An F-82 in formation with its P-51 Mustang sibling.
The F-82 was envisioned as an escort fighter supporting the B-29 on long missions. Some 272 Twin Mustangs were built and saw service between 1946 and 1953. During the Korean War, F-82s shot down the first three North Korean aircraft.
The Twin Ercoupe was built specifically for a postwar flying circus. The craft was based on a postwar design intended as the Model T of the air.
Grady Thrasher’s Twin Ercoupe, flown 1946–1950. Image from ercoupe.com.
Grady Thrasher built and flew this craft in his “Thrasher Brothers Aerial Circus.” It had dual controls in one cockpit and carried two more people in the other.
Maia and Mercury. Image from Aeroplane magazine’s Collectors’ Archive No. 4: Great British Flying-Boats.
The smaller Mercury mail plane was mounted atop the Maia, the latter responsible for raising the Mercury to its cruising altitude and thus enhancing the mail plane’s range. The pair were in service from 1938 to 1941.
A Boeing B-29 performed a similar mission in 1947 when it drop-launched the Bell X-1 at altitude.
On Oct. 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager took the X-1 to an altitude of 43,000 ft. and a speed of Mach 1.06, the first to break the sound barrier.
Plans for the Stratolaunch include airborne launching of an array of vehicles capable of reaching orbit.
An artist’s rendering of the Stratolaunch with its potential family of spacecraft.
Orbit-capable craft include Pegasus, already employed in some 35 successful launches; a Medium Launch Vehicle; a Medium Launch Vehicle—Heavy; and a fully reusable Space Plane. The Stratolaunch/Pegasus pair are scheduled for a first mission in 2020. ds