Dan Patterson

Aviation Commentator
Dan Patterson Archival Collection

November 11 marks Veterans Day, when the country honors all who served. Our aviation commentator Dan Patterson has some thoughts about one of the veterans in his family and her remembrances of flight.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

The most famous photograph in the world captures the moment manned flight began in 1903. Orville Wright is flying the plane, his brother Wilbur stands expectantly off to the side. It’s a windy day, and the plane is just lifting off the sand at Kitty Hawk. Aviation commentator and photographer Dan Patterson says that one detail from that picture shaped what aviators came to look like.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

A hundred years ago, the world was racing headlong into war in Europe. Aviation was a new and untried tool for military leaders, and it soon became a powerful weapon.  In July of 1914, it had only been 10 years since the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, and and aviation was flourishing around the world.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

Seventy years ago, the country was deep into World War Two, and the US was on the offensive in the air.  Commentator Dan Patterson says that the big US four engine bombers were being shot down in shocking numbers.

Think about this: on one mission, we lost sixty bombers.  That's six hundred men.  It was just too much.

The US needed a fighter plane with long pegs, one that could go all way deep into Germany and protect the bombers, essentially win the air war and provide the long sought after supremacy of the air.

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

Russia has our attention now, with the Sochi Winter Olympics about to open on February 7th. This got our aviation commentator Dan Patterson thinking about the vast country and how it is connected by flight. And Dan brings us back to the early days of aviation when the Russians were building and flying unique aircraft to shorten those distances.

 

Dan Patterson Collection

History is broken down into the moments we remember about our own lives, like weddings and birthdays and graduations, and then there are days when we pause to remember together, as a nation, an event that affected us all.

Pearl Harbor Day, just passed, when Japanese pilots attacked American navy ships north of Honolulu, is one of those, even though it's now more than 7 decades passed. Commentator Dan Patterson finds himself finds himself turning it over and over in his mind.

Dan Patterson Collection

2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War One.  Millions of soldiers and untold numbers of civilians died on European battlefields during that conflict which was called "the war to end all wars," which, of course, it was not.

We tend to remember the trench warfare of World War One, but it was the first conflict in the history of the world that included an air war as well. Dan Patterson has some thoughts.

Dan Patterson

Seventy years ago, World War 2 was in full cry. American was in combat across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In Europe, during 1943, the US Army Air Force was engaged against Hitler's Germany. The fall was a crucial time for battle, and October was a cruel month.

Defeating an enemy only with air power was experimental back then.  The American plan was this: equip large bomber with heavy machine guns, fly them in a tight formation with hundreds of identical planes and no long range fighters as escorts.  Could it work?

If you're going to fly an airplane, you've got to have the right look.  An aviator's kit is not complete without the real deal flight jacket - plus the big watch, sunglasses, checklist charts and navigational equipment.  Aviation commentator Dan Patterson explains.

Flying the very early airplanes was a breezy affair.  The Wright brothers' aeroplanes offered no protection from the wind.  Their flying machines were wide open, and they sat on the edge of the lower wing, facing the wind.

courtesy of Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA, USA

Earlier this summer, a pilot named Charlie Schwenker and a wing-walker named Jane Wicker were killed at the Vectren Air Show in Dayton, a tragedy in the midst of an event laden with history. Air Shows as public events began more than 100 years ago. WYSO's aviation commentator Dan Patterson loves that colorful history full of spectacle and heroism.

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