Northrop YB-49: Nuke Them All!!!

Jack Northrop’s out of this miserable world YB-49 “Flying Wing” on its way to nuke some Martians on the classic “The War of Worlds” 1953 movie. Archive images: flight testing of the sole remaining YB-49 prototype had ended three years before.

Some fireworks. Happy 4th of July.

Boeing 747-121: THE END.


The news many of us aviation enthusiasts have dreaded. Boeing reportedly will stop making their 747s for good after they’ll complete the last of the 15 aircraft currently on order. After more than five decades in production, the final 747 is expected to roll off the line in the next two years. The end of the four-engined widebody airliner era is completed with the announced A380’s production termination; a sad and ugly sales failure.

Pan Am‘s last years of splendour and the still young Jumbo in this charming 1979 ad. How time flies.

Stout 2-AT Pullman: Start me up.

The Stout 2-AT Pullman was the first of the “Tin Gooses”. Developed by William B. Stout from his previous 1-AS Air Sedan, the Pullman like its forebear was conceived taking notes of the seminal Junkers F.13. In configuration, this high-wing all metal monoplane was a more conservative design and employed the plentiful 400hp Liberty engine. First flown in 1924, it took part successfully next year at the Ford National Reliability Air Tour. That led the same year to their introduction into service with the newly formed Ford Air Transport Service (one of them here). And later to Ford’s acquisition of the design rights and the creation of the iconic Trimotor.

Close to my hard working fan. Summer is here to stay.

Boeing Skyfox: “This briefing is from file A56-7W. Classified”.

Originally proposed by the Skyfox Corporation in the early 1980s, this purposeful looking trainer was a drastic upgrade of the world-beating T-33 Shooting Star. Basically, the airframe suffered alterations which made its heritage almost unrecognisable and its prehistoric Allison J33 turbojet was replaced by a pair of eficient Garrett TFE731 turbofans. The T-Bird’s original designer, Irwin Culver, and some former Lockheed employees were involved in its conception. The idea was to sell it either as a fully equipped and complete aircraft or as a parts kit conversion. One prototype was completed and tested successfully, but found no takers. Boeing saw potential anyway and acquired the design rights in 1986. They enjoyed hardly better luck;  the whole project was cancelled in the early 1990s.

Couldn’t be more Eighties. Looking like an European-1 camouflaged bizjet in this Boeing Co. photo

Bell-MDD LHX: Man-Machine by the Superteam.

The Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX) program was a child of the 1980s intended to replace two workhorses of the US. Army: the Cobra and Kiowa. This ambitious program was won by Boeing-Sikorsky’s stunning RAH-66 Comanche, which became the main loser when the program was cancelled.
The Bell-McDonnell Douglas design contender featured a neat wing-sponson-weapon bays configuration and MDD’s signature NOTAR ducted exhaust system instead of a tail rotor.

Utterly Eighties’ poster. Reminds me one of those Atari video game covers.

Project Strato-Lab: Men are from Mars (V).

Project Strato-Lab was a nowadays little known high altitude balloon test program undertaken by the US. Navy during 1956-61. Five high flights, and some at lower altitude, were accomplished, in both open and pressurised gondolas. Sadly, the last one ended tragically with the death of a crew member.

Lieutenant Commander Malcolm D. Ross and astronomer Alfred Mikesell, pre-breathing before departing in one of the “low” altitude flights (in an open gondola) from the pit of a open iron mine outside Crosby, Minnesota, May. 1958. Weird and wonderful image

More photos and first hand data by Alfred Mikesell.