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The Dawn of the Fighter Pilot

Allied Air Force Research would like to thank The Great War Aviation Society

for contributing the following guest article to our website.

The courage and sacrifice of the RAF in WWII is immortalised in British memory, and people are naturally thrilled if they discover that fighter pilots played a part in their family history. But few think about the generation that came before – the WWI pilots who pioneered aviation combat with basic aircraft made of wood and doped fabric. They flew without parachutes, in open cockpits, using paper maps to find their way over enemy lines. Their greatest fear was being shot down in flames, and many would leap from their burning aircraft to avoid such a terrible fate, but sadly, their incredible stories of courage are largely forgotten today.


A free new magazine from The Great War Aviation Society now aims to tell their stories and explain the context and technology of the period. Contact! is a 72-page colour magazine that aims to educate and inspire readers. It includes introductory articles, in-depth features, and explainers such as aircraft identifying features, ranks, or uniforms. Each issue includes technical information, stunning colour artwork, original photos from the Society’s archive and detailed, accurate historical information. Its breadth of content includes high-quality modelling, art, classic books, restorations, replicas and more.

Two digital issues will be available this year (2024), which can be downloaded for free via In 2025, the magazine will be available by subscription in both print and digital formats for as little as £6 per issue*.


*£24 annual digital subscription


Not already a subscriber? Sign up to our website now & don’t miss out on future articles & newsletters

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