Masters of the Air

Masters of the Air

Dive deeper into the stories depicted in the hit Apple TV+ series Masters of the Air with the American Air Museum. 

If you want to understand the broader context of Masters of the Air, there is no better place to start, than the American Air Museum.

- Kirk Saduski, Executive Producer, Masters of the Air

Uncover the true story

Discover the real history behind the key events in the show through our stories

YouTube teaser image with B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 100th Bomb Group and a portrait of Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal

The true story of the 100th Bomb Group

The 100th Bomb Group is one of the most famous of the Second World War - earning the nickname 'The Bloody Hundredth'. Their experiences are featured in the war drama Masters of the Air. But where did their legend come from?
Lieutenant Vernon R Richards of the 361st Fighter Group fliying his P-51 Mustang (B7-R, serial number 44-13357) nicknamed "Tika IV". ©IWM (FRE 6210)

How the Eighth Air Force defeated the Luftwaffe

By the end of 1943, the US Eighth Air Force was at breaking point, German flak and fighters were shooting down bombers in their hundreds. But just one year later, the Eighth Air Force were masters of the air over Europe. So how did they do it?
Newly arrived American prisoners of war with their luggage at Stalag Luft III, Sagan, amongst them Alexander Jefferson a Black airman of the 332nd Fighter Group. ©IWM

Life behind the wire at Stalag Luft III

On 12 August, 1944, Alexander Jefferson was flying his P-51 Mustang over the French Riviera, when he noticed a string of blinking red lights – anti-aircraft fire. His aircraft critically hit, Jefferson bailed out, and was soon captured by the Germans, beginning a nine-month ordeal as a Prisoner of War.

Meet the real people

Explore the American Air Museum's archive to discover the true stories of the principal characters in Apple TV+'s Masters of the Air.

Studio Portrait of Gale Cleven AAM Archive UPL 68726

Gale Cleven

Gale Cleven was one of the original members of the 100th Bomb Group, and pilot on some of the group’s first missions, before he was shot down over Bremen in October 1943. Portrayed by Austin Butler.
John Egan wearing a fez ©IWM (FRE 4069)

John Egan

Known for wearing a white sheepskin flying jacket, John 'Bucky 'Egan was a role model for newly arrived air crews joining the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts. Portrayed by Callum Turner
Studio Portrait of Curtis Biddick AAM Archive UPL 62565

Curtis Biddick

A salesman before the Second World War, Curtis Biddick stepped into replace another pilot on the 100th Bomb Group's mission to Regensburg in August 1943. Portrayed by Barry Keoghan
Portrait of Harry Crosby, 100th Bomb Group AAM Archive UPL 69774

Harry Crosby

Crosby was an original member of the 100th and became the lead Navigator. Portrayed by Anthony Boyle
Studio portrait of Rosie Rosenthal AAM Archive UPL 5424

Rosie Rosenthal

Rosenthal joined the unit in August 1943, and on his third mission became the only pilot to safely return to base following the mission to Munster on 10 October 1943. Portrayed by Nate Mann
Kenneth Lemmons working on the engines of a B-17 flying Fortress AAM Archive UPL 35055

Kenneth Lemmons

Lemmons was a crew chief in the 100th Bomb Group, responsible for maintaining many B-17 Flying Fortresses. Portrayed by Raff Law
A young couple looking at the nose of the B-17 Flying Fortress in the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford ©IWM

Visit Us

The American Air Museum at IWM Duxford is a must-visit for any fans of Masters of the Air

- Donald L Miller, author of Masters of the Air.

Get up close to our B-17 Flying Fortress, discover what life was like for those who flew, and hear stories from people on the ground who loved, lived and worked with the air crews of the Eighth Air Force in the American Air Museum.

Plan your visit

Lieutenant Adam "Wiskey" Wisniewski and Captain Walker "Bud" Mahurin of the 56th Fighter Group indicate the point of action, after a mission in January 1944. ©IWM (FRE 5565)


More stories of the Eighth Air Force

Find our more about the men, machines and missions of the Eighth Air Force through the American Air Museum's stories

Explore our stories

A young couple looking at a display in the American Air Museum with the B-17 Flying Fortress in the backgroun ©IWM

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