Savoia-Marchetti S.84: Look twice.

A DC-3, right? Well, this almost forgotten prototype was in fact a twin-engined development of the classic S.73. First flown in 1936, this handsome 18 passenger airliner has left almost no trace. So much so that Savoia-Marchetti reused its number in their also pretty, but not very good SM.84.

Magnificent photo taken at Dusseldorf. Only those struts on the tail betrayed its origins.

Boeing 747-136: My heart is full.

The spectacular 747 billboard present at the 1970 BOAC Brands Hatch 1000 Kms race. The eventual winner of that drenched race was this iconic Porsche 917K driven by Pedro Rodríguez and Leo Kinnunen. Well, the hero driving was done mainly by the incomparable Pedro.  As Chris Amon said that day: “Why doesn’t someone tell Pedro it’s raining?!”

Two passions of mine here.

Bell X-2: “Enough power to drive a Navy cruiser.”

“Fastest Man Alive” by Mike Machat. Frank “Pete” Everest on his way to Mach 2.8706 gloriously powered by the mighty and cantankerous Curtiss-Wright XLR25 twin chamber rocket engine. This is another aftereffect of my “Towards the Unknown” revisit. Yesterday I felt the urge to take a look at Henry Matthews’ “The Saga of the Bell X-2” book; this artwork is its exciting cover. The book is decent enough although quite bone dry and incomplete. Mind you, it’s a commendable effort, but the “definitive” X-2 book is still waiting.

By the way, Everest went to the movie’s premiere.

IAI Kfir C.7: Once a fighter…..

The Israeli Lion Cub (Kfir) started as an improved version of the IAI Nesher, specially a more powerful one. Re-engined with an American GE J79 (the same their own F-4E used) and with neat canards, the Kfir evolved into a very capable asset. First as fighters and later mainly as strike fighters, the IDF used them extensively and, as usual, in anger. They didn’t let them down. The Kfir has also achieved a fair amount of export orders, despite the American friend’s lack of enthusiasm.

The early 1980s C.7 was an upgraded version of the basic C.2 version. Its still further enhanced performance and avionics made this model more suitable for the fighter-bomber role the type was involved by then. Its fighter blood was not totally betrayed as this four Sidewinder configuration denotes.

Photo: Esaias Baitel.