David on January 22, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present another great cover by J.W. Scott. You may recall we featured his brilliant covers for Sky Devils a couple years ago. This time is a cover he rendered for Flying Aces! Scott painted covers for all kinds of magazines—from aviation to science fiction; from the uncanny to the Wild West; from detective stories to Woman’s Day. Here, for the September 1930 issue of Flying Aces he depicts the daring rescue of a flyer whose plane has caught fire!

A Fiery Rescue

th_FA_3112A TENSE dramatic moment is pictured in this month’s cover—the daring rescue of a Yank flyer by his buddy. In the dogfight which has just taken place, the gas tank in the Yank’s plane was punctured by Spandau bullets, and his plane caught fire. As the flames spread, threatening to envelope his body and send him down in a fiery dive of death, another American plane swooped down. In it was his buddy. Almost on top of the burning plane he came, and near enough so that the other Yank could grasp his landing gear and pull himself up—to safety.

The Ships on The Cover
A Fiery Rescue
Flying Aces, September 1930 by J.W. Scott

“Grindin’ High” by Frederick C. Davis

Link - Posted by David on January 19, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a short story by renowned pulp author Frederick C. Davis. Davis is probably best remembered for his work on Operator 5 where he penned the first 20 stories, as well as the Moon Man series for Ten Detective Aces and several other continuing series for various Popular Publications. He also wrote a number of aviation stories that appeared in Aces, Wings and Air Stories.

This week’s story features that crack pilot for World News Reel, the greatest gelatine newspaper that ever flashed on a silver screen—Nick Royce! Davis wrote twenty stories with Nick for Wings magazine from 1928-1931. Here, in his first story, Nick is mistaken for a world famous stunt flyer while trying to wrangle a job with the World news Newsreel service. And although he doesn’t make a good first impression he does come up with the goods in the end! From the January 1928 Wings, it’s Frederick C. Davis’ “Grinding’ High!”

A blazing steamer—a roaring furnace amid a vast expanse of desolate sea—and Nick Royce, fledgling, zoomed for the greatest scoop of all to prove himself a birdman!

How the War Crates Flew: War-Air Stunts

Link - Posted by David on January 16, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

FROM the pages of the June 1934 number of Sky Fighters:

Editor’s Note: We feel that this magazine has been exceedingly fortunate in securing Lt. Edward McCrae to conduct a technical department each month. It is Lt. Mcrae’s idea to tell us the underlying principles and facts concerning expressions and ideas of air-war terminology. Each month he will enlarge upon some particular statement in the stories of this magazine. Lt. MaCrae is qualified for this work, not only because he was a war pilot, but also because he is the editor of this fine magazine.

War-Air Stunts

by Lt. Edward McCrae (Sky Fighters, June 1934)

NOW I bet you dumb clucks have been reading about air fighters and duels in the air for a long time. Everybody has. You get thrilled to death when the hero barges head-on into the Hun, gives him a round of tracers and lead, noses her up, falls off on a wing, dives, comes up into an Immelmann and is on a level with his foe again, and they go to it. Dog-fights!

Now if I know you, you just sat there and got a thrill out of the yarn, but the ships were darting through the air so fast and there was so much fighting that you couldn’t follow their movements exactly. You just knew they were doing something, but how they did it, didn’t bother you.

That’s all right because you were not supposed to know the whys and wherefores of the maneuvers. You were just supposed to enjoy the story which you did.

But that’s all over. The next time you read a story you’ll know just exactly what the Red Ace was doing when he did an Immelmann and a barrel roll—and you’ll know why he did it. Then you can check up on all those writer fellows to see if they knew what they were talking about.

Because today, Jack and Jill, you’re going to learn how they did those maneuvers and why. You’ll notice that at the top of this article there’s something that talks about principles and facts and war-air terminology. That’s what you’re gonna get an earful of right now. So wash out your ears.

The Simplest Thing First

Let’s start with the simplest and first thing a war flyer has to learn to do when he gets past the Kiwi stage. He has learned to do ordinary flying, and now he’s getting down to the business of learning how to defend himself and how to whip the other man.

Let’s follow him through one of those famous and exciting dog-fights and see why he does these things. After all, he’s not up there just to furnish thrills for you readers. He’s got business to do.

He’s already off the ground and has gained his ten thousand feet altitude. He’s one of those lone eagle boys who’s out looking for a Hun for an early breakfast. Downstairs the ground is all shell marked and rows of gray trenches look like the canals of Mars to him.

Then, suddenly, out of a cloud above him that looks no bigger than a man’s hand comes that well known little black speck, diving straight down at him. It’s an Albatross! He is being attacked!

Let’s stop right there in the story. We’ll have a look at the “why.”

Don’t Look into the Sun

The German had got the best position to start with. He had got up earlier and had taken up a favorable station. The station was behind a high cloud which in turn was so located in relation to the place he might find an enemy, that the enemy might have little chance to see him. Our hero couldn’t see through a cloud. And the German had borne in mind that the cloud was between that proposed battlefield and the sun. Thus if the American were looking for him, he would look squarely into the sun and this would blind him. You can’t see a tiny speck—in fact you can hardly see anything—when you’re looking into the sun.

But let’s go on with the story. What does our hero do? He sees the Albatross bearing down on him with tracers blazing. So he reverses his controls and makes a sharp turn out of the line of fire. (Fig. 1)

Reversing Controls

What is this reversing controls? No, Jill, it’s not like throwing an automobile into reverse. Airplanes can’t normally go backward in the air. They aren’t crawfish.

What he did was this. He had to make a turn so short and so quickly that in order to do it he had to bank so steeply that the rudder was cross-ways instead of up and down like it should be, and the elevators were up and down instead of crossways. The result of this was that he had to control his ship differently.

The wings were one up and one down instead of horizontal. Therefore, in order to control his ship, where before he would use the rudder, now he had to use the flippers or elevators for that purpose. And vice versa with the rudder. And all this time bullets coming at him!

You would think this would be confusing, wouldn’t you? Well, it is! But the boy had to learn to do it automatically—without even thinking about it, before he could go on and learn all the rest of the things he had to know!

Something to Remember

Reverse control is the important element in any sharp turn which makes it necessary to bank at an angle of more than 45 degrees. Don’t forget that, children, and you’ll have more respect for the poor flyer.

But that’s not all—it’s just the beginning of those little tricks he had to learn. That maneuver can be dangerous, and it always results—when control is lost—in a spin with the power on. And is that dangerous? Ask your Uncle “Spinner” Eddie.

So, in order to get out of such a predicament in case it happened—and it’s sure to happen—you have to deliberately learn to spin your ship and bring it out of a spin. You can’t wait until you accidentally find yourself in a jam to practice getting out of it. You have to know how in advance. It’s something like practicing driving your car over a cliff. They make ships these days that won’t spin, but they are for old-lady passengers and students to ride. A fighting ship must be able to spin, because sometimes you will want to spin it.

      “But Von Hun was on his tail, pouring a deadly volley—”
      “The Red Knight saw death staring him in the face. There was only one means of escape. Shoving the throttle forward to pick up speed, he jammed the stick forward and to the left and kicked the rudder. The ship nosed down into a power spin—”

Now why did our hero do this? Well, children, did you ever try to shoot at a leaping jack rabbit? He has plenty of speed and he’s not going in a very straight line. You can’t tell a second in advance where he’ll be the next second. And when you multiply that by the speed of a ship whirling down like a corkscrew with the motor full on—you’ve got a real job of target practice ahead of you! (Fig. 2)

Our Hero Escapes

So our hero escapes. But the Hun follows him down. He levels off and turns to meet the Von! He squeezes the triggers of the Lewis gun on his stick and sews a seam of lead up the leg of the Von’s Sunday pants. Von Hun is in dangerous territory with the Red Knight headed straight forward. Von Hun, to escape being rammed, falls off on one wing.

What the Von did was a side slip. He wanted to drop below the Red Knight, so he throttled down to lose power, banked his plane so one wing was down and jammed on opposite rudder. The rudder threw the nose down with the wing and headed the ship into a straight dive with one wing low. In order to straighten out he had to level off the wings and there he was all set, but on a lower plane and behind the Red Knight.

The Immelmann

But he climbs rapidly and is again hovering over the Red Knight. But our hero won’t stand for “that. He wants that position himself. So the Red Knight dives to pick up speed and then hauls back the stick. The ship loops in a big up-and-down circle that carries him above Von Hun. And as he comes down in the last part of the loop he manages to get in a burst that dusts off the Von’s uniform.

This is partially effective and Von Hun is trying to get out of the way. So our hero tries it again. He goes into the loop, but at the top of it he sees Von going the other way. To finish the loop will take him further away from Von. So “at the top of the loop he suddenly executes an Immelmann turn,” and is headed for the enemy, guns blazing. (Fig. 3)

What’s this Immelmann thing! Well, at the top of the loop our hero is naturally upside down and as he comes out he will be headed West at a lower altitude. But he wants to stay up there headed East.

So, just before the ship reached the top of the loop our hero pulls the stick back all the way and jams his rudder forward. The effect of this is to turn the wings over and get him right side up with care, just like the first turn of a barrel roll. And there he is headed West a little above the tail of Von Hun.

Which makes the Von sweat under the collar, so the Von eps his tail out of the way by doing a wing-over and coming back to meet The Red Knight. He does this quickly by nosing his ship up sharply and dropping one wing. He canteen keep it up until the ship stalls, at which time he falls off on one wing and completes his turn. He hasn’t lost altitude and he is back facing the way he came from on the same path instead of being over to the left or right.

And it is then that our hero triggers hs weapon and finishes him. He simply outshot the German. You’ll find out about how I did that over in the fiction department—second door to the left.

So you see, my young scallions, all that monkey business about loops and turns and chasing each other’s tails and all that sort of stuff isn’t put in there just to make a holiday for you. Every maneuver is there for a certain purpose, to aid the flyer in getting out of the other’s way, or to get into a favorable position for himself. They’re not stunt flyers just trying to entertain you. They’re in the glorious business of being knights of the air, lone fighters just like the old knights, to kill the enemy. And all those tricks are part of their trade.

“The Night-Raid Patrol” by Eustace Adams

Link - Posted by David on January 12, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the prolific pen of Eustace L. Adams. Born in 1891, Adams was an editor and author who served in the American Ambulance Service and the US Naval Service during The Great War. His aviation themed stories started appearing in 1928 in the various war and aviation pulps—Air Trails, Flying Aces, War Stories, Wings, War Birds, Sky Birds, Under Fire, Air Stories and Argosy. He is probably best remembered for the dozen or so airplane boys adventure books he wrote for the Andy Lane series.

Lieutenant Bull Meehan, U.S.N., was in a mood. And when Bull was in a mood, let it be said that the United States Naval Air Station at Souilly-sur-mer was a place over which the sun hid behind lowering clouds; where red wine soured on the mess table; where flatfooted gob sentries paced their beats with the snap and the devotion to duty of Imperial Household Guardsmen and where the young naval aviators gathered in the lee of the hangars and cursed with great feeling and remarkable fluency. It was at this time, Ensign Wadsworth arrived wearing his Croix de Guerre under his gold naval aviator’s badge and had a record of two years’ flying service with the French Army…

From the August 1929 issue of Sky Birds, it’s Eustace Adams’ “The Night-Raid Patrol!”

A smashing hit! Follow this plucky Yankee flier through hell-popping adventure. See him zig-zag through the air, spewing havoc and destruction, locking wings with his venomous C.O. Here is a thrilling yam from the pen of a master of tale-spinner!

 

As a bonus, here’s an article about the author himself from the Akron Beacon Journal in 1940!

Argument With Wife Started Eustace Adams’ Career; Author of Adventure Tales Now Wants To Do ‘Better’ Things

by Naomi Bender • Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio • Sunday, March 24, 1934, p.9-D

MIAMI, Fla., March 23.— Ever hear of Eustace L. Adams? Probably not, yet he’s in “Who’s Who”—there’s three inches of small type about him—he writes serials and short stories for most of the better magazines.

He’s had dozens of boys’ books published, as well as a few adventure novels. His works have been published in England. They’re called “Sovereign Thrillers” there, or, in the vernacular, “Shilling Shockers.” He’s 49 and he makes enough money out of his writing to be in the upper income brackets. He calls himself just a good “potboiler.”

“And I have no message for suffering humanity,” the athletic-looking author said, with a grin, as he puffed on a cigaret. We were seated in his workroom, at the rear of his home on Palm island overlooking the bay.

He’s a likable fellow, this Adams, with a nice grin, kindly blue eyes and a nautical air about him. That’s probably because, when he’s not working, you’ll usually find him on his tiny sailboat, for sailing is his one and only pastime.

Argument Changes Career

He was an aviator during the war. After that, he became a salesman for an advertising concern. Then fate stepped in and shoved him into a completely different profession.

It all started over an argument with his wife. Well, not exactly an argument, but it was like this:

Mr. Adams traveled quite a bit so his wife decided to take a course in journalism to keep herself busy. That started her writing short stories but, like many an amateur writer, her intentions were better than the results. She rarely, if ever, finished her stories.

So naturally, one day, friend husband said, with a very superior air: “I bet I could write one of those confession stories you’re always playing around with. I’ll show you how to do it.”

And naturally, friend wife, knowing her husband had never written a line in his life, reacted just as any wife would—with a big raspberry.

But this time the husband won the decision. He not only wrote the story, but he received a handsome check as first prize winner of a confession story contest.

This was very nice indeed, but Adams still thought a good job with an advertising concern was better than the doubtful security of writing.

Then Lindbergh made his sensational hop across the Atlantic, which might seem to have no connection with the life of Eustace L. Adams but did.

Adams had been a professional aviator; he had also won a confessional story contest. Lindbergh’s flight put a premium on stories with a factual aviation background. And the pulp magazine editor thought of Adams.

”It just happened that at the time I was one of the few literate persons who knew anything about flying,” Adams modestly explained.

He wrote a serial and five short stories in 60 days and sold them all.

From that time on, he has been a professional writer.

Starts Early, Quits Early

He says he keeps “regular office hours” but there are few offices where the employees arrive at 5 o’clock every morning. Adams works until noon each day on an electric typewriter and then he’s through for the day.

“I take only two holidays a year,” he said, “the 4th of July and Christmas.”

He reads a lot, chiefly better fiction and magazines, plenty of magazines.

“I’m just like an architect looking at other architects’ houses,” he stated. “Times change in popular fiction; each year there’s a tiny shift in fashions and I have to keep up with them if I want to sell my stuff.”

There are days when he’s wished he were a plumber or a dentist. “Anything,” he said, with a wry grin, “but what I am, which forces me to sit here at the typewriter whether I want to or not.”

And he does sit there, without doodling, for a stipulated time each day even when he can’t write a line he thinks is worth a hoot.

For, as with all authors, there are dry periods when things just won’t come through

“Then I try to remember what Edith Wharton once said. It’s helped me over many a tough spot when my mind’s as empty as a bass drum. ’Just put one word after another laboriously,’ she said, ’juat carry your hero along and keep on plodding, then all of a sudden things begin to go.’”

He works on one story at a time even though he does turn out millions of words each year. He doesn’t use a plot machine, either He’s tried it, he confesses, but it didn’t work. He sells the majority of the stories he writes. He has a little card file on which he keeps a record of each story he has written and its fate. If the story sells, the amount is marked down neatly, with the date and the publication to which it was sold. If it flopped, this is noted on cards that go into the rear of the file, marked “Rejected.” The number of these cards is very small.

Like all authors who depend on their writing for a living. Adams fears the day when he may run out of ideas or may not be able to sell his stories.

But when that day comes he hopes to have enough money so that he can sit back and relax and enjoy life.

Influence Isn’t Necessary

Here’s how he would advise those who aspire to be professional “entertainment writers.”

Study the magazines to which you want to sell your stories. “You can’t just write a story, send it around to every magazine from the pulps to the slicks and get it sold. It has to be directed to a particular publication.”

You don’t need any influence with magazine editors. If your stories are good, they’ll grab them.

“About the only break I get,” the author said, “is that if I send a story in that Isn’t quite right, I’ll get It back with something like this written on it. ‘On page 33, you stink. Or your heroine is out of line, fix her up.’ Then I revise the story, send it back and it has a good chance of being accepted.

“The chief handicap any young writer has to overcome,” Adams continued, “Is getting gun shy in front of the typewriter. Most amateurs have to cure themselves of buck fever before they can do their best. Once that’s licked, half battle is won.”

Tucked somewhere back in his mind is the thought that some day he may do a “real job of writing ”

He knows most popular authors feel that way and he’s not kidding himself.

“Naturally I would like to do better things,” he confessed frankly. “It would be swell to have real genius, like Hemingway in ‘The Killer’ or ’The Sun Also Rises,’ or Steinbeck In ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ I would like to say to myself that, if I had five years I could do something good, too. I know it may be just an illusion, but I also know that many of our best writers got their training first in the pulp magazine field.”

Heroes of the Air: Capt. F.M. West

Link - Posted by David on January 8, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 9 July 1938 issue of Flying:

CAPT. F.M. WEST WINNING THE V.C. OVER THE GERMAN LINES, AUGUST 10, 1918

ON THE morning of August 10, 1918, Captain Ferdinand Maurice West took off with his observer to strafe the German back areas. For this purpose he went far over the enemy lines and he was flying low, attacking infantry, when seven German scouts came upon him. In his Armstrong Whitworth the odds against him were enormous. Quite early in the fight an explosive bullet shattered his leg, which fouled the rudder-bar and caused the machine to fall out of control. No sooner had he lifted his leg clear than he was wounded in the other. In spite of his predicament, he managed to manoeuvre his machine so as to enable his gunner to get in sufficient bursts of fire to drive off the hostile scouts. Then, with great courage and determination, he set off for the British lines, where he landed safely. Weak from loss of blood, he fainted, but when he regained consciousness he insisted on writing his report before going to the hospital. Happily this gallant officer recovered sufficiently to remain in the service, where he is now a Wing Commander.

“Flaming Bullets” by Franklin M. Ritchie

Link - Posted by David on January 5, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another story by Franklin M. Ritchie. Ritchie only wrote aviation yarns and his entire output—roughly three dozen stories—was between 1927 and 1930. Today we have another one from the lawyer who wrote pulp stories on the side to satisfy his yen for flying. From an early issue of Sky Birds, Ritchie gives us a tale of the chivalry of the air—but from the German point of view. Enter young Oberleutnant Fritz von Hullesheim who gets himself into a real mess over his flight leaders use of incendiary bullets in his air battles.

From the April 1929 issue of Sky Birds, it’s Franklin M. Ritchie’s “Flaming Bullets!”

The amazing chivalry of the men of the air astounded the whole world during the war. They were true sportsmen, those sky-fighters. Here is a breath-taking yarn from behind the enemy lines showing how the picture looked through the eyes of German War Flyers!