[WWI] Which airplane would you fly?

Diego Fernetti dfernet0 at rosario.gov.ar
Thu Jul 14 07:45:25 EDT 2011

>A Salmson 2A2 because none survive to look at, nor are there any replicas
> (except that Japanese mock-up). ... I would want to examine every square 
> inch
> of it and take a thousand pictures before climbing in. ...

Be sure to pack all the special autochrome film before you do! Besides... 
what would you do if you discover that wartime Salmsons were painted mauve 
and salmon pink when you have painted your model in browns and greens? May 
you hitch on the time machine up to the time you were about to wield the 
airbrush and slap it off your own hands?

> And I could sit in the observers cockpit and enjoy the view while the
> pilot flies the plane.

Good idea!
Of course you may be aware that observers of the time were supposed to 
supervise the pilot's navigation, test the guns on the ring, take pictures, 
write notes about the changes of the terrain features, send messages to the 
artillery (if you have a radio it was easier) sketch any advance or new 
movements of the enemy, spot for new enemy artillery emplacements or machine 
gun nests (over a gridded map), watch for hostile aircraft, warn the pilot, 
fire at them, dodge their bullets, brace yourself when the pilot takes 
evasive maneuvers (still firing the guns), keep your hard earned glass 
negatives inside the airplane (yes, you'de be pretty busy then still firing 
the guns, unless it's time to change the ammo drums). If you and the pilot 
manage to keep without any unnatural orifices or neatly dispersed into thin 
air by Archie, you may still have to signal when you want the bombs 
released, or help the dazzled pilot return from behind enemy lines.
The rest of the time you can enjoy your flight... until you return to base 
and spend a couple of hours writing a detailed report and being debriefed by 
the Intel officer, just after the guys that developed your plates tell you 
that most of them were damaged or off focus.

> Second choice is a Liberty Plane ... American built DH4 with a Liberty 
> engine.

How cute! You may enjoy a carefree chat with the pilot as soon as the engine 
seizes and an akward silence happens just after take off.

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