""Buss" Mascot with an R.A.F. Squadron stationed in Libya, on February 15, 1942, takes a few personal liberties with the pilot of an American-Built Tomahawk plane somewhere in the Western Desert. (AP Photo)” (via)
"Slinky like light pattern in the blackness of moonlight sky produced by a time exposure of the light tipped rotor blades of a grounded helicopter as it takes off into the dark sky.” (1949) (via)
“Squadron Leader J A F MacLachlan, the one-armed Commanding Officer of No 1 Squadron RAF, standing beside his all-black Hawker Hurricane Mark IIC night fighter, ‘JX-Q’, at Tangmere, Sussex. MacLachlan flew bombers in France in 1940, but transferred to fighters in June 1940 and shot down 6 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain.
He joined No. 261 Squadron RAF in Malta, as a flight commander, and was shot down in February 1941, as a result of which his left arm was amputated. He quickly returned to operations after being fitted with an artificial limb, flying with No. 73 Squadron in North Africa, but in July 1941 returned to the United Kingdom to take command of No. 1 Squadron.
The Hurricane is sporting his personal emblem showing his amputated arm waving a ‘V’ sign. He was again shot down in 1943 and became a prisoner-of-war, by which time his score had risen to 16.5 victories [Critically injured, he died on 31 July 1943].” (via)
“Seeking a more realistic test environment for pressure suits, engineers at Douglas Aircraft installed the cockpit from the prototype XF4D Skyray in a large altitude chamber at the El Segundo, CA, facility. The David Clark Model 7 was among the first pressure suits evaluated in the test rig, which was representative of, but not identical to, the D558 research airplane” (via this amazing pdf)
the jaw-dropping art of Christophe GIBELIN
"Spectacular crash at Byoritsu oil refinery, Formosa, was photographed by a B-25 of the 5th AF 345th Bomb Group on 26 May 1945 just as it released its string of parafrags. North American B-25 No.192 was hit by flak from a camouflaged battery and trails smoke. A gaping hole is visible on the pilot’s side.” (via)
"With a bandaged eye - wounded a few days earlier in a small accident - the Hungarian Bf 109 pilot János Suttai Koppány of 3/1. Közelfelderítő század is posing next to one of the Il-2s of 237 ShAP which were shot down at dawn on 5 July 1943..” (via)
One of the constant issues to haunt the participants of the Second World War in the air was that of non-combat accidents.
One heartbreaking example that has always stood out for me are the deaths of Free French Air Force pilot Pierrot Degail and Acting Flight Lieutenant Douglas Walker of the Royal Air Force, seventy years ago on December 14th 1942.
Whilst on a training mission, Degail’s Supermarine Spitfire crashed on Cadair Berwyn, a mountain in North Wales. Walker was sent to search for Degail in a Westland Lysander, and crashed a few hundred yards from the Spitfire. Both pilots perished near their aircraft. (via)
"…One of our Belgian comrades’ Spitfires exploded in mid-air during an aerobatics practice. Two of our R.A.F. friends came into collision and were killed before our eyes. Then Pierrot Degail, one of the six Frenchman on the course, crashed one misty evening into an ice-covered hill-top. It took two days to reach the debris through the snow. His body was found in a kneeling position, his head in his arms, like a sleeping child, by the side of his Spitfire. Both his legs were broken and, unable to move, he must have died of cold during the night."
"A huge number of broken and destroyed Soviet planes. The airfield in Minsk was occupied by the German forces in the beginning of July 1941." (via)
""Return after combat" it said on the back of these two pictures. the exhausted face and the wet hair shows that it, as always, was a matter of life or death. Summer 1940" (via)
(The pilot, Gustav “Micky” Sprick, recorded nine victories during the Battle of Britain. He died in June 1941 - the right wing of his aircraft separating during a dogfight with Royal Air Force fighters over France)