Fiat C.R.32: The ultimate price.

Brilliant, yet inaccurate, drawing depicting the death of Sergente pilota Marcello De Salvia  over Albania, 1941. He was shot down in combat with the British just after he took down himself an enemy fighter. De Salvia unit (354ª Squadriglia, 24º Gruppo) employed both the C.R.42 and the G.50 at that time but not, what appears to be here, the ancient C.R.32. In fact, he was killed while flying a G.50 monoplane.

Mikoyan MiG-31: The shadow of the Russian past is a long one.

The MiG-31 was designed by the the Mikoyan design bureau as a MiG-25 replacement. It shared with its forebear the astonishing performances plus a vastly improved detection and weaponry systems. MiG-31’s production ended long ago (1994), but its services are well-valued by the Russian AF. While waiting for its future replacement -whose development has just began- its capacities have been keep up to date with various upgrades.
The bare bone carcass of the MiG-31 being refurbished/upgraded at its birthplace, the Sokol plant, Nizhny Novgorod. …under cosmonaut’s peering eyes.

Photo: Marina Lystseva.

Consolidated B-24H Liberator: Citizen Soldier’s Armor.

An aircrew of the 455th Bombardment Group, 743rd Bomb Squadron (15th AF) standing in front of the B-24H Liberator “TePee Time Gal” at San Giovanni Airfield (Foggia), Italy, 1944-45.
He -according to some sources it’s Major David G. Bellemere- is wearing a sample of typical late-WW2 USAAF bomber clothing. Of interest are the M-1 or M-2 armor vest (the later used by “armor-seated” crews), M-3 armor apron and M-3 flak helmet -that helmet was worn over an A-11 helmet, B-8 goggles and A-14 oxygen mask. Our friend shows his healthy individualism with those neat 1940 Pattern RAF boots.
The Americans, as usual, always overkill with any kind of gear. Better safe than sorry.

Photo: USAAF.

Sikorsky S-38 (Replica): “The Explorer’s Air Yacht.”

The 8-9 passengers S-38 amphibian was the first commercial success of Igor Sikorsky’s company. First flown in 1928 and introduced into service the same year, this clumsy looking sesquiplane yet utterly trusty aircraft was employed by the iconic Pan American airways, wealthy private owners and the US. military services.

This magnificent S-38 is a replica of Martin and Osa Johnson’s zebra striped “Osa’s Ark” flying yacht which made -with a S-39- a number of famous expedition flights over Africa in the early 1930’s. The Johnson’s captured the public imagination through films and books of adventure in exotic lands.

Projekt Schwimmweste: Desperation is the mother of invention.

The Projekt Schwimmweste (swim vest) was conceived to allow a modified V2 rocket to reach the North American continent. The missile was to be transported to a short distance off the shore in a submersible container (codenamed Prüfstand XII) towed by the also innovative Type XXI submarine. The V2 container has a trim system to bring it to vertical for launch.
This project only materialised in 4 or 5 containers -only one according to other sources- built and tested by the Vulkanwerft at Stettin. By early-1945 the promising prospects of the startling A9/A10 two-stage rocket were more “realistic”.

Artwork: Justo Miranda.

Fairey Battle: “Debattled” Dreams.

This now octogenarian single-engine light bomber was, from its very beginning, never really liked or wanted by some members of Royal Air Force. In fact, they even expressed their serious doubts during the testing period. Forced to operate them, the realities of war soon enough proved they’re bloody right. Painfully slow, short-legged and miserably vulnerable -a wonderful medal-enabler…. if you want to die in the process. They’re also a very costly way of wasting around 2,000+ perfectly efficient RR Merlin engines.

“Dec 15 , 1939” … just a few months away to put a tragic end to this idyllic reverie.

Dassault Mystère IVA: Ouvre la bouche, ferme les yeux….

The very neat Mystère IVA nose profile. The era of blunt-nosed jet fighters. In this kind of early jets the nose air-intake was bifurcated in order to provide living space to place the, then, inevitable pilot.

The French Mystère IVA showed some sophistication and some lovely tidiness. On the “bifurcation” from above to below: the cinémitrailleuse Facine,  the Derveaux type 148’s antenne de télémétrie and the tiny hole of the prise de pression totale. Life was then pretty uncomplicated.