Songs inspired by the early age of flight.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, February 19, 2009
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
By 1918, the date of this march, Germany’s “Red Baron,” Baron Manfred von Richthofen, had been shot down over Le Hamel, France, while going after his 81st victim. Eddie Rickenbacker, the U.S. race car driver turned pilot, had almost achieved status as a “double ace,” and Major Edward “Mick” Mannock, the top UK ace, died after his 73rd victory. He had recently told a friend, “I don’t think I will last much longer.” In short, aces were everywhere in the news, and the public was obsessed with the heroic men, who were the subject of films, books, songs, and games.
The term “ace” is unofficially bestowed on those pilots and weapon systems officers who have shot down five enemy aircraft. The label became popular among military pilots during World War I, when French newspapers christened Adolphe Pégoud as l'as after he downed several German airplanes.