Nieuport 11 Bébé: Don’t mess with Les Aviateurs.

Nieuport 11 Bébé: Don't mess with Les Aviateurs.

This was the aviators’ answer to what they  perceived as a military command provocation: they had been ordered to march on foot in the 1919 Victory parade. The great ace Jean Navarre was the original choice, sadly he died during a practice flight. So Charles Godefroy did it.

Tupolev ANT-20 “Maksim Gorkii”: Red Wings over the Red Square.

The flagship of the newly formed Propaganda Squadron, this colossal eight-engined aircraft was built using money raised in a nation wise appeal for funds. The ANT-20 was not only a magnificent example of megalomania, it was also a awesome display of technical expertise. Let’s recount:  it had a normal accommodation for eight crew and seventy-two passengers; it was thoroughly equipped with “voice in the sky” loudspeakers; bulbs in the wing underside to display slogans; a printing press; four radio stations; pharmacy; laundry,….., you name it.
First flown in 1934, the ANT-20 enjoyed a very brief service life which ended next year in a tragic accident when a escorting I-5 attempted an unauthorized loop around its wing.

To show its size the “Maksim Gorkii” was, as in this case, often escorted by small aircraft like this pair of Polikarpov I-5s.

Goodyear ZP2N/ZPG-2: Sedate long distance flyers.

Goodyear ZP2N/ZPG-2: Sedate long distance flyers.

Lovely aerial view photo of the Naval Air Station (NAS), South Weymouth (Mass.) taken in the middle 1950s.
In the background towers “Hangar One”, the magnificent steel blimp hangar sadly demolished in 1966 to be replaced by a more prosaic and smaller concrete one.
These blimps were part the so-called “N-series”. These very aesthetically pleasing ships’ big endurance capacities were amply demonstrated when one set  a  non-refuelling record flight of 200 hours(!) in 1954.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I: In B & W.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I: In B & W

This curious black and white underside colour scheme was employed by RAF fighters from 1938 up until June 1940. The idea behind this livery was to aid in the rapid identification of RAF aircraft by the Observer Air Corps and, specially, the anti-aircraft artillery.

The unadulterated beauty of the Mk.I model captured here by John Diggs.

Armstrong Whitworth A.W.38 Whitley Mk.III: Laying some Red Berets.

Armstrong Whitworth A.W.38 Whitley Mk.III: Layin' some Red Berets

Hard to adore the Whitley with its evident ugliness and peculiar nose-down flight attitude, yet it did its job magnificently. You can’t ask for more. Obsolete when at the beginning of WW2, the Whitley scored nevertheless two notable “firsts”: the first to bomb Germany and Italy. During the rest of the war they continued to do their duty honestly not only as a bombers, but as maritime recon, transports, glider tugs and -as we see here- as paratrooper trainers.

Photo taken at Ringway, the home of the No.1 Parachute Training School, 1941. The former tail turret position really came in handy here.