Book Review: American Military Transport Aircraft Since 1925


by E.R. Johnson and Llyod S. Jones

Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2013. Pp. viii, 480. Illus., diagr., appends., biblio., index. $45.00 paper. ISBN: 0786462698

American Military Transport Aircraft Since 1925 is very well organized, covering literally hundreds of aircraft, whether actual or proposed, chronologically.  After an excellent short introduction reviewing the evolution of American military transport policy, the authors cover the aircraft in three sections.  These are general military transport aircraft built or projected between 1925 and 1962, those produced or projected since 1962, and utility and miscellaneous transport aircraft introduced or planned since 1962 (the authors explain why this last category is separate).  Coverage in each section is chronological, that is, airplanes are treated roughly in the order in which they appeared, rather than, as some references chose to do, by manufacturer.

For each aircraft we get extensive technical details, plus a tri-view, followed by an historical and technical discussion of its development and use.  Naturally the degree of detail varies depending upon the specific aircraft: the 1945 C-74, of which only 14 were built, gets just two pages, while the C-130, with over two thousand built, gets more than eight. 

There are many gems in this book, rare shots of little known aircraft, including several based on contemporary bombers, not to mention the occasion bomber designed on the basis of an existing transport, such as the B-18 (a DC-3/C-47 spin-off), a surprising good warbird for its time.  One important contribution of this volume is to remind us that while some airplanes were produced in far greater numbers than most (e.g., the C-47), there were other transports that also performed well (e.g., C-46, C-54).

American Military Transport Aircraft Since 1925 is an excellent reference and handbook for anyone interested in military aviation.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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