Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress: Cheyenne!!

Incredibly stunning view the pair of stings in the rear end of a late B-17G. This improved tail turret, the so-called “Cheyenne” tail turret, was developed by the United Air Lines’ modification center at Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I do prefer the older one, but…


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.

Bf 110 or Ju 87B: The Dandiest Bordschütze.

Not 100% sure about this gunner’s aircraft. Anyway, that MG 15 machine gun and the canopy structure reflected in his early Nitsche und Günther Splitterschutzbrille googles looks a lot like the one in the Bf 110 or even the “Bertha” Stuka. All in all, he wears the typical Luftwaffe mid-war head gear. Quite similar to this Jäger.

Thomas-Morse R-5: “So the last will be first..”

In 1922 the United States Army Air Service (USAAS) put the requirement for a racing aircraft design to take part in the already famous Pulitzer Trophy Race. The Thomas-Morse company answered with this advanced all-metal parasol monoplane powered by a 600hp Packard 1A-2025 engine. Two R-5s were produced and both took part in the 1922 Pulitzer. With not very bright results: they finished last and next-to-last. The USAAS found nevertheless the right usage for them though. They were destroyed during static structural tests.

Unmistakable the style of Douglas Rolfe in this drawing. Part of Rolfe’s “Air Progress” series of the 1950’s, later reedited in this marvellously abused book. By the way, the information is wrong; it corresponds to the US.Navy Thomas-Morse MB-7 racer of 1921.

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.