Tuesday, 24 December 2013

French flying boats of WWII - the Sud-Est SE.200 Ebay photo find #23

The Sud-Est SE.200 Amphitrite  (named after a Greek sea goddess)was a flying boat airliner built in France in the late 1930s, originally developed as the Lioré et Olivier LeO H-49 by the brilliant young Russian designer Paul (Pavel)Asantchéeff prior to the nationalisation of the French aircraft industry. Asantchéeff had been captured by the Germans at the end of WWI on the Baltic Front and arrived in France in 1920 after two years as a POW. After employment with Renault he was taken on at Villacoublay in the Breguet design office and went on to complete his studies in aeronautical engineering. As a Lioré et Olivier design engineer he specialised in large flying boats and led the SNCASE design bureau following the nationalisations of 1937. The SE 200 was a large, six-engine design powered by Gnome Rhone 14R radials with a high-set cantilever monoplane wing of 52 metres span and twin tails. It was developed in response to a French air ministry specification of 1936 for a transatlantic airliner for Air France with a range of 6,000 km (3,700 mi) and capacity for 20 passengers and 500 kg (227 lb) of cargo. Planned to enter service with Air France in 1942, the SE 200's six engines could in theory develop 9,000 hp at takeoff  and propel the 72 ton fully loaded machine at some 390 km/h making it one of the fastest flying boats ever constructed - however fuel payload at 42,000 litres was not sufficient to transport a planned 60 passengers from Biscarosse to New York (see Gerard Hartmann in "L'hydravion le plus rapide du monde...." )


Only three of the five SE.200s ordered were actually built (at Marignane, Marseilles). Work on them continued after the fall of France, along with a fourth and fifth machine now started. The first aircraft, christened  Rochambeau flew on 11 December 1942.Following testing, it was seized by the Germans and taken to the Bodensee (Lake Constance), where it was destroyed in an air-raid by RAF Mosquitos on 17 April 1944. A USAAF raid on Marignane on 16 September destroyed the second SE.200. Aircraft no. 3, coded F-BAIY made its maiden flight on 2 May 1946..on 30 July 1946 it flew a test flight at its maximum TOW of 70 tonnes...

SE 200 no. 3 at Berre in 1947. After three years of testing it made its last flight in October 1949, remaining on the water at Marignane until 1963, date of its scrapping

Friday, 13 December 2013

abgeschossener Engländer! Spitfire IIa 'YQ-D' P8500 of 616 Sqn - Missing 6.7.41. Sgt James McCairns Sq/Ldr. Geoff Stephenson N0. 19 Squadron Spitfire Mk 1a, Kurt Tank's Pulqui II Ebay photo finds #22

abgeschossener Engländer!  Another selection of ebay finds. Spitfire 'YQ-D' from 616 Squadron, Manston, probably along the Channel coast during the early summer of 1941, a Caproni Ca 133, a Bloch 155 and a couple of rare views of Kurt Tank and his Pulqui (a development of the Ta 183) in Argentine roundels..

Spitfire IIa 'YQ-D' P8500 - Missing 6.7.41. Sgt Jim McCairns crash landed his aircraft in a field at Gravelines near Dunkirk on 6.7.41. He was injured and became a POW. He escaped fron Stalag IXC and returned to England via Spain.  Below; 6 July 1941 P8500 YQ-D of 616 Sqn, Sgt James McCairns POW..

26 May 1940- a No.19 Squadron Spitfire I N3200 flown by Sq/Ldr. Geoff Stephenson shot down on the beach at Dunkirk. Stephenson was taken prisoner. The aircraft coded 'QV-' was shot down in combat and forced landed on the beach at Dunkirk. Pre-war Stephenson was a member of the R.A.F. aerobatic team, Squadron Leader of 19 Squadron, (Duxford) and was shot down over Dunkirk covering the evacuation. He spent the war in a number of German prison camps, making many escape attempts, and eventually was sent to Colditz Castle in Poland, the ultimate high security German prisoner of war camp. He was part of the team that built the famous Colditz glider. (In the 1930's, Stephenson was the first person to fly a glider across the English Channel.) He was also personal pilot to King George VI. He was killed on the 8th November 1954 whilst test flying a F-100A-10-NA Super Sabre of the U.S.A.F. at Eglin Air Force Base.  The aircraft went out of control and crashed before he could eject. http://www.ebay.de/itm/2WK-Foto-BRITISCHE-RAF-SPITFIRE-JAGDFLUGZEUG-NAHE-DUNKIRCHEN-1C161-/201003231130

Below;  Caproni Ca 133


Below;  Bloch 155


Kurt Tank (on the boarding ladder by the cockpit) and his Pulqui (a development of the Ta 183) in Argentine roundels..

any similarity to the MiG 15/17 series is purely coincidental

Friday, 6 December 2013

Jacques Guignard - from Spitfire to S.O. 9000 Trident to Concorde - maiden flight of Concorde, 2 March 1969


Concorde first flew on 2 March 1969 with André Turcat at the controls and Jacques Guignard in the co-pilot's seat (below, second left), the first flight lasting 29 minutes.

Above; Jacques Guignard - from Spitfire to Concorde or "  l'homme de tous les Trident " - lit. 'the Trident man'. From an article series on the Trident in Le Fana de l'Aviation 1975

Born on 18 June 1920 Jacques Guignard trained as a pilot in 1939 and fled to England in 1940 after the fall of France following the German invasion. He retrained as an RAF Spitfire pilot. According to Chris Ehrengardt in "Pilotes de chasse Français 1939-45" he made two claims while flying Spitfires with 340 Squadron (GC IV/2 'Ile de France')- shooting down a Fw 190 on 29 June 1944 and a Bf 109 during September 1944. Jacques Noetinger in his " Rigueur et Audace aux essais en vol " credits him with a Do 17 shot down over Dieppe on 19 August 1942. His war ended in late 1944 after 370 missions. He wrote about his experiences in England in an issue of ICARE magazine (issue no. 138). Looking ahead he had decided to re-train as a test pilot and in 1945 he was selected to train at the Empire Test Pilot School at Boscombe Down (ETPS). Returning to France - with an English wife who would die of illness only a few years later - he took up a career test-flying some of the weird and wonderful French prototypes of the late 1940s and 1950s. Having tested the Vautour extensively he was at the controls for the first flight of the mixed jet powerplant and SEPR rocket-powered S.O. 9000 Trident at Melun-Villaroche on 2 March 1953 - a simple, light, 'cigar-shaped' point-interceptor 'fighter' potentially capable of Mach 2, with short straight wings of zero dihedral and sweep-back designed by Lucien Servanty. The SEPR rocket technology was based on German research and designed to assist takeoff and boost climb performance when the aircraft was scrambled in pursuit of enemy bombers. Another significant new feature of the Trident was the tailplane which comprised three entirely 'mobile' surfaces set at 120 degree angles to each other enabling the designer to dispense with the classic aileron/rudder/stabiliser configuration. The entire cockpit section detached from the aircraft where the pilot required to 'eject'. Followed from the ground by a radio car on the first flight, Guignard was heard to utter a laconic "ça vole.. its flies.." and once back on the  ground stated, " I don't know what it was like to fly..I never touched anything!"..While the aircraft was fitted with ailerons for the first twelve test flights, these were subsequently deleted in favour of the powered all-moving tail surfaces. Guignard went on to demonstrate the aircraft at the Le Bourget Salon in 1953 - as reported in Flight International, below - before a near-fatal crash on 01 September 1953..


SO.9000 Trident

Above;  the 're-designed' SO. 9050 Trident II 006 'M' on the runway at Istres.

 In a coma for ten days, his injuries were so severe his surgeons gave him just hours to live. By some miracle he pulled through but  it was 18 months before he was back in a cockpit but although he had not fully regained the use of his legs he went on to demonstrate a pre-series Vautour at the 1955 Le Bourget Salon. Guignard crashed in the Trident (for a second time) at Istres in 1956 but escaped unscathed as the cockpit section detached from the rest of the aircraft. After gaining several climb to altitude records during April 1958 (45,700 feet in 2 mins 37 secs from a standing start)  the Trident programme was terminated in favour of the Mirage III. With the fusion of various French aviation companies into 'Sud-Aviation' Guignard's next major test programme was on the Caravelle, all of which served during the long and painstaking preparations for the first flight of the Concorde. Jacques Guignard was on the flight deck that took Concorde aloft over Toulouse on 2 March 1969 - 'la une' (the front page) of  Paris Match below. By this stage he had over 7,000 flight hours in his logbook of which 5,000 had been testing and retirement beckoned.. He passed away during the night of 11/12 October 1988.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

more Italian types on Ebay, Hungarian Caproni Ca.135, SM. 66 - daily photo find #21

Caproni Ca.135 - medium bomber, one of the winner's of the 'R' Plan conceived by General Valle - Chief of Staff of the Regia Aeronautica- to modernise the Italian air force in the early-mid 1930s. If the Br. 20 was  the 'Italian Mitchell' then the Caproni Ca. 135 with its low fuselage more resembled the B-26 Marauder. However , given the Regia Aeronautica preference for three-engined bombers (eg, the Cant 1007 and SM. 79) the Ca 135 never actually served with units of the Italian air force and became a machine destined for export service only. Of a total of 150 built, about 100 were supplied to the Hungarians (image below) and attached to the German Luftflotte IV seeing service on the Eastern Front.


Above; Savoia Marchetti SM 66, three-engined twin-float seaplane with capacity for eighteen passengers, a larger development of the SM. 55, one of the most highly publicised aircraft of the late 1920s, renowned for its transatlantic crossings at a time when such an event was a hazardous undertaking. Operated a commercial service with Ala Littoria on the Rome-Cagliari-Tripoli route during 1932, cruising speed 152 mph and a range of 750 miles. Fiat A. 22R twelve cylinder vee engines driving four-bladed pusher props.


pre-war Junkers airliners Ju 160 Deutsche Lufthansa - daily Ebay photo find #20

Ju 160 D-UGAZ, D-UQOR & He70 D-UBOX


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Fiat-BR-20-Cicogna - Ebay photo find #19

The BR. 20 “Cicogna” (“Stork”) was designed by Celestino Rosatelli (BR = Bomber Rosatelli) to a 1934 specification for a twin-engine medium bomber for the RA. Although barely in service with the Regia Aeronautica in 1937, the Fiat BR. 20 was pressed into combat service with Spanish Nationalist forces in the summer of 1937 which is where it saw the majority of its combat service. Deployed to counter the growth of the Republican Air Force, the type also saw action when Mussolini invaded southern France.


Fokker Eindecker victory Tournai Belgium 1916 - Ebay photo find #18

Seller's caption reads "1.WK deut. Flugzeug in Tournai auf Feldflugplatz Belgien Wallonien Hennegau 1916" - German WWI aircraft on a Belgian airfield, Tournai 1916. Fokker Eindecker responsible for the downing of an RAF type. Note the German fighter in the background in the last image. Click on the images to view large.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

SNCAC 150 rare French prototype captured by the Germans - Ebay photo find #17 -Rare Birds (3)

Another unusual French type on ebay.de - obviously a prototype I imagined. I suspected the CAO 700...but that's got a big round nose and four engines....as 'Gastounet' on ww2aircraft.net  pointed out it is the " SNCAC 150, prototype of a high altitude bomber, destroyed when France was invaded..  "

The SNCAC or "Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre " was established in the mid-1930s during the French aircraft indutry rationalisations in the merger between Farman Aviation Works and Hanriot. The new company inherited Farman's experience in high-altitude research, and this research continued. In 1937, it proposed a pressurised transatlantic mailplane derivative of the Farman F.223.3 bomber, this being developed into the unpressurised NC.223.4 transport, of which three were built for Air FranceSNCAC continued work on high-altitude aircraft, proposing two pressurised bombers in 1938. The first, the NC.140, was a four-engined bomber using the wings of the Farman F.223.3 but was quickly abandoned in favour of the smaller, twin-engined NC.150. The NC.150 was a mid-winged monoplane with a retractable tailwheel undercarriage which was designed to make maximum use of non-strategic materials such as wood. The wings were of mixed construction, with a metal centre-section, and wood outer wings that had metal spars, wooden ribs and plywood skinning. Similarly, the fuselage had wooden forward and aft fuselage section connecting to the metal centre section, while the twin tail was of wooden construction with plywood skinning. It was to be powered by two Hispano-Suiza 12Y V12 engines, with power being maintained at high altitudes by using a single three-stage supercharger driven by a separate Hispano-Suiza 12X engine mounted in the fuselage.SNCAC began work on two prototypes as a private venture in 1938. These two prototypes were not to be fitted with cabin pressurisation, although this was planned for a third prototype. The French Air Ministry placed an order for the two prototypes on 24 April 1939, with the second aircraft to carry full armament. The first prototype, designated NC.150.01, made its maiden flight from Toussus-le-Noble on 11 May 1939.Meanwhile, the French Air Ministry had become worried about possible delays to the  Lioré et Olivier LeO 45 and Amiot 354 twin-engined bombers which were planned to re-equip the medium bomber squadrons of the Armée de l'Air caused by shortages of light alloys, and after successful testing in early 1940, ordered a change of plans. Pressurisation was to be abandoned, and the unusual central supercharger with its dedicated engine (known as the "bi-tri" concept) was to be replaced by individually supercharged engines. Two production versions were planned, the NC.152, powered by Hispano-Suiza engines, and the NC.153, with imported American  radial engines.Development was stopped, however, by France's surrender to Germany in June 1940, both the second and third prototypes being abandoned before completion.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sukhoi T-50 walkaround -Soviet fifth generation stealth in new colour scheme

Arrival of the fifth flying prototype T-50 serial '055' in Gromov Flight Research Institute (November 20, 2013) wearing new non-splinter camo scheme. Stills from video footage posted on youtube, double click to view here...

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A visit to the Bristol Aeroplane Co. Filton - pre-war colour film footage

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