Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23: “War is Peace”.

Abandoned MiG-23’s (MiG-23MS, MiG-23MF and MiG-23UB) of the Syrian AF captured by rebels, mainly of the al-Nusra Front, at Abu ad-Duhor airbase, Northwest Syria on Sept. 9, 2015. The siblings of these old warriors are still in use by the Syrian Regime in that international quagmire called the Syrian Civil War.

An outstanding photo composition anyway. Omar Haj Kadour (Getty Images).

EE Canberra PR.Mk.9: Nosey Old Boy.

The British seem to have always had an eye for bizarre crew members “accommodation”. The PR.9 was the ultimate Canberra photo-reconnaissance version. Taking the B(I).8 interdictor as a basis, the guys of English Electric stretched the fuselage, increased the wingspan and added the more powerful Avon R.A.27  Avon engines. All that in order to improve the already notorious high-altitude performance of the basic Canberra. Just 23 of them were produced and they were not retired from the RAF until 2006. Not bad from a design whose roots were in the middle 1940’s.

The PR.9 retained the cool offset canopy of the B(I).8 and to be a bit more peculiar they conceived this hinged nose to the navigator station and his ejection seat. Gorgeous, but the hilarity is more than deserved.

Reprise.

Yokosuka E14Y: The consolation goal.

The E14Y was conceived in the late 1930’s to replace the E9W biplane as a reconnaissance seaplane for the Imperial Japanese Navy incredible submarine aircraft carriers. Destined to be built in larger number than any other submarine-borne aircraft (126 in total) , this tiny mixed-construction monoplane undertook recon missions over Aleutians, Madagascar and the Australian and New Zealand coastlines. The North American coastline was not only observed. On 9 September 1942, an E14Y became the only Japanese manned aircraft type to ever drop bombs on the United States mainland during WW2 in the so-called “The Lookout Air Raid”. Launched from the B1-type class submarine I-25 off the coast off Oregon, the one only  E14Y was send to initiate some fires with its small incendiary bombs. It was a puny effort that caused no casualties and almost no damage. The attack was repeated a month later with similar results.

This magnificent artwork depict that event. The cylindrical sealed container before the sub tower is clearly depicted near the recovery crane. The whole operation presented a number of difficulties and serious perils, specially  during recovery, demanding a highly proficient personnel.

EE Lightning F.3: Ready for anything.

A well-posed photo of a 111 Sqn pilot and his F3 (XP741) at RAF Wattisham in 1965. The trusty “square” is handling our knight hero the superb Taylor Type “E” high-altitude helmet. The red opening in that helmet is the mouth port…..used for drinking or vomiting, depending upon the wearer physical condition.

The imposing coolness of the Lightning, never get tired of it.

Photo: Ian Proctor.

Papin-Rouilly Gyroptère: So sterile yet so stimulating.

Can you imagine a huge one-bladed rotor air-jet helicopter powered by a 80hp Le Rhône rotary engine?…., well, that was precisely the idea patented in 1911 by A. Papin and D. Rouilly. This pair of French gentlemen based their idea on the sycamore seed which turns while it falls to ground.
The basic configuration of their Gyroptère is quite evident in this gorgeously clear photo. The beautifully built rotor blade at the right counterbalanced by the engine and its fan which is sightly to one side of the axis of rotation. The pilot “drum-cockpit”, over the peculiar round float,  was placed on the axis of rotation and mounted on ball-bearing and was centered against 4 horizontal rollers. The long tube near our intrepid pilot is the swiveling air-duct employed to to keep his “drum-cockpit” from moving with the blade and to provide the necessary forward thrust.
Tested in 31st March 1915 on Lake Cercey (Cote d’Or), the Gyroptère proved to be wildly unstable and sank without even achieving flight.