Re: Greatest WWI pilot

Mick Fauchon (
Fri, 12 Aug 1994 09:30:00 +1000 (EST)


> But I do agree that these guys were a different breed. Bedsheets, plywood,
> bailing wire and engines that were about as reliable as the US Snail Mail
> were the difference between life and death!

Not sure that I'd agree entirely: in general the materials used were
the best that could be procured (barring enemy blockades 80)), put together
by expert craftsmen, in fact almost individually hand made. The in-line
Mercedes had a fine reputation for reliability, and on a start-line,
presuming a full-strength Staffel (i.e 12 aircraft), a drop-out of even one
on start was unusual. Mind you..... if the start-up procedure failed for
any reason, you could forget about it for at least the next 20 minutes.

> Yes sir, these guys had balls that today's jet jockeys could only wish for!

We tend to be horrified by the aircraft and conditions of the time,
but they wouldn't have known any different, they would have, as it were,
grown up with it. In our case hindsight tends to be a disadvantage.
Remember the car you bought 20 years ago? Would you buy it now?
Presumably you were quite happy with the latest back then. So were they.
Unfortunately comparisons of that kind often tend to be unfair, I agree.
BTW, I haven't thrown my bid for "best pilot" in yet, because I don't
wish to be accused of being partisan 80).