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“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

“The Poisoned Pup Squadron” by Andrew A. Caffrey

Link - Posted by David on April 19, 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 Lieutenant Harry Pond.

To hear the Fight commander tell it, “Look at the luck Pond’s having. Seven Hun planes in less than two weeks. Two in one day. And before each take-off, Harry’s down on his prayer bones in the cockpit; the while, if a mechanic comes alongside, Harry makes him think that he’s adjusting the toe straps on the rudder bar. Crafty boy, Harry; he’s just making a gang of two with God and licking the world. So I’d advise you fellows to go into partnership too.”

Thing was, Pond was messing with his rudder-bar strap. Lieutenant Pond didn’t really like killing. The killing thing, to him, was merely a part of war. He was at war, so he killed. But he killed strictly according to the book, with the true standards of sportsmanship always in mind. Even if it meant allowing an enemy pilot to return home. From the December 1928 number of Flying Aces, it’s Andrew A. Caffrey’s “The Poisoned Pup Squadron!”

When the enemy shot down Pond’s buddy in an orange-black plume of flame, doing this hellish thing against certain unwritten rules of air warfare, trouble started for fair—and then some!

“The “Ace-In-The-Hole” Gang” by F.H. Griggs, Jr.

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

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure from the pen of F.H. Griggs, Jr. Griggs is a rather enigmatic figure with just two stories to his name from those issues indexed by Fiction Mags.

The “Ace-In-The-Hole” Gang is a trio of pilots who came together when they realized they had similarities in their styles of attack and in their disposition. Each of the three men had in his make-up, a strong sense of duty, a responsibility for being in the thick of things, and as time went on the love between them defied death itself. Their fame had spread all along the western front. The trio worked as an independent flight, and were able to stop and refuel at any drome as need be. They were treated as celebrities with the red carpet rolled out for them wherever they alighted.

From the pages of the November 1928 Flying Aces, F.H. Griggs, Jr. tells the tale of “The “Ace-In-The-Hole” Gang’s” final flight.

Captain Billy’s lust to kill should have been satisfied before he ran into a flight of five Fokkers, but he had a debt to pay—and the story of how he paid in full will remain with you as an unforgetable memory as long as you live!

The Three Wasps!

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

WHILE recently looking through Harold Hersey’s short-run aviation titles, I came upon what I thought was a new series we could feature on the site, or maybe in a book if there were enough stories. Thumbing though the first issue of Hersey’s Eagles of the Air there was an ad for the next issue stating, “Another Story of The “WASPS”"

I looked in the next issue and there they were as well as running in three of the other seven issues of the run—five tales in all. I scanned the pages to read later and continued searching through the various titles.

Later, while reading the first one, I was thinking this all sounds so familiar. I was thinking this was a story I had just read—and it was, but then it was a story staring Ralph Oppenheim’s “Three Mosquitoes,” not D. Campbell’s “Three Wasps.” So I pulled up the Mosquitoes version of the story and Campbell’s story was a virtual word-for-word copy of of Oppenheim’s—all he did was change the names of the characters.

So Kirby, the young impetuous leader of the Three Mosquitoes becomes Gary, the young impetuous leader of the Three Wasps. “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito becomes the mild-eyed, corpulent “Shorty” Keen, complete with briar pipe in Campbell’s Wasps. To complete the inseparable trio, Travis, the oldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes, has his name changed to Cooper.


The Text. A portion of the D. Campbell’s “Dangerous Business” (Eagles of the Air, Nov 1929) on the left and the similar passage from Ralph Oppenheim’s “Stacked Cards” (War Birds, Jul 1928) on the right.

I couldn’t believe it. So I checked out the Wasps story in the next issue and it was the same thing. And so on with the other three—sometimes even forgetting to change “Mosquitoes” to “Wasps”. All five stories were plagiarized from Oppenhiem’s stories. Instead of just stealing a random story like Robert A. Carter had done, D. Campbell was plagiarizing a whole series!

It seemed a bold move that nobody seemed to notice. Weirdly, I could find no mention of it in the newspapers of the time. The only hint of something being up was pointed out by a reader whose letter ran in the same issue as the final Wasps story.

So who was this D. Campbell? I thought at first it was just an alias for Oppenheim who was simply trying to repackage his Three Mosquitoes stories as The Three Wasps and get paid for them again—’cause nobody would be so bold, but D. Campbell it turns out, is an actual guy.

Donald Marr Campbell was born on September 2nd, 1904 in Cambellton, Texas and had his first story in the pulps, “King Ranch,” in the February 11th, 1928 issue of West. He’s credited with a couple dozen stories that run the gamut from aviation to detective to spy to westerns with his last appearing in the March 1932 issue of The Shadow

Campbell listed his occupation as Cafe Operator in the 1940 census and signed up for the war effort in 1942. Sadly, in the 1950 census he is listed as being unable to walk. He moved to Houston in 1956 where he lived until he passed away in 1974 at the age of 69 following an extended illness.

Looking at some of his other published stories, it turns out there was an earlier plagiarized Wasp story that appeared in the April 1929 Flying Aces. This would make it the first of the Wasp stories. The issue also include a letter of thanks for publishing from Campbell!

In all Campbell had six stories of the Wasps published. Each was a virtual word for word copy of a preexisting story of the Three Mosquitoes by Ralph Oppenhiem. They were:

  • Flying To Glory (Flying Aces, Apr 1929) is based on Oppenheim’s Down from the Clouds (War Stories, Aug 19, 1927)
  • Reckless and Lucky (Eagles of the Air, Oct 1929) is based on Oppenheim’s Two Aces~and A Joker (War Birds, Jun 1928)
  • Dangerous Business (Eagles of the Air, Nov 1929) is based on Oppenheim’s Stacked Cards (War Birds, Jul 1928)
  • Luck of the Wasps (Eagles of the Air, Jan 1930) is from Oppenheim’s An Ace In The Hole (War Stories Mar 29, 1928)
  • Three Flying Fools (Eagles of the Air Feb 1930) is from Oppenheim’s Get That Gun (War Stories Nov 8, 1928)
  • The Wasps (Eagles of the Air Mar 1930) is from Oppenheim’s Two Aces—In Dutch (War Stories, Dec 6, 1928)

But what better way than to see for yourself. So we’ll be posting couple of the Wasps’ adventures over the next week. As the Three Mosquitoes and the Three Wasps would both say, “Let’s Go!”

The first of D. Campbell’s Three Wasps stories appeared in the pages of the April 1929 Flying Aces. The greatest fighting war-birds on the Western Front roar into action. The three Spads flying in a V formation so precise that they seemed as one. On their trim khaki fuselages, were three identical insignias—each a huge, black-painted picture of a grim-looking wasp. In the cockpits sat the reckless, inseparable trio known as the “Three Wasps.” Captain Gary, their impetuous young leader, always flying point. On his right, “Shorty” Keen, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito, who loved his sleep. And on Kirby’s left, completing the V, the eldest and wisest of the trio—long-faced and taciturn Cooper.

A new C.O. has been assigned to the squadron and he can’t stand pilots who “grand-stand” which is the Mosquitoes stock-in-trade and boy do they catch hell when they get on the C.O.’s wrong side—that is until the C.O. gets in a jam and it’s trick flying that’ll save him when the Boche attack!

The C.O. called them babies and forbade stunt flying. Not content with that he separated the Three Wasps, the greatest flying, fighting trio he had. Hatred was rampant. But all this was forgotten when the great call came!

Compare this to Oppenheim’s original version of the story with The Three Mosquitoes!

Down from the Clouds

The C.O. of the flying field was sore—the Three Mosquitoes, dare-devils supreme were doing their “grand-stand stuff” again. But when the C.O. found himself in difficulties, with Boche planes swarming all around him—things were different. The best flying story of the month.

And check back on Friday when the Wasps will be back with another exciting adventure!

“Beware of the Heinie in the sun!” by Arnold Lorne Hicks

Link - Posted by David on February 26, 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!

“Beware of the Heinie in the sun!”

th_FA_3010THIS month’s cover shows you the reason for that warning phrase heard in every Allied airdrome during the war—”Beware of the Heinie in the sun!” German flyers had a habit of hiding in the sun, so that Allied airmen could not see them until they were ready to swoop down with machine guns blazing. In our cover, the Yank pilot has just caught sight of tho German plane silhouetted against the sun. Vickers will soon be trading tracers with Spandaus.

The Ships on The Cover
“Beware of the Heinie in the sun!”
Flying Aces, October 1930 by Arnold Lorne Hicks

“At Target 808″ by O.B. Myers

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

THIS week we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Bat Armstrong and Chuck Pearce were tired of réglage work in an old Sopwith behind enemy lines. But when a new, speedy S.E.5 is stolen, they manage to prove it’s not how fast your ship is, but knowing where you are—and hopefully that’s not “At Target 808!” From the pages of the January 1933 number of Flying Aces!

Down upon that swiftly moving Fokker dived the ancient Sop Strutter—and the Fokker fled. But those two Yanks should have guessed that tohen a speedy German scout ran from a clumsy observation crate, danger lay ahead—a danger greater than Spandau bullets!

“Please Omit Flowers” by Joe Archibald

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

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

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

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

“A Fiery Rescue” by J.W. Scott

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

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

A Fiery Rescue

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

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

“Junkers–C.O.D.” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on November 24, 2023 @ 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!

For almost three weeks now the welfare of Butch McGinty had been a matter of great concern to the war birds of the Ninth Pursuit. For on the shoulders of this one hundred and seventy-five pound greaseball, once a prelim boxer in cauliflower alley across the pond, rested enough squadron pay to buy out every estaminet in Bar-le-Duc. In just two days Butch was going into the ring to battle Sergeant “ ’Arry Hingleside,” pride of the British Air Force and runner-up for the British light-heavyweight title. The problem—Butch’s training was under the guidance of one Phineas Pinkham! From the pages of the November 1931 Flying Aces, it’s Joe Archibald’s “Junkers—C.O.D.!”

King George offered five hundred pounds in good British currency to the peelot who brought down Mannheim, the famous German Ace. Oh well, business before pleasure had always been the motto of Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham.

“Fonck Gets Guynemer’s Slayer” by Paul J. Bissell

Link - Posted by David on November 20, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present another of Paul Bissell’s covers for Flying Aces! Bissell is mainly known for doing the covers of Flying Aces from 1931 through 1934 when C.B. Mayshark took over duties. For the December 1931 cover Bissell put us right in the action as Fonck gets the pilot who shot down Guynemer!

Fonck Gets Guynemer’s Slayer

th_FA_3112FIVE miles below lies the earth. Above floating white clouds, two planes maneuver, silhouetted dark against the sky. One, a Spad, is piloted by the famous French ace, Rene Fonck; the other, a Rumpler, has in its cockpit Captain Wissemann, who just three weeks before had downed France’s beloved airman—Guynemer.

A dive puts the Spad under the Rumpler’s tail, and Fonck maintains his position there where the enemy bullets cannot reach him. Now back on his stick! Carefully he brings the red machine in line with his Vickers. Then one short burst—just six shots, but six shots from France’s super-marksman of the air. And the German pilot is dead at the stick, a bullet through his head!

Three of the other five bullets have found their mark in the observer. A fourth has punctured the gas tank. The Rumpler’s tail kicks up, the whole plane twisting as it goes over, throwing the observer out of the cockpit and clear of the machine. For an instant he hangs, twisting and clutching, before he starts his plunge, racing the already burning plane to earth.

The Rumpler, a mass of twisting flame, spins crazily downward. Its wings fall away, and now, three miles straight down it plunges, a smoking meteor, carrying in its fiery cockpit the body of Captain Wissemann, brought down by Rene Fonck. Guynemer’s death is avenged!

The Ships on The Cover
“Fonck Gets Guynemer’s Slayer”
Flying Aces, December 1931 by Paul j. Bissell

“The Devil’s Ray” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on November 17, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of Donald E. Keyhoe—his first in the pages of Flying Aces magazine, which ran a story by Keyhoe in most of their issue from January 1930 through September 1942, featuring characters like Richard Knight, Eric Trent or Captain Philip Strange! Before Keyhoe started up the series characters, he wrote other stories of then present day aviation situations—especially situations in the Far East.

Sandwiched inbetween two early Philip Strange adventures was Keyhoe’s “The Devil’s Ray” in the December 1931 Flying Aces. The story acts as the introduction to a new series for a couple of characters—Mike Doyle and Dusty Rhoades—that never came to be. This didn’t stop Keyhoe from throwing all his best stuff into the mix. There’s a presumed dead German scientist, von Kurtz; he’s developed a diabolical radium ray—one second of the ray’s beams is enough to soften the tissues of your brain and start you on the road to madness; it’s set in Macao where anything and everything could and most likely did happen; add in an opium den, hell-bent zombie pilots, and a dwarf for good measure. What you get is pure Keyhoe genius!

“Stop those planes—before it is too late!” gasped the dying man on the deck of that huge plane-carrier. “Tell the captain Hoi Kiang’s—Macao—the dwarf—” Ten feet away a shadowy figure swiftly moved his hand—a shot rang out—and the dying man fell back as a bullet found his heart. And Mike Doyle looked up from the dead man’s side and saw six planes taking off—racing madly to the peril that was yet unknown!

“Over Skull Hill” by Curtis Mitchell

Link - Posted by David on November 3, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from Curtis Mitchell. Mitchell was born in Mexico, MO in 1902. He started his career as a newspaper man working for both the hometown papers—The Daily Ledger and The Intelligencer—even becoming the city editor for the former before heading east to New York in 1922 to become the publicity director for the Charity Organization Society of New York City. From there he worked his way back in to publishing becoming the youngest editor and vice president of a publishing house, Dell. He edited a variety of magazines, most dealing with entertainment like Film Fun and Film Humor and latter Modern Screen Magazine and Radio Stars. From 1928 to 1934, Mitchell was a frequent contributor to the aviation pulps like Wings, Sky Riders, Flying Aces, Air Trails, Air Stories, Sky Birds and War Birds.

Mitchell went on a world tour in 1924 and a tour through Europe and South Africa in 1929 for Story ideas!


from The Intelligencer, Mexico, Missouri, June 4, 1929

It’s hard to say whether this particular story was inspired by anything Mitchell gleaned from that trip. For the November 1931 number of Flying Aces, Mitchell tells the story of Sergeant -Rigger Eddie Weed. He’s developed a new kind of observation camera, unfortunately the squadron is on lockdown with no planes allowed to take off. So Eddie must steal his own plane and risk a court-martial in order to test out his new camera “Over Skull Hill!”

The C.O. had just posted a notice forbidding enlisted men to fly—and that was just the moment for Sergeant-Rigger Eddie Weed to steal one of the squadron’s crates and crack it up! But read on—and learn about a new kind of court-martial!

 

As a bonus, here are some further biographical notes on Curtis’ career that ran in the November 3, 1945 Showmen’s Trade Review, announcing his new job with Paramount Pictures:

Curtis Mitchell New Paramount Adv Chief

Colonel Curtis Mitchell, recently pictorial chief for the War Department Bureau of Public Relations and now on terminal leave after four and one-half years of active service, assumed the duties of director of advertising and publicity for Paramount Pictures on November 1, it was announced Wednesday by Charles M. Reagan, Paramount vice-president in charge of distribution. He succeeds to the post vacated by R.H. Gillham, who resigned.

Prior to entering the Army, Mitchell was vice-president and editorial supervisor for Triangle Publications, the magazine subsidiary of the Anenberg publishing interests. His experience and background in newspaper, magazine and public relations activities covers a wide range of associations which began when Mitchell became a reporter for the Mexico (Mo.) Daily Ledger, with which he later served as city editor.

After serving in various capacities in the public relations branch of the Army and having risen from the rank of Major to Colonel, Mitchell became head of the pictorial division of the department. In that office he was in charge of the pictorial coverage of Army activities throughout the war on all fronts including the furnishing of material for feature motion pictures, shorts and newsreels and of still photographs of newspapers and magazines everywhere. The system that resulted in the first official radiophotos and the transmission of colored stills by air was inaugurated by Mitchell. The original Hollywood Caravan of Stars’ tour for the benefit of Army Emergency Relief was his idea and he worked with Irving Berlin on the stage play “This Is the Army” and on the War Department’s own military circus “Here’s Your Army.”

Mitchell returned to publishing in 1950. He lived a long life, passing away in 1998 at the age of 97.

“Crazy Like a Fox!” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on October 27, 2023 @ 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!

For weeks and weeks these war birds had been as just so many guinea pigs with which to prove the worth of Phineas Pinkham’s bag of tricks. And for an equally long time they had prayed for emancipation via a well-aimed burst from a Spandau or the pressure of the Old Man’s iron fist. Be that, as it may, they had hoped in vain. The irrepressible Phineas had soared to great heights instead of having been taken for a nose dive. Now things looked very, very bright indeed for the harassed buzzards of the Ninth Pursuit. One could play fast and loose with the Frogs and the Limeys, but snapping at the august heels of a Yankee brass hat was something to crawl out of!

It was as tough as walking across No-Man’s-Land with a flare in each hand—that mission G.H.Q. gave to Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham. Oh, well, Phineas had to learn some time that he could fool with the Frogs and the Limeys and Mannheim’s staffel and get away with it—but Yankee Brass Hats were birds of another feather!

“Immelmann’s Last Flight” by Paul J. Bissell

Link - Posted by David on October 23, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present another of Paul Bissel’s covers for Flying Aces! Bissell is mainly known for doing the covers of Flying Aces from 1931 through 1934 when C.B. Mayshark took over duties. For the November 1931 cover Bissell put us right in the action as Lieuntenat George McCubbin downs the incomparable Max Immelmann!

Immelmann’s Last Flight

th_FA_3111IMMELMANN! Probably the most colorful name in aviation. He is the man who first attempted the earliest form of aerial warfare tactics, which is still used today in flying schools all over the world.

The man who invented the crafty Immelmann turn was one of the first acknowledged aces of the Imperial German Air Service. He came and went before Richthofen was ever heard of. He went in 1916 while flying a Fokker monoplane of an early type at the hands of one Lieutenant McCubbin, a British Vickers Fighter pilot. Do not confuse this ace with McCudden, who Later won the V.C. while flying S.E.5s. McCubbin was doing a patrol one day in company with another two-seater, when he was jumped on by Immelmann. In the fight that resulted, Immelmann was shot down and McCubbin got credit for it, although both he and his observer fired many rounds at the German airman.

The ship shown in the picture is a Vickers Fighter, one of the Fee types of pushers. The observer in the front had a movable Lewis gun and the pilot could use the observer’s rear gun in a pinch.

The Ships on The Cover
“Immelmann’s Last Flight”
Flying Aces, November 1931 by Paul j. Bissell

“Air Crimes, Limited” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on October 13, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of Donald E. Keyhoe—his first in the pages of Flying Aces magazine, which ran a story by Keyhoe in most of their issue from January 1930 through September 1942, featuring characters like Richard Knight, Eric Trent or Captain Philip Strange! Before Keyhoe started up the series characters, he wrote other stories of then present day aviation situations. “Air Crimes, Limited” outlines how a massive criminal ring is using airplanes on a big scale for various crooked schemes. Captain Jack Collins of the Air Corp is tasked with infiltrating this organization and getting information that can be used to bring the organization down.

From the pages of the January 1930 issue of Flying Aces it’s Donald E. Keyhoe’s “Air Crimes, Limited!”

A mysterious message from the Chief of the Flying Corps—an organization of master air criminals—red-hot gangster guns—furious breathtaking cloud battles—all woven into a smashing sky yarn by a pilot writer whose articles on aviation are famous!

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