de Havilland DH.86 Express: Pandora’s Box.

de Havilland DH.86 Express: Pandora's Box.

This utterly elegant airliner was a bigger derivative of the successful DH Dragon. Built in the second part of the 1930s, the four-engined Expresses had a turbulent live punctuated by crashes and acute design and estructural problems. If that was not enough, technically they were already obsolete from the cradle -the Americans were clearly ahead.

Very “colonial” poster of a QANTAS example (VH-USC). The bad showing of the DH.86’s down under opened the door to the American aviation invasion in that very Commonwealth arena.

General Airborne Transport XCG-16: Silent Marvel.

General Airborne Transport XCG-16: Silent Marvel.

The outstanding XCG-16 was built to cover a assault cargo glider USAAF requeriment. Its configuration was based in Vicent Burnelli’s classic “flying wing” configuration. Highly unconventional, to prove the concept a sub-scale model was built first -it showed promising results. Sadly, tragedy stuck the next step when the full-scale test vehicle (MC-1) crashed during a test flight in September 1943. The project continued anyway with three more gliders produced, one them for static tests. During their trials the XCG-16s displayed some a nice flying qualities, but  also serious operational defects. In the end the contract was cancelled.


One of XCG-16 more stunning features were their leading edge clamshell doors. Totally smashing they were.

de Havilland Comet 1: Over the Top of the World, for a moment.

de Havilland Comet 1: Over the Top of the World....for a moment.

The ultra elegant Comet was the first operational jet airliner, and like almost all pioneers it paid the price. After some serious accidents and mysterious crashes (due to pressurisation structural problems) BOAC and DH decided to ground the fleet to undertake a thorough analysis. Regrettably, by the time the Comet went back into serious service the Americans have taken the lead.

Very descriptive brochure.

Lippisch DM.1: Daddy Cool.

Lippish DM.1: Daddy Cool.

Dr Alexander Lippisch holding its greatest (maybe) contribution to flight, the Delta wing. The DM.1 was a proof-of-concept glider intended to test the soundness of a posible delta winged interceptors, specially Lippisch’s powdered coal fueled (!!) ramjet-engined P.13a. At the end of the war the almost completed prototype was captured by the Americans. “Flight” tested in the NACA full-sise wing tunnel it proved to be everything Lippish had claimed…..after a lot of modifications. Lippisch also came to the US and with his help a whole family of Deltas soon appeared at the Convair company’s stables.

Herr Doktor looks just dandy in this postwar pic.

Halberstadt D.I: Never judge a book by its cover.

Halberstadt D.I: Never judge a book by its cover.

Designed taken as a basis their household B.II aircraft, the early Halberstadt fighters (D.I, II and III) were the first biplane fighters that took over the place of the Fokker Eindeckers in 1916. Flimsy looking, but strong and efficient, these neat fighter were sadly overshadowed by the infinitely more famous Albatros D-types. They deserve more recognition.
This sharp photo depicted the second D.I prototype in all its esplendor. Clearly evident in front of it Argus engine (Mercedes according to other sources) is the “car type” radiator and close to it the gun synchronizer device for the MG 08 machine gun. Its propeller is sure a work of art.

Photo: Peter M. Grosz’s collection.