Dassault Mirage IIIC: ¡¡BRAVÍSIMO!!

Nope, not an illegal imitation. The Spanish Bruguera publishing company bought in 1968 the rights of “Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure” among other Franco-Belgian cartoons and they used their “Revista Juvenil Bravo” magazine to distribute them in Spain. As an aside, the Spanish Ejército del Aire (AF) bought later the real deal.

The artist of this very decent cover was Edmond (Edmond Fernández Ripoll). A few of these old “tebeos” were, gladly, still at hand when I was a kid. Happy times.

Sikorsky XSS-2: Winner of my heart (V).

The neat contraction took part on 1933 in an US. Navy competition for a carrier-borne and/or catapult-launched amphibian scout aircraft. As originally designed the XSS-1 was to be powered by a P&W R-985, but early on due to that engine lack of power the design was altered to employ a P&W R-1340-D1 instead. Renamed XSS-2, it made its first flight on the spring 1933. Obvious handling problems were soon discovered and the US. Navy sent the XSS-2 back to Sikorsky for modifications. No longer interested in their own design, Sikorsky declined the offer and the prototype was scrapped before the end of 1933.

With a neat foldable gull-wing and my beloved pylon-mounted engine nacelle configuration.

Junkers Ju 13: HI…HI…HI..

Добролёт (Dobrolet) was a Soviet air transport organization constituted in 1923 and which operated through the 1920s Not only an airline/mail service, Dobrolet also carried cargo and undertook ancillary community work in both Russia and the huge Soviet Central Asia. In 1930 Dobrolet story ended to give way to Aeroflot. Curiously the name “Dobrolet” has been twice reused: by a cargo company and by an Aeroflot’s low cost airline, both defunct now.

Soviet Constructivism poster jewel. Thanks to the Treaty of Rapallo of 1922 a Junkers factory was built in Moscow’s Fili suburb. The F13s produced there were designated Ju 13s in the USSR.

Descamps 27: Pregnant, not embarrassing.

This clean, but somehow chubby biplane took part in the French single-seat fighter competition which took place just after the end of WW1 (1919). Powered by a superlatively cowled 300hp Hispano-Suiza 8Fb, the Descamps lacked the finesse of the wartime SPADs though. The main peculiarity of this aircraft was its biplane configuration of a straight rectangular upper wing plus a negative-swept lower one. The reason for the latter seems to be to improve the pilot’s downwards visibility.
In the contest, against other fighter prototypes, the Descamps 27 prove to have good qualities, but in the end the cake was taken by the Nieuport 29. Only the prototype was produced.

Mikoyan-Gurevich KSK: The Lil’ MiG-15.

Known also as the Izdeliye K, the KSK manned version of the KS-1 “Komet” anti-shipping cruise missile conceived to speed up the development of the missile. It’s not coincidence the sort of cute “Lil’ MiG-15” looks of this testbed keeping in mind the use of their MiG-15 shape and configuration by Mikoyan-Gurevich Bureau in the design of their missile. Four examples were produced. Powered by a RD-500 turbojet (a RR Derwent copy), the KSK was launched from a Tu-4KS. The tests flights, both manned and unmanned, took place in the 1951/52 period. Further testing was completed with real KS-1s.

The size of its cockpit gives us a good idea of how tiny this lovely little gem was.

Kaman K-16B: Not at full tilt.

Converted from a classic Grumman Goose, the experimental Kaman K-16B was conceived as a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) test aircraft. The basic fuselage and tail of the amphibian was matted to a new tilting wing (just 50º of tilt) and a pair of GE YT58 turboprop engines. This contraction was created by the “mainly helicopter” company Kaman Aircraft for the US Navy in 1959 as a fast approach to explore the tiltwing VTOL concept.

Spellbinding photo of the K-16B at the NASA Ames huge wind tunnel. It was the nearest it came to a “flight”. The K-16B underwent extensive wind tunnel there. Some tethered tests were undertaken, but the aircraft remained unflown by the time the project was cancelled in 1962.

Airspeed AS.5 Courier: The Retractor.

The pretty-looking Courier was a six-seat light taxi/airliner designed by one of the founders of the humble Airspeed company, Hessell Tiltman, in the early 1930s. The first prototype which flew for the first time on the Spring of 1933, was especially built for Alan Cobham. He employed it in a unsuccessful non-stop flight to India using Cobham’s air-to-air refuelling expertise.
All in all, only sixteen of these cute little things were produced. They endured quite chequered lives, gun-running fiasco to Spain and being seconded into the RAF during WW2 included.

Gorgeous drawing in this ad published at the Aeroplane magazine (Jan 10th, 1934 issue). The “retractor” undercarriage was a first in British aviation.