The Aviation Historian

Issue 21: out now

Subscribe, or buy single issues from our online shop. Issue 22 will be published on January 15, 2018

AQV monoplaneRediscovered in Italy’s archives: The high-flying AQV monoplane

Vehicle loading into a Silver City Bristol FreighterOpen wide! Cars over the Channel in Silver City’s Freighters

Sabre wreckage - tail sectionBit late on the round-out there: Imperial Iran’s aerobatic team

View over snowcaps through propellorWorld’s best flying club: an RAF Victoria on tour in Africa

Published quarterly by:

The Aviation Historian
PO Box 962
RH12 9PP
United Kingdom

Nick Stroud

e-mail (Please contact Nick to submit articles for publication)

Managing Editor
Mick Oakey

e-mail (Please contact Mick for queries relating to subscriptions, advertising, marketing etc and to submit readers’ letters)

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07572 237737
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About the current issue

“In the glorious sunshine we found ourselves flying over rolling pasture lands broken only by ranges of small hills, and I am positive I saw two black lions . . .” Thus inter-war RAF pilot Richard Shaw describes just one of the many adventures he had during a (then) routine but (now) extraordinary 6,000-mile round trip from the northern tip of Africa to its southernmost state in 1934, in the 21st quarterly issue of The Aviation Historian. Exotic flights around the big continent were a regular occurrence for the RAF then, and the late Gp Capt Shaw’s diary of a memorable trip from Cairo to Pretoria in a Vickers Victoria gives us a wonderful flavour of the times, from bathing in a freshwater pool in the shadow of Kilimanjaro to circling through the mist rising from the majestic Victoria Falls at Livingstone. This beautifully written memoir offers lyrical evidence of why the RAF enjoyed a much-envied reputation at the time as “the greatest flying club in the world”.

Since Iran’s bloody revolution in 1979, very little of the country’s aviation history has filtered through to the West; author Babak Taghvaee is making great strides in changing that, and his second feature for TAH details the history of the Imperial Iranian Air Force’s Golden Crown formation aerobatic display team, several members of which went on to be executed by the new regime – a tragic and ill-deserved end for some of the nation’s finest airmen.

Tragic consequences unfold also from the “fog of war”, and Consolidated B-24 Liberator specialist Bob Livingstone recounts a prime example as he sifts through the official inquiry into how a BOAC Lib came to be shot down by Spitfires off the British coast in 1942. Twenty-five years later, in 1967, former World War Two USAAF ace Robin Olds masterminded Operation Bolo, the Vietnam War’s most intensive and successful MiG-hunt. Albert Grandolini explores the full story from both the USAF and Vietnamese perspectives, and reveals the secret role played by the recently-declassified Silver Dawn project.

One of the great joys of putting The Aviation Historian together is providing readers with those “what the?” moments which arise from articles about little-known aircraft types. TAH21 contains two such features. In the first, Italian aviation historian Gregory Alegi tells the full story of the handsome AQV high-altitude monoplane of 1940, one of very few aircraft both designed and built by the Regia Aeronautica, Italy’s air force. Lost to history for almost five decades, the one-off AQV is now back on the map, illustrated with rare photographs, scale drawings and colour artwork. TAH21’s second article on obscure types focuses on the birth of Indonesia’s indigenous aircraft-manufacturing industry, established soon after the nation’s independence in 1949–50, and such designs as the NU-200 Sikumbang, NU-90 Belalang and NU-25 Kunang.

Our new issue also features unbuilt aircraft – in the shape of Fairey’s pre-war and post-war airliner projects – and aeroplanes that were built, but were not what they seemed – cue the Vixettes!

Finally, among several more articles, we also round off our 60th anniversary coverage of the 1957 Defence White Paper with Chris Gibson’s look at its aftermath. It’s a subject with far-reaching implications for what the UK learned from it and what it would do next – something we will be returning to in the very near future. Watch this space!

Editor's signature
Nick Stroud, Editor