Messerschmitt Bf 109B-1: Ace of Spades.

Messerschmitt Bf 109B-1: Ace of Spades.

This B-1, flown by Feldwebel Otto Polenz, was captured in Dec 1937 at the Spanish Guerra Civil. Being a quite advanced design it was tested in Spain by a French commission (the great “Kostia” Rozanoff flew it) and later sent to Soviet Union in Feb, 1938. The B-1 was evaluated by the NII VVS (Russia Air Force research institute) where it was flown among others by another great: Stepan P. Suprun.

As we can see here not only the Spitfire & Hurricane used those lovely spade grips, in this case the KG 11 grip model.

Dornier J Wal: Two fatties….

Dornier J Wal: Two fatties....

The tandem engine configuration really had something. This Gnome-et-Rhône Jupiter radial-engined Wal (D-862 “Sägefisch”) was certainly a very purposeful looking design.
By the way, according to some sources the figure in this photo is Hermann Göring. Yep, that Göring. I’m not so 100% sure.

APH-5 flight helmet: Lovingly out of place.

APH-5 flight helmet: Lovely out of place.

Really beautiful drawing of a very confident “space pilot”. He wears a capstans equipped partial pressure suit (David Clark’s type) and uses a US. Navy APH-5 flight helmet/ MS22001 oxygen mask combination. Let’s hope his spaceship will not suffer a catastrophic loss of pressure; he would be doomed wearing that outfit.

Artwork by Fred Freeman.

Heinkel He 51: ¡La Rueda de los Valientes!

Heinkel He 51: ¡ La Rueda de los Valientes !

With the Arado Ar 65, the He 51 was one of the first fighters in the nascent Luftwaffe in 1935. The He 51 was a neat design, a quite conventional sesquiplane that lent a honorable -if discreet- service until well into WW2.
In the Spanish Civil War the He 51 soon showed its dated design as a fighter against the Russian I-15 and I-16. It soon was switched to ground attack roles serving with distinction specially in the famous and dangerous “Cadenas” (Chains) attack way.

Lovely post-Civil War pic of some Spanish 51s. One of the them wears the Grupo de Cadenas 2-G-2 pretty badge and another displays the postwar Spanish roundel.

The Wheel of the Braves!

Republic XF-84H Thunderscreech: Loud & Clear.

Republic XF-84H Thunderscreech: Loud & Clear.

The intention of the USAF with this modified F-84 testbed was to put in practice what the Air Force, Hamilton-Standard and Curtiss-Wright have been working in supersonic propellers. Those companies though that a XT40 turbo jet engine with the right propeller would allow an aeroplane to operate in high transonic or even low supersonic-regime and it appeared also to offer a solution to the limited range of the early jet fighters.
Now the catch. The Thunderscreech was probably the loudest of all aeroplanes; it could be heard from around 40 km away. Earning the sobriquet “Mighty Ear Banger”. Even worst, its supersonic propeller generated shock waves of such magnitude that disrupted airport operations and even produced material damage. This aeroplane was also quite notorious for inducing really awful nausea and headaches among ground crews. All in all, a neat aircraft to operate.

Anyway, it had one of the best looking nose-prop jobs in my humble opinion.