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Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:32 am
by seawings
Hello Everyone,

Here's an Easter conundrum for you; Jeff Taylor recently contacted me direct and submitted a photo that has him, and a number of others, puzzled. He say's:

"I have a photo, posted on a vintage car forum I contribute to which the forum members would be interested in getting some answers to. The photo predominantly shows an Austin Seven Nippy sports of around 1937 vintage, thought to be an export model and probably fairly new if not brand new at the time the photo was taken. What's intriguing is the aircraft or to be more precise the rear tail section of the aircraft it's parked very closely alongside. The closely spaced twin tail fin arrangement is most unusual and would appear from the bracing to be of 1920's construction. It does appear to have strakes of some description on the lower fuselage and to be of butt welded construction which might suggest a sea plane or flying boat, although it does appear to have a tail wheel. I asked an aviation enthusiast friend of mine and he was stumped - he thought it definitely foreign not British, could possibly be Italian? There's a very small portion of an airline company logo visible, but again we haven't been able to identify this. Knowing what the aircraft is may give us an indication as to which Country / City the photo was taken and possibly confirm the date. It's an intriguing photo with many questions but so few answers to date. Hoping you and your members can throw some light on it".

"Besides identifying the aircraft, thoughts as to where this might be, given the regions this particular aircraft might have operated in would be of interest as would thoughts of a year - certainly the car is a post 1936 Nippy with export 16" wheels. One of our forum members wondered if the car was waiting to be onward shipped on this aircraft, but I'm somewhat sceptical about that, few cars were shipped by air prior to WW2. Notice the arrow flight logo - any thoughts as to operator ?

The complex tail bracing certainly suggests a 1920's aircraft - notice the apparent strakes on the lower fuselage and what appears to be a tail wheel visible through and to the right of the cars windscreen, though why it's up in the air and not down on the ground is another interesting point - is the plane on floats perhaps, but on land? - notice the sandbags in the background beyond the front wheel and possibly a tapering white flagpole behind the cars headlamp - does this suggest a military establishment perhaps? Another possible thought I suppose would be that the aircraft is on a plinth - a sort of gate guardian or museum piece?

I look forward to you and your members thoughts on this".


Here is the picture in question:

Image

Ok, I've looked at it and bit a (small) bit of research as time was tight but didn't place it. I'm curious now!

Anyone want to give this a go? Over to you all........... ;)

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:50 am
by schneiderman
Very strange. The chine suggests flying boat but the low-set tailplane would be an odd choice. The smooth flush-rivet skinning is also at odds with the messy bracing of the tailplane, and how, exactly does that bracing work? Close-spaced twin fins is also curious. So is this real or, perhaps, a film prop or something similar.

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:24 am
by seawings
I'm wondering if it is a flying baot at all...? Agreed, wierd....

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:40 pm
by dogsbody
I'm not sure that is a tailwheel behind the car. It looks more like a moustashed man on a ladder to me, perhaps checking the tail support attachment.



Chris

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:48 pm
by Adventureguy
It's likely to be one of the two American Fokker F-32s four-engine airliners from 1929. The Fokker F-32 had short triple vertical tails, with the side vertical tails forward of the central tail. From this angle, the center tail and near side tail appear to be two closely-set vertical tails, and the far side tail is not in a position to be seen in this photo. The two dark stripes and the arrow tail appear to be parts of the mid-1930s livery for Western Air Express, the California airline operating both of these two aircraft. The only problem for the car enthusiast is that the Fokker F-32s would probably have been bumped out of regular service by better aircraft by the time this car would have reached California, and the aircraft might have been parked in outdoor storage elsewhere by that time.

Adventureguy

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:01 pm
by dogsbody
I do believe that you are right Adventureguy. It might even be this F-32:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/konabish/8073226300/




Chris

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:10 am
by MrWidgeon
Adventureguy nailed it.
It's the F.32, I knew that arrow was familiar, but I couldn't place it.
Well Done, Sir.

Bill

Re: Can you identify this plane....?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:19 am
by schneiderman
Yes, that's the one. Good sleuthing