In the 1970’s, Germany was in the grip of a terrorist nightmare, led by a far left militant group known as the Red Army Faction or the Baader-Meinhof Gang.  Their most audacious act was, with the aid of Palestinian terrorists, to hijack a Lufthansa Boeing 737 named Landshut.  For the passengers and crew this was the start of a 5 day nightmare during which they were subjected to awful treatment and murder.  This is the story of flight 181.


Hanns-Martin Schleyer in captivity following his abduction.


Landshut during the hijacking.


The route Landshut was forced to take.


 The hostages and GSG9 team arrive safely back in Germany.


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Ken Fielding, Devilm25 and the Bundesarchiv.


If It Ain’t Boeing…

If It Ain’t Boeing…

Wilheim Böing, emigrated to the United States in 1866 and, after becoming a wealthy lumber merchant, sent his son William to an elite school in Switzerland and then Yale University.  Now named Boeing, William followed his father into the timber business and in his spare time became one of America’s first pilots.  Soon he was putting his wealth and engineering background to the development of his first aircraft, the Boeing and Westervelt B&W1.  This was the start of the enormously successful company that was to conquer the world of aviation and develop such iconic aircraft as the B17 Flying Fortress and the Boeing 747.

A replica of the B&W seaplane.


A 1928 map of the USPO airmail routes.


The Boeing Model-40 airmail aircraft.


A prototype B-17, the Boeing Y1B-17.


Boeing’s first commercial jet airliner, the 707.


The Boeing 747, being displayed to the public for the first time.



Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive, KudzuVine, United States Post Office Department, Seattle Municipal Archives, USAF, Jon Proctor and Scandinavian Airlines Service.

The Highest Honour

The Highest Honour

Two men who risked everything to save their aircraft and, because of their bravery, were awarded their countries highest honour.  These are stories which truly invoke the often misused sobriquet, hero.

Jimmy Ward of No 75 (New Zealand) Squadron.


The hatch that Jimmy climbed out of and the holes he made to crawl over to the blazing engine.


Henry Erwin, recipient of the Medal of Honor.


“Red” Erwin in 1995.


The B-29 Superfortress.


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Arghya1999, the Royal Air Force, US Air Force, Senior Airman Christopher J. Matthews and the US Gov.

Gawd ‘Elp All of Us!

Gawd ‘Elp All of Us!

It was the year 1919 and Billy Hughes, the Prime Minister of Australia, was travelling to attend the Paris Peace Conference.  He cabled his Government, “Several Australian aviators are desirous of attempting flight London to Australia they are all first-class men and very keen, your thoughts?”  The undertaking was momental since the longest distance ever achieved by an aircraft to that point was only a third of the required 11,000 miles, let alone attempting the journey in less than 30 days!  Regardless, the Great Air Race was on!


After an an epic 206 days, finally, Battling Ray landed in Australia.


The Vickers Vimy dubbed Gawd Elp All Of Us reaches Australian soil.


A monument to the Great Race erected in Darwin.


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Benparer, State Library of South Australia, State Library of Queensland and Bidgee.

The Mig 007

The Mig 007

The Mig-21, NATO codename Fishbed, was to become the most produced supersonic fighter in aviation history.  In the 1950s, its secrets were being tightly safeguarded and Western military forces were very keen to find out more.  Here is a spy story, more dramatic and blood thirsty than most fictional ones but one that put the new fighter right into the hands of the Israeli Air Force.

Mig 007 in the Hatzerim museum.


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Oren Rozen, US Gov DIA,

Hirsute Across the Channel

Hirsute Across the Channel

A narrow body of water separates England from the rest of Europe… between Dover and Calais it’s only 21 miles wide.  Crossing it has become a bit of a right of passage for many forms of transport and aviators, with or without moustaches, have been no exception.  These are the stories of some of those early attempts!

Jean-Pierre Blanchard rows across the channel in a balloon!


Louis Blériot sporting a fine aviator’s moustache!


Blériot completes the first crossing of the Channel by a heavier than air machine.


Harriet Quimby’s very fetching flying gear.


A captured Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 Drache.


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Jmack361,