Inside the Issues

Issue 20 - Alenia Aermacchi: Legacy, heritage and the future

Issue 20 - Alenia Aermacchi: Legacy, heritage and the future

31 May 2013

In 1978, one of the finest minds of the 20th century, philosopher, historian and scientist James Burke, wrote and presented a television series called Connections; An alternative view of change. As a teenager I watched this avidly because it showed me a new approach to history. History is not a linear, neatly packaged process the way it is often taught. Random events conspire to affect change. People work motivated by their own reasons, often to solve a particular problem or to make a profit. Earlier work is improved upon or provides a stimulus to become something entirely different. To trace a path through the development of anything can take you to some very surprising places, seemingly unconnected until you understand how you got there. This was a revelation, one for which I have been grateful my entire adult life. In short, the series taught me how to think.

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Issue 20 - Alenia Aermacchi: International programmes and consolidation

31 May 2013.

With the creation of Aeritalia in 1969, Fiat owned a 50% share of a powerful and experienced aerospace manufacturer. This was to find success in international programmes such as the Panavia Tornado and Boeing 767, but was also to produce the last design led by Giuseppe Gabrielli, the G.222 twin turboprop transport.

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Issue 20 - Alenia Aermacchi: Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali and Industrie Aeronautiche Romeo

31 May 2013.

In engineering history, the name of Alfa Romeo will forever be associated with some of the fastest and most elegant cars ever built. What is less well known is that the name Romeo is also associated with railways and aircraft, a series of businesses all founded by one man – Nicola Romeo.

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Issue 19 - Northrop F-5: Contents

31 May 2013.

In this issue of Aviation Classics we move forward into the 1960s with an iconic Cold War jet fighter that was to become one of the most successful and widely used aircraft of the period. The design began as the N-156 of 1959, a privately funded single seat light fighter concept from Northrop, and developed over the next 20 years into a variety of roles, serving with 36 air forces worldwide.

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Issue 19 - Northrop F-5: A fighter for the world

29 May 2013.

While the USAF’s major interest in the N-156 programme was the two seat trainer version, work continued on the N-156F, the single seat fighter intended for the international market. This was to emerge as the F-5, and go on to be used by 37 countries worldwide, a second major success for Northrop which built 847 of the first three models of its lightweight design.

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Issue 19 - Northrop F-5: Ultimate and unusual F-5s

29 May 2013.

The simple and lightweight F-5 airframe also proved to be extremely adaptable to a variety of uses, some of which required extensive modifications to the airframe. The success of the fighter with international air forces also led to the development of an advanced version intended as a replacement. As well as the developments by Northrop, two additional unlicensed life-extension and redesign programmes have been carried out by HESA in Iran to produce a viable fighter bomber for the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).

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Issue 19 - Northrop F-5: Swimming upstream

29 May 2013.

Welcome to the second edition of Aviation Classics supported by the aviation industry. Joining Saab, we would like to thank RUAG Aviation, the Swiss aerospace group that maintains, upgrades and supports the Swiss Air Force Northrop F-5s that were built under licence in the country. Thanks to them, once again I find myself at the end of producing an issue having learned a vast amount about a subject I thought I knew well. As anyone who reads this page knows, that is one of the joys of this job.

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Issue 18 - BF 109: Contents

29 November 2012.

This issue of Aviation Classics takes a leap back to the Second World War and what is arguably the greatest piston engined fighter of all time, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, often referred to as the Me 109. Designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser in response to an official requirement for a new single seat fighter issued in February 1934, the prototype made its first flight in May 1935 in the hands of Hans-Dietrich Knoetzsch. Interestingly, neither the Junkers nor Daimler-Benz engines were ready in time, so the first flights were made powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel VI.

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Issue 18 - BF 109: The leader of the pack

28 November 2012.

Now this one really is a problem. I have had difficulties with this page before, as anyone who reads it knows, but nothing quite like this. Not only is this aircraft an icon, an astounding piece of engineering that is matched in longevity only by the Supermarine Spitfire, it is also a symbol for the darkest empire to ever throw its shadow across the globe. As Cassadian test pilot Klaus Plaza and photographer Constance Redgrave so simply and eloquently put it, it’s the bad guy.

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Issue 18 - BF 109: Production priorities

28 November 2012.

The last production development of the Bf 109 proved to be the fastest, capable of 440mph (710kph). However, production was to be delayed by the Allied bombing campaign meaning that the Bf 109K was almost too little, too late.

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