RAF Form 414, Vol. 17

RAF Form 414, Vol. 17

The story of my military flying career continues with the new challenge of flying the FA/18 Hornet round the beautiful skies of Australia.


The official crest of No 77 Sqn RAAF with its Grumpy Monkey


The 77 Sqn Mirages


The helmet fitting


An FA/18A cockpit





The Head Up Display


The location of RAAF Williamtown


Firing the gun


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Nick Anderson and Google Earth.

Oh Canada, Our UFO

Oh Canada, Our UFO

Featured in a Scientific magazine which offered a first look inside the USAF’s new jet fighter, the F-89 Scorpion was to have an interesting history which involved the Battle of Palmdale and a top secret Canadian UFO!

A Scientific Magazine cutaway drawing


The Fly-off competitors


The Northrop F89 Scorpion



The 437th Fighter Interceptor Squadron


An F6F Hellcat red drone


Mighty Mouse rockets


1st Lt Moncla


The Canadian UFO


The official USAF report


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Scientific magazine, the USAF, USN, NASA, SDASM, RKO Pictures and those available through Fair Use and Public Domain.

The Wing That Broke Jack Northrop

The Wing That Broke Jack Northrop

Arguably one of the most talented and innovative aircraft developers of his time, John Knudsen Northrop had long sought an aircraft design that could start a revolution… a craft with minimum drag and a level of lift unachievable in any other form. Jack, as John Northrop was usually known, pursued his dream of building a pure flying wing strategic bomber that would exceed the capabilities of anything else his less imaginative competitors were designing.

The gliders of Otto Lilienthal


The Armstrong Whitworth AW-52


The Avion/Northrop Experimental No1 pusher 


The remains of a Horton flying wing


The Northrop N1M


Nortons XB35


The XP-79 fighter


The XB-49


The YB-35s being broken up at the cancelation of the project


The final successful B-2 Spirit



Images shown under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the USAF, the Library of Congress, Northrop, National Museum of the Air Force, Michael.katzmann, the IWM, Sanjay Acharya, the National Archive and NASA.

The Eager Beavers

The Eager Beavers

It was an unpopular aircraft because, well… a lot of aircrew were superstitious. They were renown for carrying lucky charms, doing things a certain way and never daring to change the habit because it worked for them last time. Their machine was a B17 nicknamed Old 666 taken from the last 3 digits of its tail number 41-2666 and they were the Eager Beavers!


Old 666


The Martin B-26 Marauder


The B-17 bombing Japanese shipping North of Australia


The B-17’s waist guns


The route for their recce sortie over Bougainville


The Japanese Zero


A Zero passes close aboard


The damage to Old 666


The brave crew fight the Zeros off


Jay Zeamer receives his Medal of Honor



Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the USAAF, Mark Wagner, USAF, USAAC, Gary Fortington, US National Archives and Records Administration, SDASM, Steve Jurvetson and those in the Public Domain or orphaned.

RAF Form 414, Vol. 16

RAF Form 414, Vol. 16

The conclusion of one of the hardest flying courses in the Royal Air Force, the QWI course.  What faced us was the culmination of all our efforts over the past months of flying in the form of a week of intense work, drawing together everything we had learned. We had to fly a series of missions against all comers, demonstrating our level of leadership, control, tactics, formation management, aggression and skill. These sorties were complex and demanding, involving tactics we devised to allow us to fly without the use of the radio from start to finish.

The RAF’s F4 Phantom


The East German border


The Nicholson Trophy for best student on the course


Off to a specialist burns unit in an RAF Search and Rescue Sea King


Packing up our married quarter for Australia


The delights of Hong Kong


My tropical uniform


The last leg to to Australia


Our little married Quarter at RAAF Williamtown


Meeting our neighbours at street BBQ


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the RAF and the author.

Amy, Wonderful Amy

Amy, Wonderful Amy

The 1920’s and 30’s were times of radical societal changes, particularly in the freedoms that women then demanded. The suffragette movement, the contributions made by women in the first world war and other dramatic events had clearly shown that forward looking women were no longer going to be content with the roles that men decided they were suited for. Aviation played its part in allowing women the freedom to tackle challenges that were previously denied to them, a fight for equality continues to this day.  It is right that we celebrate those early pioneers who took to the air and led the way.

The Suffragette movement which paved the way for woman’s emancipation


Will Hay, one of Amy’s flying instructors


Amy’s planned route to Australia


Amy’s Gypsy Moth, “Jason”


Amy in India


Amy arrives in Australia


An Airspeed Oxford and notice of Amy’s “MISSING BELIEVED KILLED,” telegram


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to those in the Public Domain, the National Library of Australia, the UK National Archives, Bob Brown, the Queenslander, SADSM and those of unknown copyright.