Bell Rocket Belt: Rocketeer vs Lotus.

We’ve seen lately one of those periodic resurgences of extreme individual flying gizmos. Time to go back the one of the oldest, most spectacular and certainly the most famous by far: the late 1950’s hydrogen peroxide-fuelled marvel of the Bell company.

Nostalgic GIF taken from a Pathé’s Documentary of 1966. The circuit is the classic Brands Hatch and the race car looks like a Formula 3 Lotus. It sure was a short race….that Rocket Belt maximum endurance was only a little more than 21 seconds.

Vought F-8H Crusader: The Last of the Gunslingers.

LT Jerry Pearson of the VF-24 (USS Hancock) displaying proudly the Crusader‘s “archaic” weaponry over the Gulf of Tonkin, 1969. After the F-8 guns were on their way out in American fighter aircraft inventory…., a serious and hated mistake. They came back.

Of note that little hatch under the fuselage that opened each time the Mk.12 cannons were fired to vent the dangerous explosive gases.

Erickson Aircraft Collection’s “Bf 109G-10”: Enough?

Few, if any, aircraft designs can treasure the assortment of engines the Bf 109 have carried through its various iterations:
– RR Kestrel in the first V1 prototype.
– Junkers Jumo 210 in the first series.
– DB 600 for the “pre-Emil”.
DB 601 and DB 605 for the main wartime variants.
– P&W Twin Wasp.
– BMW 801. Used, like the Twin Wasp, to test the possible radial conversion.
– RR Merlin in the Spanish Buchones.
– Junkers Jumo 211 in the awful Avia 199.
– Hispano-Suiza HS-89 for the early Spanish-built Messers.
– and last, but not the least, the Allison V-1710.

The Erickson Aircraft Collection’s airworthy “Bf 109G-10” seems at first sight to be the real deal or at least a DB-engined Buchón. Well, in fact it is indeed a Buchón, but in order to convert it to more closely resemble Bf 109G without the expense of a the original German engine they came to a brilliant idea. They decided to use an ubiquitous Allison V-1710 engine instead. To make this upright V12 engine looks like a inverted V12 both the engine mount and exhaust system have been specially designed so the cowlings almost mimic that of a late Bf 109G model. The result is quite convincing…and sure cheaper.

Never enough to me.