Flying Aces (magazine)

Flying Aces
Flying Aces (magazine) July 1943 cover.png
July 1943 cover of Flying Aces
Former editorsHarold Goldsmith
Helen Wisner
Neil Coward
Herb Powell
Staff writersDonald E. Keyhoe
Joe Archibald
Arch Whitehouse
CategoriesPulp magazine
PublisherPeriodical House, Inc.
First issueOctober 1928
Final issueApril 1945

Flying Aces was a monthly American periodical of short stories about aviation, one of a number of so-called "flying pulp" magazines popular during the 1920s and 1930s. Like other pulp magazines, it was a collection of adventure stories, originally printed on coarse, pulpy paper but later moved to a slick format. The magazine was launched in October 1928 by Periodical House, Inc. It featured stories written and illustrated by known authors of the day, often set against the background of World War I. Later issues added non-fiction aviation articles, as well as articles and plans for model airplanes. The latter became more prominent, and eventually the magazine was renamed Flying Models, and catered exclusively to aeromodeling hobbyists.

Historical context

The period from the late 1920s through the 1930s is considered the heyday of pulp fiction, and pulps were at the peak of their popularity. Over 200 magazines were published monthly, reaching an audience of 10 million readers,[1] with the most successful titles selling up to a million copies per issue. Pulp fiction publishers employed unprecedented levels of market segmentation for their titles, exploring every popular category, including love stories, western stories, detective stories, and mystery stories. Publications were highly specialized, with each category having its own set of magazines, readers, and reader expectations.[1]

This period also coincided with the golden days of aviation, highlighted by feats such as Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic[2] and the first extensive use of airplanes in combat in World War I. Pulp publishers sought to capitalize on public interest in flying, which was influenced by stories of World War I flying aces, particularly Eddie Rickenbacker’s memoirs, Fighting the Flying Circus,[3] and Elliot Spring's book on World War I combat flying, Nocturne Militaire.[4] The revived interest in these stories was also due to films such as the 1927 release of Wings[4] and Howard Hughes' 1930 production of Hell's Angels, an epic, mega-budget movie featuring more than 100 pilots and dozens of planes, glorifying World War I American air aces. The movie led to numerous similar films, and a plethora of aviation-oriented pulp magazines followed.[5] Nicknamed "flying pulps," more than forty pulps devoted to World War I air battles[6] began publication during this time, including titles such as Aces (1928), Battle Birds (1932), Air Trails (1928), G-8 and his Battle Aces (1933), Sky Birds (1928), War Aces (1930), War Birds (1928), Wings (1927), and Flying Aces (1928).

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