Percival Proctor I: Proctuka’s failed Angriff.

The fiftieth anniversary of “The Battle of Britain” is approaching; the movie, I mean. For the Stuka scenes the great Hamish Mahaddie tried at first to restore to flight the only genuine Stuka in UK. When that proved to be belong the economic reach of the production a smart alternative “flying actor” was produced. None other than Percival Proctors heavily modified by Vivian Bellamy to look convincingly as the real thing, cranked wings included. Sadly, the prototype proved to be an awful flier so in the end they were not used in the film; very realistic radio-controlled models were employed instead.

Astonishingly German-looking, the only minus that two-blade prop.

Photo: Jean-Michel Goyat Collection.

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Mitsubishi Ki-51(?): One of those days…

This shocking photograph has been identified as the imprint a Kamikaze left on the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex off Phuket, Siam (Thailand) July 26, 1945. The aircraft seems to be a Ki-51, and someone has created a pretty neat GIF to prove it.

There are some doubts about the veracity of this document, but it sure resumes this jinxed day of mine quite nicely.

EKW C-3605 Schlepp: “It was an aircraft stuck to a nose,…”

The original EKW C-36 was a late 1930s/early 1940s single-engined maid-of-all-trades combat aircraft design conceived to replace the Fokker C.Vs variants in service with the Swiss AF. They entered service in 1942, despite being born already obsolete both conceptually and technologically. Gladly, that was not a problem in the very neutral Switzerland so the various C-36 produced stayed in the front line use until the early 1950s and a few converted into target tugs (Schlepp) were still operated in the late 1980s.

The very alive example of the Fliegermuseum Dübendorf is one of twenty-four former C-3603-1 converted into target tugs. The conversion entailed the replacement of its Hispano-Suiza 12 Y-51 piston engine by a Lycoming T53 turboprop. To preserve the centrage, the lighter T53 was place in this somehow hilariously lengthened nose. It has always amused me.

Mikoyan-Gurevich KSK: The Lil’ MiG-15.

Known also as the Izdeliye K, the KSK manned version of the KS-1 “Komet” anti-shipping cruise missile conceived to speed up the development of the missile. It’s not coincidence the sort of cute “Lil’ MiG-15” looks of this testbed keeping in mind the use of their MiG-15 shape and configuration by Mikoyan-Gurevich Bureau in the design of their missile. Four examples were produced. Powered by a RD-500 turbojet (a RR Derwent copy), the KSK was launched from a Tu-4KS. The tests flights, both manned and unmanned, took place in the 1951/52 period. Further testing was completed with real KS-1s.

The size of its cockpit gives us a good idea of how tiny this lovely little gem was.

Rocheville (EMSCO) Arctic Tern: Aeroplanum inexploratus.

In the decades before WW2 Arctic exploration took a new impulse thanks to aviation. This chumsy-looking aircraft was one of the rarest airplanes designed specially for that purpose. This one-off “Frankenstein’s Monster” was designed by Charles Rocheville in answer to a Shell Oil Co. request for their Alaskan survey explorations. Built in 1932, this three-seat mid-wing monoplane amphibian had a certain Lockheed’s touch; it was created using a Sirius’ wing and a Vega’s tail. The pilot enjoyed the pleasure of a open cockpit atop the small nacelle while the crew was cosily placed in the ugly cabins above each float/pontoon. It was powered either by a 300 hp Wasp Junior or a 450hp Wasp. During tests the Arctic Tern displayed wholly satisfactory performances, but, sadly, the aircraft was lost in 1933 in an accident caused by fuel starvation and Rocheville suffered serious injuries.

Such a peculiar shape, a pity it couldn’t enjoy its metier. Photo: Smithsonian Institution.