Wave-Off!: A History of LSOs and Ship-Board Landings

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From the beginning, landing airplanes on ships at sea has been considered the ultimate challenge in aviation. The success of generations of aircraft carrier operations would never have been possible without the Landing Signal Officer, or LSO. A full history of the LSO has never been published before now. The major changes brought about by visual landing aids and angled decks are nothing less than revolutionary, and these features are explained by a seasoned Naval Aviator who flew attack jets from carriers.

This book tells the story of LSOs from the first carrier operations in 1922 through World War II, the early jet era, Korea, Vietnam, and up to today's nuclear-powered leviathans. Also explained are naval aircraft and equipment development through the years; it covers both the faster and heavier aircraft and the changes in shipboard flight-deck systems. Diagrams showing the evolution of aircraft carrier deck design from World War I to the present are also included.
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I Could Never Be So Lucky Again

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After Pearl Harbor, he led America’s flight to victory

General Doolittle is a giant of the twentieth century. He did it all.
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The Final Mission of Extortion 17: Special Ops, Helicopter Support, SEAL Team Six, and the Deadliest Day of the U.S. War in Afghanistan

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On August 6, 2011, a U.S. Army CH-47D Chinook helicopter approached a landing zone in Afghanistan 40 miles southwest of Kabul. The helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was on a mission to reinforce American and coalition special operations troops. It would never return. Insurgents fired at the Chinook, severed one of its rear rotor blades, and brought it crashing to the ground. All 38 onboard perished instantly in the single greatest moment of sacrifice for Americans in the war in Afghanistan. Those killed were some of the U.S.'s most highly trained and battle-honed commandos, including 15 men from the Gold Squadron of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known popularly as SEAL Team 6, which had raided a Pakistan compound and killed Osama bin Laden just three months earlier. The downing of Extortion 17 spurred a number of conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the shootdown was revenge for bin Laden's death. In The Final Mission of Extortion 17, Ed Darack debunks this theory and others and uncovers the truth behind this mysterious tragedy. His account of the brave pilots, crew, and passengers of Extortion 17 and the events of that fateful day is interwoven into a rich, complex narrative that also discusses modern joint combat operations, the history of the Afghan war to that date, U.S. helicopter use in Afghanistan, and the new and evolving military technologies and tactics being developed to mitigate such tragedies now and in the future.

Mosquito to Berlin: Story of ‘Bertie’ Boulter DFC, One of Bennett’s Pathfinders

Reviews of Mosquito to Berlin: Story of ‘Bertie’ Boulter DFC, One of Bennett’s Pathfinders. Mosquito to Berlin: Story of ‘Bertie’ Boulter DFC, One of Bennett’s Pathfinders eBook: Peter Bodle FRAeS: Kindle Store. Buy online at Aviation Bookstore.

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When Don Bennett formed the Pathfinder squadrons in 1942, the majority of the chosen pilots were highly experienced aircrew who had learned their skills in the opening years of World War Two. Some, however, were exceptions and found themselves flying with this elite band with no previous combat experience. 'Bertie' Boulter was one such pilot. He was born in Saskatchewan, on 15 April 1923, the son of British emigrants. When his father died in 1938 the family returned to their native home in Norwich. On 3 January 1942 'Bertie' was accepted for pilot training with the RAF and found himself back in Canada learning to fly. Upon his return to England, and with 'exceptional' describing his flying abilities, he was posted to No 11 Radio School at Hooton Park as a staff pilot flying Avro Ansons and the lugubrious Botha, in which wireless operators were learning their trade. After a short spell at No. 12 Advanced Flying Unit, he was posted to No 128 Pathfinder Squadron in October 1944, based at Wyton and flying the legendary de Havilland Mosquito XX. He was now in the thick of Bomber Commands destruction of Germany's industrial centres and communications system. His first mission was to Wiesbaden, followed by raids on Hanover and Cologne. November saw the first of his nineteen visits to Berlin and the first bale-out. Flying at 7,000 ft, with seriously malfunctioning Merlins, Bertie, and his navigator were forced to abandon the aircraft and landed safely close to the front line but unsure of which side of it they were. Eventually he arrived in Dunkerque, where he boarded an MTB for his return to Wyton. Bertie was forced to bale out once more, in January 1945, when he was forced to abandon his aircraft near his home base because of the dense fog that was covering all of Eastern Britain. This was on his return from a raid on Berlin made by 36 aircraft, twelve of which failed to return. Boulter's career with the RAF continued after the war with various units including Met. Flights and liaison duties. His log-book records that he flew 48 combat operations during which 128,000 lb of ordnance was dropped on enemy territory. Bertie Boulter was still flying a Stearman biplane fifty years later and he still meets regularly with survivors of the Pathfinder squadrons.

Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs – The Forgotten Air Battle of the Korean War, 23 October 1951

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An hour and a half before sunup, nine B-29s of the 307th Bombardment Wing lifted off from Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa on a bombing mission against Namsi, a North Korean airfield under construction in the heart of MiG Alley. Five and a half hours later, they would engage in an air battle that would forever change the conduct of strategic aerial bombardment. Six of the nine would not return; the highest percentage of United States bombers ever lost on a major mission.

Astonishingly, virtually nothing has been published about this event. Official Air Force historical records mention it only in passing and literature of the period too often emphasizes the gung ho aspect than the grim reality of war.
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