Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde: Açò es mel de romer!!

Tonight is “la Plantá” here in Valencia, the first official day of the Fallas. Not a particular fan of these fiestas -to the “non-fallero” Valencians the Fallas could be quite insufferable-, but from time to time you can enjoy real pieces of art like this one. This British Airways Concorde duplicate was the main theme of the Plaça de l’Ajuntament (País Valencià then) falla of 1981.

Artist: Vicente Luna.


Cañete HACR Pirata: All too Spanish (III).

Antonio Cañete Heredia was a Spanish military pilot and engineer who in the early 1920s designed and built a successful glider flying boat, the Gaviota (Gull). Emboldened by the experience took the logical next step. His Pirata (Pirate) or “Hidro Antonio Cañete de Reconocimiento” (HACR) was conceived as a military recon parasol wing, single-engined flying boat. Due to the crude state of metallurgy industry in Spain, Cañete was forced to use galvanised iron in the main structure; wood and fabric was employed in the rest.
Powered by a locally built 450 hp Elizalde-Lorraine, the Pirata made its maiden flight in the summer of 1927 with its designer on board as an observer. During its tests the Pirata proved to be a sound design, but it was not to be. Lack of money -the usual Spanish curse- or the already available Dornier Wal sealed its possible future. Only this prototype was built.

It was undeniably a slick effort.

SFCA Maillet 21: Quel bizarre effort.

This strange aeroplane was the product of the little known Société Francaise de Constructions Aéronautiques (SFCA). That French company had inherited a design called the Maillet-Nening MN-A from its recently deceased designer: André Maillet. From it they developed their first product, the Maillet 20 in 1935. Only two of this all-wooden three-seat monoplane tourer were produced, but the Armée de l’Air saw something in the design and bought 30 examples of an improved trainer version under the name Maillet 201.
The Maillet 21 was sort of prototype made rebuilding the still unbuilt second Maillet 20. The main peculiarity of this model was its cockpit disposition: the pilot was placed at the rear on araised seat yet the forward glazing was lowered to lay flush with the forward fuselage. From this prototype SFCA manufactured a short production serie equipped with a retractable undercarriage under the name of Maillet-Lignel 20.

The Maillet 21 in all its eccentric splendor. Photo taken at the 1935 Hélène Boucher Cup race, a race for female pilots. The 21 was no slouch; Claire Roman finished second at its helm. The Spanish Republicans bought this monoplane later and it was devoured by the Spanish Guerra Civil cauldron.

Hispano Aviación HA-1112 K1L: The Great Pretender (V).

The “Jotas” are still fooling people. Not the first time I saw this particular image taken from the movie “Der Stern von Afrika” of 1957 passed as the real deal. Quite understandable. Not only because the Jota looks the part,… that original 7,92mm Rheinmetall MG-15 machine gun with its lovely spider sight sure helps.

Una preciosidad de foto.

YB-36, B-29 and a Buchón: Strange companions.

A Hispano Aviación HA-1112 M1L in its authentic Ejército del Aire (Spanish AF) colors sharing tarmac space with some of Strategic Air Command (SAC) huge irons at the old Air Force Museum (Wright-Patterson AFB) in the late 1960’s.  One of them is the second Peacemaker built, YB-36 (42-13571) -rebuilt as a RB-36E. This prototype was he original Peacemaker selected for display at the old Air Force Museum premises. For not disclosed reason, it was actually not moved to the new museum premises. Even worst, 42-13571 was scrapped…with a bulldozer. Sinful to say the very least. The sad remains still linger on Walter Soplata’s farm. The one now displayed in the new museum was flown to the site of the new museum in 1959 and was the last flight of a B-36.