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Flight Plans Newsletter

World War II Fighter Aces Panel Jan. 17: Three US Army Air Force pilots describe air combat over Europe

Date: 
01/17/2009

The latest in a continuing series of The Museum of Flight American Fighter Aces Panel discussions is Jan. 17 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the WilliamM.AllenTheater.  This presentation will feature three World War II fighter pilot aces: Des Moines, Wash. resident 1st Lt. James F. "Lou" Luma, Maj. Frank McCauley and 1st Lt. George P. Novotny.  These U. S. Army Air Force pilots will be sharing their first-hand accounts of the European air war, and how one of them-Luma-started his military flying as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The program is free with admission to the Museum.

The panel:
1st Lt. James F. "Lou" Luma was too young--17--to join the U.S. military services when hostilities broke out in Europe, so he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Vancouver in July 1941. He received flight training in British Columbia and Alberta, then transferred to England and awaited an assignment. By that time the U.S. had entered the war, but there were no U. S. Army Air Force squadrons yet in England, so he was assigned to a RCAF night fighter squadron flying the De Havilland Mosquito. Luma later became an ace with 5 aerial victories. After the war he attended the University of Washington and enjoyed a professional career as an airline pilot.

Maj. Frank McCauley is credited with 5 ½ aerial victories involving Me-109s, Me-110s and a FW-190. He flew the P-47 Thunderbolt and completed 46 fighter missions over Germany.
 
1st Lt. George P. Novotny was credited with three confirmed aerial victories flying in the P-40 Warhawk with the 325th "Checkertail" FG while in Africa in May, 1943. In December he was transferred to Italy and flew the P-47 Thunderbolt, gaining five more aerial victories.
 
Museum visitors can see examples of the actual types of aircraft these men flew and fought against, including the P-38, P-40, P-47 and Me-109. The Museum also has many other World War II fighter aircraft on display.
 
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The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum's collection includes more than 150 historically significant air and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn®--the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Museum's aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 students are served annually by the Museum's on-site and outreach educational programs - the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only aviation and space museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.


The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $7.50 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org