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Ruff stuff – Memories of an early war South Pacific fighter pilot

Kevin Eldridge piloted “Ruff Stuff,” owned by Ron Fagen, while photographer Paul Bowen was shooting from a Beechcraft Baron with the doors removed. He lit the target with a portable Canon strobe. (Photo by Paul Bowen)
By the time newly minted U.S. fighter pilots entered WW II in late 1941, they faced a Japanese adversary whose pilots had been flying combat since 1937. Not only were these “flying Samurai” pilots old hats, but they also flew a trump card in the form of the Zero. As the rays of the Rising Sun extended over the vastness of the South Pacific, the two things that stood in their way of reaching the...

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Ruff stuff – Memories of an early war South Pacific fighter pilot

Article in December 2022 Issue

ON THE COVER: The Fighter Collections' chief pilot Pete Kynsey brings in their rare, Goodyear built FG-1D Corsair super close to the magic camera lens of John Dibbs to get this outstanding shot. This warbird is painted in Royal Navy livery.


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Flight Journal is like no other aviation magazine in the world. Gripping accounts of flights and combat missions put the reader in the cockpit with all involved: pilots, engineers, gunners and eye-witnesses. Flight Journal covers the world of aviation from its simple beginnings to its high-tech, no-holds-barred future. We see aviation history through the eyes of those who made it. The leader in the field of aviation photojournalism, Flight Journal captures what it's like to pilot aircrafts that inspire fear and awe, from the historic B-17 Flying Fortress to today's F-16 fighters.


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