Blackburn Firebrand TF.5: Madly in Love.

Behold the awesomeness of this beastly flop. From the Centaurus to that huge tail feathers, through the lovely teardrop cockpit canopy, the torpedo and its characteristic wing shape. Can’t help it, I told you.

Artist: Leslie Cresswell.

Convair YF2Y-1 Sea Dart: A punch in the air.

Superlative recruiting poster by the Convair company. Sadly, their Sea Darts never proved themselves able to deliver any punch. In the background, Sea Dart (BuNo 135762) looking for trouble. Regrettably, that very aircraft disintegrated in mid-air over San Diego Bay, California (USA) during a demonstration flight (4 Nov. 1954) killing Convair test pilot Charles E. Richbourg; he inadvertently exceeded the design limitations.

Anyway, the people of Convair knew how to design stunning cockpit canopies.

Curtiss XP-46: Coolness in a cool day.

The XP-46 was conceived by Don R. Berlin as a replacement of Curtiss household P-40 taking in consideration the lessons learned at the start of WW2. A dismal failure, the XP-46 was one of those rare cases when the replacement proved to be worse than the aircraft it was intended to replace. Only two prototypes were produced.

That pretty flop taking-off on a freezing day at Buffalo(?) in glorious Kodachrome. There is a distinct lack of pilot’s head protection here.

Winter has come with a vengeance.

Örnen Balloon: Recklessly bold.

A precious document of the departure of Swede Auguste Andrée’s Örnen (Eagle) balloon. Him and two companions left Danes Island in 1897 with their hydrogen balloon and set course for the North Pole. The three never ever returned, alive. Their remains were found on the White Island in 1930, and returned home.

Yep, it’s cold outside.

Salmson-Moineau S.M.2: Rien ne va plus.

Not having enough with his already clumsy S.M.1 A3, René Moineau thought maybe more was better and decided to try the bimotor formula. Like in the S.M.1, this contraction had a water-cooled Salmson 9A radial engine in the middle of the fuselage connected to outboard propellers through shafts and gears but an additional Salmson 9A was added in the nose driving a conventional tractor propeller. The two engines were now cooled by enlarged radiators placed in both side at the middle of the fuselage. All that had a price: the weight rose and the upper wing span had to be increased; undercarriage needed strengthened too. All that just for starters: we are talking about a massive modification. Named the S.M.2, a single aircraft was built in 1918 as two-seat (instead of three) intended for the ground attack role. Tested with poor results: it was even less satisfactory than the original.

Ravissant échec.

Sack SA-6: Barely-flying critter.

Farm owner and “engineer” dilettante Arthur Sack had been experimenting with circular-winged scale models aircraft just before WW2. His next big step was the construction of this manned prototype. Completed in early 1944, his AS-6 was of wooden construction and employed a jigsaw of components: undercarriage, cockpit and pilot seat from an early Bf 109 and the Argus engine of a Bf 108.
Starting in Feb.1944, serious aerodynamic problems soon appeared early in its ground tests. The aircraft just didn’t want to take off. The comprehensive changes tried didn’t in the end solved its troubles and only little hops were achieved. Sack continued with his dream with further designs though; no trace remained of the SA-6 at the end of WW2.

The impressive thick and low aspect ratio wing of this neat critter with the always pretty Argus and a pair of unmistakable Bf 109 legs.

Avro Tudor II: Size, or pressurisation, didn’t matter.

The Mark II variant of the Tudor was the answer to the obvious lack of passenger capacity of the Tudor I. With its fuselage drastically lengthened, this variant proved anyway as uncompetitive and lacklustre as its older brother. Just five of them were produced. Unwanted by BOAC, they enjoyed very peripatetic operational lives.

This lovely Avro’s ad graphically depicts the stretched fuselage of the II.