Our Top 10 Stories of 2015

The most-viewed stories on AirSpaceMag.com this year included coverage of the massive WW2 flyover in D.C. and a rare SR-71 Blackbird crash.

(Illustration by Shaylyn Esposito)
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Every year Air & Space / Smithsonian brings you the most interesting stories in aviation and space exploration. These were our readers’ favorites from the last year. 

1. A History of WW2 in 25 Airplanes

Air & Space / Smithsonian was honored to be part of the Arsenal of Democracy flyover of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this year, celebrating the 70th anniversary of VE Day. In our May issue dedicated to the event, readers got pull-out plane-spotter cards for the flyover along with first-hand stories from the veterans and other features, while online they could view 360-degree cockpit tours. Our history of the 25 greatest U.S. aircraft that helped bring the Allies victory was our most popular story of the year.

2. What Couldn’t the F-4 Phantom Do?

A simple claim can be made for the F-4 Phantom II: No other fighter has done more. Our March cover story featured a tribute to McDonnell’s masterpiece fighter jet and the last acemaker.

3. The Final Flight of Extortion 17

The deadliest helicopter crash in the history of U.S. special operations ended up revealing much about the war in Afghanistan.

4. A Rare Look at the Russian Side of the Space Station

This year marked the 15th anniversary of humans living continuously in space. These days, one side of the space station is filled with cameras rolling 24 hours a day and astronauts who talk directly to the public via Twitter, but...what’s going on with the cosmonauts at the other end?

5. The B-52 Just Keeps on Flying

The U.S. Air Force keeps planning the B-52s’ demise, but the BUFF won’t be put down that easily.

6. Blackbird Down

An eyewitness tells the story of an SR-71 Blackbird coming in for a crash landing as a typhoon bore down.

7. Is It Time to Abolish the U.S. Air Force?

Many of our readers had strong opinions about Robert Farley’s new book arguing that it was a mistake to give the Army Air Force independence in 1947, and that it’s far past time to correct it.

8. Where Huey Pilots Trained and Heroes Were Made

“We were all young and crazy. My first job as an adult was to fly around in a helicopter and let people shoot at me.”

9. Brazilian Team Claims World Racing Records

After featuring Anequim on our August cover, this unusual raceplane went on to prove it was the fastest shark in the sky.

10. In a Remote Forest, Traces of a 50-Year-Old Mystery

A forester uncovers the nearly forgotten wreckage of an Air Force F-106 that went down in 1964.

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