Aircraft types

The February, 1942, "Yearbook" issue of Aviation magazine included a chart of current US military aircraft

In mid-1944, Flying printed a table showing all the aircraft types in use at the time.
Flying did a more complete "Aircraft of the US Armed Forces" list for their September, 1945, issue.
This is a two-page table: page 70 , page 71.
Flying, in their postwar January, 1946, issue, printed a 1½-page table of German aircraft types [ HTML ] with accompanying text highlighting some of the later types [ HTML ]

A fairly comprehensive listing of aircraft types used in the war gives links to those types illustrated in these pages.

A listing of assigned US designations includes misfire and unsuccessful designs but does not indicate the profusion of modifications and subtypes that planes in active service underwent.

Allen, Edmund T

Edmund T "Eddie" Allen, with his systematization of test flying and flight-testing programs, probably had as much to do with the success of the Flying Fortress as any other individual. He died while flight testing the XB-29.

The flight-testing systems he developed are widely considered to have been instrumental in the growth and success of the American aviation industry, especially in the rapid development of warplanes during WWII.

He authored a series of articles in Aviation, "Flight Testing is a Sound Business"[ PDF, 24.4 MiB ] , [ HTML ], which were published posthumously. They described the system he put in place at Boeing.
His obituary[ PDF, 2.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] describes some of his career and accomplishments.

Aluminum alloy

AA 2024 provides basic information about the 24ST aluminum alloy (Dural, Duralumin) which made up most of the basic structure of most front-line American warplanes of the era. It also describes the various levels of treatment — annealed, tempered, cold-worked, etc — indicated by the letters after the alloy designation.

Dural and Duralumin were names for an early high-strength aluminum alloy. The AA 2024 page implies that the term should only properly be applied to 17S alloy, but common usage was somewhat less restrictive. I knew a number of people who used surplus 24ST alloy after the war and none of them had any hesitation in referring to it as Dural.

"Alclad" meant that the 24ST, which had limited corrosion resistance, had thin layers of pure aluminum metallurgically bonded on both sides of the sheet or plate; this greatly increased service life.

A reproduced "Engineering Data Book" page on Aluminum alloys lists composition and government specifications for the alloys commonly used in the aviation industry in 1944.


Air News provided a glossary [ PDF, 0.73 MiB ] , [ HTML ] of common aeronautical terms and an excerpt from Jordanoff's Illustrated Aviation Dictionary [ PDF, 5.1 MiB ], [ HTML ] to inform their readers about common usage in the industry and in the magazine.


Our airplanes wore national insignia, as did all the combatants. "Insignia Evolution" [ HTML ] illustrates the progression from the "meatball" insigne of the '30s and shows a couple of candidate insignia that didn't make the cut; "Army Aircraft Markings" [ HTML ] describes the history of US Army insignia and markings, with dates of adoption, along with standards for color and serial number markings.
Pilots and flight crew wore individual wings indicating rank and association.
Other nations, of course had their own insignia and flags. An ad showed national flags of the United Nations.
An Oldsmobile ad, "Fire-Power and Horse-Powedr for America's Fighting Fifteen," has examples of the patches of the 15 Air Forces of the AAF.

Morale pieces

Properly, these ads probably don't really qualify as morale pieces, but when I saw them coming from post-Victorian England, I felt they had to be included. Besides, you can consider them as a reminder to the boys of what they were fighting for. The ads featured a nude woman.

1942 was a rough year, especially the first half of it. By the time the May, 1942, issues went to bed, the Doolittle raid had not yet happened and, apart from Colin Kelly's "sinking of a Japanese battleship", a couple of reasonably successful carrier strikes on Japanese positions, and the remarkable stubbornness of the forces in the Philippines in slowing the Japanese advance, there hadn't been any good news, and the Japanese were still advancing on all fronts. We had not yet engaged enemy forces in Europe.

In this time, BG Corporation, a manufacturer of spark plugs used in warplanes, presented what might be considered Public Service Announcements. One of the first, "I Will", a note in his diary by a young man in killed in WWI, was printed in the May issue of Aviation.

In the same month, Ziff-Davis printed the now-iconic "High Flight", written by a young American man killed while serving with the RAF.

The following month, June, BG Corp presented "Dear Pop:", an ad supporting the USO, and in July McGraw-Hill published a copy of the Flag Code titled "O'er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave."

Pertinent copyright law

For those who are concerned with intellectual property rights, contemporary copyright law describes the appropriate regulations for the content of these articles. Circular 92 from the Copyright Office presents copyright law as of The Copyright Act of 1976, which should be the applicable standard now. Paragraph 23 would seem to be pertinent and definitive; it sets duration of copyright at 28 years. Chapter 3 of Circular 92 provides more of the content of the Act.

I was unable to find evidence that the copyrights were renewed, so that they may be considered expired. The copyrights were held by the magazines that published the articles and/or the employers of the writers, or of the vendors who purchased advertising space in the magazines.

Technically, the PDF and HTML articles presented here are derivative works; each contains information on the original publication of the article and any authorship references that were in the original, though author names and CVs are not generally included in the searchable text elements of the files. Please respect the efforts of the originators and any trade marks that appear in the articles or ads.