Looking to buy? See our books on amazon.com Get Reading Now! Age of Aces Presents - free pulp PDFs

“Killer Tarmac” by T.W. Ford

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

THIS week we have a story from the prolific T.W. Ford. Ford wrote hundreds of stories for the pages of the pulps—westerns, detective, sports and aviation—but best known for his westerns featuring the Silver Kid.

For the September 1934 number of Sky Birds Ford gives us the story of young Art Crain, just up at the front and already with a score to settle—his best mate had gone out against one of Germany’s greatest Aces, von Kunnel, to prove he wasn’t yellow as his flight leader Major “Bloody” Doll had continually chided him, and lost. Once there, Crain learns a lesson about justice, honor and war!

“Kill before somebody kills you!” That was the advice they handed to young Kid Crain when he arrived at the Front. Then the Kid ran into von Kunnel, great German ace, whose insignia was a jagged streak of lightning and who fought like that—swift, deadly, sure. And the Kid learned a lot about killers that no one had ever told him—that no one else knew.

“The Sinister Sentinel” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on September 2, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another gripping tale from the prolific pen of Arch Whitehouse! Whitehouse had numerous series characters in the various air pulps—none ran longer than Buzz Benson! Billy “Buzz” Benson’s exploits started in the February 1930 issue of Sky Birds and appeared in every subsequent issue until it folded. Not to be twarted, Whitehouse moved Buzz over to Flying Aces where his exploits rotated with his many other characters in that title. For the uninitiated, Buzz Benson was a flying reporter for the Los Angeles Mercury newspaper, but his real job was far more dangerous. He is a secret agent and pilot extraordinaire for the U.S. military.

A young model builder stumbled on an idea the U.S. Government had been seeking for years. An Air Service official was murdered. A giant Curtiss Condor crashed to its doom on the desolate sand dunes of Chesapeake Bay. Those three things happened far apart—yet they led Buzz Benson into the mystery of the sinister sentinel known as Devils Trap Light!

From the Scrapbooks: Cover Cut-Outs

Link - Posted by David on December 27, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS Holiday Season we’re delving into a pair of scrapbooks that were created in the late 20’s and early 30’s by an industrious youth, Robert A. O’Neil, with a keen interest in all things aviation. The books contain clippings, photos and articles from various aviation pulps as well as other magazines. What has been assembled is a treasure trove of information on planes and aces of WWI.

Like many in the late 20’s and early 30’s, Robert O’Neil was fascinated with aviation and as such, a large part of both volumes of his scrapbooks is taken up with a cataloging of the many different types of planes. But amongst all the planes and air race flyers and info on Aces are some surprising items. Robert was also fond of including cut-outs from covers of all kinds of aviation themed magazines.

Here are a few along with the full covers Robert excised them from:


AIR TRAILS
August 1931


POPULAR AVIATION
September 1931


MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS
OCTOBER 1931


SKY BIRDS
August 1931


SKY BIRDS
MARCH 1932


SKY BIRDS
APRIL 1932


NATIONAL GLIDER
and AIRPLANE NEWS

July 1931


BATTLE STORIES
August 1931


FLYING ACES
August 1931


BATTLE STORIES
May 1931


ACES
August 1931

 

From the Scrapbooks: A Letter from Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 15, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS Holiday Season we’re delving into a pair of scrapbooks that were created in the late 20’s and early 30’s by an industrious youth, Robert A. O’Neil, with a keen interest in all things aviation. The books contain clippings, photos and articles from various aviation pulps as well as other magazines. What has been assembled is a treasure trove of information on planes and aces of WWI.

Like many in the late 20’s and early 30’s, Robert O’Neil was fascinated with aviation and as such, a large part of both volumes of his scrapbooks is taken up with a cataloging of the many different types of planes. But amongst all the planes and air race flyers and info on Aces are some surprising items.

Moving on from the George Bruce letter, a few pages later we find what looks like another letter, folded into thirds like it too had just been pulled out of an envelope and pasted to the page. . .

Unfolding the sheet of paper reveals a letter from Arch Whitehouse on Magazine Publishers Incorporated letterhead from March 7th, 1929.

Arch Whitehouse was one of the most prolific aviation writers out there. He created numerous series characters with names like Buzz Benson, Tug hardwick, Coffin Kirk, Crash Carringer, the Casket Crew, and many more. These series characters created for Flying Aces and Sky Birds were extremely popular with the readers back in the 30’s and 40’s. Month after month he brought these colorful aces to life. Whitehouse scope and breadth of information on aviation was so great that he also answered all questions written in to the magazines from the readers.

Robert had apparently written in about learning to fly and Arch Whitehouse felt the need to respond with words of encouragement personally to a then 19 year-old Robert.

Writing from New York City, Whitehouse advises:

Dear Robert:

    You have the right idea. Stick to it. Aviation has come to stay and a few accidents will not keep the real air-minded Americans out of the sky. I myself have flown several thousand hours, including two-thousand in France during the war, and I have yet to break a wire.

    A good training course will cost anything from $300 to $500 and the time required depends all upon yourself, if you are a natural born flier, you will learn quickly and save that much money, –but do not be in too much of a hurry.

                    Hoping to hear from you again soon, I am,
              Sincerely yours,                        

                              Arch Whitehouse
                              Technical editor
                              Sky Birds and Flying Aces Magazines.

   

From the Scrapbooks: Planes of the World

Link - Posted by David on December 1, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS Holiday Season we’re delving into a pair of scrapbooks that were created in the late 20’s and early 30’s by an industrious youth, Robert A. O’Neil, with a keen interest in all things aviation. The books contain clippings, photos and articles from various aviation pulps as well as other magazines. What has been assembled is a treasure trove of information on planes and aces of WWI.

Like many in the late 20’s and early 30’s, Robert O’Neil was fascinated with aviation and as such, a large part of both volumes of his scrapbooks is taken up with a cataloging of the many different types of planes. Many of the aviation pulps featured monthly articles on this subject. Flying Aces called theirs “War Planes Album”. Each month they featured six planes with a simple illustration by C.B. Colby and an informative write-up on each of the planes.


Two of the six planes featured in the November 1932 Flying Aces

Good news for those who wanted to clip and save the plane images and paste them into an album as Robert had done, the illustrations were laid out in the article so no two images would be on the back of the other.


The opening spread of the “Model Planes of All Nations” from (Sky Birds, November 1931).

Robert also clipped similar images also by Colby from Sky Birds’ monthly feature “Model Planes of All Nations.” Sky Birds’ feature was essentially the same as Flying Aces’ feature. You get six planes an issue.


Two of the six planes featured in the November 1931 Sky Birds

Robert generally featured two images per page, but for a few, he pasted a single image on the page and below it typed the informative part of the article about that plane.

The Robert A. O’Neil Scrapbooks

Link - Posted by David on November 26, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

RECENTLY, Age of Aces came into possession of a pair of Aviation Scrapbooks. These scrapbooks are hand made with roughly 170 8″ x 10.5″ pages each, bound together with string. Pasted on the pages are photos, drawings and articles of early aviation history excised from pulp magazines like Battle Birds, Battle Aces, Sky Birds and Flying Aces as well as other sources from 1928 to the mid-1930’s. Typed descriptions accompany some of the pulp illustrations. Also included are ephemera from Air Shows, letters from the magazine publishers, photo postcards of airplanes and the air battle histories of Aces like Rickenbacker and Richtofen. They are a deeply personal endeavour by a young man clearly intrigued by the development of early aviation and its practical application in war.

The scrapbooks were compiled by Robert Alfred O’Neil. Looking around on ancestry.com a bit, Robert was born on July 3rd, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri. He has a sister, Evelyn, who is a year older. Some time in the early twenties the family moved to Los Angeles. Robert had a brief letter published about his first train ride in The Long Beach Telegram (April 16, 1924).

According to the date on the title page of the first Scrapbook, Robert started them January 1, 1928.

The 1930 census lists Robert as being 18, still living with his parents and 19 year old sister, and working as a messenger for a bank.

The 1940 census has Robert, now 28, living with just his mother on West 21st Street in Los Angeles and pulling in $1,104 a year as a bookkeeper. But by the following March when he filled out his draft registration card, it seems Robert was finally applying his knowledge and love of aviation—he listed his employer as Lockheed Aircraft! (His sister and her husband were living just down the street.)

Starting Monday, and on subsequent Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays all December, we’ll be taking a look at Robert’s scrapbooks and the treasures within. So be sure to check back for a look back some things we’ve already featured on the site that Robert included in his scrapbooks as well as some exciting new discoveries! We’ll get things started on Monday when we go to the Air Races!

“Web of the Spider” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 30, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

WE’VE come to the final story of our twelve tales from the Christmas 1931 issues, and what better way to go out, than with a story from the ever-reliable Arch Whitehouse! Always a crowd-pleaser, Whitehouse wrote hundreds of tales for the air pulps with many featuring series characters. Possibly his longest running series was Buzz Benson! Buzz was featured in every issue of Sky Birds starting with the February 1930 issue. When Sky Birds closed up shop, Buzz moved over to Flying Aces where he continued for two more years.

Billy “Buzz” Benson is a flying reporter for the Los Angeles Mercury newspaper, but his real job is much more dangerous—he is a secret agent and pilot extraordinaire for the U.S. military. In this month’s issue, deadly forces have stolen the latest high-powered submarine, the Baracuda, as well as kidnapped the designer’s daughter. It’s up to Buzz to get them both back!

The Navy had named their newest submarine the Barracuda, after the deadliest fish that infests tropical waters—that sharp-toothed killer that will attack anything for the joy of battle. Then that sub turned against its masters—and Billy “Buzz” Benson took off on the blood-strewn trail of the killer ship!

“Aces Back to Back” by E.W. Chess

Link - Posted by David on December 28, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

OUR penultimate of our twelve tales from Christmas 1931 issues is another by E.W. Chess—he was a busy man that month with both this as well as a story in Aces! This time we get the bizarre tale of gambling and a four–sided love triangle!

A gambler, was Major Arthur Lem, C.O. of the 25th Yank Pursuit Squadron. All his life he’d gambled—and won, for he bet only when the odds were in his favor. But now, in those flaming skies over the Western Front, the game was different. Young Philip Mayson and those seven hotheaded replacements were gamblers of another breed— and to bet with them. Major Lem had to learn a new way to play his cards! The most unusual air story of the year!

From the pages of Sky Birds, it’s “Aces Back to Back” by E.W. Chess!

If you haven’t check it out, Pulpflakes posted an excellent post about the life of “Elliot Chess—Fighter pilot, Author” last year.

“The Frozen Fate” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 25, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

AH, CHRISTMAS! As our present to our faithful readers on this fine Christmas morning, we give you a curious tale from the Teufelhund Jagdstaffel. It’s those flying leathernecks, Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Devildog Squadron! At the same time Keyhoe was writing the Philip Strange stories for Flying Aces, and the Jailbird Flight stories for Battle Aces, and the Vanished Legion stories for Dare-Devil Aces, we was also telling tales of those flying marines known as the Devildog Squadron for the pages of Sky Birds magazine. A marine flyer himself, Keyhoe imbues the tales of “Cyclone” Bill Garrity and The Devildog Squadron with a realism in their unrealistic events you just don’t find everywhere.

The Germans have developed an unstoppable behemoth that shoots a clod light ray that freezes whatever it passes over on contact! While out scouting for the big ship, Luck Lane is forced down and finds himself right in the thick of things! But he finds help in the most unlikely of places! From the December 1931 Sky Birds, it’s Donald E. Keyhoe’s “The Frozen Fate!”

Upon that desolate drome, where stark black trees reared up grimly from the stripped ruin of the tarmac, those Devildogs landed their ships. Biting cold rose up from the ground on that sweltering August day—and near the deadline lay three figures—frozen to death! A thrilling Devildog mystery.

And look for the first volume of the complete tales of the “Cyclone” Bill Garrity and the Devildog Squadron coming soon!

“The Devil on Wings” by Edgar A. Manley

Link - Posted by David on December 9, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TODAY, for our twelve stories of Christmas 1931, we have an excellent tale by Edgar A. Manley from the pages of the December 1931 Sky Birds magazine!

Destiny had linked Chuck Bland strangely with that mysterious pair on the train from Paris. One a French artillery officer, the other a French flyer—one a murderer, the other a murdered man. And Chuck Bland did not know which was which—until one night, weeks later, in the messroom of a French drome!

From the pages of Sky Birds, it’s “The Devil on Wings” by Edgar A. Manley!

You may recognize the art for this story—it was also used for the Philip Strange story “Hell’s Gateway” (Flying Aces, April 1932)

“Torpedoes for Trouble” by Colcord Heurlin

Link - Posted by David on December 7, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present a cover by Colcord Heurlin! Heurlin worked in the pulps primarily over a ten year period from 1923 to 1933. His work appeared on Adventure, Aces, Complete Stories, Everybody’s Combined with Romance, North-West Stories, The Popular, Short Stories, Flying Aces, Sea Stories, Top-Notch, War Stories, Western Story, and here, the cover of the December 1931 Sky Birds!

Torpedoes for Trouble

th_SB_3112IT WAS a far cry from the early days of the war, when aviators were asked to drop bombs on hurriedly constructed Zeppelin hangars in northern Belgium, to the 1918 bomber with its aerial torpedo. In the early days airmen often made their own bombs of petrol cans wrapped with tarred rope which was designed to blast out hangars and then set fire to the remains. From those days bombing went through the 20-pounder stage, automatic racks, and eventually blossomed out with ships carrying single 550-pound missiles designed to fang their way through many feet of solid concrete before exploding. These were known as delayed detonation bombs.

On this month’s cover we show a two-seater bomber of this type. It has just released a 550-pound torpedo over a German airdrome. As in this picture, the pilot usually dived his ship on the target as though he were going to fire his fixed guns, and then released the torpedo-bomb. The spinning projectile did the rest.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Torpedoes for Trouble”
Sky Birds, December 1931 by Colcord Heurlin

“Had-Boiled and Handsome” by James Perley Hughes

Link - Posted by David on December 4, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TODAY we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author James Perley Hughes! Hughes was a frequent contributor to various genres of pulps, but he seemed to gravitate toward the air-war spy type stories.

Skag, Dinty and Mugs Miller liked to “groom” the fresh recruits to the Game-Cock Squadron. They were case-hardened comedians and had given Major Crossley all kinds of trouble by their weird ideas of what made a joke. The quiet, bashful fledgling was usually let off with a short hazing, but the fresh fish were tormented until the three were satiated. Orders against this hazing had been issued time and again, but they were difficult to enforce. It was time someone taught them a lesson, and who better than someone straight from the school at Issoudun!

If you didn’t like somebody in the Game-Cock Squadron, you just arranged for him to fight a duel with von Steuben, famous German ace. It sounded easy—until those three tough boys from South Boston tried it on a certain replacement!

The Aces of Christmas 1931

Link - Posted by David on November 30, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

WHILE browsing through eBay a couple months ago, I came upon these two snapshots from a family’s Christmas in Memphis 1931. What caught my eye was the little boy all dressed up as a WWI ace with leather jacket, aviator’s cap with goggles, and some sort of tall leather boots(?)! It got me thinking about what stories that boy could have been reading that rather mild, snowless December in Memphis.

So this month we’ll be featuring stories published in the December 1931 issues of Aces, Sky Birds, War Aces and War Birds, by some of our favorite authors—Arch Whitehouse, O.B. Myers, Frederick C. Painton, Frederick C. Davis, Donald E. Keyhoe, and George Bruce—as well as a couple new or seldom seen authors to our site—Elliot W. Chess, Edgar L. Cooper, and Robert Sidney Bowen.

Looking at that impressive list, you may be wondering where a few of our most often posted authors are. Authors like Ralph Oppenheim, Harold F. Cruickshank, Lester Dent and Joe Archibald. That’s a bit of good news/bad news. The good news, we’ve already posted the stories Ralph Oppenheim (“Lazy Wings”) and Lester Dent (“Bat Trap”) had in the December 1931 War Aces; the bad, I don’t have the December 1931 issues of Wings featuring George Bruce, F.E. Rechnitzer and Edwin C. Parsons or Flying Aces with Keyhoe, Archibald, George Fielding Eliot, Alexis Rossoff, and William E. Poindexter. And as for Cruickshank—he didn’t have a story in any of the air pulps that month.

With that in mind—and since it’s Monday, let’s get the ball rolling with the covers of Christmas 1931!


ACES by Redolph Belarski


BATTLE ACES by Frederick Blakeslee


FLYING ACES by Paul J. Bissell


SKY BIRDS by Colcord Heurlin


WAR ACES by Eugene Frandzen


WAR BIRDS by Redolph Belarski


WINGS by Redolph Belarski

Come back on Wednesdays and Fridays this month for some of the great fiction from these issues!

“Wiley Post: Ace of World-Girdlers” C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on June 1, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties for Sky Birds with the July 1934 and would paint all the remaining covers until it’s last issue in December 1935. At the start of his run, Sky Birds started featuring a different combat maneuver of the war-time pilots. Mayshaerk changed things up for the final four covers. Sky Birds last four covers each featured a different aviation legend. Wiley Post is the subject of Mayshark and Sky Bird’s final cover in December 1935!

Wiley Post: Ace of World-Girdlers
The Story Behind This Month’s Cover

th_SB_3512A MAN who rose from the depths of obscurity and poverty to world fame—a man whose iron courage and unwavering determination carried him to an undreamed of position in the spotlight of human interest—a man who conquered a physical handicap which undoubtedly would have quickly curbed others—but most of all a man who had true unflinching fortitude—a man who had what it takes! Such a man was Wiley Post, who was killed instantly with Will Rogers in a crash in the wilds of
 Alaska a few miles south of Point Barrow, on August 16.

Wiley was the type of fellow who believed unreservedly in himself. In his youth he was a worker in the oil fields of the West. He got his first taste for the air when a barnstorming pilot who was passing through town took him up for a spin for a fee of $25. It was money well spent, for Wiley quickly decided to become a pilot himself.

But at this point all his ambitions seemed doomed even before they had begun to be realized. An accident in the oil fields rendered Post’s left eye sightless, and it had to be removed. At first he despaired of ever becoming an airman; but upon application for flying lessons, he discovered that what he wanted to do was not impossible. All be needed was determination—and he had plenty of that! He passed his examination in short order, and with the compensation he received for his injury in the oil fields be bought his first plane—an antiquated “Jenny.”

From that time on, Wiley’s future was entirely in his own hands. Whatever he decided to do, he did without hesitation. Every activity in which he engaged added to the vast experience and knowledge which he finally brought to bear in his first record breaking flight around the world with Harold Gatty.

With that flight, Post first won worldwide acclaim. He and Gatty were accorded a royal reception when they landed back in New York on July 1, 1931 after circling the earth in 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes. They bad accomplished one of the most difficult feats ever attempted in the history of aviation.

Post was destined to soar on to even greater heights. From June 23 to June 30, 1933, he covered, with the aid of a robot pilot, the same round-the-world course solo in the new time of 7 days, 8 hours and 49½ minutes.

By this time, the name of his ship, the “Winnie Mae,” was on the lips of the whole world. But Wiley didn’t get a swelled head. Instead, he again plugged on. He still had his eye on the future—living on his laurels was something he couldn’t do. “Accomplishment” was his slogan.

Between February 22 and June I5, 1935, Post made four attempts to span the continent in the sub-stratosphere. Four times he was forced to land his ship short of its mark. All the attempts were failures. But Wiley undoubtedly would have carried on to success had his life not been snatched from him. We picture him in his stratosphere suit.

THE memory of this great airman will live on in the hearts of mankind, for he was the type of individual whom every man wishes to emulate.

Following the news of Post’s death, the United States Senate passed a resolution which authorized the purchase, for $25,000, of Wiley’s plane, the “Winnie Mae,” for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington! And so, the ship which carried Wiley Post to the heights of human accomplishment will be preserved for posterity. Something material, however, is not required to keep the memory of Wiley with us. He shall live on in spirit forever.

The Story of The Cover
“Wiley Post: Ace of World-Girdlers” by C.B. Mayshark
Sky Birds, December 1935

“Lindbergh—the Lone Eagle” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 25, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties for Sky Birds with the July 1934 and would paint all the remaining covers until it’s last issue in December 1935. At the start of his run, Sky Birds started featuring a different combat maneuver of the war-time pilots. Mayshaerk changed things up for the final four covers. Sky Birds last four covers each featured a different aviation legend. “The Lone Eagle” himself was the subject of the penultimate issue of Sky Birds—Charles Lindbergh!

Lindbergh—the Lone Eagle
The Story Behind This Month’s Cover

th_SB_3509A MAN who enjoys the admiration of a hundred and twenty million countrymen; a man whose name has filled the headlines from hemisphere to hemisphere for eight years; a man whose amazing feats of daring have thrilled a world which has long been used to thrills; a man whose unassuming modesty and genuine simplicity have caused his name to be written into the history of the world’s progress; and, most of all, a man who is unalterably a man in every sense of the word—that is Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh.

Lindbergh was born in 1902 without, of course, the slightest inkling of what fate had in store for him. But somehow, from the beginning, his career seemed to be guided by the unseen hand of destiny, and bit by bit the experience that was to be invaluable on that history-making day in May, 1927, was accumulated.

Lindbergh made his debut in aviation in February, 1922, when he enrolled in a flying school at Lincoln, Neb. After learning to fly and being unequivocally bitten by the aviation bug, which was pretty much on the rampage around that time, he purchased a U.S. Government Jenny for $500, and his fondest dream was a reality at last.

It seems that this modest young man had ideas in the back of his head and designs in his imagination of such ambitious scope that they needed prestige and a record to lead them along their difficult path. So Lindbergh became a military man by enrolling as a cadet in tho United States Air Service Reserve. He was afterwards commissioned a captain. A short time later, he joined the Missouri National Guard with the rank of first lieutenant, and he was eventually promoted to the rank of colonel.

Lindbergh was in aviation for a serious purpose, and so was not content to drift along, picking up odd jobs here and there and engaging himself in barnstorming trips, as so many other aviators were doing at that time. He wanted to do something which required skill, experience and a sense of responsibility. He made his first flight as an air mail pilot in April, 1926. The air mail service in those days was a pretty risky proposition, and any man who went in for it had to have courage—and plenty of it.

It was during this period that Lindbergh conceived the idea of making a solo trans-Atlantic flight. In the winter of 1927, he persuaded the Ryan Company to build him a ship—the now famous Spirit of St. Louis, and in April of that year, he made a record-breaking transcontinental run from California to New York.

On May 20th, Lindbergh took off on the flight that was to be one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments. Very few people realize the skill and courage and physical condition that were essential to the success of that flight, but whatever it took, Lindbergh had in abundance, and the most amazing part of the whole thing was that his modesty wouldn’t permit him to believe that he had done something which warranted all the congratulations and back-slapping that were showered upon him from the far corners of the earth. Regardless of what his realizations were, he came home in glory to the resounding acclaim of not only America, but of the whole world.

Upon landing in this country, he made arrangements to make a tour of America under the auspices of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the promotion of aviation, and it is estimated that he visited seventy-five cities.

Lindbergh is the ranking member of the mythical Caterpillar Club, having upon four occasions resorted to the parachute to save his life. One of these is depicted on the cover, along with a scene from his famous transatlantic flight.

Lindbergh’s decorations include the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Chevalier of the Legion of honor (France), Order of Leopold (Belgium), and several others.

The Story of The Cover
“Lindbergh—the Lone Eagle” by C.B. Mayshark
Sky Birds, September 1935

Next Page »