Mitsubishi Ki-51: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

The Ki-51 was one of the trustier Imperial Japanese Army AF light/attack bomber during WW2. Of very classic -too classic, maybe- “Japanese” configuration these planes proved to be quite vulnerable, slow yet very maneuverable. Curiously the Ki-51 is one of the very few Japanese aircraft which underwent few modifications during its service life span. They undertook their missions with the typical Japanese stoicism. Operated all around, but specially in the China-Burma-India theatre, they proved efficient and quite adapted to rough operational conditions.

Good enough.

Etrich-Rumpler Taube: Dove of War.

Etrich-Rumpler Taube: Dove of War

Designed by the Austrian Igor Etrich and first flown in 1910 the Taube (Dove) was manufactured by around 14 different companies. At the beginning of the Great War it became the epitome of Central Power aviation. The war showed early on its limitations and the Taubes were soon removed from front line service and relegated to training new pilots.
Curiously its wing shape wasn’t designed with the dove wing in mind,it was really an interpretation of the Alsomitra (Zanonia) macrocarpa seed shape.

Focke-Wulf Ta 152H-1 vs B-17G: High above the Vaterland.

Focke-Wulf Ta 152H-1 vs B-17G: High above the Vaterland.

Kurt Tank’s Ta 152H was the last and the best expression of the Fw 190 family. Designed as a high altitude interceptor, this stylish aircraft proved to be a redoubtable fighter in the hands of a good “jagflieger”. Regrettably for Germany both pilots Ta 152’s were scarce at the end of WW2.

“Nine Grün” was flown by a really good Jagflieger though, Willy Reschke, an ace and Ritterkreuzträger (Knight Cross holder) of the JG 301. In this awesome drawing Reschke is depicted bringing down a “Viermot” (four-engined aircraft), his speciality: 20 of his 27 victories were heavy bombers.

Douglas DC-6: Lira Maker.

Douglas DC-6: Lira Maker

Born just after the end of WW2, the long defunct LAI airline was the first Italian to connect, with DC-6s, Italy with the United States. They couldn’t have chosen a better aircraft to do it.

Wonderfully dynamic poster, there was a time when aircraft sold tickets.

Artist: Fiore Amieto.

Gil-Pazó GP-1: Brother against Brother.

Gil-Pazó GP-1: Brother against Brother.

The GP-1 was the winner of a basic training aircraft competition issued by the Spanish Aeronáutica Militar in the middle 1930s. This honest and agile aircraft was an orthodox no-nonsense monoplane of mainly wooden construction. The basic model were developed later into a pair of cabin model designs. The start of the Spanish Guerra Civil had a serious impact in its production and service life; 100 were ordered but only around 40 were built by the Republicans in Alicante during the conflict. After the war the surviving examples were employed by the winning Nationalist side.
Regrettably, the story of this neat aircraft is the history of the bloody Spanish Civil War. Its designers, Arturo González Gil y Santibáñez and José Pazó found themselves fighting against each other: Gil died leading Loyalist militiamen and Pazó one in the rebel Nationalists side.

Stupendous photo of a civilian example over Catalonia.

Photo: I. Escorsell.

Sokol KV-2 Spacesuit: Classics never go out of style.

Sokol KV-2 Spacesuit: Classics never go out of style.

The elegant Sokol spacesuit was designed to be used only in emergencies (lost of cabin pressure) in the Soyuz spacesuit. As other machinery used by the former USSR in space, these spacesuits are still in operational use, 40 years after they entered service.
In this enthralling  photo NASA astronaut Doug Hurley is undertaken some pressure suit test at the Zvezda facility  in Moscow, March 2011.

Photo: NASA/Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle.