EE Lightning F.6 & Jaguar E-Type: Albion’s Finest.

In 2011 the just plain lovely Jaguar E-Type and the simply awesome Lightning were brought together by the Classic & Sports Car magazine in order to celebrate Jag & Lightning’s half-century anniversaries. British both to the “bone”, the E-type was launched in the spring of 1961 predated a few month earlier by the Lightning’s service debut with the 74 Sqn.
This pic was taken in one of Bruntingthorpe’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) sheds. There a group of die-hard Lightning enthusiasts mantained in fully functional and “taxiable” condition a pair of these gorgeous brutes.

Uglier Jaguars.

Vickers Viking IB & Sikorsky S-51: Humble Wings (II).

A further example of the poor state of the one proud British aviation industry:
–The Viking was Vickers’ answer to postwar immediate needs of short-haul airlines to supplement -with an increased payload- the ubiquitous DC-3. In essence, a sad collage of obsolete bombers parts (Wellignton’s wings and Warwick’s tail feathers) plus a new stressed-skin fuselage and superb Bristol Hercules engines. With the product coming from the other side of the Atlantic, the end product was obsolete at first sight. Anyway, The Vicking in its various improved variants sold quite decently and gave good service. One also make some noise.
–The Westland case is different but, in a way, even saddest. The company centered its business in the new and promising rotary-wing field and to do so by license-built American “Sikorskys”. The pair of S-51 depicted here were part of the six Sikorsky-built S-51s that formed part of that license agreement. The S-51 was developed and built by Westland under the Dragonfly name. From these “humiliating” beginnings Westland flourished later building further “Sikorsky’s” and also their own homegrown products.

A splendid photo anyway. Humble Wings indeed. 


Douglas Bader: “Rather Good, Old Boy”.

Have just finished to “re-read” this sincere book. Written by Laddie Lucas -another great air fighter himself-,this is not an orthodox autobiography; Lucas didn’t even try to account all the events and detail usually found in this kind of literature- he didn’t even give Bader’s number of air victories. What this book successfully explains is what make Bader “tick”; his motivations, ways, panache, etc. Of real interests, of course, is the “Big Wings” controversy as seen by Bader and his “gang” …quite refreshing.
Mind you, the end product if definitely biassed -the author easily confesses his unmitigated admiration to Bader- yet it nevertheless doesn’t turn to be the usually ghastly hagiography.

The Hutchinson first edition of the book has also a serious plus; this splendid Cuthbert Orde’s portrait in its cover front panel.

Klemm L.20: “Look Ma…..,No Hands !!”

In 1926,after having worked previously for such important German companies as the Zeppelin and the Daimler Aircraft Companies, Dr. Hanns Klemm established his own business to pursuit his elegant ideas about how light aircraft should be built. The L.20 was Klemm’s second product; a better engineered and built evolution of its previous L.15. Powered usually by a 20hp Daimler engine designed by Ferdinand Porsche (yep,that Porsche), more than 100 of this mainly wooden efficient aircraft were built.
Some of them saw bizarre uses, but this ought be the weirdest. Interwar famous aerial acrobat Fritz Schindler showing his skills -staged here, I think. The Klemm was usually piloted by Richard Perlia.

Photo: General Photographic Agency/Getty Images.

Convair XPB5Y-1 Tradewind: Boys & Their Toys.

The early 50s Tradewing was the last (barely) useful four-engined flying boat employed by the U.S.Navy. Originally designed as fast flying boat that was suitable for various tasks like submarine hunting, mine laying and offensive patrol missions – a sort of successor for the fantastic Catalina and the “unacknowledged” four-engine Coronado flying boats. The end product suffered both for its problematic Allison T-40 turboprop engines/propellers and specially because at time the Navy prefered landplanes. A few operational models -R3Y-1 & 2- were built nevertheless, they found use as assault transports and air-to-air tankers.

Convair played safe and cheap during the Tradewind’s early tests. They employed this 1/8 radio-controlled scale flying XPB5Y-1 model seen here at the Lindbergh Field. The model was powered by four 2 hp two-stroke engines.

Photo: Consolidated Vultee.