Sud-Est LeO H-470: Plowshares into swords.

One of the fastest, and prettiest, flying boats of the 1930’s. The H-470 resulted from a 1934 Ministère de l’Air specification for a commercial mail carrier/airliner suitable for use over the South Atlantic, the Dakar-Natal route. Exceptional care was taken in its development in order to obtain the highest possible aerodynamic efficiency and it showed. The prototype maiden flight took place in the summer of 1936 and proved particularly successful. This prototype was lost soon after, but not before it proved the soundness of the design. Five production H-470’s were ordered by Air France. The World situation then interfered and the five were impressed by the French Navy. Armed by the Navy, they turned into long-range maritime recon aircraft. They served in that role until 1943 when problems with spare supplies condemned the survivors to the scrape yard.

They sure were mighty sleek things, even with the addition of military draggy equipment. Of note its characteristic 4 tandem mounted Hispano-Suiza 12Y engines and the cooling radiators placed in nacelles under them.


Heinkel He 114B-1: Modest yet valuable.

The elegant He 114 was a maritime reconnaissance sesquiplane aircraft conceived by Heinkel as a private venture around 1936. In 1937 a He 114 development model competed unsuccessfully against the Arado Ar 196 as a replacement for the Heinkel He 60. Despite that setback, the Luftwaffe ordered a few as, mainly, training aircraft. The type was phased out of service in the early war years, but not before performing discreet but very valuable actions, especially in the Black Sea.

Heinkel also seldom failed to export a usually small quantities of their pre-war aircraft they constructed. One of their users was Sweden which took a batch of 14 of the B-1 export model. A pair of them here in glorious color.

Stroop SP-7: Incom T-65’s prequel.

This amazing idea was Robert C. Stroop’s brainchild, an obscure American designer of the Depression era. Stroop proposed his aircraft concept  to the USAAC in 1935 as a way to convine high maximum speed with decent low landing speeds. As we can observe in this drawing, it was a beautiful idea for a convertible aircraft. In cruising flight the machine worked just as any conventional monoplane of the era. The SP-7 wing was split in two halves in flight for take-off and landing, the upper part went upwards while the lower part downwards to form a sort of “X” biplane. The project was, maybe, too bold and was rejected by the USAAC. It seems it never left the Stroop’s drawing board.

By the way, SP-7 had a flying predecesor: the SP-6. More “X-winged” than the SP-7, the SP-6 was mentioned in Stroop’s USAAC letter, photos included. Glorious, my friends.

Charpentier C1: Tailess & Flightless..,almost.

Conceived in the early 1930’s, the little-known Charpentier C1 was an experimental flying wing trimotor (3 x 100CV Hispano-Suiza 6Pa). The unique prototype was built by the Société des Avions Caudron under a contract from Jean Charpentier. C1’s first steps in 1933 ended badly when it was damaged during high speed rolling test. Rebuilt later, it tried again in 1935… to be destroyed during its first flight attempt. After that the whole project disolved in the wind.

The top photo gives only a poor idea of the sheer beauty of this aircraft, but gladly model maker Stéphane Guerrero’s recreated it in this wonderful model.