Boeing 737’s, Pilatus Astras & NAA Harvards: Whales and their Remoras.

Nice pair of South African Cargo Boeing 737-200F’s, one of them with two NAA Harvards and the other with the South African AF Silver Falcons’ Pilatus PC-7 Mk.II Astras. Flaps & Slats down and the nose quite up…..those 737’s are cutting things magnificently thin,
City of Durban Airshow 2009.
These kind of formation flights are quite usual in South African aviation meets….they sure have flair down there.

Willows airship no. 5: Too Good to be True….Maybe.


The no.5 was the last non-rigid airship made by the Welsh airship pioneer Ernest Thomson Willows. Built in 1913 No.5 was his biggest airship, a four-seater -in a way too cool gondola- designed to give joy-rides over London. It had time also to do some espectacular stunts,….or we have here just a nice piece of ancient photoshop?.

That train sure went quite slow – no.5 maximum speed was 38 mph.

More Trains & Airships:

Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3: That Dangerous Canary.

Built by the US Navy’s Naval Aircraft Factory (Philadelphia), the N3N “Canary” was indeed a rare aircraft in the ultra “free enterprise” America. These completely conventional primary training biplanes were built as both landplane and floatplanes. First flown in 1936 these lovely biplanes served faithfully in their role for a long long time, in fact a US Naval Academy’s “Canary” was the last biplane operated by any of the US military services.
Its bland “Canary” name apart the N3N gained in service the more sombre yet hilarious “Yellow Peril” for obvious reasons.

Pretty portrait. A female mechanic takin’ care of the Wright R-760 engine on a US Navy N3N-3 floatplane, Oct. 1942.

E.P. Sverchkov’s “Samoljot”: The ” Flyin’ ” Lawnmower.

Curious “cyclogiro” designed and built in St.Petersburg around 1909. Powered by a 10hp Bushe engine, the lift was supposedly to be generated by the movement of its 12 concave “wings” in a way similar to the old paddle steamships. The artefact also had an disposable undercarriage and a single rudder. Despite being well-built, it won a medal in a 1909 St.Petersburg Exposition, the “Samoljot” proved to be a not-flyer.

Harvest Times!!

Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant: Clay-Legged Colossus.

The Me 321 was Messerschmitt’s winner of Luftwaffe heavy assault transport glider requirement of 1940 -the British invasion was in their minds. The design was basicaly successful aircraft yet cursed by the lack of suitable tow aircraft -the bizarre He 111Z’s came too late and were too few. Employed in the Russian campaign -not in assault operations though- the Gigant gliders proved to be seriously contrived by the already mentioned unsuitable tow aircraft and the lack of flexibilty of the basic concept. Powered variants were built, the Me 323, they proved to be eminently more valuable assets but too vulnerable: underpowered,lumbering and slow.

Fantastic and revelatory action photo taken during one of Gigant’s test flights. The main fault of the Gigant is painfully evident here; its Junkers Ju 90 tow aircraft can’t handle the heavy load by itself so the Me 321 needs the help of those two very smokey Walter liquid-fueled RATO (rocket assisted take-off) pods.

The loser: