Tag Archives: military

Hell of a Time: The Aviation Novels of Derek Robinson

hawker-hurricane-britanskiy

By PARAAG SHUKLA

It started when I was ten years old. In the summer of 1992 my family and I were in New Delhi, visiting family for the first time since moving to the U.S. in 1985. I switched on the television and saw a World War II British fighter aircraft flying low over the countryside. Then, much to my amazement, it flew under a stone bridge. But then the pilot, momentarily distracted, flew his aircraft straight into a tree and was killed in the ensuing fiery crash. Continue reading

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Learning to Fly… in “The Suicide Club”

180116_mfp-1

Aviators of the First World War endured a 70% chance of being killed or wounded, and 10,000 aviators were killed in combat. Flying was inherently dangerous, and 60% of all British aircraft accidents occurred during training. The Royal Flying Corps was quickly dubbed “The Suicide Club.”

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“Shoot ’em in the Back,” or the Myth of Aerial Chivalry

David Niven and Erroll Flynn in "The Dawn Patrol" (1938).

David Niven and Erroll Flynn in The Dawn Patrol.

Once the First World War began, it did not take long for the horrendous fighting in the trenches to crush the prevailing notion of heroism. An individual’s survival amidst the great machinery of war seemed to rely more on chance than individual bravery. One exception, however, was the image of the intrepid aviator. Continue reading

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The Promise of Adventure: A Glance at Early Powered Flight

1910_Model B

The period leading to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 was one of rapid innovation in the field of aviation. Significant time, effort, and treasure was spent in learning about aeronautics. Testing new designs was often a trial-and-error process, with the highest stakes for the men at the controls of primitive flying machines. Continue reading

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