The growth in size, lethality, and techlogy of the German Luftwaffe was of concern to some defense planners in the United States before American entry into the war. Learning about the Luftwaffe became a significant effort once the conflict broke out in Europe. From defectors with German aircraft to battlefield trophies and combat crew reports, the race to understand German aero techlogy took on sometimes heroic proportions. After the war, German techlogy infused American aerospace developments in many ways: German ribbon parachutes were evaluated for high-speed bailouts; sweptwing leading edge slat techlogy benefited the F-86 Sabre; overall comprehension of sweptwing benefits to fast jet aircraft was validated; pulse jet V1s and supersonic V2 rockets boosted American drone weapon, ballistic missile, and space exploration efforts. In this volume Frederick A. Johnsen traces that path of discovery.
Frederick A. Johnsen recently retired after nearly 30 years as a U.S. Air Force historian, Director of the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base, and Public Affairs Director for the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. He has written 24 aviation historical books including 11 volumes in the Warbird Tech series which he helped conceive and launch with Specialty Press. He has degrees in history and journalism from the University of Washington, where he worked his way through school at the university's Kirsten wind tunnel, learning valuable aspects of the flight tester's trade. Over several decades, he has amassed a collection of thousands of aircraft images including many from veterans who encountered German aircraft during the war. His experiences with aviation history and technology serve well to execute this study of the intersection of the Luftwaffe and the United States.