Public television is about to unleash one of the most fascinating series ever produced about the history of military aviation.
Coming to a PBS station near you on Nov. 8, “Warplane” sweeps across the entire panorama of military flight, including the innovators, inventors and technologists, as well as the airplanes themselves. The four-part series is “laden with tales of inspiration, determination, bravery and chance,” as narrator Stacy Keach tells us.
“When the squadron commanders, test pilots, engineers and historians in this series describe the impact of key innovations, the nuts and bolts of the aircraft come to life,” says executive producer Jared Lipworth.
Come to life they do, indeed, whether sputtering over World War I trenches, roaring through the skies of World War II, or jetting across today’s battlefields.
Rich archival footage, dramatic interviews and excellent graphics provide a deep understanding of how the life-and-death necessities of war have driven invention and innovation to improve our peacetime lives. The fragile Wright Flyer evolved into the mighty bombers of World War II, the stealth planes of today – and the sturdy 747s that carry passengers all over the world.
Episode one takes us from “Aeroplane to Air Force” as an infant aviation industry grows dramatically from 1914 France to the Middle Eastern deserts. “Air Force to Air Power” then takes us through World War II, leading to the “Jet Age,” which carries us through the genuine revolution brought forth by jet power – and reminds us that by 58 years from Orville Wright’s first flight at Kitty Hawk the boundaries of sound and space had been broken through. The series concludes with “The Age of Stealth” which is transforming warfare again, thanks to new materials and, more important, to the vision of a mankind destined to fly.