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.

Soyuz 1: “This Devil Ship!”

50 years ago, on 24 April, 1967, we lost the first human in an actual spaceflight. Cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov died when his Soyuz 1 capsule crashed into the ground after its parachute recovery system failed, the horrible culmination to a cursed mission full of technical problems. RIP

Komarov here during training in bare bones Soyuz flight simulator. Photo: RKK Energia

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3a: Neutrality Enabler.

Splendid portrait of a Swiss “Emil” pilot. Our hero wears a mix of local and German flight gear. German are his  LKp W 100 flight helmet with that nicely strapped 10-69 oxygen mask helmet and what seems to be “Auer” type goggles, or something similar. Of note the lack of canopy rearward armour and, barely seen, one peculiarity of the Swiss “Emils”: they’re equipped with a KG 11 spade grip instead of the usual pistol grip of that model.

All in all a very neatly dressed guy.

Höhenflug, the cheap way.

Germany was a world leader in the development of oxygen gears throughout the 1930’s until the early WWII. They were also very pragmatical people. The definitely crude, rubber mouthpiece and nose “pince” was still in use in some extent at the outbreak of the war. Transport pilots seem to have “enjoyed” for quite a long time this totally unglamorous contraction.
Magnificent portrait of a pilot taken during a supposed high-altitude flight. The subject wears the Luftwaffe second type mouthpiece (with its expiration valve) and the awful nose “pince”. Well-protected against the cold, he also uses the standard early-WW2 LKpW 100 flying helmet and what looks to me like a model 295 windshutzbrille goggles or something similar.