Dassault Mirage IIIV: Tout à fait Froggy.

The IIIV was the French VTOL tour the force of the 1960’s produced to fulfil a NATO VTOL strike fighter specification. Preceded by the smaller Balzac, the supersonic Mirage IIIV was twice as big, but shared the same basic engine configuration with 8 lifting turbofan and a main engine. The two prototypes built started its test program in early 1965. Sadly, the second prototype was lost in Nov. 1966 and that, with the previous Balzac accidents, put an end to this bold and risky program. It never reached its full potential, a pity.

The magnificent first prototype here in the good company of two of its illustrious fellow “countrymen”: an early AZU Fourgonnette and the always precious Citroën DS “Déesse”.

A-90 Orlyonok: Under its ground effect’s spell.

The “Eaglet” was, maybe, not the more espectacular of the Soviet ekranoplans (ground effect aircraft), but in my humble opinion is the sleekest and the more charming. This amphibious ekranoplan was designed as transport, specially for beach assault operations. Sadly, like others of its gender only a few (5) were built.

This drawing depicts beautifully the engine configuration of the A-90. Cruise power was provided by the mighty Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprop placed high in the tail. The aircraft also carried a pair of Kuznetsov NK-8-4K turbofan engines inside the forward fuselage fed by a pair of nose intakes. The exhaust of those turbofans were along the side of the fuselage and its thrust was defected under the wings to produce the necessary increased lift and power for take-offs.

Arwork from “The Threat In The 1980s” DIA exhibit.

Robey-Peters Gun-Carrier: “Looks Ma, no fear!!”.

This three-seater armed tractor biplane was constructed by Robey and Co under the design of J.A. Peters to carry the Admiralty-sponsored Davis recoiless gun. The more remarkable feature of this 240 hp Roll-Royce powered aircraft was its crew members disposition. The two gunners were located each in a nacelle faired into the upper wings where they manned their Davis guns, while the pilot was placed bizarrely in a cockpit towards the very rear of the fuselage just ahead of the fin. Two examples were ordered by the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS) in May 1916, but in the end all came to naught when the first prototype crashed in its very first flight in May 1917.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 V18/U1: Such a Knockout.

It was soon obvious what was the main shortcoming of the Fw 190: lack of real high altitude performance. As early as 1941, various solution were studied to solve it featuring mainly new power plants with better superchargers and even the use of turbochargers. The C-series was conceived to follow the later approach. A bunch of prototypes were built, but in the end they proved too complicated and finicky. The D-series, with liquid cooled Jumo 312, proved to be the best option.

The Fw 190 V18/U1, the first real C-series prototype, in all its glorious splendour. This prototype was powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 603G engine. That not very refined ventral “pouch” fairing housed the DVL TK 11 turbocharger installation.  Easy to understand why it was nicknamed the Kanguruh (Kangaroo).

By the way, this is my favourite Würger.

Caudron P.V. 200: Le Bossu de Guyancourt.

The ugly ducking was a touring amphibian conceived in the early 1930’s. Hard to find something more clumsy. Don’t know why its designer,  l’ingénieur Pierre de Viscaya, didn’t choose a boat-shaped fuselage instead of floats: its high mounted wing and 100 hp Renault 4 Pci  pusher engine should have allowed easily that configuration. The P.V.200 appeared in the Paris Air Salon of 1932, but not surprisingly, It never turned into a swan. Only this prototype was produced.

Charming in its own very particular way. Don’t you thing so?

Arado Ar 231: Der Kinder Surprise.

The smart Ar 231 was an ultra light-weight floatplane conceived in the early WW2 years to be carried and operated from submarines. Its main unusual feature was an offset wing design to enable its two wing panels to fold aft flat in its watertight stowage tube without interfering with each other, the inner section was designed on a slant so the right wing was in fact lower than the left. Tested thoroughly during 1940, the design couldn’t get over its inherent fragility, lack of power and awful air/seaworthiness qualities. Only a bunch of prototypes were built.

At any rate, a superbly elegant failure with some clever engineering behind it.

Chu CJC-3A: Chu-Chu-Chu !!!

This is the second experimental helicopter designed by the Chinese Major-General Chu, and the first one built in Formosa (Taiwan) after the Communists total occupation of mainland China. Powered by a 190 hp Lycoming engine, this tiny tandem rotor CJC-3 began its tests in 1952 and was a more ambitious effort influenced by Piasecki‘s technology. Only one prototype was built; the CJC-3A designation was given to it when upgraded in 1956.

Maybe not pretty, but neat anyway.