Entries by Cayley

Junkers G 38

Throughout his career German designer Hugo Junkers toyed with ideas for a “flying wing” – an aircraft without a fuselage or tail, with passengers, crew, and engines housed within the wing alone. The thick-winged four-engine G 38 airliner was the closest he came to building one. This was in many ways a typical Junkers all-metal design, with a multi-spar wing and corrugated […]

Taylor Aerocar

The Aerocar was the most successful attempt yet to produce a “flying car” — a vehicle that could be both driven on the road and flown. The brainchild of US designer, Moulton B Taylor, the Aerocar first appeared in October 1949. It comprised a small car and a one-piece structure incorporating wings, tail section, and propeller. With wings folded, this structure could be […]

MAcCready Gossamer Albatross

The Grossamer Albatross captured headlines in 1979 when it made the first human-powered fligh across the English Channel. Designed hy American engineer Dr Paul MacCready, the aircraft used pedal-power to drive its large, two-bladed propeller. Appropriately, it was piloted by an amateur cyclist, Bryan Allen, who made the 22 miles and 453 yards crossing in two hours and 49 minutes, at a […]

Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik

The Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik ground-attack aircrafl was produced in greater numbers than any other aeroplane in history – at least 35,952 were made. Crudely built as an expendable item, it was not designed to be taken apart or extensively repaired. For mximum protection during ground-attack operations, the crew and engine were enclosed in a “bathub” of heavy armour plate, to which the […]

Yokosuka Ohka

Essentially a piloted flying bomb, the romantically named Ohka (“Cherry Blossom”) was the only aircraft ever designed exclusively for suicide missions. It was deployed as part of the kamikaze campaign being mounted by Japanese pilots against Allied warships in the last year of the war. Based on an original suggestion by Japanese naval transport pilot, Mitsuo Ohta, the Ohka was a rocket -propelled […]

North American XB-70 Valkyrie

When it was rolled out on 11 May 1964, the first prototype of North American’s XB-70 six-engine Mach 3 strategic bomber was the most expensive, most powerful, longest, and heaviest aeroplane ever built. It had six engines housed in a box structure beneath the delta wing, In flight, the wingtips could be lowered up to 65 degrees to contain the airflow under […]

Antoinette Monobloc

French aviation pioneers often favoured elegance and ingenuity over plain practicality. The Société Antoinette produced a series of aesthetically satisfying, technically advanced monoplanes designed by engineer and former artist Léon Levavasseur. Sadly, they did not  always fulfil their promise. The Antoinette IV, the company’s first monoplane, famously failed to cross the Channel in July 1909, ditching instead in the sea. It was the pilot on that […]

Sopwith Tabloid

First built in 1913 when all speed records were held by monoplanes, the Sopwith Aviation Company’s triumphant Tabloid racer proved that a biplane could be first as well as robust. Originally a two-seat landplane powered by an 80-hp Gnome engine, the Tabloid’s performance proved so promising that Tom Sopwith decided to enter it for the 1914 Schneider Trophy seaplane race. However, the necessary […]

Tupolev Tu-22M

The sharp-featured Tu-22M was probabh the most effective strategic bomber produced by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Tu-22M’fl most distinctive feature was its variable-geometry “swing- wing”, popular in the 1960s as a way of reconciling the demands of supersonic flight wit the need for decent performance in both take-off and landing. The bomber’s engines were mounted side-by-side in the rear fuselage, and were […]