GHOSTS – Phil Makanna’s Legendary Warbird Calendars Are Ready for 2024

Aircorps Art Dec 2019


by Richard Mallory Allnutt

It is doubtful that anyone with even the vaguest interest in vintage military aircraft could fail to have seen or been moved by the work of the legendary aerial photographer Philip Makanna. His images have appeared in countless magazines and books over the past forty-plus years, but Makanna is perhaps most well known for his famous line of GHOSTS calendars, which have graced the walls of many a home and aircraft hangar across the world since 1981. Personally speaking, I received my first GHOSTS calendar as a Christmas gift when I was a college student in the mid-80s, and I have owned succeeding editions for almost every year since. Printed on thick, glossy paper, these full-sized calendars are renowned for both their premium quality and, of course, for their magnificent images. In fact they are so good that, unlike with most calendars, people tend to save them beyond their intended period of use – and whom among us hasn’t clipped a favorite image from the binding to frame or pin up somewhere we enjoy spending time (I know I have!). With a keen sense for lighting and composition, Makanna’s images also have a timeless quality to them which captures the spirit of both the machine and the era from which they came. And for 2024, as in recent years, there are two different calendars available – one featuring aircraft from WWII and the other from WWI.

 
The FORTY-FOURTH edition of the Ultimate Aviation Calendar.
  • 12 magnificent air-to-air color photographs of the combat aircraft World War II by Master Aviation Photographer Philip Makanna
  • Each month is suitable for framing
  • Plus our unique chronological history of the aviation events of the war
  • Plus specifications and silhouettes
  • Each page 20″ x 14″ – Opens to 20″ x 28″
Aircraft Included: North American P-51D “Mustang” Curtiss P-40C “Tomahawk” Lockheed P-38L “Lightning” Republic P-47D “Thunderbolt” North American (AT-6) “Harvard” Supermarine “Spitfire” PR Mk. XI Hawker “Nimrod” Mk. II Douglas SBD-5 “Dauntless” Hawker “Hurricane” Mk. I Fiesler Fi 156 “Storch” Grumman (General Motors) TBM “Avenger” Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 “Canary”
The WWI Edition is described below. GHOSTS, THE GREAT WAR 2024 – The Ultimate WWI Aviation Calendar
  • 12 magnificent air-to-air color photographs of the combat aircraft of World War I by Master Aviation Photographer Philip Makanna
  • Each month is suitable for framing
  • Plus our unique chronological history of the aviation events of WWI
  • Plus specifications and silhouettes
  • Each page 20″ x 14″ – Opens to 20″ x 28″
Aircraft Included: Fokker D.VIII Nieuport 17 LVG C.VI Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2c Albatros D.Va Nieuport 11 Sopwith Camel Fokker D.VII Fokker F.I Dreidecker Pfalz D.III Bristol F.2B Fighter SPAD XIII
The twelve images which will appear in the 2024 edition of the WWII GHOSTS calendar. (images by Philip Makanna)

And for those who wish to have something a little weightier, Phil Makanna also has some truly spectacular hard-cover books featuring many of his images too. As with his calendars, these books are beautifully designed and of the highest quality. Makanna has such lyrical prose as well, placing you in the scene almost as effectively as his images. We featured a write up of his most recent effort last November, but there are other wonderful books available too… be sure to check them out HERE!

Philip Makanna’s fascination with aviation began as a young boy growing up on Long Island, miles from the Grumman factory. The Wildcats and Hellcats that passed overhead during his youth left an indelible impression, and even after moving to California to pursue a career as a fine arts painter, sculptor, professor, and filmmaker, Makanna found himself reliving childhood dreams as he was sent to cover the Reno Air Races in 1974. It was his photographs of the classic WWII aircraft flying overhead during the mid-race displays that landed a book deal, and would later bring him to South Texas to the vast collection of the CAF and Colonel Lloyd P. Nolen. The first GHOSTS calendar comprised of Makanna’s genre-defining aerial photography was published by Philip and his wife Jeanie in 1980, and the pair have kept the tradition alive with the 2023 calendar marking the 44th edition of the now world-renowned GHOSTS calendar. The hunt for aircraft to photograph has brought Makanna to all reaches of the United States and abroad, regularly making trips to document the great collections of airplanes in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. A recent increase in aircraft from the First World War have taken to the air once more due to the untiring restoration efforts of a small group of collectors, opening Makanna to an entirely new range of subjects to photograph. With each year comes a stronger GHOSTS calendar, as the world’s greatest aviation photographer continues to hone what has truly become his life’s work.  

Click HERE to purchase your copy of the 2024 GHOSTS calendars!

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