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Hi all, Doing a bit of research on the Parnall Peto that was used on the M2 submarine (sadly now sitting on the sea floor off the Dorset coast) when I came across some brief information in the April 1931 issue of 'Flying' magazine. It wasn't that which caught my eye however but the Jules Verne-ish report on the page below it about automated aircraft. Have a read for yourselves: No source for this is given however - perhaps tellingly in this instance. I wondered had the writer been pillaging H.G. Wells, but The Shape of Things to Come wasn't published until a couple of years later....
North American/Fiat QF-91C In 1961 the US DoD authorised the loan of two Luftwaffe Fiat G.91s for trials by the US Army. These were flown alongside Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawks and a Northrop N-156 (F-5 prototype). One was an Italian built G.91R-1, c/n 0052 that served with the Luftwaffe (BD+102) whilst the other was a German built G.91R-3 (c/n 0065) Luftwaffe EC+105. Although all three types were highly regarded none were deemed suitable for the role of Close Air Support or Forward Air Controller. Rumours abound that this decision was based on political grounds as the US Army could not be seen to fly foreign, (G91), Navy (A4D) or High performance USAF types (F-5) .... In 1965, however, with the US deeply embroiled in the Vietnam war the lack of a dedicated CAS aircraft to replace the venerable A-1 became far too visible. With the USAF reluctant to give up it's F-100s, even though they themselves needed replacement, the US Army dusted off it's reports and looked again at the G91, albeit now in the new Y variant, much favoured with it's twin engines and greater performance. New trials once again proved the validity of the dedign and with minor changes the type was authorised for production under license by North American Aviation. By 1970 the type had virtually replaced to A-1 and had also been adopted by the Airforce as a F-100 replacement. It went on to have an excellent service record both in combat and peacetime up until it's withdrawal in the late 1980s. It was not the end though and many airframes had a 2nd life awaiting for them. Post Vietnam cutbacks meant the conversion of F-102,106 and F-4s to the unmanned drone role was under threat. North American jumped in and utilised the experience acquired from the successful QF-86 and QF-100 programs to offer a lower cost solution. Slowly the ranks of F-91Cs sunning in the desert shrank as the majority of airframe not allocated to museums or the spares pile, were returned to flying condition with the ubiquitous bright red markings associated with their new lease of life. Some were mostly grey, others mostly green, a few had 2 or 3 colour camouflage, and a rare couple had special schemes. One thing was agreed upon by all - even the anonymous birds looked spectacular in their new feathers.