Lana Airship: Not so Void.

de Lana Airship: Not so Void.

Francesco Lana de Terzi was a sort “Renaissance-Jesuit”: mathematician, naturalist and – what interested us here- aeronautical pioneer. In 1670 Lana published his “Prodromo”, a sort of hotchpotch book of knowledge. In this book his describes this possible airship; a flying ship (literally) that employed four copper hollow spheres which achieved the necessary lift because vacuum was created in their interior. The idea was physically unsung, but Lana was certainly not a fool; he warned that god would not allow this contraction to be built because we humans would have used it to bomb cities……

Certainly charming this Wills’ cigarette card, the 1910 “Aviation” collection.

Lohner L type: One of Porco Rosso’s Foes.

Lohner L type: One of Porco Rosso's Foes.

This Austro-Hungarian Lohner L’s were the result of adding more powerful engines to the basically pre-war E type.Those neat artifacts were very successful in the heavily contended Adriatic Sea skies; the Austrian navy used them as fighters and to bomb ships and land targets.Germany also found them oustanding and built some under licence.

Sharp drawing of this Lohner over his Fleet. Lohners was known by their previous “Pfeil- flieger / Arrow Flyer,” model that used a swept-back biplane wing, the L still displayed that lovely configuration.

Artist: M Pozar

Northrop SF-5A Freedom Fighter: Someone’s Liberty.

Northrop SF-5A Freedom Fighter: Someone's Liberty.

The Northrop F-5 family was ideal from air forces in need of a cheap, basic yet efficient supersonic fighter. Notwithstanding its qualities, the irony of its “Freedom Fighter” moniker has always make me “laugh”. The F-5 was supplied in quantity by the US to his allies against Communism: Iran, South Vietnam, Greece, some South American puppet military dictatorships, Morocco, etc, etc, and Franco’s Spain (where it was built under licence)…., all of them quite “Freedom” free.

Anyway, in this lovely photo a flock of Spanish specimens “sans camo” taking off from their base, Gando (Gran Canaria,Canary Islands),1980.

Breguet-Latécoère XIV: Invaded by the Sand.

The Breguet XIV was another reassuring case of “swords into ploughshares.” Just after the end of The Great War Pierre-Georges Latécoère founded with these trusty aircraft -with Salmsons 2 A2s too- what became Aéropostale, the famous “La Ligne” (The Line) of Mermoz, Guillaumet and Saint-Exupéry among others.

This humble monument is placed next to a museum dedicated to Saint-Ex in Tarfaya (Morocco), a place where he lived and dreamed. So small and close to the beach in that merciless desert…., how appropriate.

Tupolev ANT-2: Soviet Pace.

Tupolev ANT-2: Soviet Pace.

In 1924 Andrei Tupolev seemed to be, with this all-metal ANT-2, still a long way from the giant monsters he designed/supervised later in his life. Well, not in the USSR: his seminal twin-engined ANT-4 flew next year. At first sight this Tupolev’s creation had more than a shade of “Junkers” in its conception. The ANT-2 was a little all-Kolchug (a kind of duralumin alloy) monoplane equipped with a open cockpit and a two-seat cabin. The prototype and five more were built.

It’s a quite cute embryo, in my humble opinion.