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.
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.
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.
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.
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.