EE Lightning F.1: Just Because (LXV).

The Lightning in one magnificent image. An early F.1 with its pair of Firestreak missiles taking-off from a drenched Wattisham during a Press Day, 1961.

Another revisit during this quarantine; gladly, with a lesser degree of isolation now. Don’t wait much of it. One of the less thorough books written about the subject, yet easy to read and charming in its own improvised way.

EE Lightning F.53 & T.55: Resting Places (XXXIV).

A sad bunch of ex-Saudi Lighnings bought back by BAe in 1986. Photo taken in 1997 when some of them were in this sad guise at Marine Salvage near Portsmouth. Gladly they later found more caring places to stay.

Another of those jewels revisited during isolation. This outstanding book puts you in the “driver’s” ejection seat.

Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow: It was not to be.

Designed to replace the household CF-100 Canuck, the Arrow was one of those cursed aircraft designs cancelled despite its potential. It started originally as a swept-winged version of the its predecessor, but the end product was a clean sheet delta wing beauty powered by a pair of equally outstanding Iroquois engines. Fast, highly advanced and ahead of its time, the Arrow’s demise due to political considerations still echoes. The result was not just the death of a superb interceptor and its engines, but also of Canada’s aerospace industry potential as a whole.

Unfulfilled dream. Photo of the first Mk.1 prototype (RL-201) taken the day of its official roll-out, Oct. 4, 1957. Yep, it was overshadowed by the Sputnik 1’s news. Cursed already.

Profiting from these days of isolation to revisit some jewels. Pure porn this very graphic book.

Bell X-2: “Enough power to drive a Navy cruiser.”

“Fastest Man Alive” by Mike Machat. Frank “Pete” Everest on his way to Mach 2.8706 gloriously powered by the mighty and cantankerous Curtiss-Wright XLR25 twin chamber rocket engine. This is another aftereffect of my “Towards the Unknown” revisit. Yesterday I felt the urge to take a look at Henry Matthews’ “The Saga of the Bell X-2” book; this artwork is its exciting cover. The book is decent enough although quite bone dry and incomplete. Mind you, it’s a commendable effort, but the “definitive” X-2 book is still waiting.

By the way, Everest went to the movie’s premiere.

Dassault Mystère IVB: Going with a Triple Bang.

The breaking of the “sound barrier,” apart of the mystic involved, was also a must to any aviation-minded nation during the 1950s. In France, the first Frenchman (from Warsaw, the Russian Empire then) to achieve it was the great Kostia Rozanoff. Chief-pilot at Dassault Aviation, he went supersonic in level flight on 24 February 1954 at the helm of a RR Avon-powered Mystère IVB. 1954 was a busy year for Rozanoff; he published his autobiography and, sadly, he also died in a flying accident displaying the Mystère.

The superbly dramatic cover of his book. A classic, highly recommended.