Atlas & Deke: So near, yet so far.

The neatly dressed Project Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton observes the night launch of an Atlas missile from Cape Canaveral. Sadly, Slayton didn’t have the chance to ride one of those fiery Atlases because he was grounded in 1962 due to an irregular heart rhythm. Thirteen patient years later Deke reached orbit at last with the Apollo-Soyuz mission.

Photo by Ralph Morse (LIFE magazine).

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de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide: Master & Commander.

The great Neil Williams at the helm of the always neat Dragon Rapide (G-AKIF). These de Havilland twin-engined biplane airliners with their single-seat pilot cockpits have always been very high in my list of gorgeousness.

Veronica Lake & Boeing Y1B-17: The shiny side of life.

Such a swell dame descending from a gorgeously finished pre-production “Flying Fortress”. Lake was part of the superb cast of “I wanted Wings” 1941 movie; she made with this movie her the Big Break. The film was also well stuffed with aircraft: BT-9, P-40, B-18, AT-6, A-17 and B-17B. A nicely done propaganda effort winner of Best Special Effects Oscar in 1941.

100% worth the time spent in it.

Lockheed L-1049 Super Connie: Captivated.

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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.