Dassault Mirage IIIEE: Just Because (XXXIV).

Just back from my parents’ town. How I still remember the roar of those “Planchetas” breaking over my school prior to land on the Manises AB.

Flying high and sleek. The Ejército del Aire IIIEEs were not the most flamboyantly dressed Mirage IIIs around, the so-called “Cruz de San Andrés” apart.


CASA C-201 Alcotán: Going backwards, badly.

And with the Alcotán (Kestrel) we arrived at the end -from the beginning- of Spanish’s Franco transport aircraft autarchy dreams. This design was conceived in the mid/late-1940s as a sort of light multirole twin-engined military aircraft. First flown in early 1949, the Alcotán was basically a mid-1930s aircraft which arrived fifteen years too late. During the test flights the design also proved to be less than startling. Anyway, those were the lesser of its problems. It was the poor state of development of the Spanish aviation ancillary industry, mainly props and engines, the cause of Alcotán’s demise. Notwithstanding that a production of almost a hundred airframes(!) was completed in 1955. Of them only a pre-serie of twelve were fully completed and flew with various engines, both local and foreign. The debacle ended mercifully in the early 1960s when the government monetary compensated CASA and then scrapped the poor Alcotanes.

One of the flying dozen was evaluated by the Escuela de Paracaidistas (Paratroopers School)…. they didn’t like it even before this happened. Poor little thing.

Dassault Mirage F1EE: Rainbow Warriors.

Two of the twenty-two F1EEs acquired in the early 1980s by the Ejército del Aire (Spanish AF). These quite advanced fighters with their characteristic “Azul Marino” air superiority livery were used to equip the 462 esquadrón based at Gando, in the paradisiacal “Islas Afortunadas”, the Canary Islands. Summer time mood, my friends.

Gorgeous pilot’s Gueneau Type 316G helmet, with its neat Ulmer Type 82M oxygen mask.

Metropolitan & Carvair: Diametrically opposed at first sight.

The two disparate worker bees of this Spanish charter airline during the 1960s. One of the three Metropolitans acquired second-hand which became the first pressurised airlines of the company and one of the two DC-4s converted by Aviation Traders into pedestrian Carvairs by Aviaco’s order.

Neat and clever publicity art in the “AVIÓN” magazine. I find quite irresistible the stylist design chosen for the CV-440 compared with the realistic drawing of the Carvair.

Dassault Mirage IIIC: ¡¡BRAVÍSIMO!!

Nope, not an illegal imitation. The Spanish Bruguera publishing company bought in 1968 the rights of “Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure” among other Franco-Belgian cartoons and they used their “Revista Juvenil Bravo” magazine to distribute them in Spain. As an aside, the Spanish Ejército del Aire (AF) bought later the real deal.

The artist of this very decent cover was Edmond (Edmond Fernández Ripoll). A few of these old “tebeos” were, gladly, still at hand when I was a kid. Happy times.

CASA C-202A Halcón: Do not call self-sufficiency what is just misery.

This dumpy aircraft was another product of General Franco’s autarky postwar policy. This program started in the last part of the 1940s as a refinement of the Previous Alcotán, designed both by Pedro Huarte-Mendicoa. Contrary to the Alcotán, it had tricycle landing gear an its unpressurized cabin could accommodate fourteen-eighteen passengers. Following the autarky policy it was intended to be powered by a pair of indigenous 775hp EMMASA Beta B.4 radial engines. The lack of development of the latter forced the first prototype to be powered with a bizarre sort of mongrel engine which combined parts old 840hp Wright Cyclone taken from Iberia retired DC-2’s and parts of B.4. Its maiden flight on 1952 (60 years ago yesterday) proved the good qualities of the airframe and the dubious ones of the power plants. The second prototype flew two years later with the intended Betas, but it soon became obvious the troublesome Spanish engines had no future. An order (20) was placed anyway by the Spanish AF, but in the end only the two prototypes were produced. The 1st prototype was later reengined and aerodynamically cleaned out thanks to the interest of an American company; no orders followed.

We could see the lines of the later Azor in this neat photo of the 1st prototype taken at Getafe (Madrid) just after being roll out of it assembly hangar. The pair of wheels units in front landing gear were provided by another aircraft; the Halcón employed a single wheel, which was still not available….