About the current issue
Publication of Issue No 8 of The Aviation Historian marks the completion of our second year in business – huge thanks to all those among "aviation's True Believers" who have taken out a subscription or bought single issues, of either our print or digital editions. Without your support, we wouldn't be here; it's as simple as that!
What does the current issue have to offer? Stories you may well never have heard of before – including how the Luftwaffe's KG 26 lost an entire bomber Staffel in a self-inflicted disaster in 1939, with no input from its enemies; how a British engineer's ideas prompted the USA's exotic high-altitude hydrogen-engined aircraft project (the feature is illustrated with specially-commissioned information graphics by Ian Bott); and how Chinese sabre-rattling along India's borders in 1963 prompted a massive Nato show of strength in the region.
Closer to TAH's home in the UK, we pay tribute to David Lockspeiser, the Hawker test pilot and designer who died in March; and we tell the full pre- and post-war story of the Chrislea Aircraft Company. Our exclusive serialisation of F. Warren Merriam's lost book manuscript Echoes From Dawn Skies continues with a chapter by Short Brothers test pilot John Lankester Parker – who reveals that on first joining the company he was not actually permitted to fly, being regarded as a mere "bit of a boy" by Horace Short.
Our World War One-era coverage is further enriched by new material on Supermarine's twin-engined quadruplane nightfighters, which shared the eccentricity of their progenitor, Noel Pemberton Billing. We also present superb artwork of the 1914 Schneider Trophy-winning Sopwith Tabloid floatplane, in our Before & After series.
Previously-unpublished material from a much more recent conflict is brought to light in a detailed account of the A&AEE's evaluation of an FMA IA-58A Pucará captured during the Falklands War. Author Ben Dunnell has talked to the team tasked with testing this "war prize" and uncovering the extent to which it lived up to its hype.
Turning to civil air transport coverage, we mark the 75th anniversary of Oslo's Fornebu airport with a history of its pre-war development. The inaugural day was made especially memorable when a Focke-Wulf Fw 200 of DDL took off from a taxiway, mistaking it for the main runway!
Meanwhile, renowned historian Warren E. Thompson recounts how the F-84E Thunderjets of the USAF's 27th Fighter Escort Wing protected bombers from the latest Soviet-built fighters in Korea; and, still on the subject of combat jets, we reveal the remarkable tale of a Danish Hawker Hunter which landed back at base and came to a halt on the main runway ... while its pilot was dangling from his parachute a good few miles away.
All this, and more, is carefully selected to whet the appetite of even the most seasoned aviation history aficionado; as one of the reviews of TAH said, "If you can't find something that piques your interest here, your passion is not what you thought it was!"
Which brings us back to where we came in: two years into our venture, the readership of TAH continues in healthy growth, but we still have a long way to go before we reach long-term financial sustainability. So, please carry on spreading the word, True Believers – we are too specialist for newsagent distribution to be viable, so satisfied readers are our most effective and valued ambassadors.
All this, plus photographic spreads of rare images, and more, awaits the discerning reader in Issue 8 of The Aviation Historian.
Nick Stroud, Editor