WWII-era aircrafts

View item information

A woman pilot flying with her instructor, from “For God, country, and the thrill of it : Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II.” Courtesy of the University of Michigan via HathiTrust.


World War II brought with it rapid advances in aircrafts designed for combat. Bombers, fighters, and cargo transports all became indispensable weapons for winning the war.

The wood and fabric biplanes used during WWI were replaced by powerful engine aircrafts with sleek design and fast performance like the P-51 Mustang. This fighter plane was built in collaboration with the British military. It escorted bombers like the B-17 “Flying Fortress” and the famous B-29 on long range journeys. It outperformed many of the enemy aircrafts, but was able to attack ground targets with bombs and machine guns.

Aircraft advancement also led to the development of improved training aircrafts like the T-6 Texan, which was maneuverable, fast, and easy to repair. It contained bomb racks, blind flying instrumentation, fixed and flexible guns, and other devices used in fighter planes. Due to its versatility and real-feel equipment, this aircraft became a favorite amongst trainers and trainees alike. During WWII, these trainers and trainees notably included women, who became part of a United States Air Force Service women’s program.