Northrop A-17A (NACA): Too good to be true.

Northrop A-17A (NACA): Too good to be true.

The radial engines main drawback have always been it greatest frontal area and the drag that it produced. With this already obsolete A-17A NACA (NASA’s forerunner) tested in the early 1940s various ideas to improve the cooling and the aerodynamic drag of radial engines. At first they tried a front cooling blower which proved really suited for the task. After that successful test they became bolder and installed the cooling blower in the back of the engine fed by these two wing root air intakes. To streamline it they installed this lovely bulbous spinner. It proved to be a failure, overheating so badly on the ground it seems it was never flight test in this configuration.

Photo: U.S. Air Force.

Grumman Goose: Cutter’s.

Grumman Goose: Cutter's.

Just re-visiting the “Tales of the Gold Monkey” TV series. I was enthralled when I saw it as a child and thirty years latter and with a (very) little more wisdom I’ve found it just awesome. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a joke anyway, specially its questionable historical scenario. Yet there are some “Tarzanesque” stories and nice characters, including a funny dog actor……and one of my first true aviation loves: the Goose.

Sopwith Triplane (Replica): Tri’s Double Success

Sopwith Triplane (Replica): Tri's Double Success

Curious how this lovely contraction built and operated -very effectively- in relatively moderate numbers created in the enemy such a “Triplane Craze”. A design which won both in battle and provoking the enemy to waste their meagre resources. The Germans fell in love with the multiplane formula and entered in mad spiral producing in the process a huge number of dead-end designs and an overrated icon: the Fokker Triplane.