I.Ae. 34M Clen Antú: There’s no love like the first.

Continuing with Reimar Horten’s Argentine adventures, the I.Ae. Clen Antú (“Sun Ray” in an indigenous language) supposed a return to his origins: high-performance gliders. Not as pure as his late-war high aspect ratio Nurflügel aircraft though, the first Clen Antú made its maiden flight in 1949. The cleanliness of the design was “marred” by a cockpit nacelle for its two pilots’ conventional seats. Six of them were produced, two of which, like this one, were built as single-seat I.Ae. 34Ms. Those two took part unsuccessfully in the 2nd International Glider Competition (Madrid, 1952) being obviously obsolete by the standards of the day.

Gorgeously restored and wearing proudly the Argentine colors, this single-seater rests at the Museo de la Industria de Córdoba. This particular example is notorious for its crossing flight of the Andes. It deserves a neater sun protection than those tarps….

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L.V.G C.II: Do a double take.

By 1915 the aerial activities became more hazardous with the appearance of effectively armed scout aircraft putting an end to unarmed first-line activities. One fast answer was to arm former unarmed two-seaters. The C.II was precisely that. The Luft-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft just took their previous B.II two-seat reconnaissance design, reversed the seats layout (pilot ahead instead of behind) and put a Parabellum machine gun at the rear. A more powerful Mercedes engine was added too. The C.II entered service in late-1915 and around three hundred were built. One particular claim of fame of this otherwise pedestrian design was that one of them became the first fixed-wing aircraft to bomb London in Nov. 1916.

Gorgeously sharp stereo photo composition converted into a charming GIF of a C.II captured by the French.

Fokker Dr.I (Replica): “Fly on your way like an eagle.”

The superb former John G. Day’s Fokker Dr.I replica 403/17 G-CDXR now owned by Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson, an avid and utterly able flyer, uses it as part of the Great War Display Team. This team re-enacts Great War air battles at airshows across the UK. This replica is powered by a Warner Super Scarab S50 engine and has the markings enployed by Lt. Johann Janzen of the Jasta 6, JG 1. Curiously, Mikael Carlson’s Dr.I wears also the very same livery.

Not a particular fan of his kind of music, but boy, he sure is a character. Photo source.

FMA I.Ae. 37: A Silver opportunity lost.

Argentine in the late 1940s and the 1950s, under the governments of Juan Domingo Perón, put forward ambitious programs for the development of indigenous aviation. Those programs went from the pedestrian fabrication of local piston engines to the development of advanced jet fighters (both Pulqui I and II) and even the design of a supersonic one. Reimar Horten decided to take part in latter, this time not with a nurflügel: his I.Ae. 37 was a 40º Delta wing aircraft. Horten took his usual caution path in its development. He started in 1953 with the usual wind tunnel low-speed tests followed by catapult-launch scale models also at low speeds. In view of the positive results a full scale wooden glider was built. This glider made its first flight on 1 October 1954 towed by a very German Ju 52/3M. Its pilot, Jorge Conan Doyle(!!), reported excellent performances and handling. Sadly, the project was already in retard and the volatile political situation of Argentina did not help either; a RR Derwent-powered prototype under construction in 1955 was stopped due to the fall of Perón. The whole program then began to unravel, mainly due to the meagre power of its Derwent. In fact, soon afterwards the I.Ae. 37 design lost favor and was turned into a possible transonic trainer for a Horten’s totally new Delta fighter design, the I.Ae. 48. In the end, all came to nothing when the whole supersonic project was cancelled in 1960.

Superb head-on view of the wooden glider in its magnificent first configuration. The pilot laid prone in a very aerodynamically clean cockpit, he looked out through the glassed nose. Regrettably, this test glider “gained” later a less glamorous conventional cockpit.

Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete: Resting Places (XVII).

Happy enough with their Re.2001 Falci, the Regia Aeronautica found nevertheless that the difficulty to obtaining the hard-to-get Daimler-Benz DB601 (Monsoni) engines curtailed its deliveries. To solve the dilemma they decided to retrace their paces. With the Re.2002 the Reggiane people took back the basic Re.2000 fuselage, matted it with a wing with fuel tanks modifications introduced in the Re.2001 and reverted to an indigenous radial engine, the 1,175hp  Piaggio P.XIX RC 45.
First flown in early 1942, the Ariete (Ram) proved to be worthy enough, but its engine left a lot to be desired in reliability. Improved somehow during its service these fighters were employed by the Italian mainly as assault aircraft due mainly to it questionable engine. More than two hundred were produced.

The only other operator of the Re.2002 was the German Luftwaffe. The Germans placed a huge order and they even found this sturdy fighter worth further development; the BMW 801 was envisaged as the power plant. The Italian Armistice put an end to all those dreams. Anyway, the Germans got their hands in around sixty Arieti. The Luftwaffe employed them in their anti-partisan war against the French resistance. One of the only two surviving Arieti is this lovely example, sadly incomplete, superbly preserved at the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation of Limoges.

Photo: Vicent Schrive.