Tag Aircraft


The Graving Yard

Off the Air

“Off the Air” is partly concept art for another project, partly the product of nostalgia for the work of Chris Foss (particularly the work featured in the Terran Trade Authority books).


Werner Herzog – Wings Of Hope

I discovered this video thanks to a recent MetaFilter thread regarding people who have fallen from planes and miraculously survived. One such survivor was Juliane Koepcke. In 1971, Koepcke fell two miles from the Lockheed Electra carrying her and her mother to Pucallpa, Peru.

This video is a beautiful confluence of writing, visuals, and music.

Signaling The Airship

Pilot of a scout monoplane signals an airship regarding the location, size, and composition of an enemy fleet below.

I’ve been on a bit of an airship kick lately. Or perhaps, an early 1930s aeronautical sketching streak. There’s something about that time which stokes my imagination and these recent efforts serve, more or less, as a self-tutorial in the aesthetics of the period.

Richard K. Smith’s The Airships Akron and Macon arrived on Monday. The book is a fascinating read and an incredible treat for the eyes. Smith must have gone to some astounding lengths to collect and distill the information he provides in his book — I’m continually astonished at his insights into the design of the airships as well as the political issues which surrounded their construction and employment.

More on that in future posts, perhaps. I’ll close this with a poor copy of one of the most beautiful, poignant photographs contained in Smith’s book: the USS Akron (ZRS-4) emerging from a bank of clouds. As you look at it, just imagine the smell of rain in the air, and the music of her engines against the wind in the distance.

U.S. Air Force file photo of USS Akron emerging from clouds. Photographed from Richard K. Smith's book entitled 'The Airships Akron & Macon'

Crew Of The Norge

Crewmen of the Norge airship regard plans for handling the deflation of the airship after landing at Teller, Alaska.

After landing at Teller, Alaska on May 14, 1926, the airship Norge was deflated and disassembled for shipping back to Europe. Here, the crewmen regard papers related to the operation. (In retrospect, this might be more realistic if the gentleman in the foreground were holding a pipe or crowbar rather than paper.)

Due diligence for this kind of illustration demands I study a lot of old outerwear and photographs of the period (even if it doesn’t yet show in the resulting sketches). I recently came across an excellent site for that purpose entitled Archival Clothing, maintained and composed by Leslie Larson. Highly recommended for those with more than a passing interest in vintage clothing styles.

Landing The Norge

A deck rate leans from the control car of the Umberto Nobile-constructed airship Norge as it makes to land. In his right hand, he grips one of the lines used to tether the ship to the ground, ready to assist with ground operations.

A great deal of my time in recent days has focused on the research of airships of the late 1920s and early 1930s. One such airship — the Norge — is famous for being the transportation of the first verified expedition to reach the North Pole (on May 12, 1926 — 83 years ago). The expedition was composed of Umberto Nobile (the designer of Norge), Roald Amundsen (expedition leader), and Lincoln Ellsworth (polar explorer and source of funding), among 13 others.

In this illustration, we see an unidentified explorer leaning from the control car on the ship’s arrival at Teller, Alaska on May 14, 1926, ready to assist with landing operations.

This Happens More Often Than One Might Reasonably Expect

In this image, a Navy mechanic working on a Consolidated PBY Catalina engine appears rather distressed over misplacing his cat. The cat in question is seen sitting on the wing above the engine, reaching one paw down to catch at the spanner the mechanic is holding.

Cats. You gotta watch them all the time. Particularly when rebuilding an engine around anything mechanical.

Ranger Over Ruins

This image depicts a Consolidated P2Y-1 Ranger (Flying Boat) screaming into the sky at full power just over the tops of some unidentified jungle ruins. Beyond the P2Y-1, a great airship -- ZRS-5 -- hangs suspended in mid-air.

A Consolidated P2Y-1 seaplane and ZRS-5 overfly ruins at a location code-named “Site 10” by the Navy.

As with many of these documents, the exact date of recording is redacted. However, at least six P2Y-1s were in service with the VP-10F squadron at NAS Coco Solo by 1 April 1933.