SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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First Flight: 1942

First Flight: 1942

B-25 bombers on the outdoor assembly line at North American Aviation, almost ready for their first test flight. Kansas City, Kansas. October 1942. View full size. 5x4 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the OWI.

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Flight plan

It's amazing, by today's standards, how small these aircraft really were.

My father loved airplanes. Back in the 1930s, he'd go out to the local grass landing strip, pay the fee and get a ride in the old "barnstorming" biplanes of the day.

When WWII came along, he wanted to join the air force.
However, he was a big man who carried a few extra pounds.

The air force refused him on the basis of his weight.
Looking at these aircraft, I can see why.

He ended up in the Navy and went "missing in action" in 1943.

Taking a Hard Look

I love how the guard is looking at the B-25 in the foreground like he had never seen one before. Maybe it was his first day on the job.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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