AMERICAN AVIATION HISTORICAL SOCIETY

   1956 - 2019, Celebrating  over 60 Years of Service
[click images for enlargements]
Back CoverInside FrontInside Back

Excerpts from
AAHS Journal, Vol. 64, No. 4 - Winter 2019
Table of Contents
 


SAVE THE DATES - APRIL 24-26, 2020 Annual Meeting

Start planning for the AAHS 2020 Annual Meeting.

You don't have to be a member to attend. Just bring an interest in aviation history and team up with other like individuals for three days of immersion in American aviation history in the San Francisco Bay area.

[CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION]



The Lockheed L-188 Electra

Design Origins
Transition periods sometimes prompt transition solutions. During the 1950s, the piston airliner, in the form of the Douglas DC-6 and DC-7 and the Lockheed L-649/749 and -1049 Constellations, were moving toward their technological peaks, yet the pure-jet engine, other than that powering the ill-fated de Havilland DH.106 Comet I and emerging military aircraft, had yet to reach commercial aviation maturity. The compromise, at least in terms of speed, seemed to be the turboprop engine, which combined elements of both prop and jet technology and had already been introduced by the Vickers Viscount in the United Kingdom.

It was during this period — specifically 1954 — that American Airlines, supported by interest from Eastern, submitted design specifications for what it considered a new class of airliner. These specifications included a greater than 400-mph cruise speed, profitable operations on sectors ranging from 100 to 2,700 miles, a passenger capacity of at least 65 and the type of short-field performance that would enable it to serve all of the country’s 100 major airports.

In short, it sought greater speed, comfort and economy than that offered by the current generation of quad-engine piston transports, but that could operate multi-sector flights without requiring enroute refueling and attain profitability with load factors as low as 50 percent.

“American and Eastern had demanded a plane equally adept at short- and long-haul operations,” according to Robert J. Serling.1 “This was mostly achieved by the 13.5 foot props, which swept their mighty air stream over all but nine feet of the wing area.”

Toward that end, Lockheed elected to employ the same C-130 Hercules design team and Allison T-56 engines that powered the type, creating the U.S.’s first turboprop-powered airliner, the L-188.

“Lockheed opened America’s commercial jet era by hanging a propeller on the jet engine,” according to Jim Upton.2 “Research left Lockheed convinced that, while jets without propellers (would be) excellent on long-range fights, airlines would be better served by having an effective vehicle for segments that historically showed little or no profit – (that is), short to medium routes.”

The aircraft was almost the product of an equation which read: “Jet power + propeller efficiency = proper performance and economy.”

Aside from its design team and powerplant, it also shared another aspect of the manufacturer’s lineage: its name. Ensuring that its products would bear the designation of a star, as had occurred during the 1920s and 1930s with names such as “Orion,” “Vega,” “Sirius,” and “Altair,” it would borrow the nomenclature of its twin piston engine L-10 Electra, L-12 Electra Junior, and L-14 Super Electra.

Eastern and American respectively placed orders for 40 and 35 L-188 second generation Electras in 1955.

Design Features
“(The Lockheed L-188 Electra) has a purposeful and powerful profile,” according to veteran American Airlines Capt. Arthur Weidman, who had flown DC-3s, Convairliners, DC-6s, and DC-7s. “The nose slopes downward sharply to provide good forward visibility on the ground and in the air. Then, her . . .



Lockheed L-188 Electra, #2 Test a/c


The First Lockheed Electras

The Lockheed 10 Electra and it’s descendents witnessed the transformation of Lockheed from a small, financially-troubled company to a giant of the aircraft industry. The company’s ancestry can be traced back to 1913 when the Loughead brothers, Allan and Malcolm, built the first ‘Lockheed’ airplane, a single float seaplane known as the Model G. By 1918, the Lougheads had moved down the California coast to Santa Barbara and incorporated their activities as the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company. Somewhat wanting for business, the company folded in 1921. In another venture, Malcolm conceived and later patented the use of hydraulic brakes for automobiles. Despite initial rejection by the automotive industry, his ideas were adopted by Chrysler in 1924 and eventually by the entire industry. Meanwhile, Allan maintained his interest in aviation and eventually founded a new company in Burbank in December, 1926.

To their undoubted displeasure, the brothers’ Scottish name was frequently mispronounced ‘log-head.’ A phonetic spelling was, therefore, adopted for both Allan’s Lockheed Aircraft Company and Malcolm’s Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Company.

The primary asset of Allan’s new company was its engineering talent, consisting initially of John K. Northrop, an architectural draftsman and part-time auto mechanic. The first tangible product of this asset was a five to seven-place, high-wing, single-engine monoplane of wooden construction. The Vega, as it was known, came on the aviation scene during the glamour period that preceded ordinary day-to-day working aviation and was the subject of many record breaking flights during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. The expression, “It takes a Lockheed to beat a Lockheed,” was frequently heard in aviation circles. The molded plywood fuselage construction was easily adapted to other configurations, and a number of variants, including low-wing Orions, were also produced.

With business thriving — over 80 airplanes had been produced — controlling interest in Lockheed was sold in 1929 to the Detroit Aircraft Corporation. This was to have been an automotive-style holding company dabbling in several phases of aviation, but Lockheed proved to be the only part capable of profitable operation. After struggling to remain solvent, the parent company went into receivership in 1931. Although its assets were subsequently liquidated, Lockheed continued to operate in receivership on a modest basis.

A New Beginning — The Electra is Born
Recognizing the potential that existed, Carl Squier, the Lockheed general manager, together with Robert Gross and Lloyd Stearman, assembled the financial backing to purchase the company for $40,000. Although there would be difficult times ahead, the company was finally on its way to financial security.

The immediate task facing the new management was to get production and sales going again. The market was successfully exploited to the tune of 22 additional single-engine models, mostly airline-ordered Orions. The more important task was, . . .



Lockheed Model 10 Electra


The Life and Times of Ralph S. Damon

I was a child growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I had dreams of becoming president of a major airline and on many occasions sat down to write chief executives of various carriers on how to achieve my objective. The majority of responses were no more than form letters but two return correspondences were unique. I was informed by the publicity department at Lake Central Airlines that I was authorized to take a trip on one of their airliners from Greater Cincinnati Airport in Erlanger, Kentucky, to Richmond, Indiana, with an adult. My ticket would be free but my father who volunteered to be my chaperone would have to pay a round trip ticket that was in those days rather inexpensive. Due to the excitement of the venture I did not sleep the night before the flight, and anyway we had to be at the airport at 6:00 AM for the departure that took off on time. The problem was we arrived in Richmond before we left Cincinnati due to the fact that Indiana, except for a few locations, was on Central time. Nonetheless, it was exciting to get to sit in the cockpit for no one else was on the plane, be presented with aviator wings and I even remember the name of the copilot (Bozday) and the beautiful stewardess (weren’t they all in those days?), a Miss den Houten. I was astonished by the graciousness of the airline executives in offering a young person such a moment to remember for a lifetime.

The other event from my inquiries was to receive a handwritten letter from the president of Trans World Airlines, Ralph Damon, detailing how to become a president of an airline and that I should never abandon the dream. As the years past my goals became more reasonable but I never forgot the kindness and courtesy of Mr. Damon who died very young as he approached 59 on January 4, 1956. In this essay I would like to pay tribute to this very important chief executive who advanced my interest in the world of flight and helped develop and foster the rise of commercial aviation in the United States.

Early Years:
Ralph Shepard Damon was born on July 6, 1897, in Franklin, N.H., the son of William Cotton Damon and his wife Effie Ives Damon. He attended a local elementary school and later a Society of Friends secondary school in Providence, Rhode Island. He then entered Harvard University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in 1918 with the goal was of becoming an astronomer. During the Great War his life’s ambitions changed forever to one of being involved in aviation. Initially assigned to the Army Aviation Section Signal Corps Ground School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later learned to fly at Carlstrom Field in Arcadia, Fla., and flew Army mail and dispatches between Carlstrom Field and Dorr Field that was situated eight miles away. All this before he was qualified to drive a car. Damon received his discharge on May 14, 1919.

Damon’s dreams of being involved in the infant aviation industry had to be temporarily put on hold. Unable to find employment with an airplane manufacturer, he took a position with D.P. Robinson and Company of Pittsburgh as a rodman on a survey gang charting a power housing project. He left the company in June 1920 to join the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co. in Buffalo, New York. When that position did not work out, he joined in an airplane factory owned by G. Elias and Brother as a millwright. Within two years he was plant superintendent.

While employed at Elias, he married Harriet Dudley Holcombe of Boston on October 14, 1922. This union produced four children (Priscilla, Barbara, William and Edmund). Not only did he change his marital situation, but also altered his career by seeking and achieving employment again at the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co. as a mathematician on a wing-stress design at the company’s facility in Garden City, New York. Within six months he advanced to assistant project engineer on a military contract and soon rose to become the chief project engineer. A year after joining Curtiss he was appointed chief factory inspector and not long afterwards factory superintendent, a position he held until 1928. In that year Curtiss joined the Robertson Aircraft Co. of St. Louis, Mo., in the building of commercial planes and Damon was appointed . . .

Complete Bibliography for this article (PDF document)



Lockheed L-749 Constellation


High Flying Fashion! The Evolution of Flight Apparel for Pioneering Women Pilots

Although flying was a fashionable sport, it was still regarded as something very unusual and a sign of bravado for a woman to become a pilot.” [1]

Following the Wright brothers’ successful 1903 launch of an aircraft, aviation was endowed with seemingly endless possibilities. Enthusiasts began constructing airplanes and acquiring powerplants. Male pilots donned their flying suits with bravado, amazing the public in fragile linen and wood craft. They were awarded hero status; women swooned whenever they chanced to be in their presence.

But what about the women – those who defied stereotypes and earned the right to operate the controls of an airplane? The underlying problem the women faced was that aviation provided no role for them in either the cockpit or in any other related capacity. Women as airplane passengers was inconceivable. The passing of time, however, would eventually afford women acceptance in the world of aviation, albeit limited. In the interim, it would be quite an adventure as they explored potential options for appropriate flying attire that was morally acceptable. Pants were out of the question although women working in factories or on ranches in the late 1800s were often seen wearing them.

According to Sherwood Harris, fashion restrictions made it difficult for women pilots to find suitable clothing.

“For centuries women’s fashions seemingly had been designed to prevent them from stepping out of their limited lives and into more active competition with their men. At the turn of the century, skirts dragged the floor, corsets contorted the female figure into grotesque S-curves and exaggerated hourglass shapes, and frills and ruffles weighted everything down and lent the costumes of the period a distinctly over-decorated look. Only a few months before Harriet Quimby and Matilde Moisant learned to fly, a great breakthrough occurred. Skirts were raised enough to show off a well-turned ankle. But this radical – some thought it scandalous – development was far from the ideal costume for making a flight in the open cockpit planes of the time.”[2]

As women began participating in sports on a regular basis in the late 1800s, the need for practical clothing became apparent. Regulation clothing for the ladies competing at Wimbledon required long skirts and corsets. It’s no surprise that many fainted during a match. Straddling a bicycle in a gown measuring five yards at the hemline proved a daunting task at best. The first attempt to make ‘adjustments’ to women’s active wear occurred when parachuting became popular. The jumper, male or female was required to roll over on their back and thrust their legs upward to avoid a spinal injury. To maintain a semblance of propriety, British Parachute Queen Dolly Shepherd traded her skirt for a navy-blue knickerbocker suit with gold trim, long front-laced boots, and a high-peaked cap. The suit added an element of flair to her performance and, at the same time, preserved her dignity.[3]

Mrs. Hart O. Berg, first American woman to fly in an airplane, secured her full skirt by having a rope wrapped around its bottom that allowed her to thoroughly enjoy her 1908 flight at Le Mans, France. While testing her home-built aircraft in 1910, Bessica Raiche, first American woman to make an intentional flight, quickly realized that wearing a skirt was a big mistake. The wind lifted it and hampered the safe control of the . . .



Matilde Moisant


The Saul 1000 Triad

Triad – a group of three persons, ideas or things; however, in this case it was the trimotor configuration. Aircraft designers of the late 1920s and early 1930s seemed to be striving for an elusive combination of safety and reliability that would favorably enhance the traveling public’s perception of air travel. One avenue was the use of trimotor designs which offered the prospect of continuing flight on the remaining two engines in the event should one engine fail. Most often seen on large airliners – for the era – the three engine configuration had one engine mounted on the nose and two mounted on the wings. The Boeing Model 80A at 17,500 pounds gross weight epitomized the era’s giant trimotors, while at the other end of the spectrum was the diminutive and rare four place Saul 1000 Triad.

Three native Iowans, William I. Saul, Leslie R. Chapman and Rollin W. Humphrey formed the corporate structure of the Saul Aircraft Corporation. William Saul born in Dennison in 1887, graduated with honors from Carroll High School and enrolled in Iowa State College where he studied electrical engineering. Saul’s early post college years found him serving as manager of his father’s newspaper, the Carroll Herald, and managing the Irving, a local Carroll theater owned also by his father. Saul’s father, a local Carroll attorney, brought Saul into his practice where Saul read law and he was admitted to the bar in 1915. Leslie Chapman was born in Dunlop in 1899 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. Mr. Chapman’s short stint as vice president of Saul Aircraft Corporation spanned 1929-1930. Rollin W. Humphrey born in Carroll in 1898, attended the University of Iowa graduating with a degree in science. Mr. Humphrey entered the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War I, attending the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Texas. Mr. Humphrey served as secretary-treasurer of Saul Aircraft.

Saul had a inquiring nature – having built one of Carroll’s first home radios – or possibly chafing under his father’s influence, struck out on his own, forming the Saul Aircraft Corporation of Carroll, Iowa in 1929. The company’s article of incorporation stated intent, was to manufacture airplanes. An initial capitalization of $125,000, a substantial amount in 1929, raised through stock offerings at $100 per share, allowed the corporation to lease for one year 32 acres near the Carroll county fairgrounds as a future manufacturing site. The floral hall of the fairgrounds was remodeled into the factory, the old amphitheater was torn down and horse barns converted to a hangar. Construction of the Triad began in 1929 apparently amid the renovations taking place at the fairgrounds.

Although the Triad bears Saul’s name and he is remembered as the designer, he enlisted a talented core of individuals for help. French Canadian Eckron LaFond was hired as chief
mechanic and was also in charge of welding the chrome molybdeunum fuselage and empennage. Consulting engineer of powerplants Glenn Boyer, formerly of (American?) Eagle Aircraft Corporation of Kansas supervised the actual construction. C. L. Offenstrin, chief engineer for the Aeronautical Division of the Department of Commerce approved the final design and . . .



Saul 1000 Triad


Non-Skeds: The Story of America’s Supplemental Airlines, Part 1
Industry in the United States

On August 21, 1946, a Douglas DC-3 (NC51878) operated by a company calling itself Trans-Luxury Airlines crashed while attempting an emergency landing at Moline, Illinois. The pilot and copilot were killed, while several of the 24 others aboard were injured. Cause of the crash was blamed on “failure of the pilot to find out precisely what was causing an oil leak that the crew observed while on the ground at Chicago (Midway), a refueling stop.” After being told by a mechanic that the engine would have to be washed down to find the source of the leakage, the captain elected to forego the time-consuming procedure and continue on to Omaha, Nebraska, his next stop. The leak originated in a cracked cylinder that failed in flight between Chicago and Omaha. After losing the engine, the captain attempted an emergency landing in Moline, came in too high, and struck the ground during an attempted go-around.

Two weeks later, on September 5, 1946, another Trans-Luxury DC-3 (NC57850) crashed near Elko, Nevada. This time 21 people lost their lives.

In the highly-regulated environment of the U.S. airline industry at the time, Trans-Luxury was an irregular carrier: a non-scheduled airline, or “non-sked”, operating on the periphery of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s (CAB’s) oversight.

Trans-Luxury filed for bankruptcy protection but kept operating flights that had been arranged by travel agencies until the CAB issued a cease and desist order. Edward Ware Tabor, the president of Trans-Luxury, sold his interest in the company, then set up another airline to operate between New York and Puerto Rico, calling it Trans Atlantic Airways.

At the end of WWII, thousands of American GIs flocked home to start their post-war lives of peace and prosperity. Many of these veterans were now pilots, courtesy of the government-sponsored training programs that had minted enough aviators to manage the needs of the military during wartime. A lot of these fliers now wanted to use their piloting skills to “earn a living” back home as civilians.

The scheduled, or “certificated.” airlines of the United States absorbed large numbers of these fly-boys into their ranks as aircraft were returned from the military to commercial service, as larger post-war four-engine aircraft were being delivered, and as the new government-sanctioned feeder carriers were being established.

The certificated airlines were under the strict guidance of the CAB, the government agency created in 1938 to regulate commercial air traffic in the United States. No certificated carrier could inaugurate service over a new route, terminate service at an unproductive station or charge a lower fare than other airlines without permission from the CAB. The Board’s control of the routes flown and rates charged by the certificated airlines was ironclad, but the benefits to the carriers under the CAB’s regulation were bountiful. First of all, the Board controlled competition so that there would not be a glut of available seats on one route and paucity on another. And, certificated carriers were bestowed with the blessing of the government to carry air mail, which was a steady source of income often accompanied by subsidy for serving smaller cities whose traffic was insufficient to pay for the service provided.

But what about the pilots who could not be absorbed into the ranks of the nation’s certificated airlines? There were far . . .



Air America Curtiss C-46


A Teenager Growing Up in England during WWII, The Blitz and Other Childhood Memories

I suppose the background of what follows is a deep regret that I did not ask my parents more about their lives while they were still around. I would love have to had my Mother’s recollections of living as a young child with her mother in a workhouse in Oxford; I should hasten to add that her mother was matron there. Obviously, living through the Blitz in Birmingham was an interesting part of my early teens, so I have penned my recollections below. I’ve added some other wartime stuff while I was about it.

Perhaps I need to say a bit about the City of Birmingham. Obviously the largest city in the U.K. is London, about eight million folks, interestingly almost exactly the same size as New York City. The country’s second largest city, occasionally contested by Scotland’s Glasgow, is Birmingham, whose current population is around one million, and located about one hundred miles north-northwest of London.

One of the many odd things about Birmingham is that it has an alternative name – Brummagem, and note that I said alternative, and not nickname. The first, apparently an evolution from “the home” - “ham” of Beorma’s tribe,” appeared in writing in 1086. Folk are not so sure about where Brummagem as a place name came from, but I can point out the local places such as West Bromwich, Castle Bromwich, and Bromsgrove are alive and well today. For many, many years citizens of Birmingham have been referred to as Brummies. I was born in Erdington, on Birmingham’s northeastern perimeter. I am a Brummie. Fortunately, whatever English accent I have left is that of Wiltshire, where my Dad grew up.

I was born on May 21, 1927, the day Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget. I have had, and still have, a fascination of aircraft! At that time we lived at 34 Sycamore Road, Erdington. Don’t go on line looking for it, someone put a road through that plot of land to give access to the large, then inaccessible chunk of land “behind” Sycamore Road. I believe I was actually born in a nursing home just round the corner on the Chester Road. These were the times when childbirth was a normal part of life, and not something you got hospitals involved in. I was baptized in St. Michaels Church, as John Colin Green. I have no idea why I was always called Colin – perhaps to distinguish me from the son of my parents’ closest friends – the Waldeck’s – David and Nancy - whose son and only child was called Henry John Smith Waldeck. At that time Henry was an unpopular name for a child – God only knows why – so he was always called John, which I suppose left me with Colin.

My first schooling was at Miss Webb’s Kindergarten on the Chester Road, next door to Chester Road Station. I believe I was still there when we moved from 34 Sycamore Road to 34 Beacon Road, Sutton Coldfield. This house does exist - you can Google it. My next school was the Rev. Keyes School for boys, and from there to Bishop Vesey’s. I was very good at math and science. I never, never understood chemistry and enjoyed English and history. As for a comparison of Erdington and Sutton Coldfield, basically lower middle class vs upper middle class. There are so, so many things in my childhood that I could talk about, but, sadly, and understandably, they are just the snapshots of memories. One of these is why didn’t my parents realize that I was very near sighted? I can remember an occasion when we were all in the back garden and a formation of aircraft flew over. We all looked up but I could not see them. I told Mom and Dad, but it didn’t spark their curiosity. It only became obvious when I had to have a physical at age 11 before being admitted to Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School (BVGS), a very modestly prestigious public school, where “public” means “private.”

The doctor asked me to read the chart, even in those days it started with a big E, and that’s all I could read. The doctor said, “Mrs. Green, I think you had better get your son’s eyes tested.” I can recall Mom taking me to an optician in the Great Western Arcade, and I can still recall my first sight of what the world was supposed to look like – a pink and black dress on a mannequin in the window of the dress shop next door.

But the real point of this memoir is to talk about me and the Blitz. No one is quite sure why the German air raids on . . .



Short S.31 Experimental Test A/C


Douglas Corrigan-“Wrong way” to fame at Baldonnel Aerodrome in Ireland

At 2.30pm on July 18, 1938, an unidentified small plane descended out of a rain streaked sky, approached and landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome southwest of Dublin, capital of the Irish Free State. As the surprised ground personnel approached, the grinning pilot dressed in pants and a leather jacket deplaned and stated, “I just flew from New York. Where am I?” With those words Douglas Corrigan entered the aviation history books and forever after was known as “Wrong Way” Corrigan.
[Note: Baldonnel Aerodrome was renamed Casement Aerodrome in February 1965 after Sir Roger Casement, an Irish Nationalist executed by the British in 1916, and is the headquarters of the Irish Air Corps. The Irish Free State was declared the Republic of Ireland in 1949 and is a member of the European Union.]

Clyde Groce Corrigan was born in Galveston, Tex., on January 22, 1907. As an adult he legally changed his name to Douglas Corrigan. The Corrigan family was of Irish descent. His parents divorced and with his mother, brother and sister moved many times until eventually settling in Los Angeles, Calif., where Douglas attended school. He left high school early to work in construction and earn money to help his family.

In 1925 his interest in aviation developed when at an airport near his home he observed rides in a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplane being offered for $2.50. He paid for a flight and was bitten by the lure of aviation. One week later he commenced flying lessons and for the next 20 weeks volunteered fueling aircraft plus learning about airplanes from the mechanics at the airport. Corrigan completed his first solo flight in March 1926, and then earned his pilot’s license while also becoming an accomplished mechanic.

In 1926 Ryan Aeronautical Co. offered Corrigan a job as a mechanic at their San Diego facility building airplanes. At this time there was great competition on being first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and a prize of $25.000.00 was offered to the first aviator to accomplish the flight. Many had made the attempt without success. A young man named Charles Lindbergh purchased a specially designed airplane from Ryan Aeronautical hoping to make the Atlantic crossing. Douglas Corrigan was responsible for working on the wing and extra fuel tanks. The airplane was “The Spirit of St. Louis.”

On May 10, 1927, it is reported Douglas Corrigan pulled the chocks from Lindbergh’s plane as he left San Diego on the start of his famous flight to Paris. (San Diego-St. Louis-New York-Paris).

The success of the Lindbergh flight inspired Corrigan to consider making a flight to his father’s ancestral homeland-Ireland. Unfortunately, in 1928 Ryan Aeronautical closed its San Diego facility and moved to St. Louis.

Corrigan however decided to remain in San Diego and as a mechanic moved from job to job while continuing to improve . . .



Douglas Corrigan‘s Curtiss Robin


Confession Corner; The Day I Killed the Dentist

Tidewater Virginia in August is an uncomfortable place. The heat and humidity can be intolerable, particularly when wearing a long sleeve flight suit. However, wearing a sticky flight suit came with the best job I ever had: commander of a front-line F-15 Squadron. For two years, I was lucky enough to be the commander of the 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, Virginia. Langley is a beautiful place on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, but in August most folks in Tidewater are looking for air conditioners and shade. For over 17 years I had worked my way from dumb wingman to flight lead, to instructor, to assistant ops officer, to ops officer in six different fighter squadrons at USAF bases all over the world. Finally I was one of few selected to command an F-15 squadron. I could not believe my luck – I was in heaven.

On this humid August day, I was more than busy, scheduled to fly an afternoon sortie with every minute of my morning filled with meetings. Why the meetings? Because in less than a week, I was to lead the squadron out to Nellis AFB in Las Vegas to participate in a Red Flag Exercise. Red Flag is a huge aerial exercise where military squadrons from all over the U.S and NATO simulate a full-scale air war. Nellis is the ideal place for this mass exercise, the empty desert lands of the Nellis Ranges north of Las Vegas contain huge expanses of restricted airspace where the military can operate at will without conflicting civilian traffic. Red Flag was started after the Viet Nam war by a new breed of Air Force planners who vowed to never make the mistakes of Viet Nam where politicians ran the war and aircrew were mired in red tape – unable to innovate or question. The intent of Red Flag was to season young aircrew in most realistic exercises, preparing them for an inevitable future war. Statistics proved that the vast majority of aircrew combat losses occurred in a first five missions. Therefore, the real goal of Red Flag was to give aircrew these first five missions in realistic simulations before they actually got to combat.

Thus my day was packed as it had been for the months leading up to our deployment. I started the day at seven in the morning with Chief Stallings, our Maintenance Supervisor. Stallings was a gruff, no-nonsense chief master sergeant, who had complete responsibility of our 24 F-15s, along with all the shops, tools, spares and most importantly the several hundred enlisted mechanics and technicians who kept them in the air. Sure, there were plenty of maintenance officers and even a few colonels in the outfit, but they mostly got in the way; the Chief ran the show. Over coffee, the Chief reviewed the problems and status of all the airplanes going on the trip and gave me his forecasts on how things would look at the end of the week when we actually went. After the Chief and I were through, my Ops Officer, “Grovel” Cooke, sat down with me to review the training status of the 30 pilots who would go.

In flying squadrons, there are a myriad of training events that each pilot has to perform to remain “mission ready.” Only mission ready pilots could go to a Red Flag, or for that matter, sit alert, or be considered a full-up, useful fighter pilot. These events could range from instrument currency to air refueling . . .



McDonnell F-15D


Forum of Flight

The FORUM is presented as an opportunity for each member to participate in the Journal by submitting interesting or unusual photographs. This issue features a combination of material. In addition to images submitted by members, the Society is scanning its slide archive contributed by members old and new, and a number of interesting shots have been pulled from the sliides that have been scanned. Unfortunately, in many cases the contributor information has been lost. Where known, we acknowledge them.

Negatives, slides, black-and-white or color photos with good contrast may be used if they have smooth surfaces. Digital submissions are also acceptable, but please provide high resolution images (>3,000 pixels wide). Please include as much information as possible about the image such as: date, place, msn (manufacturer’s serial number), names, etc., plus proper photo credit (it may be from your collection but takenby another photographer).

Send submissions to the Editorial Committee marked “Forum of Flight,” P.O. Box 3023 Huntington Beach, CA 92605-3023. Mark any material to be returned: “Return to (yourname and complete address).” Or you may wish to have your material added to the AAHS photo archives.



Lockheed C-130A Hercules


News & Comments from Our Members

Army Air FORCES
After the Army Air Service, following WWI, aviation activities within the Army became the Army Air Corps, established by Congress in 1926. Some countries had independent air arms, but the United States opted to have its air arm remain under the direction of the Army (since, at that time, its primary purpose was to support the Army). In 1934/35, the General Headquarters Air Force was formed, separate from the Air Corps. From March 1935 until June of 1941, there were actually two functional aviation organizations within the Army: the Air Corps and the GHQ Air Force (GHQAF). GHQAF had control of combat air units within the continental United States and was separate from the Air Corps, which had jurisdiction over all other Army aviation activities both inside and outside the U.S. In June of 1941, the functions of the Air Corps and GHQAF (renamed AF Combat Command) were combined to form the Army Air Forces (by Army Regulation 95.5). The plural title “Air Forces” depicted the combination of the four numbered air forces that existed within the Army at that time (one Army air force for each of four geographical divisions of the United States). By the end of the war, there would be 16 numbered Army air forces, worldwide. The Army Air Forces, in essence, replaced the Air Corps as the Army’s aviation arm. Therefore, most references to the Air Corps, after America’s entry into WWII, actually refer to the Army Air Forces.

In March of 1942, the War Department organized the entire Army into three equal parts it called Forces. These were: the Army Ground Forces (AGF), the Army Air Forces (AAF), and the Army Service Forces (ASF).

The difference between the Army Air Corps and the Army Air Forces during and after WWII, make for an interesting phenomenon of the 1940s Army. Even most of the people assigned to these organizations didn’t really understand the difference. The reorganization into Forces began with the Army’s aviation branch in 1941. The Army Air Forces functionally replaced the Army Air Corps in June of that year but the unstaffed office of the Air Corps remained. Since an act of Congress established the Air Corps in 1926, another act of Congress was required to disestablish it. . During this time, the Air Corps had no hardware assets, but was a non-functional Combat Arm of the Army. These two organizations co-existed within the Army for six years, until Congress established the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and, at the same time, disestablished the Air Corps.

The passage of time has led many to believe, incorrectly, that the aviation segment of the Army (AAF) was simply the Army Air Force. The “F” in AAF stood for Forces, referring to the Army’s numbered air forces. The difference between “Air Force” and “Air Forces” reflects two entirely different concepts and should not be used interchangeably. There was never an Army Air Force. The AAF was a very large and significant part of the Army during WWII, but, nevertheless, it was only one of its three overall FORCES.

In a nutshell, the Army Air Corps did not entirely go away until 1947, but was functionally replaced by the Army Air Forces after June of 1941. After June of 1941, all Air Corps hardware assets were transferred to the Air Forces, while
personnel assigned to the Air Forces were also assigned to the non-functional Air Corps as their combat branch.

Wayne Bomar
Hayden, Idaho

Cooperative Airplanes of the U.S. Army Air Corps, 1930-1934, Vol.64, No. 1, Spring 2019

Enjoyed reading the latest issue of AAHS Journal, especially the article by Hayden Hamilton on “Cooperative Airplanes of the U.S. Army Air Corps, 1930-1934.”

In the XC-942 part of the article, the editor inserted a note stating that researchers have also found reference to Fairchild’s Model 91 series referred to as XA-942, XA-942A and XA-942B that appears to have be in conflict with the XC-942 number assigned to Bellanca.

This conflicting issue appears to have been answered by Hal Andrews of Arlington, Va., in his letter published in the “News & Comment” section of the AAHS Journal almost 27 years ago (Vol. 37 Number 4 Winter 1992). His comment was prompted by an article on Fairchild’s XC-31 by Kent Mitchell published in the Spring 1992 issue of AAHS Journal.

Hopefully, Mr. Andrews’ comment would provide some explanation to the conflicting XC-942 and XA-942 numbers.

W. Yip
Arroyo Grande, California

AAHS Journal Vol. 64, No. 2, Summer 2019
Hollywood and Aviation, Martin Maisel

Regarding Martin Maisel’s article, a name missing is Bierne Lay, Jr. (1909-1982). As a 2nd lieutenant, he flew the mail during the Army Emergency period, February 19 to May 7, 1934. As a Lt. Col., Lay commanded the 487th Bomb Group in Europe during WWII.

Lay, with coauthor Sy Bartlett wrote Twelve O’clock High in 1947. Other screen credits include: I Wanted Wings, Above and Beyond and Strategic Air Command.
Also, with regards to the U.S. Army flying the mail, I recommend Air Mail Emergency 1934, by Norman E. Bordent, Jr., published by the Bond Wheelwright Co., Freeport Maine, 1968. An excellent account of the 78 tense days in the winter . . .



President’s Message

We’re beginning the year a little behind in our publication of the Journal. Publication of the Winter Journal should be complete and mailed prior to year-end; however, article submission delays, website updates (which are also done by our Journal editor!) and other needed actions have led to this publication being pushed into the new year. Getting ahead in our publication schedule means we need to ensure our pipeline of publishable articles is well established, and this is clearly an area where recently we’ve not met our members’ expectations. We need to think outside our current ‘box’ for materials for the Journal. We’ve recently approached colleges teaching history courses, and have put forth the idea of providing aviation education scholarships, with a submission of an aviation history article for the Journal as a portion of the student scholarship submission. We’ve also renewed discussions with historical organizations, aircraft type clubs, airports and aviation manufacturers that, with a small investment of time, could be rich sources of aviation history for publication.

This year, we’re not only looking outside the ‘box’ for article ideas, we are planning for additional resources to support a more timely publication service by outsourcing more functions currently managed by our Editor. Both the Journal and the current events Flightline Newsletter, which are managed wholly by our Editor, will have layout, setup and artboard work outsourced to free up critical time of our Editor for content editing. We’re looking now to outsource website maintenance and include new social media functions to both expand our internet presence and reduce the time needed for AAHS staff to do regular website upkeep.

We have in the office some terrific volunteers who have for years kept our office running and processed photo and book donations. Without these volunteers AAHS would have been defunct long ago. We realize now, with the increased work of our digitization and managing our current products, we need to budget for professional services for some of our workload. In 2019 we began utilizing professional bookkeeping services and have already realized improved operations. Prioritizing how much outsourcing we can afford in our budget and what functions we can outsource without compromising our publishing quality is a key goal for this new year.

The year of 2020 promises to bring further positive change for AAHS, a lot of work, and some fun events as well. Our Annual Meeting, the weekend of April 24-26th, will be packed full of aviation history all around the San Francisco area that you won’t want to miss! Get on the bus and join us! (see the Annual Meeting Event notice in this publication for more details). AAHS will also host an airport BBQ at Flabob Airport, sometime in late May, to introduce ourselves to the airport tenants and visitors. More details to come on that. We’re also considering a return visit to EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, with a booth inside one of the main hangars. Do please contact the office if you have an interest in helping AAHS organize any of these proposed events!

Our amazing volunteers and discerning members have made AAHS a long-term source for aviation history, and we’re looking forward to updating our own practices to ensure the efforts of our volunteers and members result in a quality organization.

Jerri Bergen
AAHS President



In the News  |  Book Reviews  |  Links  |  Store  |  Members Only  |  Membership  |  About AAHS  |  Contact Us  | Site Map
Copyright © 2002-2020 American Aviation Historical Society