Vought V-173: The Delicious Pancake.

Vought V-173: The Delicious Pancake

The V-173  was the proof of concept aircraft built to validate the future Vought XF5U “Flying Flapjack” fighter, the radical brainchild of noted aeronautical engineer Charles Zimmerman. A flying saucer before its time, the Flying Pancake showed remarkable low-speed capabilities and promised high maneuverability. Sadly, the “Flying Flapjack” fighter project was cancelled just after the end of WWII.

Those wooden blades.

Robert Esnault-Pelterie: The forgotten Innovator.

Robert Esnault-Pelterie: The forgotten Innovator.

We owe Robert Esnault-Pelterie:
– All-metal airframes
– Cantilever (internally braced) wings
– Radial air-cooled engines.
– Stick control system
– Tandem-wheel landing gear.
– and ailerons (patented by Matthew Piers Watt Boulton though).

Space travel interested him too; both writing and experimenting (he lost 3 finger during an explosion) and was even an advocate of nuclear energy in that area.
Obviously he deserves more acknowledgement.

In this photo Esnault-Pelterie’s peculiar 1909 REP No 2bis.

Planet Satellite: Aircraft on the Rocks.

 Planet Satellite: Aircraft on the Rocks

The jewel was designed just after the end of WWII to be the epitome of new technologies and looks in light aircraft construction. The Satellite was the brainchild of Major J.N. Dundas Heenan in partnership with….. the Gordon Gin and Black Label Whiskey makers. The magnesium-built Satellite had a pretty streamlined fuselage, amidships DH Gipsy Queen engine which powered a pusher aircrew. To complete its lovely package a “butterfly” tail and a neat retractable tricycle undercarriage situated in a reinforced keel.
All very promising but the Satellite only made two flights before cancellation. One hop that lightly damaged its undercarriage and a second in which during a quite mild landing the supposed reinforced keel was cracked by the force of the landing. That was the end of the story for it. The fuselage was later used in the Firth FH.01/4 Atlantic.

Hispano Aviación HA-1112-M1L:”Buchustang”.

A few of the Buchones dressed up to play as P-51 Mustangs in the classic “Patton” filmed in Spain. In the end they weren’t used in that movie due to some airworthiness bureaucratic problems. But not before the great Perico Santacruz and Colonel Fernando de Artega flew two of them from Biarritz to Barajas without any problems or ill effect due to their fake air scoops….., they were returned to UK by truck.

Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi: Low-cost suicide.

Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi: Low-cost suicide.

Easy to built, maintain and fly and above all expendable were the objetives of this Shimbu (suicide) aircraft. Designed to be built by semi-skilled labour using steel, wood and tin, the Tsurugi had the ability to accept any radial engine of 800Hp to 1300hp and was equipped only with simple and crude instruments. The production models were to be fitted with two solid-fuel rockets to boost its speed during the terminal attack dive.
The flight trials revealed poor ground handling and questionable flying characteristics. Modifications delayed somewhat its posible combat debut yet Nakajima could produce Nakajima 104 before the end of the war. None of them, thankfully, were used in anger.

Hispano Aviación HA-1112 M1L Buchón: At war, again.

Hispano Aviación l HA-1112 M1L Buchón: At war again

An aircraft already old since its conception, the Buchón was the result of the mating of Bf 109G airframes with RR Merlin 500/45 power eggs. Their operational life in Spanish service was quite limited with the arrival of American material at the middle of the 1950s. But that material aid had a catch: it couldn’t be used in colonial affairs. The tribal problems in the Ifni colony in 1958 and its air power needs produced one of those very weird situation: “Messers”, Junkers and Heinkels at a real war in 1958!!
In this photo one of them “bebiendo agua” (drinkin’ water) on a very dry place, Gando (Canary islands) around 1963.

Photo: Gando Air Base Archives.