Tu-95KM & F-4B: Maintain Social Distancing.

An US Navy F-4B from the VF-151 “Vigilantes” intercepting a missile-less Soviet Tu-95KM during the early 1970s in this splendid picture.

Keeping a safe distance, my friends. If they could do it, you too.

Lavochkin La-15: Against too much bad luck.

The nimble and slick La-15 entered service around the same time the MiG-15 did. Compared to the latter, the La-15 was smaller and was powered by the less powerful RD-500 (a RR Derwent copy). In service the design was well-loved by its crews, but suffered a series of accidents. One of the fatalities was a good friend of Stalin’s son…. In the end the Soviet AF decided to have just one interceptor model, and the MiG-15 was cheaper. Only circa 235 La-15s were built.

At first sight it looks a lot like the seminal Ta 183, a slender one. Kinda pretty too.

Vendôme-Lalièvre: Charmant petit mammifère.

This stubby monoplane was conceived by Lt. Eugene Lalièvre and built by the Vendôme company in 1912. The design was notorious for its characteristic low mounted engine which drove the high placed  propeller via a chain. First flown in late 1912, the Vendôme-Lalièvre flew frequently until Aug. 1913 when its crashed.

Lovely toy-like little thing.

Hawker “Spanish” Fury: Furiosamente bella.

Spain ordered three of these beauties in 1935. Compared to the RAF models, the Spanish Fury was fitted with a Dowty clean cantilever internally strung landing gear and was powered by a neatly cowled 700 hp Hispano-Suiza 12X Brs engine. The idea was to licence-built this updated model in Spain; enough to equip at least three squadrons. The outbreak of the bloody Guerra Civil ended all those plans. The three produced were shipped to Spain where they had service lives as convoluted as the Spanish conflict.

By the time this photo was taken (1936) the “Furia” was already obsolescent, but what a classic beauty.

Nanchang J-12: Resting Places (XXXII).

The Chinese J-12 was one of the two designs ordered by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in the late 1960s as possible replacement for the MiG-19/J-6. The aircraft which made it first flight in 1970 was a tiny single-engine lightweight fighter equipped with a swept-wing. The basic design proved unsatisfactory during tests, and three examples of an improved more powerful version followed. To no avail, the resulting J-12I was still both underpowered and underarmed. Those were the reasons, plus the availability of the J-7 -a MiG-21F copy-, why this project was cancelled in the late 1970s.

The weathered, but proud, J-12 on display at the China Aircraft Museum. Kinda cute “sport” fighter.