Lockheed L-1049 Super Connie: Captivated.


Relishing with gusto Le Corbusier’s 1935 book “Aircraft”. In that classic work, the peerless architect placed aviation as the pinnacle of modern technical achievement. It was then indeed.

He also declared the ecstatic feeling aviation produced in him. He surely disguised well his emotions: the Super Connie was his preferred aircraft.


CANT Z.1007bis Alcione(?): In bocca di… cane.

Stylist portrait of a Regia Aeronautica (RA) pilot taken during a supposed stratospheric flight over Greece. Based on the cockpit canopy structure and the shape of the control wheel, the aircraft looks to me like an Alcione. Not 100% sure though.
The pilot’s headgear consists of a Giusti flight helmet and the bulky and unmistakable FILOTECNICA oxygen mask; the RA standard issue. Its truncated cone shape earned that mask the nickname “dognose” or “pignose”. The flight suit appears to be a MARUS 1930.

Photo: Rivista Tempo n.82, 1940.

Heinkel He 111H: The Germans loved a view (III).

XI Flieger Film Korps photographer Erwin Seeger taking things easy in the nose of a Heinkel He 111H. The plane, according to the info I have, was on a transfer flight from Sicily to Tunisia, carrying under tow a Gotha Go 242 glider, 1942. No enemies were expected; Seeger is resting over the Ikaria MG 15 machine gun turret.
That unmistakable both the kapok-filled Schwimmweste model 10-76B-1 life vest and the “Netzkopfhabe” LKpN101 flight helmet.

That asymmetric marvel.

John W. Young: Ad Astra, Titan.

The painting shows a pensive John Young during suit-up for the first space shuttle mission. Yep, that incredible all-up manned first flight. He sure had things to think about.
The incomparable John Young has taken another first flight. Sadly, the non-return one.


“When Thoughts Turn Inward”,  a water color by Henry Casselli.

Couzinet RC.360: Daddy Cool (XI).

René Couzinet was without doubt one of aviation greats, and also a bit of an enfant terrible. In the early 1950s, after a troublesome and peripatetic professional life (Brazil included), Couzinet began to considered the possibilities of a VTOL flying saucer design…,under the spell of the UFO era, no doubt. After filling some patents, he produced a 3/5th-scale Aerodyne engineering model which was presented to the press the fall of 1955. Sadly, after some initial interest in his “soucoupe volante” the project soon died down. The horrid thing is that, disillusioned by that lack of interest in his work, Couzinet and his wife committed suicide at the very end of 1956.

Magnificent Maurice Jarnoux’s portrait, part of a “Paris Match”  1955 article. The engineer is seen here gazing at the gorgeous wooden scale model of his RC.360. This model represented his proposed flying model. An aerodyne equipped with six Lycoming piston engines to drive the two contra-rotating discs which provide the VTOL performances (it had fifty adjustable vanes) and an AS Viper jet engine (in the nacelle above the body) to provide forward propulsion. Utterly “Couzinet” all.

Apollo CM Block 1: Hindsight is always 20-20.

Pensive portrait of Command Module Pilot (CMP) Walter Cunningham. He is wearing a David Clark A1-C space suit so this photo may have been taken when he and his partners (Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele) were the Apollo 1‘s back-up crew.
The A1-C was essentially identical to the company Gemini G4-C spacesuit  but had a visor cover of Cycolac (an ABS resin) attached to protect the visor from scratches and for getting struck inside the more roomy CM. This spacesuit was acquired by NASA as a interim asset useful while waiting for the revolutionary, hard to develop ILC A7L.

The Block 1 CM had a plethora of problems, and it shows.