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“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

“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

“Aces of Destiny” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 29, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

TO ROUND off Mosquito Month we have a non-Mosquitoes story from the pen of Ralph Oppenheim. In the mid thirties, Oppenheim wrote a half dozen stories for Sky Fighters featuring Lt. “Streak” Davis. Davis—ace and hellion of the 25th United States Pursuit Squadron—was a fighter, and the speed with which he hurled his plane to the attack, straight and true as an arrow, had won him his soubriquet. Once more it’s a battle against time—B Flight is sent out on a perilous mission to destroy the new Boche anti-tank gun munitions factory by noon in hopes of preventing a massacre when the Allies push forward in their new Whippet tanks. However, after B flight has taken off, Streak learns a spy may have fouled their mission somehow and flies off like a streak to stop them before it’s too late! From the August 1936 issue of Sky Fighters it’s Ralph Oppenheim’s steak Davis in “Aces of Destiny!”

“Streak” Davis, Lone-handed, Braves Enemy Air Against a Menacing Hun Swarm! Death-Dealing Fokkers Form a Ring of Havoc Around a Hellbent Yank Ace! A Complete Novel of Sky-High War-Air Action!

“Bomber’s Luck” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 22, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re celebrating the Christmas Season with The Coffin Crew! Yes, Arch Whitehouse’s hell-raising Handley Page bomber crew! Piloting the bus is the mad Englishman, Lieutenant Graham Townsend, with the equally mad Canadian Lieutenant Phil Armitage serving as reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. And don’t forget the silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, usually dragging on his short clay pipe while working over the toggle board dropping the bombs with Alfred Tate and crazy Australian Andy Marks or Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

To Sergeant Ryan there was one square mile of enemy territory that must remain inviolate—yet Fate made it the objective of the most daring raid of that crazy band of bombers, the Coffin Crew! From the pages of the July 1936 issue of the British Air Stories magazine, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s “Bomber’s Luck!”

A Raid, whatever its Objective, was All Part of the Game to that Crazy Band of Bombers, the Coffin Crew of the Independent Air Force—until Fate Decreed that the Hand of Sergeant Ryan should be the One to Loose Death and Destruction upon the One Square Mile of Enemy Territory that, to Him, Must Ever Remain Inviolate!

Be sure to drop by next week for another mad cap romp, or two, through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

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

Link - Posted by David on May 29, 2023 @ 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 January 1936’s thrilling story behind its cover is a tribute to Pan American as it spans the Pacific!

Pan American Spans the Pacific

th_FA_3602MAN has fulfilled one of the most ambitious dreams of modern transportation! He has conquered the Pacific. Giant, four-engined Pan-American flying boats now ply in regular passenger and mail flights from California to China, with intermediate stops at Hawaii, Midway, Wake, Guam, and the Philippines. People are flying across the world’s vastest body of water in some 60 hours of flying time, whereas hardly yesterday such a journey consumed the greater part of a month.

To be sure, people now make this momentous flight for the novelty of it. But tomorrow the whole matter will be routine. It will be accepted in the same manner as the rising generation takes airplanes and radio for granted.

It’s possible that the passengers who make the inaugural flights in the clipper ships will be under the delusion that they are pioneers of some sort who possess in abundance that fortitude required to undertake hazardous adventures. Unfortunately, however, they’ll be wrong if they think so, for the real pioneering will have been long since completed when they board the speedy aircraft that will link the Occident with the Orient. In fact, there will be no hazardous elements whatsoever attached to their venture—the real pioneers have seen to it that the line offers the maximum of security.

“Still, we might satisfy the ego of the initial passenger by making a concession. We might, with a stretch of the imagination, term him an armchair adventurer. And when we say “armchair adventurer,” we mean just that. For as the huge China Clipper streaks across the Pacific skies, our friend will be slouched comfortably in an upholstered chair, tilted so that the maximum restfulness is assured. From this point of vantage, he can gaze out of the windows at toy objects thousands of feet below—ships. Or he can read his favorite magazine or book, play a hand of bridge, write a letter, doze off for a nap, or . . . . oh, well, he can do any one of a dozen pleasant things. Be assured that Pan-American has it all figured out.

And our hero doesn’t have to worry about navigation, radio communication, gas consumption, engine control, wind velocity, or any other of the hundred and one things which are checked constantly. There is a first-rate pilot, co-pilot, and radio operator in the control cabin attending to all of these things for him. And those men are the finest of their profession in the world. They have seen years of experience on the extensive routes of Pan-American in the Caribbean and in Latin and South America. They have intensive schooling in flight and theory behind them.

But there are other and more important elements which enter into the picture. The officials of Pan-American didn’t decide overnight to establish a transpacific air route. It is much more involved than that. As far back as early 1931, the project was outlined and experimentation launched. Juan Trippe, president of Pan-American Airways; Andre Priester, the line’s chief engineer, and Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh together conceived the idea of the Pacific run and directed the actual work. There were many angles to be considered—route, type of ship, fueling bases, servicing stations, ad infinitum. By the merest chance, the islands which were the most logical stepping stones for such a flight are in the possession of the United States.

And so the work of fitting out the island stations was started. On March 27, 1934, the steamer North Haven steamed out from the Golden Gate with enough equipment on board to establish five air bases—and the bases were built and in running order in four months’ time. One of the islands—Wake—heretofore has been devoid of human life. Radio and power equipment as well as food and knock-down houses had to be transported and set up. But the work progressed step by step, with the result that in a few months’ time a complete island air depot existed on a speck of rock and coral which had never before supported human beings.

At the same time that the route was being studied and laid out, the problem of the type of ship to fly over it was being considered. A large part of the Pan-American equipment consists of Sikorskys and it was logical that a new Sikorsky be built for the Pacific route. About a year ago the S-42 was completed and given her trial runs over the already established Caribbean routes. When it was decided that the new ship possessed the requirements for a trans-Pacifie run, it was brought to the West Coast and on April 15 a crew headed by Captain Edwin C. Musick took her off the water at San Francisco and headed her for Honolulu, 2,400 miles away. Several test flights over the Pacific were made in the new Sikorsky, and so thorough had been the planning and laboratory work that even these first trips were accomplished exactly according to schedule.

But when regular mail and passenger flights commence, a ship other than the Sikorsky will be put into service. Early in October, Pan-American accepted delivery from the Glen L. Martin Co. of the largest flying boat ever to be built in this country. The ship has been christened the China Clipper and it is this new huge, four-motored flying boat that’will see service on the new route.

AND so it can be seen that if our friend lounging in a comfortable armchair tilted back at the angle which most serves his convenience and gazing out of the windows of the streaking China Clipper has any fears, they are only imaginary. But very likely he will still insist that what he is doing parallels the feats of the pioneers in the early 1800’s. And that’s okay with us and probably with the officials of Pan-American, too.

The real story of the trans-Pacific conquest, to our way of thinking, centers upon the formidable work accomplished in laying the foundations of the line. The real heroes are the squads of men who struggled in the face of many hardships to construct the island stations in order that those who now fly the long route may enjoy the securities and conveniences which are one with modern transportation.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, February 1936 by C.B. Mayshark
Pan American Spans the Pacific: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

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

Link - Posted by David on May 22, 2023 @ 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 January 1936’s thrilling story behind its cover portrays one of the means by which military action might be applied against Italy, whom the League regards as the aggressor in the Italo-Ethiopian conflict by the other League of Nation members!

Legions of the League

th_FA_3601FOR the first time since the inception of the League of Nations, members of that international body have combined in an effort to restrain a member State from pursuing a “war of aggression.” The invocation of the Covenant’s dreaded Article XVI sets a decided precedent, and those peace-loving inhabitants of the earth who place their faith in the League are proud of the fact that at last a united exertion of power has been mobilized in opposition to conquest by the force of arms. The League Covenant states that a member may not go to war, either officially or unofficially, against another member for the purpose of annexing territory. If an act of war is committed in defiance of the Covenant, the other members have the right to punish the offending nation with a view to ending hostilities. If economic and financial sanctions fail to provoke an attitude of cooperation on the part of the aggressor, then the only course open for the League is the application of force. In other words, the League may declare a war to end a war.

This month we have portrayed on our cover one of the means by which military action might be applied against Italy, whom the League regards as the aggressor in the Italo-Ethiopian conflict. The ominous shadow of the powerful air forces of the three leading members of the League—England, France, and Russia—might prove in itself to be a threat of sufficient force to curb Italy. On the other hand, it might not.

Italy is rightly a proud nation. More than once in the course of her colorful history she has been the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, and the Twentieth Century finds her among the world’s first rank powers. However, the consensus is that Italy cannot afford to resist such military sanctions as Britain, France, and Russia could array against her.

Thus far, Italy has turned a deaf ear to the dangers of economic and financial sanctions. As this is written, the League has just applied boycotts on Italian exports and has barred the import of key products. This drastic move is designed to cut Rome’s vital sales by 70 per cent, thereby putting millions of Italians out of work. Common sense tells us that if this move is effective, Italian resources will be strained to the limit if Rome intends to continue the African war. However, the likelihood of her immediately withdrawing her troops seems remote, however effective the League boycott may prove to be. It is with alarm, therefore, that we view the future if present sanctions fail to force peace. As has been said, the only recourse is the application of armed force—unless the League backs out.

If an actual conflict between Italy and the League members comes to pass, it is difficult to say whether it would take place on the Continent, in Africa, in the Mediterranean, or all three. The present concentration of Italian troops in Libya forces us to imagine a bloody slaughter on the rolling sands of north Africa. On the other hand, Italy’s fortification of her own borders is stronger than ever.

But wherever the struggle takes place, the fearful hum of League planes over the boot of Italy would be inevitable—providing such a fracas actually begins. And that is the picture that the League will attempt to force on the minds of those it blames for the continuance of current hostilities in Africa. For it is only with the realization of such opposition that Italy will retreat.

Of course it is ridiculous to suppose that a gigantic League air force would advance on Italy and bomb a helpless civil population. Only points of military importance would be marked for annihilation, but, as in all conflicts, the invading force would not be held responsible for damage done to civil property. And in the end, of course, the civil population always suffers the most.

Air raid drills for the protection of the populace are already being held in Italy. By posters, apparatus, and demonstration, the people will be taught how to face gas attacks from the air. Undoubtedly, this is throwing a scare into the entire Italian population, but the people are being assured that there is no chance of anyone finding a new gas against which they cannot be protected. That, however, must be taken with a grain of salt.

But all of this may not come to pass. The desperate peace overtures now being pushed by the League may be successful, with the result that the general mobilization moves now in progress all over Europe will come to a halt. Yet the tension that exists as this is written is greater than at any time since 1914. Each government involved in present negotiations hardly desires to retreat or give quarter for fear of losing international prestige. And prestige is something that is coveted by every country. But a way out may be found. If a treaty contains provisions for Italian expansion, very likely peace will ensue.

A parting word concerning the attitude of our own country, the United States: An arms embargo is now in effect and provisions are being made to halt the export of key implements and products to the belligerents. It is obvious that our nation does not want war. The likelihood of our remaining free of the conflict is possible only if we show a disposition to steer clear of the brief and dangerous profits that invariably ensue from an armed contest. It appears that we are taking adequate measures to prevent menacing foreign entanglements.

THE three planes on our cover are symbolic of the air forces the League might call into action. The British ship is a Handley-Page “Heyford” night bomber equipped with two Rolls Royce “Kestrel” engines. It is a single-bay biplane with dihedral on both wings. Automatic slots are fitted to the upper wing, giving lateral control and added stability. Three gun positions are provided, being so placed that the gunners are afforded excellent arcs of fire.

The French ship is a new style Breguet bomber and is touted as “the fastest bomber in the world.” It has only recently been adopted by the French Army, hence no details on the ship are available.

The Russian ship is an Ossaviachim Air 7. It is a low-wing monoplane and is classed as an attack ship. Figures on the performance of this plane are likewise unavailable.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, January 1936 by C.B. Mayshark
Legions of the League: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

“Hell-Fire Cure” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on January 6, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air.

From the October 1936 issue of Sky Fighters—Lieutenant Carter was to be pitied. Carter’s nerve fibres had been frayed by constant action, frayed to such an extent that not even a stiff slug of liquor held him up now. It was pitiful. Carter, the hell-cat of “A” Flight, the man with a long list of Hun ships to his log—was done. Washed out—unless he could find a “Hell-Fire Cure!”

An Ace of the Air Rides Like a Winged Devil Against the Flaming Guns of the Enemy!

The Lone Eagle, May 1936 by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on September 26, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of The Lone Eagle from its first issue in September 1933 until the June 1937 issue when he would share duties with Rudolph Belarski. At the start of the run, Frandzen painted covers of general air action much like his Sky Fighters covers, shifting to covers featuring famous aces at the end of 1935. For the May 1936 issue, Frandzen gives us a Nieuport 28 and Pfalz D3 locked in combat!

The Story of the Cover

SOME planes had famous th_LE_3605 ancestors whose reputations had to be upheld. The Nieuport line was of the French aristocracy of war planes. The early Nieuport scouts were named “avions de chasse.” They were to the world war what the cavaliers clad in shining armour riding prancing Arabian horses were to the Middle Ages. The end of the war saw the Nieuport 28C1, a single-seater fighter, which made those American pilots speak of this plane with affection almost twenty years after the war.

The Germans had the Pfalz line of single-seater planes whose ancestry was not so clear. The early Pfalz D3 in fact had so many characteristics of the Nieuport of its time that it has not been free from the slur of being a copy. The Pfalz D13 of 1918 tried to save the family name by having a design all its own.

A Brilliant Ace

Frank L. Baylies was a member of the old Lafayette Escadrille. He was invited to join the Stork squadron of French veteran fighters. This young American airman was a brilliant star in a firmament of older aces. Baylies had twelve official victories credited to his skill in less than six months. The courageous qualities that endeared him to his comrades led him into an ambush on June 17, 1918. Flying well in German territory he attacked three enemy ships but a fourth German plane lurking above unseen came down on Baylies from the rear. Baylies’ plane fell in German territory.

The details of his last fight are clouded in the mystery of war, but the memory of one of America’s most intrepid airmen lives as a shining glory.

Prisoners of war were not always treated as “enemies” on our side of the lines. Usually they were steered to a liquid-soaked plank on which sundry bottles, glasses and other necessary drinking paraphenalia reposed.

Cognac and vintage wines skidded over appreciative palates. Any differences of opinion went by the board. After that. Max, Fritz or Oscar was merely on the wrong side of the argument, but he was a flyer and deserved a square deal before being thrown into clank for the duration of the war.

Such a situation arose one day when a wobbling German plane was forced down adjacent to a Yank drome. He was in one piece and thirsty. He sang a good bass to “Sweet Adeline.” He held his liquor like a gentleman and he could run like Nurmi.

He demonstrated this fact by grabbing the only .45 automatic in the crowd and sprinting across the flying field, hopping into a Nieuport 28 and getting off the field fifty yards ahead of a Yank who was testing a captured Pfalz D13 which had a trick Fokker tail in its rear section. Neither of the ships had ammo.

Duelling in Darkness

Both aviators had side arms, A cockeyed duel ensued as darkness began to fall. Two powerful planes heeled with pea shooters. They blazed at each other industriously. They did not see three cruising Allied planes rushing at them, nor did they see three German planes until the half dozen ships broke in on their private scrap with a bang. The German pilot in the Nieuport shrugged his shoulders and snuggled in among the Allied planes. The Yank took his lead and flipped his Pfalz among the Germans. Both foursomes veered off and headed for their own lines. The two revolver dueling airmen raised imaginary glasses to their lips; toasted each other, then as dusk crept deeper over the blurred formations, cut out and headed for their own lines.

As they passed each other at combined speeds of about 280 miles per hour, they let go a final parting shot from their pea shooters, a friendly salute till they could get a few assorted machine-guns anchored on the top cowling and go after this business of killing each other in a really serious manner.

The Story of The Cover
The Lone Eagle, May 1936 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Story of The Cover Page)

“Sky Writers, December 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on April 20, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the December 1936 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

“Sky Writers, October 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on March 23, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the October 1936 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

“Sky Writers, September 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on February 23, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the September 1936 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

“Sky Writers, May 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 26, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the May 1936 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

“Sky Writers, November 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on November 18, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the November 1936 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

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