In 1953, Col. Scott Crossfield would don a flight suit, parachute and helmet, then be secured to an ejection seat inside the cramped cockpit of a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. After weeks of planning and preparation, a four chamber rocket engine would thrust Crossfield into the history books, making him the first human being to exceed twice the speed of sound. During that golden age of flight test, few could dream that we would one day sip Champagne and watch movies aboard a double sonic airliner. Concorde would make that dream a reality.

     The joint Aérospatiale / British Aircraft Corporation Concorde flew at Mach 2, allowing passengers to enjoy opulence and comfort as they traveled from New York to London in 3.5 hours, not the 8 hours of a conventional airliner. Concorde flew for more than three decades as the first supersonic transport. It truly made the world a smaller place.

     One of only 20 built, tail number F-BVFA was the first ship delivered to Air France. She would roll up 17,820 flight hours over the course of 6,966 flights, culminating in one last landing at Washington Dulles International Airport for permanent display at Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, as the first Concorde to be permanently displayed in the United States.


Rhodesians and their use of the Alouette III.

The Aerospatiale Alouette III was initially designed as a Light Utility helicopter by the French Military. With a crew of two, and seating for five additional passengers, the Rhodesians had seen this helicopter as a workhorse aircraft that would be used to provide CAS, Aerial Observation, and MEDEVAC, while also doubling as mobile command posts. They would fit these aircraft into their venerable “Fire Force” roles, where Alouette III’s from the No. 7 Squadron would drop in RLI fire teams before guiding them to their targets when airborne again, often providing CAS during their orbits around the AO.


Aerospatiale AS-532UL Cougar T-333 by Alexander Babashov
Via Flickr:
Aerospatiale AS-532UL Cougar, AXALP 2015, Switzerland