Shenyang F-7A: Resting Places (XVIII).

Shenyang and, maybe, Chengdu-produced F-7As (Chinese-built MiG-21s) stored inside a reinforced tunnel at the 3361 Reserve Air base at Gjader, Albania.

Too much dampness may kill you.


Lockheed C-5B Galaxy: Turnin’ Fifty.

June 30, 1968. The first Galaxy (66-8303) took its maiden flight at Marietta, Georgia. The Galaxy is one of those rare aircraft which can claim it started a new era. The winner of the middle 1960s USAF CX-LHS (Cargo Experimental Heavy Logistics System) requirement, this 100t giant has proven time and time again its superlatives qualities. It was not a rosy road though. The program had to face unexpected aerodynamic drag; overweight problems; wing structure cracks and, last but not least, shameful cost overruns. All those things overcome, the Galaxy is now at fifty healthier and abler than in its younger years.

The largest aircraft at the time of its birth, the Galaxy is still an utterly impressive airplane…, specially compared to that cute Van’s RV-7.

NAA F-86F Sabre: Silver twice over.

One of the twenty-eight Sabres bought by Argentine in 1959. These second-hand F-86Fs were turned into F-40 standard with the replacement of their wings. Operated from El Plumerillo, Mendoza, they served well into the early 1980, undertaking even CAP missions over Argentina’s mainland during the Malvinas War. As an aside, this Sabre purchase regrettably sealed the destiny of the local Pulqui II.

Curiously C-103 was the first Sabre lost, in 1961, by the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA) so it only wore this very Argentine Silver livery.

Lockheed L-188 Electra: Starry, Starry Day.

The turboprop Electra was Lockheed’s investment in the future of commercial jet aviation. They chose the same path that Bristol with their Britannia and Vickers with the Vanguard. First flown in 1957, it showed from the very beginning outstanding performances. Of note the high power-to-weight ratio achieved thanks to the powerful engine and huge propellers “propwashed” nicely the too short-looking wings equipped with large Fowler flaps provided the Electra with extraordinaire short airfield performances. A potential winner it seemed.
The initial airlines’ response was encouraging, but after two fatal crashes due to structural problems costly modifications were due. That sad affair plus the glamour of pure jet airliners meant the Electra’s selling inertia was lost. Like its English counterparts the sells were few; only around 170 in the American case.  Some survivors are still earning their keep, yet the Electra was only a start: the iconic P-3 Orion owed it a lot.

Chrome & gaudiness overload versus utilitarianism. The Lockheed’s star was this 1959 Buick Electra 225’s antonym.