The Bell P-63 Kingcobra first flew in December 1942 and was the successor to the Bell P-39 Airacobra. The Kingcobra featured significant improvements in design and performance but visually the most notable difference is the larger airframe and tail fin, along with the big four bladed propeller. The Bell P-39 Airacobra and P-63 Kingcobra both… Read More The Bell P-63 Kingcobra – All Hail The King!
Italian designed but heavily inspired by the late 1930’s era American designed Seversky P-35 (see my previous post), the Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I all metal, monoplane fighter was produced in Italy and first flew in 1939. One of the chief designers of the Re.2000, Roberto Longhi had apparently spent some time in the United States working… Read More The Survivors: Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I
The Seversky P-35 single seat pursuit aircraft was developed in the 1930’s and became the first all-metal monoplane fighter with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear for the US Army Air Corps (USAAC). 77 P-35’s were ordered by the USAAC for delivery between 1937-38 (76 P-35’s were delivered and the 77th was converted to… Read More The Survivors: Seversky P-35 – In Pursuit Of Success
Imagine bomber aircraft being launched from Imperial Japanese Navy submarines at dawns early light or in total darkness, striking targets along the West coast of the United States and spreading chaos in their wake! That was what was intended with the design of the Aichi M6A1 Seiran (“Clear Sky Storm“) floatplane light bomber. The Seiran was… Read More The Survivors: The Last Imperial Japanese Navy Aichi M6A1 Seiran Floatplane Bomber
Designed during World War Two to provide air cover for Imperial Japanese forces deployed for amphibious beach landings in advanced locations that lacked prepared airstrips or aircraft carriers, the Kawanishi N1K Kyōfū (“Strong Wind” or “Mighty Wind” depending on the translation, Allied reporting code name “Rex”) floatplane fighter must have seemed a great idea to the Imperial Japanese… Read More The Survivors: Imperial Japanese Navy Kawanishi N1K Kyōfū Floatplane Fighter
Rare aircraft are a passion. If they are a bit of an oddity, then that’s even better and the Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake“, World War Two era experimental aircraft more than fits the bill! Ordered in May 1940, the wooden framed, canvas covered V-173 was completed in 1942 as the sole Proof Of Concept prototype for the… Read More The Survivors: Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake”
Reportedly dubbed “Whispering Death” by Japanese ground forces due to its quiet engines (courtesy of engine sleeve valves), fast and powerful Bristol Beaufighter heavy fighters were flown by Allied pilots to strike Axis shipping and ground targets in the European, North African, Mediterranean and South West Pacific theatres of World War Two. I can picture… Read More The Survivors: Bristol Beaufighter – The “Whispering Death” of the Pacific and Beyond!
The Reichsluftfahrtministerium Volksjäger (“People’s Fighter”) design competition was issued on September 10th, 1944 by the German Ministry of Aviation (Reichsluftfahrtministerium – RLM) to develop an inexpensive, mass produced emergency light jet fighter that was fast but easy to fly, to combat the Allied bomber offensive that was devastating Germany. Designs were to be returned by… Read More The Survivors: Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger – Germany’s “Peoples Fighter”
When most people think of World War Two era German Luftwaffe jets, the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe jet fighter would probably be the first one to spring to mind but this was not the only Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet powered aircraft to reach operational status over the battlefields of Europe. The Arado Ar 234 Blitz… Read More The Survivors: Arado Ar 234 Blitz – Germany’s Jet Bomber
The German Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow) was the first operational jet fighter and appeared in air combat towards the end of World War Two. The Me 262 has always been one of my favourite World War Two era aircraft. It wasn’t the best jet to ever grace the skies but I have always… Read More The Survivors: Messerschmitt Me 262 – Germany’s Jet Fighter