Warbirds Online

Book Spotlight – A Higher Call by Adam Makos

January 13, 2013 9:02 pm

A Higher Call: An Inspirational True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
by Adam Makos

Description (from Amazon)

Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack.

Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

Available From AMAZON

New Section for the Warbird Registry

December 29, 2012 2:06 pm

My first flight sim… Blue Max for the Atari home computer

December 16, 2012 11:57 am

Blue Max was the first “flight sim” I ever played. At the time my Atari 1200XL was one bad arsed machine and this was THE game. I love this game and spent 100s of hours playing it. Now I look back on it with fondness ever though it is quite ridiculous compared to modern games.

Video Source: RTFx

Support an airfield – a letter from Graham Orphan

November 16, 2012 6:59 pm


We have all mourned to loss of special airfields and other historic aviation centres that have been lost because of greedy developers or selfish residents creating inappropriate establishments next to the airfield, and then complaining about how the activities of the airfield effects that new construction, before demanding the closure of the field. The good news is that the aviation community is more and more standing firm against these greedy predators.

There is an airfield that could use your help, right now, to assist against just such a predator. The historic Sonoma Valley Airport, perhaps better known as Schellville in northern California, is one of those ‘aviation Nirvana’ centres that has evolved over many decades to become a mecca for heritage aviation. Dozens of vintage and warbird aircraft owners and restorers have gravitated towards this wonderful old fashioned airfield which is itself, becoming a heritage tourism attraction. This is especially so because it is possible to experience some wonderful WW-II aviation experiences there such as flying in a Boeing Stearman primary trainer, an AT-6/SNJ advanced trainer, or a choice between a P-40 Kittyhawk or P-51D Mustang fighter. There are plans for a museum display hangar to further enhance the heritage aviation tourism experience.

This idyllic centre is now being threatened. A neighbouring property has been purchased by someone wishing to develop a ‘fly-fishing ranch’ adjacent to the field complete with a man-made lake which is to be filled with fish, which in turn will attract high levels of bird life adjacent to the active runways. No permits were approved for this activity, but the developer is pushing to keep developing it despite having avoided the usual regulatory constraints. He has even built a log fence across the runway over-run, providing a clear view of his thoughts on aviation safety. It is this that has moved supporters to create an on-line petition to show that support for this airfield does not come just from the locals but from enthusiasts around the world who recognize Schellville as a heritage aviation asset of global importance.

This is an involved story. It was very well covered on a news bulletin on ABC 7 News which can be watched here…. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=8828014&pid=8828011
If you would like to help the cause, there is a simple way to sign your name in support of this wonderful home of vintage aviation. Over 650 people have already signed in support of the airfield. Go to this site… http://www.vintageaircraft.com/
and click on the petition right in the middle of the page.

Please take a moment to do this if you have not done so already. It really is a great opportunity to help to support a very deserving airfield.

Best wishes,
Graham Orphan

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