The maiden flight of the first production B-26, originally known as the Glenn Martin Model 179, took place on 25th November 1940. Powered by twin 1,850 h.p, Pratt and Whitney R-2800 engines (also selected for the P-47 Thunderbolt) the B-26 was of advanced concept, with an almost perfectly streamlined fuselage of circular section and small wings - a configuration that gave a maximum speed of 315 m.p.h. and a landing speed of just over 100 m.p.h. In retrospect, the U.S. Air Corps' acceptance of this latter figure might be queried, but the specification of January 1939 contained no limits in this part of the performance envelope, employing sturdy construction and a tricycle undercarriage. It is more than probable that the Air Corps awarded the contract in the light of known peace-time pilot experience (USA was then not at war) and of Glenn Martin's guarantee of rapid production. Even before the first flight, no less than 1,131 B-26 aircraft had been ordered voff the drawing board'; the first instance of this policy in America. In consequence, there was no XB-26, and the first test flight of No. 40-1361 was in the first production aircraft. After over 100 hours of further testing, four B-26s were handed over to the 22nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field, Virginia, and following elimination of teething troubles including nosewheel collapse, this Air Group was fully equipped as production gained momentum.
The Sukhoi Su-22 is an export version of the Su-17, this in turn was developed from the Su-7 with the intention of improving their performance, and was provided with variable geometry wings which reduced the takeoff and landing distances while doubling its capacity. The first flight of this model was conducted in 1966 and named S-22I or Su-71G by the Soviets and Fitter B by NATO. The aircraft first came to the attention of the Western allies in 1971 and began to appear in the Soviet units within two years and many countries of the Soviet block and numerous Arab countries deployed squadrons equipped with this model. The Fitter has performed in various wars and skirmishes, has saw action in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. Syria used them during the Yom Kippur war, some were shot down during the Gulf War, but perhaps the most striking was the downing of two Libyan Fitters by two Tomcats from VF-41 Black Aces in 1981 in the Gulf of Sidra incident. The model I have chosen is the latest production version of Su-22m4 with advanced avionics including inertial navigation laser rangefinder, more powerful ability to carry TV guided missiles, containers, ECM and radar warning system SPO-15LE.
The A400M has been a long time coming. Its development challenges have been well documented. But with full European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Type Certification achieved, initial military certification imminent and delivery of the first customer aircraft to the Armee de I'Air (French Air Force) due soon, the A400M is at last becoming a reality. EASA certification was awarded on March 13, concluding an intense certification testing campaign (see Taming the Grizzly, January 2013, p70). The milestone means that military certification is now just weeks away. Damian Allard, A400M Market Development Manager, told AIR International: "It's still on-going. We expect to get military certification sooner rather than later. As soon as we get the certification we'll deliver the aircraft to the French Air Force." AIlard didn't provide a specific timeframe about when the certification might be achieved and MSN7, the first series production aircraft, handed over, only saying that the target is to complete this process in the second quarter.
On 20 February 2013, an F-15SA advanced fighter aircraft destined for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) made a successful first flight out of Boeing's St. Louis, Missouri facility. The flight went as planned, meeting all test objectives to support the on-schedule development of this new version of the F-15 Eagle. The F-15SA flight test program will include three instrumented F-15SAs flying out Boeing facilities in St. Louis and Palmdale, California. Deliveries of the new F-15SA aircraft to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are scheduled to begin in 2015 and conclude by 2019 when the last of 84 F-15SAs is to be delivered. "The successful first flight of the F-1SSA is a tremendous milestone for the program and a testament to the relationship between the USAF, Boeing, and our RSAF partners," said Lt. Gen. C. D. Moore II, commander Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. "The F-15SA will add critical capability to the RSAF and enhance the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," General Moore added.
For years the only option for those wanting to model the H-34 in 1:48 was the very old Revell kit. This was out of production for a long time, but in mid-2012 it was re-issued by Revell (See Issue 94) and it was soon followed by the superb new-tool Wessex by Italeri (See Issue 94). Not long after the word got out about two new kits by Gallery Models, who are they I thought? Expecting them to be reboxings of the Revell kits it was a very pleasant surprise to find that these were in fact brand new toolings. On opening the box it is very obvious from the look of the instructions, the superb packaging and style of moulding that this is a product of Trumpeter. I understand that there has been some debate about the accuracy of the kit as there is a discrepancy between the box art and the kit inside. This is regarding the undercarriage. The box art shows the trailing arm type whereas the kit itself has the A-frame type. On studying the images of the H-34 in my copy of the Vietnam Choppers book it would appear that both versions were used over there so if these things worry you check your references before deciding which decal option you pick. The kit consists of eight sprues of grey-coloured plastic and three of clear, offering around two hundred and twenty grey and sixteen clear parts respectively.