Caudron P.V. 200: Le Bossu de Guyancourt.

The ugly ducking was a touring amphibian conceived in the early 1930’s. Hard to find something more clumsy. Don’t know why its designer,  l’ingénieur Pierre de Viscaya, didn’t choose a boat-shaped fuselage instead of floats: its high mounted wing and 100 hp Renault 4 Pci  pusher engine should have allowed easily that configuration. The P.V.200 appeared in the Paris Air Salon of 1932, but not surprisingly, It never turned into a swan. Only this prototype was produced.

Charming in its own very particular way. Don’t you thing so?

Saro A.21 Windhover: “The luck of the ugly one,….” (II).

The Cutty Sark-Windhover-Cloud family of amphibious aircraft was the more commercially successful aircraft produced by the Saunders Roe company ever. Nothing to set the world on fire though keeping in mind that, in total, only 36 were produced. The three models main difference was in their size. Introduced like its “brothers” in 1930, the Windhover was the intermediate one. It was also the least successful with only two produced.

Gorgeous photo of the first Windhover (A.21/1 ZK-ABW) soaring low over the Solent, late 1930. As we can see here a quite pretty thing, maybe the prettier one of the family. Well, they were pretty until a sort of “embryonic” auxiliary winglet was fitted over the engines to cure an engine-on and -off handling anomaly.

Henschel Hs 123: The Unreachable.

The Hs 123 was, in fact, a “Stuka” before the Stuka. This portly looking biplane was conceived to compete in a 1933 dive bomber requirement. Sturdy and dependable, the Hs 123 first saw service in the Spanish Guerra Civil where it soon proved its capabilities. After that, they continued to soldier even if other more modern platforms were available.  So good they were that their archaic configuration didn’t deter them from intensive use during WW2. In fact, the relatively modest number produced served well and hard into 1944…., when they’re retired due to spare parts shortage. Almost irreplaceable.

Lovely drawing in this 1937 Henschel’s ad. Photo Source.

Heinkel He 116: こんばんは !!!

The very little known Heinkel He 116 was originally conceived in 1936 to be an ultra long-range mail plane intended to deliver airmail between Germany and Japan. Heinkel wisely chose to create a derivative of their classic He 70. Sadly, problems with the intended power plants stopped somehow the full potential of the scheme. That apart, the aircraft was basically sound. In total, 14 were produced; some for its intended role and a bunch specially developed for long-range recon military purposes. Not a world-shattering success in the end, but it wasn’t its fault.

Lovely Japanese publicity poster. Japan bought a pair of them. Arrived to Japan in April 1938, they’re operated by the Manchuria Aviation Company.

Loire 70: Tous les goûts sont dans la nature.

Developed during the early 1930’s to fulfil a 1932 Aéronavale long-range maritime reconnaissance flying boat requirement, the little known Loire 70 couldn’t be more French. A real tour de force: squarish, with a very “nautical”  flight deck, draggy with its three definitive 500 hp  Gnome et Rhône 9Kbr  pylon-mounted (two tractors and a pusher, bien sûre), …. well, utterly lovely in a bizarre way. Four long years passed from its first flight in 1933 until the very handful (just seven production aircraft plus the prototype) entered service due to technical problems and initial low powered engines. They saw peace & war service in the Mediterranean with Escadrille E.7 until the early summer of 1940, when the Italian destroyed the bulk of those still in service in an air raid.

Anyway, a beast with character, maybe even charisma. Another superb head on view; it must be the day.

Junkers Ju 52/3M: Peaceful flying Drakkars.

The Scandinavian Air Express saw the light at the end of the 1920’s as a joint venture between KLM  (Royal Dutch Airlines) and ABA  (AB Aerotransport) joined later by Aero O/Y. Their intention was to cooperate in services to France and UK, later, when Aero O/Y joined them, they extended the operations to Sweden and Finland. World War 2 put an end to that well-conceived enterprise.

Magnificently Art Deco poster. Those Ju 52/3m floatplanes should have come handy in “The Land of a Thousand Lakes”.

Blackburn Sidecar: Left aside.

With this horrendous looking, to say the least, Sidecar the Blackburn company tried after WW1 to give an affordable aircraft to the huge number of former military pilots willing to keep themselves in the air. A potential market that proved to be a chimera anyway. This two-seat ultra-light aircraft powered by the mere 40hp hp of an ABC Gnat engine was built in 1919 and it appeared at the Harrows Department Store that same year….a declaration of intentions in itself. Later powered by a more meaty 100hp Anzani, the Sidecar never went anywhere. Some sources even say it never flew.

Wistful thinking and total lack of appeal. Some combo.