Sud-Ouest SO.6000 Triton: La Résurgence, peu à peu.

This head of mine. I have almost forgotten that 70 years ago France entered the jet age. It was in November 11, 1946 when the pretty SO.6000.01 Triton made its first tentative flight at the Orléans-Bricy aerodrome. The Triton was conceived in secrecy by Lucien Servanty under the Germans’ noses. Designed more by intuition than with up-to-date knowledge, the SO.6000 was a really singular aircraft. For instance, it had a generous fuselage in order to accommodate a yet undecided jet engine of unknown size. In the end, the first prototype employed a liberated Junkers Jumo 109-004 engine -the rest of the prototypes used the bulkier, more powerful and safer Rolls-Royce Nene.
From a definitely modest flight of 10 minutes and a maximum of 300 km/h to nowadays Rafale….., quite a journey.

Appeared both around the same time, a Nene-engined Tritons (with interim flush side-intakes) sharing the limelight here with one of the just two Panhard et Levassor Dynavia cars built. Both two just prototypes, but France sure showed promise.

Boeing 377-10-26 Stratocruiser: Times of Abundance.

Stunning photo of Pan American’s Stratocruiser. It wears the original overall natural metal finish with simple cheat-lines first employed by the company 377’s. The Stratocruiser was designed to be flown by a crew of five (pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator and radio operator) plus an observer, if necessary. A very crowed flight deck, they even had their own toilet facilities (!).

Then & Now.

Curtiss C-46F Commando: Resting Places (VII).

On April 30th 1964, while carrying race horses this Commando suffered and engine failure and had to make an emergency landing on the half dried lake “Laguna Brava” in Argentina. The crew and passengers (4-2, respectively) were rescued two days later. The horses, regrettably, draw the short straw in the bargain. The C-46 was in fairly good condition, but the high altitude (4271 m) posed serious recovery problems: it was scrapped in place. What you see here is what remains after more than 50 years in that harsh environment.

Is it just me or this Commando looks like an animal’s skeleton in a fantasy movie?

Aichi E13A: Classical beauties at easy.

The also named “Navy Type Zero Reconnaissance Seaplane” was, by its sheer numbers (around 1,400 built), the most important floatplane of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during WW2. Both efficient and highly elegant, the E13A’s served wherever the IJN had interests and even saw some postwar service with the aircraft-starved French Aéronautique Navale in Indochine.

“Jakes” seaplanes of the 902 Kokutai. A beautiful image of a rare quality from a Japanese wartime photo. Their Mitsubishi Kinsei’s with the cowl flaps fully open and the no-nonsense Hamilton Standard CS 16-derived variable-pitch propeller. Love the details.

Curtiss B-2 Condor: Los Cóndores pasan.

The B-2 Condor bomber was a development of the Martin NBS-1, the aircraft it was intended to replace. First flown in 1927 and faced against the Keystone XB-1, the Curtiss entry proved to be the superior aircraft. Sadly, though its qualities were superior to the competitors, the higher cost of the Condor limited its production to a mere dozen (plus the prototype).

Assigned to 11th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group at Rockwell Field (California), this flight of four Condors completed cross-country flight to Atlantic City, NJ…precisely the city they are flying over in this magnificent in-flight photo.

(U.S. Air Force photo)

Caribou, Mirage III’s & Hueys: Martiality in shorts.

Neatly smart Royal Australian AF presentation at RAAF Butterworth,… well, if you could be smart wearing those long socks. Canadian, American and French aircraft. By the time this photo was taken, the Australian usual British influence was already vanishing -military traditions and wardrobe apart.

Fashion tastes could be deceitful, always flamboyant the Aussies, really flamboyant.

Bücker Bü 131A Jungmann: ….or fräulein.

Superb portrait of Luise Hoffmann, the first woman works pilot in Germany. An outstanding pilot, Hoffmann made the first flight of the magnificent Bü 133 Jungmeister in 1935. Sadly, she died that same year. The biplane in this photo is the seminal Bü 131 (her D-EGSY), the best basic training aircraft of its era, by very far. In the words of one of the world’s leading aerobatic pilots, the late Neil Williams: “Nothing flies better than a Bücker Bü 131.”

Photo: Hans Schalle.