Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/Trop: Thank you, Sir.

Just heard the sad news of Russ Snadden’s demise. Snadden was the mastermind behind the epic restoration of that old favourite of mine, the iconic “Black 6”. I still remember how incredible was, back then, to see a real Bf 109 back in its element. His book recounting the whole process is simply mesmerizing,… to read and reread.

Glorious portrait of “she” with the equally legendary Flt Lt Charlie Brown at the controls.  I love its “tropical” air filter.


Convair B-58A Hustler: “Valkyrized”.

Overly dramatic, not the matter, redemption of Strategic Air Command (SAC) in action over the mightiest target, Moscow. The artist seems to have found the stunning Hustlers a bit too “lame looking”; he’s added them some very B-70 Valkyrie-like canards.

Artwork: “Failsafe” Saturday Evening Post Cover (October 13, 1962) by Robert McCall.

Just finished this refreshing view of the SAC, nukes and the very Cold War in general. An Eye opener, quite well-written and very readable. Highly recomended.

NAA P-51B Mustang: The Unwanted.

Fighter ace William J. Hovde (then a captain) of the 358th FS, 355th FG 8th AF and his colorful P-51B. Of note the white cross under the swastikas: that stencil signified that Hovde’s Mustang was equiped with a fuselage fuel tank… extra fuel that turned the Mustang into a legend.
The Mustang was the aircraft that “saved” the Mighty Eight…even against the USAAF chauvinistic desires. Unwanted basically because it was a “not conceived here” aircraft, the P-51/RR Merlin combo was just too good to be ignored.

All surfaces in this very welcome book. Rough -maybe even raw- readin’, but the amount of interesting facts unearthed are definitely very, very worthy.

Bernard HV 40: Le brillant chaos.

Another Chef d’oeuvre of the great Jean Liron. The Bernard company, under its various incarnations, was a somehow minor French aviation company of the interwar period. Technically stunning and financially inept, Bernard produced a bunch of iconic record aircraft and a few, very few, other beautiful designs. Liron took us to that time and space with plenty of wit and a lot of knowledge, as I’ve said before the bible about the subject.
Incredible artwork of the Bernard HV 40. The Collection DOCAVIA of Éditions Larivière not only published some of the best references about French aviation, they also did it with panache.
The “very Bernard” HV 40 was designed as a trainer for 1929 Schneider Coupe unsuccessful French team. Being a Bernard -and part of that chaotic French Schneider ‘s late effort- it only made its first flight in the summer of 1931 -there’re some doubts about its performance. When flown it proved to be both easy to handle and “agreeable”. Time lost…, again; as in 1929, no French machine took part in the final Schneider.

Artist: Paul Lengellé.

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress: Sittin’ on the top of the world.

T/Sgt. Benedict “Benny” Borostowski (401st Bomb Sq, 91st BG), the ball turret gunner of Capt. Oscar D. O’Neil’s B-17F “Invasion 2nd” testing -posing’ with- his Sperry turret. “Benny” was one of the earlier members of the “Mighty Eighth”, the ones who paid the heaviest price -he was luckier than most and ended as a prisioner of war (POW) on 17th of April 1943.

Photo: National Archives and Record Administration, College Park, Mariland.

My very desirable “Summer Spl” re-visit.

Also published as “Master of the sky”, this jewel is not one of the zillionth average books about the Mighty. Both readable and indispensable; Miller sure hits the proverbial Pickle Barrel here….and without the Norden. To read and re-read. By the way, it wins with the re-read, I assure you.

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress: Delighted.

“Idiots’ Delight” was the 1st Fortress of the 94th BG to survive 59 combat missions – and that without any mechanical aborts. Its luck went out on 19th June 1944, by then a multi-mission veteran, “Idiots’ Delight” ended its days in the British Channel taking with it nine of its ten crewmembers.
In this wonderful kodachrome pic, crew chief M/Sgt. Penrose Bingaman is seen gazing proudly at the charminly simple noseart of his charge.
You might have noticed that I’ve been sharing more than the usual number of B-17’s things here. My latest re-visit to Roger A. Freeman classic “B-17 Fortress at war” has the blame. Highly recommended,….musty smell included.