At the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, standing with arguably the world’s most beautiful airplane, ever; the 1932 Boeing P-26 “Peashooter,” was the U. S. Army Air Corp’s first low-wing, all-metal pursuit (fighter) plane, an aesthetic jewel of an airplane.
Unfortunately for my prospects of worldly success, I am a person who can identify, on sight, virtually every military aircraft to have seen service in any air arm in the world, between 1935 and 1955.
At the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, I spent an ecstatic day wandering among the beautifully restored wonders of military aviation. They were all there, the P-39 Bell Airacobra with its through-the-nose cannon, the P-51 North American Mustang, considered the ultimate propeller-driven fighter, the Korean War jets, the F-86 Sabre and the F-84 Thunderjet, last of the machine-gun armed, dog-fighters. While it’s always the fighters that catch my imagination, it was the bombers that got me thinking. The B-17, the B-24, the 36, the 47, the 52 and even the newest Stealth models, all testifying to the strategic reasoning for the existence of a national air force, independent of its antecedent role which until 1947, was as the aviation branch of the U. S. Army. Continue reading ‘Glory Days In Dayton’