World War II
Bureau of Aeronautics News Letter & Naval Aviation News
4,035 pages of Bureau of Aeronautics News Letter & Naval Aviation News, composed of 91 issues dating from January 1, 1943 to December 1947.
The third oldest military periodical and the oldest Navy periodical, "Naval Aviation News" (NANews) traces its origins to the Dec. 15, 1917, "Weekly Bulletin" published in letter format by the Chief of Naval Operations (Aviation). Later, under the Bureau of Aeronautics (BUAER), other names included "U.S. Naval Aviation Operations Report," "Weekly News Letter," "News Letter" and the "BUAER News Letter," which debuted the magazine format in its Feb. 15, 1943, edition. The first issue of NANews appeared Sept. 15, 1943.
World War II era issues of Aeronautics News Letter and Naval Aviation News were classified as restricted. Some issues were printed with the words on the cover "RESTRICTED This Pamphlet Will Be Destroyed When It Has Served Its Purpose."
The mission of the Naval Aviation News is to publicize information of an official nature to meet the ongoing professional needs of naval aviation in a way more meaningful than through routine channels.
Each issue features current and historical articles, service news, flight safety info, feature articles, photo features, unit news, letters, and unit patches.
Naval Aviation News features the well known feature, "Grampaw Pettibone." This column has always been based on the idea that safety can be enhanced by sharing lessons learned. The illustrated Grampaw Pettibone, is an astringent, acidulous curmudgeon, vaunted foe of the careless and mindless.
The man who thought-up Grampaw Pettibone, Captain Hubert Spencer "Seth" Warner, sat at the flight statistics in 1942. As he studied the reports of training accidents, he was horrified by the needless loss of lives and planes for want of just the right knowledge to overcome the varied hazards faced in flight. Instructions, NOTAMS, pamphlets, and various types of written warning had flowed continuously to training stations, but apparently they did not stem the tide of increasing casualties. "Why were so many of the stupid accidents alike and why were so many of them so stupid, 100 percent pilot error?" Warner pondered. It was at this point that Capt. Warner thought of Gramps, who, as "the oldest livin' Naval Aviator" would give the young neophytes oft flight "the word." Robert Osborn, then a reserve lieutenant and illustrator, brought this idea into being.
In the January 15, 1943, issue, Capt. Warner introduced Grampaw Pettibone with these words: "Gentlemen, meet an old-timer, P.S. ('Post Script') Pettibone, long since retired, but now back in parachute harness. He started flying back in the days when airplanes were built out of cigar boxes and baling wire; when an airplane was considered a success if the pilot could coax it 50 feet in the air, and a successful landing was anything you could walk away from.... His log book is studded with 'firsts'-- 'first to take off in a seaplane carrying 250 pounds of useful load' and 'first to make a four-hour endurance flight.' In the last war he used to dogfight in a flying boat and use a Colt .45 to help out his combination gunner and bomber in the bow... Grampaw is still a rabid aviation enthusiast, particularly where Naval Aviation is concerned. He has had more close calls and experiences than Eddie Rickenbacker and Dick Tracy combined."
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