Aircraft stories

Find out how American airpower has played a key part in conflict throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. 

B-25 Mitchell in American Air Museum
STORY

Joseph Heller, Catch-22 and the Second World War

Published in 1961 by American author Joseph Heller, Catch-22 is a satirical novel. Although Heller claimed it was a work of fiction, many of the characters and events in the book are parallel’s to Heller’s experience of the Second World War.
A B-17 Flying Fortress bombs an German aircraft factory in 1943.  The USAAF hoped daylight precision bombing would prove a winning strategy during World War II which would justify the independence of US Air power if it succeeded. US official photo
STORY

The Allied strategic bombing campaign

Over the course of the Second World War, the strategic bombing campaign developed from a limited force into a weapon of immense destructive power, with hundreds of cities subjected to air attack alongside military targets.
A B-17 Flying Fortress of the 490th Bomb Group taxies along the runway at Eye.
STORY

Flying the B-17 Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress dropped more bombs than any other US aircraft in the Second World War. A lot of these aircraft flew out of bases in England, but what was it like to fly?
A P-51 Mustang (PI-W, serial number 44-15056) nicknamed "Jackie" of the 356th Fighter Group in flight, flown by Captain Jack W "Wild Bill" Crump.
STORY

What made the P-51 Mustang special?

The P-51 Mustang could fly and fight with British and American bombers all the way to Berlin and back again. By 1944, the aircraft helped the Allies gain aerial superiority over Western Europe.
U-2 Reconnaissance image of Cuba 14 October 1962
STORY

Why did the US risk so much on U-2 missions?

U-2 overflights across the Soviet Union were incredibly dangerous missions. Every flight was at risk of being perceived as an unauthorised invasion of another country’s airspace.