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Motherships, Parasites and More

Motherships, Parasites and More Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2010 Title Motherships, Parasites & More
Editor Jared Zichek Publisher American Aerospace Archive
Published 2010 ISBN -
Format 228 pages, see text MSRP (USD) $16.95 (PDF)/$49.95 Printed


American Aerospace Archives is back with another interesting look at designs that didn't make it off the drawing board. This looks at the range of engineering solutions put forward by the major aircraft companies after World War II to address a wide range of problems from heavy bombardment to heavy cargo, from missile launcher to parasite fighter mothership.

While some of these concepts may seem odd today, one only has to look at the famous White Knight mothership and its X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne from Scaled Composites which is about to lead to the first commercial flights into space aboard SpaceShipTwo and Virgin's MotherShip Eve. Not enough? What about the three B-52 motherships that have put the X-15 into suborbital flight and the Pegasus launch vehicles into orbit? Even as the designs that are covered here were being developed, the B-29 was carrying the Bell X-1, X-2, D-558, and other test vehicles were peeling back the mysteries of the speed of sound.

Unlike previous titles from American Aerospace Archives, this title is quite large and heavily illustrated. This title has accessed a huge library of blueprints which are put into nice perspective with some outstanding photos of the concept models themselves. The subjects covered in this title include:

Bomber & Transport Studies:

  • Consolidated Vultee Heavy Bombardment Airplane, Gas Turbine Propelled proposal of 1945 (5 images)
  • Douglas Models 1042, 1067  & 1274 Tailless Delta Wing Transports/Airliners (3 images)
  • Douglas Model 1064 Tailless Delta Wing Bombers (11 images)
  • Douglas Model 1211-J Megapod/Snark Missile/Convair XF-92/Douglas XF4D-1 Carrier (8 images)
  • Douglas Model 1211R-45 through 1211X-55 Strategic Bombers—new detailed information
  • Lockheed L-191-3 “Team Bomber” (1 image)
  • Lockheed L-195 nuclear-powered strategic bombers  (3 images).

XC Heavy Transport and Parasite/Missile Carrier Studies:

  • Boeing Model 497 XC Heavy Transport and Model 700-1 to -3 bomber/recon parasites (28 images)
  • Douglas Models 1240 XC Heavy Transport/1252 medium transport/XC-132  (the main feature—numerous variants, 141 images)
  • Douglas Models 1251/1251-A/1256 supersonic parasite bombers (14 images)
  • Lockheed L-168 transport, L-208 XC Heavy Transport, and L-209-5 parasite bomber  (4 images)

FICON and other Parasite Aircraft Studies:

  • North American “Parasite Fighter” and RD-1461 medium bomber/carrier of 1947  (3 images)
  • Douglas Model 1126 medium bomber (MX-948)/Convair B-36 Fuel Transfer Study (2 images)
  • Douglas Model 1219 supersonic parasite bomber (2 images)
  • Douglas FICON studies—B-36 carrying F-80, F-86, F-84, XF-88, XF-90, F-94, F4D, F7U, X-3  parasites  (34 images)
  • Douglas X-3 parasite studies (11 images)

The title can be acquired in one of two methods: in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format at $16.95 USD or in hardcopy format (softbound) at $49.95. Either way, you can see some amazing approaches to aircraft design in these historical pages and glimpse at what might have been.

Whether you are an aviation historian or modeler (or both) this is another must-have title for your library.

This title is recommended!

My sincere thanks to American Aerospace Archive for this review sample!