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Welcome to The Damcasters, a podcast covering aviation history from when Pontius was a Pilate to today and beyond, brought to you in association with the Pima Air and Space Museum.Every week, we will be taking a fresh look at the history of both civil and military flying, from the earliest days of people jumping off of rocks and hoping to survive to the latest in unmanned flight. While it is inevitable that we will we can get a bit avgeek-y, we aim to be as inclusive as possible so that if y ...
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The Hump was the air bridge between India and China during the Second World War. The men of the Air Transport Command would face then unknown weather systems flying between Himalayan mountains that forever towered over them. New York Times bestselling author Caroline Alexander joins us to tell us about the men who flew The Hump, which is the subjec…
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In this second part of our interview with WW2 Veteran Bob Reierson, Bob tells us about heading to the Pacific, flying the A-20 in combat over the Philippines, and, after 80 years, Bob climbs into the cockpit of the Pima Air and Space Museum's Douglas A-20G Havoc. Catch up on part 1 here: https://youtu.be/6uWN_vN7FyI Get the latest from the Pima Air…
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Bob Reierson joined the USAAF at age 18 and would find himself flying the Douglas A-20G Havoc in the Pacific. On my last visit to the Pima Air and Space Museum, director of collections Andrew Boehly arranged for Bob and I to sit down and discuss flying the A-20. In Part 1 of this 2-part interview, we discuss Bob joining up, learning to fly the PT-1…
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David and Lindsey Goss run the fantastic GossHawk Unlimted in Casa Grande, Arizona. There they build incredible warbirds like Fw-190s (see part 1!) and care for the world's last airworthy Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer. Join us as Lindsey shows us around the Privateer and find out how you, if you are an engineer, are wanted at GossHawk ★Listen to pa…
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Father and daughter team David and Lindsey Goss run one of the world's leading warbird restoration and maintenance companies, GossHawk Unlimited. Back in February, they kindly welcomed us to have a tour around the shop, learn about how GossHawk came about and, this week, what goes into rebuilding Focke-Wulf Fw-190s. Next week, we tour the world's l…
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When filmmaker Mary Haverstick started pre-production on a film about the Mercury 13, which selected and tested women for spaceflight, she knew the key was the legendary Jerrie Cobb. Mary's relationship with Cobb led to her uncovering much more about the aviator and a trail that led to the CIA and the Kennedy assassination. Mary's 10-year journey r…
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SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, was a joint program by NASA and the German Space Agency at DLR which put a 2.5m reflecting telescope in the back of an ex-Pan Am Beoing 747SP. Dr Dörte Mehlert, head of education and public relations at the German SOFIA Institute (DSI), joins us to take us through the incredible discoveri…
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The oldest Boeing B-52 Stratoforetress in the world, 52-0003 "The High and Mighty One", has just been lovingly restored at the Pima Air and Space Museum and is now on public display once again. On our recent visit, Matt and aircraft designer Joe Wilding (who is also a fabulous Damcasteer on Patreon) were allowed to crawl around the aircraft and che…
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On the 80th Anniversary of the last major RAF Bomber Command attack on Aachen (11/12 April 1944), Dr Philip Blood returns to discuss the raid that lasted all of 7 minutes. For those on the ground, it would be seven minutes in hell. Phil takes us through the raid and the implications of the orders for it, as well as the wider context that has become…
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Convair's B-36 Peacemaker was intended as an intercontinental bomber and was the size of a small continent. Join us for this bonus episode as the Pima Air and Space Museum's CEO, Scott Marchand, as he tells us the tale behind the museum's monstrous B-36J 52-2827 “City of Fort Worth”. Get the latest from the Pima Air and Space Museum through the lin…
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We return to the 390th Bomb Group Memorial Museum to tour their Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 'I'll Be Around' with the museum's Business and Operation Manager Alex Chambers and Executive Director Bill Buckingham. While this B-17 didn't see combat, her service history makes her a unique survivor. We then head upstairs with Director of Archives and C…
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This week, we explore the fascinating background of aircraft that have undergone restoration, rebuild, or are newly built, focusing on their representation in museums and the complexity of their historical authenticity. We highlight the stories of four specific aircraft in the museum's collection: the Bristol Bolingbroke, the Curtiss P-40E Warhawk,…
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Friend of the show Joe Wilding returns to discuss the first aircraft we worked on as an aircraft designer, the Adam A500. Conceived as a composite business aircraft, Joe takes us through the process that went into the design and the features, and issues, the aircraft faced. Images: Erik Johnson ★Follow Joe on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/joe_wil…
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Pima's Director of Collections, Andrew Boehly, takes us on an in-depth look at the Pima Air and Space Museum's vast collection and brings out some of the hidden gems of the Pima collection. Also, Boney realises he's been doing something silly... ★Check out 909 Apparel's full range of great aviation-themed t-shirts, hoodies and more here: https://li…
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The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor was a savage airliner. Kurt Tank's elegant design evolved from a luxurious civil aircraft into a feared maritime reconnaissance bomber and transport aircraft. Naval air historian Matthew Willis joins us to look at the operational life and legacy of the Condor. ★Buy Matt's book, Eagles of the Luftwaffe: Focke-Wulf Fw 200…
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Welcome to the SPOILER FREE Damcasters review of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank's new Apple TV+ war series, Masters of the Air. In this review, Boney looks at the first two episodes, out on the 26th January, and his feelings about the series. Get subscribed for episode deep dives each week! Many thanks to the Apple TV UK Press Team for all their hel…
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War historian James Rogers joins us to discuss his new book, Precision: A History of American Warfare, as we look into what precision actually means and what lengths have been gone to achieve it over the last 100 years. ★ Follow James on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/jamesrogershistory/ Check out James' website at: https://www.jamespatton…
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How has the portrayal of the fighter pilot on film reflected and refined the image of the pilot we know today? Military historian Abby Whitlock joins us as we look at the OG flying films Wings (1927), Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels (1930) both Dawn Patrols (1930 and 1938) and Aces High (1976) to see how the First World War in the air shaped the image…
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Host Matt Bone tackles a variety of topics from a different perspective, adopting an 'Ask Me Anything' format. Following a brief discussion about delayed scheduling and cyberpunk 2077, Matt responds to listeners' questions via Patreon and Twitter. The conversation ranges from general queries about Matt's background and interest in the Typhoon to mo…
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We are back! It is a new year, and I'd love your feedback as the planning spreadsheet gets filled up. There are also updates to our Patreon levels, so now is a great time to become a Damcasteer! Plus, with Masters of the Air mere weeks away, we highlight a great novel of the 8th Air Force, Robert Radcliffe's Under An English Heaven. ★Become a Damca…
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Historian John Concagh joins us to look at the experience of Black volunteers in the RAF in the Second World War. This episode delves into the experiences of Black West African and Caribbean volunteers in the RAF during WWII. John explains their hardships, victories, and post-war influence in their home countries' fight for independence. ★Follow Jo…
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Dr Kit Chapman, a science historian from Falmouth University, takes us into the historical context and significance of atomic cloud sampling, a dangerous method employed during the Cold War era. The focus is on the Ivy Mike nuclear test in 1952, where pilots flew into a thermonuclear bomb cloud to gather data, contributing to element discovery and …
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The Convair B-58 Hustler is regarded as one of the USAF's missteps in strategic bomber design from the 1950s and 60s. The claims that it was expensive and dangerous to fly led to its removal from service in the 1970s in favour of the Boeing B-52. But is that really the case? Former B-58 Navigator/Bombardier Col. Geroge Holt Jr. Rtd. joins us to ref…
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Paul Crickmore has been chronicling the story of the Lockheed Blackbird family of aircraft, the A-12, YF-12 and SR71, for over 35 years. Paul has had incredible access to the designers, maintainers and pilots of the Blackbird over the years. Paul joins us today to tell us some of the stories he has captured in his final book, Lockheed Blackbird: Be…
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Mélanie Astles is a remarkable aerobatics pilot, is also the only woman to have won a Red Bull Air Race event at Indianapolis in 2017 and has just placed 5th at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships in Las Vegas for Team GB. A passionate advocate for aviation and an ambassador for the Pima Air and Space Museum, it worked out that when Mel popp…
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Following their eventful dropping of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions on D-Day, the IX Troop Carrier Command's C-47s were not ideal. Historian Adam Berry joins us to discuss the resupply operations in Normandy, the incredible medical evacuation flights, Operation Dragoon and the resupply of the 101st in Bastogne as we look at what the IX TCC d…
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Friend of the show, historian James Jefferies joins us to discuss the much maligned Bristol Blenheim. When the aircraft was developed, the Blenheim was faster than the RAF's latest fighters. But, come the outbreak of war, fighter design and the environment the Blenheim would be operating in would be very different. So, was the Blenheim really that …
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Amelia Earhart looms large in aviation history, but she was one of a cohort of incredible female flyers in 1920s America who fought hard to break the mould and show that they could out-fly and out-race the men at their own game and, in Louise Thaden, would claim their highest prize. In Fly Girls, New York Times bestselling author Keith O'Brien look…
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The R101 was the great hope for Imperial Air Travel in late 1920s Britain. The brainchild of Christopher Birdwood Thomson and the Imperial Airship Scheme, R101 was the government-backed of the two grand airships, the other being the Barnes Wallis-designed R100, that were to whisk the great and good between England and India. S.C. Gwynne joins us to…
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On Wednesday 21st March 1945, the RAF's 140 Wing of De Havilland Mosquito FB.VI fighter bombers, with an escort of Mustangs, attacked the Shellhus in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Shellhus was the HQ for the Gestapo in Denmark, and most of the Danish Resistance's top men were within its walls. The low-level attack would be the last in a series flown by …
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Hurricane Heritage has the incredible job of operating the world's only two-seat Hawker Hurricane, BE505 'Pegs'. Starting life as a Canadian Car and Foundry-built Mark XII with the RCAF serial AG287, the aircraft was converted and restored to a Mk.IIB 'Hurribomber' configuration in 2007. Just before the pandemic hit, her second conversation to a tw…
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Civil aviation is a vast undertaking and one that kept me in and out of trouble for 20 years of my working life. Author Ben Skipper has taken on the task of looking at the subject from the 1919 Paris Convention through to the end of the 747's service. From monks jumping off towers through Olive Beach being a badass to what comes next, join us as we…
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The RAF Museum sites at Hendon in London and RAF Cosford in the Midlands are home to a collection that tells the century-old story of the RAF. It is where my obsession with the Hawker Typhoon began and where I returned a couple of weeks ago to chat with the museum's CEO, Maggie Appleton. The RAF Museum has a broad story, so how does the museum mana…
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Every Thursday, Col. Richard Bushong heads over to the 390th Memorial Museum and holds court under the nose of the museum's B-17 Flying Fortress and answers questions for all the visitors who approach him. Dick is well placed to answer them as he flew 28 missions with the 8th Air Force's 390th Bomb Group in late 1943 and early 1944. At 100 years yo…
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The 390th Memorial Museum is a museum within the Pima Air and Space Museum dedicated to the memory of the men of the 390th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force who were based at Framlingham in Suffolk. Bill Buckingham is the museum's Executive Director. Bill kindly sat down with me during my visit to Pima to discuss the museum, the 390th and what the me…
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As the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, their forces raced south towards Australia. The evacuation towards Australia would prove costly for the Empire Class flying boats of Qantas. In part 3 of our look at the Empire flying boats, Phil Vabre tells us about the attacks on Darwin and Broome and his research into uncovering the fate of Circe. You can …
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Continuing the story of the Empire Class flying boat, Phil Vabre returns to tell us about how Qantas were able to continue operating services in the Far East as the war in Europe started to get closer to home. You can catch part 1 here: https://shows.acast.com/the-damcasters/episodes/647e11bc73919c0011b58b36 ★You can learn more about the Civil Avia…
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Maj Gen Russ Violett (Rtd) had a 30-year career with the USAF, flying multiple types, including the North American F-100 Super Sabre (in which he had a 2-minute flight before punching out!) and the fantastic Republic F-105 Thunderchief, the Thud. The Thud always brought Russ home in 126 missions over Laos and Vietnam. Our discussion covers the tact…
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On the 29th April 2023, the Classic British Jets Collection re-opened their doors at their Buntingthrope base for the first time this side of the pandemic. Dave Thomas and the team kindly invited me up to chat with the team and see jet fuel turned into sweet, sweet noise. The aircraft that you will hear, in the order they pop up in the podcast, are…
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On the night of the 13/14th of July 1943, RAF Bomber Command returned to the German city of Aachen again. This time they were carrying what they termed an "arson load". The attack created a firestorm that would take over a day to burn out and kill hundreds. Eleven days later, Operation Gomorrah, the firebombing of Hamburg, was carried out. Historia…
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Mike Cusick was a Crew Chief on UH-1 Hueys and UH-60 Blackhawks in a career spanning five decades. Mike has seen everything from operating in the Vietnam delta to Afghanistan and Iraq, including flying into an Afghan canyon to rescue Marcus Letrell after Operation Red Wings went south. The episode was recorded onsite at the fab Pima Air and Space M…
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Len Deighton’s Bomber, both the original novel and the 1995 Radio 4 adaptation, have had a huge impact on both readers and listeners of the last flight of O Orange for decades. But how has this impact affected the view of Bomber Command and did Len get it right? Dr Dan Ellin the archivist and historian for the International Bomber Command Center Di…
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On Saturday the 18th of February 1995, Radio 4 dedicated prime slots of its schedule for an unprecedented airing of an adaptation of Len Deighton’s Bomber. Aired throughout the day, at timings to coincide with what was happening at that moment in the drama, Bomber would be nothing like what had come before and has not been done since. Joining me to…
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The invisible radar war that took place over Europe is often misunderstood. While the RAF's integrated defence system, which had radar at its heart, has entered the mythos, the German side of the tale has not often been told. Along with advances in radio navigation, which would prove vital for winning or losing the air war, the electronic sphere wa…
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Eric 'Winkle' Brown is widely regarded as the greatest pilot Britain has ever produced. Many of the tales Eric told have gone done in legend, but in researching his friend of 40 years, historian Paul Beaver found that the story of Eric's birth holds many clues as to the man Eric would become and that this refines Eric's remarkable story. You can fo…
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Lt. Col. (Rtd) Jon Boyd served in the USAF through transformational times. Joining in the late 1970s, Jon would fly the venerable Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, the Hog to those who fly her, before joining the then Top Secret program that was working up the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk, The Black Jet as Jon refers to it. It would be flying th…
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Col. (Rtd) Kim "KC" Campbell USAF is a remarkable person. Her career almost never happened, as the US Air Force Academy initially rejected her. Still, her determination would see her enter the Academy and on multiple combat deployments on the venerable A-10 Hog over Afghanistan and Iraq, where she was famously hit over Baghdad, bringing her stricke…
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Eileen Bjorkman is a retired USAF Colonel who was a Flight Test engineer on over 25 types during her career that would see her end up in the Pentagon. Her new book, The Fly Girls Revolt, examines the journey the US Air Force's women have taken from the days of the WASPs and WAC to now flying all types of front-line combat aircraft, including the B-…
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This is the audio from a recent video I made. You can watch the video on the link below. I have a love/hate/love relationship with both versions of The First of the Few. The film 'tells the story' of RJ Mitchell and the creation of the Spitfire. Well, the story that has become the story anyways. I've tried to have some fun with it, and I'm still wo…
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Boneyard Safari is one of those outfits I had always followed but never thought I'd get the chance to meet anyone from. Well, the trip to Arizona and the team at The Pima Air and Space Museum changed all that. While I was there, I got to spend time with Ramon Purcell, Boneyard Safari's founder and Director of Photography. If you followed the F-117A…
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