Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 28 June

P-51 Mustang
One of the Most Beautiful Aircraft of All Time
As promised, this week I'm featuring Allied pilots. Well, actually this week it's an All-American show. Future editions of the Flyby will showcase the British, the Russians and the other Allied nations who sent the Axis down in flames. But this week it's the Yanks. In particular the men who flew in Europe against the Germans. We'll get to the Pacific theater eventually. So all you Naval Aviators and NFOs can just go on back to the O-Club and have another drink, the Air Force is taking center stage this week! (Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, etc. - to an Old Air Force Sarge, it's all "Air Force" to me. Buck, can I get an "Amen"? And I know there's more USAF types out there, y'all can chime in down there in the comments. Don't mind the squids, grunts, gyrenes and coasties. They're all right. Once ya buy'em a drink of course.)

Major George E. Preddy, Jr. USAAF
26.83 Aerial Victories
1919 - 1944

Mustang in D-Day Livery

General John C. Meyer, USAF
24 Aerial Victories
1919 - 1975

The Flying Dutchman

Major Dominic Salvatore "Don" Gentile, USAAF
21.83 Aerial Victories
1920 - 1951

P-47D Thunderbolt, aka "The Jug"
"It better dive, because it sure as Hell can't climb." - Don Blakeslee

Colonel Francis Stanley "Gabby" Gabreski, USAF
28 Aerial Victories
1919 - 2002

Three Jugs Are Better'n One
More Bang for Your Buck

Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Johnson, USAAF
27 Aerial Victories
1920 - 1998

"Razorback" Jug

Now there's a sight!

Colonel Walker Melville "Bud" Mahurin, USAF
20.75 Aerial Victories
1918 - 2010

Colonel Donald James Matthew Blakeslee, USAF
15.5 Aerial Victories

Started with the Royal Canadian Air Force
Claimed his first kill on November 22, 1941!
1917 - 2008

Colonel Hubert A. "Hub" Zemke, USAF
17.75 Aerial Victories
Jimmy Doolittle praised Zemke as his "greatest fighter group commander".
He commanded the 56th Fighter Group in England,
which came to be known as "Zemke's Wolf Pack".
1914 - 1994

Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF
16 Aerial Victories (World War II and Vietnam!)
1922 - 2007

Brigadier General Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager
11.5 Aerial Victories
First Man to Break the Sound Barrier
Born 1923

So there you have it, quite a collection of pilots and aircraft. Next week maybe we'll wander out to the Pacific theater, maybe we'll introduce you to the Aces of Imperial Japan. Or maybe we'll do the American Aces of the Pacific. Or maybe, we'll introduce the Brits and the Russkie Aces. And no. I haven't forgotten the Italians. Though their armed forces performed somewhat abysmally in World War II, there were lots of Italian fighting men who did their nation proud.

No, not sure what I'll do next week. Guess you'll just need to stay tuned!

But I'll leave you with this...

Why yes, I do like the P-51...
Why do you ask?


  1. The P-51 is hands down one of the most beautiful planes ever to fly.

  2. What a wonderful war machine. I recently read some information about the oil cooler on the belly. North American Aviation spent countless hours in the Cal Tech wind tunnel tweaking the shape of the P-51 'Dog House' in order to get the maximum benefit of the Meredith effect. The design at least negated the drag created and may even have provided some thrust. Great reading.

    1. I did not know that. All that design work done in the days before computers. Back then we had practical engineers!

  3. Very nice, and some real heroes there!!!

    1. There were so many to choose from. But there will be more when we get to the Pacific.

  4. Nice work, yet again. You got yer Amen!

    Apropos o' not much... I sat with an old guy when I went to the recent AFA chapter meeting in Clovis, and I mean OLD, like late 80s or mebbe more. He casually dropped the fact that he flew with Colonel Gabreski in Korea, and in the US before they deployed... I casually dropped my jaw. This old colonel said Gabreski was the "Best damned fighter pilot I ever knew," which was the understatement of the evening.

  5. How about the other side sometime?

    1. Check out last week's Flyby, it was about the Luftwaffe.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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