NAA X-15-1: Great Scott!!!

Stunning portrait of the deservelly proud North American test pilot Scott Crossfield and “his” creature. Just out of the oven.

Photo: Allan Grant (LIFE magazine).

IAR.81C: “Down to earth” in the DNA

During the middle 1930s Industria Aeronautică Română (IAR) company had been competing unsuccessfully against the Polish PZL company in providing the Romanian AF with fighters. Quite tired of the whole matter, IAR ate crow somehow and decided to evaluate the Polish winners (mainly the P.24) and chose the best features them for their next challenger.
First flown just before the start of WW2, the IAR.80 looked a lot like a P.24 -specially its fuselage- equipped with a svelte low wing instead of the “Polish Wing.” All went well during its trials and the IAR.80 was ordered and became the main fighter of the Romanian AF during WW2 with around 350 produced. Decent performers at the time of its operational debut, the IAR.80-81s suffered during their operational life of the lack of real power on their licence-built Mistral Majors engines. They could hold their own against the Soviet fighters early on, but later they proved to be both underpowered and a bit underarmed, specially against the American heavy bombers.

Magnificent take-off photo of an example of the latest variant, the heavily armed IAR.81C. To say those IARs were sleek is a serious understatement.

Potez 506: From the ground up.

The majestic Potez 506 biplane was one of the only four Potez 50s built in the early 1930s. The design failed in its intended role as a possible replacement for the very successful Potez 25 family. Despite that failure, some use was found for them, mainly as engine flying testbeds. They also saw some limelight setting various world records. The Potez 506, in particular, powered by a supercharged 800hp Gnome-Rhône K14drs Mistral Major set three altitude records: two masculine and one feminine in 1936.

This gorgeous profile photo emphasises the 506’s long span wings so convenient in order to achieve altitude records.

ОСОАВИАХИМ Airship: The CCC-e-P-pelin.

The ОСОАВИАХИМ (Union of Societies of Assistance to Defence and Aviation-Chemical Construction) was the precursor of the DOSAAF. Like the DOSAAF, the ОСОАВИАХИМ was in charge of the formation of Red Army reserves. It also provided via members’ fees, lotteries, etc funds for new aircraft and airships. This poster is calling its member to do just that.

No luck with this airship fundraise: the Soviets never employed Zeppelin rigid airships types. They planned to built some, but none were produced in the end. One of Umberto Nobile‘s semi-rigid airships was known as the W6 ОСОАВИАХИМ though.  By the way, this one looks a lot like the USS Los Angeles.

De Havilland Comet 3: Aloha from Hawaii!!

The De Havilland DH.106 Comet 3 (G-ANLO) arrives at Honolulu International Airport on Dec. 13, 1955 during a global publicity tour. A measure necessary after the fatal accident crisis and the withdrawn from service suffered by the previous models. The Comet 3 was a sort of transitory variant which sped up, with route tests like this, the quick certification of the most successful variant of the type, the Comet 4.

Funny cover of that classic aviation magazine. Not a staged photo definitely; I kinda love the pilot taking the picture of that wahine perched on a forklift.

Max Plan PF.204/14 Busard: La passion du bricolage.

In the early 1950s Frenchman Max Plan found himself in need of a sporting light aircraft with racing possibilities. Not happy with just buying one, Monsieur Plan decided to design and built it with his own mind and hands. Originally know as the PF.204, the Busard was an all-wood monoplane powered by a minute 75hp Minié engine. The unique example produced was completed in 1952 and it was soon slightly modified into the PF.214 with a new nose job and a bigger cockpit. Further changes were considered by its creator, but in the end none were undertaken. The aircraft saw an active life of a mere five years. Gladly the Busard is still with us, lovingly store in a Museum at the Angers – Loire Airport.

Pretty neat, if somehow dumpy lines. It looks bigger than it really was.