This is as close as you'll get to a World War II - era P-51 Mustang without flying one yourself. The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang first started appearing in real numbers in 1943, at the climax of the Allied campaign in World War II. Able to fly long ranges, it was the perfect escort, keeping bombers protected all the way from Allied bases in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific to a variety of Axis industrial targets and military installations and back. The Mustang would go on to provide pivotal air support on D-Day, and by the end of the war, the P-51 would be responsible for nearly half of all enemy aircraft shot down. In The Fight in the Clouds, aviation writer and EAA Warbirds of America editor James P. Busha narrates a spellbinding collection of tales of P-51 Mustang combat throughout the war. Drawing on interviews conducted with dozens of veteran P-51 pilots, the book traces the progress of war through the exciting, chronologically organized experiences of the men who actually flew the planes into war. You'll encounter Mustangs tangling with Soviet-built Yaks, a Mustang ace shooting down an Me 262 Stormbird, an epic long-range battle over the Pacific Ocean, and a score of other riveting accounts underscoring the P-51's versatility and its vital importance to the Allied victory. Bolstered by Busha's own commentary and historical analysis, along with a gallery of rare black-and-white period photographs, The Fight in the Cloudsoffers a cockpit-seat view of one of WWII's most celebrated aircraft and the men who bravely flew it into harm's way.
Jim Busha is the director of publications at EAA and the editor-in-chief of Sport Aviation, Warbirds, and Vintage magazines. Jim is also a contributing editor of Flight Journal and has had numerous articles published in FlyPast, Aircraft Illustrated, Classic Aircraft, and Air & Space/Smithsonian. Most recently Jim authored The Fight in the Clouds (Zenith Press, 2014) and Wings of War (Zenith Press, 2015). An avid pilot and aviation historian, Jim owns and flies a 1943 Aeronca L-3 and Stinson L-5.
James P. Busha is the editor for the magazines of the EAA Warbirds of America (Warbirds) and the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association (Vintage Airplane) as well as a contributing editor for Flight Journal and EAA Sport Aviation. He has had numerous articles published in Flypast, Aircraft Illustrated, Classic Aircraft, and Air & Space/Smithsonian. His interviews with veterans have complemented numerous John Dibbs images in aviation journals over the years, and in 2006 Busha and Dibbs published their first book together, titled The High Battleground (Boston Mills Press). By day, Jim is a detective/lieutenant for the Oshkosh Police Department in Wisconsin, where he has been employed for the last twenty-seven years. He has had a pilot’s license since 1987 and owns and flies a restored 1943 Aeronca L-3, a single-engine U.S. Army Air Corps observation aircraft.
"Just when you think you have enough Mustang books in your library, Jim Busha comes along and makes buying another absolutely mandatory! His research and writing abilities shine in this very personalized tale of the famous P-51 and its heroic young pilots. The book begins with a moving tribute to those who gave their lives flying the fighter and then profiles the brilliant history of the aircraft throughout World War II. A great book from a master storyteller who loves and knows the subject!" - Walter J. Boyne, USAF (Ret.), former director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
"The variety of stories in The Fight in the Clouds is exceptinoal, covering units in the European, Mediterranean, and Pacific Theaters of World War II, with RAF pilots as well. Today, when WWII veterans are 'departing the pattern' in growing numbers, the remembrances in Jim Busha's book assume even greater importance for future readers. Well done!" - Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwind: The War Against Japan, 1942-1945
"James Busha (editor for EAA's Warbirds of America as well as EAA's Vintage Airplane, to name only two of his literary accomplishments) has accomplished a wonderous job in the writing of, The Fight in the Clouds. Get this book to feel what it is like to fly a Mustang as well as what it felt like to be a World War II combatant in North American's defining aircraft." - Travel for Aircraft Blog, Seattle Post-Intelligencer