Tupolev Tu-144 Prototype: Hет !!!

Aviaexport V/O, then and now, engages in the export of civilian aircraft related products from the USSR, now the Russian Federation.

As we can see in this advertisement, they tried to sell their problematic Tu-144 from the very beginning. There were no takers.

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Bloch MB.300 “Pacifique”: Prettiness doesn’t always pay.

This elegant French all-metal trimotor airliner was conceived for Air France in the early-middle 1930’s. First flown in 1935, the prototype was all but a success being too heavy, vastly underpowered and inestable. With Air France’s technical policies changing to the acquisition of four-engined airliners, the future of this questionable trimotor became sealed. Anyway, after modifications, the French company took reluctantly the unique prototype in 1938. It whereabouts soon afterwards are obscure; some said it ended in Spain.

Valmet Vihuri: Severe Wind.

The Vihuri (Gale) became the main advanced single-engined trainer aircraft of the Finish AF during the 1950’s. Designed to replace the VL Pyry, the Vihuri prototype made its first flight in 1951 and the model was soon ordered into production. Around 50 were produced. All weren’t roses though. Several accidents -one of them even took the life of the prime minister’s son- and the safety concerns associated grounded for good the Vihuri in 1959. As an aside, a number of Vihuri’s cockpit canopies were salvaged to be employed as….roof windows in the recycling plant. They are still there.

Not a success story, but they were neat looking aircraft anyway. A balanced and clean design with a lovely Bristol Mercury engine as a plus. The shiny first prototype (VH-1) in the usual snowy Suomi airfield.

Heinkel He 177 A-5 Greif: Cursed from the cradle.

“The He 177 was to be developed simultaneously as a four-engined heavy bomber and a dive-bomber. But I never thought anything of that! Only one of this attributes could be fulfilled, and because of that the entire development was drawn out uselessly for several years”.   Adolf Hitler.
In essence that was the main problem of the Grief, but aggravated by personal rivalries; over complex and trouble-prone coupled engines; sheer lack of raw materials; stubbornness facing the obvious solutions, etc, etc.
“Henschel Hs 293A-1’s-toting” Griefs ready for some action. Magnificent artwork of Roy Cross for an old Airfix model.

Brewster SB2A Buccaneer: Cargoes of Bullshit.

The main claim of the mass-produced Buccaneer/Bermuda is that not one of them took part in any front-line service. This “world-beater” was an updated evolution of Brewster’s 1936 SBA dive bomber. More powerful and well-armed, a very promising design, in resume. When first flown in June 1941, the hard reality became soon evident. The prototype was dangerously unstable and suffered lethal dive brake asymmetric deployment and buffeting both in those brakes and with the intended turret. During its development some faults were solved, but the Buccaneer/Bermuda endemic instability remained untamed. Hard to understand why 1,052 were produced with nowadays hindsight. Anyway, the vast majority was simply scrapped by their “happy” receptors (RAF, RCAF, USAAF and the US. Navy) or just employed in training.

To give you an idea of the SB2A’s awfulness: the US. Navy preferred the Son of a Bitch 2nd Class instead…. The funny thing was according to the company “Brewster Builder” magazine (July 1943): “Bermudas (its British nickname) are over there by the hundreds (true*), and everybody who has flown them is enthusiastic (not so true*). The Squadrons are located in North Ireland, Scotland, England and South Wales. They would rather fly the Bermuda than any other plane….(oh, well*).”