Dassault Mirage IIIDBR: As intense as ever.

The fastest tasting another kind of speed. Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna in the rear seat of a two-seat F-103D (Brazilian denomination) in April 29, 1989. Utterly proud of his country, Senna said after this flight: “Se todos tivessem a oportunidade de sentir a mesma emoção, teriam mais amor a pátria” / “If all Brazilians would have the opportunity to feel this same emotion, they would love more our country”. No nonsense man.

Senna is wearing the standard Brazilian AF headgear of the era: a single visor HGU-26/P helmet with a MBU-5/P oxygen mask……, but in magnificent “samba” colors.

Such a gorgeous inflight portrait. Two of my addictions nicely joined here.

YB-36, B-29 and a Buchón: Strange companions.

A Hispano Aviación HA-1112 M1L in its authentic Ejército del Aire (Spanish AF) colors sharing tarmac space with some of Strategic Air Command (SAC) huge irons at the old Air Force Museum (Wright-Patterson AFB) in the late 1960’s.  One of them is the second Peacemaker built, YB-36 (42-13571) -rebuilt as a RB-36E. This prototype was he original Peacemaker selected for display at the old Air Force Museum premises. For not disclosed reason, it was actually not moved to the new museum premises. Even worst, 42-13571 was scrapped…with a bulldozer. Sinful to say the very least. The sad remains still linger on Walter Soplata’s farm. The one now displayed in the new museum was flown to the site of the new museum in 1959 and was the last flight of a B-36.

Lockheed F-104CCV: The icing on the cake (II).

This strange “thing” was a test vehicle employed by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) to validate the fly-by-wire control systems intended for the future generation of fighters. With the help of ballast to change the centre of gravity CoG, this Fokker-built F-104 was transformed from a conventional naturally stable aircraft into a unstable platform. Equipped with a triple.redundant fly-by-wire system, this Control Configured Vehicle (CCV) testbed took the skies in 1977. Not having enough, in 1980 a sort of vestigial F-104’s tailplane was added on the forward spine also for aerodynamic destabilizing purposes. The very profitable data acquired during its tests helped in the design of both the X-31 and the EFA.

That extra tail sure did the trick. More and More.

Cunliffe-Owen OA-1: The harsh reality.

The British little known Scottish Aircraft & Engineering Ltd. company purchased in the middle-late 1930’s the licence rights to produce Vicent Burnelli‘s UB-14 lifting fuselage. Called by them OA-1, the prototype took flight in 1939,.. the year of the invasion of Poland. With the country at war, the by then renamed Cunliffe-Owen company, turned its back to the Burnelli and soon switched their capabilities to produce parts for other aircraft companies. So this unique prototype remained the one and only “British Burnelli” produced. It worked for a living though; serving with both the RAF and latter with the Free French AF (de Gaulle included) until its extinction.

Lovely publicity artwork with a neat cutaway depicting the main features of Burnelli’s idea.

Tupolev Tu-4LL: Mutant !!!

Behold the Glory. This Tu-4 (aircraft 94/1) engine testbed had its no. 3 ASh-73Tk engine replaced by “half a Tu-91”; the entire forward/center fuselage of Tupolev’s “aircraft 91” naval strike aircraft. This Tu-4LL was flown in this configuration in 1954.

Almost cartoonist that “91” nose. Incredible aviation era, those were the times.

Main info source.

CAC CA-15: Winner, but no cookie.

This stunning fighter was the pinnacle of Australian aviation efforts during WW2. Sadly, it proved to be in the end a not fully realised effort. As originally projected in 1943, the CA-15 was to be a P & W Double Wasp interceptor suitable also as long range escort fighter. The lack of availability of that highly employed radial engine obliged the designers to convert radically the CA-15 to employ a liquid-cooled 2,305hp RR Griffon instead. All that slowed drastically the project and meanwhile WW2 ended slowing even further its progress. In the end the unique prototype built took the skies in the spring of 1946. With a max speed of 448 mph (721 km/h) and superb handling the CA-15 was superior to the P-51 Mustang….., but arrived 3 years too late. Jet age was already here to stay.
“Kangaroo” was its nickname for obvious reasons. Such a purposeful looking beast. A long way from the Boomerang.

Artist: Ronnie Olsthoorn.