Lioré et Olivier LeO H.242: Paradise at hand.

The H.242 was a 1930’s tandem push-pull four-engined flying boat employed by Air France for their European air routes. In total, just 15 of them were built. Unsung and almost forgotten nowadays maybe, but would’ve been nice to take one of those for some serious leisure time….in a less complicated world.

Superb Air France poster, as usual. Nothing to add.

Arado Ar 95L: Tears me apart.

The gorgeous Ar 95 was a little known German recon/patrol biplane of the late 1930’s. The reason of its “obscurity” was because the German military but decided not to acquire any mainly because, as an biplane, the Ar 95 was already obsolescent design for its very first flight (1937). That apart, not a bad aircraft at any rate. As a plus these Arados were even conceived to be operated as both landplane (Ar 95L) and seaplane (Ar 95W). All in all, a trio of them were combat tested in the Spanish Guerra Civil and only a handful were sold to Chile and Turkey. In the end, they did see some service with the Luftwaffe when the small Turkey’s order was requisitioned at the start of WW2.

An informal photo taken at Chile during the visit of some US. military officers. Not one the best of LIFE magazine photo, but its Kodakchrome colour is just sumptuous and it portrayed the Ar 95L magnificently. Its sheer size, trousered fixed undercarriage and the elegantly cowled BMW 132 engine… ,teardrop-shaped bulges included. It deserved better.

Ryan X-13: Those busy times.

Wonderful nonchalant portrait of Ryan test pilot W.L. “Lou” Everett. “Lou” was, with Ryan Chief Test Pilot Peter Girard, one of the two pilots that flew the radical X-13. He was later involved in testing a few more of the company vertical take-off experimental aircraft. Regrettably, he lost his life during a XV-5 Vertifan flight in 1964.

I love “Lou” Everett’s flight gear patina. That hard working TOPTEX helmet with its “Hardman” receivers for the MBU-3/P oxygen mask and, specially, his really weathered  A-2 jacket.

Boeing XF8B-1: Overly Montainous.

The Americans always seem to have loved overdoing thing a little. Their WW2 fighter were not an exception. The huge “Jug”, the Lightning and even the slick Mustang were a size, at least, above their contemporaries. Well, for the people of Boeing that was not enough. Their long-range carrier borne F8B was, by a large amount, the largest and heaviest single-seat single-engine fighter of its era. Its size has a reason. The F8B was conceived as a multirole aircraft: fighter-interceptor/escort, dive-bomber, torpedo-carrier…you name it, almost.
Powered by an early prototype of the gargantuan -of course- P & W R-4360 Wasp Major, the XF8B-1 took its first flight in Nov, 1944 and soon proved its qualities. Sadly, it was just too late. Only three prototypes were produced before the project was cancelled.

Magnificent photo of the XF8B-1 (BuNo57986)  wearing overall Glossy Sea Blue livery with  the Mount Rainer (Washington) as a background. That mount was/is the usual scenery of Boeing Co. family photos.