Marinavia Farina QR 14 Levriero: Heinkelino.

The Levriero (Greyhound) was started in late 1938 by Luigi Queirolo and Ing. Recanatini as a wooden twin-engined four-seats small tourism aircraft which soon evolved into a potential military fast liaison and unarmed reconnaissance aircraft for use in the Italian African colonies. The construction of the prototype began in 1940 at the Costruzioni Aeronautiche Taliedo (CAT), a firm specialised in glider construction. Due mainly to business direction changes and the eventual acquisition of the CAT firm by Caproni, the erection of the prototype proceeded both painfully slow and intermittently; the Italian Armistice arrived with no first flight in sight.
In fact, the Levriero had to wait until Oct. 1947 for its air baptism. The flight tests proved its good, even outstanding qualities. A serie of twenty-five was envisaged and the aircraft appeared at some airshows to created interest. It even won a prize at Milan the year of its first flight. Unfortunately, all that hopes came to nothing because it could not compite with the cheap war-surplus aircraft. The aircraft ended its days rotting at the Linate airport.

Powered by a pair of sleek Alfa Romeo 111-1 C.22, this svelte “velivolo’s” fin and wing surfaces reminds me those of the early Heinkel He 111s.


Bell P-39 Airacobra: Flying was not enough.

Olds produced both the 37mm M4 and the 20mm M2  cannons for the P-39 under Colt license.

Sleek propaganda poster. Pre-war livery for the very-early P-39 and the ubiquitous Sherman tank. A bit overdramatic maybe, but the Airacobra was in its element down low.

Boeing 2707-100: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

The 2707 was the winner of the American late 1960s SST competition. With its swing-wing, it was a bold and innovative design which won over the more orthodox fixed-wing Lockheed L-2000.
The -100 the coolest stage of the Boeing design with its four engines placed below the horizontal stabilizer. From there the project went downwards. Weight became soon a problem and range suffered accordingly so in the end, the capital sin: they scrapped the whole wing design to one similar to the Lockheed L-2000(!!) but equipped with a tail. Riddled with technical and political problems cancellation was the obvious conclusion.

The superlative mock-up and its gorgeous canary livery.

Caproni Ca.134: The right amount of weirdness.

The Ca 134 two-seat biplane conceived by CapronI in 1936 to cover a Regia Aeronautica “strategic reconnaissance” requirement. Quite orthodox in design, the Ca.134 had nevertheless a strange biplane tail with endplate fins and rudders: a feature chosen to give the gunner a fairly unobstructed rear field of fire. Of classic Italian mixed-construction, this biplane was powered by a potent but heavy 900hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R.CAO.
Displaying a fast pace of design and construction, the first prototype maiden flight took place in Jan. 1937. Soon followed by a second example, the Ca.134 didn’t convince the Italian authorities though. No production was undertaken.

It certainly had allure. Just like its quite related, and also unlucky, little boy.

Atlas & Deke: So near, yet so far.

The neatly dressed Project Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton observes the night launch of an Atlas missile from Cape Canaveral. Sadly, Slayton didn’t have the chance to ride one of those fiery Atlases because he was grounded in 1962 due to an irregular heart rhythm. Thirteen patient years later Deke reached orbit at last with the Apollo-Soyuz mission.

Photo by Ralph Morse (LIFE magazine).