A-90 Orlyonok: Under its ground effect’s spell.

The “Eaglet” was, maybe, not the more espectacular of the Soviet ekranoplans (ground effect aircraft), but in my humble opinion is the sleekest and the more charming. This amphibious ekranoplan was designed as transport, specially for beach assault operations. Sadly, like others of its gender only a few (5) were built.

This drawing depicts beautifully the engine configuration of the A-90. Cruise power was provided by the mighty Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprop placed high in the tail. The aircraft also carried a pair of Kuznetsov NK-8-4K turbofan engines inside the forward fuselage fed by a pair of nose intakes. The exhaust of those turbofans were along the side of the fuselage and its thrust was defected under the wings to produce the necessary increased lift and power for take-offs.

Arwork from “The Threat In The 1980s” DIA exhibit.

Salyut 6: Turn, the World turns…

The space navigation indicator INK-2S Globus (an older variant)  tiny Earth used in the revolutionary Salyut 6 space station. Those Salyut sourced most of their instrumentation for the readily available Space capsules hardware; Soyuz in this case.

This jewel takes me back to my old educational globe years. By the way, I still have it.

(Photo credit: Bonhams)

Supermarine Spitfire: “We either stand down or blow up “.

Spitfire is a drug. I’ve just revisited, again, the ” Battle of Britain” (1969) movie. With all its defects, nothing has come near this classic; no digital effects and plenty of hardware “in action”. Well, there one thing I hate in this movie: they killed the best “pilot” and I can’t really forgive them for that. The headgear was also quite dubious.

Such a glorious line. His name is….

Henschel Hs 123: The Unreachable.

The Hs 123 was, in fact, a “Stuka” before the Stuka. This portly looking biplane was conceived to compete in a 1933 dive bomber requirement. Sturdy and dependable, the Hs 123 first saw service in the Spanish Guerra Civil where it soon proved its capabilities. After that, they continued to soldier even if other more modern platforms were available.  So good they were that their archaic configuration didn’t deter them from intensive use during WW2. In fact, the relatively modest number produced served well and hard into 1944…., when they’re retired due to spare parts shortage. Almost irreplaceable.

Lovely drawing in this 1937 Henschel’s ad. Photo Source.