Metropolitan & Carvair: Diametrically opposed at first sight.

The two disparate worker bees of this Spanish charter airline during the 1960s. One of the three Metropolitans acquired second-hand which became the first pressurised airlines of the company and one of the two DC-4s converted by Aviation Traders into pedestrian Carvairs by Aviaco’s order.

Neat and clever publicity art in the “AVIÓN” magazine. I find quite irresistible the stylist design chosen for the CV-440 compared with the realistic drawing of the Carvair.

Lockheed C-5B Galaxy: Turnin’ Fifty.

June 30, 1968. The first Galaxy (66-8303) took its maiden flight at Marietta, Georgia. The Galaxy is one of those rare aircraft which can claim it started a new era. The winner of the middle 1960s USAF CX-LHS (Cargo Experimental Heavy Logistics System) requirement, this 100t giant has proven time and time again its superlatives qualities. It was not a rosy road though. The program had to face unexpected aerodynamic drag; overweight problems; wing structure cracks and, last but not least, shameful cost overruns. All those things overcome, the Galaxy is now at fifty healthier and abler than in its younger years.

The largest aircraft at the time of its birth, the Galaxy is still an utterly impressive airplane…, specially compared to that cute Van’s RV-7.

Ikarus IK-2: Labor of love.

The IK-2 was born in curious circumstances. In the late 1920s Royal Yugoslav AF in order to improve the technical knowledge of the indigenous industry send to France a number of young aeronautical engineers. Two of them, Ljubomir Ilić and Kosta Sivčev, went back full of ideas, but found themselves in no position to exploit them. No problem. In 1931 they simply decided to design their dream at their spare time and with their own funds.
By 1933 they were noticed at last by some officials and the project reached the prototype stage with the IK-1. Like the later IK-2, a stunning gull-winged metal monoplane powered by one of those Hispano-Suiza “Moteur Canon” engines. The prototype took its maiden flight in 1935 and proved its potential despite its lost during the third flight due to wing fabric detachment.
Modified with metal-covered wings, the resulting IK-2 was tested successfully starting in 1936. After overcoming some opinion differences rooted on the IK-1’s crash, a dozen production model were ordered. Regrettably by then the various delays in development had caught the design and by 1939, the IK-2 was obsolescent. The dozen saw service in WW2 against the Germans and they conducted themselves quite honorably. Around a third even survived to serve with the pro-German Croatian AF.

Splendidly French-looking (their interwar fighters were quite handsome) and fast for a fixed-undercarriage fighter. An old favorite of mine.

Curtiss A-25A Shrike: One dive too many.

The A-25A Shrike was a land-based variant of the Curtiss Helldiver procured in quantity (around 900) by the USAAF. In the end an almost utter wastage of a decent warplane. The USAAF had never been found of the dive bomber concept in reality, and they never found an use from their maybe “too-US. Navy” Shrikes. They served as trainers and target tugs with the USAAF and almost half of the production even reverted somehow to their naval heritage when transferred to the US. Marines for the same duties. No war record with the Marines either.

Neat propaganda poster. I kinda like the Curtiss’ family tree at the bottom; the original Shrike included.

I.Ae. 34M Clen Antú: There’s no love like the first.

Continuing with Reimar Horten’s Argentine adventures, the I.Ae. Clen Antú (“Sun Ray” in an indigenous language) supposed a return to his origins: high-performance gliders. Not as pure as his late-war high aspect ratio Nurflügel aircraft though, the first Clen Antú made its maiden flight in 1949. The cleanliness of the design was “marred” by a cockpit nacelle for its two pilots’ conventional seats. Six of them were produced, two of which, like this one, were built as single-seat I.Ae. 34Ms. Those two took part unsuccessfully in the 2nd International Glider Competition (Madrid, 1952) being obviously obsolete by the standards of the day.

Gorgeously restored and wearing proudly the Argentine colors, this single-seater rests at the Museo de la Industria de Córdoba. This particular example is notorious for its crossing flight of the Andes. It deserves a neater sun protection than those tarps….

L.V.G C.II: Do a double take.

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By 1915 the aerial activities became more hazardous with the appearance of effectively armed scout aircraft putting an end to unarmed first-line activities. One fast answer was to arm former unarmed two-seaters. The C.II was precisely that. The Luft-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft just took their previous B.II two-seat reconnaissance design, reversed the seats layout (pilot ahead instead of behind) and put a Parabellum machine gun at the rear. A more powerful Mercedes engine was added too. The C.II entered service in late-1915 and around three hundred were built. One particular claim of fame of this otherwise pedestrian design was that one of them became the first fixed-wing aircraft to bomb London in Nov. 1916.

Gorgeously sharp stereo photo composition converted into a charming GIF of a C.II captured by the French.