As noted on the Index page, this site was originally intended to be an introduction to a series of CD-ROM/DVD-ROM collections of articles, etc, on individual aircraft (eg, B-17, B-24, P-51) or small groups of specific types (eg, medium bombers B-25, B-26, Baltimore, Maryland) where none of the individual planes had enough data to warrant its own disc,
It has become obvious that I am not going to live long enough to produce all those collections, with accompanying editorial comment, and be able to offer them for sale. As a result, I have rethought the site and now intend to offer directed research data on specific types on request (for a small fee.) Much of the general-interest material which is not type-specific will be posted up on the site. Most of the type-specific material will also be posted, though much of it will only be as HTML pages of the text of the articles.
The files originally intended to be attention grabbers remain. They are the Design Analysis files I reproduced from microfilm several years back. I retain them because they are interesting, even if the graphics could be better. As I scan and recover the Design Analysis articles from magazine copies, the early ones will be replaced. There will also be supplementation with other materials that could appear later in a collection compiled around a particular plane.
Planes for which Design Analysis articles are available on the site are:
- Douglas A-20 Havoc, light bomber
- Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, heavy bomber
- Consolidated (later Consolidated-Vultee) B-24 Liberator, heavy bomber
- North American B-25 Mitchell, medium bomber
- Martin B-26 Marauder, medium bomber
- Fleetwings BT-12, stainless-steel trainer
- Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando, twin-engine transport
- Douglas C-47 Skytrain, twin-engine multipurpose transport
- Douglas C-54 Skymaster, four-engine transport
- Lockheed C-69 Constellation, four-engine transport
- Fairchild C-82 Packet, transport
- Vought (sometimes Chance Vought) F4U Corsair naval fighter
- Grumman F6F Hellcat, naval fighter
- Lockheed P-38 Lightning, twin-engine fighter
- Bell P-39 Airacobra, fighter
- Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, fighter
- North American P-51 Mustang, fighter
- Northrop P-61 Black Widow, twin-engine night fighter
- Martin PBM-5 Mariner, flying boat patrol bomber
- Consolidated-Vultee PBY Catalina, flying boat patrol bomber
- Lockheed PV-1 Ventura, naval patrol bomber
- Curtiss-Wright SB2C Helldiver, naval dive bomber
- Douglas SBD Dauntless, naval dive bomber
- Grumman TBF Avenger, torpedo bomber
Axis and Allied Planes
- Bristol Beaufighter, British fighter
- Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Würger, German fighter
- Mitsubishi A6M3 Type 0 Model 32 Hamp, Japanese fighter
- Messerschmitt Me-262 Schwälbe, German jet fighter
- de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, British twin-engine fighter-bomber
Some other planes have less complete coverage and will be included as they are processed:
- Boeing 307 Stratoliner (C-75), four-engine transport, sister plane to the B-17
- Boeing 314 Clipper, flying boat
- Douglas A-26 Invader, attack bomber
- Fairchild AT-21 Gunner, trainer
- Douglas B-19 Hemisphere Defender, long-range bomber
- Boeing B-29 Superfortress, super-heavy bomber
- Consolidated-Vultee B-32 Dominator, super-heavy bomber
- Waco CG-4A, glider
- Grumman G-44 Widgeon, flying boat
- Hughes H-4 Hercules, flying boat
- Martin JRM-1 Mars, flying boat
- Goodyear Model M Airship, "blimp"
- Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, Warhawk, fighter
- Bell P-59 Airacomet, jet fighter
- Bell P-63 Kingcobra, fighter
- Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, jet fighter
- Vultee SNV (BT-13) Valiant, trainer
- Avro Anson, British trainer
- Fairey Firefly, British naval fighter
- Handley-Page Halifax, British heavy bomber
- Hawker Hurricane, British fighter
- Avro Lancaster, British heavy bomber
- Avro Manchester, British bomber
- Supermarine Spitfire, British fighter
- Short Stirling, British heavy bomber
- Short Sunderland, British flying boat
- Hawker Tornado, British fighter
- Hawker Typhoon, British fighter
- Vickers-Armstrong Wellington British two-engine bomber
- Dornier Do-217, German dive bomber
- Fieseler Fi-103 V-1 "Buzz bomb", German cruise missile
- Focke-Wulf FW-200 Kurier, German long-range bomber
- Heinkel He-111, German bomber
- Junkers Ju-52 Tante Ju, German three-engine transport
- Junkers Ju-87 Stuka, German dive bomber
- Junkers Ju-88, German fighter-bomber
- Messerschmitt Me-109, German fighter
- Messerschmitt Me-110 Zerstörer, German two-engine escort fighter
- Messerschmitt Me-210 German two-engine fighter
- Mittelwerk A-4 V-2, German ballistic missile
- Mitsubishi Zero, Japanese naval fighter
Two nearly comprehensive lists, one of US assigned type designations and one of all types used in the war, both Allied and Axis, plus some contemporary charts give a good idea of what planes were in use during the war.
During the war, plane spotting was a major concern. Thousands of civilians were recruited to keep an eye on the skies and report any enemy aircraft. Techniques were somewhat based on British experience. The various magazines contributed, each in its own fashion.
The "Design Analysis" articles are indexed; most of the "Flying Equipment" articles have been linked to the pages of their various types; "Yearbook" entries will be linked to their type pages but not indexed there are just too many of them. "Spotter's Quiz" columns have been indexed, as have the "For Identification" columns.
- Air News had their regular "Spotter's Quiz" column until March, 1944, by which time it had presumably been concluded that enemy planes were unlikely to be seen in US skies. There were also occasional "Air Quiz" columns that would show portions of an aircraft, the viewer being challenged to identify the type.
- Aviation had a regular "Flying Equipment" section which often included introductions of new or newly-modified types, and their annual "Yearbook" issue, which included photos or drawings and 3-view silhouettes of nearly all of the types in use in that year. Their "Design Analysis" articles always included detailed 3-view drawings and a photo or two.
- Flying had a regular "For Identification" column that generally included a set of detail photos of various planes with the challenge to identify the types from the detail shots. The "For Identification" column also generally included photo and 3-view silhouette for each of several types, in a two- or three-per-page format.
- Industrial Aviation, after it spun off from Flying only included detailed 3-view drawings and photos in their "Design Analysis" articles.
A set of pages provide cross-links to US planes, organized by manufacturer, of whom the major players were:
- Beech Aircraft Corporation
- Bell Aircraft Corporation
- Boeing Airplane Company, Boeing Aircraft Company
- Brewster Aeronautical Corporation
- Chance Vought Aircraft Division of The United Aircraft Corporation
- Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, Convair
- Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Airplane Division
- Douglas Aircraft Company, Incorporated
- Fairchild Aircraft Division of The Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation
- Fleetwings, Incorporated, Fleetwings Division of Kaiser Cargo, Incorporated
- Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
- Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
- Hughes Aircraft Company
- Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
- The Glenn L Martin Company
- Naval Aircraft Factory, The Naval Air Material Center
- North American Aviation, Incorporated
- Northrop Aircraft, Incorporated
- Piper Aircraft Corporation
- Republic Aviation Corporation
- Sikorsky Aircraft Division of The United Aircraft Corporation
- Vega Aircraft Corporation
- Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division of The United Aircraft Corporation
- Vultee Aircraft Corporation
- Waco Aircraft Company
In addition to the plane-oriented pages, there are (or will be) pages focusing on
- The Allies organization, industry, uniforms and medals, planes and other aspects of life in their nations during the War, with links to various specific airplanes.
- The Axis military and industrial capabilities, uniforms and medals, with some links to specific planes.
- monthly reports on the progress of the war, before the US declared war, as printed in Aviation magazine
- monthly reports on the progress of the war, especially the air war, as printed in Aviation magazine
- monthly reports from London on the British view of the progress of the War, especially the War in Europe.
- aircraft design, including the specific design articles listed above, general design considerations, and specific techniques
- engines, propellers, accessories and control circuitry,
- flight instruments
- articles discussing relative quality of American, Allied and Axis planes,
- stories and historical accounts describing battles, campaigns, etc,
- the development of aircraft production, modification, maintenance and repair during the war, including Axis and Allied production.
- strategy, tactics and the mechanics of planning for the air war, especially as applied to the air war over Europe. This section will also have articles describing Axis and Allied forces, especially their air forces.
- technical material math, theoretical design considerations, strength of materials, drawing, lofting, data tables
- armament bombs, guns, turrets, fields of fire, gunnery training
- the aviation industry corporate profiles, anniversary articles of various companies, and a non-magazine publication, A Chronicle of the Aviation Industry in America, compiled and published by the Eaton Manufacturing Company and circulated privately to members of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences in 1948.
There is another page that breaks down those categories with a bit more detail.
In each page or subhead, articles will generally be listed either in date-of-publication order or alphabetically, whichever seems appropriate.
Other items, contemporary but not from period magazines, are included.
- In July, 1945, Dwight Eisenhower authored a report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the execution of the War in Europe covering the period from the initial planning and his assignment as Supreme Allied Commander through the surrender of German forces. The original of this has been in my family since before I could read. It is included here to offer some extra historical context.
- Shortly after the end of WWII, the Eaton Manufacturing Company, published A Chronicle Of The Aviation Industry In America 1903 * 1947, subtitled "A Salute To The Aviation Industry." It went to press in November, 1947, and was copyrighted 1948. It consisted of a detailed timeline of aviation developments in the United States up to the date of publication, which, of course, included the entire War. The copy in my posession was originally distributed to members by the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences.
The general format of the articles will be HTML, with the illustrations of the original being referenced unless they are integral to the article. Some of the articles will be available as PDFs, complete with illustrations. Illustrations posted on the site will mostly be 150 dpi. Scans or recomposites of the originals can be had at 300 dpi on request.
The files referenced on the HTML pages will mostly be stored by year of publication, with descriptive filenames. The filenames indicate the magazine, the month and year of the issue the file is taken from, usually a token indicating the subject matter, and the page(s) of the original printing. Files derived from multiple original pages will usually not have a page reference in the filename.
The texts have generally been edited mildly to create a bit of consistency. Among other things, periods for abbreviations (ft, lb, in, mi, Gen, Lt, etc) are omitted. Obvious misspellings and typographic errors have been corrected. For the most part (I think I have missed a few) key foreign-language terms have been italicized, as have names or nicknames of vehicles (planes and ships, mostly.) Place names have, for the most part, been made consistent. Spellings have been (again for the most part) changed to match my spellcheck dictionaries; eg, doubled "l"s have been made single in a wide range of words. I have also exerted my personal quirks in hyphenating multiword phrases used as adjectives. Some extended quotations have been formatted as blockquotes in the HTML. In "Captions" entries on some pages, I have spelled out terms that were abbreviated in the original figure caption; I have in a few places done the same thing in data tables.