All about the American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers," the Japanese and Chinese military during the Second World War, the Northrop Flying Wing, Poland's experience of war and exile, and other subjects that take my fancy from time to time. Enjoy! -- Dan Ford

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THE WARBIRD'S FORUM

BW-372 cockpit

Way cool! Go to Jamiflyin dot com and click on the image of the Brewster Buffalo, third photo down. Let the software load, and you will soon be sitting in the cockpit of BW-372, rescued from a Russian lake in the 1990s and now on display at a museum in central Finland. The instruments are in remarkably good condition, considering the many and dubious hands the plane passed through, in Russia, Ireland, and the United States. For a diagram of a Buffalo cockpit, see the message board on Yuku. (And don't for goodness sake shoot down that FW-44 Steiglitz trainer about to cross in front of you. Though it seems to bear a swastika on its flank, the color is blue and the position upright, indicating that its a fellow aircraft of the Finnish Air Force.)

Yunnanyi street

Here's the village street that is Yunnanyi, much as the American Volunteer Group pilots and ground crew would have seen it in 1942, in a photo by Bob Bergin who this month reports from Kunming about Chinese efforts to protect the Flying Tiger heritage. Bob Bergin reports from Kunming.

I got an interesting email from the daughter of French air force General Pierre Pouyade, who as a young captain was shot down and wounded during the German invasion of France in 1940. Remaining in the Vichy air force, he was posted to Vietnam (French Indochina, as we knew it at the time) as commander of a fighter squadron. When the Japanese took over, he was told to engage any Chinese or "Flying Tiger" aircraft that ventured over the border. As his daughter writes, he was at Lao Kai when the AVG strafed a train there in May 1942 and Lew Bishop was shot down, captured by Vichy French supporters, and turned over to the Japanese for questioning. "My father was horrified," Mlle Pouyade writes, "and later [escaped] to join Free French in Kunming." That he did, in October as I see on Wikipedia. He made his way back to Europe by way of New York City, recruiting a Free French unit to fight on the Russian front, credited with eight victories over Belarus, Poland, and East Prussia. Postwar, he rose to the rank of brigadier general in the French air force and after his retirement served as a deputy in the National Assembly. Quite a life! - Dan Ford

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Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford