Nova (1974– )
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An exploration of the development of aerial warfare in World War One.

Director:

Nick Green
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Gene de Marco Gene de Marco ... Himself
Malcolm Frazer Malcolm Frazer ... Himself
Peter Hart Peter Hart ... Himself
Trevor Henshaw Trevor Henshaw ... Himself
Nic Larson Nic Larson ... Himself
Roger Posthuma Roger Posthuma ... Himself
Craig Sechler ... Himself - Narrator
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Storyline

From PBS and NOVA - When World War I began in 1914, the air forces of the opposing nations consisted of handfuls of rickety biplanes from which pilots occasionally took pot shots at one another with rifles. By the war's end, the essential blueprint of the modern fighter aircraft had emerged: it was now an efficient killing machine that limited the average life expectancy of a front line pilot to just a few weeks. To trace the story of this astonishingly rapid technological revolution, NOVA takes viewers inside The Vintage Aviator, a team of New Zealand-based aviation buffs dedicated to bringing back classic World War One fighters such as the SE5A and Albatros DV. NOVA joins the team as they discover the secrets of some of aviation's most colorful and deadly early flying machines, and explores how their impact played a key role in the nightmare slaughter of the Western Front.

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Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Release Date:

22 October 2014 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This film seems to say that the British airplanes won the war...though this is hardly what actually happened.
4 January 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I am a retired history teacher and love airplanes, so it's not surprising I'd watch this episode of "Nova". The show has a lot of good things about it but quite a few bad....but on balance it's worth seeing.

The show investigates what it was like to fly a WWI fighter plane and they recreated a few for the show and they're used intermittently. The program is a historical look at the evolution of airplanes during this war. Initially, they were simply observational or delivered messages. Later, folks tried taking pistols and rifles up in the planes...with miserable results. So, the race was on to figure out how to mount machine guns on planes...and how to mount them on the plane so that they don't end up killing the pilot in the process! Then, the place traces a FEW of the British and German planes important in this evolutionary process. This brings me to one problem with the show-- it never mentioned the French airplanes at all..or ANY other than the British and Germans. Important planes such as the French Spad were never mentioned as a result. The other serious problem were some of the statements made at the end of the show. One ill-informed guy basically said that the British won the war since they produced far more planes than the Germans. Well, they did out-produce them but most historical experts would agree that the impact of planes on the war was negligible (after all it was a stalemate for over four years and planes sure didn't break that). Additionally, any sane historian would most likely attribute the United States' entry into the war as the deciding factor--and the US had almost no air force at all! So, you've got a lot of neat recreations, some good history and some very bad history all in one package. There must be a better documentary out there that covers much of the same material.


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