Lockheed F-94C Starfire: From the ground up.

The F-94C Starfire shared with its F-94 forerunners almost only the name. The original F-94’s were in essence fast and dirty T-33 airframes conversions produced as interim all-weather fighters. The result was satisfactory, but just so. Lockheed though they could do better. The Starfire had also same T-33 roots, but with its new wing, tail feathers, J48 engine with afterburner, radar and rocket armament was a totally different kettle of fish. In the end the USAF bought that fish and it proved to be a very decent Sabre Dog and Scorpion‘s second-best partner.

Superb Lockheed poster from 1952, the Cold War at its very best. The Duke abides.

Other things.

Boulton Paul P.103B: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

At first sight, apart of those contra-rotating props, this neat sketch looks like an Allied early interpretation of the German Fw 190A. In fact, this Bristol Centaurus-powered  “clone” was one of the two Boulton Paul’s proposals (the P.103A was a RR Griffon-engined version) to fulfill the Royal Navy N.7/43 fighter specification. That requirement was conceived to supply, at last, the Fleet Air Arm with an up-to-date all-British carrier fighter after years of barely satisfactory landplane conversions (Sea Hurricanes & Seafires) and American types. In the end, after a tortuous path, it was the Sea Fury the one which answered the “Senior Service” prayers…., but only after the war ended.

Ah, that cockpit canopy.

Curtiss A-1 “Triad”: Past & Future.

This little aircraft had the honor of opening the history of the US Navy aviation when it was ordered in May 8th, 1911. The A-1 was a “Model E”, in essence a bigger refined variant of the previous “Model D”. As an amphibian its nickname “Triad” was quite appropriate: the A-1 operated through air, land and sea. The US Navy employed this handy aircraft, and a few of its siblings, for operational tests and training. A long way was still ahead.

The beauty of this photo is beyond me. Spellbinding, hypnotizing, mesmerizing, entrancing, …….. all very “-ing”.

Polikarpov I-17 (TsKB-15): Art Deco in Red.

After his epoch-making I-16, Polikarpov was decided to achieve higher speeds with its next fighter project. In order to do that he chose the slicker water-cooled inline engine instead of the I-16 trusty air-cooled radial. The basic I-17 platform was similar to his previous rotund fighter, but thanks to the inline engine the fuselage cross-section was reduced to the minimum; quite similar to some “speed-seekers” of that era. First flown in September 1934, the design proved to be fast yet not promising enough. Only 3 prototypes were produce plus a few variants studies. Curiously this pretty things were though to be in service with the Soviet AF in early WW2 and were “shot down” in huge numbers by the Germans…

Magnificent 3-view drawing of the 1st prototype, the TsKB-15. With its imported 760hp Hispano-Suiza 12 Ybrs it attained a maximum speed of 455km/h.