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1

De Havilland D.H.88 Comet Racer

The D.H.88 Comet was a long-range racing aircraft designed specifically to win the 1934 MacRobertson race for Britain.This was the longest air race ever staged, requiring aircraft to fly 111,300 miles from Mildenhall, England, to Melbourne, Australia. De Havilland built three Comets for the race; the first made its initial test flight only six weeks before the event. The aircraft […]

2

De Havilland Comet

The D.H.106 Comet was the world’s first jet airliner,offering for a brief and glorioui moment – the fastest, most stylish passenger travel on the planet. Designed to appeal to a select clientele, it carried just passengers. The first jet passenger services, from London to Johannesburg and Colombo, were inaugurated by Comet 1s of BOAC in 1952. The heavier and longer-range Comet 1A followed, […]

3

Curtiss Reims Racer

In August 1909 most of the adventurous pioneers then flying aeroplanes gathered at Reims in  France for the world’s first air show. The sole American present was Glenn Curtiss. His Reims Racer, the second aeroplane he had built  was a small,  light pusher biplane built for speed. Its pilot sat over the leading edge of the lower wing, using a wheellopped […]

4

Avro Vulcan

One of three “V bombers” designed to give Britain an “independent nuclear deterrent” in the 1950s, the Vulcan was intended to penetrate Soviet airspace at high altitude and drop free fall nuclear bombs, In the 1960s the aircraft had to adapt to low-level attack with stand-off nuclear missiles. The Royal Air Force’s Vulcan squadrons converted to the Mk 2A version, optimized for low-level penetration missions, with […]

5

Curtiss CR-3

Cheated for the 1923 Schneider Trophy contest, the Curtiss CR-3 proved itself the fastest seaplane racer of its day. In the early 1920s American Glenn Curtiss had developed sleek landplane racers, powered by his outstanding CD-12 in-line engine. The US Navy converted two of these beauties into floatplanes, which were entered as CR-3s for the Schneider race, held that year in England, […]

6

Deperdussin Seaplane Racer

Founded in 1910, French businessman Armand Deperdussin’s company was famed for its racing monoplanes, which were then the fastest aeroplanes in the world. The key to their success was the use of the monococque (“single shell”) method for buildingu light yet strong fuselage. Originally devised by Swedish engineer Ruchonnet, the technique was adopted by Deperdussin’s designer, Louis Béchereau, in 1911. Layers of  plywood […]

7

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 […]

8

De Havilland Mosquito

Originally designed as a high-speed unarmed light bomber, the de Havilland D.H.98 Mosquito proved one of the most versatile aeroplanes of World War II, serving in a wide variety of roles, and excelling at each and every one. The Mosquito was built almost entirely of plywood, sparing the use of metals that were then in short supply. From the maiden flight of its […]

9

The influence of war

From 1914 to 1918, World War I resulted in the transformation of aircraft from slow, frail vehicles into agile, capable fighting machines. The governments of the world began to see the military potential of air power, leading to tremendous progress, particularly in the fields of engine technology  and aerodynamics. Although Wright Aircraft had produced the first military airplanes in 1908, […]

10

Vought F4U Corsair

The American F4U Corsair is widely acknowledged as the outstanding carrier-borne fighter of World War II. Its most distinctive feature was the inverted-gull wing. This was ingeniously designed to allow the undercarriage, fitted at the lowest point of the wing, to be short and sturdy and thus ideal for carrier landing – while still providing adequate ground clearance for the large-diameter propeller. […]