Republic P-47D Thunderbolt II: Warmin’ UP !!

Already warm and lively,thanks to the groundcrews, this pilot climbs in to the cockpit of his RAF 30 Sqn’s Thunderbolt Mk.II on the Burmese airfield of Jumchar. This photo emphasizes the Jug’s 8 x.50 Brownings mighty punch, the not very often seen Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propeller and the special South East Asia Command identification marks: white striping on nose, wings and tail surfaces. The British Jugs did a praiseworthy work over those distant lands, sadly not very well-known.

Photo: IWM.

R.A.F B.E.2C: “Did I Do That? (III)”

The B.E.2 series was one the best known aircraft of the Great War; famous or infamously. Designed to be easy to fly inherently stable aircraft, a requirement view as vital for its intended use as recon aircraft. The B.E.2’s proved,at first, more than adecuate for their duties and well-loved by the crews. The advent of the first true fighters -the Fokker Eindekker- changed that; the B.E.2’s soon turned into “easy meat” heated by their crews. Ordered in huge numbers the different B.E.2 models continued to soldier on in first line service well into 1917; it proved to be difficult to change the procurement inertia. They paid dearly. Still in action on the Western Front during the “Bloody April” (1917) they were slaughtered by the Albatri.
According to its quote on Wikipedia: “a French pilot made an emergency landing on private land after a failed attack on German Zeppelin hangars near Brussels, 1915”. I have my serious doubt about this info, for starters: the aircraft is obviously a British R.A.F B.E.2C and early in the war the Royal Flying Corps (RFC)’s B.E.2C’s wore these strangely placed cockades on their tailplane.

Almost unbeliable pic, such a incredible document.

At the other side of the puddle.

Boeing Model 908-909: Winner of my heart.

In the early 1970s Boeing allocated the number 908 to all of its fighter projects. The 908-909 was the second design proposed by Boeing to the USAF’s Lightweight Fighter (LWF) – the first was the bolder 908-618-2. Keeping the former -618-2’s weapons and engine Boeing changed the rest: the “very YF-16” leading edge extensions (LERX) were gone replaced by a slim chine around the nose, the wing was lowered and with no anhedral and the ventral fin became smaller. All in all a more conventional looking design, but with a lot of charm; I’m very partial here, I know.
One of the objectives of the LWF contest was to evaluate different new approaches to the same problem. As I’ve said both the Boeing and the GD YF-16 were quite similar. This neat project was, it seems, the favorite at first to compete against the Northrop YF-17 Cobra, but the YF-16 was cheaper and…well, the rest is history.

Too modern maybe to be here, but I can’t help it. It’s Leloup’s fault.

Macchi M.33: Porco needed less support…

Rare photograph of the 1925 Schneider Trophy taken at Bay Shore Park, Baltimore. The elegant rear end of the M.33 in the foreground. The hangar was shared with the British Gloster IIIA competitor seen in the background. Piloted by Lt Giovanni de Briganti, the M.33 achieved a disappointing 3rd position in that race.

Photo: Michael Gough, Airpower Nov 2005.

Powered only by an old American Curtiss D-12, but what a stunning engine nacelle.


Horten Ho IVa: Some War Surplus.

The Horten Brothers’s aircraft activities during WW2 were truly unconventional…and I’m not only talking about Reimar’s stunning designs. Just imagine; to live in a totalitarian state with limited resources on a total war and nevertheless being able to undertake the building of a definitely “civil” sailpane -The Ho IV is that exploit. Orthodoxly “Horten”, this stunning flying wing sailplane main interest -apart from its slender wing- was its drag-reducing semiprone position pilot cockpit.
Only a handful were built (4). One of them ended in the US (the other went to UK) where its owner contacted the famous German test pilot Rudi Opitz to restore it to its former glory- he was also a superb craftman. Opitz not only did that,he also competed at a pair of sailplane contests. The Ho IVa was later adquired by the Mississippi State College where it was studied intermittently under the direction of Dr. August Raspet until the end of the 50s.

The Ho IVa and a Jeep….the best of both worlds.

Photo: Dezso George-Falvy & Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

IMAM Ro.43: “Nel blu dipinto di blu…”

The main shipborne Italian recon seaplane of the Regia Marina during WW2. Derived from the classic Ro.37 Lince, this orthodox biplane entered service in 1935. Around 105 were built which despite their obvious fine performances, also displayed some serious drawbacks. It was just too flimsy for its own good and had deficient sea-handling behaviour. So severe were those defects that the Ro.43’s after being launched from their ships were, when posible, land recovered where that kind of operations were less delicate. A capital sin for that kind of aircraft. Anyway, by outbreak of war the Ro.43 was definitely obsolete and they did what they could until 1942.

Charming sunrays “camo”.

Amazing propaganda document about Ro.43’s catapult operations. The Romeo looked quite convincing here.