Bernard HV 40: Le brillant chaos.

Another Chef d’oeuvre of the great Jean Liron. The Bernard company, under its various incarnations, was a somehow minor French aviation company of the interwar period. Technically stunning and financially inept, Bernard produced a bunch of iconic record aircraft and a few, very few, other beautiful designs. Liron took us to that time and space with plenty of wit and a lot of knowledge, as I’ve said before the bible about the subject.
Incredible artwork of the Bernard HV 40. The Collection DOCAVIA of Éditions Larivière not only published some of the best references about French aviation, they also did it with panache.
The “very Bernard” HV 40 was designed as a trainer for 1929 Schneider Coupe unsuccessful French team. Being a Bernard -and part of that chaotic French Schneider ‘s late effort- it only made its first flight in the summer of 1931 -there’re some doubts about its performance. When flown it proved to be both easy to handle and “agreeable”. Time lost…, again; as in 1929, no French machine took part in the final Schneider.

Artist: Paul Lengellé.

North American Aviation SST’s: Men and their toys (IV).

In the 1960s the arrival of the supersonic transport (SST) was seen as a logical conclusion. That urge concretized in the development and construction of two supersonic airliners: the Anglo-French Concorde and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144. The Americans?, well, as usual, they thought “bigger” and bolder. Sadly, the American SST program due to technical and political problems suffered a protracted development until cancelled in the early 1970’s.

In this poor quality pic -sorry-, a representative of the iconic NAA company showing their 1963-64 proposals. Stunning designs; remember they had the XB-70 Valkyrie in their stables. To no avail, NAA was soon eliminated in favor of both Lockheed and Boeing.

Romeyko-Gurko Akula: “Fly At Own Risk”.

Unbelievable Soviet racing aircraft “dreamed” in the late 1930s. A creation of Daniel A. Romeyko-Gurko, this stunning artifact was quite orthodox in its basic definition; a fixed landing gear low-wing cantilever monoplane powered by a 220hp MV-6 in-line engine. It was its daring shape what took it apart. Conveniently named the Akula (Shark), its shows in all their splendor some of the physical qualities of its marine namesake: a menacing mouth (propeller spinner and engine air intake); dorsal fin (that incredible cockpit canopy) and highly-swept vertical surfaces and the nice touch of those pectoral fins… wheels spats
Regrettably, because it never left the drawing board, the Akula never reached its estimated maximum speed of 400km/h (249mph). A sheer pity.

Loring R-III: All too Spanish.

One of the very few good things about Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship (1923-30) was its promotion of the development of the local industries. The R-III was a successful exponent of that policy. Designed by the engineer Eduardo Barrón from his previous R-I, this neat two-seat reconnaissance/light attack sesquiplane was powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Hb. First flown in 1926, the R-III competed against that French best-seller, the Potez 25, in an Aeronáutica Militar contest. Both proved quite similar in performance so, naturally, the local product was ordered. A total of 110 units were built; Loring’s most produced design. Entering service in 1929, the R-III’s were retired in 1935. A very short career indeed.
National pride apart, the R-III’s clear “Fokker`s pedigree” is evident in this elegant aircraft. Seen here flying over the humble Loring factory. The state of Spanish aviation industry of that era is plainly evident in this lovely pic.

Photo: Archivo Histórico del Ejército del Aire.

Spirit of America I: “Once as a jet it played in the stars….”

Ok, it’s not an aircraft, but this seminal jet record “car” looked the part. In the early 1960s “So-Cal” hotrodder Craig Breedlove took with his creation a huge step forward in land speed records. More an aircraft than a car, Spirit of America made its creator the first man to achieve 400 mph (640 km/h) during a land speed record set in Sept, 1963.

Gorgeous rear end, in fact a surplus GE J47 jet engine of a F-86 Sabre. Photo taken from the classic book of Cyril Posthumus: “Land Speed Record”.

It’s a very hot summer my friends, at least here in Spain:

“….but now on the ground it’s the king of our cars”.

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress: Sittin’ on the top of the world.

T/Sgt. Benedict “Benny” Borostowski (401st Bomb Sq, 91st BG), the ball turret gunner of Capt. Oscar D. O’Neil’s B-17F “Invasion 2nd” testing -posing’ with- his Sperry turret. “Benny” was one of the earlier members of the “Mighty Eighth”, the ones who paid the heaviest price -he was luckier than most and ended as a prisioner of war (POW) on 17th of April 1943.

Photo: National Archives and Record Administration, College Park, Mariland.

My very desirable “Summer Spl” re-visit.

Also published as “Master of the sky”, this jewel is not one of the zillionth average books about the Mighty. Both readable and indispensable; Miller sure hits the proverbial Pickle Barrel here….and without the Norden. To read and re-read. By the way, it wins with the re-read, I assure you.

Avro Vulcan B.2: Not virginal, at all.

Ground crews installing a neatly packed brake chute in an also neat and tidy Vulcan B.2. Gorgeous that white pre-1963 anti-nuclear livery and flash markings. The XL425 was built as a Blue Steel missile launcher and delivered to 83 Sqn at Scampton (August 1962), maybe the place where this alluring pic was taken.