Henschel Hs 123: The Unreachable.

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.

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Chu CJC-3A: Chu-Chu-Chu !!!

This is the second experimental helicopter designed by the Chinese Major-General Chu, 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.