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“Sky Mirage” by Arnold Lorne Hicks

Link - Posted by David on June 24, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present a cover by Arnold Lorne Hicks! Hicks worked in the pulps primarily from the late ’20’s to the mid 30’s, producing covers for such magazines as North-West Stories, Navy Stories, Police Stories, Detective Dragnet, Sky Birds, Golden West, Western Trails, Love Adventures, and a couple covers for Flying Aces!

Sky Mirage

th_FA_3012BELIEVE it or not, but many an airman on the Western Front got the fright of his young life by the mid-summer mirages that appeared every so often in the cloud-banked skies during the World War.

This month, our artist has depicted the phenomenon vividly on the front cover. The pilot, flying alongside of a bank of clouds with the sun off to his left, has suddenly turned to find another machine, of the same type, flying alongside him.

Many a pilot has been fooled by this mirage, and has waved in recognition, believing the ship to be another of his own squadron. Naturally, the other pilot has waved back. This sort of thing goes on sometimes until the pilot finally notices the aura of the rainbow colors circling the other ship. Then, and then only, does he realize that the other ship is nothing but a mirage—or a reflection of his own plane.

A pilot on the Western Front, in an effort to elude a flock of Fokkers, attempted to fly into a cloud bank, under the mirage conditions. He almost fell out of his cockpit attempting to get out of the way of another ship that appeared to be flying directly at him. He ducked to one side, and saw the other ship do the same. For a few minutes, he flew alongside this strange ship, and wondered why the other pilot acted so strangely. Again he tried to turn in, and the other ship heeled over toward him and apparently tried to ram him.

The poor mystified pilot swore and raged. The Fokkers were coming down on him like spitting vultures. There was nothing to do but take a chance and go it cold. Into the cloud he turned again, and decided to make the other ship pull out. Imagine his amazement when the other ship disappeared completely!

For several minutes he wondered what had happened, or whether he was seeing things, and then he suddenly remembered the story of sky mirages that other pilots of his squadron had talked about, back in the mess. But by that time, he was a pretty scared peelot. When he got back to his airdrome, he lost no time in telling the boys of his experience.

“Whenever you get into a mess like that,” advised the major, “look for the colored aura that always encircles the other plane. It is the same rainbow effect that you see in spray from a fountain or waterfall, when the sun strikes it at a certain angle to your vision. The reason it disappeared was because you had flown in so close to the cloud that you no longer were in the angle of vision to see it.”

Talk about your phantom planes! There were plenty of them out there when the sun shone right.

The Story Behind The Cover
Sky Mirage
Flying Aces, December 1930 by Arnold Lorne Hicks

How the War Crates Flew: Ancestors of the Modern Planes

Link - Posted by David on June 18, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

FROM the pages of the September 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.

Ancestors of the Modern Planes

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

I’VE been telling you rummies a whole lot about this and a little more about that from time to time. So I figure it’s about time I told you about some problems of the crates themselves. You should know, but more than likely you don’t, that up until the war started, airplanes were pretty darned crazy things at best, and people who thought they had common sense wouldn’t have anything to do with them. I remember when the newspapers all over America raised all kinds, of Cain because President Theodore Roosevelt risked his neck in one of those fool contraptions.

At the beginning of the war an airplane was a freak. The designs that inventors had worked out looked like the results of a nightmare. But a lot of them would fly in spite of their crazy-looking features. To put it straight, an airplane was a thing that was more likely to scare the enemy to death than to administer any physical damage to him.

Take a look at Fig.1. There the three pictures are of A—an Austrian ship, B—a Belgian ship and C—a British ship.

A Nightmarish-Looking Dingus

Now here’s an interesting angle about that third one of that little group. It is an early Avro. An Avro is a British ship that gets its name from its inventor, A.V. Roe. It’s a nightmarish-looking dingus, ain’t it?

Then listen, sisters and brothers, that was the granddaddy of a long and honorable line of ships that are going great guns yet today. I’ll admit that the present day Avro is a far cry from that box-kite looking thing in the picture. But it flew. And after all, Percival, you yourself are a far cry from your ancestors that hung by their tails from trees. Or are you?

Now, just when the soldiers got serious about shooting each other in the collar buttons and began to realize that this fracas wasn’t going to be just a big Rotary Club picnic, the boys with the brains stuck their noses over their blueprints and started figuring on force-feeding the awkward little birdies so their wings would get big and strong like they were eating their spinach every day.

Birds as Models

And naturally, when they figured what their problems were they showed what bright inventors they were by casting their eyes at the real birds. The results then, quickly made junk out of the crazy former models, and now all ships began to show a similarity in shape, even though they were designed in different countries and by people who didn’t know each other. See Fig. 2.

Two-A shows you the top view of the German Albatross made in 1914 and used by the Germans. Look at the wing-tips and the tail surfaces. Doesn’t the picture look like they had laid a bird down on the drafting board and traced its outline?

And what was going on in England at the same time? Look at Fig. 2-B. There’s a Handley-Page monoplane. That was used in the war, too.

Now compare their wings and tail surfaces. Don’t you see in their resemblance how they were both getting at the same idea, although not comparing ideas with each other?

Of course, in those days they didn’t have the powerful motors that were being developed and are in use now. And not having much power, their problem was to get strength enough in the wings and at the same time get the wings light enough for the weak motor to support.

Brace Wire

For that purpose, they resorted to using a lot of brace wire. Wire was light and strong so they used great quantities of it. I remember I was with a gang of flyers just up to a new field near Flanders in the early days and we just had got in a delivery of half a dozen new experimental ships that we were to try out. There were wires all over it. One of the boys said: “Gosh, I never thought I’d ever have to fly a wire chicken coop.”

But that was what they looked like, and they thought they had the problem solved. But, listen, tots, they didn’t. For just about then they learned something from the aviation engineers.

That was, that a wire vibrates crossways, and when it vibrates it offers just as much wind resistance as a flat edge of a hoard the width of the vibration!

In other words, if you had twenty wires stuck up and down between your wings and they vibrated two inches when the motor was running, you might just as well have braced your ship with twenty, two by fours with the narrow side facing the front. And what a lot of resistance that would cause. It would take a Cyclone motor to fight that and get any speed.

Let’s Watch the Albatross

So they started getting rid of wires wherever they could. And since we’ve started with an Albatross, let’s follow that baby through its stages of refinement. It was a good ship and once just about ruled the skies, so let’s watch a good ship grow up.

Look at Fig. 3. There’s your Albatross in 1915. Notice how much cleaner the lines are. But if you look closely and compare the trailing edge of the wings, especially around the outer extremities, you’ll see the same old design, although it has now become so modified that you’d hardly notice it if you weren’t looking for it.

But let’s go a step further. Look at 3-B. There she is in 1916-7. Still slicker. And, children, don’t let anybody tell you them wasn’t airyplanes for them days!

New Models—And Newer Ones!

So, you see, the powers behind the guns were throwing out new models faster than the automobile manufacturers do today. They wanted to have the very best airplanes they could get.

So, the engineers and manufacturers were busy night and day figuring out ways to improve the ships, and as soon as they got a new idea they would build a group of experimental ships and send them out with all the improvements for us to try out.

And since I mentioned experimental ships, it looks like a good chance to slip you a bit of information that might come in handy when you are looking at war crates. Whenever you saw a ship and the caption told you it was a Handley-Page S.E. 5, or a something else, R.E. 2, or whatever, did you ever wonder why they strung out that alphabet and numbers after the name of the ship just like a professor with a lot of A.B.’s and X.Y.Z.’s after his name? Well, here’s the dope.

Identification Letters

The British used a series of identifying type letters based on this system. Mons. Bleriot was credited with originating the tractor type airplane, so they designated the tractor types B.E. plus the number of the particular experiment of that company in building a tractor ship.

Farman was credited with originating the pusher type, and those types were Farman Experimental such-and-such a number, or F.E. 2’s or 3’s or whatever.

And also, they used other letters to indicate the duty for which the ship was to be tried out. Thus this table which you should always carry in the pocket of your Sunday pants:

B.E. was Bleriot Experimental.
F.E. meant Farman Experimental.
R.E. meant Reconnaissance Experimental.
S.E. meant Scouting Experimental.

And now I want you mugs to memorize all I’ve told you right quickly, or I’ll use EM on you, which means Eddie McCrae will experiment with breaking your heads.

Heroes of the Air: Captain J.A Liddel

Link - Posted by David on June 10, 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 30 July 1938 issue of Flying:

CAPT. J.A LIDDEL WINNING THE V.C. IN BELGIUM, JULY 23rd, 1915

On July 23rd, 1915, Captain J.A. Liddel, V.C., was making a long range reconnaissance patrol over the area around Ostend and Bruges. At that time he was in No.7 Squadron and flying an R.E.5. In order to get plenty of information he had to fly very low, with the result that he came under a great deal of anti-aircraft fire. He managed to escape the shrapnel for a little time, but he was eventually wounded in the thigh. He fainted, but the flow of cool air revived him and he took control of his machine once more, and in spite of the agony he was suffering from his wounds he continued his reconnaissance. He could have landed at once and received medical attendance, but he preferred to remain in the air, although shrapnel was now bursting around him more ferociously than before. At last, his work finished, he turned for home. On landing he was hurried to hospital where, unhappily, he died from his wounds one month later. Notification of the award was made in the London Gazette on August 3rd, 1915, with the following words: “The difficulties overcome by this officer in saving his machine and the life of his passenger cannot be readily expressed, but as the control wheel and throttle control were smashed, and also one of the undercarriage struts, it would seem incredible that he could have accomplished what he did.”

“The Vanishing Ace” by Andrew A. Caffrey

Link - Posted by David on June 7, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another story from one of the new flight of authors on the site this year—Andrew A. Caffrey. Caffrey, who was in the American Air Service in France during The Great War and worked for the air mail service upon his return, was a prolific author of aviation and adventure stories for both the pulps and slicks from the 1920’s through 1950. Here Caffrey tells the tale of Loop Murry, stunt flier for the movies who learns there’s sometime more to a man than meets the eye. From the May 1929 number of Sky Birds, it’s Andrew A. Caffrey’s “The Vanishing Ace!”

They all thought Tilton Mills was a dumb-Dora when it came to flying even though he wrote the script he was playing in. Loop Murry was doing the stunting, and damning the leading man below—but when Loop’s machine crashed in a burst of flame Tilton Mills turned out to be more than just actor-playwright!

“A Flyer in Tin” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on May 31, 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!

The Ninth was in the midst of a miserable mess. Everything tasted as if it had been sprayed with insect exterminator. Jerry had been making things very unpleasant all day. On the table in the operations room was a vitriolic message from G.H.Q. Major Garrity had not opened it. He knew what it contained. If he had read it, he probably would have killed Phineas Pinkham, and he needed every man, brainless or otherwise, in the party to come. They had been unable to spot the location of a gun battery that was wreaking havoc with every plane from every squadron in the area. They had dropped Bombs all over hell, but the battery was still doing its business.

The Limeys weren’t sending Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham any birthday cards, but he didn’t think they were mean enough to shoot at him—even in fun. And that wasn’t the only mistake Phineas made! Just consult Major Garrity!

“Flying Aces, June 1936″ by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 27, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes, or sometimes even Zeppelins like the June 1936’s cover which imagines what the new Zeppelin heading to America might look like!

The New Zeppelin Heads for America!

th_FA_3606OF COURSE we’re aware of the fact that when we discuss lighter-than-air craft we are touching on a subject that has unpleasant memories for most Americans. The Shenandoah, Akron, and Macon disasters have left in their wake a subconscious dread of Zeppelins. But perhaps we are unduly biased in our opinion as to the merits of the cigar shaped balloons that go scuttling across the sky in such a graceful manner.

But let us forget, for a moment, our own misfortunes. Across the blue Atlantic there is a nation of people who know how to build Zeppelins as they should be built. Germany has been building them for years with great success. Indeed, a German—Count Zeppelin—gave the world these giant ships.

During the War, the Zeppelin came into prominence as a military weapon (see article on the raiding Zeppelins in your April FLYING ACES). True, these Wartime gas bags were tricky and on several occasions became veritable death traps, but in spite of these misfortunes they continued in popularity until finally they were out of the experimental stage.

Then the British and Americans recognized their value. But, like us, the British also had their difficulties and crash followed crash until finally, with the destruction of the giant R-101 and its huge death toll, the English washed their hands of the business altogether.

With our several disasters, we Americans seem to be in the same boat as the British, although not officially. And so dubious glances are cast across the Big Pond as America awaits the take-off of the new Von Hindenburg (LZ-129) for Lakehurst.

According to present schedules, the new queen of the skies is to make its initial voyage to the United States early in May. The route to be followed is the northern, or Great Circle, route and the western terminus, as just noted, will be the United States Naval air station at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The hangars at Lakehurst are the only ones on the Eastern seaboard large enough to accommodate the new giant. They have been leased by the German operating company.

Of course the Germans, with their enthusiasm for lighter-than-air craft, are looking forward to a warm reception for the Von Hindenburg. They hope to establish a permanent North Atlantic passenger and mail air service, and they point out the obvious when they say it shouldn’t be done with a single ship.

Their idea is for the Americans to become convinced of the advisability of employing several Zeppelins for over water transportation and so join hands with them in completing establishment of the route. If America shows any signs of a willingness to cooperate and builds another ship, Germany plans to continue the service that is to be inaugurated this summer. If not, the new Von Hindenburg may join her sister, the Graf Zeppelin, on the South Atlantic run.

The great success that has attended the many flights of the famous Graf leads us to believe that the Zeppelin may be coming into its own. There is no reason in the world why the Von Hindenburg should not have the same success. What faults the Graf has have been eliminated’ in the new ship, and more modern construction has also been incorporated. Besides their ability to build these monsters, the Germans have an uncanny faculty for flying the cigar-shaped craft. Their inherent love for thoroughness is well applied in this respect.

One question that naturally arises in conjunction with a passenger and mail Zeppelin air service is: Does it pay? Our immediate answer is that it doesn’t. Obviously, a government subsidy is necessary. However, there is an intangible something derived that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. The good will and friendly relations which the Graf has produced in the South American countries for Germany has many times made up for the subsidy the German government has placed upon the company operating the veteran Zep.

The new markets that Germany has found and the subsequent increased trade have combined to make the idea of travel by Zeppelin a sort of national institution in Germany, and rightfully so.

The airship has often been criticized for its slow speed in comparison with heavier-than-air craft, as well as for its high cost, both initial and operating. But most of the hollering has come from the direction of the airplane groups which refuse to recognize the obvious great value which is possessed by the Graf.

THE passenger facilities and fittings for the Von Hindenburg are ultra modern. The passengers are accommodated in the hull itself. In this way, roominess is assured. There are two passenger .decks, “A” and “B.” “A” deck contains twenty-five staterooms each with two berths. Also on “A” deck are the dining saloon and reading and writing rooms. On “B” deck below are the shower baths, smoking room, and bar. The two decks, of course, have access to each other and provide a walk two hundred feet in length.

The Von Hindenburg has a cruising speed of eighty miles per hour. Her range is nearly nine thousand miles. It is expected that the Atlantic crossings will be made in sixty-five hours or less.

The new ship boasts almost twice the gas capacity of the Graf, but still it’s only forty feet longer. Against the Graf’s 3,700,000 cubic feet of lift gas space, the Von Hindenburg has a capacity for 7,000,000 cubic feet. An idea of the new craft’s greater bulk can be obtained from these figures.

Four Mercedes-Benz Diesel engines, each developing 1,200 h.p., drive this latest Zeppelin. Greater safety is derived from the employment of Diesel, instead of gasoline, engines, since the absence of gasoline and electric spark combustion reduces the fire hazard. Because of this absence of gasoline, passengers will be allowed the privilege of a smoking room.

And so we await the arrival of the great Von Hindenburg. In the meantime, anti-airship criticism should be taken with a grain of salt, for we know that this ship was built by people who know their business from the ground up and who have in the past demonstrated their natural facility for Zeppelin construction. We of FLYING ACES take this opportunity to wish the Von Hindenburg a long and successful life.

The Story of The Cover
The New Zeppelin Heads for America!: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover
Flying Aces, June 1936 by C.B. Mayshark

“Gold Flies the Gauntlet” by Orlando RIgoni

Link - Posted by David on May 24, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by Orlando Rigoni. Rigoni was a very prolific author of western and flying stories appearing in such magazines as Battle Birds, Dare-Devil Aces, Sky Birds, War Birds, Fighting Aces, Sky Fighters, Western Aces, Real Western Round-Up, Thrilling Sports, Air Trails, Western Romances, The Lone Eagle and Flying Acesamong others from roughly 1934 to 1948. He went on to have his stories appear in the slicks; wrote radio and movie scripts; write numerous western novels; and gothic romance novels using the pseudonym “Leslie Aimes.”

Rigoni was also a carpenter all his adult life and helped build Boulder Dam, the Alcan Highway, the Pacific Gas and Electric Plant in Morro Bay and Cal Poly. He was also a developer and built homes throughout the state.

It takes lead to guard gold. That’s why Tom Liston, pilot for the Roaring Buck, needed a sky-chaperon for that heavy pay dirt. He got one—Gunner Sloane, an hombre who could draw and shoot faster than a fuse can spit. But there was a debt on the books against Gunner Sloane—and when the lead began to fly, all the gold in the West wouldn’t pay it.

 

As a bonus, here’s a brief biography and picture of Orlando Rigoni that ran in the 4 June 1943 The Family Circle Magazine along with his story of railroading “I Want to Know Why”:

ORLANDO RIGONI, author of “I Want to Know Why” in this issue, appears at the left in a photograph taken in the Yukon last winter while he was working on the Alcan Highway, which, as you doubtless know, is the new road through Canada connecting the United States and Alaska. He is a writer by trade and was working on the road to get material for a novel for young people.

Mr. Rigoni is married, is a parent, and lives in Woodland Hills, California. His fiction has appeared largely in magazines publishing Western and flying stories. He often draws for his background on jobs he has held. He was once secretary to the traffic manager of an airline, and he has worked at railroading. Which you will readily believe if you read his story for us.

“Flying Aces, May 1936″ by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 20, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes, like May 1936’s thrilling story behind its cover which imagines what an action test of the mighty Douglas bombers vs the new Northrop Fighters might look like!

Action Test of the Mighty Douglas

th_FA_3605OUT of a brilliant blue haze, several streaking shapes suddenly appear. They are mid-winged, twin-motored, super-streamlined bombers. And as they come screaming down the airways, they give one an impression of darting, kill-mad hawks. Their objective is an important army field in the distance. At the critical moment, these bombers will release explosives—tons of explosives—and the field and everything on it will be blown to smitherines.

The bombing of the field is an order to be carried out—a purpose to be accomplished. The crews within the hurtling bombers close their eyes to slits, set their mouths in a firm line indicating grim determination. That field will be blown up! It must be destroyed!

But the field ahead of the stalking bombers has now come to life. In the radio room, an operator is rapidly typing a warning message which is coming in over the air. An orderly scuttles back and forth between the radio room and the C.O.’s office. Terse commands are barked out. Pilots slap on their helmets, don chutes. On their way to the hangars, they are joined by tense-looking gunners.

The greaseballs have already begun to trundle out sleek, vicious-looking Northrop fighters, and in a moment, after the pilots have clambered into their cockpits, inertia starters are gunned. A series of choking coughs ensue as the sliding pistons force out dead gas. Suddenly there is a drawn-out sputter—then, contact!

The throbbing motors are jazzed for a moment or two, then the brakes are released. Like snarling panthers, the Northrops dart forward. In a twinkling they are off the ground. They bank around tightly even before they reach the required five hundred feet. Up . . . up . . . they spiral. Then, as they reach a thousand, the pilot of the number one ship “spots” the Douglas Bombers sizzling toward the field.

The Douglases are near three thousand, but they are slithering down on a steep angle. After a moment, their speed becomes tremendous. The double-banked radials screech wildly, and the slipstream spangs out far behind the arc-ed surfaces of the glistening cantilever wings.

The Northrops scatter. They have received their combat signals via radio. Now they spread out fan-wise, still roaring away from the space over their field. But as the first of the bombers approaches, the Northrops quickly bank in from each side, knife-like, obstructing the way to the field. As they close upon the Douglas ships, they begin to spew tracer. The forward guns of each attack plane bellow grimly. The Northrops have now flashed up and over the bombers.

Suddenly the Northrop gunners swing their black-muzzled rear guns into action. A criss-cross fire from all the Northrops results. Lead flies, metal zings. The chattering is the voice of Death.

The terrific barrage makes the Douglas crews apprehensive as to their success. But they retaliate with fierce abandon. Rear gun turrets pop up, and the bird cage gunners in the bows hurl lead upon their attackers.

Abruptly, the pilot of the first Northrop slumps in his cockpit as slugs from the nearest bomber puncture his body. His ship falls off, plunges out of control to destruction below.

But the remaining Northrops knife in again upon their adversaries. One of them hurtles down the sky, flutters up under the belly of one of the enemy to strike at its vitals. Bullets pencil up at the great bomber. Suddenly, the Douglas staggers, then seems to stop altogether. It teeters drunkenly, then flames belch out and it plummets toward the earth, the whistling slipstream fanning the fires. The men within are helpless. Their ship is now their coffin.

WHAT would be the ultimate result of such an encounter between these latest Douglas Bombers and the new speedy Northrop Fighters? Will the other bombers reach and blow up their objective, or will the fighters be successful in holding them back?

We can’t say. Of course, attempts have been made to find a theoretical answer to such questions by staging sham air raids. Judges preside, and at the conclusion of the battle, a decision is rendered. But can we really tell until such an air skirmish actually happens?

FLYING ACES describes this Actionized sham battle and pictures the encounter on its cover simply to give you some idea of what it might be like. In the painting, firing is depicted and a ship is shown falling in order to make this test of the Douglas and Northrops appear more realistic.

Performance figures on these two new ships have not been released. However, we are able to tell you that 90 of these new Douglas DB-1 bombers have been ordered by the Army on a $6,498,000 contract. The experimental ship was tried with both the Pratt & Whitney “Hornet” engines and with the Wright “Cyclones.” A crew of five is carried, and in addition to bombing facilities, machine guns are fitted at strategic points offering arcs of fire covering every approach. The top speed of the Douglas approaches 250 m.p.h. (Also see description of the ship in Modern Planes Album, this issue(below)).

The Northrop Corporation (a subsidiary of Douglas) has recently been awarded orders for some 115 of the attack planes pictured on our cover at a total cost of $2,560,074. This fast ship is reputed to have a high speed of 250 m.p.h. when powered with the 750 h.p. double-banked Pratt & Whitney radial engine. The plane carries four 30 cal. fixed machine guns and one 30 cal, flexible machine gun mounted in the rear cockpit.

With the production of these two ships, a big step forward has been achieved in the field of American military aviation.

The Story of The Cover
Action Test of the Mighty Douglas: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover
Flying Aces, May 1936 by C.B. Mayshark

 

Here is the description of the new Douglas DB-1 bomber from the Modern Planes Album section of the May 1936 Flying Aces:

The Douglas DB-1 Bomber

THE new Douglas bomber which competed against the Boeing 299 and the Martin for Army Air Service favor, has several of the characteristics of the Douglas D.C.2 commercial job. It is a mid-wing monoplane with a deep body, swept-back wings, and retractable landing gear. What made the DB-1 a mid-wing was the unusual depth of the ship’s belly. In this it is much like the Martin.

So far both Wright and Pratt and Whitney radial motors have been used in the experimental job and its best top speed is said to be 250 m.p.h.

Very little is known of the machine outside of official circles. It is an all-metal job, of course, carrying two pilots—one acting as navigator and co-pilot. A gunner is mounted in the nose in a well-protected turret and it is presumed that he will be equipped with two high-speed Browning guns. A rear gunner has a turret set well down the fuselage near the fin. This turret is completely covered during ordinary flight. It also has a tunnel outlet directed under the tail to ward off attack from below.

The DB-1 carries considerable military equipment, including two-way radio, camera mountings, and the like. The bombs are carried in racks fitted in the deep body. Several types of projectiles may be carried. The wheels fold away into the deep roots of the wings.

We learn from one source that a number of these ships have been purchased for new equipment in service squadrons. The real details on the actual speed and general specifications will probably not be officially released for many months. (The Douglas DB-1 is also pictured this month on our cover (above))

An interesting comparison in the general design of this machine and the Italian Piaggio P.16 may be made if one overlooks the fact that the Italian ship has three engines whereas the Douglas is powered with two.

“Stragglers Beware!” by Captain John E. Doyle

Link - Posted by David on May 17, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of British Ace, Captain John E. Doyle, D.F.C. Born in 1893, Captain Doyle was a successful fighter pilot in WWI with 9 confirmed victories with 56 & 60 Squadrons. Near the end of the war, he was shot down and taken prisoner where they amputated his leg. After the war, he wrote three books, one of which was an autobiography, and 31 short stories for magazines like War Stories, The Scout, Popular Flying, The Aeroplane, Flying, Boys’ Ace Library, Mine, Modern Wonder and Air Stories.

Doyle wrote a half dozen stories for the British version of Air Stories featuring one Montgomery de Courcy Montmorency Hardcastle, M.C. In Scotland he was usually referred to as “His Lordship,” for he was the fourteenth Viscount Arbroath as well as the sixth Baron Cupar. Out in France he was just “Monty” behind his back, or “The Major,” or “Sir” to his face. Unfortunately, the powers that were did not approve of squadron commanders crossing the lines without their express permission. A major’s job should keep him on the ground, they ruled, looking after his unit. So Monty would have to come up with excuses to leave the base to take care of the Huns and relieve the boredom of command.

Our Monocled Major follows his own squadron’s flight as a straggler when they take on Von Vorbei and his Circus in “Stragglers Beware!” from the February 1936 issue.

The Commander of Jagdstaffel “43” had Evolved a Safe and Simple Method of Eliminating the R.F.C. in General and the Squadron of Major Montgomery Montmorency Hardcastle in Particular. But “Monty” was also a Man of Ideas and the Succulent Bait in his Trap for Fokkers was not Exactly what it Seemed!

“Flying Aces, April 1936″ by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 13, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes, but April 1936’s thrilling cover was a bit different, featuring the Trans-Atlantic Shuttle heading off over land towards the sea!

Flying the Trans-Atlantic Shuttle

th_FA_3604ALTHOUGH the art of aviation is today making great strides forward, flying, like air conditioning and television, will not enjoy its real “arrival” until tomorrow. True, the present generation is placing more and more emphasis on aeronautic progress, but the man in the street is still somewhat hampered by a kind of Nineteenth Century transportation hangover. His traditions tend to make him feel a lot happier on the ground. But even so, the speed of aero development is phenomenal.

It is only a few short years since Lindbergh made his immortal flight across the grey wastes of the Atlantic. For completing that initial scheduled air trip to Europe—we say “scheduled” because he arrived non-stop at his chosen destination—he was hailed as a Twentieth Century Christopher Columbus. He was lauded as being years ahead of the rest of us.

But now we suddenly find that he was not so many years ahead—only about ten, it now appears. For already plans are being laid for regular passenger and mail service between North America and Europe via the air lanes. The launching of this service will constitute the dawn of that tomorrow we spoke of above.

Giant flying boats will soon ply East and West, transporting passengers over three thousand miles of water at speeds undreamed of thirty-five years ago. Steamers on the water below will look as if they are going backwards. Those who make the trip will have just about enough time to enjoy a detective novel and indulge in a rubber or so of bridge before they disembark at their destination, whether it be New York, London, or Paris. Businessmen will save valuable hours—indeed, valuable days. Much money will be saved by the commercial world. Best of all, a more neighborly spirit will come to exist between the two continents.

And so it can be seen that in spite of that oft-repeated warning that “speed will kill us all,” we are going ahead. Many of the old stick-in-the-muds, in fact, are now coming over to our side; but still others will not give way. “You’re fools,” they tell us, pointing a trembling finger in our direction. “God gave us feet as a means of locomotion,” they say, “and He gave us good, solid brown earth on which to walk—so why in the name of all that’s sensible don’t we use them and stop all this monkey business of tearing around the heavens in fearful flying machines?”

But the individuals with such beliefs will soon pass on, taking all their mediaeval hoopla with them into the “good, solid brown earth” of which they have so much to say.

You who read these words won’t have quite so much trouble in carrying out your ideas when you get the reins. And then, ludicrously enough, another generation will spring up after you which will think your ideas are old fashioned.

BE THAT as it may, trans-Atlantic travel by air is soon to be a reality. FLYING ACES, to be sure, cannot at this early date predict the precise means by which this route will be established. But the newspapers these days are telling us that the foundation stones are already being laid for the U.S.-to-Europe airline.

The names of Pan-American and Sikorsky have figured prominently in the plans, but these companies will probably not have the corner on the lucrative business which will ensue from this enterprise. There are several European organizations, notably Imperial Airways and Air France, which undoubtedly intend to share in the project.

Presumably, by the time the line is ready to carry passengers, a ship suitable for the route will have been developed. In light of experiments to date, it would seem that a flying boat capable of high speeds at great altitudes would be the most logical solution to the problem. Such a plane would carry from forty to fifty passengers and travel at 250-300 m.p.h. at about 35,000 feet. The planes would fly from Northern Europe to Newfoundland, Bermuda, or both.

Bringing such a big ship into the busy and often fogbound harbors of Eastern North America might be a risky and hazardous undertaking for a large flying boat. Not that it couldn’t be accomplished. It could. But a more feasible and reasonable method has come to our minds—the use of shuttle service amphibians which could land on our larger Eastern airports as well as on the sea.

The idea of a shuttle service for air travel is not new. As a matter of fact, the Department of Commerce now has before it specifications for three ships, one of which will be built in quantity to supplement the long distance runs of the new high-altitude airliners which will replace the transports now being used on the transcontinental routes. Before long the word “shuttle” may be just as common to air travel as it is at the present time to our New York subway transportation.

The Sikorsky Manufacturing Company is building nine of the recently developed S-43’s for Pan-American Airways. The ship is brand new, and it incorporates all the latest aids to aerial navigation. It is of the amphibian type and is powered with two radial engines. Its seating capacity is for less than twenty passengers. Such a ship would be ideal for a shuttle service between New York and the two terminals of the big ocean-going transports at Newfoundland and Bermuda. Passengers could embark at Floyd Bennett Field or Newark and be whisked in a few hours to either of the two bases. They would there make connections with a trans-Atlantic airliner for European ports.

ON OUR cover this month we show a Sikorsky S-43 flying out over New York at night bound for Bermuda or Newfoundland. The passengers aboard are confident, and they know that in an amazingly short period of time they will be in Europe—three thousand miles from New York.

Of course, it is impossible for us to say definitely that the trans-Atlantic route will be carried on exactly as we have pictured it. The whole thing is a matter of conjecture at the present time. But it will be well if we prepare ourselves mentally for what is bound to come. Within the next two or three years, trans-Atlantic air travel will be a reality.

The Story of The Cover
Flying the Trans-Atlantic Shuttle: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover
Flying Aces, April 1936 by C.B. Mayshark

“Winged Conspiracy” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on May 10, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure with Rusty Wade from the pen of Frank Richardson Pierce. Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger. Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

Rusty’s passenger was an Alaskan, but curiously enough the old sour dough was headed for a middle-west city instead of the North. The man had offered him a thousand dollars to land him in time for a ten o’clock stockholders’ meeting and Rusty seemed in a fair way to claim the money. It was purely a sporting proposition with him. If he failed he would not get a cent.

From the pages of the September 1929 Air Trails, it’s our old pal Rusty Wade in Frank Richardson Pierce’s “Winged Conspiracy!”

Rusty Wade lands in the middle of white water and a snarling hail of bullets!

“Flying Aces, March 1936″ by C.B. Mayshark

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

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes, like March 1936’s thrilling story behind its cover which imagines what a clash between Russia and Japan might look like!

Russia Clashes with Japan

th_FA_3603A NEWLY-ESTABLISHED Japanese air base in the Nippon-controlled area of Manchuria is suddenly startled into great activity. A distant purr of motors has been heard, and in a moment the purr becomes a roar—not the staccato roar of a single, hurtling ship, but the slurred thundering of a dozen or more. The unscheduled racket means but one thing: Attack from the air!

In a moment the foremost ship of the raiding flight plunges into view. A Japanese observer on a tower excitedly jots some characters and figures on a slip of paper. Then he grabs his phone.

“Commanding officer? Tower observer speaking. Russian reconnaissance planes leading bombing attack. Objective—either flying field or naval vessels in outer harbor. Planes at about four thousand feet. That’s all, sir.”

Suddenly the telegraph instruments in the communications room crackle to life, while three or four radio operators get busy at the dials. In two or three minutes every Japanese commanding officer in the area is advised of the Russian air offensive.

IN JUST such a manner as we have portrayed above, the Far East may at any time be plunged into war. But we hasten to say that our imaginative clash is the second act and not the first act of the drama. Initially, there would probably be some detonating altercation at the border in which each party would be as much to blame as the other. Diplomatic relations between Japan and Russia has, in recent months, been considerably strained. With these two powers rubbing each other the wrong way, some slight misunderstanding at the frontier might set off the powder keg. The territorial controversy is so entangled that either might be the aggressor. In short, our scene above might just as likely find Japanese planes raiding a Russian base as vice versa; for by that time, the trouble will have already begun.

In the meantime, we can only hope that relations between the two countries may improve to a point where such a war may be sidestepped.

The last “official disagreement” between Japan and Russia occurred in 1904-05. Before the entanglement, numerous diplomatic conversations took place, the main discussion revolving about the vast stretches of land to the North of China. Eventually, however, relations were severed and war declared.

And now history may repeat itself. Whereas there has as yet been no severance of relations, it is the belief in many quarters that the patience of officials of both governments has already been taxed to the breaking point.

But a new Russo-Japanese war would be different from the last one. With the turn of the century, mechanized warfare had just come into its own and the 1904-05 Far Eastern conflict was a prime example of the new mode. But that war will seem like a practice maneuver alongside of a Far East war 1936 style. To be sure, there were several large scale battles in the last entanglement and many thousands of lives were lost. But what is the annihilation of a body of troops trained in the business of war against the possible butchering of a huge civil population?

The 1904-1905 war was, in the main, a series of naval engagements. Actually, the decisive battles took place on land; but it was the Japanese navy, adroitly handled, which assured success for the Land of the Rising Sun. Russia, too, had plenty of strength on the sea, but she couldn’t cope with the masterful tactics of the Japanese commanders who were navigating in waters close to home. The Russian fleet as well as her troops were too far away from Moscow to move intelligently and cooperatively. And so Japan won the war.

Peace ensued for a number of years, but now once more the old story springs into the headlines. Japan needs to expand. And she may encroach upon Russian sovereignty in doing it. And Russia, quite naturally, balks. What will be the outcome? Will there be war? Very likely Japan has become nervous over the manner in which the League of Nations has launched sanctions upon Italy. Maybe both she and Russia will think twice before going to war in earnest. Effective sanctions would certainly cripple Japan in short order. True, Japan is no longer a member of the League, but sanctions could still be imposed.

Now let us consider such a 1936 Far East conflict. Russia is not so far away as she was in 1904. The mileage is the same, of course, but the transportation time is vastly less. Russia’s main difficulty in 1904 was in transporting troops and material with only one railroad line. Today facilities are better, but that is only part of the story. The air aspect will be the most important feature in a new war.

With the fast, mammoth ships of the air recently built by Russia, men and materials could be transported across the wastes of Siberia with a speed that would make the rail trip of 1904 look silly. But the transportation problem is only one angle which would be solved by airplanes. The important offensive and defensive gestures would be carried out by means of aircraft—not only on the part of Russia, but Japan, as well.

AND now let us return to our raid. As the Russians attack, a flight of seaplanes quickly takes off from a nearby base and rushes into the fray. On our cover, we show one of these craft intercepting a Russian plane. What will be the outcome? We can’t tell. It is hard to say which of two military planes will be victorious in an air battle which has never been fought and which may never come to pass.

But this much we do know: A new war in the Far East will be a veritable hell on earth. And that hell, ironically enough, will come from the direction of heaven—via the air lanes.

The Russian plane is an R-5 biplane powered with a 650 h.p. M-17 (Russian built B.M.W.) motor. The ship is equipped with two Lewis and two Vickers guns. The Japanese ship is a Kawanishi 90 reconnaissance seaplane powered with a 450 h.p. Japanese-made “Jupiter.”

The Story of The Cover
Russia Clashes with Japan: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover
Flying Aces, March 1936 by C.B. Mayshark

“Say It With Bombs” by Franklin M. Ritchie

Link - Posted by David on May 3, 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 Flying Aces, Ritchie gives us a tale of bomber Jim Barker who longed to show everyone that even a bombing pilot can get Germany’s most ruthless Ace, by any means necessary! From the February 1929 issue of Flying Aces, it’s Franklin M. Ritchie’s “Say It With Bombs!”

When the swarm of German Fokkers swept out of the clouds and met an American bombing party they struck a lot of red-hot action they hadn’t counted on. Jim Barker believed in using whatever tools are at hand—and, “They Learned about bombs from him.”

“Half-Shot at Chaumont” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on April 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!

Even though Phineas Pinkham’s been grounded and confined to the base, it goes without saying that he is the only witness that can exonerate the Old Man in a Court-Martial that stems from an altercation with Brigadier-General Wolfe at the Cafe of the Red Cow in Bar-le-Duc.

There was something pretty harsh in the U.S. Army regulations about a private impersonating an officer. But even Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham was bright enough to know that an officer couldn’t get busted for impersonating a private!

“Lifeline!” by Arnold Lorne Hicks

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

THIS week we present another cover by Arnold Lorne Hicks! Hicks worked in the pulps primarily from the late ’20’s to the mid 30’s, producing covers for such magazines as North-West Stories, Navy Stories, Police Stories, Detective Dragnet, Sky Birds, Golden West, Western Trails, Love Adventures, and a couple covers for Flying Aces!

“Lifeline!”

th_FA_3011THIS month’s cover shows a daring rescue of a Yank airman by a fellow flyer. Seeing his buddy going down in a flaming plane, the flyer swoops down and throws a knotted rope to the Yank. He grabs it, and is shown in the act of pulling himself up from his blazing crate toward the rescuing plane.

   

   

The Ships on The Cover
“Lifeline!”
Flying Aces, November 1930 by Arnold Lorne Hicks

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