The Aviation Historian #14

PUBLISHER: The Aviation Historian
PRICE: $19.99 in the US
REVIEWER: Robert Hart

The Aviation Historian is a quarterly periodical published in the UK. The publisher states that it is the “modern journal of classic aeroplanes and the history of flying”. To date 36 issues have been published and, as near as I can tell, all are still available. This review is of issue number 14 as that is the most recent one that I have read.

Issue 14 includes the following articles:

The Blame Game: The story of the Vickers V.1000 airliner. The V.1000 was based on the Vickers Valiant bomber and was a contemporary of the Boeing 707. The author provides evidence to support his assertion that politics led to it's demise.

The Last Seagull: Chronicles the last Supermarine Seagull's use for vacationing flights in Austrailia prior to it's restoration and display in RAF Museum Hendon. The article includes some evocative period color photography.

The Molotov Express: Details the use of converted bombers to shuttle high ranking diplomats between the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States in WWII. Many of the flights were over the Polar ice cap at high altitude in unpressurized aircraft.

New Year on Skyline Ridge: The 2nd of a two part series about the author's personal experiences doing humanitarian work in Laos during the mid 1960s. His work entailed frequently flying with Air America. Color photos from the author's personal collection accompany this article.

Mr. Cody and Mr. Roe: Two Remarkable Men: The first of a two part series comparing the methods, struggles, and achievements of two of Great Britain's greatest pioneering aviators.

Beirut: Lebanon's Propliner Paradise: A photo essay of classic propeller airliners at the (then) recently opened Beirut, Lebanon civilian airport in the mid 1950s.

Bunny Power: Traces the history of of US Navy development Squadron VX-4 and why it adopted an all black F-4 Phantom-with Playboy Bunny logo-as it's flagship, This article also includes color photography.

Young Japan: Chronicles an 8500 mile over 92 days journey from Tokyo to Rome by two inexperienced Japanese Aviators in 1931.

A Propeller Firebomber: Tells the story of when the Lancaster AR10 currently owned by the Strathallen Aircraft Collection was converted to a firebomber in Canada during the 1960s. This article features a color photo, color profiles, and detail drawings.

Machtrainer: The Story of the Fokker S.11 jet trainer. Color photos and a detailed drawing of the cockpit are included.

Local Hero: A tribute to the recipient of the first DFC awarded during the Berlin airlift. The USAF pilot was killed in the crash of a C-54 while trying to transport a load of oats and soap to Berlin. The article also gives details of recent efforts by a local Boy Scout Troop to restore his memorial.

The Hot Seat: Details the USA's AERCAB project-an attempt to develop a jet powered flyaway ejection seat in an effort to reduce aircrew losses during the Vietnam War. Color photos are included.

Pierre's Magical Mystery Tourer: Investigates the Bristol F2Bs converted to passenger carriers that were exported to the USA in the summer of 1920. The story has an interesting postscript involving what may have been the ugliest airliner ever built.

Each issue also includes these recurring features:

Readers Correspondence: Letters to the editor

Books in Brief: Book reviews

Lost and Found: Exploration of aviation related stories and images previously lost to time

Off the beaten path: Photos of aircraft statically displayed in odd and unexpected locations


I like that The Aviation Historian drives headlong off the beaten path to present lesser known and obscure aspects of aviation history. The articles are well written, professionally edited, and illustrated with clear photos and/or original artwork. Excellent value for the money in my opinion.

Robert Hart

November 2021

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