Tu-95KM & F-4B: Maintain Social Distancing.

An US Navy F-4B from the VF-151 “Vigilantes” intercepting a missile-less Soviet Tu-95KM during the early 1970s in this splendid picture.

Keeping a safe distance, my friends. If they could do it, you too.

Boeing “Turbo B-17”: Hot-Fortress.

The ephemeral “Turbo B-17” was a TB-17F (42-6107/N1340N) air tanker owned by Aero-Flite of Cody, Wyoming. This Fortress was re-engined in 1970 with four slender RR Dart 510 turboprops. It barely had time to demonstrate it potential though. Sadly, it crashed only a few moths after it’s first flight, in Aug. 1970.

They managed to place those slick Darts on the B-17 big engine nacelle quite nicely. I don’t know you, but it looks not totally sacrilegious to me. Imposing certainly.

SOKO J-22B Orao 2: Мали Jагуар.

This Lil’ Jaguar started on early 1970s as a Yugoslav-Romanian join project intended to develop a basic aircraft design to fulfil both single-seat attack-recon fighter and advanced two-seat trainer roles. Taking more than a cursory look at the Franco-British feline, the result was a more modest, small and rustic asset powered by a pair of humble RR Vipers. The prototype made its first flight in 1974. After some trial and tribulations it was produced with some local variations by both partners. The Yugoslav named theirs the Orao (Eagle) and produced a nice bunch, some of which still remain in service in both Serbia and Bosnia.

Dramatic photo of the flashy dressed Orao the Serbian AF used as a demo aircraft from around 2010/11.

Blackburn Beverley C.1: Almost gone, surely not forgotten.

Can’t get any more British than this charming heavy cargo aircraft. Not a thing of classic beauty, these fixed undercarriage aircraft were nevertheless very dependable and also possessed very handy short take-off & landing performances. They also were the largest aircraft in RAF service. The around 50 built more than earned their keep during their operational service (1958-68). All that said it’s so regrettable to know the only one remaining Beverley (XB259) at Fort Paull Museum is now in danger: shortly to be put up for auction after the museum closure. Let’s cross fingers.

Happier times in this neat Imperial War Museum photo. Some RAF Parachute Brigade members using the peculiar “paratroop hatch” on the Beverley tailboom, Exercise Red Banner, Oct, 1959. Clumsy, but a cool aircraft in its own particular way.