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Thursday, May 3rd 2007, 8:20pm

Talons Over Cordoba 1934 Report

I got the feeling folks wanted me to post this before my hols to end the suspense. Ok sit back and enjoy (and just think about all those thousands of squares I've edited out).


Attracting over 190,000 visitors during the week of flying this airshow has been another big success starting just after the MacRobertson Air Race. The fourth Talons Over Cordoba Contest is a chance for the best pilots in the world to show off their skills allied with the best fighters available and it is now the world's foremost fighter exhibition. The exhibition display area once again attracted many companies eager to make sales; Curtiss, Boeing, Douglas, TNCA, CAC, FMA, IMPA, EMBRAER, FIAT, Caproni, Accrisius, Spartan, Hawker, Gloster, Bristol, Dornier, Junkers, Mitsubishi and Nakajima were all represented and display pilots made many demonstration flights. This year the Fuerza Aerea Argentina made a tight aerial aerobatic display every day of the contest. Unveiled were the new IMPA M.B.1, FMA M.B.2 and Tucan T-17 bombers, three of each performed mock attacks on three days and were in the opening flypast which numbered some forty aircraft of different types. During the show the order for 72 T.17 bombers was signed by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Eduardo Serra. The prototype I.A.e 4 Courier also made an appearance during the third day. The resident Aerea Regimenta No1 equipped with FIAT CR.20, Accrisius FN-7 Archer and IMPA I-99 stayed onsite for the first time and their neat rows of fighters were visible from the grandstands and press area, certainly due to recent events the air force is eager to project a picture of strength. Also present were the Australian Black Swans team who made several excellent displays. The American team was delivered by the massive airship Macon which flew non-stop from the United States, it was certainly a public spectacle and crowds blocked the streets in Cordoba as it came into land at the nearby airbase.

All contesting pilots have been assigned numbers in the order of application and nationality has not been a factor in the order given.

No1 Major S. Castro flying the third production FMA I-100A Barron with the FMA RR-14-2 radial engine (formerly Roth-Packard)
No2 Major C. Pallavincio flying a standard IMPA I-99, a licence built Spartan F-9
No3 General Ernst Udet flying the gloss-white Messerschmitt Bf 109 V13, the German team is bringing three types of engine, a 1650hp "sprint" DB-601, a normal 1175hp DB-601A and the 1020hp DB-600E for each fighter.
No4 Fluglieutenant Werner Moelders flying the gloss-black Messerschmitt Bf 109 V12
No5 Capitan Valenzuela returns flying the brand-new TNCA C-5 Aguila
No6 Teniente Cielocaminante flying the A-1 Mapache ground-attack aircraft with the armour removed
No7 Lt. Ricco flying a pre-production red, white and green FIAT CR.35bis with the up-rated 960hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI
No8 de Benardi has returned, this year a pre-production white FIAT CR.35bis
No9 Flt Lt. Phol Thongpricha flying an all-black FMA I-100 decorated with a silver flash on either side and marked with a silver 13
No10 Flying Officer Suan Sukhserm, aircraft commander Flt Lt. Chan Nuat-Kheo and gunner Airman Somphong Naelbanthad are flying a Focke Wulf Fw 42B-1 in camouflage colours with the title "The Answer"
No11 Capitão Nero Moura flying the second production EMBRAER (FMA) F-3B (I-100A) in white in standard FAB markings
No12 Baron Soontir Fel, Radio Operator Taifeiro de Primeira-Classe Geff Blim and Gunner Segundo-Tenente Iella Wessiri are flying a silver EMBRAER PU-43 (EMB-28)
No13 Flying Officer Basil Heath returns flying a production Hawker Hurricane powered by the new Rolls-Royce Peregrine I V-12 engine
No14 Flight Lieutenant Harry "Wings" Day, the noted stunt flyer and leader of the RAF aerobatic flight is flying a production Hawker Hurricane
No15 Navy Flight Lieutenant Jacob Huyrluyt returns flying the Fokker D.XVIIc with the Hispano-Suiza 12Y-21 inline engine
No 16 Navy Flight Lieutenant G.F. Jongbloed flying the navalised production Fokker D.XIXb with the Hispano-Suiza 12Y-21 inline engine
No17 Layne "Slider" Cassius flying the brand new Spartan Sp-20 Corsair fighter with the brand new Spartan 1000hp V-12 engine
No18 Tyrus "Bulldog" Hadrian flying the second per-production Ripon-Bloch RB.132 fighter powered by the Ripon 1000hp radial. It is painted in Ripon-Bloch house colours.
No19 Captain Thomas Kreuger flying a DeBroek F-3C Buzzard fighter with modified engine and undercarriage
No20 Adolph Gysbert Malan flying a JFM F-6B Swollow standard production fighter
No21 Mitsuo Fuchida flying a supercharged Ki-12 identical to last years entry, painted in cherry blossom colours
No22 Minoru Genda flying an identical Ki-12 to Fuchida painted overall black with red sunburst pattern
No23 Vicente Cortázar returns in his personal brightly coloured Nakajima A2N
No24 Marco Alabastro Filipino "ace of the revolution" is again flying his personal yellow Nakajima Ka-12
No25 Major Doolittle flying the second Hughes XP-35 in bright blue
No26 Lt. Bart Hawk flying the third Hughes XP-35 in bright red
No27 Lieutenant Patrick Ryan O'Connell Corporal Adam Pierson flying a brand new EMBRAER EMB-32 in standard Eire camouflage colours and roundels
No28 Lt. Diego Alessandro flying a camouflaged ex-Bolivian Arado Ar 65 representing the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Republic
No29 Kapitán Josef Franti¨ek flying a bright red Aero A.102 believed to be the second prototype
No30 Nadporu
ík Ladislav Fajtl flying a dark royal blue Avia D.534 II standard production biplane fighter
No31 Captain Tuchar Yechary flying the biplane Alleppey Aeronautics Dhaamin pained and an orange and black chequer pattern
No32 Captain Anbumani Kadam flying the new monoplane Kiran Industries Ki-5 Andhii (Cyclone) painted in bright tiger stripes with a large toothy mouth on the lower cowling
No33 Ronnie Hellström flying the first production Sopwith Odin Mk.4
No34 Wing Commander Otto Larsen flying the third production Sopwith Odin Mk.4

The groups are divided between biplanes and monoplanes. Group 7 is biplanes and the others monoplanes.
Group 1 Numbers 1, 3, 12, 26 Castro, Udet, Baron Soontir, Lt. Bart Hawk
Group 2 Numbers 2, 4, 9, 18 Pallavincio, Moelders, Thongpricha, "Bulldog" Hadrian
Group 3 Numbers 8, 13, 19, 17, 34 de Benardi, Heath, Kreuger, "Slider" Cassius, Larsen
Group 4 Numbers 5, 14, 20, 29, 33 Valenzuela, Day, Malan, Franti¨ek, Hellström
Group 5 Numbers 10, 7, 21, 24, 27 Sukhserm, Ricco, Fuchida, Alabastro, Ryan O'Connell
Group 6 Numbers 11, 16, 22, 32, 25 Nero Moura, Jongbloed, Genda, Kadam, Major Doolittle
Group 7 Numbers 6, 15, 23, 28, 30, 31 Cielocaminante, Huyrluyt, Cortázar, Alessandro, Fajtl, Yechary

8 laps of a 1 mile circuit with four corners, this calls for great cornering skills and the ability to fly fast in a crowded group without mishap.

As was expected the first race proved to be the most exciting start to the contest that the crowd could expect. The four contenders were the improved I-100A, the brand new Bf 109 fitted with the 1650hp "sprint" DB-601 engine for improved performance for short periods, the amphibious EMB-28 and the Hughes XP-35 based on the successful H-1 racer. Major Castro took the lead on the first lap but was challenged by Lt. Bart Hawk in the XP-35 on every corner. The high wing loading enabled the XP-35 forced Lt. Hawk to take wide line though the corners and Baron Soontir fell behind in his heavier and draggier fighter. On the fifth lap Udet decided to open up the full potential of his DB-601 and soon reached around 580km/h on the straights and he easily climbed over Lt. Hawk to take the lead. Lt. Hawk attempted to keep up and they were neck and neck to the finish, Lt. Hawk just edging ahead on the final corner but Udet applied full power and won by under a second. Castro comfortably kept third and Soontir came last. The new DB-601 made a huge impression on the crowd; its loud sound was described by an aviation journalist as "a concrete crusher mixed with a wolf like howl."

The line up in this race was the new I-99 based on the Spartan F-9, another Bf 109 with the 1650hp "sprint" DB-601, a Mercury powered I-100 and the brand new Ripon-Bloch. Werner Moelders in the Bf 109 was unchallenged and took first place, the I-100 being unable to catch him as he pulled away from the third lap onwards. Thongpricha took second keeping his agile fighter ahead of the Ripon-Bloch of "Bulldog" Hadrian. Pallavincio and "Bulldog" were locked in a vicious fight both being neck and neck in the corners. Twice they nearly collided but neither man backed down. Eventually "Bulldog" Hadrian's better engine allowed him to build up a lead on the straights claim third leaving Pallavincio in fourth place.

The brand new CR.35 began its debut very convincingly easily outrunning the other aircraft from the initial lap apart from the Odin Mk.4 which was able to match his acceleration but the CR.35 pulled away above 530kmh. The pilot de Benardi easily took first place. The acceleration was matched only by the Bf 109s with the DB-601 engines. In contrast Flying Officer Heath, Kreuger, Larsen and "Slider" Cassius were evenly matched and only seven seconds separated them. The Hurricane was sluggish on the straights but FO Heath used the turning ability to match the Sp-20 Corsair. "Slider" Cassius and Heath switched back and forth from second place many times but on the final lap the extra power pulled the Sp-20 Corsair ahead. Captain Kreuger took advantage of a mistake by Heath and slipped inside him to take third briefly but Heath managed to outrun him on the final straight. Larsen also in the thick of action was briefly in third place but he missed a corner and lost his position, he was unable to gain on the others until near the end and so finished fifth.

Although this race promised much it turned out to be one of the dullest, only the controversy afterwards would make this a memorable event. Adolph Malan in the F-6B soon took the lead having the pace to outrun the others in the straights and the manoeuvrability in the corners. Ronnie Hellström in his Odin Mk.4 had pushed Malan hard but was overtaken by Capitan Valenzuela in the new Aguila who took second. Valenzuela managed to keep the slower accelerating Hurricane behind him and block every move Hellström made to try and pass. Flight Lieutenant Harry "Wings" Day took fourth and Kapitán Josef Franti¨ek took fifth, the A.102 proving very agile but slower than the competition.
After the race however the Argentine technical judges inspected the F-6B and declared the RSAF ground crew had illegally lightened the airframe and the aircraft was disqualified and Valenzuela was instead awarded the first place. Adolph Malan and his ground crew protested but eventually the American independent specialist upon weighing the aircraft found some limited supporting evidence and the team accepted the decision but nearly retired from the contest in disgust. Even now after the contest the precise details have not been made public.

This race was another hotly contested event with two Ki-12 fighters competing and the giant Fw 42B-1. Lt. Ricco in his CR.35 soon took the lead but on the seventh lap a stream of oil indicated not all was well. Eventually he had to retire and he made an emergency landing before the engine seized or caught fire. He made a perfect engine-off dead stick landing. Fuchida was relatively new to the Ki-12 but he put up a strong fight against Alabastro and both men twisted and turned around the course not more than a few feet apart, Fuchida tending to gain on the corners and lose speed on the straights. Eventually Fuchida gained a lead on the final lap and maintained it to the finish but only just. Surprisingly the Fw 42 piloted by FO Sukhserm took third simply by forcing itself in the Irish team's way and they were unable to get past. Airman Somphong Naelbanthad in the rear turret making "friendly gestures" hardly improved Ryan O'Connell's mood!

A very tight group all five pilots were very close together and not until the sixth lap did Doolittle apply full power and his XP-35 with its illustrious racing heritage managed to get round the corners and come home in first place. On the straights flat out the I-100A of Moura and Jongbloed's Fokker XIXb were neck and neck but the Fokker turned much tighter in the corners and Jongbloed took second place while Moura came under pressure from Genda in his Ki-12, he tried to leap over Moura but speed and so he dived under him on the final straight to take third. Captain Kadam in his new Kiran Industries Andhii fighter had a rough debut with some flutter on the control surfaces and some minor engine troubles; he finished the race but lagged behind to take fourth.

No less than six planes were racing at the same time and this proved another exciting race. Jacob Huyrluyt seemed on track to take first place but had to retire. The team were using 100 Octane fuel this year but the HS 12Y-21 engine suffered a major oil leak on the sixth lap and he was forced to retire. The oil sprayed onto Ladislav Fajtl's windscreen and goggles, he managed to wipe the goggles clean on his sleeves but he had lost two places. Not one to admit defeat he managed to overtake Captain Yechary on the final corner to take second. Cielocaminante in his Mapache, a biplane version of last years successful Quetzalcoat, found himself under severe strain from Fajtl and Yechary but after Fajtl's incident he managed to hold onto first place. All three fighters matched each other in speed but the Apache turned very well in the tight corners with its low wing loading. Captain Yechary took third and Lt. Diego Alessandro claimed fourth but he stalled on turn six and nearly crashed but recovered at 200ft. Cortázar could do little but shake his fists in vain as his old Nakajima A2N failed to catch up with Alessandro as he failed to block Alessandro's passing move.

The winners of all seven races race in one final group.
This final was full of disappointments, de Benardi soon built up a lead but a loose cowling panel flew off and caused some tailplane damage and he decided to retire rather than risk further damage. Udet's DB-601 suffered cooling problems and he decided to carry on but steadily lost power, he was overtaken by Moelders and Doolittle and Valenzuela squeezed by on the penultimate lap but he retained fourth place ahead of Fuchida while Cielocaminante in his Mapache suffered from a rough engine and he retired on the third lap. Doolittle managed to gain on Moelders and on the last lap they were neck and neck but the Bf 109 had the acceleration to pull away on the final straight but Doolittle was just able to win by a nose (well a cowling!).

This year flown over a course stretching 50 miles over hills and through a steep valley the course is designed to test the agility of the fighters and the pilot's navigation skills rather than maximum speed. All pilots made single fights and were timed. The course follows last years tougher cross-country navigation trail. This year the weather was better but a weather front closed in on the latter stages and the cloud base was quite low.

First place went to a surprise winner, Soontir Fel with his radio operator Geff Blim and gunner Iella Wessiri. The EMB-28 performed well and with Blim navigating Wessiri kept a good lookout as Fel flew the whole course at less than 200ft. Flying Officer Suan Sukhserm with aircraft commander Flt Lt. Chan Nuat-Kheo and gunner Airman Somphong Naelbanthad flying Focke Wulf Fw 42B-1 "The Answer" came second some six seconds behind the Brazilian fliers, they had flown a medium height route and Nuat-Kheo kept his pilot on a very accurate plot throughout. Major C. Pallavincio in his I-99 came third having practised several times along the course, he was followed in by Doolittle and Major Castro. Sixth place was taken by Udet in the Bf 109 fitted with the 1020hp DB-600E engine for a more reliable performance and de Benardi came in seventh only some ten seconds later than Udet and Moelders in his DB-600E equipped fighter came in eighth. Ninth and tenth went to Lt. Hawk and Mitsuo Fuchida who came in just as the weather closed in badly. Lt. Hawk nearly collided with a fuel tanker when he overshot on his fast landing on the wet grass. Hellström and Adolph Malan landed at the same time and tied for eleventh, they had followed each other around the whole track. Both RAF pilots followed each other in the worsening rain, Flight Lieutenant Harry "Wings" Day gave up his position to circle round and guide Jongbloed in his Fokker down. Jongbloed had suffered engine problems and could not see the runway with oil and rain streaking over his windscreen. Minoru Genda was not far behind and landed with no difficulty given his carrier training. Half an hour later Cortázar and "Slider" Cassius landed to take sixteenth and seventeenth. No-one else finished the race (to score any points the pilots must land at the designated airfield). As the weather worsened the two Czechs, Huyrluyt and Lieutenant Ryan O'Connell diverted to Cordoba airport, later they were joined by Captain Kreuger in his F-3C fighter nearly out of fuel. Valenzuela battered by wind and rain lost his way, he was in sixth place but by the time he found a safe spot to put down he had lost any chance of scoring. Cielocaminante in his Mapache climbed easily above the clouds but he was unable to sight an aerodrome and actually landed at San Luis some 100 miles further south. Thongpricha also got lost and was struck by something; he recovered and landed in a cattle pasture. He had in fact collided unknowingly with Cortázar, the latter had most of the upper port wing fabric ripped away and after trying to regain control made an emergency landing in marshy land, the aircraft was recovered and found repairable. Lt. Ricco soon returned with engine problems and "Bulldog" Hadrian decided to divert to the airport but became lost in the storm. Disoriented he eventually put down on a school playing field only three miles short of the airbase. Larsen flew above the clouds but got lost on descending for landing and put down on a field some nine miles short of the airbase. Alabastro in the valley clipped a tree removing his port wingtip but he managed to fly out and put down for some improvised repairs of his own. He then took-off and landed again when the Ki-12s undercarriage clipped another tree and he took-off again only to land some three miles short owing to aileron problems. Once these were repaired with help from local schoolboys he then returned to the air to only to stall and land in a ploughed field a mile further on. The undercarriage was damaged as was the propeller. Alessandro put down during the race and was not recovered for some nine hours. It took another day to get all the pilots and fighters back to Cordoba and repaired.

Each pilot was timed along a ten mile straight course during which the aircraft attempted a top speed run after a shallow dive run-in to build up speed. The run was done at sea level to equalise the chances given the variety of aircraft and engines.
Here are the speeds reached from fastest to lowest;
Lt. Ricco 629.9km/h, Udet 609.8kmh, Moelders 608.3kmh, Doolittle 563.7kmh, Malan 560.1kmh, Lt Hawk 559.8kmh, Valenzuela 529.4kmh, Genda 522.7kmh, "Slider" Cassius 521kmh, Fuchida 520.9kmh, Hellström 520.6kmh, Alabastro 520.2kmh, Jongbloed 519.7kmh, Larsen 519kmh, Castro 517.1kmh, Moura 516.8kmh, "Bulldog" Hadrian 513.1kmh, Thongpricha 500.1kmh, Kreuger 499.9kmh, Huyrluyt 497.2kmh, "Wings" Day 494.7kmh, Heath 493.1kmh, Pallavincio 480kmh, Cielocaminante 350kmh, Kadam 434.2kmh, Franti¨ek 432.9kmh, Fajtl 385.6kmh, Baron Soontir Fel and crew (see note below) Sukhserm and crew 307.3kmh, Alessandro 295.2kmh and finally Cortázar 292.9kmh.

The EMB-28 piloted by Baron Soontir Fel on this run achieved a recognised world speed record for piston-engined amphibious aircraft at 230.413mph.

Three pilots failed to score any points de Benardi retired after a serious oil leak, Lieutenant Patrick Ryan O'Connell retired owing to his propeller sticking in fine pitch and Captain Tuchar Yechary never took-off owing to troubles with the brand new Kiran Industries engine. On landing Lt. Hawk had a slight landing mishap and he tipped onto his nose requiring a new propeller. Moelders put down just as his 1650hp "sprint" DB-601 began to overheat and run rough.

This trial was a timed mock interception. The pilot was timed from "Contact", taxiing, take-off and a climb to 3000m or as high as the aircraft can reach to this figure.
The fastest to slowest are; first was "Slider" Cassius in the new Spartan Sp-20 Corsair with a climb rate of 35.4 metres per second, Teniente Cielocaminante in the Mapache which climbed at an incredible 30m per second, even better than its monoplane ancestor last year, next was de Benardi in the CR.35bis at 22.2m per sec, Moelders and Udet came in very close with the 1175hp DB-601 engines for a more reliable performance and around 17.7-17.9m per second climb rate, the automatic solenoid supercharger control meant the pilots could push the throttle forwards fully early on while most other pilots had to coax and carefully adjust their throttles as they increased altitude, next was Major C. Pallavincio in the IMPA I-99 at 15.6m per sec. The three Ki-12 fighters all achieved their design figures and the order was Genda, Alabastro and Fuchida. The three I-100 fighters all produced very similar times and Capitão Nero Moura beat Major S. Castro while Thongpricha was only ten seconds behind them. Jacob Huyrluyt in the Fokker D.XVIIc achieved 14.10m per second followed closely by Fajtl in the Avia D.534 II at 14m per second who was having some engine troubles. The two Hurricanes beat the XP-35 fighters in the climb and the Fokker D.XIXb.

Those who did not compete or retired were, Lt. Ricco suffering a gasket problem, "Bulldog" Hadrian with an oil cooler problem halfway through the test and SAE F-6B who had a supercharger problem so he retired. Larsen in the Odin never took off owing to technical troubles.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Hood" (May 3rd 2007, 8:22pm)


Thursday, May 3rd 2007, 8:26pm

Part 2

For safety purposes no machine guns were fitted to any aircraft in any of these contests. Ballast was added and for these duels a camera gun was fitted. Activated when the trigger was pressed these cameras take a picture, up to three minutes of film could be taken. This year cameras were added to the secondary guns of the two-seaters but they could only count for half points. The films were then judged by an international panel. Present were Eddie Rickenbacker and once again the Fuerza Aerea Argentina gunnery trainer H. Costellos. Also present was Group Captain Mandrake of the RAF. Groups were the same as the 8 mile races. All pilots fought at once trying to down as many opponents as he could in the thirty minutes available and points were scored according to hits and where those hits were. Critical hits on engine and cockpit scored more.

The extremely agile I-100 of Major Castro once again proved itself again as a deadly dogfighter with a fearsome rate of roll few aircraft here could match expect for the XP-35. The I-100, Bf 109 and the XP-35 were all well matched in the dogfight and all three pilots made extremely tight and daring manoeuvres. The Bf 109 was fitted with the 1175hp DB-601A engine. Udet seemed to have the edge over the others; he is a world accomplished aerial acrobat and easily out-flew the other fliers here. Baron Soontir Fel with his Radio Operator Geff Blim and Gunner Iella Wessiri had both dorsal and ventral defensive guns and both gunners scored hits on Lt. Bart Hawk and Castro as they came in to attack. Baron Soontir after a snap roll managed to score hits on Castro but both Castro and Udet managed to rake the EMB-28s belly from the front. The judges had a hard time rating Udet, Castro and Lt. Hawk but they awarded Udet first, Castro second and Lt. Hawk third. Despite flinging the XP-35 around Lt. Hawk failed to avoid many hits or score many effective hits on his opponents. The XP-35 was just not manoeuvrable enough and by the time he tried the vertical combat manoeuvres he was out of camera film. The judges felt the Brazilian team was acting defensively and therefore although the gunnery was good they were awarded last place. Only four points separated all four pilots.

Like Udet, Moelders elected to use the 1175hp DB-601A fuel injection engine in his Bf 109. The fight paired off into the two groups. Moelders and Thongpricha locked into a vicious high-G duel, the latter blacking out three times and his canopy ripping off exposing him to the full force of the slipstream. As he pulled up Moelders had a perfect shot and let loose a two second burst which if it had been real machinegun and cannon fire would have destroyed the I-100. The slat equipped Bf 109 proved itself superior in low speed combat and its fuel injection engine could handle rough manoeuvres and inverted flight. In an amazing move while being chased Moelders rolled into inverted flight and "Bulldog" Hadrian who tried to catch him and rolled inverted too was left spluttering and he had to break off. Major Pallavincio and "Bulldog" Hadrian had their own private battle. During an inverted split-S the Argentine I-99 suffered a fuel problem and the engine cut out, as Pallavincio levelled both "Bulldog" and Moelders got in long bursts on him. As he saw "Bulldog" pass overhead he wrenched back on the stick and managed, in the judge's opinion, to get some shots into the belly of the RB.132. His fighter then stalled and spun out of control at just 600ft. He stopped the spin at 200ft and got level at around 80ft when the nose dropped and he ploughed into the ground. The undercarriage was ripped off and engine ripped lose from its mountings and tore down the port side of the cockpit just missing Pallavincio's left arm. He survived and after spending the night in hospital discharged himself and resumed flying in the spare I-99 despite a suspected crushed disk in his spine. "Bulldog" found his new fighter not good enough in the tight dogfight although his radial offered better inverted performance. The judges gave the following positions based on the film analysed that day, Moelders first, "Bulldog" Hadrian second, Pallavincio third (clinched by his belly shot) and Thongpricha fourth.

The dominant fighter here was the CR.35 piloted by the experienced de Benardi. He used the superior climb ability of the CR.35 to stay high and pick his victims off diving out of the sun and also using his agile fighter to weave into position on a second target before climbing again to start the process again. He "fired" some two minutes of film and scored hits on the engines and cockpits of Heath, Kreuger and "Slider" Cassius while avoiding all but "Slider" Cassius's attacks. "Slider" found his new Sp-20 Corsair less nimble and unable of turning inside the CR.35; however he managed rake the cockpit of de Benardi to score points and added the Hurricane to his list. Larsen found his newer Odin much better and able to match the CR.35 in everything and he got some seven seconds of film showing "hits" all over de Benardi's engine and wings. FO Heath had a disappointing fight finding he could match any of the others in the slower turning combat and scoring hits on Krueger and "Slider" but the Peregrine lacked the power to climb very fast and acceleration was poor, in the pull-out from a dive the float carburettor normally cut out the engine just when Heath needed the power the most. Krueger had the speed but not quite the agility to match the other fighters. He scored hits on Heath's port wing but failed to hit Larsen's Odin as he dodged SAE attacks. The judges therefore awarded the following positions; de Benardi first, "Slider" Cassius second, Larsen third, Heath fourth and Kreuger fifth.

The Hurricane and the F-6B proved to be closely matched planes, while the F-6B was faster in the climb the Hurricane was far more nimble and Harry "Wings" Day had little trouble getting Malan in his sights with the help of his extensive aerobatics knowledge. Some 50 seconds of film footage showed proof that Day got very close before opening fire. Malan got some shots on Valenzuela and he got six seconds of film of Franti¨ek, just breaking away in time before they collided. Franti¨ek found his new Aero A.102 fighter a good turner but the lack of flaps hindered his flexibility and in slower combat just above the ground Valenzuela had the edge in his very agile C-5 and forced Franti¨ek to overshoot straight into his gunsight. Day dived onto both fighters and gave a quick burst on both before puling away; the judges felt some bullets may have hit Valenzuela in real combat. The C-5 gave the agile Odin a tough time too and Valenzuela managed to get the edge over Hellström and get hits all over the forward fuselage and starboard tailplane. The judges awarded Day first, Malan second, Valenzuela third, Hellström fourth and Franti¨ek fifth.

This was the oddest duel of the contest, one giant twin-engined canard fighter, another two-seater and three modern dogfighters all fighting for glory. Lt. Ricco with his engine fixed was eager to show off his skills from the new training school and he flung his fighter around showing a clean pair of heels to the Ki-12 in both the climb and overall dogfighting ability. Ricco did black out once due to G-forces and he felt he had to be very careful not to overstress the aircraft or pass out completely. Fuchida being more of a bomber pilot than a fighter pilot had a decent level of skill but he was outshone by Ricco and Alabastro. From the start the Siamese team in "The Answer" began on the offensive diving for any plane near them and once they nearly chopped off Alabastro's port wing! Flying Officer Sukhserm did all the flying while the aircraft commander Flt Lt. Nuat-Kheo warned him of the fighters lurking around him and gunner Airman Somphong Naelbanthad manned the tail gun, he got some good film and was deemed to have downed both Fuchida and O'Connell. The latter with his gunner Corporal Adam Pierson were hard to catch but he scored no hits on any other opponent at all. Pierson did get a few seconds of film on Ricco however. The judges ratings were, Alabastro first, Ricco second, Sukhserm third, Fuchida fourth and O'Connell second.

Two pilots here, Nero Moura and Captain Kadam are combat veterans with kills to their name. Both proved deadly adversaries and Genda's combat skills were just as good as well. The three fighters were evenly matched in the dogfight, Moura used the excellent roll of the I-100 to break and get behind his target, the new Ki-5 Andhii proved very agile as well. Doolittle fund himself with a poor rearward view and poor manoeuvrability and he was easy meat for the swifter fighters although he did manage to get critical hits on Kadam. Jongbloed in the Fokker also had a good fight preferring to stay high and pick off his opponents out of the sun. Kadam managed to score hits on all his opponents, his aircraft was now operating perfectly. The judges after reviewing the films awarded Genda first, Moura second, Kadam third, Jongbloed fourth and Doolittle fifth.

This fight was a melee of fighters cavorting around the sky and to the crowd it seemed no single pilot had the advantage. Alessandro's Arado soon suffered an engine failure and he retired. The Alleppey Dhaamin of Yechary also suffered a loss of power and found himself unable to climb high enough to avoid the savage attacks upon him. The Mapache has the extraordinary climbing ability of its Quetzalcoat ancestor and Cielocaminante repeated Lascurain's deadly slashing attacks upon Huyrluyt and Yechary. The Fokker D.XVIIc had a very good climb rate too and Huyrluyt was able to stay out of too much trouble and scored hits on every other opponent, including the fleeing Alessandro. Cortázar may have been flying the oldest plane in the whole contest but he fly it like the most modern fighter. He seemed to be everywhere and seemed to avoid most of the attacks upon him. By some weird sixth sense he weaved through the melee and had scored the most points. The new Avia D.534 II of Nadporu
ík Ladislav Fajtl proved itself as a stable gun platform with the agility to outfox Yechary and even Cielocaminante. He out climbed Huyrluyt and both flew side-by-side for a time but neither could get a shot at each other. The judges decision was; Cortázar first, Huyrluyt second, Fajtl third, Cielocaminante fourth and Yechary fifth.

The winners of the monoplane groups duels faced each other in a final showdown.
Udet and Moelders decided before the race to pair up and they soon found the lead over the other pilots. Genda though was in no mood to fly on the defensive and he used his manoeuvrability to match Alabastro in an identical fighter and score hits on Udet. "Wings" Day had learned to keep his Hurricane high and fight on the level and avoid vigorous combat and in this way he pounced on de Benardi and scored hits on Moelders engine too. The CR.35 had a climb and manoeuvrability advantage and de Benardi pressed home successful attacks on both Genda and Moelders. The Peregrine proved no match in inverted flight or high-G manoeuvres to the DB-601 of the BF 109s. Alabastro stalled and recovered in time but decided to retire fearing he had down some structural damage. This proved later not to be the case. The judges awarded the places as; first to Genda, second to de Benardi, third to Day, fourth to Udet and fifth to Moelders.

The top two pilots of the biplane group duel faced each other in a final showdown.
Vicente Cortázar in his A2N faced Navy Flight Lieutenant Jacob Huyrluyt in the Fokker D.XVIIc. The bookies were taking bets and the crowd expected a long battle but none expected the weaving majestic duel that lasted thirty-seven minutes which ended in no decisive hits from the film footage and only a single point separating the two pilots. At one point they flew so low that Cortázar flew through an open hangar in true barnstorming style! Huyrluyt had the edge from his more powerful Fokker which outdid the A2N at everything but Cortázar relied on sheer skill to hang on and dodge the attacks Huyrluyt made while turning the tables on the Dutchman. The judges therefore decided Cortázar won but there was so little between the men that both would be entered for the Grand Duel alongside the monoplane winners.

The four top scoring pilots of each of the two winner's duels have a final battle.
The four pilots competing this year were de Benardi, Cortázar, Genda and Huyrluyt. This fight was monoplane versus biplane and the biplanes showed all out speed in not necessarily the key. Cortázar mixed it very well at the start getting good hits on both monoplanes but de Benardi soon zoomed to higher altitudes and kept this height advantage to come out of clouds and get six seconds of film shots on Huyrluyt who was chasing Genda. The latter got the better of Cortázar eventually but the Fokker XVIIc was a good match for the Ki-12 in turning combat and had the greater acceleration, both men got only get fleeting shots of film. None of which showed to the judges any vital hits. Huyrluyt broke off to get the slower Nakajima of Cortázar and this earned him the first place. Genda was given second because of his skills in avoiding attacks and de Benardi received third and Cortázar fourth.

Flown in groups of six in number order each pilot was allocated a take-off time and route. They had to find an IMPA M.B.1 (Spartan B-1) twin-engined monoplane bomber flying at 15,000ft and 240mph and successfully intercept and take enough gun camera footage to claim a kill. The interception was designed to be around dawn making observation difficult and the range was about 25 miles. There were no groups; pilots scored points for completing elements of the mission. Finding the bomber earned one point; the gunnery judges would then deem a "probable" as one point and a full kill as two points. Every pilot had a separate general course and target and equal chances to score points.
On day one Major S. Castro in the FMA I-100A Barron managed a perfect interception coming in from 25,000ft and the darker western sky and scored 3 points, Major C. Pallavincio in his IMPA I-99 suffered from icing problems on his windscreen and did not find the bomber at all, Ernst Udet fitted the 1175hp DB-601A to his Bf 109 and he made a perfect kill after a ten minute chase, Werner Moelders elected to use the 1020hp DB-600E and although he found the bomber he found it hard to get a decent camera shot and he only claimed a probable, Capitan Valenzuela in the TNCA C-5 Aguila made a perfect interception from above while his countryman Cielocaminante in the A-1 Mapache used the opposite approach flying at 8-10,000ft and zooming up to rake the bomber's belly undetected to get three points too.
On day two Lt. Ricco and de Benardi in their FIAT CR.35bis fighters scored two perfect kills although Ricco has some engine troubles on the way home, Flt Lt. Phol Thongpricha in his I-100 had less luck finding the bomber but not being able to get any shots before it dived into a cloud formation, "The Answer" Focke Wulf Fw 42B-1 made a perfect attack after a twenty-two minute dogfight between the two bombers, the Fw 42 being superior in turning combat, Capitão Nero Moura in the EMBRAER (FMA) F-3B (I-100A) found and claimed the bomber as a kill and finally that day Baron Soontir Fel and crew in the EMB-28 claimed a probable.
On day three both RAF in the Hawker Hurricanes scored perfect kills, both from astern as did Flight Lieutenant Jacob Huyrluyt and Navy Flight Lieutenant G.F. Jongbloed by a ventral attack. Layne "Slider" Cassius flying the brand new Spartan Sp-20 Corsair fighter failed to find the bomber despite searching for nearly an hour while his countryman Tyrus "Bulldog" Hadrian flying the Ripon-Bloch RB.132 scored a full kill making a zoom attack from 10,000ft and a diving attack from 18,000ft.
Day three was hampered by poor weather and Kreuger in the DeBroek F-3C turned back early but Adolph Malan flying the JFM F-6B Swollow briefly saw the bomber and took a photograph to score one point, Fuchida scored a kill from a high-level diving attack while Minoru Genda spotted his bomber he failed to close in for the kill due to the clouds, Vicente Cortázar in the Nakajima A2N scored a probable as did Marco Alabastro.
On day four Major Doolittle flying the Hughes XP-35 found the bomber and soon scored enough film points for a kill but on landing he came too high and fast and nosed over, he was trapped in the cockpit for some five minutes before the rescue teams cut him free. Lt. Bart Hawk failed to find his bomber and turned home only to also have a prang on landing needing some cosmetic work and a new propeller. Lieutenant Patrick Ryan O'Connell and Corporal Adam Pierson in the EMB-32 killed their bomber by flying parallel and using the rear gun to rake the engines and port wing while Lt. Diego Alessandro sighted his bomber but could not catch up with it and returned with one point, Kapitán Josef Franti¨ek flying the Aero A.102 scored a probable and Nadporu
ík Ladislav Fajtl scored a full kill. Josef Franti¨ek on landing had an accident, he came in too fast (the A.102 has no flaps) and he ground looped, fortunately without injury but writing off the valuable prototype.
On day five No31 Captain Tuchar Yechary flying the Alleppey Aeronautics Dhaamin managed to sight the bomber but failed to open fire as it evaded him into cloud while his fellow Indian colleague Captain Anbumani Kadam flying the new monoplane Kiran Industries Ki-5 Andhii scored a full kill from below, Ronnie Hellström in the Sopwith Odin Mk.4 followed suit in a similar fashion while Wing Commander Otto Larsen failed to find his bomber at all.

The target this year was a trench system with a well camouflaged gun emplacement and dug-in tank. Each pilot could freely choose which targets to hit and he had two runs to drop his bombs and two strafing passes with the gun camera on the aircraft. Bombing height was left to the pilot's discretion. The bombs were two 12.5lb dummy smoke bombs.
Major C. Pallavincio bombed first deciding to dive bomb the tank but both bombs missed by 12m and his strafing run was classified as poor. Teniente Cielocaminante flying the A-1 Mapache ground-attack aircraft made a good reconnaissance before finding the gun emplacement and making an accurate low speed shallow dive bombing run. Both bombs hit and he made a good strafing pass of the trenches. Flying Officer Suan Sukhserm and his crew in Focke Wulf Fw 42B-1 "The Answer" lacked a bombsight but still made a good run but both bombs missed by 8m. Baron Soontir Fel and crew made a good shallow dive onto the dug-in tank and scored a direct hit with one bomb before making a level bomb run and radio operator Taifeiro de Primeira-Classe Geff Blim scored a near-miss of 2m with the second bomb. Flight Lieutenant Jacob Huyrluyt made two strafing passes first before bombing the gun emplacement which he discovered. Both bombs overshot by 6m. Mitsuo Fuchida made a level bomb run against the tank and scored one direct and one near-miss. He did not strafe. Vicente Cortázar this year managed to hit two targets, one bomb on the gun and another on the tank. Marco Alabastro missed by 20m but made a good strafing run while Lieutenant Patrick Ryan O'Connell and Corporal Adam Pierson in the EMB-32 scored two perfect hits on the gun emplacement. Lt. Diego Alessandro failed to hit anything as did Nadporu
ík Ladislav Fajtl but Captain Tuchar Yechary made a shallow dive against the tank and scored two near misses before two average strafing runs. The top six places in order went to; Lieutenant O'Connell, Cielocaminante, Baron Soontir Fel, Fuchida, Cortázar and Yechary.

After totting up the points and successes the top three pilots were;
1) Fluglieutenant Werner Moelders won the Gold Talon Eagle Trophy
2) General Ernst Udet won the Silver Albatross Trophy
3) Major Doolittle won the Pilot's Silver Plate
The Gold Eagle Winged Trophy for the highest scoring biplane pilot was awarded to Navy Flight Lieutenant Jacob Huyrluyt.
The judges also awarded a Silver Medal to, de Benardi, Minoru Genda, and Capitan Valenzuela whose skill enabled them to compete to a very high standard.
The Aviones de Militar Trophy was awarded to Major Pallavincio for his decision to compete despite suffering a painful spinal injury early on in contest.
The Lieutenant Y. Yucuman Memorial Trophy to the pilot who succeeded against the worst odds has been awarded to Vicente Cortázar who flew a great contest and gave his utmost effort into competing despite flying an obsolete biplane fighter.

The points table:
Werner Moelders 52
General Ernst Udet 49
Doolittle 38
de Benardi 36
Minoru Genda 34
Capitan Valenzuela 31
Layne "Slider" Cassius 28
Navy Flight Lieu Jacob Huyrluyt 26
Mitsuo Fuchida 26
Vicente Cortázar 26
Teniente Cielocaminante 25
Flight Lt. Harry "Wings" Day 25
Navy Flight Lieu G.F. Jongbloed 25
FO Suan Sukhserm + 2 24
Major S. Castro 23
Marco Alabastro 23
Lt. Hawk 22
Lt. Ricco 21
Baron Soontir Fel + 2 20
Capitão Moura 17
Tyrus "Bulldog" Hadrian 17
Frantisek Fajtl 17
Adolph Malan 15
Lieut. Patrick Ryan O'Connell +1 15
Ronnie Hellström 15
Major C. Pallavincio 13
Flying Officer Basil Heath 13
Flt Lt. Phol Thongpricha 10
Captain Anbumani Kadam 10
Captain Tuchar Yechary 9
Josef Franti¨ek 7
Wing Commander Otto Larsen 7
Captain Thomas Kreuger 5
Santa Cruz de la Sierra Republic 5

Points were scored as follows; First 10, Second 8, Third 6, Fourth 4, Fifth 2 and Sixth 1. In the cross country, altitude and speed trials the points were First 10, Ninth 9 etc to Tenth 1. Last place on the 8 mile rounds and duels this year scored 1 point (except where Did Not Finish takes last place). Duel Group Final winners scored 10 and the Grand Final winner 15. Runners up in Duel Group Final and the Grand Final scored 0.

Antonio Allegro's Press Cuttings

Just for fun the judges added up which fighters were propelled by whose engines to discover the most popular engine manufacturers.
Nakajima 4, Hispano Suiza 3, Pratt & Whitney 3, Rolls-Royce 3, BMW 2, Daimler-Benz 2, FMA 2, Husquarna 2, Isotta-Fraschini 2, LMF 2, Spartan 2, Bristol 1, Curtiss 1, Gnome-Rhone 1, Ripon 1, Wright 1

The Argentine camp was more hopeful than last year with a new version of the I-100 and the licence built F-9 (I-99) which performed well last year. The FAA and FMA once again gave every assistance to the team's needs and the hangar was full of tools, parts and engines. Major Castro, a former commander of the Fighter School was joined by Major C. Pallavincio who is the commander of one of the squadrons of Aerea Regimenta No1 which is re-equipping with the I-99. When the team finished quite low down Luis Barron, the designer of the I-100, commented, "We will have to begin a new modern fighter, the I-100 is still good but not the best and by 1936 it will be obsolete."

The Italian team returned with their stalwart flier de Benardi and Lt. Ricco. He is the cream of the first crop of the new tactical school set up by Bergamini to foster a new generation of fliers. This year the graceful biplanes were replaced by the equally sleek CR.35. The new engines posed problems throughout the contest and points were lost because of failures but on the whole the FIAT engineering team felt that by the next contest these would be solved and power would be further increased.

The Americans returned but with a USAAC team only. Some 6,200 individual spares were transported here and a mini mobile workshop set up. Once again the Air Corps personnel seemed to chalk up the female admirers. Three international Baseball games were played among the ground crews and the US and Mexico scored the most wins but Brazil also joined in this year. This years Hughes XP-35 seemed to be a worry because of its dangerous landing characteristics and this proved to be the case, the spare propellers nearly ran out and Doolittle had a narrow escape. Both pilots lamented the fighter's bad points but recognised it enabled them to finally bring home a trophy.

Flying Officer Heath returned with a handsome handlebar moustache and his silver Hurricane was polished to perfection. Every time he got in before an event he would stop and brush his moustache in the polished cowling and check his hair before putting on his flying cap. Stocky pilot Flight Lieutenant "George" Bulman flew the new Hurricane which the author was allowed to inspect. Although teething troubles hindered its performance last year Rolls Royce have made huge advances in getting the engines to perform reliably, Hawker is fully confident there is nothing wrong with its airframe. The ground crews again played regular cricket matches in between events and a series of international games of Rugby after the day's events.

Germany decided to join this year and brought the finest engines, fighters and pilots in the world. The advanced Daimler-Benz engines are among the best in the world and are of a new generation of V-12 inline piston engines with powerful superchargers. The Messerschmitt Bf 109, itself an unknown fighter firm, has made the Bf 109 more like a racer than a fighter in appearance and it is fitted with automatic slots for low-speed manoeuvres. General Udet needs no introduction being one of the finest aerobatic pilots in the world and Moelders is another accomplished pilot. Fewer nations have made finer debuts onto the world fighter scene. They truly have the potential to match the flying circuses of the Great War.

Although the final entry was open to debate and speculation the SAE finally sent a team to Talons to send a message of goodwill to Argentina and co-operation between the two nations. Unfortunately this seemed not to have reached the ground crews. Malan was disqualified for a weight infringement which was backed up by the American neutral judge who found some minor discrepancy but the RSAF team felt the Argentines had deliberately skewed the weighing results. The decision stood and the RSAF nearly packed up to go home when Malan decided to fly on as he said, "We did not fly here to turn tail and lose face just because of some officious trick. We shall carry on to prove to the world we are among the best fliers in the world." That night however in Cordoba some African and Argentine ground crew got mixed up in a bar fight and the police became involved. A few cooled off in the cells over night but no charges were brought. Things seemed to cool off until on day six a couple of Argentine press photographers became too interested in the F-6B and began taking close-up shots of the undercarriage, ventral radiators and the wings. The cowling was open and several photos of the engine were also taken. A suspicious engineer told them to go away but when they refused they were hustled to the ground and the cameras taken away. The film was then exposed to the sunlight to wreck the images. When the police arrived the SAE team handed over the cameras and the exposed films, they believed the men to be working for Argentine Military Intelligence. Both men were later released without charge. Other incidents also took place elsewhere, the RAF found their Hurricane attracting strange plane spotters, the Fw 42 also seemed to be under close scrutiny and new F-100A was also snapped by men wearing rather conspicuous coats and hats, with sunglasses. They looked more like mobsters than plane spotters. A butcher's truck at the end of the runway seemed innocent but many crews felt it was a camera truck filming the take-off runs of the many fighters.

Lt. Diego Alessandro represented the new Santa Cruz de la Sierra Republic but the judges nearly banned him, indeed he was nearly shot down as he crossed the border. The new nation was not recognised by Argentina at the time but some Argentine and Brazilian pilots pleaded on his behalf that he should be allowed to fly. In the end he was allowed to compete and a small ill-equipped ground crew arrived but Brazil did lend a helpful hand.

The Irish will probably never attend again but the best crew training in Brazil on the EMB-32 was entered and they introduced the locals to Guinness and the ground crew sold lucky shamrocks to earn a bit on the side. Although they did not match the best here they felt at last the "Emerald Isle" was on the world stage.

Siam entered the Focke Wulf 42B-1 patrol fighter. This time deemed a proper fighter because of its powerful nose mounted arsenal of guns no restrictions were placed on the machine. Unlike last year no bombsight is fitted. Like last year the local Argentine fighter training flight made several mock attacks upon it; the students claimed eight bombers shot down and the Siamese crew claimed eleven fighters, both it seems overestimated their kills. On the ground too it still attracts considerable attention from the pilots and officers of the world's air forces and from the public because of its "tail-first" appearance and odd aerodynamics. The other Siamese pilot this year, Flt Lt. Phol Thongpricha is flying the I-100, another of Siam's modern fighters in their inventory.


Thursday, May 3rd 2007, 9:43pm

Excellent as always. Italy misses out on the top spot yet again. Fiat engineers are seen muttering about Isotta-Fraschini engines and mention using one of their race engines as they're more reliable...

More comments later when I'm back from the count.


Thursday, May 3rd 2007, 11:01pm

Whoo! First time in and Germany scores! :)

Heh, there's some discussions amongst the German team as well, about various things, like how a less powerful plane is able to go faster (BFW may have to clean up the aircraft sooner than they planned) than the 109 with the "sprint" engine, like how it seems that a lot of the planes at Talons have, arguably, a heavier armament, etc.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 12:44am


Two slight nits to pick, I thought the MacRobertson Race didn't start until October? Also the name of the Siamese Focke-Wulf can't be got if the craft's Bort number isn't mentioned. (It's "42", BTW. ;-) )


Public reaction from Siam is delight at the performance of the Fw 42B-1 holding its own against the swarms of single-seat opponents. B.A.M. reminds potential customers that they are the official Focke-Wulf licensed distributor for South-East Asia, and that the Fw 42 has proven popular in RSAF and RSNAS service, despite its unorthodox appearance proving quite docile and, as proven at the last two Talons events surprisingly manoueverable.

Private reaction sees Flt Lt. Thongpricha chewed out for his "miserable and embarrasing" performance, with it being noted that "we would have done no worse - no, not true, we almost certainly would have done better!" had a P-30 been sent. The RSAF Chief of Staff then sends an inquiry to Italy as of the possibility of having Siamese pilots train at the Bergamini fighter tactics school.


Meanwhile in Brazil, the Rio Reporter runs a feature interview with Baron Soontir Fel...

RR: Baron Fel, thank you for speaking with us.

F: It is my pleasure.

R: First, congratulations on setting the new world speed record.

F: Thank you. Although it is only the record for amphibious aircraft, I must point out.

R: Of course. This must be quite an accomplishment.

F: Indeed it is, although only a small one.

R: Really?

F: The way technological progress is moving, it will likely be surpassed quickly. (1) Still it is aways good to have ones name and that of ones crew in the record books.

R: How did the rest of your time at Talons over Cordoba go?

F: It was very enjoyable, actually. The highlight was winning the cross-country race, of course, with the speed record a close second.

R: I understand your aircraft was placed in the first group? With the new German fighters?

F: One of them, yes.

R: And one of the Barrons as well. Did you consider that to be fair?

F: Well, one can't really say that it was fair or unfair. In a combat situation one cannot choose one's enemies of course.

R: Yes, but if you could have chosen those opponents would you?

F: The honest answer would be 'no', I suppose. I actually expected to be in the same group as the Siamese machine, actually.

R: Did you consider protesting your assignement?

F: No. While it was not the arrangement I would have chosen, it was the lot dealt to me, and a true gentleman and sportsman makes the most of the hand he is dealt. And it was a most interesting challenge.

R: I understand the judges thought you were flying 'defensivly' during the duel.

F: Well that is understandable, given the opposition. However they had to be careful as well given our defensive stingers.

R: Is the weight penalty of a defensive gunner an acceptable one?

F: That depends on the type of aircraft. A pure dogfighter like the I-100 doesn't need a gunner, for instance, and would be utterly crippled by one. An aircraft tasked to destroy bombers, however, like the American Lockheeds, it's an acceptable compromise I think, with the already added weight of the armament necessary to down a bomber they really can't expect to engage single-seaters on even terms, so they need the equaliser.

R: So you believe that the bomber can be intercepted?

F: Of course.

R: There's a lot of talk flying around, if you'll pardon the pun, that 'the bomber will always get through'.

F: That's utter rubbish.

R: Even with the increase in defensive guns bombers seem to be getting?

F: Even with that, and even with multiple bombers defending each other, hitting a fast-moving small target is difficult. And remember that when you add defensive weaponry to a bomber, that adds to is weight, and you either need to deduct that from its performance or bomb load. Also a bomber's defensive guns need to be in flexible mountings, and even with turrets you can fit heavier guns more easily in fighters, with can then attack from outside the range of the bomber's machine-guns.

R: What are your thoughts on the turret fighter, the Boulton-Paul type that the British are introducing?

F: It's an interesting concept, and I think it shows some promise. But as I mentioned before it needs heavier weapons. Four .303s aren't going to be enough to quickly take down the larger and larger bombers we're seeing. However it does open up the possibility of attacking a bomber from below, where it has the fewest defensive guns, and that could prove a promising tactic I think.

R: What's your opinion on the new German fighters that stole the show?

F: I want one. *laughs* I'm not entirely sold on the sportsmanship of the swapping out engines for specific parts of the competition, but I have to say that Herr Messerschmitt has designed one fine fighter aircraft.

R: What about the Americans?

F: Personally I think the P-35 is going to prove impractial when it enters service. It's a really hot ship to land, being based on a racer. You saw what happened to Doolittle, and he has a lot of experience in these types of aircraft. I'm not sure I want to think what the accident rate is going to be when they put green lieutenants in those things. I think the design that Curtiss has, the Hawk 75, that is going to be the more successful type in the long term I think.

R: What about the incidents that happened with the South Africans?

F: Those were unfortunate. Of course if the Boers didn't want anybody peeping under their cowlings, why leave them open where and when people can do so? But of course everyone's looking for an edge and you can't do that if you don't know what the other folks have.

R: I've heard rumours that some of our aircraft returning may have wandered into the airspace claimed by South Africa?

F: No comment.

R: Do you know what Brazil is going to enter in next year's competition?

F: I believe that the folks at EMBRAER want me to fly an EMB-36 next year, although I'm not sure the craft will be ready then.

R: It hasn't flown yet has it?

F: Scheduled for late September. I think it's going to prove considerably better than the EMB-32 at the defensive fighter role.

R: Any other thoughts?

F: Hopefully at the next competition we'll see additional participation from our South American neighbours, I was a little dissipointed that Peru and Chile didn't enter, and I understand that Monsieur Bloch has some interesting projects underway as well.

R: Thank you for your time, Baron Fel.

F: It was a pleasure.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 3:56am

Minor nit on the German side: the manufacturer of the Bf-109 is Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (abbreviated as BFW), it has not (yet, anyway) been renamed Messerschmitt Flugzeugwerke.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 4:18am

Right, so I have to leave for Cortázar to pull a miracle out of that A2N ;)…Type%2090-2.JPG

Nice report!


Friday, May 4th 2007, 5:16am

Yes the MacRobertson Race isn't untill October.

Another excellent performance by the Mexicans! (well with a little cheating*) Maybe I should start a more aggresive marketing schemes, after all I cant let FMA get ALL the orders!

*The A-1 Mapache is a Ground Attack plane in the spirit of the Hs 123 (or A-10 Warthog :evil: ). However the entry removed all the armor, greatly increasing performance.


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Friday, May 4th 2007, 9:54am

Well done, Hood!

Nitpickings: You haven´t used the names I gave you for my pilots - and I wanted to introduce them for later use. :/

Anyway, it´s an impressive report. Those "weight issues" with the Swollow are most unfortunate as they leave some kind of mark. it was the first time the SAE send a team to Talons and may well have been the last. RSAF analysts will surely take a closer look on italian and german designs in the future...


Friday, May 4th 2007, 10:20am


like how a less powerful plane is able to go faster (BFW may have to clean up the aircraft sooner than they planned) than the 109 with the "sprint" engine,

Because it's considerably smaller and lighter. More power seems to be in order. However if there's a break in competition until 1936 thats gives enough time to tame a new engine and design an aircraft around it...


sends an inquiry to Italy as of the possibility of having Siamese pilots train at the Bergamini fighter tactics school.

Definitely not yet.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 2:27pm

Answers to nitpicks found thus far;

I'm sure I mentioned the Fw 42B-1 as such in the entry listings, I just thought "The Answer" sounded more menacing for the race reports. BTW I love the interview with Baron Fel.

I must admit I got too carried away and indeed Messerchmitt is the wrong name for the time.

The MacRobertson Air Race must be afterwards then, even so having two big events so close together is sure to get the world talking about aircraft.

Hoo, I'm sure you gave me no names for the pilots, at least I had none recorded in my files. Anyhow I'm sure you'll get much more use out of Adolph Gysbert Malan than most other fictional pilots! Actually he joins the RSAF a year earlier than the real SAAF.

I'm pleased folks so far aren't unhappy with the placing and points scores. Group allocations were random in rough number order while splitting up countrymen so while some seem a bit unfair there was not forethought there. There was a surprising number of biplanes still too.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 3:15pm

Good stuff, Hood. Unfortunate that Bharat's debut was less than stellar, but the recurring engine troubles are realistic and would make a good story hook.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 4:06pm

A Talons interlude:

During the hours while the final flights were made and the points tallied, General Ernst Udet and RLM chief Hermann Goering watched the planes landing and taking off and discussed what they had seen. Spotting Flight Lieutenant Moelders, Udet waved him over.

"Well, what have we seen, what have we learned? Besides that we have, at last, competitive kites with the rest of the world."

Moelders thought a moment. "I would say we've seen that, but while we're competitive, we're not definitively in the lead. The other thing I noticed was that there seems a wide range in armament. The new American plane seems underarmed compared to most of the new aircraft, but that might be because it's a racer turned into a fighter. But a lot of these newer planes are designed around 4 13mm guns, and some even have 6 13mm guns. Arguably, that would be more powerful than our Bf-109As, though the 15mm HE rounds might help that a bit. We may want to see if Herr Messerschmitt can come up with a way to increase the armament, without causing either convergence issues or overstressing the wings. Perhaps another 15mm firing through the propeller hub, if the DB-601 can fit that?"

Udet nodded. "I'd noticed that. In the old days a pair of MGs was enough, but with higher speeds and metal construction, maybe not."

Goering added, "Another item: we had probably the most powerful engine here, when you were running the sprints, but the Italians were still able to post a higher top speed. That could be because of a lighter weight and a smaller airframe, but it could also be that the difference was due to the Italians having a smoother airframe. No bracing on the tailplane, a bit smoother cowling and canopy, that sort of thing. Something else to speak with Herr Messerschmitt about, I think."

Udet nodded again, and added himself, "One thing I noticed was the canopies: there are more and more of these canopies without headrests, or with the canopy tapering all the way down to a deck that's in line with the engine decking. Kind of like what Heinkel did with their later He-112 prototypes. Whether it's good aerodynamically I can't say, but it might give you better visibility to the rear."

Udet's sharp eyes spotted Major Doolittle in the crowd. "I'll speak with you two later, we need to plan what we need to talk with Messerschmitt once we get back to Germany. Keep thinking about it." He looked at Goering, "And you need to keep the fire under the designers and engine makers, we want to be ahead of the rest of the world, not just at the front of the pack. I need to go set up a test flight."

With that, he headed through the crowd towards Doolittle.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 4:21pm

Well, a good few lessons learnt there. Good that the Hurricane has its' strengths, too.


Keeper of the Sacred Block Coefficient

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Friday, May 4th 2007, 4:29pm

See here : "The RSAF sends Squadron Leader Grayson "Grey Death" Carlyle and Flt. Lt. Hassan Ali Khaled together with a complete ground crew."


Who´s this Malan guy?


Friday, May 4th 2007, 5:13pm

I apologise for the oversight on my part.

Some info here on 'Sailor' Malan, he was one of the best British/Commonwealth pilots of the Second World War.

Harry "Wings" Day that I used for the RAF is also a real person and was the leader of the RAF Aerobatic Flight in 1935. It was hard finding famous enough RAF pilots that served during the early 1930s. Most were too old by the time WW2 started to be aces, "Wings" was 40 in 1939. Most of the WW1 aces and greats had already retired by the 1930s so it leaves a select few of the right age and experience. Bader might of been an obvious choice had he not lost his legs...

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Hood" (May 4th 2007, 9:05pm)

Kaiser Kirk

Lightbringer and former European Imperialist

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Friday, May 4th 2007, 9:16pm


Originally posted by Hood
I'm pleased folks so far aren't unhappy with the placing and points scores. Group allocations were random in rough number order while splitting up countrymen so while some seem a bit unfair there was not forethought there. There was a surprising number of biplanes still too.

I greatly appreciate the effort you put in. I figured with the number of 1,000+hp planes, my 867hp Fokkers would not top out the rankings. They scored about where they should, I think, which is how they are designed to be- quite good planes compared to +3year OTL planes. When the MacRobertson results are in, I expect those entrants will do worse as they are simple stock planes, not purpose-built racers.

You generally provide nice rationale for what is occurring and try to take stock of the strengths of the various planes; it seems like the most advanced engines have more issues, while pilots in poorer stock planes 'make up for it' some with skill, which is a nice balance and fairly well done.

If I was to quibble, I'd pick at things like allowing a sprint engine and how that fits with the rules, but that is still good storyline fodder. The rate of climb category is the one category I look askance at. Most historic WWII planes were closer to 3,000fpm, so I just have trouble believing in rates of climb near 7,000 feet per minute are realistic, but that is a data source issue.

As for biplanes, I expect to have 1 more biplane fighter before abandoning the type. Wiki indicates a 1,000hp CR.42B apparently made 323mph, and my final will likely be in that range.

But overall, I am just happy you run the competition, as it is interesting 8)

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Kaiser Kirk" (May 4th 2007, 11:24pm)


Friday, May 4th 2007, 10:05pm

Heh. On the "sprint" engines, I don't recall seeing any requirement in the 1934 rules that the aircraft has to use the same engine throughout the competition, nor that the aircraft had to use the same fuel additives during the competition. I sent the "sprint" engine along because it historically existed and was used in a 109 to set speed records, and because after having been out of the fighter aircraft scene for years Germany wanted to make a splash.


Friday, May 4th 2007, 11:21pm

You can be sure everyone will pack up "sprint" engines for the next contest.

Kaiser Kirk

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Friday, May 4th 2007, 11:22pm


3. Entries must be production machines, that is to say they must be in regular service or approaching the end of testing and entering service within six months. This does not cover any modifications to service machines

4. Engine tuning is allowed and some engine modifications, superchargers may be fitted to improve performance and fuel additives may be used.

Unless a 109 with that sprint engine is entering service in 6 months, I doubt she qualifies under #3, and swapping engines is a little bit more than "engine tuning".

But like I said it make for good storyline fodder. One can be impressed by the potential, or swing the opposite way and decide that one was cheated of victory decry the Umpires! Or anything in between. :)

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Kaiser Kirk" (May 4th 2007, 11:23pm)