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1

Lockheed SR-71A

One of the most amazing aeroplanes ever built, the SR-71A Blackbird originated from the CIA’s request for a replacement for the U-2 spyplane. Like many top-secret projects, it was entrusted to Lockheed’s famous “Skunk Works” team, headed by Kelly Johnson. They came up with the A-12 first, in 1962, and then the slightly larger SR-71, in December 1964. The fastest air-breathing, manned […]

2

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 […]

3

Rockwell International space Shuttle

Punching skywards, the Space Shuttle is launched vertically like a rocket; it operates as a spacecraft, yet returns to Earth as a glider. The first orbital spacecraft designed for partial reuse, it comprises t lie Orbital Vehicle and two Solid Rocket Boosters. Woth reusable, and an expendable External Tank. Only the orbiler, resembling an aircraft with double delta wings, goes into orbit; its tank and […]

4

Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer

Piloted by adventurer Steve Fossett, GlobalFlyer flew into the record hooks on March 2005 having achieved the first solo, non-stop, jet -powered, and unrefuelled flight around the world. It was designed specifically for the purpose by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites and part-sponsored by Virgin Atlantic. GlobalFlyer is made entirely of composite materials and is extremely lightweight. Described as a “fuel tank with room for […]

5

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 […]

6

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- […]

7

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 […]

8

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 […]

9

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 […]

10

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 […]