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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 […]

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Short 184

The Short 184 was one of Ihe major seaplane types of World War I. It was designed in response to a British Admiralty specification, issued in September 1914, for a torpedo-carrying seaplane with a 225-hp Sunbeam engine. The resulting aircraft, produced by the Short Brothers’ company, was designated Admiralty Type 184. after the serial number allocated to the first prototype. From the spring […]

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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 […]

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Gloster-Whittle E.28/39

The Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 was the first jet aeroplane to fly in Britain. II was built to test the viability of the turbojet engine invented by Flight Lieutenant Frank Whittle. Apart from its powerplant the aircrafl, designed by George Carter of Gloster Aircraft, was thoroughly conventional. It was a compact all-metal single-seater with a monococque fuselage, a low wing, and a short, retractable tricycle […]

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Santos-Dumont Demoiselle

Alberto Santos Dumont’s delicate Demoiselle (“damselfly”) monoplane was the true ancestor of all ultralights. A Brazilian-born Parisian dandy, Santos-Dumont was renowned for airship flights before he turned to creating heavier-than-air machines in 1905. His public demonstration flights in his first powered aircraft during October 1906 – the first in Europe caused a sensation. But this was a clumsy box-kite biplane that, at best, managed […]

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Fokker E. III

Germany’s Fokker monoplanes dominated the skies over the Western Front from July 1915 to early 1916. The key to their success was a synchronisation mechanism that allowed the pilot to fire a machine gun trought he propeller arc. The first “point-and-shoot” aeroplane was French – a Morane monoplane with crude bullet deflectors on its propeller blades. It was only after examining a […]

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Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

Nicknamed the “Warthog”, the A10 Thunderbolt II was the first US Air Force jet aircraft designed for close air support of ground forces. Certainly, il packed a mighty punch with its integrated Gatling gun. One of the most powerful aircraft cannons ever flown, it weighed as much as a Volkswagen Beetle and fired large, depleted uranium armour-piercing shells at a rate of […]

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Bristol Type 138A

The Type 138A was purpose-built for record-breaking high-altitude flights, which were the object of intensive research and considerable national rivalry in the 1930s. It was commissioned by Britain’s Air Ministry,  which turned to the Bristol Aeroplane Company because its engines Had powered many of the aircraft used in previous attempts on the world altitude record. Designed by Frank S. Barnwell for […]

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Pemberton-Billing P.B.31E Nighthawk

The extraordinary four-winged P.B.31E Nighthawk proved a spectacularly futile attempt to contribute to Britain’s defence against night -time raids by German airships. The idea of a night-flying quadruplane Zeppelin-hunter was the brainchild of the eccentric British avintiou pioneer Noe Pemberton Billing. It was first embodied in  the short-lived P.B.29E, which appeared in early 1916. Powered by two 90-hp Austro-Daimler engines, it had […]

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Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2

A military two-seater, the B.E.2 had the misfortune to become one of the most maligned aircraft of World War I. Yet when the prototype first appeared, in February 1912, its performance was judged to be little short of impressive. The B.E.2 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, to meet the newly formed Royal Flying Corps’ need […]