B-8 grip: Get a Grip !!

Th iconic simplicity of the American classic fighter stick grip. The B-8’s were used in numerous aircraft, helicopters included, from the 1950’s until the early 1980’s. Two main manufacturers produced this style of grip: Mason and Guardian Electrics.

Such a nice gift… WANT !!

Short Sturgeon TT.2: Swords into punching balls.


The Sturgeon development started during the middle to late war years first as a high-performance torpedo bomber carrier-borne soon to be changed into a carrier-borne recon bomber. First flown in 1946, the Sturgeon proved to be sound and very promising, but the war had ended: the carriers from where it was designed to operate were cancelled taking with them the possible future of  “wet feet” Sturgeons. In order to not waste such good design a humbler new life was found for them, as land based target tugs. The long-nosed TT.2 was the main production model.

Contra-rotating Rotol props in those RR Merlin 140 engines and a performance to match. Some tug.

Bellanca CH-400 Skyrocket: Men and their Toys (XII).

Famous film actor and Oscar winner Wallace Beery and one of his favourite aircraft. Beery held a transport pilot license and he was also a Lieutenant Commander in the US. Navy Reserve.
The six-seat  Skyrocket was, with the CH-200 and -300,  just another descendant of the seminal Bellanca WB-2. The CH-400 main characteristic was its iconic 420-450hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine; the -200 and 300 used Wrights, .. usually.

Bellanca’s airfoil shapes struts, Townend Ring, Hamilton-Standard prop and the Wasp. A jewel.

Macchi M.C.205V Veltro: Potenza e Forza…. Tedesca.

With the M.C. 205V the Italian industry, at last, produced a really effective fighter. Curiously, the Veltro (greyhound) was a stopgap solution that mated a powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605 German engine to the already efficient Macchi M.C. 202 airframe. The DB 605 gave the Veltro performances equal to the enemy fighters, but its main improvement was in the armament area. The main production models had the usual nose-mounted 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT and also a pair German 20mm MG 151 cannons in the wings. That armament gave the Veltro a substantial “punch”, ending the usual Italian fighter’s weakness. Regrettably, the Veltri came too late -the chaotic Italian aircraft industry didn’t help either- to be really significant. Only a bunch were built, yet they gave its pilots a real tool for fighting. The Veltro story continued well after the end of WW2 – it was that good.

The main features of this gorgeous fighter clearly depicted here in all its splendour.

Dixon Sky Cicle: Ahead of his years.

The incredible Cromwell Dixon (1892-1911) was as a precocious inventor and mechanical marvel. In 1904 – remember he had 12 years then- Cromwell attended the St. Louis World’s Fair where he discovered the works of balloon pioneer Thomas Baldwin. The young maverick was madly bitten by the aviation bug and he started to gather al the aviation info available. The next step was to design and built its own dirigible. His dreams became reality in 1907 when the Fifteen-year-old Dixon reached the skies with his “Sky Cycle”: a real man-powered cycle of the sky. Dixon spend the next 3 years exhibiting his “Sky Cycle” around until his interests began to turn from dirigibles to aeroplanes. When Cromwell received his pilot’s license in 1911 he was the youngest pilot in the world. Sadly, he couldn’t enjoy it too much; Dixon died the same year of his license while performing in an air exhibition at Spokane, Washington.

Another young but superbly prepared kid: Charles F. Ritchel.