Soyuz spacecraft: It’s freezing in here !!

The Soyuz training “boilerplate” descent module in its element at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Wilderness Survival is part of any Soyuz’s cosmo/astro-naut training. The Soyuz “capsules” land, literally, in some quite weather-drastic areas and their crews must be prepared for any eventuality.

Boy, not surprised if I see a bunch stalactites inside my flat.

Piasecki CH-21C: Banana G.I. Joes.

The CH-21C Shawnee was the US. Army troop carrying variant of a design originally conceived by Piasecki as an Arctic rescue helicopter for the USAF.  This tandem rotor design, Piasecki’s speciality, had also that peculiar shape which gave Piasecki’s choppers the sobriquet “Flying Bananas”.  First flown in 1952, these robust piston-engined helicopters saw service with quite a few countries in various roles, both military an civilian. They were trusty assets, but still lacked sophistication and light and powerful turbine engines.

Superb -as usual- LIFE magazine photo of South Vietnam Army (ARVN) soldiers ready to board some US. Army “Bananas”. Yeah, I know, no American G.I. Joes here. Hey, I could not resist the word game with Bud Spencer’s movie.

Heinkel He 114B-1: Modest yet valuable.

The elegant He 114 was a maritime reconnaissance sesquiplane aircraft conceived by Heinkel as a private venture around 1936. In 1937 a He 114 development model competed unsuccessfully against the Arado Ar 196 as a replacement for the Heinkel He 60. Despite that setback, the Luftwaffe ordered a few as, mainly, training aircraft. The type was phased out of service in the early war years, but not before performing discreet but very valuable actions, especially in the Black Sea.

Heinkel also seldom failed to export a usually small quantities of their pre-war aircraft they constructed. One of their users was Sweden which took a batch of 14 of the B-1 export model. A pair of them here in glorious color.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress: Flights of Fancy (III).

The other day thinking about the now two airworthy B-29’s all the sudden I remembered a childhood all-favorite of mine, Disney’s 1980 “The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark” movie. The Superfortress featured in the flying sequences was “Fertile Myrtle” (45-21787 / BuNo 84029). A famous aircraft, “Fertile Myrtle”, was employed from 1951 to 1956 by the US Navy/NACA to launch the iconic Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. Owned nowadays by Kermit Weeks, its nose is currently on display in the International Sport Aviation Museum (Lakeland, Florida). The rest of the aircraft is stored. As an aside, four other B-29’s wrecks were acquired also from the China Lake Naval Weapons Center for diverse non-flying duties in the movie.

The movie is utterly naive, but in a good sense. Pure nostalgia.

Sud Aviation Caravelle III: The rounding of a triangle.

The truly distinctive “rounded off” triangular passenger windows of the iconic Caravelle. The idea behind this peculiar design was that aircraft passengers generally look down most of the time from the cabin windows. So why not give them only what they want? Not a question of stinginess: the reduced area of metal removed from the fuselage to accommodate the window aided in preserving the strength of the pressurised body….., shades of the DH Comet disaster.

A SAS Caravelle from an idem, I guess.