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Looking for title and author of a short story.

A pilot of an (American?) near-future military jet and his machine find themselves back in time on an airfield near the front line in World War I. The pilot decides to use the awesome power of his modern machine to aid the allied cause. However he encounters problems. It takes a huge amount of time and effort filtering lamp oil to make the fuel his jet needs. The wooden enemy planes don't show up on radar, and his heat seeking missiles won't lock into them. The WWI pilots are generally skeptical of his machine's capabilities. I believe the aircraft may have been called something like "Pica Don".

The story is English, and I read it around the nineties. Oh, and absolutely positively no aircraft carriers are involved.

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Looking for title and author of a short story.

"Hawk Among the Sparrows", a novella by Dean McLaughlin.

A pilot of an (American?) near-future military jet and his machine find themselves back on an airfield near the front line in World War I.

Blake appeared to consider while he started on his second glass. He permitted himself a smile and a chuckle. "I'd say a man's got to be a bit crazy if he wants to fly in this war, and if you want to fight Huns you've come to the right place."

He didn't believe. Well, you couldn't expect him to. "I was born in 1946," Farman told him. "I'm thirty-two years old. My father was born in 1920. Right now it's nineteen . . . seventeen?"

"Nineteen eighteen, Blake said. "June tenth. Have another brandy."

The pilot decides to use the awesome power of his modern machine to aid the allied cause.

"You are a pilot, M'sieu Farman?" Deveraux asked.

Farman nodded. "And I've got a plane that can fly faster and climb higher than anything you've got. I'd like a try at this Keyserling."

However he encounters problems. It takes a huge amount of time and effort filtering lamp oil to make the fuel his jet needs.

Deveraux frowned, touched his moustache. "Kero-sine?"

"Paraffin," Blake said. "Lamp oil." He turned to Farman. "They call it paraffin over here. But five hundred gallons—are you nuts? There isn't an aeroplane flying that needs that much lubricating. Shucks, this whole escadrille doesn't use that much gas in a week. Besides, it's no good as a lubricant—if it was, you think we'd be using the stuff we do?"

The wooden enemy planes don't show up on radar, and his heat seeking missiles won't lock into them.

Farman swore with self-directed disgust. He should have thought of it. Those planes were invisible to radar. They didn't have enough metal to make a decent tin can, so his radar equipment rejected the signals they reflected as static. For the same reason, the proximities hadn't worked. The rockets could have passed right through the formation—probably had—without being triggered. As far as the proximities were concerned, they'd flown through empty air. He might as well have tried to shoot down the moon.

The WWI pilots are generally skeptical of his machine's capabilities.

Deveraux was philosophically gentle. "You have seen now, M'sieu, the rockets you carried were not an adequate armament for combat situations. Now, if you will show our mechanics where you think it would be best to mount the machine guns they . . ."

I believe the aircraft may have been called something like "Pica Don".

The opening paragraph:

The map-position scope on the left side of Pika-Don's instrument panel showed where he was, but it didn't show airfields. Right how, Howard Farman needed an airfield. He glanced again at the fuel gauge. Not a chance of making it into Frankfurt, or even into West Germany. Far below, white clouds like a featureless ocean sprawled all the way to the horizon.

  • That's exactly it. But much older than i thought. – DJClayworth Dec 1 '15 at 18:55
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    I remember this story. I was disappointed that the pilot could think of nothing better to do than fight the equivalent of the Red Baron. As far as I remember he never even thought of trying to end the war or prevent World War two. – M. A. Golding Mar 26 '17 at 5:08
  • @M.A.Golding And why use his jet for fighter purposes at all? Surely his missiles would make his plane better served as a strike bomber. – Sydney Sleeper Apr 25 '18 at 22:22
  • Or even just fly close by the enemy aircraft. WWI biplanes have a tendency to break apart in the wake of modern jetfigthers' engines. – Bent Sep 24 '18 at 17:15

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