Beriev Be-12P: A fair reflection.

The Be-12 turboprop amphibian was designed by the Beriev bureau as a successor to the their household Be-6 flying boat. For its predecessor the Be-12 inherited just the gull-wind configuration and tail feathers, being in fact a totally different aircraft. First flown in 1960, the duties envisaged for the Be-12 were mainly anti-submarine (ASW) and maritime patrol aircraft. Built in moderate numbers, in service these amphibians have proved to be both rugged and adaptable. A handful of them are still, barely, in service in Russia and Ukraine.

Magnificent photo taken at the Irkutsk Aviation Repair Plant 403 factory airfield in 2001. The well-worn RA-00041 is one of the just four Be-12’s converted into fire fighting “water-bombers”.

Photo: Richard Vandervord.


Piasecki CH-21C: Banana G.I. Joes.

The CH-21C Shawnee was the US. Army troop carrying variant of a design originally conceived by Piasecki as an Arctic rescue helicopter for the USAF.  This tandem rotor design, Piasecki’s speciality, had also that peculiar shape which gave Piasecki’s choppers the sobriquet “Flying Bananas”.  First flown in 1952, these robust piston-engined helicopters saw service with quite a few countries in various roles, both military an civilian. They were trusty assets, but still lacked sophistication and light and powerful turbine engines.

Superb -as usual- LIFE magazine photo of South Vietnam Army (ARVN) soldiers ready to board some US. Army “Bananas”. Yeah, I know, no American G.I. Joes here. Hey, I could not resist the word game with Bud Spencer’s movie.

Hispano Aviación HA-1112 K1L: The Great Pretender (V).

The “Jotas” are still fooling people. Not the first time I saw this particular image taken from the movie “Der Stern von Afrika” of 1957 passed as the real deal. Quite understandable. Not only because the Jota looks the part,… that original 7,92mm Rheinmetall MG-15 machine gun with its lovely spider sight sure helps.

Una preciosidad de foto.