About the current issue
With the ninth quarterly issue of The Aviation Historian landing on subscribers' doormats in the UK and across the world, we enter our third year of publication. While some mainstream aviation-history magazines go through major changes, we remain a stoutly independent compact-format journal, created and published by a tiny but dedicated and experienced team. We have a clear vision: to cater for those aficionados who relish the unfamiliar, who want to explore lesser-known paths within the history of flight – in short, those who want to learn something new and stimulating.
To that end, TAH9 continues our policy of publishing the results of original research, while also offering new perspectives on more familiar subjects. The former is exemplified by our major article on the wartime loss of Qantas Short Empire Flying Boat G-AETZ Circe off Java in 1942, a masterly synthesis of Allied and Japanese records to solve a seven-decade mystery. Using previously-unpublished documents, we also explore biplane designer Henry P. Folland's forgotten commercial monoplane designs of the 1930s; and the USAAC's 1940-41 plan to turn specially-armoured P-39s and P-40s into "ramfighters" in order to down enemy bombers in a most direct and dangerous way.
For a fresh look at a well-known topic, what better than former newspaper journalist Jeffrey Watson's account of his 1967 ride in an English Electric Lightning interceptor: "It was a Jaguar D-Type on steroids. It was The Rolling Stones in surround-sound after eight gallons of LSD". As well as blowing his mind, the experience literally blew his teeth – the supersonic climb out of Binbrook made his fillings detach ...
First-person recollections also feature in our serialisation of F.W. Merriam's "lost" book manuscript, Echoes From Dawn Skies. This time Cecil Pashley recalls air racing – in an aircraft he built with his brother – in pursuit of the Brighton Cup in 1914. Personal experience also features in our article on Germany's EWR VJ101 jump-jet project of the 1960s, in the shape of exclusive material from one of the type's few test pilots, Nils Meister; and in Richard Gardner's account of an unforgettable Boeing KC-97L tanker sortie during a press visit (in company with Aviation News founder Alan W. Hall) to the Ohio Air National Guard in Germany in 1969.
The above visit witnessed an element of Operation Creek Party, the subject of a separate article in the same issue: the use of ANG tankers to provide air refuelling for Tactical Air Command in Europe while the USAF's own tankers were otherwise engaged in South-east Asia during 1967–77.
Also in this issue: a life of test pilot Edward Busk, who pioneered the inherent-stability aids which caused the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c to be – unjustifiably? – branded a death-trap; the first of a two-part history of the USA's non-scheduled post-war airlines; the story of Sweden's forgotten ASJA Viking lightplanes; and a brief but forensic look at the sole Supermarine Spitfire Mk III.
Despite containing all the riches described above, and more, The Aviation Historian is not available in newsagents – its unique specialist nature makes newstrade distribution unviable. However, single issues and subscriptions respectively, in either print or digital format, may be ordered quickly and easily from the Shop and Subscribe pages on this website.
Nick Stroud, Editor