Remember the Dewoitine D 26, the single-seat, single-engine parasol fighter trainer? Wondering how many were ever built? Open your trusty Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, and you’ll learn that 11 were produced for the Swiss Air Force.
Jane’s will also tell you the first flight of the Douglas B-66 Destroyer (October 28, 1952); how many passengers the Sikorsky S-55/Westland Whirlwind can carry (10); and the maximum speed of Lockheed’s SR-71 (2,012 mph).
On November 1, 2009, Jane’s celebrated its 100th anniversary as the world’s foremost aviation reference guide. Within its pages are the technical and production details of all known powered aircraft, currently in—or anticipating—commercial production.
The venerable guide was founded by John Frederick Thomas Jane, a somewhat indifferent student, as the publication’s Web site notes: “Jane was never top of his class but did show a keen interest in rugby and chemistry, although he was banned from the chemistry lab when his teachers discovered that his only real interest in the subject was furthering his knowledge of making explosives.”
The reluctant student eventually became an authority on naval matters, publishing the first edition of Jane’s Fighting Ships in February 1898. But after Louis Blériot flew across the English Channel in 1909, Jane turned his attention to aircraft. The first edition of Jane’s All the World’s Airships was published in 1909.
The current, and sixth editor, Paul Jackson, joined Jane’s compiling team in 1987, becoming editor in chief in 1995. He’s well aware of the reverence inspired by his publication. In a company press release he recalled, “At air shows, I will always carry a tape measure. One time I was checking the dimensions of an aircraft and a small boy asked his father, ‘What is that man doing?’ His father replied, having noticed my name badge, ‘That, son, is the man from Jane’s.’”