NAA X-15: Above and Beyond the “Heat Barrier”.

Descriptive video taken in a supersonic/hypersonic wind tunnel of the effects of aerodynamic heating in an unprotected aircraft shape. These studies were primordial in the development of the hypersonic NAA X-15.

Yeah, in need of some of that heat right now & right here.


NAA F-107A: Resting Places (XIV).

Taken at the Tallmantz Museum (Santa Ana, California) in 1970 this photo shows us the sad state of the first prototype of three F-107A‘s completed at that time. Gladly, this historical aircraft is currently on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum (Tucson, Arizona) properly restored and cared.

The “Ultra Sabre” had some cool companions:  a rare JF-101A Voodoo, a Sabre and a Snark cruise missile, if I’m not very mistaken.

Photo: © R.A.Scholefield.

Vought XTBU-1 Sea Wolf: US Industrial might at work.

The XTBU-1 was the XTBF-1 (Avenger‘s prototype) “losing” rival for the US Navy 1940 torpedo bomber contract. Even though the Sea Wolf came second in the contest, Vought design showed such performances and potential the Navy ordered its further development. The company by then with their hands full with their troublesome Corsair fighters decided to sell their TBU design to Consolidated. In the end only 189 would be produced due to technical and production problems which caused huge delays. Designated TBY-2, only two mere squadrons were in the process of preparation to deploy overseas when “V-J Day” came.

Gorgeous profile photo of the Sea Wolf’s first prototype. To say it was purposeful-looking aircraft is a serious understatement. I do love its long, long greenhouse cockpit canopy.

NASA-Ames AX-3: Music Non Stop.

During the 1970’s NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC) explored the qualities of higher operating pressure (8-psi/55-KPa) space suits technologies which would allow zero prebreathe time when operated for the future Space Shuttle. The ARC’s AX-3 suit was the complete prototype built.

Its designer, Hubert Vykukal, is seen here demonstrating the “semihard-suit” mobility qualities. Some music.

Stroop SP-7: Incom T-65’s prequel.

This amazing idea was Robert C. Stroop’s brainchild, an obscure American designer of the Depression era. Stroop proposed his aircraft concept  to the USAAC in 1935 as a way to convine high maximum speed with decent low landing speeds. As we can observe in this drawing, it was a beautiful idea for a convertible aircraft. In cruising flight the machine worked just as any conventional monoplane of the era. The SP-7 wing was split in two halves in flight for take-off and landing, the upper part went upwards while the lower part downwards to form a sort of “X” biplane. The project was, maybe, too bold and was rejected by the USAAC. It seems it never left the Stroop’s drawing board.

By the way, SP-7 had a flying predecesor: the SP-6. More “X-winged” than the SP-7, the SP-6 was mentioned in Stroop’s USAAC letter, photos included. Glorious, my friends.

Charpentier C1: Tailess & Flightless..,almost.

Conceived in the early 1930’s, the little-known Charpentier C1 was an experimental flying wing trimotor (3 x 100CV Hispano-Suiza 6Pa). The unique prototype was built by the Société des Avions Caudron under a contract from Jean Charpentier. C1’s first steps in 1933 ended badly when it was damaged during high speed rolling test. Rebuilt later, it tried again in 1935… to be destroyed during its first flight attempt. After that the whole project disolved in the wind.

The top photo gives only a poor idea of the sheer beauty of this aircraft, but gladly model maker Stéphane Guerrero’s recreated it in this wonderful model.