NAA X-15: Above and Beyond the “Heat Barrier”.

Descriptive video taken in a supersonic/hypersonic wind tunnel of the effects of aerodynamic heating in an unprotected aircraft shape. These studies were primordial in the development of the hypersonic NAA X-15.

Yeah, in need of some of that heat right now & right here.


NAA F-107A: Resting Places (XIV).

Taken at the Tallmantz Museum (Santa Ana, California) in 1970 this photo shows us the sad state of the first prototype of three F-107A‘s completed at that time. Gladly, this historical aircraft is currently on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum (Tucson, Arizona) properly restored and cared.

The “Ultra Sabre” had some cool companions:  a rare JF-101A Voodoo, a Sabre and a Snark cruise missile, if I’m not very mistaken.

Photo: © R.A.Scholefield.

Vought XTBU-1 Sea Wolf: US Industrial might at work.

The XTBU-1 was the XTBF-1 (Avenger‘s prototype) “losing” rival for the US Navy 1940 torpedo bomber contract. Even though the Sea Wolf came second in the contest, Vought design showed such performances and potential the Navy ordered its further development. The company by then with their hands full with their troublesome Corsair fighters decided to sell their TBU design to Consolidated. In the end only 189 would be produced due to technical and production problems which caused huge delays. Designated TBY-2, only two mere squadrons were in the process of preparation to deploy overseas when “V-J Day” came.

Gorgeous profile photo of the Sea Wolf’s first prototype. To say it was purposeful-looking aircraft is a serious understatement. I do love its long, long greenhouse cockpit canopy.

Piasecki CH-21C: Banana G.I. Joes.

The CH-21C Shawnee was the US. Army troop carrying variant of a design originally conceived by Piasecki as an Arctic rescue helicopter for the USAF.  This tandem rotor design, Piasecki’s speciality, had also that peculiar shape which gave Piasecki’s choppers the sobriquet “Flying Bananas”.  First flown in 1952, these robust piston-engined helicopters saw service with quite a few countries in various roles, both military an civilian. They were trusty assets, but still lacked sophistication and light and powerful turbine engines.

Superb -as usual- LIFE magazine photo of South Vietnam Army (ARVN) soldiers ready to board some US. Army “Bananas”. Yeah, I know, no American G.I. Joes here. Hey, I could not resist the word game with Bud Spencer’s movie.