Airborne Awesomosity

Betting Man

Last week marked 58 years since a relatively unknown yet undoubtedly impressive stunt was pulled off in New York City (and this week is 56 years since it was pulled off again, but we’ll get to that momentarily). On the late evening of September 30, 1956, the young Thomas Fitzpatrick, whilst enjoying some […]

Airborne Awesomosity

BAC TSR-2: When An Aircraft Plays (Political) Football


The aeronautical landscape is littered with the rotting shells and mylar prints of cancelled aircraft programs. Setting out to push the boundaries of man’s capability often goes hand in hand with rising costs and lengthened schedules. These two things also give opponents of said programs leverage to do away with them at their first opportunity. Such is the story of the British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Congratulations! It’s Twins!

Ercoupe twin 1

Fodder’s post on the Ercoupe stimulated my research juices, especially that image of the twin, so it was off to the googles! This intriguing machine was the work of Grady Thrasher, of  the Thrasher Brothers Aerial Circus, back in 1946. It came about the way many such projects do, sitting around on a rainy day looking at your plane and the parts plane you bought, and thinking to yourself, what if I just stuck those together? Thrasher took the right wing off one plane, the left off the other, got a hold of some high strength bolts from a DC-6, and there you have it. Even back in that era, he did attempt to check the strength of the engineering prior to flight, even reaching out to ERCO to get the original engineering data (not forthcoming, according to Thrasher). The finished product ended up being quite successful, and as one of the first (or perhaps the first) light twin in the US, helped in the development of aircraft like the Beech Twin Bonanza. Check out the gallery below for more images, as well as a letter from Grady Thrasher discussing the project, and a portion of an article from Private Pilot magazine, and hit the just for a short video with some Aerial Circus action!

Continue reading Congratulations! It’s Twins!

Airborne Awesomosity

Atomic Toasters Goes To The Zoo


About half way between Detroit and Chicago sits the city of Kalamazoo, MI. Originally the home of Gibson guitars and now a major center in the craft beer movement, Kalamazoo seems to be a calm town. Until you walk into a building bordering the airport and stand under a pink Curtis P-40N Warhawk.

Continue reading Atomic Toasters Goes To The Zoo

Airborne Awesomosity

Guest Post: Saddle Up


[We have been fighting an unusually dense influx of spam comments lately, as we have mentioned before (still over 300 a day!), but there have been a few surprise legitimate comments in amongst the clutter. When someone links to one of our posts, that link back can be shown on Toasters, if we approve it. Last week I found a link to one of Fodder’s posts about the Allison V-3420; the linked post being the inaugural post on a little blog called Big Prop. It was a write up on the Fisher P-75 Eagle (a topic also nicely discussed by Fodder in his post on How to Get Out of a Contract!), and I asked the gentleman writer, known as Dubois1985 if he would be interested in running it as a guest post over here, as I felt his storyline angle was different enough from Fodder as to offer up 2 entertaining perspectives for you all. Here is a sort bio he sent for introductions all around:

I’m Dubois1985, a writer and blogger. I’m a massive fan of anything to do with Dieselpunk and World War Two aircraft as well as Batman, Judge Dredd and really bad films.

He also appreciates a good horse metaphor. Enjoy!]

The Japanese were about to come over the horizon any minute. People already thought they’d seen them over Los Angeles. America’s fighters were either ageing horses or else horses that only had three legs. What it needed was a raging stallion with all the power the best engines of 1942 could provide, a ceiling of 38’000 feet and the fastest possible rate of climb between that ceiling and the ground.

It just so happened that General Motors had one of the finest engine manufacturers in the whole United States. Allison. Continue reading Guest Post: Saddle Up

Airborne Awesomosity

A Plane In Every Garage – The Ercoupe

Now Think About That With Modern Americans

Just Remember The Useful Load is 511 Pounds With Two People AND Fuel

Making the claim of the safest plane in the skies in the late forties is rather risky but that is what this designer did and it lead to six thousand copies of the aircraft being produced.  How do you make this claim?  You use linked controls and have  no rudder pedals in the aircraft. So follow along as we talk about the odd story of the ERCoupe and it’s modern revival.


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Airborne Awesomosity

Saturday Morning Commercial

Most every company uses some for of advertising, but certainly not all ads and commercials are created equally. Sometimes it is the high level of creativity of the ad itself, but sometimes, every now and then, it is simply that the product being advertised is just so crazy awesome there really is no […]

Airborne Awesomosity

The Blimp is Dead: Long Live the Zeppelin!

On March 14, Goodyear announced the completion of its newest “blimp”, and the craft had her maiden flight March 18. To sort of celebrate the occasion, Goodyear has released a time lapse of the ship’s construction, which you can find conveniently located after the jump. But as for the real question, why is “blimp” in quotes, well, let’s have it straight from the horse’s mouth:

“Assembly of the new blimp began in March 2013 at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake hangar. An international team of engineers and technicians from Goodyear and Germany’s ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik worked side by side to complete the build project. Parts such as the tail fins and gondola were built in Germany and shipped to the U.S. for assembly. The balloon-like body of the airship – the “envelope” – is made of polyester with an innovative film from DuPont™ called Tedlar®, surrounding a semi-rigid internal structure, which differentiates this airship from previous Goodyear blimps.” (Goodyear)

Semi-rigid? That’s no blimp! But, well, I don’t suppose it is technically a Zeppelin either, since they are more so full rigid. So, semi-blimp? Bleppelin? Zeppelimp?
Continue reading The Blimp is Dead: Long Live the Zeppelin!

Airborne Awesomosity

Less Than Three the DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 is certainly iconic, and as a kid into all things mechanical–planes, trains, and automobiles!–the DC-3 was my favorite plane. I might have been a little weird. But, that appreciation continues, and so any time I find a sweet image or video, I of course want to share. So here is some intense Gooney Bird flat-hatting, enjoy!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Dassault’s Canarded Killer


In the mid-1970s, France’s air force and navy both wanted to upgrade their fighter jets. Instead of developing their own, they decided to team up with several other European countries to help share costs. Nobody could agree on requirements, how much of the plane would be built in what country, and what color the needles on the gages should be. So, France wound up going it alone. The result is the Dassault Rafale, which has the distinction of being one of the few European aircraft developed and built almost completely in a single country. It’s decidedly French, and quite beautiful.

Hit the jump to watch a video.

Continue reading Dassault’s Canarded Killer