Boeing 377-10-26 Stratocruiser: Just Cruisin’.

Boeing 377-10-26 Stratocruiser: Just Cruisin'.

Magnificent, almost untrue, photo of taken in 1951 at Queens, the then Idlewild Airport, now the JFK. Pan Am’s 377 Clipper Morning Star/Polynesia was crossing one of the highway overpass characteristics of that airport.
Those gents took their time to park and savour the moment….other times.

FMA I.Ae 38 Naranjero: Fancy some Oranges?

FMA I.Ae 38 Naranjero: Fancy some Oranges?

The Naranjero (orange carrier) was a flying wing cargo aircraft designed by the great Reimar Horten in Argentina. Horten had emigrated to Argentina after WW2 and he continued to produce stunning flying wing designs there in a more humble way. The idea behind this aircraft, it seems, came in the early 1950′s when the Ministro del Aire (Air Minister) Gral. Ojeda proposed to R.Horten the design of a cargo glider to take oranges from a remote place -the minister’s home, in fact- to Buenos Aires. Reimar evolved that idea into a mixed construction four-piston engined low operating costs flying wing (of course) aircraft. The I.Ae 38 suffered a protracted development and did no fly until 1960 due to technical problems and the usual lack of money and direction in the Argentina of that era. In the end only one prototype was made; there were cheaper and more available aircraft.

Magnificent front view of the I.Ae 38, its name was certainly unromanric ….. its shape sure wasn’t.

SNECMA C.450-01 Coléoptère: No Compromises Ring.

SNECMA C.450-01 Coléoptère:  No Compromises Ring.

Following tests with the barebones C400, the next step was to build a “real aircraft”. Clearly and unequivocally employing German knowledge (von Zborowski), the C.450-01 Coléoptère (Beetle) was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VOL) aircraft with posible future interceptor applications. This stunning annular-wing artifact only made nine flights and in the last one (Jul. 1959) it crashed; the test pilot Auguste Morel was gravely injured. Unstable and dangerous, the accident report claimed that its configuration and systems weren’t at fault….. yet the program was cancelled.

Relatively rare rear end photo. Evident here are its annular wing, household Atar jet engine, small winglets and “kiddy cart” landing gear wheels. It was an incredible aircraft.

Myasishchev VM-T Atlant: The Primordial Titan (II).

Myasishchev VM-T Atlant: The Primordial Titan (II).

Really nice pic of the Atlant, first carrier for both the Buran shuttle and the Energiya booster. Now a museum piece, the Atlant has the “Egg” on his back; Payload 3GT -the “Egg”- is the nose and tail transport fairings of the Energiya’s fuel tank joined together.

About the Atlant:

Pyotr N. Nesterov: Total Determination.

Pyotr N. Nesterov: Total Determination.

Nesterov was a man of hyperboles. Pilot, designer of aircrafts and one of the first -or the first- acrobat; he was the first pilot to perform a loop (1913). An early theorist of military aviation,he advocated for the need of teaching of air maneuvers to militay pilots. When WW1 started he became -in Aug. 1914- the first pilot to shot down an enemy aircraft; an Albatros B.II…. he tried to shoot it down with a pistol, but it proved insuficent so he “charged” with his Morane Saulnier G. Both aircrafts went down with no survivors.
Nesterov set a precedent with his dire action: this kind of attack became idyosincratic for the Russian/Soviet fighter pilots, the famous “Taran” attack.

Gruesome, and not very realistic, artist interpretation of Nesterov’s deed.

Hugh Robinson’s R-13: The Lucky Number.

Hugh Robinson's R-13: The Lucky Number.

This little sport biplane was designed by H.Robinson in 1917, then plant superintendent at the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company. The R-13 was a very handsome biplane (seen here with his Daddy) that had its fuselage placed between the wings and was powered by a 4-cylinder engine. Robinson has been a pilot in the famed Curtiss Exhibition flights -during those early dangerous times- and he crashed A LOT. He survived more of less unharmed, according to him, because he used number “13” in his aircrafts as a good luck charm. The start of the war meant the end of futher development of the R-13. It was destroyed in an accident with no fatalities…. the 13 worked.

Photo: Tom Heitzman.

Bristol M.1C: So much for the Prejudices…

Bristol M.1C: So much for the Prejudices...

The M.1 will always be remembered as such a waste of a evidently good fighter. Conceived in 1916 by the great Frank Barnwell this neat monoplane was victim of its configuration; there was a certain hostility agaisnt the monoplane after a prewar Bristol-Coanda crash. Alluding to its high landing speed the authorities didn’t allow the M.1’s deployement to France. They lost, the M.1’s were employed in the Middle East, the Balkans and at home (in training duties) without any complains.
After the war six were sent to Chile as part payment for 2 warships built for Chile but commandered during the War by the Almiralty. As depicted in this lovely canvas, one of them piloted by the Lt. Godoy made the first flight across the Andes (Santiago-Mendoza,Argentina and back) in Dec 1918.

Artist: Enrique Flores.