Koolhoven F.K.58: Progress or Regression?

In the late 1930s France found itself short of aircraft production capability to face the fact of a future war with Germany. The obvious solution was the purchase of foreign designs, one of them was this dutch fighter. Interestingly, the F.K.58 was conceived specially to cover french needs. Its designer, Erich Schatzki, didn’t start for zero though: the F.K.58 was a further development of his previous Fokker D.XXI. Employing the same basic structure, the new Koolhoven fighter gained a retractable undercarriage.
First flown in 1938, the design proved to be reasonably modern and cheap to produced and the order was carried out. Events soon overcame the scheme, and only around a dozen saw service at the hands of Polish pilots during the Battle of France, with no appreciable success. After the defeat the survivor were soon destroyed.

Very handy and aerodynamically clean that wide-track undercarriage, but the D.XXI was sure prettier.

Great Lakes XTBG-1: Decent end of the line.

This stunning three-seat biplane was Great Lakes entry in the torpedo bomber competition which ended with the adoption of the Devastator. Its dubious place in aviation history is due to being the last biplane considered by the US. Navy for that role. With its top speed of 200 mph, the XTBG-1 was not a slugger, but the Devastator bested it easily; its time had already passed. Only the prototype was built.

The XTBG-1’s main peculiarity was the small independent front cockpit placed just behind the engine which was employed by the “torpedoman.” A pretty handsome design.

Lavochkin La-250A “Anakonda”: The Big Red Amphiptere.

In the mid-1950s faced with problem of the entry into service of fast american jet bombers, the Soviet Union military authorities started the development of supersonic heavy fighter interceptor. The Lavochkin Bureau responded with their startling La-250. Armed with missiles produced by the same Bureau, this twin-engined aircraft took the skies for the first time in 1956. Problems soon became obvious, as crashes bore witness of its questionable flight qualities of the design. Drastic modifications followed, but to no avail. The project was soon cancelled after only five prototypes were built. The Tu-128 took up the torch later, successfully this time.

Poor quality, but rare inflight photo of the “Anakonda” in its ultimate configuration, It was a superb looking machine, quite imposing with its two very substantial Type 275 guided missiles. Its reptile nickname was bestowed because of its size, slickness and vicious flying behaviour.

FIAT/Aeritalia F-104S “Spillone”: A Fighter among Starfighters.

Just hear the terribly sad news of Niki Lauda passing. Homeric the life of this three-time Formula One world champion, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns. He was my F1 childhood “hero.” Add to those achievements that at the same time he went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry with his airliner company.

“Super Rat” visiting in the early 1980s the 5º Stormo and their purpose-built advanced model  “Spilloni.”