insight to the story and tell it a very di;erent way than it has been told
in the past. ;e film is being produced by Humanus Documentary Films
Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California.
Humanus also produced the documentary ;e Millionaires’ Unit, which
will be released soon. Our advisory board consists of two retired Air Force
chiefs of sta;, members of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission,
relatives of the pilots’ families, and Escadrille scholars.
One of the biggest challenges we face for this project is to give the
viewer an accurate sense of what flying and fighting must have been
like—really like. Flying one of these frail machines of canvas and wood
was, in itself, a minor miracle, and add to that the dynamic, terrifying, and
unknown element of combat. ;ere was no template to follow. ;ese
men worked it out in real time, using their hides as collateral—if they
succeeded. A new combat technique was born; if not, they perished. ;e
resultant experience is a feat of almost unimaginable determination and
resolve, especially when compared and contrasted with the computerized
UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) warfare of today. We aim to put the viewer
in that fragile and completely exposed cockpit, to let them vicariously
and, if only for a few moments, believe. To do this, we are filming full-scale
aircraft and using archival photographs and RC models.
Our team of Darroch Greer, Paul Glenshaw, Dan Patterson, and I were out
at Dayton, Ohio, for the Dawn Patrol rendezvous last fall, where we filmed
numerous WW I–replica aircraft flying. We recognized just how well large
RC scale models could be used to simulate actual aircraft. At times, you
just couldn’t tell the di;erence!
Paul and I are old friends. We both worked in museums in the
Is it a model or a full-size aircraft? Camera angle, level of scale detail,
and type of flying all contribute to creating the illusion that a model is a
full-size aircraft. Often low camera angles will make a model appear as a
full-scale aircraft, whereas high camera angles can make a real plane look
like a model!
A replica Nieuport 11 was just one of many replica aircraft at the
Dawn Patrol rendezvous at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton,
Ohio, last fall. ;ere were also many RC World War I aircraft,
some of which were large and confirmed our theory that models
could stand in for full-scale planes.