Dornier Delphin III (L3): Grace wasn’t in the equation.

The peculiar Delphin were produced Dornier in the 1920’s as single-engined a small commercial flying boat to compliment their larger tandem-engined Wals. With those iconic Wals the Delphin shared the squared low-aspect ratio wing surfaces and the household stummels. Three basic models were produced with each one characterised by its increased in power and payload. The Delphin III was the most powerful of them and could take 10 passengers. They had few takers.

With its BMW VI perched above the “nautical” cabin, these were a strange kind of dolphins. Anyway, that engine configuration again.

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.

Lockheed F-104CCV: The icing on the cake (II).

This strange “thing” was a test vehicle employed by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) to validate the fly-by-wire control systems intended for the future generation of fighters. With the help of ballast to change the centre of gravity CoG, this Fokker-built F-104 was transformed from a conventional naturally stable aircraft into a unstable platform. Equipped with a triple.redundant fly-by-wire system, this Control Configured Vehicle (CCV) testbed took the skies in 1977. Not having enough, in 1980 a sort of vestigial F-104’s tailplane was added on the forward spine also for aerodynamic destabilizing purposes. The very profitable data acquired during its tests helped in the design of both the X-31 and the EFA.

That extra tail sure did the trick. More and More.

Snecma Atar 8-9: La Grandeur…. de les Boches.

This French engine family success story owed more than a little to the former enemies. As the Atelier technique aéronautique de Rickenbach (ATAR), BMW engineer Hermann Östrich and other members of the Bavarian engine company were the real progenitors of that family. All started the former Dornier factory at Lindau, within the French Occupation Zone of Germany, when this group of genii took their wartime BMW 018 design and almost literally enabled the postwar renaissance of French aviation with their various Atar iterations.  Remember: “no Atars, no Mirages“.

Superbe affiche publicitaire.

Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/Trop: Thank you, Sir.

Just heard the sad news of Russ Snadden’s demise. Snadden was the mastermind behind the epic restoration of that old favourite of mine, the iconic “Black 6”. I still remember how incredible was, back then, to see a real Bf 109 back in its element. His book recounting the whole process is simply mesmerizing,… to read and reread.

Glorious portrait of “she” with the equally legendary Flt Lt Charlie Brown at the controls.  I love its “tropical” air filter.