Cornu Helicopter: Paul et Antoinette.

Cornu Helicopter: Paul et Antoinette

The Cornu was the first aircraft capable of free vertical flight. Designed and built by bicycle-maker (another one!!) Paul Cornu, this tandem contra-rotating rotors “Flying Bicycle” achieved -barely- that historical feat in 1907.
The glory was brief. After some more hops and trials Cornu came to the conclusion that his designs suffered serious control problems and that linked with his lack of funds ended his contribution to aviation.

In this photo Paul Cornu and his Helicopter’s Antoinette engine up close and personal.

Tupolev Tu-119: Enough Madness.

Tupolev Tu-119: Enough Madness.

As the Americans, the Russians were taken by the nuclear fever of the 1950s. All could be nuclear powered back then, submarines,ships,cars….and yeah, aircraft too.
The first Russian step was a Tupolev Tu-95 (the LAL) equipped with a nuclear reactor (functional, but that did not a power plant of the plane) used to test reactor operation and crew radiation hazards. The positive results of that test program encouraged the Tupolev Bureau to propose the “logical” next step: The Tu-119, a test aircraft powered by two Kuznetsov “direct( read dirty)-cycle” nuclear turboprops.
In the end the project came to nothing -gladly, I guess-, because the lost of interest in the matter by the eternal enemy, radiation risks, and the wondrous costs.

In this drawing we can observe the basic construction details of the Tu-119. A reactor in the fuselage (as in the Tu-95LAL) connected to the two inner “direct-cycle” NK-14As engines.

Convair Super Hustler: Going in Circles.

Convair Super Hustler: Going in Circles.

A Convair’s proposal to the USAF for a high performance parasite (or ground launched) bomber-recon aircraft. This Super Hustler study (here were others) was composed of two parts: a manned one at the front with a ramjet engine and a rear winged booster (bomb-equipped in the bomber version) powered by two ramjets. Ironically the Super Hustler’s proposed mothership was the Convair Hustler, an evolution of a very similar parasite bomber concept.
This project derived into the even more complex and secret FISH.

L.F.G. Roland D.II “Haifisch”: Not only Fokker & Albatros.

L.F.G Roland D.II

The Haifisch was built using a formula similar to the used with the successful Roland C.II. The typical German construction ways and very “sharky” lines (Haifisch=Shark) are evident in this fast and sturdy fighter. In service the Roland D.II and IIa weren’t nevertheless too loved by their crews due to the heaviness of their controls…., something that you don’t definitely want on a fighter.

Notice that only one man is holding up its tail.

Wittemann-Lewis NBL-1 “Barling Bomber”: Great Dream.

Wittemann-Lewis NBL-1 “Barling Bomber”:  Great Dream.

This enormous thing was one of the many venues explored by the omnipresent Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell to prove his theories about the use of airpower in the interwar period. A failed one. The Barling Bomber turned out to be an unsuccessful bomber, being both underpowered and just too big. Mitchell’s detractors called it the “Mitchell’s Folly”. The NBL-1 had anyway quite advanced features and all wasn’t wasted. It was used in various record attempts with some success.

Lovely sepia photo.

Boeing Vertol 107-II: The Groovy Sixties.

Boeing Vertol 107-II: The Groovy Sixties.

One of the iconic New York Airways’ 107-II giving a Ford Mustang “rotary wings” (a Pegasus, maybe?) at the Big Apple in some sort of publicity Stunt.
Interestingly this very 107-II, and all the other surviving New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107s, are owned by Columbia Helicopters, a company that has purchased the Type certificate of the Model 107.