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Experts Detail Origins of Air Combat in World War I Symposium at the Museum of Flight

SEATTLE – On July 18 at 2 p.m., The Museum of Flight, in conjunction with the Northwest Chapter of the Friends of the American Fighter Aces, will host a 2-hour symposium focusing on the early innovations in fighter aircraft design during the First World War. The panelists at the “Fokker Scourge Symposium” are renowned authors in World War I aviation history, Greg VanWyngarden, Jack Herris, and Lance Bronnenkant. The event is free with admission to the Museum. The authors’ books will be available at the Museum Store, with book signings at the symposium.

Fokker E-III, the 1915 German fighter aircraft referred to in the term "Fokker Scourge." Ted Huetter/The Museum of Flight.
Fokker E-III, the 1915 German fighter aircraft referred to in the term “Fokker Scourge.” Ted Huetter/The Museum of Flight.
Greg VanWyngarden is a retired public school history teacher living in St. Charles, Iowa. He received degrees in history and education from Luther College in 1977. His interest in aviation of the First World War began at the age of nine, when he began building models and sketching aircraft. In 1980 he began writing and illustrating articles for the World War I aviation historical periodical, Cross & Cockade Journal, with a particular emphasis on the color schemes and markings of German aircraft. He has produced many articles for specialist periodicals, and has written or co-authored fifteen books on aviation of The Great War. He is an editor of the Journal of the League of World War I Aviation Historians, and has served as the League’s art director and on its Board of Directors.

VanWyngarden’s Museum presentation will be chronicle some of the technological innovations and incidents in air combat by the French and British flying services in 1915.

Jack Herrisgrew up with aviation, as his parents both worked for North American Aviation. Harris graduated from the University of Washington in 1971 with a bachelor of science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then served as a U.S. Navy pilot flying P-3B Orion aircraft with VP-46. His post-Navy career includes a stint with the Laser Fusion Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Herris is a member of the League of WWI Aviation Historians, the Cross & Cockade Society, and has published dozens of articles on WWI aircraft. In 1992 he founded Flying Machines Press, and later started Aeronaut Books, which now has more than 30 new titles in print. In his symposium presentation,

Herris will address the development of fighter aircraft from pre-war concepts to the first true fighters in 1915.

Jack Herris books on WWI aircraft:
“SPAD Two-Seat Fighters of World War I,””Aircraft of WWI: 1914-1918,””Development of German Warplanes in WWI,””German Seaplane Fighters of WWI,””Nachtflugzeug! German N-Types of WWI,””German Armored Warplanes of WWI,””Pfalz Aircraft of WWI,””Gotha Aircraft of WWI,””Germany’s Triplane Craze,””Germany’s Fighter Competitions of 1918,””Roland Aircraft of WWI,””Aviatik Aircraft of WWI,””Rumpler Aircraft of WWI,””Siemens-Schuckert Aircraft of WWI,””German Monoplane Fighters of WWI,””German G-Type Bombers of WWI,””German Seaplanes of WWI,” and “AEG Aircraft of WWI.”

Lance Bronnenkant retired from the pharmaceutical industry in 2010 after an extensive career as an inventor, entrepreneur, chief executive officer. He is a member and served on the board of the League of WWI Aviation Historians. He is currently the managing editor of the League’s quarterly journal, Over The Front. Bronnenkant’s specialty is German aviation and he has published several articles on the subject as well as the comprehensive, 3-volume”The Imperial German Eagles in WWI: Their Postcards and Pictures.” He is currently writing a 24-volume series, “The Blue Max Airmen,” and a biography of German fighter ace Oswald Boelcke. Bronnenkant also owns an extensive collection of photographs, documents, decorations, uniforms and other World War I aviationmemorabilia.

In the symposium Bronnenkant will tell the story of the “Fokker Scourge,” when the Germans dominated the skies in late 1915 to early 1916.

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