ILC SPD-143 Suit: Looping on a loop.

Fun on the reduced gravity walking simulator. Let’s start the week with the right aptitude and attitude.

Dornier Do 215 V1: Das Kampflugzeug.

The Do 215 was Dornier answer to the foreign interest in the Do 17Z generated at the 1937 Zürich International Flying Meeting. At first just a name change, the Do 215 soon became a “powered up” version of the original design. Equipped originally with Gnome Rhône 14N engines (Do 215 V2) and when these proved to be not enough with DB 601As. The marked increase in performance achieved opened the door to its mass production. But the start of WW2 meant the end for substantial foreign sales. The ones produced were employed by the Luftwaffe mainly as fast photo-recon aircraft and even as night fighters until 1942.

Very descriptive -lovely cockpit cutaway included- Dornier ad in the Adler magazine (Italian edition). The very first V1 “prototype” (D-AIIB); in fact just a rebranded Do 17Z-0.

Caproni Ca.90: A picture is worth a thousand words

This humongous Caproni was by the time of its first flight (1929) the largest landplane in the world. This heavy bomber prototype had the inverted sesquiplane biplane configuration of which Italian were quite fond. Powered by six huge 1000 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso 1000 placed in three push-pull tandem nacelles, the design achieved some notoriety by its payload potential. The aircraft was obviously already dated for its time though. It was only employed for strategic bombing operational studies.

This charming photo give us both scale and a tip about its obsolescence. That Sandow cord-equipped landing gear and Spiga Cordé di Torino tyres.

BAe Harrier GR9A: Unstoppable !!!

The famous ZG478 crash landing at Kandahar back in May 2009. The pilot banged out just before all this fun ended. Curiously, even though it was seriously damaged by the crash and fire, this Harrier was salvaged. It’s been restored to static display standard by Everett Aero… and it’s in the market.

I do prefer older Harriers, but this GIF is hypnotically funny.

Curtiss XP-46: Coolness in a cool day.

The XP-46 was conceived by Don R. Berlin as a replacement of Curtiss household P-40 taking in consideration the lessons learned at the start of WW2. A dismal failure, the XP-46 was one of those rare cases when the replacement proved to be worse than the aircraft it was intended to replace. Only two prototypes were produced.

That pretty flop taking-off on a freezing day at Buffalo(?) in glorious Kodachrome. There is a distinct lack of pilot’s head protection here.

Winter has come with a vengeance.

VEF I-16: Two Swastikas and a Red Star.

This Latvian light fighter was conceived by Karlis Irbitis as a spin-off of his previous light trainers designs. Of all-wooden construction and powered by a 454 hp Walter Sagitta air-cooled inline engine, the unique prototype was made by the Valsts Elektrotechniska Fabrika (VEF) in Riga. It made its maiden flight in Latvian hands in 1940. They didn’t enjoy the I-16 too much. After occupation of Latvia by the USSR the Russians took an interest in the design and continued its tests….until Germany invaded in 1941. The Germans also flew the I-16 both in tests and later as a training aircraft.

One of the prettiest light fighters of the era. A quite useless concept but, boy, were those tiny toys cool.