Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet (Replica): Herrlich Rote !!

This striking Me 163B flying replica was created by Joseph Kurtz between 1994 and 1996. Kurtz was, in fact, a Luftwaffe pilot who trained to fly the Komet, but who never saw combat with it. The aircraft was acquired and operated later by EADS. Not a true clone, this engineless replica has nevertheless proven to be an excellent flyer. According to what I’ve read it’s grounded nowadays…., it should be flying.

In action here (thankfully with no shitty music).

Dassault Mirage IIIV: Tout à fait Froggy.

The IIIV was the French VTOL tour the force of the 1960’s produced to fulfil a NATO VTOL strike fighter specification. Preceded by the smaller Balzac, the supersonic Mirage IIIV was twice as big, but shared the same basic engine configuration with 8 lifting turbofan and a main engine. The two prototypes built started its test program in early 1965. Sadly, the second prototype was lost in Nov. 1966 and that, with the previous Balzac accidents, put an end to this bold and risky program. It never reached its full potential, a pity.

The magnificent first prototype here in the good company of two of its illustrious fellow “countrymen”: an early AZU Fourgonnette and the always precious Citroën DS “Déesse”.

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)

Saro A.21 Windhover: “The luck of the ugly one,….” (II).

The Cutty Sark-Windhover-Cloud family of amphibious aircraft was the more commercially successful aircraft produced by the Saunders Roe company ever. Nothing to set the world on fire though keeping in mind that, in total, only 36 were produced. The three models main difference was in their size. Introduced like its “brothers” in 1930, the Windhover was the intermediate one. It was also the least successful with only two produced.

Gorgeous photo of the first Windhover (A.21/1 ZK-ABW) soaring low over the Solent, late 1930. As we can see here a quite pretty thing, maybe the prettier one of the family. Well, they were pretty until a sort of “embryonic” auxiliary winglet was fitted over the engines to cure an engine-on and -off handling anomaly.

Douglas AD-4N Skyraider: Two times the charm.

A pair of deliciously restored Skyraiders wearing the stunning livery of the US. Navy Attack Squadron 176 (VA-176) “Thunderbolts”. They sure looked the part, but the VA-176 didn’t operate this three-seat variant; they used the later AD-6 (A-1H) single seater. By the way, one of them piloted by LTJG  W. T. Patton became the last of the two “MiG killer” Skyraiders when he shot down, with the SPAD’s  4 x 20 mm battery, a North Vietnamese MiG-17 jet fighter on Oct. 9, 1966.

Such a brutish elegance.

Stanley Aviation “escape capsule”: The good old days of above & beyond.

How the incredible Hustler‘s escape capsule works. As we see in this “time capsule” GIF, in case of an emergency a protective clamshell would enclose the whole seat, the control stick included in case of the pilot. “Turted up” in such way the pilot could still continue to fly the Hustler or in case of a more dire situation undertake an immediate egress. The capsule would float and even be used as a life raft.

The “pilot” wears an Aviators Equipment Corporation MB-3 helmet with a MS22001 oxygen mask. That peculiar “soft” helmet with its detachable bill was used by the Strategic Air Command in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s for crew positions not requiring the use of a rigid helmet. The Hustler, with its escape capsule, was ideal. Hardware porn, my friends.