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Flying Aces
Find out more about flying aces in this quiz!

Flying Aces

In this Flying Aces quiz, see how much you know about the pilots.

During World War One fighter aircraft were developed and a new form of warfare was born. Pilots competed with one another over their number of victories and those who brought down five enemy aircraft or more were considered an ace. The majority of victories belonged to a select few pilots. More than half of the aircraft brought down were done so at the hands of just 5% of men. This quiz is about the ten pilots of World War One with the highest number of victories to their names; the top ten flying aces.

In equal tenth place in the list of World War One aces, with 54 victories, was the Canadian, Major Donald MacLaren. He was never injured in combat but missed the final few weeks of the war after breaking his leg doing what?
Wrestling with a member of his squadron
Falling out of his aeroplane
Skiing whilst on leave
Playing football against a British squadron
After the war MacLaren served in the newly-created Royal Canadian Air Force before he established Canadian Pacific Air Lines. He died on 4th July 1988, having made it to the ripe old age of 96
The German with the third highest number of victories was Oberleutnant Erich Löwenhardt who downed 54 enemy aircraft. He was the youngest of the top ten aces. How old was he when the war broke out?
Fourteen years old
Fifteen years old
Sixteen years old
Seventeen years old
Despite his young age Löwenhardt signed up for and served in the German infantry when the war began. After a year he was invalided out of the army but he signed up to serve in the Imperial German Army Air Service instead. He died on 10th August 1918 when his plane collided with that of another German pilot. Löwenhardt bailed but his parachute failed to open and he was killed
The leading African ace, also with 54 victories, was Flight Lieutenant Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor of South Africa. He was noted for his diminutive height. How tall was he?
Five feet and one inch tall
Five feet and two inches tall
Five feet and three inches tall
Five feet and four inches tall
Beauchamp-Proctor's victory count is particularly impressive as they were all made during a period of 10 months. On 8th October 1918 he was hit in the arm by machine gun fire but still managed to land his plane and submit his report to his commander before he was sent to hospital. Beauchamp-Proctor was killed on 21st June 1921 when his plane crashed during a training accident
The second-highest scoring British ace was Major James McCudden with 57 victories. He was the most decorated of British airmen with how many medals to his name?
Three medals
Five medals
Seven medals
Nine medals
McCudden was awarded six medals by the British and one by the French. He died on 9th July 1918 when his aeroplane was brought down, not by enemy fire but by mechanical failure. His engine failed and when McCudden tried to turn his craft around it spun out of control, crashing into the ground
The top ace of the Royal Naval Air Service was Canadian, Air Vice Marshal Raymond Collishaw, who brought down 60 enemy aircraft. He also flew in the Second World War, for which branch of the Royal Air Force?
The Desert Air Force
The Jungle Air Force
The Ocean Air Force
The Arctic Air Force
The Desert Air Force was created in 1941 to provide support for Britain's North Africa campaign. Collishaw is credited by some historians with 81 kills, which would make him the highest-scoring ace of all time, but this cannot be confirmed. He died in 1976 aged 82
The leading British ace was Major Mick Mannock, who brought down 61 enemy aircraft. Mannock always carried what item with him inside his cockpit?
A rabbit's foot
A revolver
A four-leafed clover
A shotgun
Mannock, understandably, had a fear of being burned alive. He is reported to have said, "The other fellows all laugh at me for carrying a revolver. They think I'm going to shoot down a machine with it, but they're wrong. The reason I bought it was to finish myself as soon as I see the first signs of flames. They'll never burn me." Ironically Mannock was killed in action on 26th July 1918 when his engine was set on fire by shots from German ground troops
Oberleutnant Ernst Udet was the second-highest ranking ace on the German side, with 62 victories, gained in only two years of fighting. How did he earn his living in the decade after the war ended?
He was a tight-rope walker
He was an airline pilot
He was a juggler
He was a stunt pilot
In the 1930s Udet gave up stunt flying. He was appointed by Hitler as Director General, responsible for providing equipment to the Luftwaffe. His position was a very stressful one due to a shortage of supplies. Perhaps this is why Udet took his own life in 1941 aged just 45
The Canadian, Air Marshall Billy Bishop, was the leading ace of the British Empire with 72 victories. On his final mission Bishop added how many downed aircraft to his total?
One aircraft
Three aircraft
Five aircraft
Seven aircraft
In the final months of the war the Canadian government, worried about the effect on morale if Bishop were killed, ordered him to return to England before noon on 19th June. That morning he flew one last solo mission and in fifteen minutes of fighting he shot down three aeroplanes and caused two more to crash. He died peacefully in 1956 aged 62
The top ace on the Allied side during the war was Colonel R Fonck, who brought down a total of 75 enemy aircraft. Which country was he from?
Great Britain
Rene Fonck brought down 56 enemy aeroplanes in 1918 alone. His success in that one year would have made him the leading French ace of the entire war. His plane was hit by only one bullet during his wartime career. Fonck survived the war and died of natural causes in 1953
The most successful and most famous of the flying aces of World War One was the German pilot, Baron Manfred Von Richthofen. His Albatros aeroplane was painted a particular colour, earning Richthofen what nickname?
The Black Baron
The Purple Baron
The Red Baron
The Green Baron
Richthofen brought down a total of 80 Allied aircraft before he himself was fatally wounded in a dog fight on April 21st 1918. Despite being shot in the chest, the Red Baron managed to safely land his aeroplane before he died. He was still alive when Australian troops reached him. According to one witness his last word was "kaputt"


Author:  Graeme Haw

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