Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-5: “Fly it like you stole it” (III).

Gorgeous overview view of the captured Fw 190A-5 (WkNr.150 051). The Würger wore an US. Navy livery while it was thoroughly tested by the enemy. Such an elegantly functional and no-nonsense design. They were impressed.

Well, the above picture has reminded me to desire you all a…….

Have fun and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Curtiss P-40B/C: Brothers in Testing.

The all-business dressed Curtiss-Wright chief test pilot H. Lloyd Child and his nattier older brother E. Rushmore Child. The latter was an engineer in charge of flight safety. Both are admiring here the purposeful nose of the one of the first production P-40B/C. Photo taken at the Buffalo, Kenmore Avenue Plant, winter 1941.
The “Curtiss Electric Propellers” decal is the icing on the cake. No doubt.

Photo: Dmitri Kessel (LIFE Magazine).

Grumman F-14A Tomcat: Persian Kitties (II).

A rare, and huge, white missile under that left wing. The crafty Iranians reportedly experimented with a number of MIM-23 Hawk land-based missiles (like this one) for carriage on their Tomcats under a program known as “SKY Hawk”. They have also created a sort of local version of the AIM-54 Phoenix, also with MIM-23 components: the Fakour-90. The latter, it seems, is now in production.

Just because I love its camo….., among other things.

Vickers Vespa VII: The Ugly Swan.

The Vespa was a not very commercially successful British “army” biplane of the late 1920’s/early 1930’s. A good honest aircraft, but with its broad/squarish wings and “suspended” fuselage, not a beauty by any means. Looks apart, the Royal Air Force didn’t find it good enough for then, but a tiny numbers of them were acquired by the modest Irish Free State and Bolivia. With the latter it saw action during the Chaco War (1932-35).
The Vespa prototype after a previous iteration as a demonstrator for possible Chinese clients (Vespa VI) was further modified in order to set a world altitude record. The so-called Vespa VII got that record reaching a height of 43,976ft (13,407m) in September 1932.

Superbly clear photo of the record holder with its lovely Bristol Pegasus S, flimsy-looking ring cowling and huge wooden prop.

Boeing 707: Retrofuture was never better.

Designed by Eero Saarinen, the TWA Flight terminal at the JFK airport (New York) was inaugurated in 1962. The horizon seemed limitless for TWA at that time. Regrettably, Howard Hughes’ company no longer exits and this stunning edifice is now prosaically -and shamefully- called the “T5”.

Nicely accompanied here by one of the company “money makers” 707‘s.

Mirage F1CR: 50 Years Young.

The F1 celebrated its half century last December 23; hard to assume that with its slick purposeful shape.

One of the pair of CR’s engaged in reconnaissance operations over Libya that made an emergency landing (low on fuel) at Malta Intl. airport, April 2011. Gorgeous reddish afterbuner flames. The Atar 9K-50, sadly, was/is the Achilles’ heel of the F1: fiable and durable yes, but definitely weak in power.

Photo: Ray Abela.

Northrop BT-1: Almost but not quite.

Hard to imagine this poor-handling and questionable dive bomber was the origin -with more than a bit of “tunning”- of the inmortal Douglas “Slow But Deadly”. The BT was designed by the Northrop Corp., then a part of the Douglas company. Really modern with its all-metal structure, semi-retractable undercarriage, and dive brakes, the U.S. Navy bought with a modest 54 in the middle 1930’s. They saw service in both the USS Yorktown and Enterprise starting in 1938. The type was, as I’ve already noted, not very successful especially near the carriers at low speed where its dubious, even dangerous flight characteristics left a lot to be desired. Gladly its offspring more than compensated its forebear’s weaknesses.

Magnificent Kodachrome LIFE picture of some  BT-1’s of the CV-5 in the quite busy deck of the USS Yorktown, around 1938-39.

Voisin vs. Wright A: Crossing Horns.

The French thought they were the masters of aviation in 1908. All changed when Wilbur Wright and his Flyer came to France. This lovely cardboard lithograph depicts jokingly the joust between the “natives” and the foreigner. At the left pilot (then) Henri Farman sitting atop aircraft designer Gabriel Voisin and at the right Wilbur Wright on the shoulders of his sponsor, inventor and industrialist Lazare Weiller – he and some associates owned the Wright’s rights in France. Wilbur totally destroyed the French ego, yet Weiller lost: his licence-built business was a failure.

Artwork by LUPIN.