Hispano-Suiza HS-34: 2nd best, 1st in luck.

Designed by Vicente Roa, this orthodox biplane took part in the Spanish Aviación Militar’s 1934 Concurso de Aviones de Escuela /Training Aircraft Contest. Taking the second place behind the GP-1, curiously it received nevertheless an order of five planes from the Aeronáutica Naval (Navy Aviation). Soon after, when the Civil War began, a batch of twenty-five more were ordered by the Republicans. Delivered in mid-1937, they provided service in the Alcantarilla, Los Alcázares and El Palmar pilots’ schools. Nine were recovered by the Nationalist after the war; the new owners used them for the same duties at Los Alcázares. One improved example was produced in 1942 equipped with a powerful 130 hp Gypsy Major instead of the previous 105 hp Walter Juniors. It’s the only survivor.

Photo taken still wearing its Republican livery at the end of the Civil War. A really functional no-nonsense design, but the winner of my heart was…

Caproni Ca.113: Centotredici ragioni per amarla.

The pretty (and) conventional Ca.113 was an advanced training/aerobatic biplane conceived at Caproni early in the 1930s to complement their Ca.100 basic trainers. A modest production was undertaken both in its native Italy and under licence in Bulgaria. Gladly, one of them survives in Italy.

This could have some teeth too. Granted, just a tiny bomb and the ubiquitous Lewis. Precious partial cutaway taken from the book “Gli Aeroplani Capron. Studi-Progetti-Realizzazioni dal 1908 al 1935” by Gianni Caproni.

Western Electric type 1-A helmet: Calling Dr. Love.

The type 1-A was the first flying helmet incorporating radio-telephone equipment. It saw very limited use during the final year of WW1. The helmet was conceived to be employed with a face mask incorporating a microphone assembly. The latter’s development proved troublesome and, as we can see here, our model has resorted to a conventional hand-held mike.

A dandy and kinda avant-garde outfit. I do love it.

Salmson-Moineau S.M.2: Rien ne va plus.

Not having enough with his already clumsy S.M.1 A3, René Moineau thought maybe more was better and decided to try the bimotor formula. Like in the S.M.1, this contraction had a water-cooled Salmson 9A radial engine in the middle of the fuselage connected to outboard propellers through shafts and gears but an additional Salmson 9A was added in the nose driving a conventional tractor propeller. The two engines were now cooled by enlarged radiators placed in both side at the middle of the fuselage. All that had a price: the weight rose and the upper wing span had to be increased; undercarriage needed strengthened too. All that just for starters: we are talking about a massive modification. Named the S.M.2, a single aircraft was built in 1918 as two-seat (instead of three) intended for the ground attack role. Tested with poor results: it was even less satisfactory than the original.

Ravissant échec.

Sack SA-6: Barely-flying critter.

Farm owner and “engineer” dilettante Arthur Sack had been experimenting with circular-winged scale models aircraft just before WW2. His next big step was the construction of this manned prototype. Completed in early 1944, his AS-6 was of wooden construction and employed a jigsaw of components: undercarriage, cockpit and pilot seat from an early Bf 109 and the Argus engine of a Bf 108.
Starting in Feb.1944, serious aerodynamic problems soon appeared early in its ground tests. The aircraft just didn’t want to take off. The comprehensive changes tried didn’t in the end solved its troubles and only little hops were achieved. Sack continued with his dream with further designs though; no trace remained of the SA-6 at the end of WW2.

The impressive thick and low aspect ratio wing of this neat critter with the always pretty Argus and a pair of unmistakable Bf 109 legs.

Grumman S2F-1 Tracker: The cute adjetive is mandatory here.

A lovely S2F undertaking the role for which it was originally conceived: anti-submarine warfare (ASW). This ubiquitous design design later evolved into other models intended for other roles, in both the military and civilian spheres.

Italy acquired forty-five new and second-hand S2F-1s for their Aeronautica Militare. By the way, the artistic sense of the author of this recruiting poster dictated the deletion of the awkward looking AN/APA-69A ECM pod which was situated above the cockpit.