Spiral Air-Orbital Plane (VOS): 2nd to none.

Designed by a Mikoyan OKB-155 design team headed by Gleb Evgeniyevich Lozino-Lozinskiy, the Spiral (aerospace system) was a Soviet project created as a military orbital spaceplane in response to the American Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar. Ironically by the time the design was started (1965) the American project was already cancelled so after four years it was also stopped….to be initiated in the middle 1970s as a possible answer to the Space Shuttle. The project reached the hardware state with sub-scale orbital test models and a manned test vehicle to explore low-speed behavior, the MiG-105.

To no avail, in the end the Spiral was cancelled when the Soviet authorities decided to follow closely the American Space Shuttle concept. The Buran project was the result.

This clever GIF gives us an idea of its audacious configuration. The Spiral spaceplane with its attached  liquid fuel booster stage seats atop hypersonic jet mothership designed by the Tupolev OKB. That reusable mothership acted as the complex’s first stage which launched Spiral and its booster at high altitude.


Beriev Be-6: Resting Places (XV).

Abandoned at a former naval base near Mirny, Crimea.  This very Russian -or Ukrainian, you choose- picture gives us a clean view of this floatplane’s superb Shvetsov ASh-73W engines and their cool exhaust pipes.

For some “particular” reason a Be-6’s previous post is the most viewed of this humble blog of mine. More of the same, but this time all by itself. I know you won’t mind…

Ilyushin Il-62: A less than committed Kamerad.

The Il-62 and its similarity with to the British VC-10 stands out in this superb piece of ad art. Despite that the Il-62 was a totally original design. Its final configuration was dictated by studies of Central Aero-hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) and a careful development which took care of the various glitches.

Another piece of advertisement art of the Polish airline LOT.

Artist: Janusz Grabianski.

Belyaev DB-LK: Летучая мышь самолет…., sort of.

Branded under the deceiving name of DB-LK (long-range bomber-flying wing in Russian), this fuselage-less bomber prototype was built in the USSR in 1939. Designed by Viktor N. Belyayev, this unusual aircraft was conceived with two main objetives: reduce drag and optimize structural loads. With no fuselage the engine nacelles became also the crew stations, defensive turrets included. Of light alloy stressed skin construction and powered by a pair of powerful 1000hp M-88 engines, the DB-LK started its test flights in 1940. After suffering a ground accident, the design showed serious potential, but also some tricky handling issues due to centre of gravity sensibility. The German invasion and the availability of the no-nonsense Il-4 sealed the future of this startling machine. It was a time for no experiments.

Another aesthetically pleasing feature of the DB-LK was its forward swept outer wing sections, barely seen in this descriptive photo composition.

Polikarpov I-16: Vivement Dimanche !!

At first sight it seems a curious choice to employ a Soviet fighter to publicize an aviation competition of French extraction. Well, in fact  the Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe was all about speed and there was nothing compare to the I-16 fighter when it first appeared in the middle 1930’s. The first cantilever monoplane retractable undercarriage fighter to enter series production.
That the I-16 looked a lot like one of those American air racer of the era also helped.

Or maybe…