Flying Tigers
3rd edition


Shark-face football helmet Was there ever a greater football helmet than this? As a use of the shark-face motif, which has graced everything from a Harley-Davidson hog to a baby carriage, it's rivaled only by its inspiration, the paint job on the Curtiss Tomahawks flown by the American Volunteer Group in Burma and China. The new helmets will be worn by the "Zoomies" of the U.S. Air Force Academy when they clash with Georgia State on September 10. But I suspect that other teams will soon copy the design. Now that nicknames like Redskins and Scalpers beomg banned as politically incorrect, what better substitute than Sharks, with this fabulous helmet to top it off?

Also in September: a fete for the AVG Flying Tigers. (Of four known survivors, two are planning to attend.) The site is the Dekalb Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, the dates are September 24-25, and the occasion is the Warbird Weekend of the Commemorative Air Force. It will feature "the world's largest P-40 gathering in recent times," most or all of them no doubt with a shark-face on the cowling.

Billy McDonald Jr. was one of Chennault's wingmen in the Flying Trapeze, the Army Air Corp's first aerobatic team. In The Shadow Tiger, William McDonald III has assembled a scrapbook of his father's letters, flying logs, newspaper clippings, and photos to illustrate his life from his childhood to his descendants. Not something you'll sit down and read from cover to cover, but it's is a goldmine for Flying Tiger buffs. For me, the highlight is a quote from a letter Mac wrote in 1976: "to my knowledge Chennault never shot down a single plane, but I wish he had." The Old Man's combat role in China has divided historians. (Joseph Alsop assured me that Chennault had 50 aerial victories, making him America's top ace before the Pacific War even began!) Martha Byrd was convinced by the stories, but I've been a skeptic, and I'm pleased to have this confirmation from his friend and colleague.

I was surprised and pleased by the enduring success of Taildragger Tales, a collection of five essays I wrote about flying a 1940s Piper Cub almost as old as I was. Now it's been narrated by Kevin Theis, a Chicago actor who among other classics has voiced A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Charlie Wilson's War. Buy it for $6.08 on Amazon or get it free with an Audible subscription. And if you already subscribe, download it from Audible.

Go here for more about these books and my latest vice, the Jack Reacher novels. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

Poland's Daughter

Welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
The Spadguys Speak (carrying a nuke to Sevastopol)
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more: