Northrop TAB: Pretty it wasn’t.

The hideous looking TAB (Truck-Airplane-Boat) from Northrop Corp (Hawthorne, California) of the mid-1960s was designed in answer to a US. Army “Swiss Army Knife” aircraft desires. A convertible artifact to be powered by the ubiquitous PT6 turboprop engine, Northop dedicated a lot of effort in search of a sort of winged “Holly Grail”….and all for nothing.

Hawker Hurricane: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Two things are more than evident in this portrait of Air Marshal Arthur Barratt: first, with that chest full of “gongs” he was an outstanding fellow and second, his stupendous RAF sobriquet “Ugly” was certainly deserved.

Air Marshal Barratt and his way of locomotion during WW2. He is wearing an early Type C helmet with Mk.VII goggles -with the anti-glare screen removed, as usual. “Ugly” sure had flare.

Photo: IWM.

Apollo (ILC) A7L Spacesuit: “Moon Hoax.”

Stretching the truth. Yeah, Mercury astronaut John Glenn selected Tang for its 1962 orbital flight. It was also used during some Gemini flights (Aldrin said recently he hated it), but by the time the Apollo missions started it was no longer in the astronauts’ menu. The Apollo crews drank indeed artificially orange-flavored ( other fruits also) drinks, but those was made specifically by NASA.

Neat publicity, from another era.

Boeing 247D: Men and their toys (XI).

Mildenhall, 19th October 1934. The famous Colonel Roscoe Turner took his Boeing 247D “Warner Bros. Comet” to England to take part in the now mythical MacRobertson Trophy Air Race (he came 3rd). Always in search of publicity, Turner is here showing his wife a model of his aircraft.

Just wondering what/who was his greatest love….

Photo by R. Wesley/Fox Photos/Getty Images.

General Aircraft ST-18 Croydon: Tea for two…

Form & Function with class, the utter elegance of the ST-18 cockpit. This twin-engined cabin monoplane of 1936 was a further development of the “Monospar” formula so thoroughly undertaken by the General Aircraft Ltd during the 1930s. Bigger than its ancestors, the also called “Croydon”, didn’t attract any interest. The prototype met its end on October 1936 while attempting a Australia to England record,  “crash landed” in a coral reef with no lost of life.