Le Rhône 9C: Collateral Damage.

Artistic close-up view of a well-worn Le Rhône 9C, also known as the Le Rhône 80hp, showing its characteristic copper induction pipes and single push-pull rods.
Not all was poetry though. Those rotary engine used castor oil as a lubricant which produced a nauseating smell when burned. Even worse, castor oil is a potent laxative; let’s say constipation was not an issue for this kind of engine operators, pilots included.


Lockheed L-1049 Super Connie: Captivated.


Relishing with gusto Le Corbusier’s 1935 book “Aircraft”. In that classic work, the peerless architect placed aviation as the pinnacle of modern technical achievement. It was then indeed.

He also declared the ecstatic feeling aviation produced in him. He surely disguised well his emotions: the Super Connie was his preferred aircraft.

Fairey Gannet T.2: Character in spades.

The spectacularly intricate nose affair of the Gannet. In this case a T.2 (the dual-control trainer of anti-submarine AS.1) preserved at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry.

Intakes and more intakes for the Double Mamba turbojet engine, and its neatly presented contra-rotating propellers. Utterly British.

Photo: © June 2014 Siteseen Ltd.

Riout 102T Alérion: “Sur un nénuphar éphémère,..”

Designed by René Riout, the Riout 102T Alérion was without doubt one of the most advanced ornithopters ever built. Built in 1937, its sophistication was a wasted effort; like almost all aircraft of this type, the Alérion was a non-flyer. Luckily, this superb contraction is still with us today, lovingly preserved at the Musée Régional de l’Air d’Angers.

Four wings and four wheels. Jolie Libelulle, n’est ce pas? 

Beriev Be-6: Resting Places (XV).

Abandoned at a former naval base near Mirny, Crimea.  This very Russian -or Ukrainian, you choose- picture gives us a clean view of this floatplane’s superb Shvetsov ASh-73W engines and their cool exhaust pipes.

For some “particular” reason a Be-6’s previous post is the most viewed of this humble blog of mine. More of the same, but this time all by itself. I know you won’t mind…

Bf 110 or Ju 87B: The Dandiest Bordschütze.

Not 100% sure about this gunner’s aircraft. Anyway, that MG 15 machine gun and the canopy structure reflected in his early Nitsche und Günther Splitterschutzbrille googles looks a lot like the one in the Bf 110 or even the “Bertha” Stuka. All in all, he wears the typical Luftwaffe mid-war head gear. Quite similar to this Jäger.

Thomas-Morse R-5: “So the last will be first..”

In 1922 the United States Army Air Service (USAAS) put the requirement for a racing aircraft design to take part in the already famous Pulitzer Trophy Race. The Thomas-Morse company answered with this advanced all-metal parasol monoplane powered by a 600hp Packard 1A-2025 engine. Two R-5s were produced and both took part in the 1922 Pulitzer. With not very bright results: they finished last and next-to-last. The USAAS found nevertheless the right usage for them though. They were destroyed during static structural tests.

Unmistakable the style of Douglas Rolfe in this drawing. Part of Rolfe’s “Air Progress” series of the 1950’s, later reedited in this marvellously abused book. By the way, the information is wrong; it corresponds to the US.Navy Thomas-Morse MB-7 racer of 1921.