USAAF A-2 Jacket: Oversexed, overpaid and over here.

The sheer elegance of the iconic A-2 jacket as usually “tarnished” by its owners. In this case, “Der Grossarschvogel” (The Big Butt Bird) was listed as the name of a B-17G of the 8th AF 401st BG.

To many of the stoic Europeans the average American soldier appeared to act like a not yet totally grown-up teen. Don’t know why.


Zvezda SK-1 spacesuit: Stirred, Not Shaken.

April 12 again. Let’s take a centrifuge trip with the Soviet Starman.
Yuri Gagarin wears the innovative SK-1 spacesuit. The lettering “CCCP” (USSR) present in his Helmet denotes this video must have been shot after his historic mission. Originally the helmet was all white; the “CCCP” was added after a last-minute decision taken the same day of Gagarin’s flight.

“Northrop F-19X”: Only he laughs.

“The Deal of the Century” 1983 movie was so dismal that even a total aviation “fool” like me had almost forgotten it. In this utterly 1980s movie Chevy Chase appears as a not very hilarious arms dealer trying to sell an armed UCAV (drone). The only salvable part of this disaster is at the end when at an arms show the drone goes haywire and Gregory Hines (a former fighter pilot and Chase’s partner) uses a borrowed “F-19X” to destroyed it.

Hines wears a peculiar helmet design, a fancy combination HGU-33(34)/P visor assembly matted to a very-Firefox helmet. By the way, the “real” F-19 was only a smoke screen released in the early 1980s to the public to confuse the Soviets and to cover true secret programs.

Personal Rescue Enclosure (PRE): Not having a ball.

Nicknamed the “Rescue Ball”, the PRE was intended, early in the NASA Space Shuttle program, as a last-ditch device for transfer of astronauts between shuttles in case of an emergency that disabled one of them. The PRE was pressurised and had three fabric layers (urethane, Kevlar, and a thermal one) and incorporated a window and a zipper (zipped from the outside) to allow the astronaut to enter and exit the ball. To breath the astronaut was provided with Personal Oxygen Supply and a carbon dioxide scrubber. The unfortunate crew member would have been carried by hand by a fellow spacesuited astronaut. Not surprisingly, the “Rescue Ball” was abandoned at its prototype stage and never took part on any shuttle missions.

In this photo we can see a demonstration model of this weird contraction. Curiously, our unhappy looking “astronaut” wears some Skylab IV mission surplus clothing.

Vought XF8U-1 (Mock-Up): “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off”.

One of the superb photos taken during the XF8U-1 mock-Up Inspection (Sept. 16-18, 1953) held at the Chance Vought Division, United Aircraft Corporation, Dallas, Texas. The model is displaying here the Vought ejection seat activation through face curtain. He seems to be wearing the ultra-rare David Clark US. Navy Model 16 pressure suit, not 100% sure though.

Don’t ask me why but I’ve always found this kind of seat activation hilarious .

RAF B-type flying helmet/D-type oxygen mask: Modellers needed.

I know there are other similar British propaganda posters made with “gun” and “ship” instead of “plane”, but the kid in me can’t resist the pun.

Primitively cool early-WW2 RAF headgear. Regrettably, the model, Sgt. Ernst J. Holland, died in action a few weeks after this photo was taken in his Wellington.

Photo. IWM.