Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde: Açò es mel de romer!!

Tonight is “la Plantá” here in Valencia, the first official day of the Fallas. Not a particular fan of these fiestas -to the “non-fallero” Valencians the Fallas could be quite insufferable-, but from time to time you can enjoy real pieces of art like this one. This British Airways Concorde duplicate was the main theme of the Plaça de l’Ajuntament (País Valencià then) falla of 1981.

Artist: Vicente Luna.


Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress: Cheyenne!!

Incredibly stunning view the pair of stings in the rear end of a late B-17G. This improved tail turret, the so-called “Cheyenne” tail turret, was developed by the United Air Lines’ modification center at Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I do prefer the older one, but…

Cañete HACR Pirata: All too Spanish (III).

Antonio Cañete Heredia was a Spanish military pilot and engineer who in the early 1920s designed and built a successful glider flying boat, the Gaviota (Gull). Emboldened by the experience took the logical next step. His Pirata (Pirate) or “Hidro Antonio Cañete de Reconocimiento” (HACR) was conceived as a military recon parasol wing, single-engined flying boat. Due to the crude state of metallurgy industry in Spain, Cañete was forced to use galvanised iron in the main structure; wood and fabric was employed in the rest.
Powered by a locally built 450 hp Elizalde-Lorraine, the Pirata made its maiden flight in the summer of 1927 with its designer on board as an observer. During its tests the Pirata proved to be a sound design, but it was not to be. Lack of money -the usual Spanish curse- or the already available Dornier Wal sealed its possible future. Only this prototype was built.

It was undeniably a slick effort.

Spiral Air-Orbital Plane (VOS): 2nd to none.

Designed by a Mikoyan OKB-155 design team headed by Gleb Evgeniyevich Lozino-Lozinskiy, the Spiral (aerospace system) was a Soviet project created as a military orbital spaceplane in response to the American Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar. Ironically by the time the design was started (1965) the American project was already cancelled so after four years it was also stopped….to be initiated in the middle 1970s as a possible answer to the Space Shuttle. The project reached the hardware state with sub-scale orbital test models and a manned test vehicle to explore low-speed behavior, the MiG-105.

To no avail, in the end the Spiral was cancelled when the Soviet authorities decided to follow closely the American Space Shuttle concept. The Buran project was the result.

This clever GIF gives us an idea of its audacious configuration. The Spiral spaceplane with its attached  liquid fuel booster stage seats atop hypersonic jet mothership designed by the Tupolev OKB. That reusable mothership acted as the complex’s first stage which launched Spiral and its booster at high altitude.

Douglas A3D-2 Skywarrior: Jonah abides.

Superb portrait of a HATRON Four (VAH-4) “Whale” pilot. He seems quite happy and contented with the A3D lack of ejection seats; the bizarre round shape behind his seat is the seat headrest. At the right we can observe the Bombardier/Navigator’s console.
Our aviator looks certainly smart in his orange international flight suit. Nothing garish in his natty late version APH-5 flying helmet with MS22001 oxygen mask either.

Hughes H-1 Racer (Replica): “The cure for pain is in the pain.”

The original H-1 was designed by Richard Palmer by order of Howard Hughes who wanted a record-beating aircraft. Built in 1935 without regard to costs, the Racer was a thing of beauty both aesthetically and technically. With Hughes at its controls it fulfilled its task magnificently setting a world airspeed record and a transcontinental speed record across continental US. To achieve those divergent exploits the same aircraft employed two different set of wings. The H-1 had also the rare honour of being the last private owned/built aircraft to hold an absolute air speed record. The H-1 resided nowadays proudly at the National Air and Space Museum.

The beauty portrayed here is Jim Wright’s built full-scale replica originally intended to be used in the film “The Aviator.” First flown in 2002, Wright sadly didn’t enjoyed it too much; he died tragically in the crash that destroyed it the summer of 2003.