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Old 22nd December 2014, 20:07
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ohio
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Re: Identity of F-5 Lightning crashed on take off Vis Island -March/April 44

Researcher111,

The material being discussed is the collection of microfilms prepared many years ago at (what is now) the USAF Historical Research Agency. It has gone through several name changes. They brought in a contractor and told him to "start in the upper left hand corner, and microfilm everything". Which they did. Being a government contractor, it was low bid. There does not seem to have been a heavy investment in quality control. The original documents are all still down at USAFHRA at Maxwell AFB, and can be accessed there. They can still be purchased on microfilm, at $30/reel. I have encountered unreadable frames on the microfilm, and when I have asked if they could go to the original, and make a (Xerox) copy I have received back a perfectly readable piece of paper. I suggest that you do not purchase microfilm however, as, over the 30-40 years I have been researching I have found that the readability of the microfilms deteriorates. Several years ago they instituted a program to copy the microfilms to PDF, and they now sell the reels as a massive PDF file, for the same $30 price. I recommend purchasing the PDFs, as the PDF controls will allow you to blow the images up in scale, which can make them readable.

Knowing which reels to purchase however, can be a problem. The website http://airforcehistoryindex.org/ has a copy of the IRIS index to the holdings of USAFHRA as of 2003, which can be searched. Although the search mechanism is not obvious. You can request the raw data for the 2003 IRIS index from that website; it comes as a zip file with 9 MS Excel csv (comma separated values) files, totaling about 41meg. I requested it, and built myself an MS Access file from those files (and made it a little easier to search). There are instructions on the website for how to order films and PDFs (supplied on CD).

Enjoy!

Frank.
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