Day: June 12, 2008

Air Force

Above Enemy Lines: Air Force, Part 27

Aerial photography changed dramatically during World War II, but even before the war an expatriate Australian named Sydney Cotton, had—with the encouragement of the Royal Air Force—begun to explore the possibilities of marrying cameras to high-speed aircraft. An inventor and aviation pioneer, Cotton had barnstormed in Newfound­land from 1919 to 1922 before moving on to Britain. His earliest experiments, conducted in peacetime, used modern transport aircraft like the Lockheed 12A. Camera lenses tended to frost over at high altitude and so he directed cabin air onto the cameras to solve the problem. When greater range was needed he fitted his aircraft with extra fuel tanks. Upon the outbreak of war, Cotton applied his test results to unarmed Spitfires that would use speed and heigh...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.