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.

Douglas A-1H “Spad”: Ol’ Trusty.

The Skyraiders didn’t only wears Southeast Asia camo in Vietnam with the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF). The Spads were also used by US. Air Force. One of those rare cases of US. Navy designed aircraft which saw service with them. Their primary mission was interdiction along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and close air support missions for U.S. and Vietnamese ground forces. But they were best remembered by the “Sandy” role, when they flew cover for helicopters engaged in pilot rescue missions inside “Indian Country”.

A Nakhon Phanom (Thailand) based A-1H of the 1st Special Operations Squadron (SOS) flying along the Mekong River. Really mean-looking with its mighty oil spitting Wright Duplex-Cyclone, a plethora of weaponry and that old times open cockpit canopy. A real “Firebird”.

Bell P-59A Airacomet: “A fighter?!….., Are you sure, Sir”.

The Airacomet has the honour of being the first United States jet fighter aircraft to enter service…, with a “little” help from British jet engine knowledge. Bell was the company chosen for this endeavour for its usual innovative ideas, but mainly because its was the least busy of the big aeronautical companies. Entering a new era, Bell chose to be prudent, too prudent in fact: their Airacomets were big, cumbersome, heavy and underpowered. When first flown in Oct 1942 it became soon obvious the performances achieved were, in fact, worse than the latest piston engined fighters. The very few of them produced never saw combat and served firstly as trainers.

Pot bellied things they were. Anyway, they sure have a serious punch with those three .50 HMG’s and 37 mm cannon.

Pfalz E.IV: At a place called Vertigo.

It looks like a Fokker Eindecker, but it’s not. The resemblance is quite understandable: both the Pfalz and Fokker took the French Morane-Saulnier H monoplane as the basis from their own lines of “Einderckers”. Less well-known than Fokker’s, the Pfalz were very decent aircraft for its time, according to some sources better than its Fokker’s counterparts. Anthony Fokker was indeed a very gifted wheeler and dealer.
The one on this precious piece of advertisement is an E.IV, the more radical of the rotary-engined variants. With its armament doubled to two 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns placed on a lengthened fuselage designed to carry the stunning 160hp Oberursel U.III 14-cylinder double row rotary engine. Those teardrop-shaped air intakes and the Pfalz company medallion…..

Artist: Max Schammler.

PZL.38 Wilk: Wolf’s Maw.

The Polish Wilk (Wolf) was conceived in the late 1930’s to fulfil a very demanding multi-purpose role (fighter-attack-bomber) role. Aerodynamically, the PZL stuff chose to scale-down of their promising PZL.37 Łoś and power it with household built 490 hp PZL Foka engines. Those engines precisely proved to be one of the main Achilles’ heels of the Wilk. The others were its structural overweight, slowness and too modest load carrying capabilities. In view of those defects, the authorities decided to cancel the project in the Spring of 1939 in favor a radial-engined powered derivative, the PZL.48 Lampart.

Pictured here the second of the just two prototypes built (PZl.38/II) with its imported 450 hp Ranger SGV-770B engines. Those American engines were employed in view of the defects of the native Foka engines. Crude engine nacelle and pedestrian Szomański two-blade fixed wooden propellers apart, that nose certainly means business with its 20 mm Wz.38 cannon and a pair of 7.92 mm PWU Wz.36 MGs. The intended production model would have been even fiercer.