SNECMA C400 P2: The very French Atar Volant.

This VTOL proof of concept test bed was the most spectacular “aircraft” at the 22e Salon International d’Aéronautique (1957). The two existing “Atar Volants” prototypes were present: the remote controlled C400 P1 as a static exhibit and the ejection seat-equipped P2 as a flier. This crude thing was piloted by Auguste Morel, the same test pilot who took the P2 on its first flight just a few days before in May 14, 1957.

Candid Kodachrome photo taken by Nicholas Gauthier. Very appropriate that French flag there; those were glorious times for French aviation.

Avro Canada TS-140 proposal: Double take that !!

This incredible tandem, or canard, winged fighter was a design presented by Avro Canada to meet the US Navy TS-140 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) fighter Specification of 1956. Conceived to be powered by four Bristol Orpheus placed in swiveling nacelles in each of its wing tips, The Avro Canada design lost against the Bell D-188A proposal. A meagre victory: the D-188A was later cancelled too.

Pretty interpretation of what might have been. A very conventional looking big carrier for a such VTOL creature.

Sukhoi Jet Engine Powered Aircraft: We must begin somewhere.

This was Pavel Sukhoi’s OKB first attempt into the jet aircraft design. Conceived as a purely research aircraft in late 1942, this dandy artifact had an annular intake scoop placed the fuselage just behind its teardrop-shaped cockpit capsule. The nose section would have housed both the cockpit and a fuel tank, and was to be attached to the larger diameter central fuselage by four pylons. The central fuselage was to contain the “half-step” composite jet engine: a classic air-cooled engine -with an oil cooler- driving a pair of co-axial propellers was employed to supply compressed air to a sort of jet engine’s fuel injection/combustion chamber placed in the tapered tube. Complex enough?. The project never left the drawing board.

Very Soviet style artist’s impression of the subject. It could have been really something.

Tupolev Tu-4LL: Mutant !!!

Behold the Glory. This Tu-4 (aircraft 94/1) engine testbed had its no. 3 ASh-73Tk engine replaced by “half a Tu-91”; the entire forward/center fuselage of Tupolev’s “aircraft 91” naval strike aircraft. This Tu-4LL was flown in this configuration in 1954.

Almost cartoonist that “91” nose. Incredible aviation era, those were the times.

Main info source.

Ryan XV-5A: Men and their Toys (XVI).


In late 1961 General Electric won an US Army contract to develop their fan-in-wing concept. Not being an aircraft manufacturer company GE subcontracted the actual production of the two VZ-11 (later renamed XV-5A) to Ryan Aeronautical. Obviously GE did supply both the engines and the actual lift fan system. The inboard section of each wing contained a 5-foot diameter fan than provided the vertical lift. A smaller fan on nose also in addition to provide additional lift also served as pitch control. When not in the vertical fight mode hinged doors covered the wing fans and louvers did the same with the nose one.
The test flight operations of these two prototypes started in 1964 and they proved to be tragic. Both XV-5A’s crashed killing their test pilots. The second prototype was later rebuilt and improved as the XV-5B and continued the program until retired in 1971.

Ryan Chief Test Pilot W. L. “Lou” Everett “taming” a XV-5A wind tunnel scale model. Sadly, he lost his life in the real one.