RAF B-type flying helmet/D-type oxygen mask: Modellers needed.

I know there are other similar British propaganda posters made with “gun” and “ship” instead of “plane”, but the kid in me can’t resist the pun.

Primitively cool early-WW2 RAF headgear.

Photo. IWM.


Fairey Gannet T.2: Character in spades.

The spectacularly intricate nose affair of the Gannet. In this case a T.2 (the dual-control trainer of anti-submarine AS.1) preserved at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry.

Intakes and more intakes for the Double Mamba turbojet engine, and its neatly presented contra-rotating propellers. Utterly British.

Photo: © June 2014 Siteseen Ltd.

Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/Trop: Because the Night.

Like Patti Smith’s song my relation with the Black 6 has always been a torrid one, I must confess. So imagine my shock when I’ve discovered tonight a bunch of stupendous photos taken during an engine night run. These photos have just been published in the highly recommendable Me 109/ Black 6 Facebook place. They’ve been so kind to allow me to share one of them in here. Muchas gracias, my friends.

With her heart burning bright. This is by far my favourite.

Fairey Barracuda Mk II: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

The Fairey Barracuda was designed in the late 1930s to answer a 1937 “TSR”(Torpedo-Spotter-Reconnaissance) aircraft requirement. Basically an up-to-date monoplane to replace a pair of venerable biplanes: the Albacores and Swordfish. The Barracuda didn’t enter service until 1943 due to its technical complexity, engine choice doubts and their resultant protracted development. Built in substantial number (2,600), they soon became a worthy mainstay of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA)…..with some reservations. During service the type “earned” a questionable reputation. The fact that the FAA felt (true in most cases) they usually received second class equipment didn’t help. It was also hard to replace an aircraft of Swordfish’s legendary status, specially with such a demanding and, at times, downright dangerous machine.

The weird anatomy of the Barracuda splendidly portrayed by Charles E. Brown. With its high wing equipped with its idiosyncratic Fairey-Youngman flaps and awkward strutted horizontal stabilizer it was hard to confuse The Barracuda with any other aircraft. It’s an old favorite of mine.

“Mayfield Kestrel”: Larger than Life (V).

-“So, this is it at last, is it? The Mayfield Kestrel.”
-“Until we can think of a better name.”

Here we go again. The inmortal MH434 masquerading here as British 1935 most advanced fighter design in the superb Poirot ITV series. A govern official in this episode (season 1/episode 8) asked how does the “Kestrel” compare to the Bf 109….Well, a Spitfire IX should have been more than able to handle a 1935 Messer.

The MH434’s brief appearance stole the show, as usual.

Fairey-Reed propellers: At the sharp and twisted end.

The American Dr. S. Albert Reed filed in March 1921 a patent for a metallic screw propeller. From that patent Reed developed a series of twisted solid duralumin propellers designed for both durability and efficiency. For a few years, and until the arrival of more modern designs, these neat “thin blades” were the leading edge of aviation technology. Reed, deservedly, received the Collier Trophy in 1925.
The use of the Reed propeller proved to be essential to increase aircraft’s overall performances specially in extracting the most of high-power engines. The British Fairey aviation company knew that so they bought licence production rights. The British triumph at Schneider Trophy was a clear example of their virtues.

I’ve always been very fond of this delicate looking, and shiny, props.