Category Archives: World War II

A Short History of Air Rescue in World War II


The idea of establishing a specialized and elite force for the rescue of downed aircrews grew out of three interlocked circumstances just before the Second World War: (1) a deep‑seated European belief in the sanctity of life, (2) the high … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “To Command the Skies”


To Command the Sky: The Battle for Air Superiority over Germany, 1942-1944. By Stephen L. McFarland and Wesley Phillips Newton. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991. Although now some 25 years old this book is still the state of the … Continue reading

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Women Computers at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory


With the attention Hidden Figures has received in the media of late, the story of African American women computers working for NASA during the Moon race is finally starting to be told. While the film takes many liberties with the … Continue reading

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The Federal Government and the Development of Aerospace Technology


Since 1903, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars developing aerospace technology, on the management of the infrastructure necessary to support its operations, and on the military and other practical applications that it affords. Accordingly, through a … Continue reading

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Recalling the Great NACA Fact-Finding Trip to Germany in 1936, and its Results


Eighty years ago a great adventure took place. In the first part of 1936 John J. Ide, the NACA’s European representative since 1921, fired off an alarming report on the state of aeronautical science on that continent. Ide, the sometime … Continue reading

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Flying the Hump


Some fighter and bomber pilots jokingly referred to Air Transport Command as an acronym for “allergic to combat.” But the men of the command who flew over the Himalayan mountains during World War II knew better. They delivered more than 650,000 … Continue reading

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A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 – by Isao Hashimoto


Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a truly fascinating–as well as undeniably scary–time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos in 1945 and concluding … Continue reading

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John J. Ide: The NACA’s “Spy” in Pre-WWII Europe


Most people have never heard of John Jay Ide (Jun. 20, 1892-Jan. 12, 1962), who was an international aviation pioneer and European representative for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Born at Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, he was the son … Continue reading

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The NACA, World War II Aircraft, and Drag Clean-Up


I have often wondered just what research took place at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) during World War II in relation to “drag clean-up.” John F. Victory, NACA’s secretary boasted in 1942 that “The employees of the NACA … Continue reading

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Video of Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Flyover, May 8, 2015


Recently video premiered at the annual International Council of Airshows convention that captured last May 8th’s Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Flyover. This took place in Washington, D.C., and the assembled aircraft are stunning. Here is the video. … Continue reading

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