The Piasecki HRP Rescuer

If there is a function in which the rotating wings have been able to completely supplant the fixed wings it is indeed the search and the rescue at sea. If we except the existence of the current plane like the Dassault Falcon 50M or the Lockheed- Martin HC-130J Super Hercules the majority of the missions are filled by helicopters. And it actually dates from the aftermath of the Second World War. It was at this time that the first real helicopter dedicated to search and rescue operations at sea was designed: the Piasecki HRP Rescuer.

The origins of this helicopter go back to the Second World War. In February 1944 the US Navy informed engineer Frank Piasecki that she was looking for a device for rescue missions at sea from the deck of its aircraft carriers. In addition the future helicopter had to be able to assure the transport of six equipped infantrymen. In fact, the American naval air craft sought to fill the deficiencies found on the Sikorsky HNS-1.

Piasecki decided to assign the future helicopter the manufacturer's designation of PV-3 while the US Navy awarded him the XHRP. The New York engineer had the idea of ​​developing his machine in the rather unexpected and at least revolutionary form of a tandem birotor. For the rest in a very classic way at the time it took the form of an interlacing of steel tubes inside which took place the pilot but also the passengers.
Especially he thought of installing on his PV-3 a mechanical winch, similar to those that fitted then the trucks of the US Army. This time the equipment was to allow the descent and the ascent of a diver and a victim. Unlike the HNS-1, the XHRP winch was independent of the helicopter engine.

It is in bare configuration, ie without external cover, that the Piasecki PV-3 made its first flight on March 6, 1945. Two weeks later the prototype was given to the US Navy who studied it and the tried in his turn. A second prototype was ordered for various static tests. The end of hostilities in Europe and then in the Pacific marked a form of stopping in the program without canceling it. Finally it was not until December 1945 that an order was placed for twenty copies known as HRP-1, called Rescuer. These were not bare but covered with stretched canvas and plywood.

The first copies of the Piasecki HRP-1 Rescuer entered service in August 1947 in the US Navy. As early as October, two copies were delivered to the brand new HMX-1 squadron of the US Marines Corps. Unlike what exists today, this unit was not responsible for presidential transport but simply for helicopter tests. It was under the livery of the Marines that the HRP-1 Rescuer made its only armed flights, using a 7.7mm mobile machine gun firing through a porthole. An attempt that ended in failure, never the US Navy adopting this weapon. It was also at this time that the American media started talking about "flying bananas" about these strange helicopters. A nickname that would follow all the helicopters twin tandem to the current Boeing-Vertol CH-47 Chinook.

And fast flying bananas would carve out a reputation of outstanding rescuers. So much so that the US Navy decided to buy a second batch of helicopters, under the designation HRP-2 and with a metal cladding. In the American naval aviation, these birotors provided both security on board aircraft carriers and ground missions, including liaison and assault.

But in early 1948 the US Navy sold three of its Rescuer to the US Coast Guard which gave them the designation of Piasecki HRP-1G. The first two were assigned to CGAS Elizabeth City on the east coast while the third joined CGAS San Diego in California. And in this last base the birotor in tandem never seemed to impress the coasties. It was different on the Atlantic coast where these helicopters saved between them 51 lives during their first year of operational service.

Finally, the US Coast Guard separated from its three Piasecki HRP-1G in the course of the year 1952, for the benefit of Sikorsky HO4S-2G (rightly) judged much more modern and versatile. It was the same year that of the US Navy. Five of his HRP-1s and two of his HRP-2 were then delivered to the HMX-1 squadron to reinforce the Marine Corps. These flew under these colors until 1954.

Never exported the Piasecki HRP Rescuer allowed despite recurring lack of flexibility to Americans to clear the field of military helicopters flight searches and rescues at sea. This device was the basis for a much more successful aircraft: the HUP Retriever.

Specifications : 

Wingspan : 12.50 m diameter of each rotor.
Length : 16.46 m
Height : 4.52 m
Engine : 1 star motor Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1
Total power : 1 x 608 hp
Armament : none
Payload: Two or three wounded
Empty weight : 3279 kg
Max speed : 160 km / h at sea level
Practical ceiling: 2550 m
Range : 475 Km at maximum load.
Crew: 3


Designed in 1936 and built on its own funds by the manufacturer Émile Dewoitine, the first prototype of the D.520 flew on October 2, 1938; It was followed by a second machine which took off in April 1939. Despite some problems, the prototypes of the D.520 achieved remarkable performances, notably in the fields of level speed, climbing speed and Maneuverability. This was by far the best hunter produced by France before the armistice of 1940.

Monoplane with low wings and retractable landing gear, the D.520 was ordered in large quantities, but by January 1940 only 13 had left the assembly lines. On May 10 of the same year, a single group of the Air Force flew on this type of aircraft. Arrived in the squadrons from 1 February 1940, only 36 were in service on 10 May 1940, a number quite insufficient to face the all powerful Luftwaffe. Nevertheless, he abducted nearly 150 enemy aircraft for a loss of 85. The production of the aircraft continued under the Vichy regime and reached more than 700 aircraft.

This modern and brilliant single-seater fighter, produced until December 1942, was also used by the Germans and equip the aviation of its Romanian, Italian and Bulgarian allies. Indeed when the Germans invaded the unoccupied zone in France in November 1942, they seized more than 400 Dewoitine D.520. Most of these aircraft were used by the Luttwaffe as training chasers, but 60 D.520 were delivered to Italy. The latter, lacking in-line engines, immediately took on board these machines, which entered into service as Gruppi's 13, 22, 24 and 167 second-line fighters, who actively participated in the defense of Naples and Central Italy.

In 1944 the Group of Hunt 1/8 was reformed and equipped with about forty of these "Dewoitine with black crosses". Unable to fight last generation aircraft, they were used against the German pockets of the Atlantic. Produced with 907 copies for the French Air Force including 403 before the armistice, the D 520 was therefore one of the few aircraft to have been used from the beginning to the end of the war.

Specifications : 

Model: Dewoitine D.520   
Wingspan: 10.18 m
Length: 8.76 m
Height: 2.56 m
Engine: 1 engine Hispano-Suiza 12Y in V
Total power: 1 x 910 hp.
Armament: 1 gun of 20 mm
4 machine guns of 7.7mm
Payload : -
Weight in load: 2780 kg
Max. : 529 km / h at 6000 m
Practical ceiling: 11000 m
Max. : 998 Km
Crew: 1

Airspeed AS.10 Oxford

In 1936, a specification was issued by the Air Ministry, demanding an advanced twin-engined aircraft for the Royal Air Force. Airspeed proposed a derivative of AS.6 Envoy, which had some commercial success. The prototype of the AS.10 model, dubbed Oxford, made its first flight in June 1937. British officials placed an initial order for 136 AS.10 in reliance on the reputation of reliability of its predecessor. Deliveries began in November 1937, including the first six Mk.I aircraft, for evaluation at the Central Flying School. 

Resuming the general appearance and proportions of the AS6 Envoy, the Oxford also retained a wooden construction, an identical cell and a retractable landing gear with its tail wheel. Only the engines, the interior fittings and the possibility of installing a dorsal turret differed.

This model was the first British military aircraft to have a scientifically and logically designed cockpit, the instruments being grouped in the center of the dashboard for use by both the instructor and the student. The crew consisted in general of three men and, in addition to the seats for the student pilot and his instructor, the manufacturer had planned the post installation for submachine gunners, bomber, photo operator, navigator and radio. A removable top was used for flight training without visibility.

The Mk.I was a training aircraft for piloting, bombing and firing, while the Mk.II was intended for the training of a pilot, radio or navigator, Star Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah X 375 hp with fixed pitch propellers. The Mk.V, used for the same missions as the Mk.II, was equipped with two 450-horsepower (336 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN6s driving constant speed propellers. Mk.III and IV remain unresolved.

Large-scale production was widely used as part of the Commonwealth's general training program. Production continued until July 1945, reaching 8586 aircraft, of which 3785 Mk.I, 999 Mk.II, 190 Mk.V, by Airspeed, the remainder being built at De Havilland, Standard Motors and Percival Aircraft.

Several Allied aviations used Oxford including Australia (nearly 400 copies), Canada (200), New Zealand (300), Rhodesia (10) and the Republic of South Africa (700). Some aircraft were also taken into account by the Free French, and a number of them were implemented by the USAAF in Europe. He remained in service in the RAF until 1954.

Specifications :   
Length 10.83 m
Height 4.79 m
Wing span 12.81 m
Wing area 32.4 m²
Drive two Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah X with 260 kW (355 hp)
Max speed 292 km / h
Service ceiling 5,830 m
Range 880 km
Crew 2-3
Empty weight
Max. Starting weight 3.450 kg

The I.A.R. IAR-80

The IAR-80 was the best World War II fighter produced by Romania. Derived from the Polish fighter P.24E, its performance was comparable to the Fw 190. Although built in Romania, some components had to be imported from France or Germany, which made Romania dependent on Germany after the French defeat and Delayed the development of the aircraft.

The first production batch of IAR-80 was slightly modified compared to the prototype: it is a bit elongated and the cockpit brought back. The first squadrons became operational from April 1941 and participated in the conquest of Transnistria in the summer of 1941. They participated in all the battles of the Romanian army in Stalingrad against the Allied bombing of Ploesti against the Russians From April to September 1944 and then against the Germans until the end of the war.

They were welcomed by the pilots who nevertheless complained of his lack of power and lack of firepower, a problem that will never really be solved because of the shortage of cannons in Romania. Despite their initial quality, the IAR-80s suffer from their inadequate engine. The Romanians could never lay hands on a more powerful model.

The IAR-80A model gave the complete arming of 6 machine guns thanks to the German machine-gun deliveries. It also received a more powerful and heavier engine than the original IAR-80 and had to reinforce its fuselage to compensate for these weight increases in the front.

The experience of war proved that light machine-guns alone were no longer sufficient in air combat. On the modified IAR-80B model, two light machine guns were replaced by heavy ones. Radio equipment was also improved. Twenty of the IAR-80 B were in fact IAR-81 A dive bombers completed as a hunter.

The appearance of the American Liberators over Romania obliged again to have a more consistent armament, endowing them with 20 mm guns. All IAR-80 C were also constructed from IAR-81B cells. They kept the ability to carry bombs under the wings. This was the first version to receive self-sealing tanks. Beginning in mid-1944, the IAR-80B and IAR-80C were brought to the IAR-81C arming standard, with two 20 mm Mauser guns and four machine guns. The converted aircraft took the designation IAR-80M.

Specifications : 

Design Engineer (s) Ion Grossu
Manufacturer Întreprinderea Aeronautică Română
Year (s) 1940-43
Length 8.90 m
Wing span 10.50 m
Height 3.60 m
Wing area 15,97 m²
Drive an air-cooled 14-cylinder twin-engine
IAR K.14-1000A
Power 764 kW (1025 hp)
Max speed 550 km / h at 3970 m altitude
Service height 10,500 m
Range 940 km
Empty weight1,780 kg
Max take-off weight 2,550 kg
Crew 1 pilot
Armament 4-6 machine guns or guns 

Dumping ammunition up to 425 kg bombs 


The CW-21 Demon was a light fighter developed on the basis of the CW-19R multi-purpose two-seater monoplane, itself derived from the CW-19L and 19W. Designed in 1938 by engineer Willis Wells, the all-metal single-winged low-wing aircraft flew for the first time on October 11, 1938. Designated CW-21A, it was equipped with a 1,000 hp 9-cylinder radial engine cooled By air, of a conventional landing gear retractable in tubular fairings by pivoting the wheel towards the trailing edge of the wing and its armament consisted of two cal machine guns. 50 (12.7 mm) on the engine hood and a cal machine gun. 30 (7.62 mm) to each wing. The CW-21B version differed only by installing a more conventional landing gear, retracting from the wing to the fuselage fitting, and completely closed by hatches. The aircraft, although without pilot's protections or fuel tanks, had satisfactory performance and combat qualities, but far from matching those of the best American fighter of the moment, the P-40 Tomahawk, so it was Decided to produce it in series only for export.

Thirty two Demon were built for China, where they entered service in February 1939. Technically superior to their Japanese opponents Nakajima Ki.27 Nate, but in the hands of inexperienced pilots, they became very easy targets for the Japanese air force, Especially when it was massively equipped with the Mitsubishi A6M Rei Sen (Zero, "Zeke"). Another 24 copies of the CW-21 were sent to the Netherlands for the Dutch East Indies, where they entered service in March 1940. The German attack in Europe and the Japanese advance in Asia led the Batavian metropolis to urgently propose The use of his new hunters at the American Volunteer Group (AVG, nicknamed "Flying Tigers"), by General Claire L. Chennault.

A group of three first aircraft, driven by Erik Shilling (flight leader), Lacy Mangleburg and his wingman left Rangoon in Burma to join the main base of the Flying Tigers in Kunming. But the absence of radio sets, engine problems due to fuel, and very poor weather conditions led to the loss of the Demon which crashed on the mountainside during the journey.

Subsequently, other CW-21s were shipped to the various theaters of operations of the Pacific War (Burma, Assam, Java, October to December 1940). In spite of the weakness of its armament, the lightness of the craft, even if it ensured a remarkable maneuverability during the fighting, did not allow him to "cash" as well as other apparatus, friends or opponents, and his The last supportive offensive mission, close to failure, took place on March 5, 1942. Delegated to utilitarian tasks far from the front, the Demon had virtually no impact on the unfolding of the world conflict.

Specifications :  

Wingspan 10.66 m
Length 8.29 m
Wing area 16.19 m2
Empty weight 1 534 kg
With armament 2,041 kg
Performance :
Max speed 505 km / h

Internal 2 machine guns Browning M1919

Siemens-Schuckert D.III

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the German group Siemens had a small adventure in the field of aeronautics. It all began in 1910 with works relating to airships at first, then to the rotary engines in vogue at the time. With the advent of the First World War this firm turned to the production of reconnaissance aircraft and fighter whose greatest success was a small biplane arrived at the end of the conflict, D.III.

Known as Siemens-Schuckert, the aeronautics branch of the group sought during the summer of 1917 to give an effective successor to its very good biplane fighter D.I then being withdrawn in the German forces. His first attempt, known as D.II, soon proved unsuccessful and a new team led by engineer Harald Wolff began to study a new fighter radically different from his predecessors. In the biplane configuration, it naturally received the designation of D.III.

From the very beginning, Wolff and his team turned to the Siemens-Halske Sh.III rotary motor, a 160 horsepower thruster capable of driving a quadripal wooden propeller. If this engine has nothing extraordinary about a classic fighter, it will give a real power to the D.III that the managers of Siemens-Schuckert imagine much smaller than its competitors and its enemies. The result will give them all right. 

Externally this aircraft was in the form of a biplane with offset wings, with a short fuselage of circular cross-section. It is constructed using interlocking wood and plywood. The Sh.III engine was completely shrouded and had a propeller pan to increase its aerodynamics. The pilot was sitting in an open cockpit and served the two 7.7mm Spandau twinned and synchronized machine guns. The aircraft had a conventional landing gear with a tail pad with a steel coulter. It was in this configuration that D.III made his first flight in October 1917. 

The German pilots quickly became enthusiastic, with the first specimens entering service on the French front in January 1918. Small, handy, fast, well-armed, the Siemens-Schuckert D.III was a device that delighted its airmen , Especially since he possessed an unusual climbing speed, able to reach the 1000 meters in 1 minute 45 seconds. In addition, his practical ceiling permitting him to exceed 8000 meters would protect him from the majority of his pursuers. Suffice to say that the first encounters with the British and French hunts quickly turned in favor of the German fighter.

However to the use the pilots realized that the plane had a fault, and size: it overheated dangerously. Indeed, impressed and excited by the power of their aircraft, many German pilots were pushing the machine in its final limits, sometimes at the cost of their lives. If the D.III was considered difficult to intercept by the French or British fighters several were lost as a result of accidents resulting from untimely overheating.

However, the Siemens-Schuckert D.III became legendary thanks to the Jasta 4, which made it its standard fighter in the spring of 1918, and in particular Ernst Udet, who painted his own plane in red, a little like Fokker Dr.I of Von Richthofen. This D.III was baptized Lo, diminutive of Eleonore, the fiancee of Udet who became his wife after the war. This D.III is probably one of the most famous German hunters of the First World War.

Often regarded as the German equivalent of the French Nieuport "Bébé", the Siemens-Schuckert D.III was finally a very good hunter with few weaknesses. It gave birth to the D.IV which was the last combat aircraft built in series by Siemens. It has been produced at more than 200 copies of which at least 41 are known to have killed enemy aircraft.

Specification :

Wingspan: 8,43 m
Length: 5,75 m
Height: 2.80 m
Length: 5,75 m
Wing area 18.84 m²
Empty weight 523 kg
Starting weight 725 kg
Engine a Siemens & Halske Sh.III eleven-cylinder engine with 210 hp
Wing spacing: m
Max speed: 190 km / h
Climbing time: at 1,000 m: 1,75 min
Height of service: 8.100 m
Range: 360 km
Flight duration: 2 h
Armament two MG 08/15

Crew: one pilot

Avro Lincoln

During the Second World War, the mission of heavy bombardment in the RAF returned mainly to three machines now become legendary; and in particular the Avro Lancaster. But they eventually had to be replaced because they became obsolete address modern hunters. One solution was to thoroughly modernize the Lancaster in order to give birth to a new machine. Thus was born at the end of hostilities the Avro Lincoln, the last heavy bomber piston engines designed in the UK.  

In 1943, the Air Ministry issued the Specification 14/43 for a new type of heavy bomber that can evolve at high altitude in order to get as much as possible away from the flak, which was rampant among the bomber formations allies. The aircraft manufacturer Avro responded by proposing to develop a new four-engine from its main unit while serving in the RAF Lancaster. The development from an existing base already was a specialty manufacturer since Lancaster had itself been extrapolated from the twin-engine Manchester.

The new aircraft received the designation of Model 694 by the manufacturer. It was in the form of a median wing monoplane large scale, a four with a double tail fin and a retractable landing gear. Unlike its predecessors the new bomber was planned from the start to the carriage of H2S radar in a radome under the fuselage. Its defensive armament consisted primarily three turrets, a nose, tail and backbone, all equipped with two heavy machine guns of 12.7mm caliber. The offensive armament was when he composed to a little more than six tons of bombs contained in the hold. Externally the new aircraft had at an enlarged Lancaster. He was named Lincoln.

The aircraft first flew June 9, 1944, three days after the Normandy landings. Some minor changes were made and a second prototype was built, leading its maiden flight on November 13, 1944. The origination forecasts provided for the delivery of more than 2,200 aircraft. The end of hostilities signaled the end of Lincoln in the RAF since the first units entered service in August 1945, just days after the atomic bombing of Japan by the United States. Finally Lincoln B Mk-I entered service only 72 copies, while better protected B Mk-II was assembled up to 465 copies. Above all, it was the only one really fully with its H2S radar and all the possibilities provided by this type of system. 

Quickly Lincoln RAF were based in Germany, as part of the occupation forces, and the Pacific. Lincoln replaced postwar Lancaster, Halifax and Stirling, the three main British heavy bombers. Within the RAF, they flew in the company of Washington, the Boeing B-29 acquired by the United Kingdom in 1946. In 1950, the RAF undertook its Lincoln in combat operations in Kenya and especially in Malaysia face a Marxist guerrilla particularly violent. Lincoln flying under the protection of Gloster Meteor and De Havilland Mosquito, breathless meet.

But the UK is not the only country to have used the Lincoln as the Royal Australian Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea Argentina used it respectively 73 and 26 copies. Australian Lincoln as they intervened in Malaysia in reinforcing their British counterparts, while the Argentine aircraft flew primarily for sovereignty missions, although a South American Lincoln became the first postwar bomber to fly over Antarctica in a strategic reconnaissance mission.
Lincoln RAF also filled of aerial espionage missions and strategic reconnaissance, under the designation R Lincoln Mk-I. They retained their defensive armament while the load of bombs had disappeared in favor of a system of recognition and observation revolving around the H2S radar and camera systems. Twenty of these aircraft served in the RAF. It is precisely one of those planes was shot down by a MiG-15 Soviet fighter in May 1957 over the corridor of Berlin. This is the first British aircraft down in Europe since May 1945.

Lincoln also served as a flying testbed for various propellers and jet engines developed by British industry. The bombing of Lincoln gave way to Canberra jets in 1955, the last of them finally leaving the service in 1963.

Specifications : 
Crew 7
Length 23.86 m
Wingspan 36.58 m
Height 5,27 m
Empty weight 19.686 kg
Loaded weight 34.019 kg
4 x12-cylinder V-engines Rolls-Royce Merlin 85 with 1774 hp each

Max speed 475 km / h