These books focus on aviation and its history, a passion for Peter


A History of Aviation - They Were There



Peter Viemeister



Wonderfully covers virtually every phase of aviation, from the first balloons to outer space. First person experiences by famous and not famous; many are Virginians. Wide coverage of World War II and Vietnam. With rare photos. A great gift for any aviation buff.








Table Of Contents

Beginnings 1941 1952-1957
1913-1917 War in China-Burma-India 1957-1962
World War I The War in Africa and Italy 1963-1969
1919-1923 The War in Northern Europe The Vietnam War
1924-1929 The Home Front 1970-1979
1930-1934 The War with Japan 1980-1989
1935-1937 Peace at Last The 1990's and Beyond
1938-1940 The Korean War  

Here are just a few excerpts



Carpenters Repair Planes in 1917



Aeroplanes were important machines in this escalating conflict, but they were not especially durable. Skilled hands were needed in Europe for maintenance work. When young Fred Fuqua, the Bedford carpenter, enlisted in November 1917, the Army thought of its planes with wooden frames, wire braces, and canvas coverings. Fuqua was assigned to the 174th Aero Squadron and classified as a "rigger." Following three months of basic training at Kelly Field in Texas and Chanute Field in Illinois, Fred Fuqua sailed for Europe. His job would be to help repair fighter planes.




In 1928, Who Needs Windshields? Basil Murray Wrote:



"...We, Lt. Flaufuss & myself, left Langley (Virginia) today at 11:00 A.M. with an experimental Keystone Bi-motored bomber with a crew of six on a wild good hop. We put five in the cabin. Flaufuss and myself sat in front and piloted. He piloted to Washington and I acted as navigator. I piloted from Washington to Middletown, Philadelphia, and New York while he acted the post of Navigator. This was the bomber which had two rudders removed from it (only one on it) and no windshields to protect the pilot and navigator. Now my dear if you don't think I am tired from fighting controls just ask me. My arms and face will be, I am afraid, a solid blister by morning from the terrific force of wind on me. We made a speed of about 93 miles per hour. I don't know what to do about my face and arms. Guess I will send out and get some cream of some sort."



B-17 Tail-gunner, Bill Shields, Kept a Diary



February 25, 1944, Mission 33...Today we went to Austria and bombed the M.E. Factory. Not much flak but awful lot of fighters. They shot down about 14 planes out of others groups. They didn't attack us much.




March 28, 1944, Mission 39...We went to Belona, Italy. The flak was awful close and heavy, and few fighters. After the mission I cleaned my guns. After chow I wrote Ruby and Mother. Now I am going to read my Bible.



April 2, 1944, Mission 42...To Steyr, awful lot of fighters. Plane flying beside us was knocked down. Boy it was awful for awhile. After cleaning my guns I took a shower and shaved. I will read my Bible now.



April 3, 1944, Mission 43...Budapest and bombed an aircraft factory. Quite a few fighters but not much flak. It was late when we got back so I cleaned my guns and read my Bible after writing Mother and Ruby.






Any flight over the Iron Curtain was to be first approved by the White House. The pilot carried a poison pill. If captured he could use it if he chose. The first flight of a U-2 over an Iron Curtain country was piloted by Carl Overstreet, over Poland. There were no problems. That was 1956. For two years he flew U-2 missions over the USSR. He said: 

"It must have frustrated the Russians -- knowing that we were up there and being unable to do anything about it.



A mission at close to 70,000 feet could take from 6 to 8 hours. I couldn't eat; I was wearing a pressure "space" suit and pressure helmet. It wasn't boring. If you used the autopilot at that high altitude, it was kind of 'notchy'; the spread between Mach buffet at 135 knots indicated and 126 knots stalling caused the throttle to search between the two speeds, giving a chugging sensation. I usually turned the autopilot off and flew it myself.



Grumman won the contract to develop the LM Moon Lander. E.Clinton Towl, President and 32-year veteran of Grumman recalls the many thoughts racing through his mind as he returned home after signing the contract at NASA Houston. He said that as he looked out the window of the company Gulfstream, he thought, "What have I done? What HAVE I done! I have committed this company to putting men on the moon! Does anyone really know how to do this?" As the flight homeward continued, Towl took solace in the knowledge that the company had good men. He had learned that he could trust them; he would just have to keep on trusting them."



Alec Rucker Describes his Last Catapult Launch from a Carrier in an F-14 Tomcat



"As the steam cleared from the cat shot ahead of me, I followed the director -- over the shuttle and into the hold back. The take-tension signal was given and I went to full power, feeling the familiar jerk as the shuttle snapped tension against the hold back, wiped out the controls, and on signal from the catapult officer, eased the throttles forward into afterburner -- checked the instruments and saluted one final time. The cat officer returned my salute and then went down on one knee to touch the deck, signaling for the shot. A few seconds later the cat stroke came, jerking me and my Tomcat down on the track and into the sky in a thundering blast of fir and crackling fury.



Gear up! I climbed out steeply at 170 knots, flaps down to 5,000 feet and looked back over my shoulder at the now tiny aircraft carrier below me. Ain't nothing else like it. Nothing!"



This is a great gift for any aviation or history buff.
Fun to read and keep for historical reference.




A History of Aviation - They Were There
Detailed 12-page index   298 photos.   348 pages.
Flex cover   ISBN 0-9608598-5-3   
Hard Cover ISBN 0-9608598-6-1


World War II Odyssey -
Pennsylvania Dutch Farmboy
Becomes 8th Air Force B-17 Navigator



Bill Frankhauser



Author details surviving 30 bombing missions and three crashes. New details on the planning formations and successful combat tactics.
Comprehensive, useful historical reference.



Here are a few excerpts




As we broke out from the clouds, I sighted the Thames River. Thank heavens! We were flying south across it and it was easily recognizable. I turned us back straight north to keep us away from metropolitan London to our west. The question now was where were we along the Thames? With the lousy visibility I could not determine where we had crossed the river. Everyone was put on alert by the pilot to look for any airport and to have their parachutes handy in case he had to go higher for us to bail out.



Either the bombardier or I yelled into the intercom, "At 300 degrees, an airport!"



Jack started an oval route around a runway to get in position for landing. We were so low that he had to evade a tall smokestack and he also lost sight of the runway terminus. Why didn't they turn on lights for us? Based on the location, we knew it had to be an RAF base. Then, on the second try going around, two fires appeared on either side of one end of the runway. Jack still had trouble finding even those fires when he tried to get us around in the necessary pattern, but he slipped the plane in abruptly on our third circuit and we landed.



We wondered why no planes were in sight on the ground. We soon learned. Our position was Romford, a northeast suburb of London, and this site was an abandoned, non-active RAF Air Base. It was now occupied by a barrage balloon unit of the RAF.




My First Crash




On July 26, we were taking off on an orientation run, with some small practice bombs on board, on one of the two short runways and disaster overtook us. Whit and I were in the nose, as usual, sweating out the lift-off and watching a farmer on an old tractor mowing grass beyond the end of the paved strip. I laughed and pointed to the farmer; he had jumped off his tractor and was running away full-tilt. He knew what he was doing even though I did not.



Our landing gear struck the tractor and we were soon plowing through the adjacent woods and taking down sizable trees. Luckily, the pilots kept the plane from flipping over, but the tail section sheared off during our cruise through the trees, across a gully, and finally into a field of ripened wheat. Whit and I exited through the nose section since the Plexiglas enclosure and lower gun turret had been knocked off. Meanwhile, oxygen ignited further back in the plane and Bernie MacKenzie was severely burned, even though he had been thrown out when the aft end was broken off. Bernie spent some painful days in a regional Air Corps hospital and was returned to the U.S. later for further treatment and recuperation.



Those of us who had exited form the forward section of the plane watched it burn to nothing but a residue of oxide powder. Once the fuel and oxygen had ignited, fire retardants were useless. When the belts of .50-caliber shells that we had in the guns and in storage started exploding, we vacated the vicinity. No one knew whether they would have a destructive trajectory and we didn't wait to find out. After Bernie was taken away, the crash crew rounded us up and hauled us to the Base Infirmary to see the Flight Surgeon.




Long distance travel was mostly by railroad. Superhighways did not exist except for a section of today's Pennsylvania Turnpike that opened in the late 1930s. Airplanes were mostly a source of curiosity for these farm people.



At our farm, we bottled our milk and delivered it raw (unpasteurized) every morning of the year to the front or side porches of houses in the town of Honey Brook, Pennsylvania. My first salary was $1.00 per week for helping in milk delivery along with Scotty, the horse, who knew each stop along the two-hour route. As I aged, salary was increased when expertise was developed in milking cows (by hand), in milk bottling, in firing up the steam furnace for bottle washing and sterilization.




World War II Odyssey - Pennsylvania Dutch Farmboy
Becomes 8th Air Force B-17 Navigator 
by Bill Frankhouser

Many diagrams and photos.   1997.   234 pages.
Cloth hardbound   ISBN 1-883912-03-2  




The Lightning Book -
The Nature of Lightning and
How to Protect Yourself from it.



Peter Viemeister




The Facts About Lightning, why it happens, what it does, what can be done about it. Includes Practical Advice on Protection From Lightning for homeowners, farmers, boat owners, swimmers, golfers, outdoorsmen and many others. Advice That Can Significantly Reduce Property Loss and Save Lives. This book has been the primary basic reference on the subject for more than. three decades.




Part One The Search for Knowledge
1 Through the Ages: From The Beginning
2 Benjamin Franklin: Lightning Tamer
3 Lightning Research: Scientists and Engineers at Work
Part Two Origin and Character of Lightning
4 Birth of a Storm: Meet the Thunderhead
5 Global Vagabonds: Thunderstorms Around the World
6 Electricity in the Air: The Importance of Lightning
7 The Lightning Bolt: How it Goes
8 Thunder and Lightning: Members of the Family
Part Three Lightning in Action
9 Earth, Mountain, and Sea: From Cloud to Earth
10 Lightning in Pictures: A Portfolio
11 Forests and Trees: Favorite Natural Targets
12 Rods and Roofs: The Principles of Protection
13 Farms, Fences, and Fertilizer: Special Farm Problems
14 Man in the Open and on the Move: Take Cover
15 Ships and Boats: No More Punctured Hulls
16 Aircraft: St. Elmo’s Fire and Uninvited Electricity
17 False Blame and Useful Pranks: Miscellaneous Mischief
18 Frontiers: Mysteries Yet To Be Solved
19 Guides to Live By: A Brief Review


The Lightning Book -
The Nature of Lightning and
How to Protect Yourself from it.

With 53 photos and extensive bibliography.
M.I.T. Press.   5.5x8   316 pages
Unused but Vintage [1960's] printing Cloth hard cover 



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