Henschel Hs 123: The Unreachable.

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The Hs 123 was, in fact, a “Stuka” before the Stuka. This portly looking biplane was conceived to compete in a 1933 dive bomber requirement. Sturdy and dependable, the Hs 123 first saw service in the Spanish Guerra Civil where it soon proved its capabilities. After that, they continued to soldier even if other more modern platforms were available.  So good they were that their archaic configuration didn’t deter them from intensive use during WW2. In fact, the relatively modest number produced served well and hard into 1944…., when they’re retired due to spare parts shortage. Almost irreplaceable.

Lovely drawing in this 1937 Henschel’s ad. Photo Source.

Chu CJC-3A: Chu-Chu-Chu !!!

This is the second experimental helicopter designed by the Chinese Major-General Chu, to be built and the first one built in Formosa (Taiwan) after the Communists total occupation of mainland China. Powered by a 190 hp Lycoming engine, this tiny tandem rotor CJC-3 began its tests in 1952 and was a more ambitious effort influenced by Piasecki‘s technology. Only one prototype was built; the CJC-3A designation was given to it when upgraded in 1956.

Maybe not pretty, but neat anyway.

Heinkel He 116: こんばんは !!!

The very little known Heinkel He 116 was originally conceived in 1936 to be an ultra long-range mail plane intended to deliver airmail between Germany and Japan. Heinkel wisely chose to create a derivative of their classic He 70. Sadly, problems with the intended power plants stopped somehow the full potential of the scheme. That apart, the aircraft was basically sound. In total, 14 were produced; some for its intended role and a bunch specially developed for long-range recon military purposes. Not a world-shattering success in the end, but it wasn’t its fault.

Lovely Japanese publicity poster. Japan bought a pair of them. Arrived to Japan in April 1938, they’re operated by the Manchuria Aviation Company.

Douglas AD-4N Skyraider: Two times the charm.

A pair of deliciously restored Skyraiders wearing the stunning livery of the US. Navy Attack Squadron 176 (VA-176) “Thunderbolts”. They sure looked the part, but the VA-176 didn’t operate this three-seat variant; they used the later AD-6 (A-1H) single seater. By the way, one of them piloted by LTJG  W. T. Patton became the last of the two “MiG killer” Skyraiders when he shot down, with the SPAD’s  4 x 20 mm battery, a North Vietnamese MiG-17 jet fighter on Oct. 9, 1966.

Such a brutish elegance.

Stanley Aviation “escape capsule”: The good old days of above & beyond.

How the incredible Hustler‘s escape capsule works. As we see in this “time capsule” GIF, in case of an emergency a protective clamshell would enclose the whole seat, the control stick included in case of the pilot. “Turted up” in such way the pilot could still continue to fly the Hustler or in case of a more dire situation undertake an immediate egress. The capsule would float and even be used as a life raft.

The “pilot” wears an Aviators Equipment Corporation MB-3 helmet with a MS22001 oxygen mask. That peculiar “soft” helmet with its detachable bill was used by the Strategic Air Command in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s for crew positions not requiring the use of a rigid helmet. The Hustler, with its escape capsule, was ideal. Hardware porn, my friends.

Ikarus Kurir: The Storch’s very long shadow.

The kurir (Courier) was a two/three-seat light cabin monoplane designed in the middle 1950’s to meet a Yugoslav Army requirement for an aircraft suitable for liaison, army observation and ambulance. All that with Short take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. Its designers didn’t have too look very far to find inspiration. The Kurir is in fact a sort of scaled-down Fieseler Storch, but of all metal construction. Like the Fi-156, these neat little things turned out to be quite handy and beloved. The around 145 built served efficiently with the Yugoslav Peoples Army until 1972 when they’re replaced by helicopters. After that, the military released them to civilian aeroclubs where they were used mainly as glider-tugs.

A standard production DM-6R powered Kurir all down and dirty, just like another little stork.

Loire 70: Tous les goûts sont dans la nature.

Developed during the early 1930’s to fulfil a 1932 Aéronavale long-range maritime reconnaissance flying boat requirement, the little known Loire 70 couldn’t be more French. A real tour de force: squarish, with a very “nautical”  flight deck, draggy with its three definitive 500 hp  Gnome et Rhône 9Kbr  pylon-mounted (two tractors and a pusher, bien sûre), …. well, utterly lovely in a bizarre way. Four long years passed from its first flight in 1933 until the very handful (just seven production aircraft plus the prototype) entered service due to technical problems and initial low powered engines. They saw peace & war service in the Mediterranean with Escadrille E.7 until the early summer of 1940, when the Italian destroyed the bulk of those still in service in an air raid.

Anyway, a beast with character, maybe even charisma. Another superb head on view; it must be the day.