Monday, 3 May 2010

Republic XF-84H

The experimental Republic XF-84H (s/n 51-17060) in flight in 1955/56. Two F-84Fs were converted into mixed powerplant experimental aircraft and only two pilots ever flew them, the first one quitting after just one flight. Of the twelve test flights flown, ten developed into full-blown emergencies. Each aircraft had been fitted with an Allison XT40-A-1 turboprop engine of 5,850 shaft horsepower (4,365 kW) driving a paddle-bladed prop in an ultimately ill-conceived attempt to see whether a prop could go close to supersonic and thus help solve some of the problems asscociated with early jets, principally their slow-to-accelerate requirement for very long runways. Ground crews dubbed the XF-84H the "Thunderscreech" due to the horrendous noise levels generated by prop blades spinning at Mach 1.71. Often described as the fastest prop aircraft of all time, this is manifestly incorrect since the Russian Tu-95 Bear turboprop bomber is much faster ...although probably not quieter.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Bloch MB 200 and 210 - last edit June 2015

The MB.200 was a French bomber aircraft of the 1930s designed and built by the Societé des Avions Marcel Bloch. A twin-engined high-winged monoplane with a fixed undercarriage, over 200 MB.200s were built for the French Air Force, and the type was also licence built by Czechoslovakia. However it was soon obsolete, and had largely been phased out by the start of WWII. The Bloch MB.200 was designed in response to a 1932 requirement for a new day/night bomber to equip the French Air Force. It was a high-winged all-metal cantilever monoplane, with a slab-sided fuselage, powered by two Gnome-Rhône 14K radial engines. It had a fixed tailwheel undercarriage and featured an enclosed cockpit for the pilots. Defensive machine guns were in nose and dorsal gun turrets and a under fuselage gondola.

The first of three prototypes flew on 26 June 1933. As one of the winning designs for the competition, (the other was the larger Farman F.221), an initial order for 30 MB.200s was placed on 1 January 1934, the type entering service late in that year. Further orders followed, and the MB.200 equipped 12 French squadrons by the end of 1935. Production in France totalled over 200 aircraft

See rare shots of captured German 'Beute' Blochs on this blog here

Successor to the Bloch 200, the first all-metal bomber in service with the Armée de l'Air, the Bloch 210 enjoyed an indifferent reputation, mainly as a result of its unreliable and under-powered Gnome-Rhône K-14 engines. It was nevertheless the first "modern" French bomber and was equipped with a retractable landing gear. The type saw service in some twelve bombardment groups during the campaign of May-June 1940 before more modern types arrived rather too late. Currently working on a new title devoted to this type to be published by LeLa Presse. The Bloch 210 - new from Lela Presse

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