This Fall 2011 issue of Air Power History, includes four thoughtful articles that are worthwhile reading and contemplating. Leading off is David Reade's "U-2 Spy Planes: What You Didn't Know about Them." Reade follows the evolution of the U-2, first described as a high-altitude atmospheric and meteorological research aircraft, with technical and logistic support by the U.S. Air Force. Not until May 1960, after Francis Gary Powers was shot down while overflying the Soviet Union, was President Eisenhower obliged to concede that the U-2 was also used for reconnaissance.
Next, Michael Gorn completes the second article of his two-part series on the N.A.C.A. and the military, focusing on the period from 1940 to 1958. Readers will recall that during the "Golden Age of Aviation,"[Air Power History, Vol. 58, No. 2, Summer 2011, pp 16 -27], from 1915 to 1939, relations between N.A.C.A. and the military services were often strained. During the 1940 to 1958 period, however, the situation improved markedly, in part, as a result of hot and cold wars, but mainly because of the policies of Hugh Dryden.
Kenneth Werrell contributes another useful article on the Army Air Arm. In "Flight to the Stars," he recounts the historic 1934 flight to Alaska. Led by Henry "Hap" Arnold, the formation flight of B-10s achieved many successes, especially a favorable public relations victory, which was sorely needed after the air mail fiasco. Werrell also notes that many of the fliers on this expedition went on to become general officers in World War II.
In the fourth article, "Good Men Running Around in Circles," Col. Karl Schrader spotlights an often overlooked period in the life of Benjamin "Benny" Foulois as Chief of the Army Air Service for the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I from 1917 to 1918. Excerpted from his graduate thesis for the School of Advanced Aerospace Studies at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, Colonel Schrader compares and contrasts Foulois' leadership and philosophy against those of his arch rival, William "Billy" Mitchell. In retrospect, Colonel Schrader asks which would benefit the Air Force more: a "cyber" Billy Mitchell or a "cyber" Benny Foulois to meet...