Fokker S.14 Machtrainer: Always hard the first time.

The Dutch resumed their aviation activities after the dark WW2 days with a vengeance. Their S.14 Machtrainer was, in fact, the first purpose-built jet trainer to see the light. The origins of this sadly quite forgotten aircraft was in fact in Britain. The Rolls-Royce wanted to take a piece of the lucrative postwar jets aircraft market, and specially they wanted something where to put their engines to compete with the then flourishing de Havilland jet engines. After trying in the UK they approached the Fokker company with a possible RR Derwent-powered jet trainer concept. The Fokker found the idea agreeable and their S.14 became just that. First flown in 1951, this superb aircraft was aggressively marketed, but proved to be just too big and, above all, way too expensive for its role. Only 21 in total were produced and those  saw service mainly with the Dutch AF.

Superb photo of the original prototype, long “spear” pitot tube included. Gladly, the K-1 (PH-XIV) is among the three surviving S-14’s. It resides nowadays at a museum in the Lelystad Airport.

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Fokker Dr.I: Walkin’ the Tri.

Superb action photo of a Fokker Triplane of the Jasta 27 taken at Halluin-Ost near Flanders, May 1918. The Dr.I was already an obsolescent design by then, yet still very useful in good hands. Those ground crewmen aided in guiding the fighter during its cumbersome ground running prior to take-off.

By the way, at that time the Jasta 27 Staffelführer was a guy called Hermann Göring.

P-47D & Fw 190A: Just too good to be true.

The famous and controversial story lived by the then 2nd Lt. Robert S. Johnson (a 27 victories Ace) of the 56th FG on June 26, 1943. Johnson’s unit (61th Sqn) was caught that day “dreaming” and bounced by approximately the same number of Fw 190’s. In the process Johnson’s “Jug” was shot up so badly that it took fire (he was also wounded) and went into a wild spin. Thanks that spin, gladly, the engine fire went out. During his lonely and sobering trip back (he was trapped in the cockpit) he said he encountered another “190” which, according to him, after he’d emptied his remaining rounds flew alongside him escorting him to the English Channel, saluted him and then turned away.

The author of this magnificent painting  has chosen to represented the scene as claimed by, among others, noted aviation author Barrett Tillman.  This historian identified the German pilot as the III./JG 2 Kommandeur Egon Mayer, a superb 102 victories ace. Anyway, it seem quite unlikely, Mayer’s unit III./JG 2 was stationed to far away for this action that day, and the story could possibly be -as some thought then- just a product of Bob Johnson shock and excitement. Who knows…

Artist: Jim Laurier (“Not my turn to die”).

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3a: Neutrality Enabler.

Splendid portrait of a Swiss “Emil” pilot. Our hero wears a mix of local and German flight gear. German are his  LKp W 100 flight helmet with that nicely strapped 10-69 oxygen mask helmet and what seems to be “Auer” type goggles, or something similar. Of note the lack of canopy rearward armour and, barely seen, one peculiarity of the Swiss “Emils”: they’re equipped with a KG 11 spade grip instead of the usual pistol grip of that model.

All in all a very neatly dressed guy.

LWS-6 Żubr: Hideous though and though.

The Polish Żubr (Bison) is one of the -if not “THE”- ugliest conventional aircraft ever built. Conceived in the early 1930’s as a passenger aircraft for the national LOT company, this design was soon redirected to more warlike roles after that company decided to acquire the Douglas DC-2 – smart guys. The Polish AF was not totally sure about their very advanced Łoś and saw in the pedestrian Żubr a sort of safety net. First flown in 1936 as the PZL.30, these bombers were in fact produced by a state concern: the LWS of Lublin. About his service life…well, ugliness was not his main defect: obsolete, painfully slow, almost worthless bomb load, poorly defended, structurally dubious, with puerile system defects…, the least said the better. Only 17 in total were built, thankfully, and they saw service mainly as a trainers.

This photo was taken after the end of the Poland defeat. A conqueror wondering why the Polish did build something as horrible as that. The Germans captured several LWS-6 and curiously gave them a second opportunity also as trainers, the Russian also used their captured LWS-6.  The wheels are bathed in engine oil…., maybe those 700hp Bristol Pegasus VIII’s were crying; such a waste of good engines.