Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron)

Units created using the FASA system
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Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron)

Postby Neo-Tanuki » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:33 pm

Hey all,

While painting some planes this weekend, I was going through my Crimson Skies books and notes and found this squadron idea a friend and I had brainstormed for a possible RPG campaign a while back. I thought it might be fun to post it here and see what other people think.

The Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron) an Air Action Weekly Overview

Founded by brilliant entrepreneur Howard Hughes -- a Texan who inherited his family’s oil fortune in 1924 -- Hughes Aviation has become one of the most innovative design houses and manufacturers of aircraft in North America. Hughes used his vast wealth to indulge in a number of his interests: by 1928, he was a major film producer, and soon was the toast of Hollywood society. A pilot since 1919, Hughes used some of the profits of his moviemaking ventures to fund the creation of Hughes Aviation, allowing him to indulge his other passion: flight.

Though the Hollywood Knights receive the lion's share of fame and credit among West Coast militia squadrons, the redoubtable Hughes Air Guard is no less capable or well-equipped. The private security and military arm of Hughes Aviation, the Air Guard's primary mission is the protection of the firm's vital aerodromes and production facilities in Century City, Long Beach and Burbank. However, Hughes Aviation interests go hand-in-hand with Hollywood's interests (as Mr. Hughes is fond of saying), and the Air Guard has often been placed at the disposal of the national government, defending Southern California cities against pirates and hostile squadrons side-by-side with the Hollywood Knights.

Howard Hughes spares no expense for his personal squadrons, and often cutting-edge experimental aircraft are evaluated under combat conditions in action with the Air Guard. The test pilots of the Hughes Air Combat Evaluation Squadron, who fly these experimental planes, are among the best of the best Hughes Aviation employs. Hughes demands exacting standards for his elite pilots, but in return they are lavishly paid and have the privilege of flying the most advanced warbirds North America has ever seen. ACES pilots were the first to field many of Hughes' most innovative aircraft, including the Bloodhawk "E" parasite fighter, the Angel, and the rumored prototype code-named "Silver Bullet" allegedly sighted in recent test flights near the Mojave Desert and the Channel Islands.

Rumors and gossip whisper that pilots of ACES not only are employed as Hughes' best test pilots and aviation designers, but also serve to pursue Mr. Hughes' interest in more...sensitive...matters when regular channels will not suffice, and the vast financial and legal resources of Hughes Aviation cannot effect a solution. Stories of unauthorized air raids against factories belonging to rival manufacturers Bell and Messerschmitt/GM (including the recent disastrous fire at Bell's Dixie headquarters in April 1937), covert missions to extract aerospace engineers and scientists from enemy nations and special "loans" of ACES personnel to Hollywood government officials for high-risk anti-piracy operations have surrounded the squadron since its formation. However, Hughes representatives have always categorically denied these rumors.

"A man of Mr. Hughes' talents and success is always surrounded wild stories," said company spokeswoman Laura Mulholland. "Mr. Hughes is dedicated to the prosperity and well-being of his adopted nation, Hollywood, and the Hughes Air Guard--including ACES--has served valiantly in the defense of our country. To suggest that a law-abiding firm like Hughes Aviation is involved in some kind of far-fetched international skullduggery or espionage is preposterous. We're an aviation firm, not some secret spy force out of the pulp monthlies. It's like the rumors Mr. Hughes himself secretly flies combat missions under an alias. Simply ludicrous!"

Ms. Mulholland would not take any further questions from AAW regarding ACES or Mr. Hughes' alleged combat missions.
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Re: Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron)

Postby FantomPencil » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:46 pm

I really like this; it's an Excellent idea..!
Would work very well as a sourcebook for the game, and an even better starting organisation in a Crimson Skies rpg setting.
And while reading it I got a very vivid scene in my head of Howard Hughes sitting behind a desk in a dimly-lit, smokey office, sending a team of ACES out on yet another covert operation halfway around the globe. Netflix series, anyone?

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Re: Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron)

Postby Cyagen » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:41 am

Great stuff.

You could flesh it out more using the sourcebook format for the description of squadrons (pilots and their planes, recent engagements and a scenario)

We would probalby all enjoy more of this.
Malphas, over and out

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Re: Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron)

Postby Neo-Tanuki » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:41 am

Ask and ye shall receive!



Flight Captain Florence "Pancho" Barnes

NT:7 SS:6 DE:4 SH:4 QD:6 C:4

In a nation that counts aviation heroes like Howard Hughes and Charlie Steele among its residents, Florence "Pancho" Barnes still stands out as an extraordiary adventuress and one of the most gifted pilots in Hollywood. Born to a wealthy family in San Marino, she attended exclusive private schools, becoming an accomplished equestrian, outdoorswoman and traveller at an early age. At one point while visiting Mexico, her party was ambushed by a group of revolutionaries. The quick-witted Florence disguised herself in men's clothes and posing as a tour guide named "Pancho," managed to fool the revolutionaries for four months before escaping and returning home.

Still restless even after her adventures in Mexico, she took up piloting as a hobby in 1928 after driving a cousin to a flying lesson and persuading the instructor to give her lessons as well. It turned out she was a natural, making her first solo flight successfully after six hours of instruction! Discovering a genuine love of flying, she became a full-time professional pilot, flying barnstorming shows, breaking the women's world air speed record in 1930 and becoming one of the movie industry's top stunt pilots and the founder of the first Hollywood union for movie aviators. In fact, it was her work as a stunt flyer in the 1930 film "Hell's Angels" that would be her first meeting with Howard Hughes--who would remember the daredevil pilot when organizing the Hughes Air Guard as his private militia in 1935.

By '35, Barnes had fallen on hard financial times--her contracts with her racing sponsors and the major film studios had expired, and pilots were leaving the film industry en masse to sign on with combat militias to counter the growing depredations of piracy. Barnes was even considering pulling up roots and leaving Hollywood altogether when Hughes approached her with the offer of a position as test pilot for a special unit he was forming to assess new plane designs under combat conditions--the Air Combat Evaluation Squadron. Pancho jumped at the chance to push the newest and most advanced fighters in the world to their limits and beyond. Today, she serves as chief test pilot for the experimental division of Hughes Aircraft. While she will engage in combat out of necessity, Barnes always strives to put down enemies only with what force is necessary, and follows a strict code against strafing pilots who "ride the silk elevator" or who successfully escape an aircraft she's shot down. But no one slights her skills in the air--she is one of the nation's most outstanding pilots, able to coax aircraft into feats of aerobatics that give engineers heart attacks. Combined with the cutting-edge fighters she flies, Barnes is an dangerous opponent in a dogfight.

Because ACES falls outside the normal Hughes Air Guard chain of command, answering directly to Hughes himself, Barnes comes across as surprisingly easygoing to those who meet her for the first time. Though she holds the official rank of Flight Captain in the HAG, her fellow ACES pilots rarely address her by rank, instead using her call sign "Pancho" or "Chief" in reference to her position as chief test pilot. Rumors of her skill at marksmanship, languages and disguise--combined with the frequent disappearances of ACES personnel from public view--have led some to speculate that she also serves as a secret agent and troubleshooter for Hughes. When asked about this, Barnes dismisses such rumors with a laugh. "I fly the fastest, most state-of-the-art planes in the world while pirates and riff-raff are shooting at me," she says. "I think that would be enough excitement for anyone, don't you? Well, most people, at any rate..."

More to come!
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Re: Hughes Air Guard ACES (Air Combat Evaluation Squadron)

Postby Neo-Tanuki » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:27 am


Lt. Kellen "Straight Shooter" Burke

NT:6 SS:6 DE:5 SH:3 QD:5 C:3

The youngest competitor in history to qualify for the National Air Races, Kellen Burke became famous for his ability to handle racing aircraft at dangerously low altitudes and redline his engine in the straightaways, giving him the nickname "Straight Shooter." Originally hailing from Van Nuys, Burke learned the ins and outs of airplanes at an early age working with his father, a mechanic at the local airport. From learning how to take planes apart and put them back together, Burke moved quickly to flying. He first flew in the Nationals in 1932 at the age of 17. He placed fourth the following year, and second in 1934. He was considered likely to take the championship in the 1935 event, but then fate intervened.

The night before the 1935 race, Burke was performing a final inspection of his racer at Van Nuys Airport when an unidentified aircraft made an emergency landing near his hanger. Racing to the scene, Burke discovered the plane--which was like no other he'd seen before--had landed intact, but the pilot was dying-not from the crash, but from a gunshot wound. The dying pilot was a GM test pilot opposed to the ISA's alliance with Nazi Germany. Attempting to defect to Hollywood, the pilot had stolen Messerschmitt/GM's latest prototype--the experimental fighter code-named 'Grey Wolf'--and a group of hired German assassins were moments behind him.

The assassins attacked the airfield moments later, destroying several aircraft--including Burke's racer--but not before Burke had escaped in the Grey Wolf. Though the details of his subsequent adventures have been classified by the Hollywood government, it is known that Burke managed to keep the Grey Wolf out of the assassin's hands while uncovering a plot between ISA radicals and corrupt traitors in the Hollywood government--and was able to expose the conspiracy and aid in the capture of the ringleaders. The Grey Wolf was turned over to Hughes Aviation for study, and Hughes--who knew of Burke's racing career and who was impressed with the young pilot's heroism--offered Burke a place in ACES as one of his elite test pilots.

Since joining ACES, Burke has been assigned as chief test pilot "Pancho" Barnes' primary wingman--one of the toughest jobs in the unit, as his duties mainly consist of keeping hostile fighters away from Barnes while she puts experimental aircraft through their paces. But flying a Hughes Bloodhawk, Burke does his job efficiently and he does it well--Barnes has never been forced down while Burke (who she treats like a kid brother) is guarding her six.

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