DH Mosquito: “Atomic and Uranic Melancholic Idyll.”

Hard to be mistaken about the authorship of this piece. Lovely the anachronism of the definitely not-nuclear age Wooden Wonder.

“Idilio atómico y uránico melancólico”, Salvador Dalí (1945).


Lockheed T-33A T-Bird: Just Because (XLI).

Just like many Western Air Forces, The spanish Ejército del Aire put their trust for jet aircraft pilot training into the superb Shooting Star. This glorious-looking example was one of the more than 60 in service in Spain. It was part of the 101 Escuadrón (Manises), an iconic fighter unit equipped with the Sabre.

IMAM Romeo Ro.41: An italian charmer, after all.

This utterly italian biplane was conceived in the early 1930’s as a point defence interceptor. First flown in 1935, the Ro.41 soon proved to be a deliciously aerobatic aircraft and a fast climber. Sadly, it also proved to be a bit too small and underpowered compared with the already available CR.32. Its fighter career was condemned, but its qualities were just too good to pass. Turned into advanced training duties, the Ro.41 (single and two-seaters) became in fact one of the more produced design (more than 750) by the Italians at the time of WW2. Not only that, in the end they also saw a brief and modest service as night fighters in the war. As a note of its virtues, the production of the Ro.41 was retaken in 1949 and their service continued well into the 1950s.

Spain was with Hungary the only export customers: twenty-eight of them arrived during and soon after the Spanish Guerra Civil. Like the Italians, they saw a brief service as interceptors in Granada, yet their main activity was as advanced trainers.
With its “gull” upper wing, those neat Warrer struts and the teardrops festooned cowling, the Ro.41 was certainly a cute little thing. Regrettably devoid of its pretty wheel spats here; the roughness of the local terrain obliged.

Kawasaki Ka 87 (Do N): The child inside you.

The Versailles treaty and its draconian aviation dictats supposed the end of certain aircraft companies, but also sparkled the resourcefulness of others. The innovative Claude Dornier’s was one of the Latter. With their all-metal design to sell they decided in order to survive to produce outside Germany. One of the places chosen was Japan, a country hunger for leading edge technologies. In 1924 a licence production deal was struck with Kawasaki and Dornier himself toured the country lecturing.
The Do N was the first design offered to the Japanese. A design that was in fact really nothing more than a sort of land-based variant of their iconic Wal. Technicians, documents and some advanced parts and instruments were sent and production started in 1926. Twenty-eight of them, named Kawasaki Ka 87, were produced.

It could have be a really interesting aircraft to handle in crosswinds with that high wing and narrow landing gear. The Wal’s connection went further here in Spain to me. There was this famous toy of the “Plus Ultra” made in Ibi (Alicante) for quite a long time which reminds me the Do N.

AME VI: Pasarse de listo.

The Bristol Fighter in Spain, as everywhere, gave magnificent services. So why not improve it. Captains Bada and González Gil tried that precisely with their AME VI starting in 1924. Two prototypes were produced. Retaining the wing structure of the F.2B, they used a 300hp Hispano 8Fb engine lovely cowled and cooled by a pair of Lamblin “Lobster pot” radiators, some fuselage retouching and a totally new tail feathers. The result proved good enough for the authorities and 20 were eventually orderer. They served stating in 1926 at Melilla, North Morocco. Operated mixed with “real deal” F.2Bs, the AME VIs soon showed their inferiority. The survivors returned to Spain in 1927. They were posted to Getafe (Madrid) where they served in the Observers’s School until 1931.

Not many surviving photos of this not very pretty pretender. Be a smart-arse usually doesn’t pay.

Fiat G.50 Freccia: Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

The Freccia did indeed take part in the Spanish Guerra Civil, but just barely. The arrived at the end of 1938, when the war was drawing to close. In the last fortnight of the war the G.50s flew a number of high altitude patrols, but they encountered no Republican opposition. Furthermore, by then the number of “Russians” fighting was meagre. Let’s remember also not all Republicans were monolithic communists, anyway.

A truly stunning artwork nevertheless by the great Aldo Brovarone.