István Toperczer is a flight surgeon with the Hungarian Air Force. In his spare time, he has become one of the few individuals from outside Vietnam to be given open access to the files of the Vietnamese People's Air Force. He has made several visits to Hanoi, and other Vietnamese cities, in the past five years, and has interviewed many of the leading aces from the war years.
MiG-17 and MiG-19 Units of the Vietnam Warby Istvan Toperczer, Iain Wyllie (Illustrator)
The erstwhile enemy of the USAF and US Navy during the nine years of American involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the Vietnamese Peoples' Air Force (VPAF) quickly grew from an ill-organised rabble of poorly trained pilots flying antiquated communist aircraft into a highly effective fighting force that more than held its own over the skies of North Vietnam. Flying Soviet fighters like the MiG-17, and -19, the VPAF produced over a dozen aces, whilst the Americans managed just two pilots and three navigators in the same period.
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