Firestone XR-9B: Unlucky tadpole.

At the end of WW2 the emergence and possibilities of the practical helicopter were evident. Many aircraft companies, both big and tiny, saw a potential boom in vertical flight area and tried hard to achieve a large piece of that cake. The Model 45 design was Firestone Aircraft Company pretender. Conceived originally by G & A Aircraft during late WW2, this pod and boom helicopter follow the classic lines of the Sikorsky S-51 …, with a lot less success. Only two variants of the 45 were produced: a side by side seat civilian one and this tandem seat military example.

Cute enough to me.

Potez 63: 80 years ago.

A view of the “Palais de l’Air” hall at the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques Appliqués à la Vie Moderne, Paris. This stunning display was designed by Robert and Sonia Delaunay. Huge hangar-like scenario; aircraft engines on pedestals all around and those incredible aluminum rings -a sort nuclear structure- encircling the then promising Potez 63.

By the way, neither the Loire-Nieuport  (S.N.A.C.O) 161 at the right nor the Hanriot H.220 at the left went anywhere. Some clairvoyance here.

MD-160 “Lun-Class” Ekranoplan: Resting Places (XI).

Weird scenes inside the USSR. The MD-160 Lun (Harrier in Russian) was an ekranoplan launched in the early 1980’s. With a load capacity of 91 metric tons, its main mission was anti-ship warfare. For that purpose the Lun mounted on its back six P-270 Moskit (SS-N-22 Sunburn) missiles. This massive aircraft ended as the only one of its kind, since the fall of the USSR and the budget cuts forced the program to be suspended in the middle 1990’s. Powered by eight Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofans, placed on its forward canards, the Lun was the fastest ekranoplan of its time with a maximum speed of 550 km/h. It surely wasn’t the prettiest…in conventional ways.

The unique MD-160 built rotting nicely in Kaspiysk, Russia. Look at the complexity of its bow lines. Trident included.

Convair B-58 Hustler: Bitch, Please !!

In fact, the B-58’s form of pre-recorded female voice warning system provided by Nortronics Division of Northrop Corporation was recorded by actress and singer Joan Elms, not by Gina Drazin. The crew referred to that voice as “Sexy Sally” or as “The (Old) Bitch”…. since she always brought bad tidings.

Photo taken from the July 1962 issue “Popular Science”.

Sukhoi Jet Engine Powered Aircraft: We must begin somewhere.

This was Pavel Sukhoi’s OKB first attempt into the jet aircraft design. Conceived as a purely research aircraft in late 1942, this dandy artifact had an annular intake scoop placed the fuselage just behind its teardrop-shaped cockpit capsule. The nose section would have housed both the cockpit and a fuel tank, and was to be attached to the larger diameter central fuselage by four pylons. The central fuselage was to contain the “half-step” composite jet engine: a classic air-cooled engine -with an oil cooler- driving a pair of co-axial propellers was employed to supply compressed air to a sort of jet engine’s fuel injection/combustion chamber placed in the tapered tube. Complex enough?. The project never left the drawing board.

Very Soviet style artist’s impression of the subject. It could have been really something.