Northrop YB-49: Future Glimpse.

Stunning inflight photo of Jack Northrop’s “Magna Opus”. Regrettably, the state of flight control technology of that era was not up to the task…. neither was the USAF.

Armstrong Whitworth A.W.27 Ensign I: Too little, too late.

The magnificent Ensign was the largest land plane built in the prewar days. First flown in 1938 this four-engined, high wing monoplane designed and built specially for Imperial Airways Ltd. As usual, in Bristish large airliners of that era, the Ensign was built in meagre number (only 14). After initial problems the Ensign proved to be decent asset. Its main defect was its lack of performances; it was born underpowered with its Armstrong Siddeley Tigers. Eventually most of them were reengined with the more powerful American Wright Cyclone (Ensign II).
On the outbreak of the war in Sept 1939, they were camouflaged went into RAF service. Later they were operated by BOAC until 1946. Withdraw for service,and with no takers, they were sadly broken up.

Superb Dunlop tyres ad.

Apollo’s LOLA simulator: “Don’t call her Dolores, call her…”

The Lunar Orbit and Let-Down Approach Simulator -“LOLA” to all her friends- was a simulator designed to give an idea of the view the Apollo astronauts would enjoy if they were looking at the lunar surface just prior to establishing moon orbit. Both the instrument board and the “horns” look certainly all too “war-surplus”.

I can’t help it, Concha Piquer’s “No me llames Dolores” song always on my mind when the “Lola” name appears.

Rubik R-18 Kanya: The Lil’ Stork.

Tiny Hungarian general purpose (liaison/tug aircraft) two-seat cabin monoplane designed 1944 by Erno Rubik. First flown 1948 the Kanya was obviously inspired in the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch. It shared with the German the general configuration and a wing with full-span Handley Page slats and large flaps –result: a superb 38 mph minimum speed. The first examples -as this one- were powered by 130hp Walter Major engines, replaced later by Shvetsov M-11 radials.

It sure was cute. CONTACT !!!

SAI KZ VIII: No two without a three.

Gorgeous minuscule single seat aerobatic built in Denmark just after WW2 -first flown in 1949. Originally powered by a 145hp Gypsy Major 10, the KZ VIII is tiny but strong (stressed for 12G) and quite elegant with its “bubble” canopy. Only two were built, and one of them completed only in 1959. All two are still with us, plus a replica.

Tupolev Tu-104A: Double Take.

The Tu-104 was Soviet “fast & dirty” entry into the jet airliner arena. Tupolev employed in their 104 some of the company’s classic Tu-16 bomber; they just designed a new pressurised fuselage and mated it to the Tu-16’s wings, engines, and tail feathers. Noisy, inefficient, cramped, short ranged, well…in summary, not very profitable. Who cares?, they were Communists after all. Prestige above all.
This agressive looking jetliner was the second to enter service (1956), but ironically it became somehow the first to be really successful –the first in service, the Comet, was withdrawn from service after some serious accidents and had to be redesigned.

This Czechoslovakian Tu-104A (OK-NDF) was disguised here as an Alitalia “DC-8-62” to take part in a 1974 or 1975 movie. Curiously they decided to paint “Alitalia” double. Maybe because it looked “more Capitalist” that way.