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1

Bristol Beaufighter

Bristol’s pugnacious Type 156 Beaufighter was a heavy two-seater, long-range fighter that proved a formidable night interceptor and anti-shipping aircraft. A hastily improvised concept combining the flying surfaces and rear fuselage of the Beaufort torpedo bomber with a new front fuselage and higher-powered engines, the Beaufighter progressed from design to prototype in just six months. The Mk 1F nightfighter entered service in August […]

2

Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

With its menacing demeanour and black, futuristic design, the distinctive F-117 A Nighthawk was the first operational aircraft entirely designed around stealth technology. Dubbed the “Bat Plane”, its extraordinary appearance results from the use of “faceting” – critically angled flat surfaces – to minimize its radar signature: it is also almost entirely covered by matt black radar-absorbent material. Interestingly, the Nighthawk gains its lift from […]

3

Short Empire Flying Boat

Air travel was never more romantic than in the era of the large flying boats. The magnificent Short S.23s that travelled Britain’s imperial routes in Ihe late 1930s offered their privileged passengers an unforgettable experience. The principal mission, however, of the “Empire” flying boats was the transportation of mail. Il was in order to fulfil the terms of its Empire Air Mail Scheme […]

4

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- […]

5

Boeing 314

The Boeing 314 “Clipper” flying boat was probably the most luxurious passenger aeroplane ever built, This stately giant was created for Pan American, who wanted an aircraft to carry wealthy passengers in comfort and style on transoceanic routes. Boeing married the wings and tailplane of their prototype XB-15 long-range bomber with a massive whale-shaped hull to make a flying boat of breathtaking […]

6

Short Sunderland

Few warplanes have been as graceful as the Short Sunderland flyineg boat, nor as consistently effective in performance. Evolved from the same company’s stately Empire flying boats, the Sunderland entered service with RAF Coastal Command in June 1938 as a long-range reconnaissance and antisubmarine patrol aircraft. When war broke out the following year, it became a vital element in Britain’s desperate struggle to keep […]

7

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 […]

8

Felixstowe F.2A

The Felixstowe F.2A was a first-rate flying boat that gave sterling service to Britain’s Royal Naval Air Service on anti-submarine and maritime patrol missions. It derived from the Curtiss H2 “Large America” flying boats supplied to the Royal Navy in early 1917. These American aeroplanes were excellent flyers, but the hull was structurally weak. Squadron Commander John Porte of the Royal Naval Air […]

9

Saunders-Roe Princess

The epitome of those large, elegant commercial flying boats that had reigned supreme on intercontinental air routes in the 1930s, the Saunders-Roe Princess had the misfortune to be born into a postwar world whose requirements had changed. Certainly, the aircraft had ample power, with ten Bristol Proteus turboprop engines installed as coupled pairs in each of the four inboard nacelles, and as single […]

10

Dornier Rs.II

During World War I German engineer Dr Claude Darnier produced the first of the flying boats that would eventually win him fame. These giant aeroplanes reflected his abiding interest in metal as a material for aircraft construction, as well as his desire to work on a grand scale. The Rs.I, which Dornier built at the Zeppelin-Werke Lindau on Lake Constance in 1915, was […]