About the current issue
Hitting double figures, with publication of the tenth quarterly issue of The Aviation Historian, we continue to hit the spot for established readers, and to attract a steady stream of new ones. People like our compact format (we look rather more like a softback book than a magazine) and, in a field increasingly dominated by a few big publishers, they appreciate our independence and our constant quest for new and unusual material.
While TAH10 provides stimulating new insights into the utter disaster that was Italian fighter aircraft procurement during World War Two, and describes the equally politically fractious procurement of the US Marine Corps' AV-8A Harrier, the "unusual" tag is best exemplified by our feature The Shah's Skyhooks. Yes, not only do we like obscure helicopters, in this case Cessna's barely-remembered CH-1, but we have sought out an interview with the first pilot to fly one of the examples bought by pre-Revolution Iran!
In-depth articles are complemented by stunning illustrations, and some of the most arresting in this issue come from a remarkable album of photographs taken at the RFC's X Depot in Aboukir, Egypt, which forms our cover story. Seeing crystal-clear images of this Aladdin's Cave of aircraft and engine parts from almost a century ago provides a powerful connection with early aviation history – as do the lively first-hand recollections of British pioneer pilot Ronald Kemp in our latest exclusive serialised chapter from the lost book manuscript Echoes from Dawn Skies.
Such lighter fare is balanced by substantial helpings of original historical research, including Ralph Pegram's second article on biplane maestro H.P. Folland’s forgotten inter-war monoplane designs; the conclusion of David H. Stringer's masterful history of the USA's non-scheduled airlines; and Ray Flude’s account of the Allies' global airlift to resupply British forces in North Africa after the fall of Tobruk.
As well as covering the whole span of aviation history from pre-Great War days to the 1980s, this first TAH issue of 2015 ranges in altitude from the low-level RF-51D Mustang reconnaissance exploits of the USAF's 45th TRS in Korea to the rarefied heights of test pilot Cyril Uwins's 44,000ft record flight in a Vickers Vespa in 1932.
Finally this time round, to provide some pure entertainment to lift the mood during the darkest months of the northern winter, we offer Melvyn Hiscock's extraordinary yarn about how a de Havilland Tiger Moth became an honorary Thunderbird, and how in the process former ATA pilot Joan Hughes got herself arrested by failing to land on the M40 motorway.
Does all this sound like your cup of tea? Then join the small army of aviation's true believers who, tired of what the mainstream has to offer, want to read something they don’t already know about. TAH is an education even for the small but dedicated team who put it together, and we like nothing better than to discover stories that repeatedly reignite our own passion for aviation history, because we know it will do the same for you.
Remember – we're not available in newsagents, but you can order print copies and subscriptions from the Shop and Subscribe pages here on our website, for delivery in the UK and worldwide; and if you prefer digital format you can get TAH for a wide range of devices from smartphone to desktop computer from our digital newsstand at Pocketmags.com.
Nick Stroud, Editor