Entries by Cayley

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

The Boeing B-29 was the aircraft that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The most advanced bomber to enter service in World VVar II, it surpassed all its predecessors in range, speed, payload, and the comfort it accorded its crew. Its pressurized and heated cabins completely transformed the experience of high-altitude bombing missions. Except for a manned tail turret, the aircraft’s […]

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

When it first appeared in 1954, the super-fast, lightweight F-104 Starfighter was dubbed “the missile with a man in it”. Designed by Lockheed’s Kelly Johnson, it was both small and simple – indeed, F-104s were memorably described by journalist Tom Wolfe as “chimneys with little razor-blade wings”. The first combat aircraft capable of sustaining speeds above Mach 2, the Starfighter had an […]

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 […]

Polikarpov I-16

The Soviet Union’s I-16 Ishak (“Little Donkey”) was the world’s first single-seat, low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with a retractable undercarriage – the formula that was to dominate the remainder of the piston-engine era. Remarkably, its designer, Nikolai Polikarpov, worked as a prisoner in Stalin’s Gulag, having been denounced for “sabotage” over alleged slow progress in aircraft development. The I-16 was one of […]

Boeing 767

The workhorse of the transatlantic route, the Boeing 767 also claims the curious merit of being the world’s most slender widebody. It made its mark on commercial aviation by pioneering the now-routine Extended Twin Operating Procedures (ETOPS). ETOPS is an International Civil Aviation ruling permitting twin-engined commercial aeroplanes to fly routes that, at some points, are more than 60 minutes flying time from an […]

Northrop YB-49

Throughout his career, imaginative American designer Jack Northrop believed that the ultimate in aircraft development would be a “flying wing”, with neither fuselage nor tail. DuringWorldWar II his company developed the massive XB-35 all-wing piston-engined bomber, but by the lime it flew in 1946 the jet era had arrived. Northrop then built two jet – powered versions of the bomber, designated YB- […]

Boeing Model 307 Stratoliner

The Boeing 307 Stratoliner was the world’s first airliner to have a pressurized passenger cabin. This meant that it couId fly in the cloudless blue of the stratosphere, high above the turbulent weather that had previously so often made flight a trying experience for passengers. The 307 was created as a spin-off of Boeing’s top military project, the development of which would become […]

English Electric Canberra

The RAF retired its last three English Electric Canberras on 28 July 2006 after more than 55 years’ service. No wonder the Canberra is regarded as one of the most successful of all Britain’s military aircraft. Designed by E.W. Petter, the Canberra was the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) first jet bomber. In concept it resembled the famous World War […]

Handley Page V/1500

The V/1500 was Britain’s first four-engine strategic bomber. It was built in response to an Air Ministry request for a long-range aircraft to “seriously worry Germany in centres where she felt herself perfectly safe from aerial attack”. The aircraft was specifically designed to be capable of bombing Berlin from bases in East Anglia. Hundley page responded with the largest British aeroplane produced during […]