Visually Step Back into the Chaotic Skies Over Europe in WWI

Thanks to our modern era’s radical revolution in the digital photographic sciences – and a group of extraordinarily talented aircraft replica builders, pilots, – – – and videographers, the Down Under folks of  New Zealand’s HISTORICAL AVIATION FILM UNIT (HAFU) have enabled all of us to step right back in time, letting us witness what our ancestors of that Great War era saw – and heard – with their own eyes and ears.

With the explicit permission from Allan Udy (Videographer and Editor with HAFU), to use their exclusive and copyrighted creative material, we are able to share some of these outstanding video experiences with you. If you would like to see more of these WWI videos, please let us know, so we can include more of them in future posts.

If you take the time to visit and explore both their website and fascinating collection of their historical video creations and other photographic art, you’ll not be disappointed.

The following initial video Trailer (part I of II) introduces you to some of the more famous WWI fighter aircraft that cavorted about the bloody skies over France, Belgium and Germany during that “War to End All Wars.”  It is only 3:59 long, but packed with impressive action AND SOUND.

So make sure to watch these films full screen and with your sound turned up.  How HAFU gives its viewers such accurate aircraft engine and wind sounds is a trade secret, but it has memorable effects.  These two videos are but Trailers or peeks at their full length video collection, which you can purchase directly from HAFU.

Mr. Udy just brought to our attention that it is important to mention that the aircraft are built (in many cases), maintained and operated by The Vintage Aviator Ltd (TVAL) from New Zealand.   “At HAFU we’re just the ‘hangers-on’ that get to film these beautiful machines.”  So, our apologies to Allan if we conveyed the impression that HAFU also built and piloted these brilliant replications.

You might be inclined to think that the small nation of New Zealand, so far away in the South Pacific, couldn’t possibly lead the world in the number of WWI era flying aircraft replicas, but you would be wrong.  New Zealand has clearly earned her laurels for having this unique distinction.

Most of us may never have the pleasure of visiting this colorful and hospitable country, but as aviation and aviation history buffs, in particular, we can at least witness these impressive videos from Down Under.  The video below this is the part II Trailer of the HAFU Fighter group.  It is 4:12 in length.


QUESTIONS ? ? ?   (You can reply by simply writing your answers in the “Leave a Reply” field or box down below.)  Will you be the first to get the right answer(s)?

  1. What is a rotary engine?
  2. Why do some of these fighter’s engines cut on and off, often sputtering, rather than simply increasing or decreasing their speeds as do most and all modern aircraft engines?
  3. Why are the Fighter pilots looking at the camera on the close ups of them flying close by?
  4. Where is the vertical fin – and rudder – on some of the Fighters, the ones with the rounded rear vertical airfoil?
  5. Why was the famous “Red Baron’s” Fokker Triplane painted bright red and not camouflaged?  (Among the six or more Triplanes seen in the videos, only one is painted his color.)

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