Knights Of The Sky Exhibition - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Dangerous Skies WWII Exhibition - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
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Volume 24 #4, Issue 112

AIRACOBRA! – Bell’s Unconventional Fighter

AIRACOBRAThis is a two part feature, firstly looking at the development and chequered combat history of the fighter which, while adequate enough to hold the line in the SW Pacific until more able aircraft were available, found its calling in service with the Soviet Air Force (VVS). There it was used at an altitude with which it was most comfortable and following continuous incremental upgrading of the aircraft, piloting skills and tactics, the Airacobra became a formidable opponent for the Luftwaffe and was the mount of several aces.
In the second part test pilot Frank Parker recounts his experience on flying Jerry Yagen’s aircraft which had its rebuild completed by Pioneer Aero Ltd, Auckland, NZ. The feature is supported by some stunning air to air photography courtesy of Gavin Conroy.



Legend has it that the Royal Flying Corp’s (RFC) then recently appointed Director of Air Operations, Brigadier General Sefton Brancker, had visited Brooklands and upon seeing Sopwith’s prototype 80 hp single-seat Scout alongside the larger two-seat 1½ Strutter declared - “Good God! Your 1½ Strutter has had a Pup.” True or not, the name stuck despite being frowned upon by the top brass as being “undignified.” To the Sopwith Company the machine was known as the 80 hp Le Rhone Single Seat Biplane, and its official title was simply the Sopwith Scout. Orders were issued forbidding the use of ‘Pup’ as it was such a frivolously incorrect name for the aeroplane, however these were totally ignored as the little machine found favour and much affection among pilots. In this article we take a look at the development and service of this remarkable little fighter, complemented by stunning air to air images of The Vintage Aviators’ superb reproductions.


P-38 LightningOver many years Classic Wings has been making regular visits to Albion Park, New South Wales, to visit Rob Greinert and his Historic Aircraft Restorations (HAR) team to follow the rebuild work on many aircraft types. For this feature however we concentrate on the work being focussed upon the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Very few facilities can claim to be advancing the fortunes of the world’s meagre P-38 population but HAR is one that is doing some sterling work on this front. This shop is better known for work on P-47s, Wirraways etc., but has also produced some restorations for museum displays, notably the Pima Aviation Museum. Robs operation is able to provide three key elements which, when brought together, can furnish the core ingredients to rebuild a Lightning. These comprised recovered airframes from original operational aircraft which had, typically, force-landed during operations in the Pacific, the world’s ‘mother-lode’ of key original P-38 parts, both used and new-old stock, which had been painstakingly gathered over many decades by California-based P-38 owner Bruce Pruitt and the ability to utilize CAD technology. At the time of writing, there are four P-38 airframes ‘in play’ in the HAR workshop and we will elaborate on the history of these in the not too distant future.


Fiat G.5

The Fiat G.5bis was a 1930s tourer-trainer designed by Giuseppe Gabrielli and is currently the second-oldest surviving Fiat design. Here Gregory Alegi provides the history of the type and takes a look at the only known survivor.


Classic Fighters Airshow 2019Themed to celebrate the often downplayed role that women have contributed throughout the history of aviation, the 10th Anniversary of what has become one of the must see air shows on the planet certainly did this in style, and with a little humour! Here we review the highlights of the show, from the ear shattering roar of the RAAF F/A-18 Hornet through to the machines of the Pioneer, Golden Age and Warbird eras.

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