Entries by Cayley

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 […]

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

The Japanese Navy’s agile A6M Reisen “Zero” fighter thoroughly deserved the legendary status it acquired in the epic carrier battles of the Pacific War. Designed by Jiro Horikoshi, the single-scat aircraft was optimized for manoeuvrability and range. It had excellent aerodynamics and was lightweight, its skinning and main spar being made from the new extra-super-duralumin alloy. The armament was impressive, with two 20mm […]

Airco D.H.9A

The Airco D.H.9 was designed as an improvement upon the same company’s successfuI day bomber,  the D.H.4. In particular, the pilot’s and observer’s cockpits were moved closer together, improving in- fligh communication between the  two crew members. Unfortunately when first introduced in 1917, the D.H.9’s performance proved inferior to the earlier machine. This was rectified by replacing its problematic Siddeley engine with the American […]

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 […]

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 […]

Hawker P.1127

During the postwar period aircraft manufacturers around the world wrestled with t he knotty problem of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The usefulness of a winged aircraft that could operate from a car park or a forest clearing was obvious, but how to design one was certainly not. An extraordinary variety of configurations was tested – including a number of “tail-sitters” […]

Airbus A380

Cllaimingtobe the most spacious and advanced airliner ever built, the Airbus A380 is the world’s first triple-decked “superjumbo” jet. The only true competitor to the Boeing 747, it has been developed in response to grow ing airport congestion and overburdened air traffic control systems. There are two models, the A380-800 seating up to 555 passengers, and the -800F freighter. The cockpit is set between 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 […]

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 […]