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.

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.

Shorts S.B.5: Hubris sometimes pays.

The S.B.5 was built basically because the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) Farnborough didn’t trust the configuration (mainly the low set tailplane) chosen by the English Electric company for their P.1A. This simple and spartan testbed proved the civil servant were the ones in error. Anyway, that waste apart, the manufacture of the S.B.5 turned out to be wise and profitable decision; it became one of most versatile and cos-effective research tool in highly swept wing surfaces thanks to its easily changeable wings.

Useful, but not pretty. The Shorts people obviously knew that and decided in this add to erase the S.B.5 fixed undercarriage.

Fiat G.91 PAN: Smart through and through.

In a very clever measure the Italian AF decided in the 1960’s to recycle some of their pre-production “Ginas” after the production models began to take their places. Not a humble destiny for them; they were modified to serve in the glamorous “Frecce Tricolori” aerobatic team. After almost two decades of service (1964-1981), that proved to be a wise and productive decision.

This lavish photo needs no further comments.