Lavochkin La-15: Against too much bad luck.

The nimble and slick La-15 entered service around the same time the MiG-15 did. Compared to the latter, the La-15 was smaller and was powered by the less powerful RD-500 (a RR Derwent copy). In service the design was well-loved by its crews, but suffered a series of accidents. One of the fatalities was a good friend of Stalin’s son…. In the end the Soviet AF decided to have just one interceptor model, and the MiG-15 was cheaper. Only circa 235 La-15s were built.

At first sight it looks a lot like the seminal Ta 183, a slender one. Kinda pretty too.

Lippisch Delta IM: Alpha of the Deltas.

Alexander Lippisch coined the name “Delta” and also had the honour of building the first practical delta wing aircraft. His Delta IM flew in 1931 as an evolution of his previous work on tailess gliders, and in particular as a powered version (30 hp Bristol Cherub III) of his Delta I. The result was both nimble and easy to handle as we can observe in this charming video. The only example built was destroyed in a 1933 crash, but the seed was already sown.

Photo: ©Alex Stocker.

Twelve O’Clock High: Sweating up the storm.

COVID-19 quarantine times here in Spain and I’ve taken the extra time to revisit old classics. Nothing to add to this monument of film; the US Library of Congress is totally right in its appraisal. Anyway, the pedantic in me has a hard time watching the anachronistic headgear wore by Gregory Peck, among others. The movie was based on 1942 events and for that the A-8B oxygen mask was correct, but the early A-11 flying helmet and B-8 goggles certainly not.

Do take care.

Langley Research Center: .. or Valencia right now.

1946. In view of the higher speeds attainable with jet engines the US. Navy decide to find what could happens when a subject suddenly encounter severe wind blast like the ones produced during emergency evacuations of aircraft at high speeds. Voluntary subjects were placed inside NACA Langley Research Center (Virginia) 8-foot wind tunnel and subjected to wind speeds up to 457 mph, beyond which human face damages were feared.

The subject is enjoying here a wind speed of 380 mph at an effective altitude of 4500 ft. I don’t need a wind tunnel today to experience such pleasures.