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US Military Aircraft

US Military Aircraft
Last revised: 20 May 2001

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US Military Aircraft

These files are conversions to HTML of the files created by Joe Baugher, describing US combat aircraft. The author of these texts is: Joe Baugher Lucent Technologies Bell Labs Innovations 2000 N. Naperville Road Room 9B-230 P.O. Box 3033 Naperville, Illinois 60566-7033 USA Phone: (630) 713 4548 E-mail: jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Joe now has his own web page. US military serials galore!!

See also the descriptions of the combat aircraft of other nations.

Attack aircraft
Here is an overview of the aircraft in the A-series.

A- series
"A-1" Douglas XA-2 Curtiss A-3 Falcon Curtiss XA-4 Curtiss XA-5 Curtiss XA-6 General Aviation (Fokker) XA-7 Curtiss A-8 Shrike Lockheed-Detroit Y1A-9 Curtiss YA-10

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US Military Aircraft

Consolidated A-11 Curtiss A-12 Shrike Northrop YA-13 Curtiss XA-14 "Shrike II" Martin XA-15 Northrop XA-16 Northrop A-17 Curtiss Y1A-18 Vultee YA-19 Douglas A-20 Boston/Havoc Boeing-Stearman XA-21 Martin XA-22 Maryland Martin XA-23 Douglas A-24 Dauntless Curtiss A-25 Helldiver Douglas A-26 Invader North American A-27 Lockheed A-28 Hudson Lockheed A-29 Hudson Martin A-30 Baltimore Douglas A-33

Bombers
Here is an overview of the aircraft in the B-series.

HB- series
Huff-Daland XHB-1 "Cyclops" Fokker-Atlantic XHB-2 Huff-Daland XHB-3

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US Military Aircraft

LB- series
Huff-Daland LB-1 "Pegasus" Fokker-Atlantic XLB-2 Huff-Daland/Keystone XLB-3 Martin XLB-4 Huff-Daland/Keystone LB-5 "Pirate" Keystone LB-6 "Panther" Keystone LB-7 "Panther" Keystone LB-8 Keystone LB-9 Keystone LB-10 Keystone LB-11 Keystone LB-12 Keystone LB-13 Keystone LB-14

MB- series
Martin MB-1 Martin MB-2

NBL- series
Barling XNBL-1 Martin XNBL-2

NBS- series
Martin NBS-1 L.W.F. XNBS-2 Elias XNBS-3

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US Military Aircraft

Curtiss XNBS-4

B- series
Huff-Daland/Keystone B-1 "Super Cyclops" Curtiss B-2 Condor Keystone B-3 Keystone B-4 Keystone B-5 Keystone B-6 Douglas B-7 Fokker B-8 Boeing B-9 Martin B-10 Douglas YB-11 Martin B-12 Martin B-13 Martin XB-14 Boeing XB-15 Martin B-16 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Douglas B-18 Bolo Douglas XB-19 Boeing Y1B-20 North American XB-21 Douglas XB-22 Douglas B-23 Dragon Consolidated B-24 Liberator North American B-25 Mitchell Martin B-26 Marauder Martin XB-27
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US Military Aircraft

North American XB-28 Dragon Boeing B-29 Superfortress Lockheed XB-30 Douglas XB-31 Consolidated B-32 Dominator Martin XB-33 Lockheed B-34 Ventura Northrop B-35 Convair B-36 Peacemaker Lockheed B-37 Vega XB-38 Boeing XB-39 Boeing YB-40 Consolidated XB-41 Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster Douglas XB-43 Boeing XB-44 North American B-45 Tornado Convair XB-46 Boeing B-47 Stratojet Martin XB-48 Northrop YB-49 Boeing B-50 Superfortress Martin XB-51 Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Convair XB-53 Boeing XB-54 Boeing XB-55 Boeing YB-56 Martin B-57 Canberra

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US Military Aircraft

Convair B-58 Hustler Boeing B-59 Convair YB-60 Douglas B-66 Destroyer

Cargo Aircraft
Here is an overview of the aircraft in the C- series.

The original C- series


Douglas UC-67 Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express Douglas XC-105 Boeing C-108 Consolidated C-109

Fighters
Here is an overview of the aircraft in the P- and F- series.

The original P- and F- series


Curtiss P-1 Hawk Curtiss P-2 Hawk Curtiss P-3 Hawk Boeing XP-4 Curtiss P-5 "Superhawk" Curtiss P-6 Hawk Boeing XP-7 Boeing XP-8 Boeing XP-9

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US Military Aircraft

Curtiss XP-10 Curtiss XP-11 Hawk Boeing P-12 Thomas-Morse XP-13 Viper Curtiss XP-14 Boeing XP-15 Berliner-Joyce P-16 Curtiss XP-17 Curtiss XP-18 Curtiss XP-19 Curtiss YP-20 Curtiss XP-21 Curtiss XP-22 Curtiss XP-23 Lockheed-Detroit YP-24 Consolidated Y1P-25 Boeing P-26 Consolidated YP-27 Consolidated YP-28 Boeing YP-29 Consolidated P-30 Curtiss XP-31 Swift Boeing XP-32 Consolidated XP-33 Wedell-Williams XP-34 Seversky P-35 Curtiss P-36 Hawk Curtiss YP-37 Lockheed P-38 Lightning Bell P-39 Airacobra

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US Military Aircraft

Curtiss P-40 Seversky/Republic XP-41 Curtiss XP-42 Republic P-43 Lancer Republic P-44 Rocket Bell P-45 Airacobra Curtiss P-46 Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Douglas XP-48 Lockheed XP-49 Grumman XP-50 North American P-51 Mustang Bell XP-52 Curtiss XP-53 Vultee XP-54 Curtiss XP-55 Ascender Northrop XP-56 "Black Bullet" Tucker XP-57 Lockheed XP-58 Bell P-59 Airacomet Curtiss P-60 Northrop P-61 Black Widow Curtiss XP-62 Bell P-63 Kingcobra North American P-64 Grumman XP-65 Vultee P-66 Vanguard McDonnell XP-67 Bat Vultee XP-68 Tornado Republic XP-69

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US Military Aircraft

North American P-70 Havoc Curtiss XP-71 Republic P-72 Hughes "P-73" "P-74" Fisher P-75 Eagle Bell XP-76 Bell XP-77 North American XP-78 Mustang Northrop XP-79 Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star Convair XP-81 North American P-82 Twin Mustang Bell XP-83 Republic P-84 McDonnell XF-85 Goblin North American P-86 Sabre Curtiss XF-87 Blackhawk McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Northrop F-89 Scorpion Lockheed XF-90 Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor Convair XF-92A North American YF-93A Lockheed F-94 Starfire North American YF-95A Republic XF-96A Lockheed XF-97 Hughes XF-98 Falcon Boeing-MARC F-99 Bomarc

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US Military Aircraft

North American F-100 Super Sabre McDonnell F-101 Voodoo Convair F-102 Delta Dagger Republic XF-103 Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Republic F-105 Thunderchief Convair F-106 Delta Dart North American F-107 North American F-108 Rapier F-109 McDonnell F-110 Spectre General Dynamics F-111 Lockheed F-117A

The new F- series


North American F-1 Fury McDonnell F-2 Banshee McDonnell F-3 Demon McDonnell F-4 Phantom II Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tiger II Douglas F-6 Skyray Convair F-7 SeaDart Chance-Vought F-8 Crusader Grumman F9F Panther and Cougar Douglas F-10 Skyknight Grumman F-11 Tiger Lockheed YF-12 F-13 Grumman F-14 Tomcat McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
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US Military Aircraft

General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16 Northrop YF-17 McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet "F-19" Northrop F-20 Tigershark Israel Aircraft Industries F-21A Lion Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23A

US Navy Fighters
Here is an overview of US Navy fighters. Brewster F2A Buffalo Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk

Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Aircraft of the World

Aircraft of the World


Last revised: 9 March 2001

These files are conversions to HTML of the files describing combat aircraft of various nations. The author of most of these texts is Joe Baugher, the remainder is provided by Emmanuel Gustin, Ruud Deurenberg, Steven Jacobs, Jason Hodgkiss and Maury Markowitz.

See also the descriptions of US combat aircraft.

Britain
B.A.C. TSR.2 de Havilland D.H.89 Dragon Rapide Martin-Baker M.B.5 Hawker Fury Hawker Hurricane in Iranian Service Westland Wyvern

Canada
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Aircraft of the World

Avro CF-105 Arrow

Egypt
Helwan HA-300

France
Dewoitine D.520

Germany
Blohm & Voss Bv 155 Fieseler Fi 103 Reichenberg Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Focke-Wulf Fw 190D Focke-Wulf Ta 152 Gotha Go 229 / Horten Ho IX German Carrier-Based Aircraft Heinkel He 100 Heinkel He 112 Heinkel He 162 Junkers Ju 287 Junkers Ju 86P Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Messerschmitt Me 210 Messerschmitt Me 609 An alternative article

Israel
Israel Aircraft Industries Lavi

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Aircraft of the World

Japan
Allied Code Names Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter Mitsubishi A7M Reppu Nakajima G5N Shinzan Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko Mitsubishi J2M Raiden Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Kawasaki Ki-100 Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki Nakajima Kikka Kawanishi N1K Shiden

Poland
PZL P-7/11/24 series

Romania
I.A.R. 80

United States
Boeing Skyfox Fairchild Republic T-46A Fokker F.27 Friendship in US Service Galaxy Aerospace C-38A Astra

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Aircraft of the World

Grumman A-6 Intruder Grumman F4F Wildcat Lockheed C-5 Galaxy Vought F4U Corsair Wright F3W-1 Apache The Atomic Powered Aircraft Program

Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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A-1

A-1
Last revised July 1, 2000

There was no A-1 entry in the attack series--the very first entry was deliberately skipped, lest there be confusion with the Cox-Klemm A-1, an ambulance aircraft. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a1.html07-09-2006 20:44:35

Douglas XA-2

Douglas XA-2
Last revised July 3, 2000

In fiscal year 1923, the War Department awarded a contract to the Douglas Company of Santa Monica, California for the manufacture of two experimental observation planes under the designation XO-2. The first (23-1251) was to be powered by a 420 hp Liberty V1650-1 water-cooled engine, whereas the second (23-1254) was to be powered by a 510 hp Packard 1A-1500 liquid-cooled engine. These two machines were to participate against contestants from other manufactures in a competition held at McCook Field for a successor to the aging DH-4Bs and DH-4Ms still serving with the Army Air Service. Since the Army still had a large number of surplus Liberty engines left over from the First World War, the War Department ordered that the competitors in the observation plane contest fit their first entries with this engine. The trials were to begin in November of 1924. At the same time, the Army was fully aware that the supply of surplus Liberty engines would not last forever, and it scheduled a parallel competition for observation planes powered by the new 510 hp Packard 1A-1500 liquid-cooled engine. The second XO-2 was entered in this contest. During the trials at McCook Field, two different sets of wings were tried out on the Liberty-powered XO-2--one with a span of 36 feet 3 inches and area of 370 square feet, the other with a span of 39 feet 8 inches, with an area of 411 square feet. The longer-span wings were found to provide better handling characteristics, lower landing speed, and higher ceiling, so they were adopted as standard. The Douglas XO-2 was judged superior to all other entrants in the Liberty-powered observation plane contest, and on February 25, 1925, a contract was issued for 75 aircraft. The Packard-powered XO-2 was less fortunate, and lost out to the Curtiss XO-1 in the parallel new-engine contest that was held in 1925. The first 45 aircraft on the contract were delivered as O-2 (serials 25-335/379). They were powered by a 435 hp Liberty V-1650-1 engine. The O-2s were generally similar to the Liberty-powered XO-2 with long-span wings, but had a simplified engine installation with a large tunnel-type radiator mounted farther back underneath the propeller shaft.

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Douglas XA-2

The O-2 was a two-seat, open-cockpit biplane with a single bay of interplane struts. It was of fairly conventional construction, with a welded steel tube fuselage and wooden wings. A 30-US gallon fuel tank was located in the center section of each lower wing and could be jettisoned in an emergency. The undercarriage consisted of two oleo legs and two Vs hinged at the centerline of the underside of the fuselage. The standard armament consisted of one fuselage-mounted forward-firing 0.30-inch machine gun and one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by the rear observer. Four wing racks were provided, which could carry bombs of up to 100 pounds in weight. An extra 0.30-inch machine gun could be installed over each lower wing. The rear cockpit could also be provided with photographic equipment. The O-2 went on to become the precursor of a series of Douglas-built observation planes which became one of the most important types of American military aircraft during the 1920s and early 1930s. A few of the last related model, the O-38E and F, were still in service at the time of Pearl Harbor. At the time of the awarding of the initial O-2 contract in February of 1925, the War Department had instructed Douglas to complete the last of the 46 O-2s (25-380) as a prototype for an attack aircraft. The aircraft was redesignated XA-2. It was powered by a 420 hp Liberty V-1410 twelve-cylinder inverted-vee air-cooled engine, which dispensed with the vulnerable cooling radiator underneath the nose. Its armament was quite heavy for the time--consisting of six forward-firing 0-30-inch machine guns, two in the upper engine cowling, two in the upper wings, and two in the lower wings. A pair of flexible 0.30-inch machine guns were mounted in the rear cockpit. The XA-2 was completed in 1926, and was tested against the Curtiss XA-3. The competition was won by the Curtiss design, and no further A-2s were built. Specification of Douglas XA-2: Engine: One 420 hp Liberty V-1410 twelve-cylinder inverted-vee air-cooled engine. Performance: Maximum speed 128 mph. Initial climb rate 800 feet per minute. Dimensions: Wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 29 feet 7 inches. Height 11 feet 0 inches, wing area 414 square feet. Weights: 3179 pounds empty, 4745 pounds gross Armament: Six forward-firing 0-30-inch machine guns, two in the upper engine cowling, two in the upper wings, and two the lower wings. A pair of flexible 0.30-inch machine guns were mounted in the rear cockpit.
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Douglas XA-2

Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.

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Curtiss A-3

Curtiss A-3
Last revised July 3, 2000

The Curtiss A-3 was an attack version of the O-1 Falcon two-seat observation aircraft of the US Army Air Service. In 1924, the Army scheduled a competition for a successor to the aging DH-4Bs and DH4Ms still serving with the Army Air Service. Since the Army still had a large number of surplus Liberty engines left over from the First World War, the War Department ordered that the competitors in the observation plane contest fit their first entries with this engine. The trials were to begin in November of 1924. The Curtiss entry was the XO-1. The Curtiss XO-1 (serial number 23-1252) was powered by a 420 hp Liberty V-1650-1 water-cooled engine. The XO-1 was a fairly conventional two-seat biplane with a single bay on N-type interplane struts. The aircraft did have some unique fuselage construction techniques for its time--aluminum tubing bolted and riveted together with steel tie-rod bracing. The wings were wooden-framed with a wire trailing edge and the new Clark-Y aerofoil. The center section of the upper wing was placed well forward for good pilot access and visibility, so the upper wing panels had to be swept back nine degrees to achieve balance. The Curtiss design took second place to the Douglas XO-2 in the 1924 observation plane contest. However, the Army was fully aware that the supply of surplus Liberty engines would not last forever, and in any case it was obvious that the Liberty was no longer suitable as a powerplant for future first-line military aircraft. Consequently, in 1925 another contest was held for observation types to be powered by the Packard 1A-1500, a more advanced V-12 liquid-cooled engine that was rated at 510 hp. The conversion of the XO-1 to the Packard 1A-1500 was fairly straightforward. This time, the Curtiss design won the contest, and an order for ten production aircraft was issued under the designation O-1. Unfortunately, the Packard engine did not live up to expectations, so the ten production Ohttp://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a3.html (1 of 3)07-09-2006 20:44:59

Curtiss A-3

1s (serial number 25-325/334) differed from the prototype in having the Packard engine replaced by the 435 hp Curtiss D-12 (V-1150) liquid-cooled engine. The D-12 was less powerful than the Packard engine, so the performance was poorer. In addition, the vertical tail surfaces were revised to increase the fin area and decrease the rudder area. The armament consisted of a single forward-firing 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in the engine cowling, and a pair of Lewis machine guns on a Scarff ring around the rear cockpit. The O-1B was the first major production variant. Improvements included wheel brakes, a droppable 56-gallon belly tank, and provisions for dumping the fuel in the 113-gallon main fuel tank. 45 were ordered in 1927. Serial numbers were 27-243/287. The A-3 (Model 44) was an attack version of the O-1B. The changes were fairly minor, and consisted of adding bomb racks underneath the lower wings and installing a single 0.30-inch machine gun in each lower wing outboard of the propeller arc. The A-3 was otherwise identical to the O-1B. The engine was the D-12D (V-1150-3) rated at 435 hp. A total of 66 A-3s were ordered on three contracts. Serials were 27-243/262, 27-298/317, and 28-83/108. The first A-3 was ready by October 31, 1927. Six A-3s (27-306,310, 315, 28-116/118) were redesignated A-3A when fitted with dual controls for the training of observers. The A-3B (Model 37H) which appeared in 1929 was an attack version of the later O-1E. The O-1E was an improved O-1B with the V-1150-5 engine. Refinements included refined engine cowling lines, balanced (Frise) ailerons, horn-balanced elevators, oleopneumatic shock absorbers, E-4 gun synchronizer system, and a 36-gallon belly tank. 78 attack equivalents of the O-1E were ordered under the designation A-3B (Model 37H) in two separate contracts. Serials were 30-1/28 and 30-231/280. The first A-3B was tested in April of 1930. A-3B 30-1 was converted to O-1E configuration. Attack Falcons equipped all four of the Air Corps ground attack squadrons, the 8th, 13th, and 19th Squadrons of the 3rd Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas and the 26th Attack Squadron based in Hawaii. The last A-3B in service was 30-13, which was scrapped in October of 1937. Specification of Curtiss A-3B: Engine: One 435 hp Curtiss V-1150-5 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine Performance:
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Curtiss A-3

Maximum speed 139 mph at sea level, 136 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 110 mph. Landing speed 60 mph. Initial climb rate 948 feet per minute. An altitude of 500 feet could be attained in 6.25 minutes. Service ceiling 14,100 feet. Absolute ceiling 16,100 feet. Range 628 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 38 feet 0 inches, length 27 feet 2 inches. Height 10 feet 6 inches, wing area 353 square feet. Weights: 2875 pounds empty, 4458 pounds gross, 4476 pounds maximum. Armament: Four forward-firing 0-30-inch machine guns, two in the upper engine cowling and two the lower wings. A pair of flexible 0.30-inch machine guns were mounted in the rear cockpit. Up to 200 pounds of fragmentation bombs could be carried on underwing racks. Alternatively, a 56-gallon auxiliary fuel tank could be carried behind the tunnel radiator. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.

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Curtiss XA-4

Curtiss XA-4
Last revised July 3, 2000

The Curtiss XA-4 was produced by fitting a 440 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-1 Wasp air cooled radial engine into A-3 airframe serial number 27-244. The XA-4 was delivered in December of 1927. The radial Wasp engine decreased the gross weight to 4113 pounds, but the improvement in performance was only marginal, and the radial-engined Falcon was not introduced onto the production line. The single XA-4 was scrapped in March of 1932 after having logged 327 hours in the air. Specification of Curtiss XA-4: Engine: One 440 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-1 air-cooled radial engine. Performance: Maximum speed 137.5 mph at sea level, Service ceiling 16,950 feet. Dimensions: Wingspan 38 feet 0 inches, height 10 feet 6 inches, wing area 353 square feet. Weights: 4113 pounds gross, Armament: Four forward-firing 0-30-inch machine guns, two in the upper engine cowling and two the lower wings. A pair of flexible 0.30-inch machine guns were mounted in the rear cockpit. Up to 200 pounds of fragmentation bombs could be carried on underwing racks. Alternatively, a 56-gallon auxiliary fuel tank could be carried behind the tunnel radiator. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a4.html07-09-2006 20:45:05

Curtiss XA-5

Curtiss XA-5
Last revised July 1, 2000

The Curtiss XO-16 was a conversion of O-11 28-196 when completed with a 600 hp Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror liquid cooled V-12 engine in place of the 435hp Liberty V1650. The XA-5 was the designation assigned to a proposed attack version of the XO-16. However, the XA-5 was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources:
1. US Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a5.html07-09-2006 20:45:13

Curtiss XA-6

Curtiss XA-6
Last revised July 3, 2000

Curtiss O-1B serial number 27-263 was redesignated XO-18 when used as a flying testbed for the experimental 600 hp Curtiss H-1640 Chieftain twelve-cylinder twin-row air-cooled radial engine. The Chieftain engine proved to be unsuitable and the XO-18 was refitted with the standard Curtiss V-1150-5 engine and reverted to O-1B configuration. The XA-6 was a proposed attack version of the XO-18. However, the XA-6 was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 4. US Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a6.html07-09-2006 20:45:22

General Aviation (Fokker) XA-7

General Aviation (Fokker) XA-7


Last revised July 1, 2000

In 1930, the US Army sponsored a contest for a new generation of attack planes which were intended to replace the Douglas A-2 and Curtiss A-3 biplanes then equipping the three squadrons of the 3rd Attack Group, the Army's only group dedicated solely to the attack mission. The General Aviation company of New Jersey, which was the US subsidiary of the Dutchbased Fokker aircraft company, submitted a two-seat, low-winged all metal monoplane as its entry in the contest. A single prototype of the General Aviation design was ordered by the US Army on January 8, 1930 under the designation XA-7. The General Aviation (Fokker) XA-7 was a two-seat low-winged all-metal monoplane powered by a 600 hp Curtiss XV-1570-27 Conqueror V-12 liquid cooled engine. It had a thick cantilever wing with a fixed landing gear with its main wheels covered over by a set of large wheel pants, open tandem cockpits, and a tunnel radiator underneath the nose for engine cooling. The XA-7 was armed with four 0.30-inch forward-firing machine guns and one 0.30-inch gun operated by the gunner/observer sitting in the rear cockpit. The XA-7 was completed in April of 1931. It had its nose and landing gear modified before tests at Wright Field in June of 1931. It began flight testing in September of that year. The competing Curtiss XA-8 design won the Army attack plane contest in 1931 and no further A-7s were built. Specification of Fokker XA-7: Engine: One 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-27 Conqueror V-12 liquid-cooled engine. Performance: Maximum speed 184 mph. Langing speed 61 mph. Weights: 3866 pounds empty, 5650 pounds gross. Dimensions: Wingspan 46 feet 9 inches, length 31 feet, height 9 feet 5 inches, wing area 333 square feet. Armament: Four 0.30-inch forward-firing machine guns and one 0.30-inch gun operated by the rear gunner.

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General Aviation (Fokker) XA-7

Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Curtiss A-8

Curtiss A-8
Last revised July 1, 2000

Throughout the 1920s, the United States Army had operated just one combat group (typically with three squadrons) which was assigned the mission of attack. This was the 3rd Attack Group, which had initially operated DeHavilland DH-4s and later transitioned to Curtiss A-3 Falcon biplanes. By 1930, however, the era of the military biplane was clearly nearing its end, and the Army Air Corps initiated a contest for the next generation of attack planes which would be all-metal, low-winged monoplanes designed specifically for the attack role. The Curtiss entry in the contest was the XA-8. The A-8 was the first Curtiss tactical monoplane built for the U.S. Army, all previous designs by this company for the US Army having been biplanes. The A-8 had many advanced features, including an all-metal structure with an all-metal covering. It had trailing edge flaps and full span leading-edge slats, and had enclosed cockpits. The A-8 was the first Army Air Corps plane to feature trailing edge flaps, and the enclosed cockpits were the first to be installed on a US combat plane. However, the thin low-mounted wings were externally braced with struts and wires, which was definitely a throwback to an earlier era. The crew sat in widely-separated individual cockpits. The pilot sat well forward in a completely enclosed cockpit and controlled four 0.30-inch machine guns that were mounted in the undercarriage fairings in such a way that their field of fire cleared the propeller arc. The rear cockpit was provided with its own separate canopy and was fitted with a single 0.30-inch flexible machine gun. Underwing racks could carry up to 400 pounds of bombs. The name Shrike was commonly applied to the aircraft, but the name was a company name, and was not used by the US Army. The first XA-8 (Model 59) was flown in June of 1931. It bore the Army serial number of 30-387. It was powered by a single 600 hp Curtiss V-1570C Conqueror water-cooled V-12 engine driving a fixed-pitch three-bladed propeller. It competed with the General Aviation
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Curtiss A-8

(Fokker) XA-7 in the attack plane contest. The XA-8 was judged the better of the two designs and won an order for 13 service-test models that was placed on September 29, 1931. The first five of these service test aircraft were designated YA-8 (Model 59A, serials 32344/348). They were similar to the XA-8 except for the use of Prestone-cooled V-1570-31 engines. The remaining eight were designated Y1A-8 (serials 32-349/356), the Y1 prefix meaning that they were purchased with F-1 funds rather than from regular appropriations. All of these planes were redesignated A-8 upon the completion of service testing. Eleven A-8s (32-345/32-355) were issued to the 3rd Attack Group based at Fort Crockett, Texas during 1932, where they served alongside the unit's Curtiss A-3B Falcon biplanes. At this time, the 3rd Attack Group was the Army's only group devoted solely to attack. The last Y1A-8 (32-356) was converted to Y1A-8A with a 657 hp geared Curtiss V-157057 engine and a revised wing. The geared Conqueror was less noisy but was heavier than the standard model. The gross weight increased to 6287 pounds. The Y1A-8A was delivered to Wright Field for tests in October 1932. In spite of the increased power, the top speed dropped 3 mph to 181 mph. The Y1A-8A was later redesignated A-8A, and was issued to the 3rd Attack Group in September of 1933. The field trials with the A-8 were sufficiently successful that 46 production variants were ordered under the designation A-8B on February 27, 1933. The first YA-8 (32-344) was returned to the Curtiss factory in Buffalo, New York for tests with a 625 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690D Hornet 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. Following the change of engines, the aircraft was redesignated YA-10. With the new powerplant, the plane was returned to Wright Field on September 8, 1932. Tests proved that the Hornet radial engine was superior to the liquid-cooled Conqueror engine for attack aircraft. It was true that air-cooled radials were less streamlined than liquid-cooled engines, but they were less expensive to operate and did not have complex radiators that were especially vulnerable to enemy fire. The Army was so impressed that it decided that subsequent Shrikes would be delivered with radial engines, and requested that the 48 A8Bs on order were to switch from the geared V-1570-57 engine to the air cooled Wright Cyclone radial, this change resulting in a redesignation to A-12. Specification of Curtiss YA-8:
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Curtiss A-8

Engine: One 600 hp Curtiss V-1570E Conqueror liquid-cooled V-12 engine. Performance: Maximum speed 183 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 153 mph at sea level. Stalling speed 64 mph. Initial climb rate 1325 feet per minute. Service ceiling 18,100 feet. Range 480 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 44 feet 0 inches, length 32 feet 0 inches, height 9 feet 0 inches, wing area 256 square feet. Weights: 3910 pounds empty, 5888 pounds loaded. Armament: Four forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns. One flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear observer. Ten 30-pound bombs could be carried internally, or four 100 pound bombs externally. Armament: Four forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns. One flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear observer. Ten 30-pound bombs could be carried internally, or four 100 pound bombs externally. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 4. The Curtiss Shrike, Kenn C. Rust and Walter M. Jefferies, Jr., Aircraft in Profile,

Doubleday, 1969.

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Lockheed A-9

Lockheed A-9
Last revised July 3, 2000

The Lockheed-Detroit YP-24 of 1931 was a design ahead of its time. It was the first USAAC low-wing monoplane fighter with retractable undercarriage and was the first USAAC fighter with enclosed cockpits. Perhaps more significantly for later developments, it was the first military pursuit design to carry the Lockheed name, although at that time Lockheed was owned by the Detroit Aircraft Corporation of Michigan. The Lockheed Aircraft Company of Santa Barbara, California had been a going concern all throughout the 1920s, its best-known product being the famous Vega high-wing monoplane which had set so many records. However, in 1929, the management of Lockheed voted to sell majority share ownership to the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, a Michigan-based holding company which already owned the Ryan and Eastman aircraft companies and which also had a substantial manufacturing capacity in the city of Detroit. In July 1929, the Detroit Aircraft Corporation acquired 87 percent of the assets of Lockheed. On the surface, it appeared at first that the change of owners was not going to affect the day-to-day operations of Lockheed, and the functionally-independent California team went right on producing Vegas, Air Expresses, and Explorers. New designs were also forthcoming: In 1929 Lockheed produced the Sirius, in 1930 they produced the Altair, and in 1931 the Orion appeared. However, the Detroit holding company had some ideas of its own, and these resulted in Lockheed's first entry into the pursuit field. The Detroit company undertook the private development of a prototype of a two-seat fighter based on the design of the Lockheed Altair low-wing cantilever monoplane of 1930. The Altair was unique for its time in that it possessed a cantilever monoplane wing with a fully-retractable main undercarriage. The chief engineer responsible for the project was Robert J. Woods, who was based in Detroit. A mockup of the fighter was completed in March of 1931. It bore the Wright Field project number of XP-900. The slim metal fuselage and the metal tail surfaces were built by
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Lockheed A-9

Detroit Aircraft, but the wood-framed, plywood-covered wings as well as the undercarriage were essentially those of the Altair and were built by Lockheed in California. The final assembly and the initial testing of the aircraft were done in Detroit by the parent company. The XP-900 was powered by a 600 hp Curtiss Conqueror V-1570C (the military designation was V-1570-23) liquid-cooled 12-cylinder vee engine driving a three-bladed propeller. The tunnel radiator and the oil cooler were housed beneath the engine just ahead of the wing. The crew of two (pilot and gunner) was housed back to back in enclosed cockpits. The aircraft was armed with two synchronized machine guns (one 0.30-in and one 0.50-in) mounted in the upper fuselage nose, plus one flexible 0.30-cal gun operated by the gunner firing upward and to the rear. Brief manufacturer's trials were conducted in Detroit during the summer of 1931. The XP900 was delivered to Wright Field on Sept 29, 1931. At that time, the plane was purchased by the USAAC and given the designation YP-24. It was assigned the USAAC serial number of 32-320. The YP-24 underwent testing as a potential replacement for the Berliner-Joyce P-16 two-seat pursuit. The speed of the YP-24 was impressive for its time-it was 40 mph faster than the P-16, but it was also 20 mph faster than the single-seat P-6E, which was at that time the fastest fighter in the USAAC inventory. As a result of the tests, the War Department ordered five Y1P-24 two-seat fighters and four Y1A-9 two-seat attack planes. The Y1A-9 attack version differed from the pursuit version in being powered by a V-1570-27 Conqueror that was rated at a lower altitude, and it carried a heavier forward-firing armament (four machine guns) plus underwing racks for bombs. The Y1A-9 attack version was issued the Wright Field number of XA938. The YP-24 was a design well ahead of its time and seemed assured of a promising future. However, on October 19, 1931 the YP-24 prototype was lost when its pilot was ordered to bale out rather than attempt a wheels-up landing after the undercarriage lever had broken off. This problem was, of course, easily correctable, but for reasons totally unrelated to the YP-24 accident, economic realities were about to overtake the Detroit Aircraft Corporation. The timing of Detroit's acquisition of Lockheed had been particularly unfortunate, since it took place only three months before the stock market crash which was to plunge the USA
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Lockheed A-9

into the Great Depression. As the Depression deepened, the Detroit Aircraft holding company found that it was in way over its head, rising losses from other operations draining it of any profit. On October 27, 1931, the Detroit Aircraft Corporation went into receivership. The bankruptcy of the Detroit holding company meant that it could not undertake the manufacture of the Y1P-24s and Y1A-9s. The project was tentatively shelved, and no examples of either type were ever built. It did not revive until after Robert Woods had joined the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, but that is another story! It looked like the Depression had Lockheed on the ropes. The bankruptcy of its holding company caused the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation subsidiary to be placed under the aegis of the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles. Staff was cut to the bone, but operations were able to continue on a shoestring basis. However, on June 16, 1932 the end of the line finally came and the doors of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation were shut. It would seem that Lockheed would be just one out of many casualties of the Depression, going down the tubes in much the same manner as did Thomas-Morse and Berliner-Joyce, its name never to be heard again. However, only five days after the doors of the corporation had been locked, a miracle took place. A new group of investors bought the assets of the now-defunct Lockheed Aircraft Corporation for only $40,000, and the company was brought back from the dead. And the rest, as they say, is history! Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 4. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

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Curtiss YA-10

Curtiss YA-10
Last revised July 1, 2000

The first Curtiss YA-8 (32-344) was held up at the factory for tests with a 625 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690D Hornet 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine in place of the Curtiss Conqueror V-12 liquid-cooled engine that powered the other A-8s that had been delivered to the Army. Following the change of engines, the aircraft was redesignated YA-10. With the new powerplant, the plane was delivered to Wright Field on September 8, 1932. Flight tests proved that the radial engine was superior to the liquid-cooled Conqueror engine for attack aircraft. Air-cooled radials were less streamlined than liquid-cooled inline engines, but they were less expensive to operate and did not have to carry the complex radiators that were so vulnerable to enemy fire. The Army was so impressed with the radial-engined YA-10 that it decided that all subsequent examples would be delivered with radial engines, and immediately stipulated that the 48 A-8Bs then on order were to switch from the geared V-1570-57 engine to the air-cooled 670 hp Wright Cyclone radial, this change resulting in a redesignation to A-12. On December 6, 1932, the YA-10 aircraft was sent to Fort Crockett for service testing, where it was assigned to the 13th Attack Squadron of the 3rd Group. It was transferred to Barksdale Field in Louisiana in July 1934 and served alongside the A-8s that had already entered service with the 3rd. It was then sent to the San Antonio Air Depot on April 29, 1934, from where it was assigned to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on August 8, 1934. The A-10 was finally assigned to Chanute Field, Illinois on September 14, 1938. It was scrapped there on February 23, 1939. A duplicate of the YA-10 was ordered for tests by the US Navy under the designation XS2C-1. The BuNo was 9377. It was delivered to the Navy in 1933, and some tests were carried out, but no further orders from the Navy were forthcoming. Specification of Curtiss YA-10: Engine: One 630 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690D Hornet air-cooled radial Performance:
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Curtiss YA-10

Maximum speed 174 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 148 mph at sea level. Stalling speed 67 mph. Dimensions: Wingspan 44 feet 0 inches, length 32 feet 0 inches, height 9 feet 0 inches, wing area 256 square feet. Weights: 3727 pounds empty, 5540 pounds loaded. Armament: Four forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns. One flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear observer. Ten 30-pound bombs could be carried internally, or four 100 pound bombs externally. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979 4. The Curtiss Shrike, Kenn C. Rust and Walter M. Jefferies, Jr., Aircraft in Profile,

Doubleday, 1969.

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Consolidated YA-11

Consolidated YA-11
Last revised July 3, 2000

When the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, went into receivership in 1931, it was unable to fulfill its contract to manufacture YP-24 fighters and Y1A-9 attack planes for the USAAC. In addition, Detroit Aircraft's chief engineer Robert J. Woods was now out of a job. However, Woods was soon recruited by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York, and he continued to work on his YP-24 design after he went over to Consolidated. Despite the failure of the Detroit company, the USAAC was still interested in the YP-24 design. The Army ordered a single prototype of Wood's basic design from Consolidated under the designation Y1P-25. The serial number was 32-321. At first glance, Consolidated's Y1P-25 looked much the same as did the Detroit YP-24. It was a two-seat, low wing monoplane with fully-retractable main landing gear. However, there were significant differences. The Y1P-25 had an all-metal wing in place of the woodframe, plywood-covered wing of the YP-24. In addition, the tail of the Y1P-25 was larger, and metal was substituted for the fabric covering on the tail control surfaces. The engine was a 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-27 Conqueror, 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with turbosupercharger mounted on the port side (the YP-24 had no supercharger). The armament was two fixed, forward-firing machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage, plus one flexible machine gun operated by the gunner in the rear cockpit. A second prototype of the basic Consolidated design was ordered as a ground attack aircraft. Designated Y1A-11, the aircraft differed from the Y1P-25 primarily in having a Conqueror engine without a supercharger. In addition, the Y1A-11 had two more guns in the nose and racks for up to 400 pounds of bombs. The serial number of the Y1A-11 was 32-322. The flight tests with the Y1P-25 and its Y1A-11 attack counterpart went quite well. However, the Y1P-25 crashed on January 13, 1933, and was so badly damaged that it was a writeoff. The Y1A-11 crashed a week later.

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Consolidated YA-11

In spite of the two crashes, the USAAC did not feel that there was any intrinsic flaw in the basic design, and later that month a contract for four production examples of the pursuit version was issued under the designation P-30 (Ser Nos 33-204/207). The P-30 differed from the Y1P-25 by having a 675 hp Curtiss V-1570-57 with twin-blade constant-speed prop, simplified undercarriage, and revised cockpit canopy. Four similar A-11 (33308/311) attack versions were also ordered with unsupercharged V-1570-59 engines. The A-11 had a performance far in advance over its contemporaries when deliveries began in August of 1934. However, its liquid-cooled engine blocked its wider acceptance, since the Army preferred air-cooled radial engines for its attack planes because of their lower cost and reduced vulnerability to enemy fire. Its pursuit counterpart won larger acceptance, a order for 50 P-30As being placed on December 6, 1934. An XA-11A engine test ship modified by Bell Aircraft in December of 1936 was the first plane to take the new 1000-hp Allison XV-1710-7 engine into the air. Specification of Consolidated A-11: Engine: One Curtiss V-1570-59 Conqueror liquid-cooled V-12 engine without supercharger. Performance: Maximum speed 228 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 193 mph. Landing speed 84 mph. Service Ceiling 23,300 feet. Absolute ceiling 24,900 feet. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 3.4 minutes. Range was 470 miles with 327 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 950 miles. Weights: 3805 pounds empty, 5490 pounds gross. Dimensions: Wingspan 43 feet 11 inches, length 29 feet 3 inches, height 9 feet 10 inches, wing area 297 square feet. Armament: Four fixed, forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by the observer. Up to 400 pounds of bombs could be carried. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.
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Consolidated YA-11

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Curtiss A-12

Curtiss A-12
Last revised July 7, 2000

The Curtiss A-12 was the first monoplane attack aircraft to serve in substantial numbers with the US Army Air Corps. It formed the bulwark of Army attack plane strength throughout the early to mid-1930s. However, the A-12 was rapidly made obsolescent by advances in aviation technology, and its service with front-line units of the Army Air Corps was quite brief. By the late 1930s, it had been relegated largely to training units. Except for 20 export versions which were sent to China, the A-12 took no part in aerial combat during World War 2. The name Shrike was quite often applied to this aircraft, but this was actually a Curtiss company name, and was not used by the US Army for the A-12 The A-12 was a development of the Conqueror-powered A-8 via the experimental YA-10. A small number of Curtiss YA-8 and Y1A-8 monoplane attack planes had been delivered to the Army in 1932. They were powered by the Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror V-12 liquidcooled engine. As an experiment, the first YA-8 (32-344) was modified at the Curtiss factory in Buffalo, New York where the Conqueror engine was replaced by a Pratt & Whitney R-1690D 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. The aircraft was redesignated YA10. Flight tests with the YA-10 proved the advantage of an air-cooled radial engine for attack aircraft. The Army found the radial engine less expensive to operate than the liquid-cooled V-12, and it had no complex cooling radiators exposed to enemy fire. Consequently, the Army immediately requested that the 46 A-8Bs then on order be delivered as radialengined aircraft. This resulted in a change in designation to A-12. Serials were 33212/257. The engine was the Wright R-1820-21 Cyclone air-cooled radial, rated at 160 hp at 1900 rpm. It had been found that the wide separation between the two cockpits of the A-8 hindered communication and cooperation between the two crew members, so on the A-12 the rear cockpit was moved forward to share a common location with the pilot's cockpit. The rear
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Curtiss A-12

gunner's cockpit had a sliding canopy which did not fully enclose it, whereas the pilot's cockpit was now fully open and was protected only by a windshield. The forward section of the A-12 fuselage was of welded tubular steel construction with two wing stubs supported by two heavy struts on each side. The rear section was of monocoque construction with smooth dural skin, J section stringers and bulkheads. The two sections were joined by longeron stubs. The landing gear was attached to the underside of the wing stubs, with the rigid portion being bolted to the underside of the front and rear wing hinge fittings and braced sideways by an adjustable streamlined strut that ran to the center of the fuselage. The wheel was held by a horizontal jointed yoke, hinged at the rear to allow the wheel to move up and down. Each landing gear and wheel were completely spatted. It was possible to latch the wheels before takeoff so that they would not drop down the last six inches of their travel while in the air. However, the wheels were lowered by the pilot before landing so that the full 10-inch wheel motion was available to absorb landing shock. The main wings were attached to the fuselage wing stub by front and rear hinge pins. They were braced at outboard points by double front and rear wires running to a strongpoint on top of the fuselage just behind the strut bracing points. On the bottom of the wing there were double front and rear bracing wires which were attached to the landing gear. The wings of the A-12 were of all-metal construction, but with the ailerons being covered with fabric. The A-12 had a set of full-span leading edge slats which opened automatically at high angles of attack. They had shock absorbers which prevented them from opening or closing too suddenly. The A-12 also had a set of trailing edge wing flaps. The trailing edge flaps could be cranked down by as much as 35 degrees by the pilot. The tail surfaces were of all metal construction, but the rudder and elevators were fabriccovered. The angle of incidence of the stabilizer could be adjusted in flight from +3 degrees to -6 degrees. The vertical stabilizer had a fixed offset of 21/2 degrees to the left. The forward-firing armament consisted of four 0.30-inch Browning machine guns installed in the main landing gear spats, two guns in each member. Each gun was supplied by a 600 round magazine. These guns were aimed by a C-4 gunsight that was mounted just forward of the pilot's windshield. A single flexible 0.30-inch machine gun was provided for the observer. The A-12 could carry ten 30-lb bombs internally in a pair of N2 bomb racks just aft of the pilot's seat and on either side of the main fuel tank. These
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Curtiss A-12

bombs were carried in a vertical position. Alternatively, an external rack capable of carrying up to four 100-pound bombs could be installed underneath the fuselage. A 52gallon auxiliary tank could be carried in place of the bombs. The auxiliary tank could be dropped in flight. In fact, the main fuel tank could also be jettisoned in flight by means of a special release handle. The first A-12 (33-212) arrived at Wright Field on November 21, 1933. It remained at Wright Field until scrapped in October of 1936. The second A-12 (33-213) went to Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland on November 23, and the third (33-214) went to Aberdeen, Maryland, on November 29. The remaining 43 A-12s went to the 3rd Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas between December 1933 and February 1934. Their unit cost was $19,483, minus government-furnished equipment. The 3rd Attack Group was commanded by Lt. Col. Horace M. Hickam. The first operational test of the USAAC A-12s was to come from a completely unexpected source. In February of 1934, the US Government canceled all air mail contracts with private carriers and turned over the mission of flying the air mail to the US Army. The Army was completely unsuited for this task. The 3rd Attack Group given the assignment of covering the Central Zone with headquarters in Chicago. 41 A-12s from the 3rd Attack Group were assigned air mail duty. When flying the mail, the A-12s had a lockable cover placed over their rear cockpits, and some replaced the rear cockpit glass with metal. By the time of the end of the Air Mail Emergency in May of 1934 when new contracts were signed with civilian carriers, two A-12s had been lost in fatal crashes while carrying the mail. On November 5, 1934, Colonel Hickam was killed when his A-12 (serial number 33-250) flipped over on its back after touching down short and hitting the lip of the concrete runway while landing at Fort Crockett. The 3rd Attack Group moved to its new permanent base at Barksdale Field in Louisiana in February of 1935. The A-12s of the 3rd Attack Group began to be replaced by Northrop A17s in the middle of 1936. They were then dispersed to various training units. Nine A-12s went to the USAAC Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama. One A-12 went to Edgewood Arsenal, replacing 33-213 which went into a depot. Ten went to Kelly Field, Texas to serve as trainers. During 1937, five more A-12s were sent to Kelly Field, four of them from Maxwell Field and one (33-214) from Aberdeen. 33-214 had been assigned from May through November of 1934 to the 37th Attack Squadron of the 8th Pursuit
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Curtiss A-12

Group at Langley Field, Virginia (where it had served alongside the A-8s) and had been returned to Aberdeen. 15 of the 3rd Group's A-12s were sent to Wheeler Field in Hawaii in 1936. They were joined by six more A-12s in 1937, including 33-213 which had been at Edgewood and five from Maxwell Field. They were assigned to the 26th Attack Squadron which was part of the 18th Composite Group. The A-12s were transferred to Hickam Field in 1940. Nine A-12s were still there when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. However, they did not participate in any combat. One of the nine Pearl Harborbased A-12s was scrapped in May of 1942, and 8 were returned to the mainland where they were used as instructional airframes. Of the 16 A-12s that stayed on the mainland in 1937, 33-237 stayed at Edgewood until scrapped there in January 1942. The other 15 remained at Kelly Field, where there were scrapped in 1937 and 1938. The 12 remaining A-12s were then sent to Maxwell Field during 1938 and remained there until removed from service. The last two, 33-223 and 33252, became instructional airframes in March of 1942. No US Army A-12s saw any combat during World War 2. 20 export versions of the A-12 were sold to China in 1936. The Export Shrikes had a more powerful engine, a Wright SR-1820F-52 radial rated at 775 hp at full throttle and 890 hp for takeoff. Armament and fuel capacity was the same as that of the A-12. The Export Shrike had a maximum speed of 182 mph at sea level, 6 mph faster than the A-12. When the Japanese opened hostilities against China in 1937, these planes were soon involved in combat. It appears that few if any of the Chinese Shrikes survived the first year of the war. I do not know if any A-12s survive today. Serials of Curtiss A-12:
33-212/257

Specification of Curtiss A-12: Powerplant: One 670 hp Wright R-1820-21 air-cooled radial engine. Performance: Maximum speed 177 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 151 mph at sea level. Stalling speed 67 mph. Initial climb rate 1170 feet per minute. Service ceiling 15,150 feet. Range 450 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 44 feet 0 inches, length 32 feet 3 inches, height 9 feet 4 inches, wing area 284.5 square feet. Weights: 3898 pounds empty, 5736 pounds loaded. Armament: Four forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns. One flexible 0.30-inch machine
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Curtiss A-12

gun operated by rear observer. Ten 30-pound bombs could be carried internally, or four 100 pound bombs externally. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Kenn C. Rust and Walter M. Jefferies, Jr., The Curtiss Shrike, Aircraft in Profile,

Doubleday, 1969.
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Northrop YA-13

Northrop YA-13
Last revised July 7, 2000

The Northrop YA-13 attack plane of the mid-1930s has a very convoluted and complex origin. Sit back and get yourself a cup of coffee while I tell you its story. The design of the YA-13 can be said to begin back in January of 1932, when John K. Northrop and Donald W. Douglas joined forces to set up the Northrop Corporation as a partially-owned subsidiary of the Douglas Aircraft Company. The new company was based at El Segundo, California. One of the first products of the new Northrop Corporation was the Gamma specialpurpose and mail-carrying aircraft. The first two examples built were known as the Gamma 2A and Gamma 2B. The Gamma 2A was built for the well known pilot Frank Hawks and the Gamma 2B was built for the Lincoln Ellsworth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Each plane had an enclosed cockpit set on top of the fuselage aft of the wings. The two planes were completed in August of 1932. The Gamma 2A was a low-winged, cantilever monoplane powered by a 785 hp geared Wright GR-1510 Whirlwind fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial driving a three-bladed propeller. It was initially registered X12265 and was a single seater with the pilot's cockpit located aft of the wing and enclosed by a streamlined canopy. The wings were of multispar construction with the center section built integrally with the fuselage and the outer panels being bolted to the center section. The main landing gear was fixed and enclosed in large streamlined trousers. The tailwheel was spatted. Initially, the Gamma 2A was fitted with a set of full-span flaps and "park bench" ailerons which were mounted above the wing trailing edge. However, more conventional ailerons were later installed and flaps of reduced length and area were adopted. A large compartment was provided in the fuselage forward of the cockpit, but this was not normally used. The Gamma 2A was purchased by Texaco on December 6, 1932 and was put at the disposal of Frank Hawks for record-breaking and advertising purposes. It was given the civilian registration NR12265, and flew with the Texaco Sky Chief logo prominently
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Northrop YA-13

displayed. It set a number of records, including a nonstop flight between Los Angeles and New York in 13 hours 27 minutes at an average speed of 181 mph on June 2, 1933. In 1934, Texaco sold the Gamma 2A to industrialist Gar Woods, who entered the plane in the 1936 Bendix Trophy Race from New York to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, during this flight the plane caught fire in the air and the pilot, Joseph P. Jacobson, was forced to parachute to safety. The Gamma 2A crashed near Stafford, Kansas, and was completely destroyed. Its stablemate, the Gamma 2B (registration X122269) was handed over to Lincoln Ellsworth on November 29, 1931. It was named Polar Star, and had been ordered for a proposed flight across the Antarctic continent. It differed from the Gamma 2A in having a longer transparent cockpit canopy that could house a second crew member in addition to the pilot. It was powered by a single 500 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp SD nine-cylinder aircooled radial engine driving a two-bladed propeller. Since the Gamma 2B was intended for use in Antarctica, it could be fitted with skis in place of the main and tailwheels, and could be fitted with twin Edo floats replacing the trousered main undercarriage. It was initially flown with full-span flaps and "park bench" ailerons, but these were replaced by conventional ailerons before the plane was shipped by boat to Antarctica. The Polar Star flew several pioneering mapping and survey flights in the Antarctic continent, including the discovery of mountain ranges and islands that were previously unknown. It succeeded in making the first crossing of the Antarctic continent in November of 1935. The Polar Star is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., occupying a place of honor for making one of the epic flights in aviation history. Since the performance of the Gamma 2A and 2B substantially exceeded that of the Curtiss A-12 Shrike, Northrop decided in early 1933 to undertake at its own expense the development of an attack version of the Gamma, the Gamma 2C. The Gamma 2C retained the wings and trousered undercarriage of the previous two Gamma aircraft, but differed from them in having a new fuselage with a new two-seat enclosed cockpit. The cockpit was moved much further forward, with the pilot now sitting slightly behind the wing leading edge. The Gamma 2C was powered by a 735 hp Wright SR-1820-F2 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial driving a two-bladed propeller. It was fitted to carry up to 1100 pounds of bombs externally between its trousered main undercarriage units. The Gamma 2C was armed with four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns and one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun firing either upward from the rear cockpit or downward through a ventral
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Northrop YA-13

hatch underneath the fuselage. The Gamma 2C was flown for the first time in the spring of 1933. It bore the civilian registration X12291. It was then delivered under a bailment contract to the Army Air Corps for evaluation at Wright Field in Ohio. Flight tests revealed the need for some modifications, and the Gamma 2C was returned to Northrop in February of 1934. While at Northrop, a number of internal modifications were made to the Gamma 2C. In addition, the vertical tail surfaces were changed from the original trapezoidal shape to a more triangular shape. In this form, the US Army purchased the Gamma 2C on June 28, 1934. It was designated YA-13, and was assigned the serial number 34-27. In order to improve the aircraft's performance and the pilot's forward visibility, the YA-13 aircraft was again returned to Northrop in January of 1935 to be re-engined with the smaller diameter 950 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-7 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial. This engine change resulted in the YA-13 being redesignated YA-16. While waiting for the Army to make up its mind, 49 export versions of the YA-13 were built for the Chinese Government as light bombers. They were known as Gamma 2E, and were generally similar to the Gamma 2C in its original configuration. They were powered by 710 hp Wright SR-1820-F3 engines driving two-bladed propellers. The Gamma 2E was fitted with a partially retractable bomb-aimer's tub underneath the fuselage just aft of the wing that was operated by the bomb-aimer/gunner sitting in the rear seat. The armament consisted of four forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings and one 0.30-inch machine gun operated by the bomb-aimer/gunner. A maximum bombload of 1600 pounds could be carried. The first Gamma 2E was delivered to China on February 19, 1934. The first 24 Gamma 2Es were manufactured and assembled by Northrop, but the remaining 25 were delivered to China in kit form and assembled by the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) at Loiwing. The Gamma 2Es were in action with the Chinese Army Air Arm against the Japanese when they invaded China in August of 1937. However all, all 49 aircraft were rapidly destroyed either in training accidents or by the fury of the Japanese onslaught. A single civilian version known as the Gamma 2ED-C was built in July 1934 as a demonstrator aircraft. It was powered by a 735 hp SR-1820-F53 radial. The initial civil registration was X13760. In early 1935, it was piloted by Frank Hawks and G. H. Irving in
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Northrop YA-13

a 20,000 mile tour through Central and South America to locate suitable airfields for a proposed "Round America Air Race". X13760 was later sold to the British Air Ministry in 1935 for evaluation, where it was assigned the RAF serial number K5053. It was tested by the A & AEE at Martlesham Heath. Its ultimate fate is unknown. Specification of Northrop YA-13: Engine: One 735 hp Wright SR-1820-F2 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial. Performance: Maximum speed 207 mph at 3300 feet. Cruising speed 198 mph. Initial climb rate 1300 feet per minute. Service ceiling 21,750 feet. Maximum range 1100 miles. Weights: 3600 pounds empty, 6463 pounds loaded, 6575 pounds maximum. Dimensions: Wing span 48 feet 0 inches, length 29 feet 2 inches, height 9 feet 2 inches, wing area 363 square feet. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns and one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun firing either upward from the rear cockpit or downward through a ventral hatch. Up to 1100 pounds of bombs could be carried on external under-fuselage racks. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.


3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Curtiss XA-14

Curtiss XA-14
Last revised July 8, 2000

In 1934, the Curtiss company began work on a two-seat, twin-engined attack aircraft as a private venture. The aircraft was known as Model 76 by the company. It was also known under the company name Shrike, which was a generic name applied by Curtiss to many of its attack aircraft. The Model 76 was a cantilever mid-winged monoplane of all-metal construction but with fabric covering for the moveable control surfaces as well as for the wing aft of the front spar. The aircraft was powered by a pair of Wright R-1670-5 twin-row air-cooled radial engines mounted inside circular-cowled nacelles and driving twin-bladed two-position propellers. The main undercarriage members retracted rearward into the back of the engine nacelles, but leaving half of each wheel exposed. The tailwheel was retractable as well. The pilot sat well forward underneath a sliding canopy, whereas the observer/gunner sat well to the rear underneath his own sliding canopy. The short nose had four 0.30-inch machine guns, and a single flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in the rear cockpit. Bombs were carried internally in a fuselage bomb bay. The aircraft took off on its first flight on July 17, 1935. Since it was a company-owned demonstrator, the Model 76 carried a civil registration of X15314. It was tested by the Army at Wright Field in Ohio, and then returned to Curtiss for modifications. These modifications included a change in engine cowling shape and the installation of new constant-speed propellers. In December of 1935, the Army purchased the Model 76 under the designation XA-14. The serial number was 36-146. Although the maximum speed of 254 mph made the XA-14 ten mph faster than the Consolidated P-30 two-seat fighter and 20 mph faster than the Boeing P-26A single-seat fighter. the Army was reluctant to enter into any large-scale contract for the A-14 because of its high cost. In depression-ridden America, the $90,000 (without engines) pricetag on each A-14 made it much too expensive for a large scale order. Nevertheless, thirteen
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Curtiss XA-14

service test examples were ordered on July 23, 1936. They were powered by single-row Wright R-1820-47 Cyclones driving three-bladed propellers. As was typical in those days, the change of engine resulted in a change of designation, to Y1A-18. Lacking any large-scale orders, Curtiss wanted to use its Model 76 to set some aviation records, but instead it was decided in June 1936 to use the XA-14 to test a new 37-mm cannon. The sole XA-14 was scrapped in August 1938 after only 158 flying hours. Specification of Curtiss XA-14 Engines: Two Wright R-1670-5 air-cooled radials, each rated at 775 hp at 10,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 254 mph at 9750, 249 mph at 4550 feet, 243 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 211 mph. Landing speed 75 mph. Service ceiling 27,125 feet. Absolute ceiling 28,500 feet. Initial climb rate 1685 feet per minute. Range 816 miles with 600 pounds of bombs. Dimensions: Wingspan 54 feet 5 inches, length 40 feet 3 inches, height 10 feet 9 inches, wing area 526 square feet. Weights: 8456 pounds empty, 11,738 pounds gross. Armament: Four fixed 0.30-inch forward-firing machine guns in the nose, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in the rear cockpit. A maximum internal bomb load of 654 pounds could be carried. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Grind 'em Out Ground Attack--The Search for the Elusive Fighter Bomber, Anson

McCullough, Wings, August 1995.

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Martin XA-15

Martin XA-15
Last revised July 1, 2000

In May of 1934, an attack version of the Martin YB-10 twin-engined bomber was proposed under the designation XA-15. It was to have had two 750 hp Wright R-1820-25 engines. Wingspan was to have been 70 feet 6 inches, and length was to have been 44 feet 8 inches. Gross weight was to have been 12,356 pounds, and maximum speed was estimated to be 214 mph at 4500 feet. The design was dropped in favor of the faster Curtiss XA-14 before anything could be built. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. US Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946.

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Northrop XA-16

Northrop XA-16
Last revised July 8, 2000

In the early 1930s, the Northrop Corporation had produced the Gamma 2C, a companyfinanced prototype for a two-seat attack aircraft. The Gamma 2C was based on the Gamma 2A and 2B research aircraft. It retained the wings and trousered undercarriage of the previous two Gamma aircraft, but differed from them in having a new fuselage with a new two-seat enclosed cockpit. The cockpit was moved much further forward, with the pilot now sitting slightly behind the wing leading edge. The Gamma 2C was powered by a 735 hp Wright SR-1820-F2 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial driving a two-bladed propeller. The Gamma 2C was armed with four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns and one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun firing either upward from the rear cockpit or downward through a ventral hatch underneath the fuselage. It was able to carry up to 1100 pounds of bombs externally between its trousered main undercarriage units. The Army purchased the Gamma 2C under the designation YA-13 on June 28, 1934. The serial number 34-27 was applied. Flight tests of the YA-13 indicated that the installation of an engine of greater power would result in substantially increased performance. In addition, the large diameter of the Wright SR-1820 radial engine of the YA-13 obscured the pilot's forward view. In order to improve the performance and the pilot's forward visibility, the YA-13 aircraft was returned to Northrop in January of 1935 to be re-engined with the smaller diameter but more powerful 950 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-7 Twin Wasp fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial. This engine change resulted in the YA-13 being redesignated YA-16. The XA-16 flew for the first time in March of 1935. Flight tests indicated that the XA-16 was now over-powered, and that if the aircraft ever went into production it should either have a smaller engine or else have larger tail surfaces. The Gamma 2F, another private venture project of Northrop, already featured a smaller engine and this version was ordered into production as the A-17, so no further work was carried out on the XA-16.
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Northrop XA-16

The XA-16 was later fitted with a 950 hp R-1830-9 engine. It ended its life at an aircraft mechanics' school at Roosevelt Field. Specification of Northrop XA-16: One Pratt & Whitney R-1830-7 Twin Wasp fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial, rated at 950 hp for takeoff and 850 hp at 8000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 212 mph. Weights: 6750 pounds maximum. Dimensions: Wing span 48 feet 0 inches, length 29 feet 8 inches, wing area 363 square feet. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns and one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun firing either upward from the rear cockpit or downward through a ventral hatch. Up to 1100 pounds of bombs could be carried on external under-fuselage racks. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.

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Northrop A-17

Northrop A-17

Northrop A-17 Northrop A-17A Northrop A-17AS Douglas DB-8A for Sweden Douglas 8A-2 for Argentina Douglas 8A-3P for Peru Douglas 8A-3N for the Netherlands Douglas 8A-4 for Iraq Douglas 8A-5 for Norway, A-33

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Northrop A-17

Northrop A-17
Last revised September 3, 2000

The Northrop A-17 series of single-engined attack bombers were the backbone of the USAAC's attack aircraft strength during the late 1930s. The A-17 was well-armed, had a good performance, was reliable and dependable, and was widely exported. Although a fairly advanced design when it first appeared, the A-17 was rapidly eclipsed by advancing technology and soon became obsolescent. Even before American entry into the Second World War, the A-17 had been taken out of front-line service with the USAAC and largely relegated to training roles. It saw no combat in American colors, but its export versions did see some action. The direct ancestor of the A-17 series was the Northrop Gamma 2F. The Gamma 2F (c/n 44) was a private venture prototype for a two-seat attack bomber. It was a development of the Gamma 2C two-seat attack bomber prototype, but differed from the Gamma 2C in having a 750 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1535-11 Twin Wasp Junior fourteen cylinder radial driving a three-bladed propeller. This engine had a smaller diameter than either the R1830-7 or 9 of the XA-16, which made the forward view much better. In addition, the Gamma 2F had a smaller and longer fully-glazed canopy, with the radio operator/gunner being moved further aft. The fuselage was more streamlined and the tail surfaces were revised. The main undercarriage was partially retractable, with the main members retracting rearwards into large, bulky underwing fairings. The Gamma 2F was delivered to the Army for evaluation on October 6, 1934. The results of the evaluation were generally favorable, but the Army wanted additional streamlining. The aircraft was returned to Northrop for modifications. Since the semi-retractable undercarriage Had resulted in only a slight improvement in performance, it was replaced by a fixed undercarriage, with struts and open-sided wheel fairings. In addition, the cowling, fuselage lines, and tail shape were all refined to obtain better aerodynamic streamlining. The shape of the cockpit canopy was extensively revised, and an unglazed section was added between the sliding canopies that covered the pilot's and gunner's cockpits.

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Northrop A-17

On December 24, 1934, the Army announced their intention to purchase 110 production examples of the Gamma 2F under the designation A-17. Although the A-17 was well armed and had a good performance, perhaps its most salient selling point was its low cost-under $19,000 apiece, minus government-furnished equipment. This made it especially attractive in an America struggling with the Great Depression. The contract was officially signed on March 1, 1935. This was the largest prewar Army attack contract, and was a bonanza for the new Northrop branch. It had been hoped that the larger GR-1820 Cyclone or the R-1830-7 Wasp could be installed in the production A-17, so the YA-13 prototype was returned to Northrop for fitting with this engine. However, the YA-13 was significantly overpowered with the R1830-7, and to prevent disruption of production, it was decided that the production A-17 would retain the smaller R-1535. In modified form, the Gamma 2F aircraft was delivered to the Army Air Corps on July 27, 1935 as the first A-17 (serial number 35-51). 109 production A-17s (35-52/160) were delivered between December 1935 and January 1937. They were powered by the 750 hp R1535-11 and were armed with four wing-mounted and one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun. They differed from the prototype in being fitted with three-segment perforated air brakes which extended between the ailerons. The first true production A-17 (35-52) was sent to Wright Field in December of 1935. The A-17s were initially evaluated at Wright Field and by the Technical Training Command at Chanute Field, Illinois. Beginning in February of 1936, A-17s were delivered to the 3rd Attack Group (8th, 13th and 90th Squadrons) based at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. They were also supplied to the 17th Attack Group (34th, 37th, and 95th Squadrons) based at March Field, California, which had recently converted from P-26A pursuits. The A-17s were powered by the 750hp Pratt & Whitney R-1535-11 radial. They Were armed with four 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings and a single 0.30-inch gun on a flexible mount in the rear fuselage. The ventral firing system tested out on the prototype was deleted on production examples. Up to 20 30-lb bombs could be carried in small bomb bays in the fuselage. Within a year, the A-17s were supplemented in these two groups by faster retractableundercarriage A-17As. Shortly thereafter, the A-17s were transferred to training and auxiliary units. By the time of Pearl Harbor, the A-17 was thoroughly obsolete, and the
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Northrop A-17

surviving examples were being used only as advanced trainers or as squadron hacks. Most of them ended their lives at mechanics' schools during the early war war years. A-17 35-122 was used by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) to investigate the characteristics of laminar-flow aerofoils. New highly-polished surfaces were built over and around the existing wing structure. The new surfaces were highly polished and protruded ahead of the leading edge and behind the trailing edge, nearly doubling the wing chord inboard of the ailerons. A two-bladed propeller driven by a small auxiliary engine was mounted on each side forward of the new leading edge to increase the speed of the airflow over the wing. However, it was found that it was much easier to obtain the same data by using conventional wind tunnels, and NACA discontinued the project. Serials of Northrop A-17:
35-051/160 Northrop A-17 c/n 44, 75/183

Specification of Northrop A-17: Engine: One 750 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1535-11 Twin Wasp Junior fourteen-cylinder aircooled radial engine. Performance: Maximum speed 207 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 170 mph. Landing speed 67.5 mph. Initial climb rate 1530 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be reached in 3.8 minutes. Service ceiling 20,700 feet. Absolute ceiling 22,150 feet. Normal range 650 miles with 654 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 1240 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 8 1/2 inches, Length 31 feet 8 5/8 inches, Height 11 feet 10 1/2 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 4874 pounds empty, 7447 pounds loaded. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30inch machine gun operated by rear cockpit gunner. Normal bomb load included twenty 30pound fragmentation bombs carried in chutes inside the fuselage and four external 100pound bombs. Maximum bombload was 1200 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.
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Northrop A-17

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Alain J.

Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, May/June 1998, No 75.


5. E-mail from Charles Hinton on 13th Squadron having A-17s at Barksdale Field.

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Northrop A-17A

Northrop A-17A
Last revised September 3, 2000

While production of the A-17 was underway, Northrop proposed the development of a version of the A-17 with a fully retractable main undercarriage. This retractable undercarriage consisted of a set of main wheels attached to the forward edge of the wing which retracted inwards into wheel wells underneath the fuselage. This retractable undercarriage was first tested on the Gamma 2J experimental advanced trainer. The A-17 design turned out to be readily adaptable to a retractable undercarriage, with relatively few changes being required. However, the use of the retractable undercarriage did require that the inboard leading edge wing roots be extended to provide space for the wheels. On January 29, 1936, an initial order was placed for 100 retractable- undercarriage versions of the A-17, which were assigned the designation A-17A. Serials were 36162/261. The first production A-17A (36-162) flew for the first time on July 16, 1936. There were some teething problems with the retractable undercarriage, which resulted in a delay of delivery to the USAAC until February 4, 1937. The aircraft was used for testing during this period, and two accidents caused by undercarriage failures caused the delivery of the second production aircraft to be delayed until April 1937. Once these difficulties were cleared up, the the 100 A-17As were delivered between April and December of 1937. A further 29 A-17As (38-327/355) were ordered during the second half of 1937, and these were delivered between June and September 1938. All A-17As were powered by a 825 hp R-1535-13 Twin Wasp Junior engine. They were armed with four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns and had a flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by the gunner in the rear cockpit. Normal bombload was four externally-carried 100-lb bombs or 20 30lb anti-personnel bombs carried internally. A maximum bombload was 1200 pounds. The A-17As were delivered in 1937 to the 3rd Attack Group (8th, 13th, and 90th Squadrons) at Barksdale Field, Louisiana and to the 17th Attack Group (34th, 37th, and 95th Squadrons) based at March Field, California. They supplemented and later replaced the fixed-undercarriage A-17s serving with these units. The A-17A was fairly fast and had
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Northrop A-17A

a fairly heavy forward-firing armament for its time, and during 1938-39 war games it was deemed to be the most effective ground attack aircraft yet devised. However, the Army decided that twin-engined attack aircraft offered substantial advantages over the singleengined types then in service, and the career of the A-17A with the Army was quite brief. After only three years of service with the Army, the A-17As were declared surplus. Following the beginning of the Second World War with the German invasion of Poland, the French Armee de l'Air felt an urgent need for dive bombers, and since the US Army considered the A-17A to be obsolescent, the French Purchasing Commission that was touring the USA looking for aircraft was given permission to obtain 93 of the ex-USAAC A-17As. The 93 A-17As ordered by France were withdrawn from USAAF service and were returned to the Northrop factory (which was by this time known simply as the El Segundo Division of Douglas) where they were refurbished and re-engined with 825 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp JrS2A5-G engines. Unfortunately, by the time that the planes were ready for delivery, France had fallen. The contract was then taken over by the British Purchasing Commission, which at that time was willing to buy just about anything that had wings. The British A-17As were given the RAF name Nomad. RAF serials were AS440/AS462, AS958/AS976, and AW420/AW438. However, the RAF also deemed the Nomad to be obsolescent, and decided to restrict it from combat operations. 60 of the RAF Nomads were transferred to South Africa. 17 were lost at sea en enroute. The survivors were taken on charge in February 1941 by the SAAF, where they were used for training. None of these aircraft ever saw any combat. They remained in service until the end of 1942 when they were replaced by Fairey Battles. The last SAAF Nomads were struck off charge in 1944. Those A-17As still in the USA were used during the early war years as advanced trainers or as squadron hacks before ending their lives in mechanics' schools. None of these aircraft ever saw any combat either. The last A-17A was struck off charge on October 31, 1944. A-17A (36-184) was used by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) during 1939 to test new types of engine cowlings. Initially, the aircraft was fitted with a large propeller spinner which completely covered the engine front air intake. Large ducts were built into the wing roots to provide air for engine cooling. However, before flight
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Northrop A-17A

testing could begin ground tests indicated that the engine temperature rose too high and NACA decided not to try and fly the aircraft in such a configuration. NACA removed the wing ducts and replaced the oversized spinner with a ducted spinner with a large hole in its center that incorporated impeller blades which forced cooling air to the engine. Engine cooling while on the ground was much more effective than the NACA cowling used by the conventional A-17A--the engine could be operated at full throttle on the ground for 15 minutes without cylinder temperatures exceeding their limits. Although there was a slight decrease in speed with the nose blower, the results of the speed tests were considered inconclusive and the project was not pursued any further. 36-184 was de-modded to standard configuration and returned to the Air Corps on June 21, 1940. A-17A 35-122 was used by NACA at Langley Field to test several aerodynamic innovations. At first it was used to test new exaust pipes. Later, it was used to test new laminar flow airfoils. The aircraft was eventually returned to the Air Corps. A-17A 36-207 is on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Serials of Northrop A-17A:
36-162/261 38-327/355 Northrop A-17A c/n 189/288 Northrop A-17A c/n 381/409

Specification of Northrop A-17A: Engine: One Pratt & Whitney R-1535-13 Twin Wasp Junior fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, rated at 825 hp at 2500 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 220 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 170 mph. Landing speed 64 mph. Initial climb rate 1350 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be reached in 3.9 minutes. Service ceiling 19,400 feet. Normal range 730 miles with 654 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 1195 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 31 feet 8 inches, Height 12 feet 0 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 5106 pounds empty, 7550 pounds loaded. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear cockpit gunner. Normal bombload was four externally-carried 100-lb bombs or 20 30lb anti-personnel bombs carried internally. Maximum bombload was 1200 pounds.

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Northrop A-17A

Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Alain J.

Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, May/June 1998, No 75.


5. E-mail from Charles Hinton on 13th Squadron having A-17s at Barksdale

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Northrop A-17AS

Northrop A-17AS
Last revised July 8, 2000

The A-17AS was a three-seat unarmed staff transport version of the A-17A. The S stood for "Staff" or for "Special". Two examples were ordered on March 20, 1936. Although they bore manufacturer's numbers 289 and 290 which followed those assigned to the first batch of A-17As, they were actually built and delivered before the A-17As. The first A-17AS (36-349) was powered by a 600 hp direct-drive Pratt & Whitney R-134041 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial driving a three-bladed propeller. It was delivered on July 17, 1936. It served as Maj Gen Oscar Westover's personal aircraft. General Westover was the chief of the Army Air Corps, and he personally flew the airplane for more than two years for inspection trips and for attending Army maneuvers. On September 21, 1938, this aircraft crashed at Burbank, California, killing General Westover and his mechanic S/ Sgt Sameul Hymes. The second A-17AS (36-350) was assigned as Brigadier General Henry H. Arnold's personal transport. Brig Gen Following the death of General Westover, General Arnold was named as his successor as Air Corps chief, and he remained so throughout the Second World War. The second A-17AS was powered by a 600 hp geared R-1340-45 radial driving a two-bladed propeller. 36-350 was lost in an accident on March 2, 1940, but Arnold was not on board that day. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Northrop A-17AS

4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Alain J.

Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, May/June 1998, No 75.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a17_3.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:07:51

Douglas DB-8A for Sweden

Douglas DB-8A for Sweden


Last revised July 8, 2000

Spurred by the success of the A-17 series of US Army attack planes, the Northrop company developed a number of export versions of the A-17 for sales to overseas customers. These were initially known as the Northrop Model 8, but by the time that they were produced Jack Northrop had left the division that bore his name to strike out on his own once again. The Northrop branch was now known simply as the El Segundo Division of Douglas, and consequently these export versions were known as the Douglas 8A or DB8A, where DB stood for "Douglas Bomber". The first of these was the Model 8A-1, or DB-8A-1. The Douglas Model 8A-1 was developed for Sweden, which ordered one prototype and parts for a second machine which would act as a pattern aircraft for license production by AB Svenska Jarnvagsverkstaderna (ASJA) of Linkoping. The 8A-1 was generally similar to the fixed-undercarriage A-17, but Sweden opted for the Bristol Mercury as the powerplant, since this engine was already being built under license in Sweden by SFA. The prototype (company number 378) was powered by a 875 hp Bristol Pegasus XII engine since this engine was generally similar to the Bristol Mercury engine planned for the production version. It was shipped to Sweden on April 22, 1938. The Swedish Flygvapnet designated the aircraft B 5A and assigned it the serial number of 7001. Parts for the second aircraft (company number 410) were shipped on August 8, 1938. The production version built by ASJA was known as B 5B by the Flygvapnet, and was powered by a 920 hp SFA-built Bristol Mercury XXIV nine-cylinder air-cooled radial. It different from the Northrop-built B 5A in having a domed canopy over the pilot's cockpit and having the radio mast moved from the top of the cockpit canopy to a position just forward of the front canopy. The 64 ASJA-built B 5Bs were delivered in 1940, and were assigned Flygvapnet serials 7002 to 7065. In 1941, ASJA was succeeded by Svenska Aeroplan AB, or SAAB. SAAB was given a contract for 39 similar B 5Cs (serials 7066 to 7104).
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Douglas DB-8A for Sweden

B 5s equipped Flottiljer F 4 at Ostersund and F 12 at Kalmar until replaced beginning in 1944 by the Swedish-built SAAB B 17 light bomber. Specification of DB-8A (SAAB B 5C): Engine: One 980 hp SFA-built Bristol Mercury XXIV nine-cylinder air-cooled radial. Performance: Maximum speed 205 mph at sea level, 219 mph at 6250 feet. Cruising speed 186 mph. Landing speed 66 mph. Initial climb rate 1430 feet per minute. An altitude of 9845 feet could be attained in 8 minutes. Service ceiling 22,475 feet, Normal range 932 miles, Maximum range 1380 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 31 feet 9 7/8 inches, Height 12 feet 4 inches, Wing area 363.2 square feet. Weights: 5368 pounds empty, 7496 pounds loaded. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear cockpit gunner. Normal bomb load was typically 20 internally-carried 30-lb bombs and four external 100-lb bombs. Maximum bomb load was 1200 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2,

Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a17_4.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:08:01

Douglas 8A-2 for Argentina

Douglas 8A-2 for Argentina


Last revised July 8, 2000

The Douglas Model 8A-2 was an export version of the fixed-undercarriage A-17 intended for the Fuerza Aerea Argentina. Test pilot Eddie Allen had demonstrated the Northrop Model 5B in Buenos Aires in 1935, and 30 Model 8A-2s were ordered. They were built and shipped to Argentina in 1938. The Model 8A-2 was powered by the 840 hp Wright R-1820-G3 radial, and was armed with two 12.7 and two 7.6-mm wing-mounted machine guns and one flexible rear-firing 7.6-mm machine gun. The Model 8A-2 was fitted with a partially-retractable bombaiming tub underneath the rear cockpit. Company numbers were 348 to 377. FAA serials were A-401 throu A-430 (later O-401 through O-430). The Model 8A-2s were operated by the Fuerza Aerea Argentina's Regimiento de Ataque No 2, first from El Palomar and then from El Plumerillo. The Model 8A-2s were eventually replaced by the indigenous I.Ae.24 Calquin twin-engined bomber. Surviving examples were transferred to El Palomar, near Buenos Aires, where they were operated as advanced trainers until 1955. Specification of Douglas DB-8A-2: Engine: One 840 hp Wright R-1820-G3 air-cooled radial. Performance: Maximum speed 223 mph at 8700 feet. Cruising speed 200 mph. Landing speed 65 mph. Initial climb rate 1300 feet per minute. Service ceiling 25,400 feet. Maximum range 1190 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 31 feet 6 inches, Height 12 feet 4 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 4899 pounds empty, 7500 pounds loaded. Armament: Two 12.7 and two 7.6-mm wing-mounted machine guns and one flexible rear-firing 7.6mm machine gun. Normal bomb load was 20 internally-carried 30-pound fragmentation bombs and four external 100-pound bombs. Maxim bombload was 1200 pounds. Sources:

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Douglas 8A-2 for Argentina

1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2,

Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a17_5.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:08:09

Douglas 8A-3P for Peru

Douglas 8A-3P for Peru


Last revised July 8, 2000

The Model 8A-3P was an export version of the A-17A for the Cuerpo de Aeronautical del Peru. The Model 8A-3P differed from the USAAC A-17A in being powered by a 1000-hp Wright GR-1820-G103 radial, and was fitted with the partially- retractable bomb-aiming tub that was carried by the Argentine Model 8A-2s. A total of ten Model 8A-3Ps were built (company numbers 412 to 421). They served with the 31st Escuadron de Ataque y Reconicimemiento. These planes were used during the July 1941 war between Peru and Ecuador. The last Model 8A-3P was finally retired during the late 1950s. Specification of Douglas DB-8A-3P: Engine: One 1000-hp Wright GR-1820-G103 air-cooled radial. Performance: Maximum speed 238 mph at 8700 feet, 208 mph at sea level. Landing speed 66 mph. Initial climb rate 1200 feet per minute, Service ceiling 24,000 feet, Maximum range 1180 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 32 feet 1 inches, Height 9 feet 9 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 4820 pounds empty, 7500 pounds loaded. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear cockpit gunner. Normal bomb load included 20 internally-carried 30pound fragmentation bombs and four externally-carried 100-pound bombs. Maximum bomb load was 1200 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval
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Douglas 8A-3P for Peru

Institute Press, 1988.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2,

Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a17_6.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:08:22

Douglas 8A-3N for the Netherlands

Douglas 8A-3N for the Netherlands


Last revised July 8, 2000

The Douglas Model 8A-3N was a version of the A-17A built for the Netherlands. It was powered by a 1100 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S3C-G. The first example flew on July 31, 1939. A total of 18 were ordered in early 1939. They were delivered between August and November of 1939. The Model 8A-3Ns bore the company numbers 531/548 and were given the Dutch serial numbers 381/396. They were assigned to the 3rd Fighter Squadron of the 2nd Air Regiment based at Ypenburg. One Model 8A-3N was lost in a prewar accident. On May 10, 1940, when German forces began their Western offensive, twelve DB-8A-3N aircraft were on active duty at Ypenburg, and five were held in reserve at Ockenburg. One of the DB-8A-3Ns was destroyed on the ground during the initial Luftwaffe attack, but the eleven other aircraft were able to get into the air. The DB-8A-3N was not intended as a fighter, and seven of them were quickly shot down by Luftwaffe Bf 110s. However, the Dutch DB-8A-3Ns did manage to shoot down a couple of Ju 52 troop transports. Shortly after landing, the remaining four DB-8A-3Ns were caught on the ground in another German raid and were all destroyed. The five DB-8A-3Ns in reserve at Ockenburg were captured intact by the Luftwaffe. In 1941 one of the captured planes was put on display in Berlin next to the DO-X. However, later in the war, this plane was destroyed during an Allied air attack. Specification of Douglas DB-8A-3N: Engine: One Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3CG Twin Wasp air-cooled radial engine, rated at 1050 hp for takeoff and 900 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 260 mph at 12,000 feet. Cruising speed 205 mph. Landing speed 66 mph. Initial climb rate 1430 feet per minute. Service ceiling 29,600 feet, Normal range 910 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 32 feet 5 inches, Height 9 feet 9 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 5508 pounds empty, 7848 pounds gross, 8948 pounds maximum. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch
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Douglas 8A-3N for the Netherlands

machine gun operated by rear cockpit gunner. Normal bomb load included 20 internallycarried 30-lb bombs and four external 100-lb bombs. Maximum bomb load 1200 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2,

Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77


5. E-mail from Peter de Lange

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Douglas 8A-4 for Iraq

Douglas 8A-4 for Iraq


Last revised July 1, 2000

The Model 8A-4 was a version of the A-17A built for the government of Iraq. The 8A-4 was quite similar to the 8A-3P ordered by Peru (including the use of the semi-retractable bomb-aiming tub) and was powered by the 1000 hp Wright GR-1820-G103 Cyclone engine. The company numbers of the fifteen 8A-4s ordered were 613/627. They were shipped to Iraq between April and June of 1940. All DB-8A-4s were apparently destroyed by the Royal Air Force during the Iraqi uprising which began on May 2, 1941 under Rashid Ali. Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


2. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2,

Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a17_8.html08-09-2006 20:08:47

Douglas 8A-5 for Norway, A-33

Douglas 8A-5 for Norway, A-33


Last revised July 8, 2000

The Model 8A-5 was the last export variant of the A-17A to be built. It was also the most powerful and the most heavily-armed of the entire series of Northrop/Douglas single engined attack bombers. 36 DB-8A-5N aircraft were ordered by Norway early in 1940. They were armed with four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, one 0.50-inch machine gun in each of two underwing pods just outboard of the main landing gear, and had two flexible 0.30-inch machine guns in the rear cockpit. The engine was the 1200 hp Wright GR-1820-G205A. Up to 1800 pounds of bombs could be carried. RnoAF serials assigned were 301/336. The Model 8A-5s were intended to be used by the Norwegian Heerens Flyvevaben (Army Flying Service). Unfortunately, before they could be delivered, Norway was occupied by German forces. Nevertheless, the 36 DB-8A-5s (company numbers 715/750) were completed and turned over in late 1940 to the Norwegian government-in-exile which was operating a flight training facility known as "Little Norway" at Island Airport in Ontario, Canada. Arrangements were later made for the flight training of Norwegian pilots to be carried out in RAF and RCAF schools, and the Model 8A-5s were declared surplus to Norwegian requirements. In August of 1941, Peru offered to purchase 18 of the surviving Norwegian planes, but the US State Department objected because of fears that they might be used against Ecuador. It was proposed that these planes would be delivered instead to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease, but both Peru and Norway objected. Consequently, these 18 Model 8A-5s were taken over by the USAAF on December 9, 1941 under the designation of A-33-DE. They were assigned the serials 42-13584/13601. They were operated strictly as trainers at stateside airfields and none ever saw any combat. Eventually, 13 of the surviving Norwegian aircraft were delivered to Peru. USAAF designation of A-33A and serials 42-109007/109019 were assigned for record-keeping purposes. They were delivered to Peru in June of 1943. They supplemented the Douglas
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Douglas 8A-5 for Norway, A-33

8A-3Ps already serving in Peru. They served with the 31st and then the 23rd Escuadron de Ataque y Reconicimiento de Fotogrametria at Las Palmas. They lasted in service until 1958, when they started to bve replaced by Douglas B-26 Invaders. One of these aircraft is still on display as a gate guard at Las Palmas. Specification of Douglas DB-8A-5 (A-33) Engine: One Wright GR-1820-G205A Cyclone air-cooled radial, rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1000 hp at 6900 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 248 mph at 15,700 feet. Landing speed 67 mph. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be reached in 5.8 minutes. Service ceiling 29,000 feet, Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 32 feet 6 inches, Height 9 feet 4 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 5510 pounds empty, 8600 pounds loaded, 9200 pounds maximum. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus two underwing-mounted 0.50-inch machine guns, plus two paired flexible 0.30-inch machine guns operated by the rear cockpit gunner. Up to 1800 pounds of bombs could be carried. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institue Press, 1988.


3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2,

Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77

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Curtiss Y1A-18

Curtiss Y1A-18
Last revised July 11, 2000

In 1934, the Curtiss company began work on a two-seat, twin-engined attack aircraft. The aircraft was known as Model 76 by the company. It was a twin-engined aircraft with a cantilever mid-mounted wing. The aircraft was of all-metal construction but with fabric covering for the moveable control surfaces and on the wing aft of the front spar. The pilot sat well forward underneath a sliding canopy, whereas the observer/gunner sat well to the rear underneath his own sliding canopy. All three undercarriage members retracted rearward, leaving half of each wheel exposed. The Model 76 was powered by a pair of Wright R-1670-5 twin-row radial air-cooled engines housed underneath circular cowlings and driving twin-bladed two-position propellers. The short nose had four 0.30-inch machine guns, and a single flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in the rear cockpit. Bombs were carried internally in a fuselage bomb bay. The aircraft took off on its first flight on July 17, 1935. Since it was a company-owned demonstrator, the Model 76 carried a civil registration of X15314. It was tested by the Army at Wright Field in Ohio, and then returned to Curtiss for modifications. These modifications included a change in engine cowling shape and the installation of new constant-speed propellers. In December of 1935, the Army purchased the Model 76 under the designation XA-14. The serial number was 36-146. Although the maximum speed of 254 mph made the XA-14 ten mph faster than the contemporary Consolidated P-30 two-seat fighter and 20 mph faster than the Boeing P26A single-seat fighter, the Army was reluctant to enter into any large-scale contract for the A-14 because of its high cost. In depression-ridden America, the $90,000 (without engines) pricetag on each A-14 made it much too expensive for a large scale order. Nevertheless, thirteen service test examples were ordered on July 23, 1936. They were powered by single-row Wright R-1820-47 Cyclones driving three-bladed propellers. As was typical in those days, the change of engine resulted in a change of designation, to
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Curtiss Y1A-18

Y1A-18. Despited the added power, increased weight cut the top speed of the Y1A-18 to 238 mph, although the range was improved. Deliveries of the Y1A-18 began in July 1937 and were completed by October. The Y1A18s served initially with the 8th Attack Squadron of the Third Attack Group at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. The chief drawback of the Y1A-18 was its small bomb load (only 670 pounds), plus the fact that the aircraft could not easily be reconfigured for less range with a higher load. The armament was fairly light, the Y1A-18 relying on speed rather than armament to evade interceptors. However, the advances in aircraft design were so rapid that the Y1A-18 rapidly became obsolescent and its performance no longer adequate to escape interception. In 1940, the Y1A-18s were transferred to the Third Bombardment Group at Lawson Field for operational training as plain A-18s. They saw no combat, and the last A-18 was withdrawn from service in 1943. An improved Model 76B with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines was proposed to the Army, but was not accepted. Curtiss also proposed a Model 76B for export, but no customers materialized, probably because of its high cost. Serials of Curtiss Y1A-18
37-052/064 Curtiss Y1A-18 c/n 12187/12199

Specification of Curtiss Y1A-18: Engines: Two Wright R-1820-47 Cyclone air-cooled radials, each rated at 930 hp for takeoff and 850 hp at 2500 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 239 mph at 2500 feet. Cruising speed 211 mph. Landing speed 73 mph. Service ceiling 28,560 feet, absolute ceiling 30,000 feet. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 2.2. minutes. Range 1443 miles with 654 pounds of bombs. 1700 miles maximum range. Dimensions: Wingspan 54 feet 5 inches, length 41 feet 0 inches, height 11 feet 6 inches, wing area 526 square feet. Weights: 9580 pounds empty, 12,849 pounds gross, 13,170 pounds maximum. Armament: Four fixed 0.30-inch forward-firing machine guns in the nose, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in the rear cockpit. A maximum internal bomb load of 654 pounds could be carried. Sources:

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Curtiss Y1A-18

1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 3. Grind 'em Out Ground Attack--The Search for the Elusive Fighter Bomber, Anson

McCullough, Wings, August 1995.


4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Vultee XA-19

Vultee XA-19
Last revised July 1, 2000

The Vultee Aircraft Corporation was very largely the brainchild of Gerard Freebairn Vultee, formerly chief engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation during the period that Lockheed was owned by the Detroit Aircraft holding company. When Detroit Aircraft went into receivership, Vultee was out of work. He drifted from job to job for a couple of years, but eventually he went off on his own in pursuit of financial backing for some ideas that he and Vance Breese had for a single-engine passenger monoplane while they were at Detroit. Vultee's passenger aircraft proposal attracted the attention of the "boy wonder" of Wall Street, Errett Lobban Cord, who already owned or controlled several airlines, automobile manufacturers, and aircraft companies. With $50,000 in cash (sounds like small potatoes today :-) ), Cord founded the Airplane Development Corporation (ADC) on January 26, 1932, as a subsidiary of the Cord Corporation. Vultee was established as chief engineer of this new company, assisted by Richard W. Palmer. Vultee was initially given space in Cord's private hangar at United Airport in Burbank, California, but in June ADC took over the former Century Pacific hanger at Grand Central Air Terminal in nearby Glendale. Vultee began work on his single-engined airliner project in April of 1932. The project was assigned the designation V1. The V1 was a monocoque low-winged monoplane with "Alclad" sheet metal riveted to an aluminum alloy oval fuselage frame and a two-spar wing box. Only the rudder and elevators were fabric covered. There was accommodation for eight passengers in four rows in the cabin. A forward-sloping windshield (adopted so as to prevent glare at night) enclosed the single-pilot cockpit. Half of the cockpit space was occupied by a mail compartment. The main undercarriage retracted inward into wells in the center section of the wing. The powerplant was the 650 hp Wright SR-1820-F2 ninecylinder air cooled radial. The first flight took place on February 19, 1933. At the time of its appearance, the V1 could truthfully be advertised as the world's fastest airliner. However, its future was somewhat uncertain, since labor troubles had in the meantime forced Cord to divest
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Vultee XA-19

himself of his two airlines, depriving the V1 of any built-in customers. A copilot's position had to be added to the V1 because of safety considerations. To make space for the second crewmember, the mail compartment was moved aft of the passenger cabin. The roof line was raised and the shape of the vertical tail was modified. The wingspan was increased by two feet, the length from 35 feet 6 inches to 37 feet, the wheel track by two feet, and the height by six inches. The original three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller was replaced by a two-bladed unit. Electrically-operated split trailingedge flaps were installed. The changes were sufficient to result in a redesignation to V1-A. The V1-A still lacked a ready customer. However, in 1934, the ADC was reorganized as a division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation, which was in turn a subsidiary of the Aviation Corporation (AVCO), which had recently been taken over by Cord in a stock deal. Vultee became a vice-president of the ADC, but retained his title as chief engineer. As it turned out, AVCO also controlled American Airways, which provided Vultee with a ready-made customer for the V1. American Airways placed a tentative order for 20 V1s in two batches of ten at a price of $35,000 each. Work began on the first batch of ten V1-A airliners for American Airways in February of 1934. Two months later, AVCO lost control of American Airways, which changed its name to American Airlines (a name which it still retains today). However, the V1-A order stood. In July, American Airlines introduced the V1-A on its Fort Worth-Chicago route. The V1-A was fast, comfortable, and popular with passengers, but was too small to be an economically-viable aircraft. On October 1, 1934, the Director of Air Commerce issued an order that single-engined aircraft would no longer be allowed to be operated by scheduled airlines except during daylight hours. This decision instantly dried up the airline market for the Vultee V1-A, but a few more were built as executive transports and several were used for record-setting flights. A few V1-As ended up in Spain during the Civil War, and actually ended up serving on both sides in that conflict. With the advent of restrictions placed on single-engined commercial airliners in late 1934, Vultee turned to military aircraft. The company attempted to develop an attack bomber based on the V1 airliner. Designated V11, it used the wing, undercarriage, and tail surfaces of the V1 airliner joined to a new fuselage. The V11 prototype was powered by a 750 hp Wright SR-1820-F53 Cyclone air cooled radial driving a two-bladed Hamilton
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Vultee XA-19

Standard controllable-pitch propeller. The V11 featured two seats in tandem underneath a long transparent, four-section canopy that covered both cockpits. Armament consisted of two wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus a flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by the rear cockpit gunner. The forward firing guns were sighted by the pilot using a pylon-mounted telescopic sight. Up to 1100 pounds of bombs could be carried internally and externally. The first V11 (msn 28, civilian registry X14999) took off on its maiden flight on September 17, 1935. Unfortunately, the V11 crashed on takeoff on its second flight at Mines Field, Los Angeles the next day, killing pilot T. C. Van Stone and project engineer Duald L. Blue. A second prototype (msn 29, civilian registry NR14980) took to the air on October 9, 1935. Designated V11-A, it differed from the first in having a three-bladed constant speed propeller and a ring and bead sight for the forward-firing guns. The Chinese Nationalist government showed interest in the V11-A, and an order for 30 was placed. The first (msn 30) was completed in December of 1936 with an SR-1820-F53 engine. The rest (msn 36/64) were shipped between July 1973 and April 1938. They were delivered to China without engines and the later batches were actually delivered as kits of parts which were assembled at Shanghai and Hangkow. The 850 hp R-1820-G2 engines for these planes were acquired separately, and when installed, resulted in a designation change to V11-G. The demands of the Chinese order forced Vultee to seek larger quarters. In June of 1936, the ADC moved its Glendale plant to Downey, California. The Downey facility had formerly been operated by the now-defunct Emsco Aircraft company (where Gerard Vultee had once briefly worked), but was now deserted. The paved runway was renamed Vultee Field. The Chinese V11-G attack planes served at Hangkow with the 14th Squadron, an international unit of American, French, and Chinese aircrews. They saw limited action against Japanese forces in 1938. The V11-GB was a version of the V11-G intended for use as an attack bomber. It differed from the V11-G primarily by the addition of a third crew member in the lower aft fuselage. The third crew member entered the aircraft via a door cut into the rear port
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Vultee XA-19

fuselage and acted as a bomb-aimer/camera operator. He could also operate a 0.30-inch machine gun which was mounted on a retractable position that extended downward from the rear fuselage. Four 0.30-inch guns were mounted in the wings, and another 0.30-inch machine gun was operated by a gunner sitting at the rear of the long transparent canopy. It could be operated as an attack plane, with 600 pounds of bombs carried on internal racks over a 1125 mile range. Alternatively, it could be operated as a bomber carrying a 1000 pound bombload over a range of 2380 miles. Four V11-GBs were purchased by the Soviet Union, along with a manufacturing license. The first V11-GB for the USSR (msn 32, civilian registry NR17328) was flown on January 31, 1937, followed by msn 33 (NR17329) on February 26. These planes both had the 850 hp R-1820-G2 Cyclone engine. The other two (msn 34 and 36) were delivered to the Soviet Union without engines, and the first was dismantled for parts. At least 31 V11-GBs were built in the Soviet Union as the BSh-1 at the Menzhinskii factory at Moscow. They were powered by the 920 hp M-62 radial, which was a licensebuilt version of the Wright Cyclone. With armor plate fitted, the aircraft had a reduced performance and was rejected for service by the VVS. It was decided that that the Polikarpov I-15bis would make a better interim attack aircraft while awaiting the development of the BSh-2, the prototype of the famed Il-2 *Shturmovik*. Most of the BSh-1 aircraft were turned over to Aeroflot in 1939 under the designation PS-43 and were used on mail flights. After the German attack on the Soviet Union in June of 1941, they were returned to the VVS for communications duties. A few survived until after the war. I do not know if any survive today. One V11-GB (msn 31/NR17327) was completed as a European demonstrator on January 20, 1937. It was scheduled to go to Europe in an attempt to attract more customers, but was used instead for experimental flying in connection with an order for forty V11-GBTs (msn 65/104) from Turkey. These were delivered between September 1937 and April 1938 to the 2nd Regiment at Diyarbakir. It seems that the demonstrator aircraft went to Turkey as well. In November of 1937, the Downey plant was renamed the Vultee Aircraft Division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation. The Downey plant now finally carried Gerard Vultee's name. On January 24, 1938, Gerard Vultee and his wife were killed in a crash of their Stinson
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Vultee XA-19

Reliant on the slopes of Mt Wilson near Flagstaff, Arizona. The couple left behind a sixmonth old son. They were returning from a sales trip to the East Coast, where Vultee had attempted to interest the US Army Air Corps in the V11-GB. Vultee was succeeded as chief engineer by his assistant, Richard Palmer. The Vultee Aircraft Division retained its name. Following the death of Gerard Vultee, work on the V11 continued on, and more overseas customers were attracted. 26 V11-GB2 aircraft were built for Brazil (msn 105/130). These were completed between June 1938 and March 1939. The last example was fitted with Edo floats and a modified tail as a V11-GB2F, but was not accepted by the Brazilian navy. The last customer for the V11 was paradoxically the US Army Air Corps, to which Gerard Vultee had been attempting to sell when he was killed. On June 24, 1938, the US Army Air Corps ordered seven V11-GBs (USAAC serials 38-549/555, msn 132/138) as service test aircraft. They were designated YA-19 and, unlike the export versions, were powered by 1200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-17 Twin Wasp radials. The armament consisted of six 0.30-inch machine guns and a 1080-pound bombload. The first YA-19 was flown on January 27, 1939. Five more were delivered in June and July. The YA-19s initially served at March Field, California, and then were transferred to the Panama Canal Zone, where they served with military attaches on duty in neighboring countries. The concept of a single-engined attack bomber was, however, now thoroughly obsolete, and no further YA-19s were ordered by the Air Corps. None of the YA-19s ever saw any combat. The last YA-19 on the Air Corps order was delivered as XA-19A with a twelve-cylinder Lycoming O-1230-1 liquid-cooled engined offering 1200 hp. It had an enlarged vertical fin to balance out the longer engine. It first flew on May 22, 1940. This aircraft was subsequently re-engined with a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 and redesignated XA-19C. The second YA-19 was redesignated XA-19B and was assigned to Pratt & Whitney for engine development work. It was equipped with an 1800 hp R-2800-1 at Rentschler Field.. Specification of Vultee YA-19: Engine: One Pratt & Whitney R-1830-17 air-cooled radial, rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1050 hp at 6500 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 230 mph at 6500 feet. Cruising
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Vultee XA-19

speed 207 mph. Landing speed 80 mph. Initial climb rate 1320 feet per minute. Service ceiling 20,400 feet, absolute ceiling 22,100 feet. Range 1110 miles with 1080 pounds of bombs, maximum range 1385 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 50 feet 0 inches, length 37 feet 10 inches, height 10 feet 0 inches, wing area 384 square feet. Weights: 6452 pounds empty, 10,421 pounds gross. Armament. Four 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings. One flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in rear cockpit. One 0.30-inch machine in retractable ventral position. Up to 36 30-pound bombs internally and a 1100-lb external bombload. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Convair B-58 Hustler: The World's First Supersonic Bomber, Jay Miller, Aerofax,

1997.

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Douglas A-20 Boston/Havoc

Douglas A-20 Boston/Havoc

Douglas Model 7B Douglas DB-7 for France Douglas Boston I, Boston II, Havoc I for Britain Douglas DB-7A, Havoc II for Britain Douglas DB-7B Boston III for Britain Douglas DB-73 Douglas DB-7C for Netherlands East Indies Douglas A-20 Douglas A-20A Douglas A-20B Havoc Douglas O-53 Douglas A-20C Havoc Douglas A-20D Havoc Douglas A-20E Havoc Douglas XA-20F Havoc Douglas A-20G Havoc Douglas A-20H Havoc Douglas A-20J Havoc Douglas A-20K Havoc Douglas P-70 Douglas F-3 Douglas DB-7 in Service with France Service of Boston/Havoc with Royal Air Force Douglas A-20 in Service with USAAF Douglas Boston/Havoc in Service with Royal Australian Air Force Douglas Boston in Service with Royal Canadian Air Force Douglas Boston in Dutch Service Douglas Boston in USSR Service Douglas Boston in Service with Brazil

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a20.html08-09-2006 20:09:24

Stearman XA-21

Stearman XA-21
Last revised August 20, 2000

In 1929, the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation was formed with headquarters at Hartford, Connecticut as a large holding company that controlled the stock of the Boeing Airplane Company of Seattle, its Canadian subsidiary based in Vancouver B.C., the Boeing Air Transport airline subsidiary of Boeing, as well as the Chance Vought Corporation, the Hamilton Aero Manufacturing Company (a propeller manufacturer) and the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, the well known engine manufacturer. In an arrangement that would be considered as being grossly non-competitive today, one holding company now controlled airlines, engine and airframe manufacturers, as well as propeller suppliers. Sikorsky Aviation Corporation, the Stearman Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas, and the Standard Steel Propeller Company were added to United's empire shortly thereafter, followed by several more airlines brought into the fold. The airline interests were soon grouped under a new management company known as United Air Lines, Inc. However, the individual airlines (as well as the individual companies held by United) continued to operate under their own names. In the 1930s, the US government concluded that such large holding companies as the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation were basically anti-competitive, and new laws were passed forbidding airframe or engine manufacturers from having interests in airlines. The United Aircraft and Transport Corporation was broken up into several pieces, with Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Vought and the now-merged Hamilton Standard Propeller Company being organized into a new United Aircraft Corporation, and the airlines going to the newly-organized United Air Lines Transport Corporation. The Boeing Airplane Company again became an independent organization, with the Stearman company as a subsidiary. For the next few years, Stearman operated as a more-or-less independent company, and introduced the famous Model 75 series of two-seat trainers. On April 8, 1939, the Stearman plant at Wichita, Kansas was officially made a division of Boeing, and the Stearman name disappeared. However, the original Stearman model designations and serial numbering systems were retained.
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Stearman XA-21

In 1937, the Army's Materiel Division began to investigate the possibility of the development of a twin-engined attack bomber with a performance that would greatly exceed that of the single-engined types such as the Northrop A-17 that were currently in service. In March 1938, the Air Corps issued Circular Proposal Number 38-385 that defined the requirements. Payload was to be 1200 pounds, and range was to be 1200 miles at speeds greater than 200 mph. The Army invited all of the contestants to build prototypes of their designs at their own expense for a design competition. The deadline for the entries would be March 17, 1939. Proposals were submitted by Bell, Douglas, Martin, North American, and BoeingStearman. Bell's Model 9 proposal called for an aircraft powered by two liquid-cooled Allison engines. It was withdrawn from the competition before anything could be built. The Douglas entry was the Model 7B, a high-winged monoplane powered by a pair of 1100 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radials. Martin submitted its Model 167F, a twin-engined mid-wing monoplane. The North American entry was designated NA-40 by the company and was a high-winged aircraft carrying a crew of five--pilot, copilot, bombardier/navigator, radio operator/gunner, and gunner. Stearman's entry in the competition was designated Model X-100. It was a three-seat highwinged monoplane powered by a pair of untried Pratt & Whitney R-2180 radials. The X100 was the first twin-engined design built by Stearman, and was the first all-metal aircraft and the first monoplane to be produced by the company. The Stearman company had begun work on the X-100 in 1938, and the project was completed after the company officially became a division of Boeing. The normal crew of the Model X-100 was three--a bombardier, a pilot, and a radio operator/gunner. The bombardier and pilot sat in tandem underneath a transparent canopy in a smooth contour nose. The radio operator/gunner sat in a separate transparent cabin at the rear of the fuselage and controlled manually-operated turrets in the dorsal and ventral positions. The rear gunner could operate four 0.30-inch machine guns--one in a manual dorsal turret, one mounted on each side firing from a flexible socket, and one fitted inside a ball-shaped flexible socket mounted on the bottom of the fuselage. Provision was made for a fourth crew member to assist in operating the defensive machine guns. The Model X100 incorporated an electrically-actuated retractable undercarriage, integral fuel tanks, fully-feathering constant-speed propellers, and sealed compartments in the outer wing panels, central fuselage, and empennage for flotation in case of a forced landing on water. The mainwheels retracted rearward into wells in the rear of the engine nacelles, and the
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Stearman XA-21

tailwheel was retractable as well. The wing trailing edge carried Fowler-type flaps both inboard and outboard of the engine nacelles. The engine was the new and untried Pratt & Whitney R-2180-S1A1-G radial, rated at 1150 hp at 2350 rpm, but capable of delivering 1400 hp at 2500 rpm for takeoff. In the interest of aerodynamic streamlining, the original nose contour of the X-100 formed an unbroken line with the top of the fuselage, forcing the pilot to have to look forward through the bombardier's station. In search of a better forward view for the pilot, the nose was modified during the flight test phase to the standard step-down windshield configuration used by most contemporary bombers and transports. Both the North American and the Douglas designs crashed before they could be entered in the contest, leaving only the Stearman and Martin entries actually submitted to the Army for flight testing. However, none of the entries succeeded in landing any Army contracts. Instead, the Army waffled and in April of 1939 they called for a new contest in which a new set of design proposals would be requested and evaluated without the need for the construction and testing of prototypes. All of the original contestants, including BoeingStearman, submitted new bids in response to this new contest. On June 30, 1939, the Army decided in favor of the Douglas DB-7, which was a revised version of the Model 7B that had crashed during flight test. 123 examples were ordered under the designation A-20. Although no production was anticipated, the Army did purchase the X-100 prototype under the designation XA-21. The serial number was 40-191. The aircraft was delivered to the Army in September of 1939. The Army carried out some tests with the aircraft, but no further development was pursued. I am unaware of the ultimate fate of the XA-21. Presumably it was scrapped. The other two unsuccessful contestants in the attack bomber competition did not share the same unhappy fate as the XA-21. Although the US Army only bought one example of the Martin 167 (under the designation XA-22), the aircraft succeeded in landing substantial export contracts with France and later served with the Royal Air Force under the name Maryland. Although the Army did not even buy one example of the North American NA40 (it crashed during testing), the basic design was later adapted to a medium bomber configuration, evolving into the famous B-25 Mitchell. Specification of the Boeing-Stearman XA-21:

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Stearman XA-21

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2180-7 radials, each rated at 1150 hp at 2350 rpm, but capable of delivering 1400 hp at 2500 rpm for takeoff. Performance: Maximum speed 257 mph at 5100 feet. Cruising speed 200 mph. Landing speed 72 mph. Service ceiling 20,000 feet. Range 720 miles with 1200 pound bombload. Maximum range 1500 miles. Weights: 12,760 pounds empty, 18,230 pounds gross. Dimensions: Wingspan 65 feet, length 53 feet 1 inch, height 14 feet 2 inches, wing area 607 square feet. Armament: One 0.30-inch machine gun in a flexible mounting in the nose. The rear gunner could operate four 0.30inch machine guns--one in a dorsal turrret, one on each side firing from a flexible socket, and one in a fixture on the bottom. Four forward-firing 0.3-inch machine guns could be installed in the wing. Maximum bombload 2700 pounds. Sources: Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Vol 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988 Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Vol 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute

Press, 1988
3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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Martin A-22

Martin A-22

Martin XA-22 Martin Maryland

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a22.html08-09-2006 20:09:59

Martin XA-22

Martin XA-22
Last revised August 20, 2000

In 1937, the Army's Materiel Division began to investigate the possibility of the development of a twin-engined attack bomber with a performance that would greatly exceed that of the single-engined types that were currently in service. In March 1938, the Air Corps issued Circular Proposal Number 38-385 that defined the requirements. Payload was to be 1200 pounds, and range was to be 1200 miles at speeds greater than 200 mph. The Army invited all of the contestants to build prototypes of their designs at their own expense for a design competition. The deadline for the entries would be March 17, 1939. Proposals were submitted by Bell, Douglas, North American, Boeing-Stearman and Martin. Bell's Model 9 proposal called for an aircraft powered by two liquid-cooled Allison engines. It was withdrawn from the competition before anything could be built. The Douglas entry was the Model 7B, a high-winged monoplane powered by a pair of 1100 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radials. The North American entry was designated NA-40 by the company and was a high-winged aircraft carrying a crew of five-pilot, copilot, bombardier/navigator, radio operator/gunner, and gunner. Stearman's entry was the Model X-100, which was a three-seat high-winged monoplane powered by a pair of untried Pratt & Whitney R-2180 radials. Martin submitted its Model 167, a twin-engined mid-wing tail-down monoplane. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-37 Wasp radials, each rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1100 hp at 5000 feet. The Model 167 carried three crewmembers in a narrow fuselage--one pilot, one bombardier in the nose, and a gunner that operated a retractable dorsal turret that was covered by a panel that slid forward when the turret was raised. Armament included four 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings, one 0.30-inch machine gun in the turret, and one 0.30-inch machine gun in a deeply-cut lower position behind the bomb bay. The bomb bay could accommodate 60 30-pound or four 300-pound bombs. The Model 167 was flown from Baltimore to Wright Field in Ohio on March 14, 1939. It initially flew under the civilian serial number NX22076. Although no aircraft had yet been
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Martin XA-22

ordered by the US Army, the gathering war clouds in Europe attracted the attention of the French government to the twin-engined attack aircraft contest. The French government was sufficiently impressed by the Martin entry that on January 26, 1939, the French government placed a contract for 115 aircraft. The French version was designated Model 167F by the company. The Armee de l'Air designation was 167 A-3, the A standing for army cooperation and the -3 identifying a three-seater. The availability of French money made it possible for Martin to build a new plant that was to play a valuable role in B-26 production. None of the entries initially succeeded in landing any Army contracts. Instead, in April of 1939, the Army called for a new contest in which new design proposals would be requested and evaluated without the need for the construction and testing of prototypes. All of the contestants, including Martin, submitted new bids. On June 30, 1939, the Army decided in favor of the Douglas DB-7, which was a revised version of the Model 7B that had crashed during flight test. 123 examples were ordered under the designation A-20. Glenn L. Martin protested the production contract awarded to the Douglas DB-7 on the grounds that the Model 7B prototype had crashed and was not actually present at the competition. However, he was somewhat consoled by the French contract for the Model 167 which had been placed in January of 1939. Although the US Army did not order the Model 167 into production, on May 20, 1939, it did arrange to purchase the prototype under the designation XA-22. The serial number was 40-706. Although a few flight tests were carried out, there was no further development. Specification of Martin XA-22: Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-37 air-cooled radial engines, each rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1100 hp at 5000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 280 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 260 mph. Service ceiling 20,000 feet. Range 750 miles with 1800 pounds of bombs, 1200 miles with 1200 pounds of bombs. 1900 miles maximum range. Dimensions: Wingspan 61 feet 4 inches, length 46 feet 8 inches, height 10 feet 0 inches, wing area 538.5 square feet. Weights: 11,170 pounds empty, 16,00 pounds gross, 17,00 pounds maximum. Sources: Dog of War, Peter Bowers, Airpower, Vol 26, No. 1 (1996) American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. Sources:

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Martin XA-22

1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Dog of War, Peter Bowers, Airpower, Vol 26, No. 1 (1996)

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Martin Maryland

Martin Maryland
Last revised August 20, 2000

Although the Martin Model 167 was never ordered into service by the US Army, it was to serve in substantial numbers with both the French and British air arms. On January 26, 1939, the French government placed a contract for 115 aircraft. The French version was designated Model 167F by the company. The Armee de l'Air designation was 167 A-3, the A standing for Army cooperation and the -3 identifying a threeseater. The first 167F for France flew in August 1939. The Model 167F had French equipment installed and was armed with six 7.5-mm machine guns, four in the wings, another in the dorsal turret, and one in a deeply-cut lower position behind the bomb bay. French aircraft could carry two 624-pounds or eight 116-pound bombs and six 7.5-mm machine guns, The Model 167F differed from the XA-22 in having no cover over the turret and was powered by 900-hp Wasps supercharged to 12,000 feet. The first Model 167F flew in August of 1939. The French order was increased to 215 aircraft upon the outbreak of war in September of 1939. According to the original plan, the Model 167F aircraft were to be delivered to depots in French North Africa where they would be prepared for operational service. The first Martins did not reach French North Africa until December 15. After the German invasion of May 10, 1940, the French Martins were thrown into action. They flew 418 combat sorties from May 22 to June 24, 18 Martins being lost in action. In the meantime, deliveries on a third contract had begun. 223 Martins had arrived in Casablanca by June 15, but only 182 had been assembled and turned over to the Armee de l'Air. After the Armistice, many surviving Martins ended up with the Vichy Air Force, but several managed to escape to England. After the Armistice of June 1940, the British government took over the last 50 Model 167s on the French order, along with 75 built under a direct RAF contract completed in July of 1940. They were named Maryland I in RAF service. Between December 1940 and April 1941, 150 Maryland IIs were delivered to the RAF with R-1830-S3C4-G Wasps which were each rated at 1000 hp at 12,500 feet. RAF Marylands served with a general reconnaissance unit in Malta in 1940 and in 1941 with one British and three South African light-bomber squadron in northwest Africa. The Model 167s serving with the Vichy Air Force were used to attack Allied forces in Syria in June of 1941 and American forces near Casablanca in November 1942. This makes the Model 167 yet another example of an aircraft which fought on both sides in the Second World War. Serials of RAF Marylands: AH205/AH279 AH280/AH429 Maryland I Maryland II Martin company number 1827/1976 AH301/311, 313/331, 371, 373/380,386/395,

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Martin Maryland

AR702/AR751

AX689 AX690 AX692 AX693 AX696 BJ421/BJ428 Middle East BS760/BS777

406/426, 428, 429 renumbered in South African Air Force 1600/1699 allocation. Maryland I AR702/736 accepted to American standards. AR720, 736, 740 transferred to Fleet Air Arm Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Maryland I - Ex-French contract. Delivered to January 1941. Maryland I - Ex-French contract. BS777 to Free French forces July 1941. BS770 and BS777 converted for target towing.

Specification of Martin Model 167 (Maryland I): Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3G air-cooled radial engines, each rated at 1050 hp for takeoff and 900 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 275 mph at sea level, 304 mph at 13,000 feet. Cruising speed 248 mph. Landing speed 71 mph. Service ceiling 29,500 feet. Initial climb rate 2000 feet per minute. Maximum range 1300 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 61 feet 4 inches, length 46 feet 8 inches, height 10 feet 0 inches, wing area 538.5 square feet. Weights: 10,586 pounds empty, 15,927 pounds gross, 16,571 pounds maximum. Armament: Six 7.5-mm machine guns, four in the wings, another in the dorsal turret, and one in a deeply-cut lower position behind the bomb bay. Could carry two 624-pounds or eight 116-pound bombs and six 7.5-mm machine guns, Sources: Dog of War, Peter Bowers, Airpower, Vol 26, No. 1 (1996) British Military Aircraft Serials 1912-1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Dog of War, Peter Bowers, Airpower, Vol 26, No. 1 (1996) British Military Aircraft Serials 1912-

1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969.


3. British Military Aircraft Serials 1912-1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969.

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Martin XA-23

Martin XA-23
Last revised August 20, 2000

The Model 187 was the manufacturer's name for a Glenn L. Martin Company proposal for a three-seat attack bomber powered by a pair of Wright R-3350-11 air-cooled radials. Wing span was to have been 61 feet 8 inches, and length was to have been 49 feet 0 inches. Gross weight was to have been 21,200 pounds, and estimated maximum speed was 380 mph. The Army exhibited sufficient interest in the Model 187 to order a prototype under the designation XA-23. However, the project was abandoned before anything could be built, and Martin concentrated instead on an adaptation of the basic design known as the Model 187B, which was eventually to emerge as the A-30 Baltimore. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a23.html08-09-2006 20:10:30

Douglas A-24

Douglas A-24

Douglas A-24 Douglas SBD-3A Dauntless Douglas A-24A Douglas A-24B Douglas SBD-5A/A-24B Douglas A-24 in USAAF Service French and Mexican A-24s Surviving A-24s

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a24.html08-09-2006 20:10:44

Curtiss A-25 Helldiver

Curtiss A-25 Helldiver


Last revised August 26, 2000

Following the success of Luftwaffe Ju 87 Stukas in the German attack on Poland in 1939 and in the offensive in the west in the spring of 1940, the US Army developed a sudden interest in dive bombers. Up to this time, the US Navy and the US Marine Corps had been the only American armed services interested in dive bombers, and had in fact done some pioneering work which had had been one of the inspirations behind the German development of the Stuka. In pursuit of this new interest, the Army decided to acquire some Navy designs and use them with very little modification as land-based dive bombers. One of these designs was the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, which the Army acquired under the designation A-25. The development of the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver began back in 1938, when the US Navy laid down requirements for a new scout/dive bomber aircraft. In August of 1938, an invitation was sent out to the aircraft industry calling for a new dive bomber powered by an air-cooled radial engine. It was to be equipped with folding monoplane wings, retractable landing gear, de-icing equipment, heavy armament, and armor protection for the crew. Six companies submitted proposals, with the Curtiss and Brewster designs showing the greatest promise. They were both powered by the 1700-hp Wright R-2600 aircooled radial. In January of 1939, Brewster and Curtiss were selected to build prototypes of their designs under the designation XSB2A-1 and XSB2C-1 respectively. The XSB2C-1 was a monoplane with wings mounted up high enough on the fuselage to permit the installation of an internal bomb bay. The main landing gear retracted inwards, and the wing training edge had split dive flaps. The aircraft was all-metal except for fabriccovered control surfaces. The crew was two--a pilot sitting underneath a rearward-sliding canopy and a gunner sitting underneath a separate forward-sliding canopy. The rear fuselage arrangement was quite similar to that of the earlier SBC biplane dive bomber. The XSB2C-1 prototype took to the air for the first time on December 8, 1940, Curtiss test pilot Lloyd Childs being at the controls. The prototype crashed on December 21, 1941
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Curtiss A-25 Helldiver

after the wings and tail failed while trying to pull out of a dive. Fortunately, the pilot was able to parachute to safety. On October 1, 1941, the Navy decided to give its combat aircraft names. The SB2C was assigned the name Helldiver, a name long associated with Curtiss naval dive bombers. Following Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Helldiver program took on a new urgency. The first four SB2C-1s were assigned special priority so that flight testing could get underway as soon as possible. In the spring, the Navy announced that 3000 additional Helldivers would be ordered from Curtiss. In May, 1000 Helldivers were ordered from Canadian Car and Foundry at Fort William, Ontario. These were assigned the designation SBW, and 450 of them were allocated to the Royal Navy The first production SB2C-1 was rolled out in June. It was quite similar to the XSB2C-1 with the exception of a slightly taller vertical tail. It flew for the first time on June 30, 1942. Based on the success of German dive bombing, the US Army became interested in dive bombing as a means of ground attack, and in 1940 procurement of dive bombers was included in the Army Air Corps expansion program. Rather than develop new aircraft from scratch, the Army turned to the Navy's Douglas SBD Dauntless and Curtiss SB2C Helldiver to fill this need. In late 1940, agreement was reached for the Army to get approximately 100 SB2Cs from Curtiss under the recently-signed Navy contract. These planes were referred to as SB2C-1A for contract purposes, but were designated A-25A by the Army. The A-25A was to be standardized to the extent possible with the Navy SB2C1. An order for 100 A-25As was added to the Navy contract on December 31, 1940. By the end of 1941, much larger orders for A-25As were being considered, but the Navy felt that all the production capacity of Curtiss Wright's Columbus, Ohio plant would be required to meet its needs. Consequently, the Army Air Materiel Command directed that Curtiss Wright's St Louis plant be turned over to A-25A production. By the spring, 3000 more A-25As were on order. The A-25A was to be almost identical to the SB2C-1, but with larger main wheels and a larger pneumatic tail wheel. The carrier arrester gear was deleted, but the folding wings were to be retained. In addition, Army radios and additional forward and underside armor plating were fitted. Both the Navy and Army models had larger wheel wells to maintain
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Curtiss A-25 Helldiver

standardization. Major subcontractors and suppliers for the Navy production were retained for the A-25A in order to enhance standardization. However, there were problems involved in coordinating engineering and manufacturing between Columbus and St Louis. These snags were not eased very much by the fact that the two plants were divisions of the same company. Enough differences between the A-25A and the SB2C-1 evolved so that the A25A got its own model number of S84 within the Curtiss organization and its own series of drawings. The first A-25A took off on its first flight on September 29, 1942, about three months after the initial flight of the first production SB2C-1. It had the folding wings and the wing slats of the SB2C-1. Production and testing preceded rather slowly, and the first ten production examples were not completed until March of 1943. These were destined to be the last A25As with folding wings. By this time, it was deemed impractical to continue the attempt to maintain standardization between the A-25A and the SB2C-1, since this was now holding up both programs. It was decided to transfer the A-25A program over to an Army contract. This transition added further to delays in the A-25A program, due to problems with inspection authority, government furnished equipment, and coordination with subcontractors. By the time that A-25A production was underway, the Army had found that it no longer had any need for dive bombers. Army pilots had not been well trained in dive bombing techniques, and their combat experience with the A-24 (Army version of the SBD Dauntless) was less than happy. The A-24 suffered heavy losses from enemy flak, and it was fount that it could not be operated in environments in which less than complete air superiority had been established. Consequently, the A-25As that were delivered to the Army were assigned to various second-line activities such as training and target-towing, and never saw any combat. The Army initially assigned the popular name Shrike to the A25A, a name which had been associated with Curtiss-built Army attack planes since the A8/A-10 series back in the early 1930s. However, by the end of 1943, the Army adopted the Navy Helldiver name for the A-25A. By this time the Army's A-25As had been redesignated RA-25A, the R prefix standing for "Restricted", which meant that they were not to be used in combat. Early in the A-25A program, 150 aircraft had been allocated to the Royal Australian Air Force, with RAAF serials being A69-1 through A69-150. However, the RAAF came to the
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Curtiss A-25 Helldiver

same conclusion as the USAAF, namely, that it really did not need dive bombers, and only 10 (RAAF serials A69-1 through A69-10) were actually delivered. 410 A-25As (including the 140 which were originally intended for the RAAF) were eventually turned over to the US Marine Corps for use as land-based dive bombers under the designation SB2C-1A. Following a configuration review for the Marine Corps, a program was set up to send the transferred planes through modification centers operated by NAF Roosevelt Field, New York, Consolidated-Vultee, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Delta Airlines. The SB2C-1As were then issued to Marine Corps VMSB squadrons for operational training. By the end of 1944, all the SB2C-1As had been modified and delivered. Transfer to the Navy's Operational Training Command had begun. They served with VMSB-132, -144, -234, -344, -454, -464, -474, and -484. In the autumn of 1944, the first three became VMTB squadrons and the fourth was disbanded. VMSB-454 became a VMTB squadron in the same period. The last three units were replacement training squadrons based at MCAS El Toro, California. The Navy/Marine Corps SB2C-1As were also destined for a non-combatant role, and both Army and Marine/navy land-based Helldivers were declared surplus at an early date. Serials of A-25A:

41-18774/18783 41-18784/18823 41-18824/18873 42-79663/79672 42-79673/79732 42-79733/79972 42-79933/80132 42-80133/80462

Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss

A-25A-1-CS Shrike A-25A-5-CS Shrike A-25A-10-CS Shrike A-25A-10-CS Shrike A-25A-15-CS Shrike A-25A-20-CS Shrike A-25A-25-CS Shrike A-25A-30-CS Shrike

Specification of Curtiss A-25A Helldiver: One Wright R-2600-8 air-cooled radial rated at 1700 hp for takeoff and 12450 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 285 mph at 12,400 feet, 269 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 155 mph. Climb to 10,000 feet in 7.4 minutes. Service ceiling 24,600 feet. Range 1130 miles at 157 mph with a 1000-pound bombload, 1090 miles with a 2000pound bombload, 2020 miles maximum ferry range. Dimensions: Wingspan 49 feet 8 5/8 inches, length 36 feet 8 inches, height 14 feet 9 inches, wing area 422 square feet. Weights: 10,363 pounds empty, 15,075 pounds gross (dive bomber, with one 1000-pound
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Curtiss A-25 Helldiver

bomb in bomb bay), 17,162 pounds gross with 2 500-pound bombs on wing racks, two 1000-pound bombs in bomb bay. Armament: Four fixed, forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns in the wings. One flexible 0.50-inch machine gun operated by gunner in rear cockpit. A bombload of 2000 pounds could be carried in the internal bay. A pair of 500pound bombs could be carried on underwing racks. Alternatively, the underwing bombs could be replaced by a pair of 58-gallon drop tanks. Sources:
1. The Curtiss SB2C-1 Helldiver, Harold Andrews, Aircraft in Profile, 1966. 2. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 3. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Douglas A-26/B-26 Invader

Douglas A-26/B-26 Invader

Douglas XA-26 Invader Douglas XA-26A Invader Douglas A-26B Invader Douglas A-26C Invader Douglas XA-26D Invader Douglas XA-26E Invader Douglas XA-26F Invader Douglas "A-26Z", A-26G, A-26H Douglas JD-1 Invader for US Navy Douglas B-26K Counter-Invader, A-26A Douglas RB-26L Invader Douglas A-26/B-26 Invader in USAAF/USAF Service Invader for the Royal Air Force Invader in Service with L'Armee de l'Air Invaders in Service with Brazil Invaders in Service with Chile Invaders for Colombia Invaders in Service with the Dominican Republic Invaders in Service with Guatemala Invaders in Service with Indonesia Invaders in Service with Nicaragua Invaders in Service with Peru Invaders in Service with Portugal Invaders in Service with Saudi Arabia Invaders in Service with Turkey Invaders in Service with Cuba Invaders at the Bay of Pigs Invaders for Covert Operations in Laos Invaders for Covert Operations in Vietnam Invaders for Covert Operations in the Congo Invaders on the Civilian Market

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Douglas A-26/B-26 Invader

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North American A-27

North American A-27


Last revised September 16, 2000

In 1937, North American Aviation, Inc began work on an attack version of its BC-1A advanced trainer, which was later to be redesignated AT-6. The attack version was intended primarily for the export market. A demonstration model, the NA-44, was first flown in 1938. It was powered by a 775-hp Wright R-1820-F52 air-cooled radial engine and was armed with five guns. This aircraft was eventually sold to Canada in 1940. Brazil received thirty examples under the designation NA-72 from July to October of 1940. Ten more were ordered by Thailand on November 29, 1939 as NA-69s. They were completed by September of 1940 and were about to be shipped to Thailand. However, fearful that they might fall into Japanese hands, they were intercepted by American authorities and impressed into service under the designation A-27 and assigned the serials 41-18890/18899. They were sent to serve in the Philippines. They were there when the Japanese struck in December of 1941. It is believed that they were all quickly destroyed in the initial Japanese onslaught. Specification of North American A-27 (NA-69) One Wright R-1820-75 air-cooled radial engine rated at 785 hp for takeoff and 745 hp at 9600 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 250 mph at 11,500 feet. Cruising speed 220 mph . Landing speed 70 mph. Service ceiling 28,000 feet. Range 575 miles with 400 pounds of bombs. 800 miles maximum range. Dimensions: Wingspan 42 feet 0 inches. Length 29 feet 0 inches, height 12 feet 2 inches, wing area 258 square feet. Weights: 4520 pounds empty, 6000 pounds gross, 6700 pounds maximum. Armament: Two fixed forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns in the nose, one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in the rear cockpit. A load of four 100-pound bombs could be carried underneath the wings.

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North American A-27

Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Lockheed A-28 and A-29

Lockheed A-28 and A-29

Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra, C-111 Lockheed Hudson Mk.I for RAF Lockheed Hudson Mk.II Lockheed Hudson Mk.III Lockheed Hudson Mk.IV Lockheed Hudson Mk. V Lockheed A-28, Hudson Mk.IVA Lockheed A-28A, Hudson Mk.VI Lockheed A-29, Hudson Mk.IIIA Lockheed A-29A, Hudson MK.IIIA Lockheed A-29B Lockheed AT-18 Hudson in Service with Royal Air Force Hudson in Service with Royal Canadian Air Force Hudson in Service with Royal Australian Air Force Hudson in Service with Royal New Zealand Air Force A-29 in Service with USAAF Lockheed PBO-1 for US Navy Hudson in Service with Brazil Hudson in Service with China Hudsons on the Civilian Market

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/a28.html08-09-2006 20:13:34

Martin A-30 Baltimore

Martin A-30 Baltimore


Index
Last revised: 25 April 1998

1. Model 187B
G

Sources

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Martin A-30 Baltimore -- Chapter 1

Martin A-30 Baltimore - Chapter 1


Model 187B
Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin A-30 Baltimore Martin A-30 Baltimore - Sources The Martin Model 187B was designed in 1940 to meet a need for a medium bomber that would replace or augment the Model 167 light attack bomber which was then being built for France. However, no Model 187Bs were delivered before France fell, and the British government took over the French contract. The Martin 187B flew for the first time on June 14, 1941. It differed from the Model 167 in being powered by a pair of 1600 hp Wright R-2600-A5B engines, having self-sealing fuel tanks, 211 pounds of armor, and in having a deeper fuselage for a four-man crew and a load of four 500-pound bombs. The Model 187B was named Baltimore in RAF service, being named for the city of its origin. The Model 187B was initially built under British contracts and was assigned RAF serial numbers. When Lend-Lease was introduced in 1941, subsequent Baltimores were built under USAAF contracts. For administrative purposes, Lend-Lease Baltimores were assigned the USAAF attack designation of A-30 and were given USAAF serial numbers in addition to the usual RAF serials that were assigned when the aircraft reached Britain. However, despite its USAAF designation and serials, the A-30 was never used operationally by the USAAF. The Baltimore was engaged exclusively in the Mediterranean theatre by the Royal Air Force and by those allied air forces that were operating under RAF command. The initial versions were the Baltimore Mk. I and Mk. II. Both the Baltimore Mk. I and Mk. II were powered by two 1600 hp Wright GR-2600-19(A5B) radials. Armament consisted of four 0.30 inch machine guns in the wings firing forward, two 0.30 inch machine guns on a flexible mounting in the rear cockpit, and two on a flexible mounting in the lower rear flexible position at the break in the underside of the fuselage. There was a rather unusual mounting of four fixed belly guns pointing aft and at an angle of 9 degrees down and 1.5 degrees out. The crew was typically four -- pilot, navigator/bombardier, radio operator and rear gunner. They were all ordered under British contracts. RAF serials of the 50 Baltimore Mk. Is were AG685/AG734, whereas serials of the 100 Baltimore Mk. II aircraft were AG735/AG834. The Baltimore Mk. III had the upper flexible guns replaced by a four-gun Boulton Paul power-operated turret. The RAF serials of the 250 Baltimore Mk. IIIs were AG835/AH184. The Baltimore Mk. IIIA was similar to the Mk. III except that it was delivered under the provisions of Lend-Lease. All previous Baltimores had been direct purchases. For administrative purposes, the Baltimore Mk. IIIA was given the USAAF designation of A-30 and the 281 aircraft that were built were assigned USAAF serial numbers 4127682/27962. RAF serials were FA100/FA380. The first Baltimore Mk. IIIA deliveries were made in August of 1942.

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Martin A-30 Baltimore -- Chapter 1

The Baltimore Mk. IV was similar to the Mk. III except that a Martin electrically-operated turret armed with two 0.50-inch machine guns replaced the Boulton Paul unit. There were 294 Baltimore Mk. IVs built, with USAAF designations being A-30A-1-MA to A-30A-5-MA. USAAF serials were 43-8438/8562 and corresponding RAF serials were FA381/FA674. Baltimore Mk. V was a light bomber version. It was powered by two 1700 hp Wright GR-2600-29(A5B5) engines. 600 were ordered on September 23, 1942, and deliveries began in July of 1943. Armament consisted of four 0.50inch machine guns in the wings, two 0.50-inch machine guns in the Martin power turret, and one flexible 0.50-inch gun in the lower rear firing position. The Baltimore Mk. V was known as A-30A-10/A-30A-30 on USAAF rolls. and bore the USAAF serials between 43-8438/9037. RAF serials were FW281/FW880. The Baltimore Mk. VI was similar to the Mk. V except that it was equipped for general reconnaissance duties. By the end of 1941, 146 Baltimores had been delivered to Britain, but 41 had been lost at sea aboard torpedoed ships. The original contract for 400 Baltimore Mk. I/II/IIIs was completed in June of 1942. The first operational RAF sortie with Baltimores took place on May 23, 1942 in Libya. German fighters shot down all four Baltimores in the sortie, indicating that fighter protection was still needed for light bombers. Production of the Baltimore ended in May of 1944. A total of 1575 were built. All combat missions were flown exclusively in the Mediterranean theatre, primarily with RAF and South African squadrons. Baltimores were also issued to a Greek and a French squadron in 1944, and they were supplied to a unit of the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force in November of 1944.

USAAAF serials of A-30 and A-30A:


41-27682/27962 41-27963/28256 43-8438//8562 Martin A-30 - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. IIIA (FA100/FA380) Martin A-30A - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. IV (FA381/FA674) Martin A-30A-10-MA - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. V (FW281/FW405) - FW288, FW323 crashed before delivery - FW356, FW384 to Royal Navy - FW392 to French Air Force early in 1946 Martin A-30A-15-MA - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. V (FW406/FW505) - FW456 and FW527 to Royal Navy - FW422 and FW470 to French Air Force early in 1946 - FW419 and FW439 to Italian Air Force in 1946 Martin A-30A-20-MA - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. V (FW506/FW605) - FW511 crashed before delivery - FW514, FW570, FW572 to French Air Force early in 1946 - FW584 and FW592 to Italian Air Force in 1946

43-8563/8662

43-8663/8762

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Martin A-30 Baltimore -- Chapter 1

43-8763/8862

43-8863/9037

Martin A-30A-25-MA - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. V (FW606/FW705) - FW624, FW703, FW705 to French Air Force early in 1946 - FW649 and FW660 to Italian Air Force in 1946 Martin A-30A-30-MA - all to RAF as Baltimore Mk. V (FW706/FW880) - FW746 to Royal Navy - FW869 to French Air Force early in 1946

Specification of Martin Baltimore Mk. V:


Powerplant: Two Wright GR-2600-A5B5 Cyclone fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines with two-speed superchargers each rated at 1600 hp at 2200 feet and 1400 hp at 10,800 feet. Dimensions: Wing span 61 feet 4 inches, length 48 feet 6 inches, height 14 feet 2 inches, wing area 538.5 square feet. Weights: 15,875 pounds empty, 22,622 pounds gross, 27,850 pounds maximum takeoff. Armament: Four 0.50-inch machine guns in wings firing forward. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in Martin power turret on top of fuselage over the wing trailing edge. One 0.50-inch machine gun on flexible mounting in a position at the break in the underside of the fuselage. Maximum internal bomb load 2000 pounds. Martin A-30 Baltimore Martin A-30 Baltimore - Sources

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Martin A-30 Baltimore -- Sources

Martin A-30 Baltimore - Sources


Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin A-30 Baltimore Martin A-30 Baltimore - Chapter 1: Model 187B
G G

Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, New York, 1989. Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes, 3rd Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Martin XA-22 Maryland

Martin XA-22 Maryland


Index
Last revised: 13 March 1995

1. XA-22 for US Army 2. 167F for France, Maryland for RAF


G

Sources

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Martin XA-22 Maryland -- Chapter 1

Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 1


XA-22 for US Army
Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin XA-22 Maryland Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 2: 167F for France, Maryland for RAF In 1937, the Army's Materiel Division began to investigate the possibility of the development of a twinengined attack bomber with a performance that would greatly exceed that of the single-engined types that were currently in service. In March 1938, the Air Corps issued Circular Proposal Number 38-385 that defined the requirements. Payload was to be 1200 pounds, and range was to be 1200 miles at speeds greater than 200 mph. The Army invited all of the contestants to build prototypes of their designs at their own expense for a design competition. The deadline for the entries would be March 17, 1939. Proposals were submitted by Bell, Douglas, North American, Boeing-Stearman and Martin. Bell's Model 9 proposal called for an aircraft powered by two liquid-cooled Allison engines. It was withdrawn from the competition before anything could be built. The Douglas entry was the Model 7B, a highwinged monoplane powered by a pair of 1100 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radials. The North American entry was designated NA-40 by the company and was a high-winged aircraft carrying a crew of five -- pilot, co-pilot, bombardier/navigator, radio operator/gunner, and gunner. Stearman's entry was the Model X-100, which was a three-seat high-winged monoplane powered by a pair of untried Pratt & Whitney R-2180 radials. Martin submitted its Model 167, a twin-engined mid-wing tail-down monoplane. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-37 Wasp radials, each rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1100 hp at 5000 feet. The Model 167 carried three crewmembers in a narrow fuselage -- one pilot, one bombardier in the nose, and a gunner that operated a retractable dorsal turret that was covered by a panel that slid forward when the turret was raised. Armament included four 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings, one 0.30-inch machine gun in the turret, and one 0.30-inch machine gun in a deeply-cut lower position behind the bomb bay. The bomb bay could accommodate 60 30-pound or four 300-pound bombs. The Model 167 was flown from Baltimore to Wright Field in Ohio on March 14, 1939. It initially flew under the civilian serial number NX22076. On January 26, 1939, the French government placed a contract for 115 aircraft. The French version was designated Model 167F by the company. The Arme de l'Air designation was 167 A-3, the A standing for army cooperation and the -3 identifying a threeseater. The availability of French money made it possible for Martin to build a new plant that was to

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Martin XA-22 Maryland -- Chapter 1

play a valuable role in B-26 production. None of the entries initially succeeded in landing any Army contracts. Instead, in April of 1939, the Army called for a new contest in which new design proposals would be requested and evaluated without the need for the construction and testing of prototypes. All of the contestants, including Martin, submitted new bids. On June 30, 1939, the Army decided in favor of the Douglas DB-7, which was a revised version of the Model 7B that had crashed during flight test. 123 examples were ordered under the designation A-20. Glenn L. Martin protested the production contract awarded to the Douglas DB-7 on the grounds that the Model 7B prototype had crashed and was not actually present at the competition. However, he was consoled by the French contract for the Model 167 which had been placed in January of 1939. Although the US Army did not order the Model 167 into production, on May 20, 1939, it did arrange to purchase the prototype under the designation XA-22. The serial number was 40-706. Although a few flight tests were carried out, there was no further development.

Specification of Martin XA-22:


Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-37 air-cooled radial engines, each rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1100 hp at 5000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 280 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 260 mph. Service ceiling 20,000 feet. Range 750 miles with 1800 pounds of bombs, 1200 miles with 1200 pounds of bombs. 1900 miles maximum range. Dimensions: Wingspan 61 feet 4 inches, length 46 feet 8 inches, height 10 feet 0 inches, wing area 538.5 square feet. Weights: 11,170 pounds empty, 16,000 pounds gross, 17,000 pounds maximum. Martin XA-22 Maryland Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 2: 167F for France, Maryland for RAF

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Martin XA-22 Maryland -- Chapter 2

Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 2


167F for France, Maryland for RAF
Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin XA-22 Maryland Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 1: XA-22 for US Army Martin XA-22 Maryland - Sources Although the Martin Model 167 was never ordered into service by the US Army, it was to serve in substantial numbers with both the French and British air arms. On January 26, 1939, the French government placed a contract for 115 aircraft. The French version was designated Model 167F by the company. The Arme de l'Air designation was 167 A-3, the A standing for Army cooperation and the -3 identifying a three-seater. The version for France was designated Model 167F by the manufacturer. The first 167F for France flew in August 1939. The Model 167F had French equipment installed and was armed with six 7.5-mm machine guns, four in the wings, another in the dorsal turret, and one in a deeply-cut lower position behind the bomb bay. French aircraft could carry two 624-pounds or eight 116-pound bombs and six 7.5-mm machine guns, The Model 167F differed from the XA-22 in having no cover over the turret and was powered by 900-hp Wasps supercharged to 12,000 feet. The first Model 167F flew in August of 1939. The French order was increased to 215 aircraft upon the outbreak of war in September of 1939. According to the original plan, the Model 167F aircraft were to be delivered to depots in French North Africa where they were to be prepared for operational service. The first Martins did not reach French North Africa until December 15. After the German invasion of May 10, 1940, the French Martins were thrown into action. They flew 418 combat sorties from May 22 to June 24, losing 18 Martins in action. In the meantime, deliveries on a third contract had begun. 223 Martins had arrived in Casablanca by June 15, but only 182 had been assembled and turned over to the Arme de l'Air. After the Armistice, many surviving Martins ended up with the Vichy Air Force, but several managed to escape to England. After the Armistice of June 1940, the British government took over the last 50 Model 167s on the French order, along with 75 built under a direct RAF contract completed in July of 1940. They were named Maryland Mk. I in RAF service. Between December 1940 and April 1941, 150 Maryland Mk. IIs were delivered to the RAF with R-1830-S3C4-G Wasps which were each rated at 1000 hp at 12,500 feet. RAF Marylands served with a general reconnaissance unit in Malta in 1940 and in 1941 with one British and three South African light-bomber squadrons in northwest Africa. The Model 167s serving with the Vichy Air Force were used to attack Allied forces in Syria in June of 1941 and American forces near Casablanca in November 1942. This makes the Model 167 yet another example of an aircraft which fought on both sides in the Second World War.

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Martin XA-22 Maryland -- Chapter 2

Serials of RAF Marylands:


AH205/AH279 AH280/AH429 Maryland Mk. I Maryland Mk. II - Martin company numbers 1827/1976 - AH301/311, 313/331, 371, 373/380,386/395, 406/426, 428, 429 renumbered in South African Air Force 1600/1699 allocation Maryland Mk. I - AR702/736 accepted to American standards - AR720, 736, 740 transferred to Fleet Air Arm Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Martin 167 Maryland - presumed French escapee Maryland Mk. I - ex-French contract, delivered to Middle East 1/41 Maryland Mk. I - ex-French contract - BS777 to Free French forces 7/41 - BS770 and BS777 converted for target towing

AR702/AR751

AX689 AX690 AX692 AX693 AX696 BJ421/BJ428 BS760/BS777

Specification of Martin Model 167 (Maryland Mk. I):


Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3G air-cooled radial engines, each rated at 1050 hp for takeoff and 900 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 275 mph at sea level, 304 mph at 13,000 feet. Cruising speed 248 mph. Landing speed 71 mph. Service ceiling 29,500 feet. Initial climb rate 2000 feet per minute. Maximum range 1300 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 61 feet 4 inches, length 46 feet 8 inches, height 10 feet 0 inches, wing area 538.5 square feet. Weights: 10,586 pounds empty, 15,927 pounds gross, 16,571 pounds maximum. Armament: Six 7.5-mm machine guns, four in the wings, another in the dorsal turret, and one in a deeply-cut lower position behind the bomb bay. Could carry two 624-pounds or eight 116-pound bombs and six 7.5-mm machine guns. Martin XA-22 Maryland Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 1: XA-22 for US Army Martin XA-22 Maryland - Sources
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Martin XA-22 Maryland -- Chapter 2

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Martin XA-22 Maryland -- Sources

Martin XA-22 Maryland - Sources


Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin XA-22 Maryland Martin XA-22 Maryland - Chapter 2: 167F for France, Maryland for RAF
G G G

Peter Bowers, Dog of War, Airpower, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1996. Bruce Robertson, British Military Aircraft Serials 1912-1969, Ian Allen, 1969. Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_us/a22-s.html08-09-2006 20:14:27

US Bomber Designations

US Bomber Designations
Last revised September 8, 2002

1920 Letter-and-Number Bomber Designations


Up until 1920, there was no unified designation scheme for American combat aircraft. Before that time, aircraft had always served under their original manufacturer's designation (e. g. SPAD XIII, DH-4, S.E.5, etc). In 1920, it was decided that some sort of unified designation scheme was needed for American combat planes. In that year, the Army Air Service adopted an official letter-and-number designation scheme for all newly-procured aircraft. The letter would indicate the basic type, and the model number would indicate the sequence number of the particular aircraft in order of procurement within that basic type categeory. Henceforth, all Army aircraft were to be subdivided into 15 basic categories, three of which were bombertype categories:
G

Day Bombardment-DB Night Bombardment, Short Distance-NBS Night Bombardment, Long Distance-NBL

In the Day Bombardment (DB) category, there was only one entry: Gallaudet DB-1 Low wing bomber. Only one built.

Here are the Night Bombardment, Short Distance (NBS) entries: Martin NBS-1 Biplane bomber powered by two Liberty Liquid-cooled engines. Proposal for biplane bomber Liberty liquid-cooled engines. Elias NBS-3 Not built.

LWF NBS-2 powered by two

Biplane bomber powered by two Liberty liquid-cooled engines. Only one built. Biplane bomber powered by two Liberty

Curtiss NBS-4
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US Bomber Designations

liquid-cooled engines.

Only 2 built.

Here are the entries in the Night Bombardment, Long Distance (NBL) category: Witteman-Lewis NBL-1 Large triplane bomber powered by 6 engines. Only one built. Proposal for monoplane bomber powered by two W-2779 engines. Not built.

Martin NBL-2

1924 Revision
In May of 1924, the system was revised and additional letters were added. Aircraft already in service retained their original designations, but all new production was done under the new system. Bombers were now classified according to their size rather than their role:
G

Light Bomber-LB Heavy Bomber--HB Bomber (medium)--B

Here are the bombers in the LB category: Huff-Daland LB-1 Biplane bomber powered by one Packard 2A-2540 liquid-cooled engine. 10 built. Monoplane bomber powered by two Packard 2A-2540 liquid-cooled engines. Not built Biplane bomber powered by two R-1340 engines. Martin LB-4 powered One built.

Fokker-Atlantic LB-2

Huff-Daland XLB-3 radial

Proposal for all-metal biplane bomber by two R-1690 radials. Not built

Huff-Daland LB-5

Biplane bomber powered by two Liberty V-1650 engines. 36 built.

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US Bomber Designations

Keystone LB-6 Cyclone

Biplane bomber powered by two Wright radials. 18 built

Keystone LB-7

Biplane bomber powered by two Pratt & Whitney Hornet radials. 18 built. Version of LB-7 with geared Pratt & Whitney R-8360-3 radials. One built. Version of LB-7 with geared Wright R-1750 Cyclone radials. One built. Version of LB-6 with single rudder and Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radials. Designation changed to B-3 in 1926. Version of LB-6 powered by 2 Wright RCyclone radials. Only one built.

Keystone LB-8

Keystone LB-9 Keystone LB-10

Keystone LB-11 1750-3

Keystone LB-12

Version of LB-7 with Pratt & Whitney R-1860-1 radials. Only one built. Biplane bomber powered by two Pratt & Whitney GR-1690 radials. Completed as B-4 and B-6 Biplane bomber powered by two Pratt & Whitney GR-1860 radials. Delivered as B-

Keystone LB-13

Keystone LB-14 5.

Here are the bombers in the HB category: Huff-Daland HB-1 Larger and heavier version of LB-1 with one Packard 2A-2540 engine. Only one built. Projected monoplane bomber with two Not built Huff-Daland HB-3 two Packard 2A-2540. Projected monoplane bomber with Not built.
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Atlantic HB-2 Packard 2A-2540.

US Bomber Designations

Here are the bombers in the B (medium bomber) category: Huff-Daland XB-1 built Curtiss B-2 Condor V-1570 Twin-engine version of XHB-1. Only one

Twin-engined biplane bomber.

Two Curtiss

liquid-cooled engines. 12 built.

The Original B-Series (1930-1962)


One of the categories that had been introduced in 1924 was B, which originally stood strictly for medium bombers, as distinguished from heavy bombers (HB) and light bombers (LB). In 1930, the USAAC decided that it made no sense to make such distinctions, and all of these categories were combined into one, B for bomber. There were already two entries in the B series, the Keystone XB-1B and the Curtiss B-2 Condor. Some of the LB bombers were reassigned new designations in the B-series. Subsequent designs were assigned bomber designations in the sequence in which they were ordered. With the advent of missiles in the 1940s and 1950s, the USAF decided in 1951 to assign "B" designations to its ground attack missiles. The initial assignments were B-61 through B-65. Here is the 1930-1962 B-series of Army/Air Force bombers: 1930-1962 Bomber Series

Designation

Description

Keystone XB-1B Curtiss B-2 Condor Keystone B-3 Keystone B-4 Keystone B-5 Keystone B-6 Douglas YB-7

Originally was twin-engine adaptation of XHB-1 heavy bomber. Twin-rudder biplane. Two Curtiss V-1570 liquid-cooled engines. Twin-engined biplane bomber. Two Curtiss V-1570 liquid-cooled engines. 12 built. Twin-engine biplane bomber. Two P & W R-1690 radials. 36 built. Twin-engine biplane bomber. Two P & W R-1860 radials. 25 built. Twin-engine biplane bomber. Two Wright R-1750 radials. 27 built. Twin-engine biplane bomber. Two Wright R-1820 radials. 39 built. Twin-engine monoplane bomber. Two Curtiss V-1570 liquid-cooled engines mounted under gull wings that were braced by metal struts. 7 built. Twin-engine monoplane bomber. Adaptation of XO-27 long-range observation prototype. All-wood canti- lever wing, fabric-covered steel tube fuselage. Two Curtiss V1570 liquid-cooled engines. Only one built.

Fokker XB-8

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US Bomber Designations

Boeing Y1B-9 Martin B-10

Twin-engine monoplane bomber. Two P & W R-1860 radials. Crew of four in separate open cockpits. All-metal construction, retractable landing gear. Only 6 built. Twin-engine monoplane bomber. Two Wright R-1820 radials. Enclosed cockpits, three 0.3 cal guns. First bomber with performance superior to contemporary fighters. Twin-engine, long-range reconnaissance amphibian aircraft. Two Wright R-1820 radials mounted on pylons above the high-mounted wing. Retractable wheel undercarriage. Redesignated YO-44 and then YOA-5 before delivery to Army. Version of Martin bomber with P & W. R-1690 radials. 31 built. Proposal to equip B-10 airframe with R-1860 radial engines. Cancelled before any could be delivered. B-10 airframe with 950hp R-1830 radials. Only one built. Experimental four-engine long-range bomber. Only one built. Later converted into XC105 cargoplane. Experimental six-engine long-range bomber. Six Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engines, four as tractors, two as pushers. Two tail booms, twin rudders. Canceled before any could be built. Four-engine heavy bomber. Four Wright R-1820 Cyclone radials. Total of 12,677 built. Adaptation of DC-2 commercial transport to bombing role. Four-engined long-range heavy bomber. Four Wright R-3350-5 radials. Only one built. Proposed version of B-15 with 1400 hp Pratt and Whitney R-2180 radial engines. Two ordered. Canceled before any prototype could be completed. Twin-engine medium bomber. Two P & W R-2180 Twin Hornets with superchargers. Crew of six. Five 0.30-cal guns in power turrets in nose and on top, and at mounts in waist and ventral positions. Only one built. Proposed adaptation of B-18 to take two Wright R-2600 radials. Cancelled in favor of B23. Twin-engine medium bomber. Ordered as part of the B-18A contract. Embodied a greatly improved aerodynamic form and incorporated latest ideas on defensive armament, including a tail gun. Two Wright R-2600 Cyclones Four-engine heavy bomber. Four Pratt and Whitney R-1830 radial engines on highmounted wing. Total of 18,188 built, greater than that of any other American aircraft. Twin-engine medium bomber. Two Wright R-2600 Cyclone radial engines. Total of 9816 built. Twin-engine medium bomber. Two P & W R-2800 radials. High-mounted wing. Streamlined cigar-shaped fuselage Total of 5157 Marauders built. High-altitude adaptation of B-26. Two turbo- supercharged P & W R-2800 Wasps. Pressurized cabin. Project cancelled before any could be built. High-altitude adaptation of B-25. Two turbo- supercharged P & W R-2800 Wasps. Pressurized cabin. Single rudder. No need was perceived for high- altitude medium bombers, and only two were built. Long range, high altitude heavy bomber. Four Wright R-3350 radials. Unbroken nose, crew of 11, pressurized cabin. Four remote-controlled turrets, plus tail gun position. 3970 built

Douglas YB-11 Martin YB-12 Martin B-13 Martin XB-14 Boeing XB-15

Martin XB-16 Boeing B-17 Fortress Douglas B-18 Bolo Douglas XB-19 Boeing Y1B-20

North American XB-21

Douglas B-22

Douglas B-23 Dragon

Consolidated B-24 Liberator North American B-25 Mitchell Martin B-26 Marauder Martin XB-27

North American XB-28

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

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US Bomber Designations

Lockheed XB-30

Long range, high altitude bomber. Proposed bomber version of Constellation airliner. Entered in competition which eventually produced the B-29, but Lockheed withdrew from the contest before any prototypes could be built. Long-range, high altitude bomber designed in competition with Boeing B-29. Canceled in favor of B-29 before any prototypes could be built. High-altitude development of B-24. Four Wright R-3350 radials. Only 155 built. Long range bomber project with four 1800 hp R-2600 radials and twin tails. Canceled in favor of B-29 before it ever got off the drawing board. Midwing twin-engine medium bomber with twin rudders. Military adaptation of Model 18 Lodestar airliner. Long-range flying-wing bomber. Four P & W R-4360 radials with double turbosuperchargers driving pusher propellers. Six-engine long-range heavy bomber. Six P & W R-4360 radials driving pusher props. D version had four General Electric J-47 jets in pods under outer wing to increase overtarget speed. Adaptation of B-34 Ventura for armed observation/ reconnaissance role with R-2600 engines. B-17E airframe converted by Vega division of Lockheed to take four Allison V-1710-89 liquid-cooled engines. Only one built. Conversion of B-29 airframe to take four Allison V-3420 liquid-cooled engines of 3000 hp. each. Conversion of B-17F as escort fighter to improve defensive power of B-17 bomber formations. Escort fighter conversion of B-24D. Fourteen 0.50 cal guns. Only one built. High-speed long-range medium bomber. Two Allison V-1710-125 water-cooled engines buried in fuselage driving pusher propellors behind the tail. Only two built. First American jet bomber. XB-42 airframe fitted with two turbojets in forward fuselage bays fed by intakes located behind the cockpit. Lower tail fin eliminated, taller vertical tail. Two built. B-29A with four P & W R-4360 radials in redesigned nacelles. Became prototype for B29D which evolved into B-50. Three built. Four-jet medium bomber. First all-jet powered bomber to enter service with USAF. Four General Electric J-47 jets. Four-jet medium bomber. Four General Electric J-35 jets. 491 mph at sea level. Lost out to B-45 Tornado for production orders. Six-jet swept-wing medium bomber. Six General Electric J-47 jets. 2041 built. Formed mainstay of American nuclear deterrent until 1966, when the last B-47E was retired. Six-jet medium bomber. Six Allison J-35 jets mounted three each in underwing pods. Only two built. Conversion of B-35 to all-jet power. Eight Allison J-35 jets. Wing fences and vertical stabilizing fins were added. All turrets and guns were eliminated. Unstable and difficult to fly. Program was canceled in 1949 in favor of B-36.

Douglas XB-31 Consolidated B-32 Dominator Martin XB-33 Lockheed B-34 Ventura Northrop YB-35

Convair B-36 Peacemaker

Lockheed B-37 Ventura Lockheed-Vega XB-38 Boeing XB-39 Superfortress Boeing YB-40 Consolidated XB-41 Douglas XB-42

Douglas XB-43

Boeing XB-44 North American B-45 Tornado Convair XB-46 Boeing B-47 Stratojet Martin XB-48

Northrop YB-49

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US Bomber Designations

Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Adaptation of B-29 to accommodate four P & W R-4360 radials of 3500 hp each housed in modified nacelles. Enlarged vertical tail.. 368 built. Many converted to training, reconnaissance, tanker, and weather research roles. Three-jet light bomber. Three General Electric J-47 jets, two under forward fuselage and one in tail. Lost out to B-57 in competition for production orders. Eight-jet long-range strategic bomber. Eight P & W J-57 engines mounted in four pods underneath swept- back wings Total of 744 built. Three-jet light bomber project. Canard design with swept-forward wing. Three J-35 jets. Was formerly XA-44. Canceled before completion. Proposed version of B-50 with P & W R-4360-51 compound engines. Canceled in favor of B-36 before any prototype could be completed. Long-range heavy bomber powered by four Allison T-40 turboprops housed in pods under a slightly swept- back wing. Abandoned before prototype could be completed because of greater promise of B-52. Version of B-47 with four Allison J-71 jets. Project was canceled before prototype could be completed. American-built version of English Electric Canberra twin-jet light bomber. Total of 403 built. High-altitude reconnaissance and target towing versions also built. Four-engine supersonic medium bomber. Four General Electric J-79 jets with afterburners in individual pods under a delta wing. Total of 116 built Supersonic bomber project powered by four General Electric J-73 engines. Lost out to Convair B-58 for Air Force orders. Never got off the drawing board. Jet-powered version of B-36. Eight J-57 jets, swept wing and tail. Only two built. Single-engine ground-launched cruise missile. Later redesignated TM-61 and later MGM-1 Single-engine ground-launched strategic cruise missile. Later redesignated SM-62. Air-launched strategic missile. Later redesignated GAM-63 Ground-launched strategic supersonic cruise missile. Later redesignated SM-64. Ground-launched intercontinental ballistic missile. Later redesignated SM-65 and later PGM-16/CGM-16/HGM-16 Air Force adaptation of carrier-based A3D Skywarrior light bomber. Two Allison J-71 jets. Bomber, reconnaissance, and electronic countermeasures versions produced. Total of 294 built. Decoy missile. Designation later changed to GAM-67 Two-seat tactical bomber powered by two P & W J-75 engines. High T-tail and rotary bomb door. Canceled in 1957. Designation allocated to seven P2V-7U Neptune patrol planes ordered from the Navy for special electronic intelligence missions. Mach 3 strategic bomber. Six General Electric J-93 engines. Delta wing. Twin rudders. Only two prototypes built. Number used for Lockheed SR-71 twin-engined Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

Martin XB-51 Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Convair XB-53 Boeing XB-54

Boeing XB-55

Boeing XB-56 Martin B-57 Canberra Convair B-58 Hustler Boeing XB-59 Convair YB-60 Martin B-61 Matador Northrop B-62 Snark Bell B-63 Rascal North American B-64 Navajo Convair B-65 Atlas

Douglas B-66 Destroyer Radioplane B-67 Crossbow Martin XB-68 Lockheed B-69 Neptune North American XB-70A Valkyrie B-71

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US Bomber Designations

A point of major confusion and controversy is what happened for numbers greater than 71. The series does seem to have continued on past 71, but it was no longer used for bombers. In 1955, the Air Force decided to discontinue the use of B-designations for its surface-to-surface missiles, unmanned aircraft, and various test projects. However, the original series of numbers was continued. It seems that no missile past B-67/GAM-67 ever carried a B prefix. Essentially, from 68 on, the bomber and missile numbering system continued in parallel. However, there are some references which still list some of these later missiles as originally having B designations. Post-1955 Missile Designations

Designation

Description

Radioplane GAM-67 Crossbow Martin SM-68 Titan M-69 Bendix IM-70 Talos Convair XGAM-71 Buck Duck McDonnell GAM-72 Green Quail Fairchild SM-73 Bull Goose M-74 Douglas SM-75 Thor Martin TM-76 Mace

Decoy missile Two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile. Later redesignated HGM-25/LGM-25. May have been reserved for redesignation of F-99 Bomarc. Talos land-based weapons system. Air-launched decoy missile for B-36, about which very little is known. Air-launched decoy missile. Some sources have this as having Been originally designated B-72. Name later shortened to Quail Surface to Surface missile. Name later shortened to Goose. I have no details. Information, anyone? Single-stage surface-to-surface intermediate ballistic missile. Later redesignated PGM-17. Jet-powered surface to surface cruise missile. Later redesignated CGM-13. Single-stage surface-to-surface intermediate-range ballistic missile. Later redesignated PGM-19. Project which ultimately led to the development of the Air Force version of the GAM-83 Bullpup. Two-stage surface-to-surface intercontinental ballistic missile. Later redesignated LGM-30 Designation associated with the Agena upper Stage space launcher. May have been high altitude weather probe. Redesignated PWN-1A in 1963 Air to surface missile. Later redesignated AGM-12. I have no details. Information, anyone? Later Redesignated PWN-2A in 1963 I have no details. Information, anyone? Redesgnated PWN-3A in 1963. I have no details. Information, anyone? Redesignated PWN-4A in 1963. Air to surface ballistic missile. Later redesignated AGM-48.

North American GAM-77 Hound Dog Jet-powered air to surface missile. Later redesignated AGM-28. Chrysler SM-78 Jupiter Martin GAM-79 White Lance Boeing SM-80 Minuteman Lockheed RM-81 Agena XRM-82 Martin GAM-83 Bullpup XRM-84 XRM-85 XRM-86 Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt

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US Bomber Designations

Cooper SRM-88 Ford XRM-89 Blue Scout 1 Ford XRM-90 Blue Scout 2 Ford XRM-91 Blue Scout Junior Ford XRM-92 Air Force Scout

I have no details. Later redesignated PWN-5A. 3-stage missile based on NASA Scout used for suborbital tests. Similar to Blue Scout 1 but with added fourth stage. Used for suborbital and orbital tests. Smaller Air Force version of Scout used for suborbital military tests. Second and third stages of Blue Scout 2 used for first two stages. Four-stage rocket similar to the original NASA Scout.

In 1935, there was a relatively short-lived category introduced, known as Bomber, Long Range, or BLR. There were only three entries: Boeing BLR-1 bomber. Experimental four-engine long-range Redesignated XB-15 in 1936 Douglas BLR-2 bomber. Experimental four-engine long range Redesignated XB-19 in 1936. Sikorsky BLR-3 Experimental long-range bomber. Project abandoned before anything could be built.

In 1936, the BLR category was eliminated, and the two flying examples were redesignated B-15 and B-19 respectively.

The New Unified Designation System (1962).


In 1962, the Defense Department decided to restart the B-series bomber designations over again from 1. The designations of the bombers already in service in 1962, however, were unchanged. Here is the new B-series of bombers. So far, there are only two entries.

Rockwell B-1B Lancer bomber and built. Northrop B-2 Spirit multi-role

Four-engine variable sweep strategic cruise missile carrier. Total of 100

Two-seat, four-engine low-observable bomber.

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US Bomber Designations

Sources:
1. American Combat Planes (Third Edition), Ray Wagner, Doubleday, New York,1982. 2. Observers Aircraft, William Green, Frederick Warne and Co, 1989. 3. Famous Bombers of the Second World War (first and second series), William Green, Doubleday,

Garden City, New York, 1959.


4. The Aircraft of the World, William Green and Gerald Pollinger, Doubleday, Garden City, New York,

1965
5. McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988. 6. United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian

Institution Press, 1989.


7. E-mail from Jos Heyman on bomber->missile designations. 8. E-mail from Andreas Parsch on later designation of research probes and missiles. More information on

the GAM-71 Buck Duck. He straightened me out on the use of the "beyond 71" series of numbers.
9. E-mail from Charles Eaton on Quail being a decoy aircraft.

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Huff-Daland XHB-1

Huff-Daland XHB-1
Last revised July 10, 1999

The Huff-Daland XHB-1 (serial number 26-201) was an enlarged and heavier version of the LB-1 singleengined light bomber. It carried a crew of four, with two in an open cockpit ahead of the wing, one near the tail with twin Lewis guns, and the other using a retractable gun platform that could be lowered below the fuselage. Two Browning machine guns were mounted in the wings and over 4000 bombs could be carried. The XHB-1 first appeared in October of 1926. It was to have been powered by a single 1200 hp engine. Since this engine failed to materialize, a single Packard 2A-2540 engine, rated at 787 hp, was substituted. This was the same engine which powered the LB-1. The XHB-1 was known unofficially as the "Cyclops" by the Huff-Daland company. However, as early as April of 1926, the Army had decided that single-engined bombers were unsatisfactory, concluding that the more conventional twin-engined configuuration was safer and had the additional advantage of allowing for a gunner and/or bomb-aiming position to be mounted in the nose. Consequently, the XHB-1 was not ordered into production, and only one example was built. Specification of the Keystone XHB-1: One 787 hp Packard 2A-2540 twelve-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled engine. Maximum speed 109 mph at sea level, service ceiling 15,000 feet, range 700 miles with 2508 pound bombload. Weights: 8070 pounds empty, 16,838 pounds gross. Wingspan 84 feet 7 inches, length 59 feet 7 inches, height 17 feet 2 inches, wing area 1648.5 square feet. Armed with two Lewis machine guns in a flexible mount in an open dorsal position. A retractable gun platform could be lowered from the rear fuselage. Two Browning machine guns were mounted in the wings. A bombload of over 4000 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Huff-Daland XHB-1

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Fokker-Atlantic XHB-2

Fokker-Atlantic XHB-2
Last revised July 10, 1999

The Fokker-Atlantic XHB-2 was a proposed monoplane heavy bomber of the mid-1920s that was to have been powered by a pair of 787 hp Packard 2A-2540 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines. Gross weight was projected to have been 24,500 pounds. The project was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Huff-Daland XHB-3

Huff-Daland XHB-3
Last revised July 10, 1999

The Huff-Daland XHB-3 was a projected monoplane heavy bomber of the mid 1920s that was to be powered by a pair of 787 hp Packard 2A-2540 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines. The project was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Huff-Daland LB-1

Huff Daland LB-1


Last revised July 7, 1999

In the annals of aviation, Huff-Daland and Co, Inc. of Ogdensburg, New York is not exactly one of the better known aircraft companies. Only a few aviation historians still remember this company today. Nevertheless, Huff-Daland and its successor Keystone manufactured a line of large biplanes which served as the primary bomber aircraft of the US Army Air Corps in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Although the Huff-Daland/Keystone series of bombers were relatively conservative in design and performance, the USAAC liked them because of their low cost, their reliability, and their stable flying characteristics. The Huff-Daland series of biplane bombers begins with the XLB-1 (23-1250), which first appeared back in 1923. Departing from prior bomber design practice, this aircraft was powered by a single enormous 800 hp Packard 1A-2540 V-12 water-cooled engine instead of the more traditional pair of lowerpowered engines. It was a tapered-winged biplane with a single bay of struts, and was of fabric-covered steel-tube construction. A single vertical tail was fitted. It carried a crew of three, with two sitting side by side behind the engine and a gunner sitting in a position near the single tail. The bombs were all carried internally, and the bomb aimer sighted through a window in the belly rather than from the normal nose position. The armament consisted of two Lewis machine guns mounted on the gunner's position and two 0.30-inch Browning machine guns fixed on the leading edge of the lower wings. A total bombload of 1500 pounds could be carried. Nine service-test LB-1s were ordered which were identical to the XLB-1 except for the installation of an improved 2A-2540 engine plus the addition of a seat for a fourth crew member. These planes were known as "Pegasus" by the Huff-Daland company, although this was not an official USAAC name. Their serials were 26-377/385. Army experience with these planes suggested that a single-engined format for bombers was unsatisfactory from a safety standpoint. The Army decided that henceorth all of its bombers would have a multi-engined format. Specification of the Huff-Daland LB-1: One 787 hp Packard 2A-2540 V-12 water-cooled engine. Maximum speed 121 mph at sea level, 117 mph at 6500 feet. Cruising speed 114 mph. Landing speed 55 mph. Service ceiling 14,425 feet, Absolute ceiling 17,300 feet. Initial climb rate 176 feet per minute. An altitude of 6500 feet could be attained in 23.5 minutes. Range 940 miles. Weights: 5704 pounds empty, 10,346 pounds gross. Wingspan 85 feet, length 62 feet, height 19 feet 3 inches, wing area 1604 square feet. Armed with two Lewis machine guns in the gunner's position plus two 0.30 inch machine guns fixed on the leading edge of the lower wings.
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Huff-Daland LB-1

Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982

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Fokker-Atlandic XLB-2

Fokker-Atlantic XLB-2
Last revised July 7, 1999

The Atlantic Aircraft Corporation of Teterboro, New Jersey was the American subsidiary of the Hollandbased Fokker aircraft manufacturing company. It manufactured some Fokker-designed commercial airliners in the United States. Among these were Fokker's series of pioneering high-winged monoplane airliners. Atlantic submitted a monoplane design in response to a 1927 Army competition for a successor to the Martin-designed NBS-1 bomber. A single prototype was ordered under the designation XLB-2. The serial number was 26-210. The XLB-2 was developed from the Fokker series of monoplane transports, and had the distinction of being the first USAAC bomber designed as a monoplane. It was powered by a pair of 410hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp radials suspended underneath the high cantilever wing. A crew of five was carried. The bombardier position was housed inside a glazed area in the lower nose. A pair of 0.5-inch machine guns were mounted in each of two open defensive gunner positions, one situated in the extreme nose and the other in a dorsal position on the upper rear fuselage. A single gun could be fired through a position in the lower rear fuselage. A 2050 pound load of bombs could be carried. The aircraft was later fitted with a pair of 525 hp R-1690-1 radials, which raised the maximum speed from 116 mph to 123 mph. However, the performance of the XLB-2 was not much better than that of existing Army biplane bombers. In addition, the Army was quite reluctant to consider such radical innovations as cantilever monoplane designs, and the XLB-2 was not ordered into production. Specification of the Atlantic-Fokker XLB-2: Two 410 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 air cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 116 mph at sea level, 112 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 93 mph. Landing speed 67 mph. Service ceiling 10,925 feet, Absolute ceiling 13,400 feet. Initial climb rate 540 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 11.5 minutes. Range 540 miles with 2052 pounds of bombs. Weights: 5916 pounds empty, 12,039 pounds gross. With two 525 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690-1 air cooled radial engines, the performance figures were as follows: Maximum speed 123 mph at sea level. Service ceiling 13,700 feet. Initial climb rate 762 feet per minute. Range 650 miles with 2052 pounds of bombs. Weights: 5916 pounds empty, 12,039 pounds gross. Wingspan 72 feet 10 inches, length 51 feet 5 inches, height 13 feet 3 inches, wing area 748 square feet.

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Fokker-Atlandic XLB-2

Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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Huff-Daland XLB-3

Huff-Daland XLB-3
Last revised July 10, 1999

The Huff-Daland XLB-3 was the first example of the series of twin-engined Huff-Daland/Keystone bombers. The Huff-Daland LB-1 three-seat biplane bomber of 1923 had been powered by a single enormous 800 hp Packard 2A-2540 V-12 water-cooled engine instead of the more traditional pair of lower-powered engines. Ten examples had been delivered to the Army. However, the Army soon found the single-engined format to be unsatisfactory, and decided to revert to a more conventional twin-engined format. In response to this need, the Huff-Daland company submitted the XLB-3. A single example was ordered by the Army. The serial number was 27-333. The Huff-Daland XLB-3 was powered by a pair of experimental air-cooled and inverted Liberty V-1410-1 engines mounted on top of the leading edges of the lower wing, one on each side. The single vertical rudder of the LB-1 was supplemented by a pair of smaller vertical rudders mounted outboard on the horizontal tailplane. A crew of five was carried, with the two additional members being housed in the nose gunner and bombardier positions. The XLB-3 was designed in parallel with the Huff-Daland LB-5, which had the same overall format but was powered by a pair of ordinary watercooled upright Liberty engines. By that the time that the XLB-3 appeared in December of 1927, the Huff-Daland company had been reorganized as the Keystone Aircraft Corporation and had moved its headquarters to Bristol, Pennsylvania. The experimental Liberty engine installation in the XLB-3 proved to be unsatisfactory, and before the first flight could take place the Liberty engines were replaced by a pair of 410 hp air-cooled Pratt & Whitney R1340-1 air-cooled radial engines. The engine change caused a designation change to XLB-3A. The performance of the XLB-3A was actually poorer than that of the single-engined LB-1 that it was designed to replace, and no production examples were ordered. However, the parallel LB-5 project was to prove more successful, and was the first of Keystone's successful biplane bombers. Specification of the Huff-Daland XLB-3A: Two 410 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-1 air-cooled radials. Maximum speed 116 mph at sea level, 113 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 93 mph. Landing speed 59 mph. Service ceiling 11,210 feet, Absolute ceiling 13,700 feet. Initial climb rate 550 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 11.3 minutes. Range 544 miles. Weights: 6065 pounds empty, 11,682 pounds gross. Wingspan 67 feet, length 45 feet, height 16 feet 10 inches, wing area 1138.7 square feet. Sources:
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb3.html (1 of 2)08-09-2006 20:16:05

Huff-Daland XLB-3

1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Martin XLB-4

Martin XLB-4
Last revised July 10, 1999

The Martin XLB-4 was a 1926 proposal for an all-metal biplane bomber powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet radials. The Army was reluctant at that stage to experiment with all-metal aircraft, and the project never got off the drawing board. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb4.html08-09-2006 20:16:10

Huff-Daland/Keystone LB-5

Huff-Daland/Keystone LB-5
Last revised July 10, 1999

The Huff-Daland LB-5 was the first of the Huff-Daland twin-engined biplane bombers to enter service with the US Army Air Corps. The Huff-Daland/Keystone series of bombers were to be the dominant USAAC bombers until the advent of the monoplane era in the early 1930s. The Huff-Daland XLB-5 (serial number 26-208) was similar to the XLB-3A except for the use of a pair of conventional water-cooled 420 hp Liberty engines instead of the air-cooled Wasp radials of the XLB3A As on the XLB-3A, the single vertical rudder of the XLB-5 was supplemented by a pair of smaller vertical rudders mounted outboard on the horizontal tailplane. The Liberty engines were mounted on top of the lower wing. A crew of five was carried: a pilot, a copilot, a bombardier, plus two gunners. The XLB-5 was a safe and reliable aircraft, and had the ability (unusual for the time) to fly for half an hour on one engine only. Impressed by this capability, the Army ordered ten production LB-5s. The serials were 27-335/344. Following the delivery of the last LB-5, the Huff-Daland company changed its name to Keystone. Under the new Keystone name, the company delivered twenty-five LB-5As to the Army (serials 28-001/025). They differed from the LB-5 in having twin vertical tails rather than the single large rudder with two smaller rudders on each side. The LB-5 became known as *Pirate* by the company, although this name was never officially adopted by the USAAC. Specification of the Huff-Daland LB-5: Two 420 hp Liberty V-1650 liquid-cooled V-12 engines. Maximum speed 107 mph at sea level. Service ceiling 8000 feet, Absolute ceiling 8800 feet. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 20 minutes. Range 435 miles with 2312 pounds of bombs. Weights: 7024 pounds empty, 12,155 pounds gross. Wingspan 67 feet, length 44 feet 8 inches, height 16 feet 10 inches, wing area 1138.7 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:

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Huff-Daland/Keystone LB-5

1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 4. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 5. Plane Makers, Bill Gunston

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb5.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:16:17

Keystone LB-6

Keystone LB-6
Last revised December 22, 2000

The Keystone XLB-6 was obtained by fitting the 10th LB-5 (serial number 27-344) with new straight-chord wings of 75-foot span. These wings were untapered and were slightly swept back. The twin Liberty engines of the LB-5 were replaced by a pair of 525 hp Wright Cyclone radials. The engines were suspended between the wings rather than resting on top of the lower wing. Seventeen production LB-6 aircraft were delivered by Keystone to the USAAC between August and September of 1929. Srials were 29-011/027. All LB-6s were identical to the XLB-6 except for minor refinements and a revised angular shape for the twin rudders. Additionally, one LB-7 (29-010) was converted to an LB-6 at Wright Field after being tested as the XLB-9. Three of the LB-6s (29-013, 29-014, and 29-016) were converted to LB-7s at France Field in May 1930. The LB-6 served with the 2nd Bomb Group based in the US as well as with the 5th Composite Bomb Group based in Hawaii. The LB-6 had a better performance than the Liberty-powered LB-5. It was ten miles per hour faster and had twice as fast a climb rate. The LB-6 was known as Panther by the Keystone company, although this was not an official USAAC name. The LB-6s rapidly became obsolete, and all surviving examples were withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1933-35. Specification of the Keystone LB-6: Two 525 hp Wright R-1750-1 Cyclone alr-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 114 mph at sea level, 106 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 95 mph. Landing speed 58 mph. Service ceiling 11,650 feet, Absolute ceiling 14,000 feet. Initial climb rate 600 feet per minute An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 10.3 minutes. Range 632 miles with 2003 pounds of bombs. Weights: 7024 pounds empty, 12,155 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 43 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 1 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Disposition of LB-6s 29-011 DELIVERED SURVEYED 2/6/35. 29-012 DELIVERED WRECKED 8/19/31. 29-013 DELIVERED 29-014 DELIVERED 29-015 DELIVERED 29-016 DELIVERED 5/1/29, REDESIG. ZLB-6 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 3/7/31, 7/16/29, REDESIG. ZLB-6 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 4/15/31, 7/21/29, 7/26/29, 7/26/29, 7/21/29, CONVERTED TO LB-7 5/14/30, WRECKED 6/19/31. CONVERTED TO LB-7 5/14/30, SURVEYED 11/2/33. WRECKED AND SURVEYED ON 10/12/29. CONVERTED TO LB-7 5/14/30, WRECKED 6/19/31.

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Keystone LB-6

29-017 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 7/11/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 2/25/35. 29-018 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 7/22/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 2/25/35. 29-019 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 7/26/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 4/8/35. 29-020 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 8/1/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 2/25/35. 29-021 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 8/7/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 5/16/35. 29-022 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 8/15/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 5/18/33. 29-023 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 8/20/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 2/25/35. 29-024 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 8/26/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 5/10/34. 29-025 DELIVERED TO HAWAII 9/4/29, SURVEYED IN HAWAII 9/26/33. 29-026 DELIVERED 10/29/29, CONVERTED TO LB-11 3/3/31, CONVERTED TO LB-11A 4/1/31, CONVERTED TO LB-6 5/31/32, REDESIG. ZLB-6 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 6/2/33, SURVEYED 9/29/34. LB-7 29-010 Delivered 12/27/29, CONVERTED TO XLB-9 3/2/31, CONVERTED TO LB-6 12/4/31, EDESIG. ZLB-6 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 3/16/32, SURVEYED 9/26/33.

Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian,

1989.
2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. E-mail from Lee Perna on conversions to LB-7, as well as dispositions of LB-6.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb6.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:16:22

Keystone LB-7

Keystone LB-7
Last revised December 23, 2000

The Keystone LB-7 was identical to the LB-6 except for the replacement of the Wright Cyclones by Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 Hornet radials. In those days, the simple act of replacing one engine by another would often call for a new aircraft designation. Sixteen production LB-7 aircraft were delivered to the USAAC between February and June of 1929. Serials were 28-388/395 and 29-001/010. Additionally, three LB-6s (29-013, 29-014, and 29-016) were converted to LB-7s at France Field in May 1930. The Cyclone-powered LB-6s could be externally distinguished from the Hornet-powered LB-7s by looking at the exhaust collector rings on their engines. The Hornet of the LB-7 had exhaust collector rings BEHIND the cylinders, whereas the Cyclone of the LB-6 had exhaust collector rings AHEAD of the cylinders. (Several references have this backwards). The aircraft were otherwise externally identical. The LB-7 actually preceded the LB-6 into service. The LB-7 served alongside the LB-6 with the 2nd Bomb Group based in the US. Most of the LB-7s were stationed at Langley Field until being sent to the 40TH School Squadron at Kelly Field in March-June 1931. Three aircraft (28-388, 29-009, and 29-010) spent their careers at Wright Field as convertion experiments until March 1932, when the sole survivor (29-010) was converted to an LB-6 and was also sent to the 40th School Squadron at Kelly Field. Like the LB-6, the LB-7 was known as Panther by Keystone, but this was not an official USAAC name. Like its LB-6 stablemate, the LB-7 rapidly became obsolete and the survivors were all withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1933-1934. Disposition of Keystone LB-7

28-388 DELIVERED 2/9/29, CONVERTED TO LB-12 6/27/29, WRECKED 8/30/29. 28-389 DELIVERED 1/31/29, WRECKED 2/6/29. 28-390 DELIVERED 2/20/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 6/15/31, WRECKED 12/23/31. 28-391 DELIVERED 3/4/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 5/26/31, SURVEYED 8/7/34. 28-392 DELIVERED 3/12/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 6/14/31, SURVEYED 6/28/34. 28-393 DELIVERED 3/18/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 6/26/31, SURVEYED 5/23/34. 28-394 DELIVERED 3/16/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 6/25/31, SURVEYED 5/23/34. 28-395 DELIVERED 4/15/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 4/28/31, SURVEYED 8/20/34.

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Keystone LB-7

29-001 DELIVERED 3/28/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 4/28/31, SURVEYED MAY 33. 29-002 DELIVERED 4/17/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 3/10/31, SURVEYED 6/28/34. 29-003 DELIVERED 4/11/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 3/29/31, SURVEYED 4/9/34. 29-004 DELIVERED 4/27/29, BURNED 3/1/30. 29-005 DELIVERED 4/26/29, REDESIG. ZLB-7 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 6/25/31, SURVEYED 8/20/34. 29-006 DELIVERED 4/30/29, BURNED 9/17/29. 29-007 DELIVERED 5/1/29, WRECKED 11/22/29. 29-008 DELIVERED 5/10/29, BURNED 1/15/30. 29-009 DELIVERED 11/6/29, CONVERTED TO XLB-8 12/11/29, BURNED 3/18/31. 29-010 DELIVERED 12/27/29, CONVERTED TO XLB-9 3/2/31, CONVERTED TO LB-6 12/4/31, REDESIG. ZLB-6 WITH 40TH SCHOOL SQ. ON 3/16/32, SURVEYED 9/26/33. 29-013 DELIVERED 7/21/29, CONVERTED TO LB-7 5/14/30, WRECKED 6/19/31. 29-014 DELIVERED 7/26/29, CONVERTED TO LB-7 5/14/30, SURVEYED 11/2/33. 29-016 DELIVERED 7/21/29, CONVERTED TO LB-7 5/14/30, WRECKED 6/19/31.

Specification of the Keystone LB-7: Two 525 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 Hornet air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 114 mph at sea level, 110 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 95 mph. Landing speed 55 mph. Service ceiling 13,325 feet, Absolute ceiling 15,700 feet. Initial climb rate 660 feet per minute An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 9.1 minutes. Range 432 miles with 2000 pounds of bombs. Weights: 6556 pounds empty, 12,903 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 43 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 1 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian,

1989.
2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. E-mail from Lee Perna with corrections on LB-7 service, plus dispositions of LB-7s. 6. E-mail from Tom Hegre with correction on location of exhaust collectors on LB-6 and LB-7.

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Keystone LB-7

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb7.html (3 of 3)08-09-2006 20:16:26

Keystone XLB-8

Keystone XLB-8
Last revised December 22, 2000

In order to test experimental engine installations, the next-to-last Keystone LB-7 on the 1929 contract (29-009) was fitted in December of 1929 at Wright Field with a pair of geared 550 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-3 radial engines in place of the ungeared R-1690 Hornets. The gearing ratio of these engines was 2:1. The re-engined aircraft was redesignated XLB-8. It was common practice during the 1920s and 1930s to assign different designations to versions of the same aircraft which differed from each other only in the type of engine that powered them. Only one of these R-1860-powered aircraft was built. The plane burned on 3/18/31. Specification of the Keystone LB-8: Two 550 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-3 alr-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 112 mph at sea level. Weight: 13,250 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 43 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 1 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey
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Keystone XLB-8

6. E-mail from Lee Perna with correction on XLB-8 service and disposition.

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Keystone XLB-9

Keystone XLB-9
Last revised December 22, 2000

The last Keystone LB-7 on the 1929 contract (29-010) was converted with a pair of geared 575 hp Wright R-1750 Cyclone radial engines in place of its original Pratt and Whitney Hornets. The gearing ratio was 1.58:1. Convertion work was done at Wright Field in March 1931, and the aircraft was redesignated XLB-9. The purpose of this engine installation was purely experimental, and only one of these R-1750-powered XLB-9 aircraft was built. When testing was completed in December 1931, the aircraft was converted to an LB-6 and sent to the 40th School Squadron at Kelly Field. Specification of the Keystone LB-9: Two 575 hp Wright R-1750 Cyclone air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 118 mph at sea level. Weight: 13,100 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 43 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 1 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey 6. E-mail from Lee Perna with corrections on dates for XLB-9 conversion.

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Keystone XLB-9

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Keystone LB-10

Keystone LB-10
Last revised July 10, 1999

The 17th production Keystone LB-6 on the 1929 contract (29-027) was completed as the LB-10. The LB-10 differed from the LB-6 in being powered by a pair of experimental 525 hp Wright R-1750-1 Cyclone radial engines, plus it had a single rudder in place of the twin rudders which Keystone had standardized on the LB-5A. The single-rudder adaptation introduced by the LB-10 impressed the USAAC, and 63 examples were ordered under the designation LB-10A. The LB-10A differed from the LB10 in being powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radials. The LB-10A had a slightly smaller wingspan and had a slightly shorter fuselage, but was otherwise similar to the LB-10. However, before the first LB-10A could be delivered, the USAAC had dropped the LB designation and was listing all of its bombers under the B series. The LB10A was redesignated B-3A under the new scheme. Specification of the Keystone LB-10: Two 525 hp Wright R-1750-1 Cyclone alr-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 116 mph at sea level, 113 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 93 mph. Landing speed 58 mph. Service ceiling 13,440 feet. Absolute ceiling 15,800 feet. Initial climb rate 660 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 9 minutes. Range was 350 miles with 2587 pounds of bombs. Weight: 6993 pounds empty, 13,285 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 49 feet 3 inches, height 15 feet 6 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


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Keystone LB-10

2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb10.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:16:43

Keystone XLB-11

Keystone XLB-11
Last revised December 22, 2000

The 16th production Keystone LB-6 on the 1929 contract (29-026) was converted to the XLB-11 at Wright Field in March 1930. The XLB-11 differed from the LB-6 in being powered by by a pair of experimental 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 Cyclone radial engines. In April 1930, the XLB-11 became the XLB-11A when it was fitted with geared G1R-1750 Cyclones. The XLB-11/11A was purely experimental, and did not lead to a production order. After completion of testing in May 1932, the aircraft was converted back to an LB6 before being sent to the 40th School Squadron at Kelly Field to finish its career as a ZLB-6. Specification of the Keystone LB-11: Two 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 Cyclone air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 115 mph at sea level Weight: 13,000 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 49 feet 3 inches, height 15 feet 6 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Keystone XLB-11

6. E-mail from Lee Perna with corrections on dates for XLB-11 conversion.

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Keystone LB-12

Keystone LB-12
Last revised December 22, 2000

The first production Keystone LB-7 (28-388) was converted to LB-12 at Wright Field in June 1929. The convertion consisted of the replacement of the Pratt and Whitney R-16903 radials by a pair of direct drive 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-1 radial engines. The aircraft was wrecked two months after the conversion. Only one example was built. Specification of the Keystone LB-12: Two 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-1 air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 116 mph at sea level Weight: 13,050 pounds gross. Wingspan 75 feet, length 49 feet 3 inches, height 15 feet 6 inches, wing area 1148 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey 6. E-mail from Lee Perna on corrections for conversion dates.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb12.html (1 of 2)08-09-2006 20:16:54

Keystone LB-12

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Keystone LB-13

Keystone LB-13
Last revised July 10, 1999

In 1930, seven Keystone bombers were ordered under the designation LB-13. They were to be equipped with single vertical tails and were to be powered by a pair of 525 hp Pratt & Whitney GR-1690 radials. Serials were 30-344/353. In 1930, the USAAC abandoned its separate designation categories for light (LB) and heavy (HB) bombers, and classified them both under the B category. Of seven LB-13s ordered, five were completed as Y1B-4s with 575 hp R-1860-7 engines (30-344/348 and the other two as Y1B-6 with 575 hp R-1820-1 engines (30-349/350). Three more Y1B-6s were converted from B-3As (30-351/353) Specification of the Keystone Y1B-4: Two 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-7 alr-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 121 mph at sea level Weight: 13,011 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 9 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Specification of the Keystone Y1B-6: Two 575 hp Wright R-1820-1 air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 120 mph at sea level Weight: 13,300 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 9 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:

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Keystone LB-13

1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb13.html (2 of 2)08-09-2006 20:17:00

Keystone LB-14

Keystone LB-14
Last revised July 10, 1999

In 1930, three Keystone bombers were ordered under the designation LB-14. They were to be equipped with single vertical tails and were to be powered by a pair of 525 hp Pratt & Whitney GR-1860 radials. In 1930, the USAAC abandoned its separate designation categories for light (LB) and heavy (HB) bombers, and classified them both under the B category. The LB-14s that were ordered were completed as Y1B-5s with 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 engines. However, it is uncertain if these were ever actually delivered. Specification of the Keystone Y1B-5: Two 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 111 mph at sea level Weight: 13,100 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 9 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Two Lewis machine guns in an open gunner's position in the nose, two Lewis machine guns in an open dorsal gunner's position, one Lewis gun firing downward through an opening in the lower fuselage. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/lb14.html (1 of 2)08-09-2006 20:17:05

Keystone LB-14

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Martin MB-1

Martin MB-1
Last revised July 5, 1999

In 1916, Glenn L. Martin withdrew from the Wright-Martin combine that he had been involved with and struck out on his own. The Glenn L. Martin aircraft company was established in Cleveland, Ohio in late 1917. One of the first Army contracts landed by the new company was the design a new bomber that would hopefully outperform the British-designed Handley-Page, which was at that time scheduled to be built in the USA by Standard Aircraft of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The aircraft that emerged was designated MB-1 by the Martin company. It was a wooden, fabriccovered biplane powered by a pair of liquid-cooled 400 hp Liberty 12A engines suspended between the wings. The engines were cooled by a set of radiators situated in the front of the engine mounts just above the propeller shaft. Two bays of struts were outboard of the engines. The fixed mainwheels were aligned on a single axle. The tail consisted of twin rudders, mounted on top of a single horizontal stabilizer. A crew of 3 could be carried, a bombardier in a nose position, a pilot, and a gunner in a position in the upper fuselage just aft of the top wing.. The armament consisted of five 0.30-inch machine guns, two in the nose position, two in the aft fuselage position, plus one firing downward and to the rear through a trapdoor. Maximum bombload was 1040 pounds. The original contract for six examples was issued on January 17, 1918. It was increased to 50 on October 22, 1918, but then was cut back to ten in January 1919. The first MB-1 flew on August 17, 1918. A total of ten examples were built, the last being delivered to the US Army Air Service in February of 1920. They were designated GMB by the USAAS, where the letters stood for "Glenn Martin Bomber". Their serials were 39055/39060 and 62948/62951. They were the first American-designed bombers to enter service with the USAAS. The Martin MB-1 had a good performance for its day. However, the Martin bombers were too late to see any action during World War 1. They formed the nucleus of the first Army bomber squadrons during the immediate postwar years. High power and a relatively small size made the GMB also capable of carrying out the long range observation and the escort fighter roles. The first four were built as observation aircraft, and the next three were built as bombers. The eighth (designated GMT for "Glenn Martin Transcontinental") was a special long-range version capable of 1500-mile range, and the ninth (designated GMC for "Glenn Martin Cannon") was fitted with a 37-mm cannon in the nose.

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Martin MB-1

The last example was completed as a transport by removing all the military equipment, raising the top of the fuselage, and adding cabin windows and seats. The pilot's cockpit was enclosed in a glazed enclosure. It was originally given the designation GMP (for "Glenn Martin Passenger"), but was later designated T-1, where the T was in the T-for-Transport series. Six modified MB-1s were turned over to the US Postal Service and flew air mail delivery runs for a short time during the period when the US government took over the delivery of air mail. So far as I am aware, no MB-1 aircraft survive today. Serials of the Martin MB-1: 39055/39060 62948 62949 62950 62951 Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin GMB GMB GMT GMC GMP (T-1)

Specification of the Martin MB-1: Two 400 hp Liberty 12A liquid-cooled Vee engines. Maximum speed 105 mph at sea level, 100 mph at 6500 feet. 92 mph cruising speed at sea level. Landing speed 53 mph. Service ceiling 10,300 feet. Absolute ceiling 12,250 feet. Initial climb rate 630 feet per minute. An altitude of 6500 feet could be attained in 14 minutes. Range 390 miles with 1040 pound bombload. Empty weight 6702 pounds, gross weight 10,225 pounds. Wingspan 71 feet 5 inches, length 44 feet 10 inches, height 14 feet 7 inches, wing area 1070 square feet. Defensive armament was five 0.30-inch Lewis machine guns. Bombload was normally 1040 pounds. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, 3rd edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Martin MB-2/NBS-1

Martin MB-2/NBS-1
Last revised July 5, 1999

An improved version of the Martin MB-1, the MB-2, was ordered by the USAAS in June of 1920. This model had new and larger wings that were intended to make it possible to carry a heavier bomb load. In the MB-1, the Liberty engines were suspended between the wings by a system of struts, but on the MB2, the twin Liberty engines were lowered to sit inside nacelles attached to the lower wing. As compared to the MB-1, the landing gear was simplified to only two wheels. The non-staggered wings were hinged at the rear spars just outboard of the engines, and could be folded aft for storage. The armament consisted of five Lewis machine guns, two in the front cockpit, two in the rear, and one aimed downwards and to the rear. A crew of four could be carried. The MB-2 was designed specifically as a night bomber, and sacrificed the high speed and maneuverability of the MB-1 for a greater bombload. Ten MB-2s were built by the Glenn L. Martin company in Cleveland, and were redesignated NBS-1 when the new Army designation scheme was introduced. Their serials were 64195/64214. These planes are best remembered today as being the aircraft which participated in the famous Billy Mitchell demonstration of July 21, 1921 in which the exGerman battle cruiser *Ostfreisland* was sunk by aerial bombardment. Special 2000-pound bombs had to be designed for the test. Martin proposed to the Army that 50 more NBS-1 bombers be built. However, under the prevailing policy of the time, the rights to the NBS-1 design were owned by the Army rather than by Martin. Consequently, the Army had the right to ask for competitive bids on the project from other manufacturers. In 1921, Curtiss underbid the Glenn L. Martin Co. for the production of 50 examples of the NBS-1. In order to spread scarce military procurements among as many manufacturers as possible, contracts for 35 other NBS-1s were granted to the L.W.F. (Lowe, Willard, and Fowler) Engineering Company of College Point, New York and a contract for 25 more was granted to the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Co. of Keyport, New Jersey. The last 20 Curtiss-built NBS-1 bombers were equipped with General Electric turbosuperchargers. These were the first airplanes to use turbosuperchargers in production quantities. With these turbosuperchargers, the NBS-1 could reach a service ceiling of 25,341 feet. However, the use of turbosuperchargers in bombers proved to be premature, the early superchargers being notoriously unreliable. Practical application of turbosuperchargers to bombers did not take place until the B-17B of 1939. Eight Army bombing squadrons used the NBS-1--the 11th, 20th, 49th and 96th Squadrons with the 2nd
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Martin MB-2/NBS-1

Bomb Group based at Langley Field in Virginia, the 23rd and 72nd Squadrons with the 5th Composite Group in Hawaii, and the 28th Squadron with the 4th Composite Group in the Philippines. They remained in service until replaced by Keystone bombers in 1928-29. Serials of NB-2/NBS-1: Martin MB-2 L.W.F. NBS-1 Curtiss NBS-1 Aeromarine NBS-1 Specification of Martin NBS-1: Two 420hp Liberty 12 liquid-cooled Vee engines. Maximum speed 99 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 92 mph. Landing speed 59 mph. Initial climb rate 391 feet per minute. Service ceiling 8500 feet. Maximum ceiling 9900 feet. Range 400 miles with 2000 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 558 miles. Wingspan 74 feet 2 inches, length 42 feet 8 inches, height 14 feet 8 inches, wing area 1121 square feet Armament consisted of five 0.30-inch machine guns. An internal bombload of up to 1800 pounds could be carried. Instead of the internal bombload, an external bombload of up to 2000 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979 64195/64214 68437/68471 68478/68527 22-201/225

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Barling XNBL-1

Barling XNBL-1
Index
Last revised: 29 December 1995

1. XNBL-1 "Barling" Bomber


G

Sources

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Barling XNBL-1 -- Chapter 1

Barling XNBL-1 - Chapter 1


XNBL-1 "Barling" Bomber
Last revised: 29 May 1998 Barling XNBL-1 Barling XNBL-1 - Sources The XNBL-1 was the first really large bomber to be designed from the ground up in the USA. It was initially designed by the US Army Engineering Division, which was based at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. The chief designer was Walter Barling, who had experience with aircraft design in England. The XNBL-1 (or "Barling Bomber", as it came to be known) was a rather clumsy-looking triplane powered by six 420 hp Liberty 12A liquid cooled engines. Four of the engines were in tractor configuration, placed in mounts attached by struts underneath the middle wing. Two more engines were placed in pusher configuration, mounted behind the inner tractor engines. The box-like tail had a biplane horizontal tailplane configuration and had four separate rudders. The main landing gear had no less than ten wheels. A crew of eight could be carried. Armament consisted of seven 0.30-inch machine guns. The Witteman-Lewis Company of Teterboro, New Jersey won a competitive contract to build two examples of the design. Serials were 64215 and 64216. The second XNBL-1 was canceled before it could be built. The first example was built in parts at Teterboro and then trucked out in pieces to Wright Field for final assembly. The last of the parts had arrived by July 22, 1922, but it took over a year before they could actually be assembled. The XNBL-1 (64215) took to the air for the first time on August 22, 1923, Lt. H.R. Harris being at the controls. Colonel Billy Mitchell was an enthusiastic backer of the XNBL-1, but its performance was rather disappointing. The speed, load and endurance were all well below expectations. The maximum speed was less than 100 mph, and range with a 5000-pound bombload was only 170 miles, not a very useful distance. The operational ceiling of the XNBL-1 was so low that it could not safely cross the mountains to reach either coast. Consequently, the XNBL-1 was not ordered into production. However, the XNBL1 did manage to set some new records, including a record flight was made to an altitude of 6722 feet with a 4400 pound load. The sole XNBL-1 was dismantled and scrapped in 1928. It would not be until 1937 that the US Army would attempt to produce anything as large.

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Barling XNBL-1 -- Chapter 1

Specification of XNBL-1:
Powerplant: Six 420 hp Liberty 12A liquid-cooled engine. Performance: Maximum speed 96 mph at sea level, 93 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 61 mph, landing speed 55 mph. Service ceiling 7725 feet. Absolute ceiling 10,200 feet. Initial climb rate 352 feet per minute. Range was 170 miles with 5000 pounds of bombs. Maximum range was 335 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 120 feet, length 65 feet height 27 feet. Wing area 4200 square feet. Weights: Empty weight 27,703 pounds, gross weight 32,203 pounds, maximum weight 42,569 pounds. Armament: Armed with seven 0.30-inch machine guns. A maximum bombload of 5000 pounds could be carried. Barling XNBL-1 Barling XNBL-1 - Sources

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Barling XNBL-1 -- Sources

Barling XNBL-1 - Sources


Last revised: 29 May 1998 Barling XNBL-1 Barling XNBL-1 - Chapter 1: XNBL-1 "Barling" Bomber
G

Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Smithsonian, 1989. Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_us/nbl-1-s.html08-09-2006 20:17:33

Martin XNBL-2

Martin XNBL-2
Index
Last revised: 29 December 1995

1. Martin XNBL-2
G

Sources

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_us/nbl-2i.html08-09-2006 20:18:48

Martin XNBL-2 -- Chapter 1

Martin XNBL-2 - Chapter 1


Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin XNBL-2 Martin XNBL-2 - Sources During the early 1920s, the Glenn L. Martin Company proposed an advanced four-place monoplane bomber design. It was to have been powered by a pair of 700 hp 18-cylinder W-2779 engines designed by the US Army's Engineering Division. The engines were to be mounted in the leading edge of the wing, which had a span of 98 feet. The Army showed sufficient interest that they ordered two prototypes under the designation XNBL-2. For a time, Colonel Billy Mitchell had promoted the XNBL-2 as the answer to the Army's long-range heavy bomber needs. However, the concept seems to have been far too advanced for the time, and the XNBL-2 project was canceled before anything could be built. Martin XNBL-2 Martin XNBL-2 - Sources

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_us/nbl-2-01.html08-09-2006 20:18:51

Martin XNBL-2 -- Sources

Martin XNBL-2 - Sources


Last revised: 29 May 1998 Martin XNBL-2 Martin XNBL-2 - Chapter 1
G

Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Smithsonian, 1989. Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_us/nbl-2-s.html08-09-2006 20:18:54

LWF NBS-2

LWF NBS-2
Last revised July 5, 1999

The NBS-2 was a project of the L.W.F. (Lowe, Willard, and Fowler) Engineering Company of College Point, Long Island for a twin-engined biplane bomber designed to replace the Martin-designed NBS-1. The L.W.F company had manufactured 35 examples of the NBS-1, and the company's proposal was based largely on their experience with that project. Like the NBS-1, the NBS-2 was to have been powered by a pair of Liberty 12A liquid-cooled engines. However, unlike the NBS-1, the fuselage was to be made largely of metal. Unfortunately, the L.W.F. company went out of business in April of 1923 before anything could be completed, and the project was cancelled. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, 3rd edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/nbs2.html08-09-2006 20:19:10

Elias XNBS-3

Elias XNBS-3
Last revised July 5, 1999

The Elias XNBS-3 was built in response to a 1922 Army program intended to produce an aircraft that would replace the Martin-designed NBS-1 bomber. A single prototype of the XNBS-3 was ordered in 1922 by the USAAS. The XNBS-3 had much the same configuration as the NBS-1, being a wooden, fabric-covered biplane powered by a pair of 425 hp Liberty 12A engines mounted inside nacelles attached to the lower wing. It differed from the NBS-1 in having a boxlike biplane tail, which was somewhat of a retrograde step. The armament consisted of five Lewis machine guns, two in the front cockpit, two in the rear, and one aimed downwards and to the rear. The single XNBS-3 (serial number 68567) was tested in August of 1924 and did 101 mph while carring a 1692 pound bombload. However, the XNBS-3 offered essentially no advance over the existing NBS-1 and was not ordered into production. Specification of Elias XNBS-3: Two 425hp Liberty 12A liquid-cooled Vee engines. Maximum speed 101 mph at sea level and 96 mph at 6500 feet. Landing speed 65 mph. Initial climb rate 405 feet per minute. Service ceiling 8680 feet. Maximum ceiling 11,500 feet. Range 485 miles with 1692 pounds of bombs. 8809 pounds empty, 14,343 pounds gross. Wingspan 77 feet 6 inches, length 48 feet 5 inches, height 16 feet 10 inches, wing area 1542 square feet Armament consisted of five 0.30-inch machine guns. A bombload of up to 1692 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, 3rd edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/nbs3.html08-09-2006 20:19:17

Curtiss XNBS-4

Curtiss XNBS-4
Last revised July 5, 1999

In 1922, Curtiss received a contract to develop two examples of a night bomber intended to replace the Martin-designed NBS-1 biplane bomber that was at that time the only twin-engined bomber in Army service. They were assigned the designation XNBS-4. Curtiss had built 50 Martin-designed NBS-1s for the US Army Air Service in 1921/22, and the XNBS-4 drew heavily on that experience. Like the NBS-1, the XNBS-4 was a conventional biplane powered by two Liberty 12 engines mounted inside nacelles attached to the lower wing. A crew of four could be carried. However, the XNBS-4 differed from the NBS-1 in having a welded steel-tube fuselage instead of a wooden one. A new and thicker Curtiss C-72 airfoil replaced the RAF 15 airfoil of the NBS-1. The bomb-aimer's position was built into an offset on the port side of the fuselage instead of under the nose gunner's position as was the usual position. Unlike the NBS-1, the XNBS-4 had a boxlike biplane tail, which was somewhat of a retrograde step. The serial numbers of the two XNBS-4s were 68571 and 68572. The first XNBS-4 was delivered in May of 1924. One of the XNBS-4s was modified by having each engine nacelle extended aft of the wing trailing edge so that it could accommodate a defensive gunner position in the rear. It was hoped that this arrangement would offer a clearer field of fire for the gunners than the more conventional fuselage-situated positions. This was not an entirely new and unique idea, having been tried out on British and German bombers during the War. Like the Elias XNBS-3, the Curtiss XNBS-4 offered no real advantage over the existing Martindesigned NBS-1, and was not ordered into production. However, it did provide Curtiss with valuable design experience which culminated in the successful Condor bomber and transport series of 1927-29. Specification of the Curtiss XNBS-4: Two 435 hp Liberty 12A liquid-cooled engines. Maximum speed 100 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 82.9 mph. Landing speed 53 mph. Service ceiling 11,100 feet, absolute ceiling 13,000 feet. Initial climb rate 283 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 11.5 minutes. Range was 500 miles with 2000 pounds of bombs. Empty weight 7864 pounds, gross weight 13,795 pounds. Wingspan 90 feet 2 inches, length 46 feet 5 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1524.4 square feet. Armed

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Curtiss XNBS-4

with five 0.3-inch Lewis machine guns, two each in positions in the nose and aft cockpits, and a single Lewis firing downward from the bottom of the fuselage. A bombload of 2100 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, 3rd edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.

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Huff-Daland XB-1

Huff-Daland XB-1
Last revised July 11, 1999

Huff-Daland and Co, Inc. of Ogdensburg, New York is not exactly one of the better known aircraft companies. Only a relatively few people still remember this company today. Nevertheless, during the late 1920s and early 1930s, Huff-Daland (and its successor Keystone) was the primary manufacturer of biplane bombers for the US Army Air Corps. In particular, this company had the honor of producing the first entry in the B-for-bomber series. This category had been introduced in 1924 along with the LB (Light Bomber) and the HB (Heavy Bomber) categories. The XB-1 was essentially a twin-engined adaptation of the Huff-Daland XHB-1 single-engined heavy bomber. As early as April of 1926, the Army had decided that single-engined bombers were unsatisfactory, concluding that the more conventional twin-engined configuration was safer and had the additional advantage of allowing for a gunner and/or bomb-aiming position to be mounted in the nose. The XB-1 (serial number 27-334) was originally powered by a pair of 510 hp Packard 2A-1530 liquidcooled engines, and took to the air for the first time in September of 1927. The B-1 also differed from the XHB-1 in having a twin tail rather than a single tail. Instead of a single rear gunner with his view being blocked by the tail assembly, there were now two gunners, one seated in the rear of each engine nacelle. Twin Lewis guns were provided for each of these gunners, with a third pair provided for a gunner's position in the nose. This particular arrangement was not exactly new, having been tried out on both British and German bombers during World War 1. A total of five crew members were carried. A pilot and a copilot were seated side-by-side in a cockpit ahead of the wing, a gunner/ bombardier was seated in a nose position, and a gunner was seated in the rear of each engine nacelle. The Packard engines were later replaced by 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-5 Conquerors, and the aircraft was redesignated XB-1B. By this time, the Huff-Daland company had been reorganized as Keystone. The XB-1B found itself in competition with the Curtiss B-2 Condor, the Sikorsky S-37B Guardian, and the Fokker-Atlantic XLB-2 high-winged monoplane for Army production orders. The Curtiss design was deemed to be the best of the lot, and only one example of the XB-1B was built.

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Huff-Daland XB-1

Specification of the Keystone XB-1B: Two 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-5 Conqueror liquid-cooled engines. Maximum speed 117 mph at sea level, service ceiling 15,000 feet, range 700 miles with 2508 pound bombload. Weights: 9462 pounds empty, 16,500 pounds gross, 17,039 pounds maximum. Wingspan 85 feet, length 62 feet, height 19 feet 3 inches, wing area 1604 square feet. Armed with six Lewis machine guns, paired in engine nacelle and nose positions. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Curtiss B-2 Condor

Curtiss B-2 Condor


Last revised December 22, 2000

The Curtiss XB-2 (26-211) was a direct development of the Curtiss-built Martin MB-2 (NBS-1) through the two Curtiss XNBS-4s. The primary differences were that steel tubing was used instead of wood for fuselage construction, Curtiss Conqueror liquid-cooled engines were used in place of the war-surplus Liberty engines, and the thicker Curtiss C-72 airfoil was used. A single XB-2 prototype was ordered by the Army in 1926. The serial number was 26-211. First flight of the XB-2 took place in September 1927. The Conqueror engines were housed inside nacelles mounted on top of the lower wing. The engines were cooled by rather angular radiators which jutted up vertically from each nacelle. Like the NBS from which it had evolved, the XB-2 had twin rudders with twin horizontal stabilizers, which was a rather old-fashioned arrangement even by the standards of 1927. One of the more unusual innovations introduced by the XB-2 was the addition of a defensive gunner position in the rear of each nacelle. It was hoped that this arrangement would offer a clearer field of fire for the gunners than the more conventional fuselage-situated positions. An additional gunner position was provided in the nose. Each position was provided with a pair of Lewis machine guns. A similar arrangement was fitted to the competing Keystone XB-1B. The XB-2 found itself in competition against the Keystone XB-1B, the Keystone XLB-6, the Sikorsky S37B, and the Atlantic-Fokker XLB-2. When an Army board of review met in February of 1928 to decide which design was to be awarded a contract, they immediately ruled out the XB-1B, the XLB-2, and the S37. However, the Board was unable to decide between the XB-2 and the XLB-6. The XB-2 had the better performance, but the XLB-6 was only $24,750 per unit. The per unit cost of the B-2 was $76,373, more than three times the cost of a Keystone bomber. In a split decision, the Board opted for the Keystone design, but on June 23, 1928 Curtiss was given a contract for two B-2s (28-398/399). A further ten examples were ordered in 1929 (serials were 29-28/37). The twelve production B-2s were delivered from May 1929 to January 1930. Notable differences from the XB-2 included the use of three-bladed propellers and somewhat shorter and wider radiators mounted on top of the engine nacelles. One B-2 (serial number 29-30) became B-2A when fitted with full dual controls. During the early 1930s, the advances in bomber design were so rapid that canvas-covered biplanes such as the B-2 rapidly became obsolete. Consequently, the B-2 served only briefly with the Army, being taken out of service in 1934. The last B-2 was surveyed in July of 1936. So far as I am aware, none survive today. Serials of Curtiss B-2 Condor
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Curtiss B-2 Condor

28-398/399 Curtiss B-2 Condor 28-398 DELIVERED 6/10/29, SURVEYED 10/3/34, MARCH FIELD 28-399 DELIVERED 8/10/29, SURVEYED 8/15/34, MARCH FIELD 29-028/037 Curtiss B-2 Condor 29-028 DELIVERED 10/10/29, WRECKED 12/4/29 (TWO KILLED), LANGLEY FIELD 29-029 DELIVERED 11/2/29, SURVEYED 10/3/34, MARCH FIELD 29-030 DELIVERED 10/17/29, CONVERTED TO B-2A 10/6/31, SURVEYED 12/22/33, MARCH FIELD 29-031 DELIVERED 11/28/29, SURVEYED 8/6/34, MARCH FIELD 29-032 DELIVERED 12/9/29, SURVEYED 8/6/34, MARCH FIELD 29-033 DELIVERED 12/14/29, SURVEYED 8/6/34, MARCH FIELD 29-034 DELIVERED 12/22/29, SURVEYED 6/17/35, MARCH FIELD 29-035 DELIVERED 12/26/29, SURVEYED 5/23/33, MARCH FIELD 29-036 DELIVERED 1/4/30, SURVEYED 7/22/36, ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS 29-037 DELIVERED 1/16/30, SURVEYED 9/29/34, ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS

Specification of the Curtiss B-2 Condor: Two 633 hp Curtiss V-1570-7 Conqueror liquid-cooled engines. Maximum speed 132 mph at sea level, 128 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 114 mph, landing speed 53 mph. Service ceiling 17,100 feet, absolute ceiling 16,400 feet. Initial climb rate 850 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 6.8 minutes. Range was 780 miles with 2508 pounds of bombs. Empty weight 9039 pounds, gross weight 16,516 pounds. Wingspan 90 feet, length 47 feet 6 inches, height 16 feet 3 inches, wing area 1499 square feet. Armed with two Lewis machine guns in each of the gunner positions at the rear of the engine nacelles, plus an additional pair of Lewis guns in the nose position. Bombload was normally 2508 pounds, but could be increased to 4000 pounds on short flights. Sources:
1. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian,

1989.
3. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 4. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 5. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation

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Curtiss B-2 Condor

6. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey 7. E-mail from Lee Perma on dispositions of B-2s. Also information about costs.

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Keystone B-3A

Keystone B-3A
Last revised July 11, 1999

The 17th production Keystone LB-6 on the 1929 contract (29-027) had been completed as the LB-10. The LB-10 differed from the LB-6 in being powered by a pair of experimental 525 hp Wright R-1750-1 Cyclone radial engines, plus it had a single rudder in place of the twin rudders which Keystone had standardized on the LB-5A. The single-rudder adaptation introduced by the LB-10 had impressed the USAAC, and 63 examples were ordered under the designation LB-10A. Serials were 30-281/343. The LB-10A differed from the LB-10 in being powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radials, as well as in having a slightly smaller wingspan and a slightly shorter fuselage. However, before the first LB-10A could be delivered, the USAAC had dropped the LB designation and was listing all of its bombers under the B series. The LB-10A was redesignated B-3A. The first B-3A was delivered in October of 1930. The B-3A carried a crew of five--pilot, copilot, bombardier, front and rear gunners. The sixty-three B-3A bombers ended up serving with the 6th Composite Group based in the Canal Zone and the 4th Composite Group based in the Philippines. In addition, the 19th Bomb Group was activated in June 1932 with nine B-3As. The Keystone B-3A of the early 1930s was not very much faster than the biplane bombers that flew during the First World War. It would seem at first sight, then, that the state of the art had not advanced very far in the past fifteen years. However, performance was not the entire story--the Keystone bombers were far more safe and much more reliable than the Handley Page, Gotha, or Friedrichshafen bombers of World War 1. In May of 1932, a group of B-3A biplane bombers flew down the Hudson River to parade above New York City in a display of America's aerial strength. At that time, this parade of lumbering Keystone bombers represented virtually the entire bomber strength of the Army Air Corps. Serials: 30-281/343 Keystone B-3A

Specification of the Keystone B-3A: Two 525 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 Hornet air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 114 mph at sea level, 109.5 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 98 mph. Landing speed 56 mph. Service ceiling
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Keystone B-3A

12,700 feet. Initial climb rate 650 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 9.4 minutes. Range was 860 miles. Weight: 7705 pounds empty, 12,952 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 8 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Armed with three Browning machine guns, one in each of nose, dorsal, and ventral positions. A bomb load of 2500 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Keystone B-4

Keystone B-4
Last revised July 11, 1999

In 1930, seven Keystone biplane bombers were ordered under the designation LB-13. They were to be equipped with single vertical tails and were to be powered by a pair of 525 hp Pratt & Whitney GR-1690 radials. Serials were 30-344/353. However, in the early 1930s, the USAAC abandoned its separate classification scheme for light (LB) and heavy (HB) bombers, and grouped them both under the B category. The bombers in the LB series already under order had to be redesignated. In particular, of seven LB-13s ordered, five were completed as Y1B-4s with 575 hp R-1860-7 engines (30-344/348). On April 28, 1931, the Army ordered 25 examples of the B-4A, which was an improved production version of the Y1B-4. Serials were 32-117/141. Like the B-3A, the B-4A carried five crew members--two pilots, a bombardier, and a front and rear gunner. The B-4A was externally almost identical to the B-3A which preceded it (as well as to the B-5 and B-6 which followed it). These Keystone bombers usually differed from each other only in the type of engine which powered them, and it was often only possible to distinguish one from the other by an examination of their serial numbers. Serials: 30-344/348 32-117/141 Keystone Y1B-4 Keystone B-4A

Specification of the Keystone B-4A: Two 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-7 air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 121 mph at sea level, 103 mph cruising speed. Initial climb rate 690 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be reached in 8.6 minutes. Service ceiling 14,000 feet. Range 855 miles. Weight: 7951 pounds empty, 13,209 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 8 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Armed with three Browning machine guns, one in each of nose, dorsal, and ventral positions. A bomb load of 2500 pounds could be carried. Sources:

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Keystone B-4

1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Keystone B-5

Keystone B-5
Last revised July 11, 1999

In 1930, three Keystone biplane bombers were ordered under the designation LB-14. They were to be equipped with single vertical tails and were to be powered by a pair of 525 hp Pratt & Whitney GR-1860 radials. Shortly thereafter, the USAAC abandoned its separate designation categories for light (LB) and heavy (HB) bombers, and classified them both under the B category. The LB-14s that were ordered were completed under the designation Y1B-5s with 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 engines. However, it is uncertain if these were ever actually delivered. 27 production versions of the Y1B-5 were obtained by converting existing B-3As. These conversions were assigned the designation B-5A. They were powered by a pair of Wright R-1750-3 Cyclone aircooled radial engines. The Cyclone engined Keystones could be distinguished from the Hornet-powered Keystones by the presence of the exhaust rings in front on the Cyclones and in the rear on the Hornets. The B-5A carried a crew of five--pilot, copilot, bombardier, front and rear gunners. Except for the engines, the B-5A was almost identical to the B-3A from which it was converted. The B-5A served with the 72nd Squadron of the 5th Composite Group based at Luke Field in Hawaii. In addition, a training squadron at Kelly Field had a few B-5As. Specification of the Keystone B-5A: Two 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 Cyclone air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 111 mph at sea level, 106 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 98 mph. Landing speed 57 mph. Service ceiling 10,600 feet. Absolute ceiling 13,000 feet. Weight: 7705 pounds empty, 12,952 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 8 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Armed with three Browning machine guns, one in each of nose, dorsal, and ventral positions. A bomb load of 2500 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston
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Keystone B-5

4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Keystone B-6

Keystone B-6
Last revised July 11, 1999

In 1930, seven Keystone bombers were ordered under the designation LB-13. They were to be equipped with single vertical tails and were to be powered by a pair of 525 hp Pratt & Whitney GR-1690 radials. Serials were 30-344/353. In 1930, the USAAC abandoned its separate designation categories for light (LB) and heavy (HB) bombers, and classified them both under the B category. Of seven LB-13s ordered, five were completed as Y1B-4s with 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-7 Hornet engines (30-344/348) and the other two were completed as Y1B-6 with 575 hp Wright R-1820-1 Cyclone engines (30-349/350). Three more Wrightpowered Y1B-6s (30-351/353) were produced by conversion from production Pratt & Whitney-powered B-3As On April 28, 1931, the Army ordered 39 B-6A bombers. The B-6A was an improved production version of the Y1B-6. At the same time, the Army ordered 25 B-4As, which were similar but were powered by Pratt & Whitney Hornets. Despite their later sequence number, the Cyclone-powered B-6As were delivered first, being manufactured from August 1931 to January 1932, with the Hornet-powered B-4As being delivered from January to April of 1932. Both the B-4 and the B-6 had three-bladed propellers. The two aircraft could be distinguished from each other by the engine exhaust rings, which were in the front on the Cyclone-powered B-6 and in the rear on the Hornet-powered B-4. The two planes were otherwise almost completely identical. The B-6A served with the 20th, 49th and 96th Squadrons of the 2nd Bomb Group based at Langley Field, Virginia. Well over 200 Keystone biplane bombers were built. Only 120 of them served in the continental USA, the remainder being deployed in Hawaii, the Philippines, and in the Canal Zone. Several Keystone bombers took part in the National Air Races. They also performed as mail carriers during the few months in 1934 when the Army took over the flying of the air mail. A few B-6As were still in service when World War 2 began, but none saw any action. 30-349/353 32-142/180 Keystone Y1B-6 Keystone B-6A

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Keystone B-6

Specification of the Keystone B-6A: Two 575 hp Wright R-1820-7 Cyclone air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 121 mph at sea level, 116mph at 5000 feet. 103 mph cruising speed. Landing speed 57 mph. Initial climb rate 690 feet per minute. An altitude of 5000 feet could be reached in 8.6 minutes. Service ceiling 14,100 feet, absolute ceiling 16,500 feet. Range 363 miles with 2500 pounds of bombs, maximum range 855 miles. Weight: 8057 pounds empty, 13,334 pounds gross. Wingspan 74 feet 8 inches, length 48 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 1145 square feet. Armed with three Browning machine guns, one in each of nose, dorsal, and ventral positions. A bomb load of 2500 pounds could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation 5. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Douglas B-7

Douglas B-7
Last revised July 11, 1999

In early 1930, the Douglas aircraft company submitted a proposal to the Army for a twin-engined observation plane. It was designed to compete with the Fokker XO-27, two examples of which had been ordered in June of 1929. The Douglas proposal was for a monoplane with high-mounted braced gull wings and metal construction with corrugated duralumin covering on the fuselage and tail surfaces. It was to be powered by a pair of Curtiss Conqueror twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines that were housed in nacelles attached underneath the wing by a series of struts. The main undercarriage members retracted backwards into the engine nacelles, but the lower portion of the wheels remained exposed in order to reduce the amount of damage in the event of a wheels-up landing. Four crew members were to be carried--an observer/gunner in an open cockpit in the nose firing a single 0.30-inch machine gun, a pilot in an open cockpit just ahead of the wing, a gunner in an open dorsal cockpit in the rear fuselage firing a single 0.30-inch machine gun, and a radio operator in an enclosed cabin admidships. On March 26, 1930, the Army ordered two example of the Douglas proposal. One was designated XO35 (30-227) and the other XO-36 (30-228). The two planes were to be almost identical to each other, with the primary difference being that the XO-35 had two geared 600 hp Curtiss GIV-1570C (military designation V-1570-29) Conquerors driving three-bladed propellers and the XO-36 had two direct-drive 600 hp Curtiss V-1570C (military designation V-1570-23) Conquerors driving two-bladed propellers. Since the propellers of the XO-36 were of smaller diameter than those of the XO-35, the engine nacelles of the XO-36 were to be mounted 8 inches closer to the aircraft centerline. The performance of the XO-35/36 promised to greatly exceed that of the lumbering Keystone biplanes that were at that time the standard USAAC light bombers. Consequently, the Army decided to have the XO-36 completed as a light bomber rather than as an observation plane. It was assigned the designation XB-7, and was to have been equipped with racks for 1200 pounds of bombs underneath the fuselage. At the same time, the Army ordered that the second Fokker XO-27 be completed as a light bomber under the designation XB-8. The XO-35 flew for the first time in the spring of 1931. It was delivered to Wright Field on October 24, 1931. The XB-7 was delivered to Wright Field in July of 1932. The XB-7 had racks for 1200 pounds of bombs underneath the fuselage. Both planes had corrugated metal fuselage and tail coverings. The tailplane was supported by wire bracing.

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Douglas B-7

On August 22, 1931, the USAAC ordered seven Y1B-7 bombers and five Y1O-35s. Serials were 32308/314 and 32-315/319 respectively. These were delivered between August and November of 1932. Both the bomber and observation models standardized on geared versions of the Conqueror engine. The Y1B-7 was powered by a pair of 640 hp V-1570-33 or 675 hp V-1570-52 engines, whereas the Y1O-35 was powered by a pair of 650 hp V-1570-39 or 675 hp V-1570-53 engines. The service-test aircraft differed from the prototypes in having smooth rather than corrugated metal covering on their fuselages and in having fabric covering for their movable tail surfaces. The length was increased from 45 feet to 45 feet 11 inches, and an adjustable tab was added to the rudder. The tailplane was now supported by metal struts rather than by wires. Fuel capacity was increased by 116 US gallons. The fuel distribution system was modified and the engine controls and the oil cooler were improved. Shortly afterward, the Army lost interest in twin-engined observation aircraft and no production examples of the Y1O-35 were ordered. The Y1B-7 was rapidly made obsolete by advances in bomber technology (such as the Martin B-10), and no production was ordered for this version either. The seven Y1B-7s were assigned to the 11th and 31st Bombardment Squadrons at March Field in California, becoming the Army's first monoplane bomber to enter service. They were later redesignated B-7. One was lost in a crash during its first year of operation. The five Y1O-35s (later redesignated O35) entered service with Observation Squadrons at Crissy and Mitchel Fields. On February 9, 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt cancelled all air mail contracts with civilian carriers and ordered the Army Air Corps to take over the flying of the air mail. The Army had few aircraft that ware suitable for this mission, but a motley collection of bombers, transports, observation planes, and even fighters were assembled. Among the planes assigned to air mail duty were the XO-35, the five O35s, and the six surviving B-7s. These planes were assigned the mission of carrying the air mail from Cheyenne, Wyoming to the Pacific coast, a particular dangerous route since it involved flying over a lot of mountains. By June 1, 1934, when the Army Air Corps finally stopped flying the air mail, four B-7s had been lost in accidents. However, the XO-35 prototype and all five of the O-35s survived the air mail duty. Following the completion of the air mail duty, the O-35/B-7s which had survived returned to more conventional military roles, and they remained flying until nearly the end of the 1930s, despite their obsolescence. The XO-35 was surveyed on October 28, 1938, with the XB-7 being surveyed six months later. The last of the O-35s was surveyed in February of 1939. The two B-7s which had survived the air mail ordeal were surveyed in 1938/39. No O-35/B-7 bombers survive today. Serials: Douglas XO-35 Douglas XO-36 --> XB-7 Douglas Y1B-7 30-227 30-228 32-308/314

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Douglas B-7

Douglas Y1O-35 Specification of the Douglas Y1B-7

32-315/319

Two 640 hp Curtiss V-1570-33 or 675 hp V-1570-52 Conqueror twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines. Maximum speed: 182 mph at sea level, 177 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed: 155 mph. Landing speed 78 mph. Climb to 5000 feet in 3.7 minutes. Climb to 10,000 feet in 8.7 minutes. Service ceiling 20,400 feet, absolute ceiling 21,800 feet. Normal range 411 miles, maximum range 632 miles. Weights: 5519 pounds empty, 9953 pounds loaded, 11,177 pounds maximum Dimensions: wingspan 65 feet, length 45 feet 11 inches, height 11 feet 7 inches, wing area 621.2 square feet. Armed with two 0.30inch machine guns, one in a flexible nose position and the other in a flexible dorsal position. 1200 pounds of bombs could be carried on racks underneath the fuselage. Sources: 1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 3. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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Fokker XB-8

Fokker XB-8
Last revised May 8, 2005

The Fokker Aircraft Corporation of Teterboro, New Jersey (formerly known as the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation) was the American subsidiary of the famed Dutch-based Fokker corporation. Fokker was a pioneering designer of monoplane aircraft for both the civilian and the military market. In 1929, the Fokker design department at Teterboro developed a proposal for an observation aircraft that could replace the Douglas O-25. The aircraft (designated Model 16 by the company) was a true cantilever monoplane with no struts or rigging wires. The plywood-covered high-mounted wing was similar to those fitted to contemporary Fokker commercial aircraft and was made of wooden box spars with plywood spars and ribs, covered with a plywood veneer. The fuselage was made of steel tubing and was covered with fabric. The aircraft was powered by a pair of Curtiss V-1570-9 Conqueror twelvecylinder liquid-cooled engines mounted in the leading edge of the wing. The landing gear was retractable, the first such to be fitted to an Army Air Corps observation or bombardment aircraft. The main gear members retracted backwards into the rear engine nacelles, but the wheels remained only partially enclosed. Three crew members (1 pilot plus two gunners) could be carried in open cockpits. Armament was to consist of two flexible 0.30-inch machine guns, one operated by a gunner in a nose position and the other by a gunner in a dorsal position. On June 19, 1929, the US Army Air Corps ordered two prototypes of the Model 16 from Fokker. The designation was XO-27. Serials were 29-327/328. In response to the Fokker design, the Douglas Aircraft Corporation submitted a competing proposal for a twin-engined observation monoplane. On March 26, 1930, the Army ordered two example of the Douglas proposal, one being designated XO-35 and the other XO-36. The two planes were to be almost identical to each other, with the primary difference being that the XO-35 was powered by geared Conquerors and the XO-36 by direct-drive Conquerors.

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Fokker XB-8

The performance of the Douglas XO-35/36 and the Fokker XO-27 promised to greatly exceed that of the lumbering Keystone biplanes that were at that time the standard USAAC light bombers. Consequently, in 1929 the Army decided to have the second prototype of both designs completed as a light bomber rather than as an observation plane. The designation XB-8 was assigned to the Fokker design, XB-7 to the Douglas design. The XO-27 (29-327) was first tested at Wright Field on October 20, 1930. The prototype was later fitted with an enclosure over the pilot's cockpit and was fitted with geared V1570-29 engines, being redesignated XO-27A. In 1930, Fokker-America was absorbed by the General Aviation Corporation, which was a subsidiary of General Motors, the large automobile manufacturing concern. On April 11, 1931, the company received a contract for six service test B-8s (two YB-8s and four Y1B8s. Serials 31-587/592 were issued. On May 13, 1931, six service test Y1O-27s were ordered (31-598/603). They were broadly similar to the YO-27s. These were initially fitted with 600hp Curtiss GIV-1570C Conquerors, but these were replaced during December 1932 with GIV-1570F (V-1570-29) geared units. The XB-8 (29-328) was delivered to Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio in February of 1931. After completing only a few flights, the XB-8 was damaged in an accident. It was repaired and test flights resumed. However, the XB-8 did not have as good a performance as the competing Douglas XB-7, and only one example of the XB-8 was built. The contract for two more prototypes and four service-test aircraft (two YB-8s and four Y1B-8s) was cancelled and was converted into a contract for six YO-27 aircraft. In any case, the advances in bomber design that took place in the early 1930s had become so rapid that both the XB-7 and XB-8 were quickly deemed obsolete and no production was ordered for either design. The dozen production YO-27 and Y1O-27 observation aircraft were delivered to the USAAC between May 15, 1932 and January 6, 1933. The first YO-27 was issued to the 12th Observation Group based at Brooks Field, Texas. Five squadrons were ultimately equipped with these planes--two observation, two bombardment, and one pursuit squadron. These planes were operated primarily for radio practice flights, night navigation training, and long-distence cross-country practice flights. There were numerous accidents, most of which were caused by landing gear failures. However, the aircraft was relatively easy to fly, with no vicious flight characteristics. Surviving YO-27s were surveyed and scrapped during the mid 1930s and none survive today.
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Fokker XB-8

In 1933, the General Motors Corporation underwent a major reorganization and combined its General Aviation Corporation subsidiary into a large conglomerate along with other GM-owned aircraft companies such as Berliner-Joyce and the Curtiss-Caproni Corporation. This conglomerate was also known as the General Aviation Corporation. The complex of General Motors aircraft plants was later organized as the Eastern Aircraft Division and was to manufacture thousands of aircraft under license during the Second World War. Serials: 29-327 29-328 31-587/592 31-598/603 Fokker Fokker Fokker Fokker XO-27 XB-8 YB-8 (delivered as YO-27) Y1O-27

Specification of the Fokker/General Aviation XB-8: Two 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-23 Conqueror twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines. Maximum speed: 160 mph at sea level. Weights: 6861 pounds empty, 10,545 pounds gross. Dimensions: wingspan 64 feet, length 47 feet, height 11 feet 6 inches, wing area 619 square feet. Armed with two 0.30-inch machine guns, one in a flexible nose position and the other in a flexible dorsal position. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey 4. Fokker Twilight--Last of the US Military Fokkers, Alain Pelletier, Air Enthusiast,

May/June 2005, No. 117.

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Boeing B-9

Boeing B-9
Last revised September 10, 2002

The Boeing B-9 was the first cantilever monoplane bomber to be produced for the US Army. The B-9 began life as the Boeing Models 214 and 215. These were companyfunded new bomber designs that were based on the concepts developed by the Model 200 Monomail commercial mail carrier. Both the Model 214 and the Model 215 were low-winged, all-metal cantilever monoplanes. The fuselage was of semi-monocoque construction, which permitted the use of a more nearly circular cross section. The main landing gear retraced rearward into the engine nacelles, but the lower halves of the wheels remained exposed. Five crew members were carried--pilot, copilot, nose gunner/bombardier, rear gunner, and a radio operator. Four of the crew members sat in separate open cockpits, widely separated from each other. The bombardier/nose-gunner sat in a cockpit in the nose, which was equipped with a bomb sight and aiming window in the bottom and had a mount for a single flexible 0.30-inch machine gun around the top. Because the fuselage was so narrow, the pilot and copilot sat in separate tandem cockpits immediately behind the nose gunner. A fourth cockpit for a rear gunner was located on top of the fuselage behind the wing. He operated a single flexible 0.30-inch machine gun. The radio operator was located inside the fuselage just ahead of and below the pilot, and had a window on each side of the nose. Because of their wide separation, crew members had difficulty in communicating with each other in flight. The pilot had limited visibility because of the radial engines on each side and the long forward fuselage immediately ahead. The Models 214 and 215 had rudder servo tabs to assist the pilots in moving the controls, which was the first such installation on an American-designed aircraft. There was no internal bomb bay--there were four hardpoints loctated underwing between the fuselage and engine nacelles. The Models 214 and 215 were virtually identical to each other, differing primarily in the choice of engines. The Model 214 was to be powered by pair of 600 hp Curtiss V-1570
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Boeing B-9

Conqueror Prestone-cooled V-12 engines, whereas the Model 215 was to be powered by a pair of 600 hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet air-cooled radial engines with NACA cowlings fitted around the cylinder heads for aerodynamic drag reduction. On the 214, the servo tab on the rudder was a small auxiliary surface, whereas on the 215 the tab ran the full height of the rudder. The radial-powered Model 215 was the first to be completed. It took to the air for the first time on April 12, 1931. Since it was a Boeing-owned airplane, it was painted in civilian colors and carried a civilian registration number (X-10633). It was initially powered by a pair of 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-13 commercial engines. It was tested by the Army on a bailment contract under the designation XB-901. It achieved a maximum speed of 163 mph at sea level. Favorable testing of the XB-901 resulted in the Army deciding on August 14, 1931 to purchase both the Model 215 and the Model 214. The Model 215 was assigned the designation YB-9 and was given the serial number 32-301. Now owned by the Army, the plane was repainted in military colors and the civil registration number was cancelled. The Model 214 (which had not yet flown) was designated Y1B-9 and was assigned the serial number 32-302. At the same time, the Army ordered five new planes under the designation Y1B-9A. Serials were 32-303/307 Following the Army order, the YB-9 was re-engined with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-11 Hornets supercharged to yield 600 hp at 6000 feet and was fitted with three-bladed propellers. With these new engines, the YB-9 attained a maximum speed of 188 mph at 6000 feet, an impressive performance for 1931. The era of the biplane bomber was clearly nearing its end. The Y1B-9 (Model 214) flew for the first time on November 5, 1931. After testing with the liquid-cooled Curtiss Conqueror engines at the Boeing plant in Seattle and at Wright Field in Ohio, these engines were later replaced by Hornet radials, duplicating the YB-9. The Model 246 was the company designation for a small batch of five Y1B-9A evaluation aircraft that had been ordered by the Army at the same time that the two prototypes were purchased. The Y1B-9A was powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Y1G1SR-1860B Hornet radials, rated at 600 hp at 6000 feet. Externally, the Y1B-9A was virtually identical to the YB-9. However, the Y1B-9A had the rudder tabs of the Y1B-9 and it had metal instead of fabric covering on the control surfaces. Three-bladed propellers were fitted.
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Boeing B-9

There were also many internal structural and equipment changes. Later, the shape of the rudder was changed to more closely resemble that of the Boeing Model 247 commercial transport. Maximum speed was up to 186 mph with the altitude-rated engines. The defensive armament consisted of two 0.30-inch machine guns, and the bomb load included four 600-lb bombs carried externally The first Y1B-9A flew on July 14, 1932 and was delivered to the Army on July 21. The last Y1B-9A on the contract was delivered on March 20, 1933. The five Y1B-9As served with the 20th Bomb Group based at Langley Field, Virginia. The high speed of the Y1B9A indicated that enclosed cockpits for the crew would be needed. Although a greenhouse cockpit canopy was designed for the Y1B-9A, it was never actually fitted. The B-9 was a truly revolutionary design, and had a speed fully 60 percent greater than that of the Keystone biplane bombers that were still the backbone of the American bomber force in 1932. In war games held in May of 1933, the Y1B-9A could not be intercepted by six Boeing P-12 fighters, giving the USAAAC a bomber with a performance superior to that of its pursuit aircraft. In view of its superior performance, Boeing fully anticipated an Army order for substantial numbers of the new design. However, The Glenn L. Martin company in Baltimore, Maryland had in the meantime brought out a competing design of its own, the XB-907. The XB-907 was even more revolutionary than the XB-901. It was slightly larger than the XB-901 and had a substantially better performance. The Army decided to order the Martin design into production under the designation B-10 and B-12, and no production examples of the B-9 were ordered. The service of the Y1B-9A was relative short, with all surviving examples being removed from service and surveyed in 1934. So far as I am aware, no examples of the B-9 survive today. Serials: 32-301 32-302 32-303/307 Boeing YB-9 (XB-901) Boeing Y1B-9 Boeing Y1B-9A

Specification of the YB-9: Two 600 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-13 air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 188
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Boeing B-9

mph at 6000 feet, cruising speed 165 mph, landing speed 63 mph, initial climb rate 1060 feet per minute, service ceiling 22,600 feet, absolute ceiling 14,400 feet. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 6 minutes. Range was 495 miles with 1997 pounds of bombs. Dimensions: wingspan 76 feet 9 inches, length 51 feet 6 inches, height 12 feet 8 inches, wing area 954 square feet. Weights: 8362 pounds empty, 13,351 pounds gross. Two 1100-pound bombs could be carried. Defensive armament consisted of two 0.30-inch machine guns in nose and dorsal flexible positions. Specification of the Y1B-9: Two 600 hp Curtiss GIV-1570 (V-1570-29) Conqueror liquid-cooled twelve-cylinder Vee engines. Maximum speed 173.5 mph at sea level, 171.5 mph at 5000 feet, cruising speed 147.5 mph, landing speed 62 mph, initial climb rate 1160 feet per minute, service ceiling 19,200 feet, absolute ceiling 21,000 feet. Range was 1250 miles. Dimensions: wingspan 76 feet 9 inches, length 51 feet 6 inches, height 12 feet 8 inches, wing area 954 square feet. Weights: 8618 pounds empty, 13,591 pounds gross. Two 1100-pound bombs could be carried. Defensive armament consisted of two 0.30-inch machine guns in nose and dorsal flexible positions. Specification of the Y1B-9A: Two 600 hp Pratt & Whitney Y1G1SR-1860B Hornet supercharged air-cooled radials, rated at 600 hp at 6000 feet. Maximum speed 188 mph at 6000 feet, cruising speed 165 mph, initial climb rate 900 feet per minute, service ceiling 20,750 feet, absolute ceiling 22,500 feet. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 7.1 minutes. Range was 540 miles with a 2260 pound bombload, maximum range was 990 miles. Dimensions: wingspan 76 feet 10 inches, length 52 feet, wing area 954 square feet. Weights: 8941 pounds empty, 13,932 pounds gross, 14,320 pounds maximum. A load of 2260 pounds of bombs could be carried. Defensive armament consisted of two 0.30-inch machine guns in nose and dorsal flexible positions. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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Boeing B-9

3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey 4. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989 5. End of the Dinosaurs--Boeing's B-9, Breaking the Bomber Mold, Alain Pelletier,

Air Enthusiast, No. 101, 2002.

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Martin B-10

Martin B-10
Last revised July 11, 1999

The Martin B-10 was the first all-metal monoplane bomber to enter full production for the US Army. It was also the first bomber to have a performance that exceeded that of contemporary pursuit aircraft.

Model 123
The immediate ancestor of the B-10 was the Martin Model 123, which was designed and built as a private venture by the Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore, Maryland. It was a midwing all-metal monoplane. The monocoque fuselage had corrugated top and bottom surfaces with a deep belly. The deep belly carried doors for an internal bomb bay, so the bombs could be carried internally rather than on external racks as in the Boeing YB-9. The main landing gear retracted backwards into the rear of the engine nacelles, but the lower half of the wheels remained exposed. Four crew members were to be carried. Three of the crew members were seated in separate open cockpits on the top of the fuselage. The nose gunner/bombardier had a transparent aiming position in the lower nose, the pilot sat in an open cockpit abreast of the forward wing, and the rear gunner sat in an open position in the rear dorsal fuselage. The fourth crew member occupied a position inside the fuselage. The Model 123 flew for the first time at Baltimore on February 16, 1932. It was powered by a pair of 600 hp Wright SR-1820-E Cyclone engines that were enclosed by NACA low-drag cowling rings. The wingspan was 62 feet 2 inches. The Model 123 was delivered to the Army on March 20, 1932 under a bailment contract. Although still Martin property, the aircraft was assigned the designation XB-907 for its trials at Wright Field. Trials began in July of 1932. During the trials at Wright Field, a maximum speed of 197 mph was recorded at an altitude of 6000 feet. This was a truly spectacular performance for 1932.

XB-907A, XB-10
The Model 123 was returned to the factory in Baltimore for some suggested modifications. During the early autumn of 1932, the open-cockpit gun position in the nose of the Martin 123 was replaced by a front gun turret. This was a transparent, manually-rotated facility, equipped with a single 0.30-inch machine gun. The pilot's cockpit and the dorsal gunner position remained open. At the same time, more powerful 675 hp R-1820-19 Cyclone engines were installed. These engines were also fitted with full cowlings that extended forward of the wings. A new longer-span wing was fitted, increasing the
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Martin B-10

wingspan to 70 feet 7 inches. The designation was changed to XB-907A when it was returned to Wright Field for more tests. Trials of the XB-907A took place at Wright field in October of 1932. Despite an increase of nearly 2000 pounds in the gross weight to 12,230 pounds, the XB-907A had a maximum speed of 207 mph at 6000 feet. The XB-907A was faster than any US fighter then in service. The Model 123 was a truly revolutionary design, and every other bomber in the world (and just about every pursuit plane as well) was instantaneously made obsolete. In 1932, the Glenn L Martin company was awarded the Collier Trophy for its work. On January 17, 1933, the Army purchased the XB-907A under the designation XB-10. The serial assigned was 33-139. At the same time, the Army ordered 48 production examples of the Martin design. These were designated Model 139 by the factory.

YB-10
The first 14 aircraft were designated YB-10 (33-140/153). They were powered by 675 hp Wright R1820-25 engines. They differed from the prototype primarily in having transparent sliding canopies fitted over both the pilot's cockpit and the rear gunner's position, a concession to the 200 mph-plus speeds that could be attained. The rear cockpit was modified to accommodate a radio operator in addition to the gunner. Armament consisted of a 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in the nose turret, a 0.30-inch gun in a flexible position in the dorsal position, plus a 0.30-inch machine gun in a tunnel position in the fuselage floor behind the bomb bay to guard against attacks from below. The internal bomb bay could carry two 1130-pound bombs or five 300-pound bombs. There were provisions for an external shackle under the right wing for a single 2000 pound bomb. The YB-10 could be distinguished from its successors by the presence of an oil cooler scoop on top of the engine cowling. The first YB-10 was delivered to Wright Field in November of 1933. Most of the YB-10s were based at March Field in California with the 7th Bomb Group until December of 1934, when it re-equipped with B-12s. The YB-10s then remained at March Field with the 19th Bomb Group. In a demonstration of their reliability and efficiency, ten YB-10s undertook a survey flight to Alaska in July of 1934.

YB-10A
A single YB-10A (33-154) was included in the 48 aircraft of the original order. It was delivered in June of 1934 with a pair of experimental turbosupercharged R-1820-21 Cyclones. It achieved a maximum speed of 236 mph at 25,000 feet. Despite the high performance that was achieved, the turbosuperchargers were not sufficiently reliable to be introduced into production models. Consequently, there was no B-10A production model, the first production model of the B-10 series being the B-10B.

XB-14
Another experimental version included in the original order was the XB-14 (33-162), which was similar
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Martin B-10

to the YB-10 but was powered by a pair of 950hp Pratt & Whitney YR-1830-9 Twin Wasps. It was common in those days to assign a separate model number to aircraft which differed from each other only in the type of engine which powered them.

B-12A
The remaining 32 aircraft on the original order were delivered as B-12As. They differed from the YB-10 primarily in being powered by Pratt and Whitney R-1690-11 Hornet radials in place of the Wright Cyclones. Despite their new model number, they were otherwise quite similar to the YB-10. They will be described more fully under the B-12 entry.

B-10B
Production of the Martin bomber was continued by FY 1934 and 1935 Army procurements for 103 examples of the B-10B, the primary service version. The B-10B could be distinguished from the YB-10 by the presence of air intakes on top the nacelle as well as by the relocation of the exhaust pipes from the lower nacelle to outlets at the nacelle top immediately behind the air intakes. It was otherwise quite similar to the service test YB-10. The first B-10B arrived at Wright Field in July of 1935. Production deliveries to Langley Field began in December of 1935 and were completed by August of 1936. The B-10B served with the 2nd Bomb Group at Langley and the 9th at Mitchell Field. The B-10B served (along with YB-10s) with the 19th Bomb Group based at March Field in California. The B-10B also served with the 6th Bomb Group based in the Canal Zone, and was issued to the 28th Bomb Group based in the Philippines. Army records do show that two aircraft designated simply B-10 were ordered as part of the the original B-10B contract, with serials 36-347/348 being assigned. They may have been replacements for the two experimental models (YB-10A, XB-14), but it is uncertain if these were actually delivered and, even if they were, in what particular configuration. In January of 1931, the US Army was assigned the responsibility for coastal defense around the United States mainland. As part of this mission, several Army YB-10s were temporarily fitted with large floats for water-based operations. The B-10s remained in service with Army bombardment squadrons until the advent of the B-17 and B18 in the late 1930s. The advances in bomber technology suddenly became so rapid that the B-10, revolutionary though it was, swiftly became obsolete as the 1930s progressed. By 1940, the B-10B was thoroughly out of date and had been largely relegated to secondary roles such as target towing. No US Army B-10Bs participated in any combat during World War 2.

Export Versions
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Martin B-10

With such an advanced performance, the Martin company fully expected that export orders for the B-10 would come flooding in. However, since the Army owned the rights to the Model 139 design, it forbade any export overseas until its own orders had been filled. However, following the completion of the last example for the Army in 1936, clearance was finally given for the export of the Martin bomber. The first export demonstrator, the Model 139W, was completed in August of 1936. It was powered by a pair of 750 hp Wright R-1820-F53 Cyclones. The civilian registration number NR-15563 was applied. It was sent to Argentina in September to compete against the German Junkers JU-86 and the Italian Savoia SM-79B for Argentine orders. The Martin plane won the contract, and Argentina ordered 13 examples for the Navy and 26 for the Army. Other export orders soon followed. The Martin 139WC was a version intended for China. It was powered by a pair of 850 hp R-1820-G2 Cyclones. 6 examples went to China in February of 1937. They were used in combat when Japan invaded China in August of 1937. These Martin 139WCs were the first American-designed bombers to see combat. However, the results were not all that good, since most were destroyed on the ground during Japanese air attacks. Six Martins were sold to Siam in April of 1937. They were powered by R-1820-G3 Cyclones. 20 Model 139Ws were sold to Turkey in September of 1937, powered by R-1820-G2 engines A single Model 139WR (X16706) was sold to the Soviet Union for evaluation. Its fate is unknown. Plans to sell Martin 139s to Republican Spain were blocked by the State Department. Reports that the Martin bomber was being used in Spain on the Republican side were in error, being misidentifications of the Soviet Tupolev SB-2, which was basically similar in overall configuration. The largest customer for the export Martin bomber was the Dutch East Indies. The first Dutch order was for 12 Model 139WH-1 bombers powered by 750 hp R-1820-F53 Cyclones. They were delivered between September 1936 and February 1937. 26 Model 139WH-3s, powered by 840 hp R-1820-G3s were delivered from November 1937 to March 1938. The final export version was the Model 139WH-3 (or Model 166), powered by a pair of 900 hp Wright R-1820G-102 radials. It had a long unbroken transparent canopy "greenhouse" that extended from the pilot's cockpit all the way to the rear gunner's position. 78 of these new bombers were delivered by May 5, 1939, when the last export Martin bomber rolled off the Baltimore production line. Between mid-1936 and 1939, a total of 189 export Model 139W and Model 166 bombers had been manufactured. Six squadrons of Martin bombers were serving in the Dutch East Indies when the Japanese invaded. Dutch crews flew these Martin bombers in a futile attempt to stem the Japanese advance into the Dutch East Indies during early 1942. By this time, the Martin bomber was thoroughly obsolete, and its speed and armament were completely inadequate to protect against the fast and heavily-armed Japanese Zero
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Martin B-10

fighters. Most were shot down in combat or were destroyed on the ground. A surviving export Model 139 fled from the Dutch East Indies to Australia on March 7, 1942. It was taken on strength by the USAAF for use as an utility aircraft and assigned the serial number 42-68358. This was the only export Martin 139 to serve with the USAAF. An Argentine Martin Model 139 was returned to the USA in 1976. It was refurbished as a standard USAAC B-10B and is now on display in the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. So far as I am aware, it is the only surviving Model 139 bomber. Serials: 33-139 33-140/153 33-154 33-155/161 33-162 33-163/177 33-258/267 34-028/115 35-232/246 36-347/348 42-68358 Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin Martin XB-10 YB-10 YB-10A YB-12 XB-14 B-12A B-12A B-10B B-10B B-10 (not certain that these were delivered) B-10 (ex-Dutch Model 139 impressed by USAAF)

Specification of Martin B-10B: Two Wright R-1820-33 Cyclone air-cooled radial engines, rated at 775 hp for takeoff and 750 hp at 5400 feet. Maximum speed 213 mph at 10,000 feet, 196 mph at sea level. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 3.4 minutes. Cruising speed 193 mph. Landing speed 65 mph. Service ceiling 14,200 feet. Normal range 590 miles, maximum range 1240 miles, ferry range 1830 miles. Weights: 9681 pounds empty, 14,600 pounds gross, 16,400 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 70 feet 6 inches, length 44 feet 9 inches, height 15 feet 5 inches, wing area 678 square feet. One 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in nose turret, one 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in flexible mount in dorsal gunner position, and one 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in a ventral tunnel position mounted in the floor of the fuselage behind the bomb bay. 2260 pounds of bombs could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.
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Martin B-10

3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Douglas B-11

Douglas B-11
Last revised July 17, 1999

The Douglas B-11 was a 1932 project for an amphibian bomber that would fly over water along with formations of conventional land-based bombers to act as navigation leaders and as rescue aircraft in case one of the bombers went down. A single YB-11 was ordered on November 18, 1932. The serial number was 33-17. It was to have been a substantially scaled-up version of the Douglas Dolphin amphibian and was to have been powered by two 670 hp Wright R-1820-13 Cyclone nine-cylinder radials mounted in individual nacelles above the cantilever monoplane wing. The aircraft was to have had fixed underwing floats and a two-step hull. The main landing gear was to have retracted into fuselage sides just beneath the wing leading edge. Armament was to have consisted of three flexible 0.30-inch machine guns, one firing from each of two gunner's hatches situated on the upper fuselage just behind the wings and one in an enclosed bow turret. The turret was to be have been set back from the bow to allow room for an open mooring hatch in the extreme nose. While the aircraft was under construction, the Army decided that the use of mixed formations of landplanes and amphibians was not very practical, and the YB-11 was redesignated YO-44, an observation category. It was later redesignated YOA-5, an observation amphibian category. The YOA-5 was flown for the first time in January of 1935. An open bow gunner position was fitted rather than the originally-intended turret. The YOA-5 was transferred out to Wright Field in Ohio for test and evaluation. Although the performance of the YOA-5 was acceptable, the Army decided that it did not need observation amphibians and no further examples of the YOA-5 were ordered. YOA-5 33-17 remained a "one-off" aircraft. Following the completion of the tests at Wright Field, the YOA-5 was assigned in October of 1935 to the 1st Air Base Squadron at Langley Field in Virginia. In June of 1941, the YOA-5 was transferred to Elmendorf Field in Alaska. It was scrapped there in late 1943. Specification of the Douglas YOA-5: Two 750 hp Wright R-1820-25 air-cooled radial engines. Maximum speed 161 mph at sea level, 170 mph at 2800 feet. Cruising speed 152 mph. Landing speed 75 mph. Service ceiling 18,900 feet. An
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Douglas B-11

altitude of 10,000 feet could be reached in 13 minutes. Dimensions: wingspan 89 feet 9 inches, length 69 feet 6 inches, height 22 feet, wing area 1101 square feet. Weights: 14,038 pounds empty, 20,000 pounds gross. Armed with three flexible 0.30-inch machine guns, one firing from each of two gunner's hatches situated just behind the wings and one in an open nose position. Sources: 1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. American Warplanes, Bill Gunston 4. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Martin B-12

Martin B-12
Last revised July 17, 1999

The Martin B-12 was a production version of the B-10 that was powered by the Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial instead of the Wright Cyclone. It was common in those days to assign different USAAC model numbers to aircraft of a given type which differed from each other only in the type of engines which powered them. On January 17, 1933, the Army had ordered 48 production examples of the Martin Model 139 monoplane bomber design. 32 of the aircraft on this original order were ordered as YB-12s and B-12As. They differed from the YB-10 primarily in being powered by Pratt and Whitney R-1690-11 Hornet radials in place of the Wright Cyclones of the B-10 series. The first YB-12 appeared in February of 1934. Despite their new model number, they were otherwise quite similar to the YB-10. They could be externally distinguished from the B-10 version by the presence of oil cooler intakes on the port side of the engine nacelles. Internally, the B-12A had provision for an extra fuel tank in the bomb bay. This tank had a capacity of 265 US gallons, supplementing the 226 US gallons normal fuel capacity on long flights. In January of 1931, the US Army was assigned the responsibility for coastal defense around the United States mainland. As part of this mission, several Army B-12As were fitted with large floats for waterbased operations. A B-12A fitted with twin floats set a seaplane speed record on August 24, 1935. The B-12s remained in service with Army bombardment squadrons until the advent of the B-17 and B18 in the late 1930s. The advances in bomber technology suddenly became so rapid that the B-10/B-12 series of bombers, revolutionary as they were at the time of their appearance, swiftly became obsolete as the 1930s progressed. By 1940, the B-10s and B-12s were thoroughly out of date and had been largely relegated to secondary roles such as target towing. No US Army B-10Bs or B-12s participated in any combat during World War 2. Serials of B-12: 33-155/161 33-163/177 33-258/267 Martin YB-12 Martin B-12A Martin B-12A

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Martin B-12

Specification of Martin YB-12: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-11 Hornet air-cooled radial engines, rated at 700 hp at 6500 feet. Maximum speed 212 mph at 6500 feet, 190 mph at sea level. Initial climb rate 1740 feet per minute. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 10.1 minutes. Cruising speed 170 mph. Landing speed 71 mph. Service ceiling 24,600 feet. Absolute ceiling 26,600 feet. Normal range 524 miles, maximum range 1360 miles, Weights: 7728 pounds empty, 12,824 pounds gross Dimensions: wingspan 70 feet 6 inches, length 44 feet 9 inches, height 15 feet 5 inches, wing area 678 square feet. One 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in nose turret, one 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in flexible mount in dorsal gunner position, and one 0.30-inch Browning machine gun in ventral tunnel. 2260 pounds of bombs could be carried. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Martin B-13

Martin B-13
Last revised July 17, 1999

The Martin B-13 was a proposed version of the YB-10 powered by a pair of 650 hp Pratt & Whitney R1860-17 engines. Twelve examples were ordered but were all cancelled before delivery. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Martin XB-14

Martin XB-14
Last revised July 17, 1999

The Martin XB-14 (33-162) was a version of the YB-10 powered by a pair of 950hp Pratt & Whitney YR-1830-9 Twin Wasps. It was common in those days to assign a separate model number to aircraft which differed from each other only in the type of engine which powered them. Only one example of this version was built. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Boeing XBLR-1/XB-15/XC-105

Boeing XBLR-1/XB-15/XC-105
Last revised July 17, 1999

In April 14, 1934, the Army Air Corps issued a request for a long-range bomber. A 5000 mile range with a 2000-pound bombload was envisaged. The Boeing Airplane Company submitted its Model 294 in response to this requirement. The Army expressed sufficient interest in the Model 294 that it issued a contract on June 28, 1934 for design data, wind-tunnel tests, and the construction of a mockup under the designation XBLR-1, the letters standing for "Experimental Bomber, Long Range". On June 29, 1935, a contract was approved for one example of the XBLR-1. The BLR category was later eliminated, and the aircraft was redesignated XB-15 in July 1936. The XB-15 was a large, four-engined mid-wing cantilever monoplane with all-metal semi-monocoque construction. The structure was generally similar to that of earlier Boeing monoplanes that had been based on the Monomail design, with the exception that the wing from the main spar aft was covered with fabric instead of metal. The XB-15 was originally to have been powered by four Allison V-1710 liquid cooled V-12 engines. However, before the aircraft was built, the powerplants were changed to four 1000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 twin-row air-cooled radials. The crew of ten has soundproofed, heated, and ventilated quarters with rest bunks, a kitchen, and a lavatory. For the first time in an airplane, small auxiliary engines were fitted which powered a 110-volt electrical system. The wing was so thick at the root that it was possible for a crew member to service the engine accessory sections in flight from a passageway extending behind the nacelles. Such a system later appeared on the Boeing Model 314 flying boat. The main undercarriage retracted into the rear of the inner engine nacelle. The aircraft was sufficiently heavy that it was necessary to fit two wheels on each main undercarriage truck. The defensive armament was the heaviest yet to be fitted to a bomber. It carried six machine guns. One of these guns was mounted in a nose turret and another one was carried in a forward-facing belly turret mounted below the pilot's cabin. A 0.50-inch gun was mounted in a top turret which could rotate through 360 degrees. One gun was carried in each of two waist blisters attached to the fuselage behind the wings. A sixth gun was housed inside a rearward-facing belly turret. Although it was an older design than the Model 299 which eventually emerged as the B-17 and carried
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Boeing XBLR-1/XB-15/XC-105

an earlier military designation, the XB-15 made its first flight two years later. The XB-15 (serial number 35-277) made its first flight on October 15, 1937 with Eddie Allen at the controls. At the time of its appearance, it was the largest and heaviest aircraft yet to be built in the United States. The XB-15 proved to be seriously underpowered with the R-1830 radials. Because of its low performance as compared to later aircraft, the XB-15 was never ordered into production, and the prototype was the only example to be built. Following the completion of the tests, the XB-15 was turned over to the 2nd Bomb Group in August of 1938. In spite of the fact that the aircraft was seriously underpowered for its size, it did manage to set several world records for weight carrying, including a 71,167-pound payload lifted to 8200 feet on July 30, 1939 and a payload of 4409 pounds carried over a distance of 3107 miles at 166 mph. In 1943, the sole XB-15 was converted into a cargo carrier by adding cargo doors and a hoist. The aircraft was redesignated XC-105. The gross weight increased to 92,000 pounds. The XC-105 was scrapped at Kelly Field, Texas shortly before the end of the war. Two service test models of the XB-15 were ordered under the designation Y1B-20. In an attempt to provide more power, these planes were to have been powered by 1400 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2180 radials. However, they were cancelled before anything could be built. Specification of XB-15: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-11 Twin Wasp air cooled radials, rated at 850 hp at 2450 rpm at 5000 feet, and 1000 hp for takeoff. Maximum speed: 200 mph at 5000 feet, 197 mph at 6000 feet, cruising speed 152 mph at 60 percent power at 6000 feet. Service ceiling 18,900 feet, absolute ceiling 20,900 feet. Climb to 5000 feet in 7.1 minutes, climb to 10,0000 feet in 14.9 minutes. Range 3400 miles with 2511 pounds of bombs, maximum range 5130 miles. Weights: 37,309 pounds empty, 65,068 pounds gross, 70,706 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 149 feet, length 87 feet 7 inches, height 18 feet 1 inches, wing area 2780 square feet. Armed with two 0.50-inch and four 0.30-inch machine guns. A bomb load of four 2000 pound bombs could be carried. Maximum bombload was 12,000 pounds. Sources: 1. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 3. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 4. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Boeing XBLR-1/XB-15/XC-105

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Martin XB-16

Martin XB-16
Last revised July 17, 1999

In April 14, 1934, the Army Air Corps issued a request for a long-range bomber. A 5000 mile range with a 2000-pound bombload was envisaged. The Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore, Maryland submitted its Model 145 in response to this request. This design was in competition with the Boeing Model 294 project which eventually emerged as the XB-15. Originally, the Model 145 was to have been very similar to the Boeing Model 294, being a large cantilever monoplane powered by four Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled V-12 engines. On May 12, 1934, the Chief of Staff authorized negotiations with both Boeing and Martin for preliminary designs. In the meantime, the Martin design had undergone a major redesign, having been enlarged to a 173-foot wingspan. Six Allison V-1710-2 engines were to have been utilized, four of them operating as tractors and two as pushers. Twin rudders were to have been mounted behind two tail booms. A tricycle landing gear was to be used. The maximum weight was to have been 105,000 pounds. The Martin XB-16 was considered as being too large and expensive, and the project was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 3. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey

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Boeing B-17 Fortress

Boeing B-17 Fortress


Last revised July 31, 1999

Boeing Model 299 Boeing Y1B-17 Boeing Y1B-17A/B-17A Boeing B-17B Fortress Boeing B-17C Fortress Fortress I for RAF Boeing B-17D Fortress Boeing B-17E Fortress Vega XB-38 Fortress IIA for RAF Boeing B-17F Fortress Boeing YB-40 Fortress II for RAF BQ-7 Drone C-108 Transport Boeing B-17G Fortress Fortress III for RAF F-9 Photographic Reconnaissance PB-1 Naval Fortress B-17 in Pacific Theatre B-17 in European Theatre B-17 Squadron Assignments B-17 With The Enemy Boeing B-17H B-17 Drone Aircraft EB-17 Conversions B-17 Commercial Transports B-17 With Foreign Air Forces Civilian and Surviving B-17s

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Boeing B-17 Fortress

Cost of a B-17

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Douglas B-18 Bolo

Douglas B-18 Bolo


Last revised August 1, 1999

The Douglas B-18 Bolo was a military adaptation of the DC-2 commercial transport to the long-range bombing role. Although totally obsolescent by the end of 1941, it was numerically the most important longrange bomber in service with the USAAC at the time of America's entry into World War 2. The origin of the B-18 can be traced back to the same 1934 Army competition that led to the famed Boeing B-17. In May of 1934, the Army announced a competition for a multi-engined bomber capable of carrying a ton of bombs at more than 200 mph over a distance of 2000 miles. This Army requirement envisaged from the start that the winning design would have a production run of as many as 220 planes. Several manufacturers were invited to submit bids, with the entries to be flown at Wright Field in a final competition to select the winner. The Douglas entry bore the company designation of DB-1. It drew heavily on the company's experience with its DC-2 commercial airliner. The DB-1 was designed around the wings of the DC-2 and was fitted with a deeper and fatter fuselage which contained a bomb bay within its center section. The DB-1 had larger tail surfaces than did the standard DC-2, plus a wing with a slightly larger span and area resulting from the fitting of rounded tips. A six-man crew was carried (two pilots, one navigator/bombardier, plus 3 gunners). Defensive armament consisted of three 0.30-cal machine guns, one each in manually-operated nose and dorsal turrets, and one firing from a ventral hatch. The dorsal turret was located just ahead of the vertical fin and was fully retractable. It was rather unusual in having a rectangular top, so that it could lie flush with the upper fuselage when retracted. A 4400-pound bombload could be carried in the bomb bay. The DB-1 made its first flight in April of 1935, powered by a pair of 850 hp Wright R-1820-G5 air-cooled radials. Maximum speed was 233 mph, with cruising speed being 173 mph. Range was 2030 miles with a 2000- pound bombload. Service ceiling was over 25,000 feet. It was delivered to Wright Field for the competition in August of 1935. Competitors included the Martin 146, which was a streamlined and enlarged version of the B-10 twin-engined light bomber then already in Army service, plus the fourengined Boeing 299, which was eventually to emerge as the famed B-17 Flying Fortress. Test flights proved the DB-1 to be inferior in almost every respect to the Boeing 299. However, the DB-1 did have the advantage over the Boeing design in being substantially cheaper. In addition, the crash of the Boeing 299 on October 30, 1935 caused the USAAC to opt for the conservative approach, and on January 28, 1936 they ordered 82 B-18s, with the order being increased to 132 by June. Fortunately, the Army also ordered 13 Boeing YB-17s. Production B-18s were powered by a pair of 930 hp Wright R-1820-45 radials housed in revised cowlings.
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Douglas B-18 Bolo

The nose cone was somewhat shorter than that of the DB-1 prototype, and it contained more lateral windows as well as a bomb-aiming window in its forward lower portion. With full military equipment fitted, the performance of the production B-18 fell off slightly, to a maximum speed of 217 mph, cruising speed of 167 mph, and combat range of 850 miles. Nevertheless, the B-18 was the most modern bomber design then available to the Army. The first production B-18 was delivered to Wright Field on February 23, 1937. The DB-1 prototype was brought up to full B-18 standards and was redelivered to the Army five days later as serial number 37-51. The DB-2 was a B-18 airframe fitted in March 1937 with a power-driven nose turret with an extensivelyglazed large bombardier's enclosure. It bore the serial number 37-34, which identified it as the last aircraft ordered on the original B-18 contract. However, it was delivered out of sequence, and it was actually the 36th B-18 to be delivered when it was received at Wright Field on November 8, 1937. This modified nose did not prove satisfactory, and the aircraft was eventually converted back to standard B-18 configuration before being delivered to the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron at Mitchel Field, New York. The second (and last) major production version of the Douglas bomber was the B-18A. The B-18A differed from the B-18 in having the bomb-aimer's position moved upward and forward underneath an extended glazed housing, while the flexible forward-firing nose gun was moved further back and below and was mounted inside a globular ball turret. This led to the rather unusual geometry in which the bombardier sat above and ahead of the nose gunner. A transparent domed cap was added to round off the top of the dorsal turret, so that it no longer lay flush with the fuselage when retracted. The B-18A was powered by two 1000-hp Wright R-1820-53 radials driving fully-feathering propellers. 177 B-18As were ordered on June 10, 1937, with 78 more being added to the contract on June 30, 1938. The B-18A flew for the first time on April 15, 1938. The first B-18A was delivered to the Army in April of 1938, with the last example being delivered in January of 1940. Only 217 out of the 255 ordered were actually delivered as B-18As, the last 38 examples being built as B-23s. Fearing the imminent breakout of war in Europe, a delegation from the British Air Ministry toured the Douglas plant in late 1938 seeking to purchase combat aircraft. Douglas was unable to interest the British in the B-18 design, as it was deemed by the RAF to have insufficient power, poor airfield performance, and inadequate defensive armament. The RAF chose to order the Lockheed Hudson instead. However, Douglas did succeed in acquiring an order for 20 B-18A from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). In Canadian service, these 20 planes were designated Digby Mk 1. The Digby was generally similar to the USAAC's B-18As, but had 0.303 cal machine guns as well as some other British and Canadian equipment. The first Digby entered RCAF service in late 1939. These carried the Canadian serial numbers 738 thru 757. They served with No 10 (BR) Squadron, where they were assigned the duty of patrolling the North Atlantic in search of German U-boats. In 1939, the DB-1 prototype (which had been delivered to the Army as serial number 37-51) was modified to test the feasibility of firing large-caliber cannon from aircraft. A forward-firing 75-mm cannon was mounted in a fixed position in the bomb bay and the nose was cut down to accommodate the muzzle. Initial tests were carried out over Lake Erie and at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Vibration
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Douglas B-18 Bolo

during firing proved excessive, and the experiments were eventually discontinued. However, the data gathered was of great value in developing the B-25G and H cannon-firing versions of the North American Mitchell medium bomber during the war. In 1940, 22 B-18s and 17 B-18As had their D-3 and B-7 bomb shackles removed so that larger bombs could be carried. They were redesignated B-18M and B-18AM respectively. Deliveries of B-18s to Army units began in the first half of 1937, with the first examples being test and evaluation aircraft being turned over to the Materiel Division at Wright Field, Ohio, the Technical Training Command at Chanute Field, Illinois, the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, and Lowry Field in Colorado. The first operation unit to receive the B-18 was the 7th Bombardment Group based at Hamilton Field in California. B-18s later went to the 5th Bombardment Group at Luke Field, Oahu, the 19th Bombardment Group and 38th Reconnaissance Squadron at Mitchel Field, and the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia. These units were also later supplemented with B-18As, with B-18As also being supplied to the 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field. By the early 1940s, the deficiencies in the B-18/B-18A bomber were becoming readily apparent to almost everyone. In range, in speed, in bombload, and particularly in defensive armor and armament, the design came up short, and the USAAC conceded that the aircraft was totally unsuited in the long-range bombing role for which had originally been intended. To send crews out in such a plane against a well-armed, determined foe would have been nothing short of suicidal. However, in spite of the known shortcomings in the B-18/B-18A, the Douglas aircraft was the most numerous American bomber type deployed outside the Continental United States at the time of Pearl Harbor. It was hoped that the B-18 could play a stopgap role until more suitable aircraft became available in quantity. In early December of 1941, the 5th and 11th Bombardment Groups at Hickam Field, Hawaii had 33 B-18s on strength, whereas the 28th Bombardment Squadron at Clark Field in the Philippnes had twelve. B-18/B18As were also stationed with the 6th Bombardment Group in the Canal Zone, with the 9th Bombardment Group stationed at airfields in Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Surinam. When war came to the Pacific, most of the B-18/B-18A aircraft based overseas in the Philippines and in Hawaii were destroyed on the ground in the initial Japanese onslaught. The few Douglas bombers that remained played no significant role in subsequent operations. The Bolos remaining in the continental USA and in the Carribean were then deployed in a defensive role in anticipation of attacks on the US mainland. Fortunately, these attacks never materialized. In 1942, 122 B-18As were modified for the maritime reconnaissance bombing role to counter the U-boat menace. These modified aircraft were redesignated B-18B. An SCR-517-T-4 ASV (air to surface vessel) radar set was mounted under a radome in the nose, replacing the bombardier's shark-nose glazed area. The bombardier's station was moved below and behind the radome, where the forward turret had formerly been located. In addition, a Mk IV Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) set was installed in a long tubular boom that extended behind and below the the rudder. Some B-18Bs were also equipped with a set of retro bombtracks underneath the wings which could fire bombs backwards in a prearranged pattern. B-18Bs are credited with two U-boat kills--U-654 on August 22, 1942 and U-512 on October 2, 1942. The
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Douglas B-18 Bolo

antisubmarine role was relatively short lived, and the Douglases were superseded in this role in 1943 by the B-24 Liberator which had a substantially longer range and a much heavier payload. Like their American counterparts, the RCAF Digbys were also employed on maritime reconnaissance missions to counter the U-boat menace. The Canadian Digbys are credited with one U-boat kill. This was U-520 which was sunk on October 3, 1942 by Digby #757 PB-K of 10 (BR) Squadron operating out of Dartmouth (Halifax, Nova Scotia). By mid-1943, the RCAF Digbys had been superceded by Liberator GR. Vs in the anti-submarine role, Two B-18s ended up serving in Brazil. 6300 (ex USAAF 36-300) and 7032 (ex USAAF 37-32) served with the Agrupamenato de Avioes de Adatacao, which was a provisional conversion training unit set up under the provisions of Lend-Lease. They were later used for anti- submarine patrols. They were struck off charge at the end of the war. Another B-18 was used as an instructional airframe, but I am unaware of its serial number. Surviving USAAF B-18s ended their useful lives in training and transport roles within the continental USA, and saw no further combat action. Two B-18As were modified as unarmed cargo transports under the designation C-58. At the end of the war, those bombers that were left were sold as surplus on the commercial market. Some postwar B-18s of various models were operated as cargo or crop-spraying aircraft by commercial operators. The last Canadian Digby was struck off strength by the RCAF in 1946. So ends the career of one of the lesser lights of the Second World War. The Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio has B-18A serial number 37-469 on display. It is equipped with a rectangular-topped dorsal turret from a B-18. Other preserved B-18As include 37-029 at Castle AFB Museum, 37-505 at McChord AFB Museum, 38-593 at the Pima museum, and 39-025 at Cannon AFB Museum B-18 serials: 36-262/343 36-431/36-446 37-1/34. 29 is on display at Castle Air Museum, CA B-18A serials: 37-458/634 469 is on display at US Air Force Museum, Wright Patterson AFB, OH. 505 on display at McChord AFB, WA. 593 on display at Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, AZ. 38-585/609 39-12/64. 25 on display at Wings Over the Rockies museum,
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Douglas B-18 Bolo

Denver, CO. B-18As 39-27/64 were delivered as B-23s Specification of Douglas B-18: Two Wright R-1820-45 air cooled radials, rated at 930 hp for takeoff and 810 hp at 10,200 feet. Maximum speed 217 mph at 10,000 feet. Cruising speed 167 mph. Landing speed 64 mph. Service ceiling 24,200 feet. Absolute ceiling 25,850 feet. Initial climb rate 1355 feet per minute. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 9.1 minutes. Range was 1082 miles with 2200 pounds of bombs and 412 gallons of fuel, or 1200 miles with 4400 pounds of bombs and 802 gallons of fuel. Maximum ferry range was 2225 miles. Dimensions: wingspan 89 feet 6 inches, length 56 feet 8 inches, height 15 feet 2 inches, wing area 959 square feet. Weights: 15,719 pounds empty, 21,130 pounds gross, 27,087 pounds pounds maximum takeoff. Normal bombload was 2200 pounds, but a maximum bombload of 4400 pounds could be carried. Armed with three 0.30-inch machine guns in nose, dorsal, and ventral positions. Specification of Douglas B-18A: Two Wright R-1820-53 air cooled radials, rated at 1000 hp for takeoff and 850 hp at 9600 feet. Maximum speed 215.5 mph at 10,000 feet. Cruising speed 167 mph. Landing speed 69 mph. Service ceiling 23,900 feet. Absolute ceiling 25,600 feet. Initial climb rate 1030 feet per minute. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 9.9 minutes. Range was 1150 miles with 2496 pounds of bombs. Dimensions: wingspan 89 feet 6 inches, length 57 feet 10 inches, height 15 feet 2 inches, wing area 959 square feet. Weights: 16,321 pounds empty, 22,123 pounds gross, 27,673 pounds pounds maximum takeoff. Normal bombload was 2200 pounds, but a maximum bombload of 4400 pounds could be carried. Armed with three 0.30-inch machine guns in nose, dorsal, and ventral positions. Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume 1. Rene Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers,

Smithsonian, 1989.
3. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 4. C-47 Skytrain in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1995.

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Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19

Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19
Last revised October 14, 2003

The Douglas XB-19 was the largest American aircraft built until the completion of the Convair B-36 in August of 1946. The XB-19 project had its origin in a secret Army Air Corps project of the mid 'thirties for an advanced long-range bomber. On February 5, 1935, the Army Air Corps initiated a secret project for an experimental long-range bomber, with the goal of seeing just how far the state of the art could be pushed. It was assigned the codename "Project D", and was classified top secret. No production was envisaged, since "Project D" was more of a proofof-concept vehicle than it was a serious proposal for a production military aircraft. Preliminary discussions were carried out with Douglas and Sikorsky, the only two companies which showed any interest in participating in the project. The Army wanted the prototype to be delivered by March 31, 1938. On July 9, 1935, the designation XBLR-2 was assigned to the Douglas proposal, the type symbol BLR standing for Bomber, Long Range. The BLR type symbol had been introduced in 1935 to cover large, long-range bombers. At the same time, the competing Sikorsky design was assigned the designation XBLR-3. A contract covering preliminary and detailed design, mock-up construction and testing of critical components was sent to Douglas in October of 1935 and was approved on October 18. In March of 1936, wooden mockups of the Douglas and Sikorsky designs were inspected. At that time, the Douglas proposal was deemed superior, and the contract for the Sikorsky XBLR-3 was cancelled. Progress on the XBLR-2 proceeded rather slowly due to the shortage of funds caused by
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Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19

the limited military budget allocated for research and development during the Depression years 1935 to 1937. The aircraft was conceived as a large, four-engined, low-winged monoplane. A tricycle undercarriage was to have been fitted, which was still rather unusual for the time. This undercarriage was tested on a Douglas OA-4B Dolphin amphibian loaned back to the company by the Army. The XBLR-2 was originally to have been powered by four 1600 hp Allison XV-3420-1 twenty-four cylinder liquid-cooled engines. The XV-3420 was basically a pair of V-1710 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines coupled together to drive a single propeller. On November 2, 1936, the Douglas company decided to substitute the 2000 hp Wright R3350 air-cooled radial for the coupled Allisons originally specified. The separate BLR type symbol was abolished in 1936, and the XBLR-2 was redesignated B-19 in the B-for-bomber series. By late 1937, enough R & D funds had been made available so that a contract change calling for the construction of a single prototype under the designation XB-19 was issued on November 19, 1937, but not approved until March 8, 1938. The serial number 38-471 was assigned. By late 1938, the XB-19 was way behind schedule because of the lack of adequate development funds from the USAAC. The Douglas company had been forced to spend a considerable amount of its own money on the XB-19 project and badly needed the XB-19 design staff to work on other aircraft projects that had better prospects for a production future. By this time, the weight of the XB-19 was increasing excessively, resulting in an expectation of a progressively poorer and poorer performance with the engines specified. During the previous three years the advances in the state of the art had been so rapid that the basic B-19 design was by this time quite obsolescent. Consequently, on August 30, 1938 the company recommended to the Army that the XB-19 contract be cancelled. However, the Army's Materiel Division refused to abandon the project, and construction of the first prototype continued slowly at Douglas. In 1940, the Army, perhaps recognizing that the XB-19 had by that time lost most if not all of its military importance, finally removed the aircraft from its list of secret projects, and the aircraft became a hot item in the popular press as a radically new long-range bomber for America's defense against foreign foes.

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Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19

The XB-19 was finally completed in May of 1941. It was a very large, all-metal stressedskin low-winged monoplane with a retractable tricycle undercarriage. It had a wingspan of 212 feet and a maximum gross weight of 162,000 pounds. It was physically the largest American aircraft yet built, and was to remain so until the completion of the Convair B-36 in 1946. The XB-19 was powered by four Wright R-3350-5 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radials rated at 2000 hp each for takeoff. They drove three-bladed constant-speed propellers. Total internal fuel capacity was 10,350 US gallons, with provision for the fitting of additional tanks of 824 gallon capacity in the bomb bay for additional range. Bombs could be carried either in an internal bomb bay or on ten underwing racks. The internal bomb bay could accommodate eight 2000-pound, 16 1100-pounds, or 30 600-pound bombs. The ten underwing racks could each accommodate bombs of up to 2000 pounds in weight for short-range missions. Maximum bomb capacity was 37,100 pounds. Defensive armament of the XB-19 (not fitted at the time of completion) was quite heavy for the time. It consisted of one 37-mm cannon and one 0.30-inch machine gun in each of the nose and forward dorsal turrets, one 0.5-inch machine gun in the tail position, rear dorsal turret, ventral turret, and port and starboard positions. One 0.30-inch machine gun was fitted on each side of the bombardier's position and on each side of the fuselage below the tailplane. There was no armor protection for the crew and there were no self-sealing fuel tanks included, but these features would undoubtedly have to have been included had the B-19 ever gone into production. The normal combat crew of the XB-19 was 16, which included a pilot, co-pilot, aircraft commander, navigator, flight engineer, radio operator, bombardier, a gunner operating the nose power turret, a gunner who operated 0.30-inch guns pointing from each side of the nose compartment, a gunner operating the forward dorsal power turret, an upper rear dorsal turret gunner, two waist gunners, a belly gunner, a tail gunner, and a gunner seated below the stabilizer operating 0.30-inch guns firing from either side of the aircraft. However, an additional crew consisting of 2 flight mechanics and six relief crewmembers could be carried in a special compartment installed in the fuselage above the bomb bay with eight seats and six bunks. Passages in the lower wing gave mechanics direct access to the engines while the aircraft was in flight. The XB-19 even had a complete galley for the inflight preparation of hot meals. Over three years behind the original schedule, the first flight of the XB-19 took place from
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Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19

Clover Field in Santa Monica on June 27, 1941 with a crew of seven captained by Major Stanley M. Umstead. On its first flight, it was flown to March Field and turned over to the Army for evaluation. Such was the degree of popular enthusiasm aroused by the XB-19 that President Franklin Roosevelt himself telegraphed congratulations to Donald Douglas for this achievement. Thirty hours of manufacturer's flight tests were carried out at March Field before the XB19 was tentatively accepted by the Army in October of 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, as a matter of precaution the XB-19 was painted in camouflage and its guns were loaded during its last four test flights in California. On January 23, 1942, the XB-19 was transferred to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, hopefully well out of range of any attacking Japanese aircraft. After more tests and the carrying out of some minor modifications which included the installation of improved brakes, the aircraft was formally accepted by the Army in June of 1942. The Army paid Douglas $1,400,064 for the XB-19. However, the company had spent almost 4 million dollars of its own funds on the project, so Douglas managed to lose money on the XB-19. Nevertheless, the XB-19 proved on tests to be relatively troublefree, with the exception of engine cooling difficulties. These problems required that the engine cooling gills be kept open during long flights, reducing maximum speed at 15,700 feet from 224 mph to 204 mph. Following the completion of its series of flight tests, the XB-19 was eventually modified at Wright Field as a cargo aircraft and fitted with four 2600 hp Allison V-3420-11 turbosupercharged twenty-four cylinder liquid cooled engines, which was the production version of the engine that had originally been specified for the aircraft. It was redesignated XB-19A. The XB-19A could reach a maximum speed of 275 mph and was no longer plagued with engine cooling problems. Although the XB-19/XB-19A never saw production, it provided extremely valuable data for features which were later incorporated into the design of other large aircraft such as the Boeing B-29 and Convair B-36. The XB-19A made its last flight on August 17, 1946, when it was flown from Wright Field to Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona and placed in storage. It was scrapped there in June of 1949. However, its nose section somehow ended up in a scrap yard on Alameda Street in Los Angeles, and was still visible there as late as 1955. It is too bad that this
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Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19

aircraft could not have been saved. Serial of the Douglas XB-19/XB-19A: Specification of Douglas XB-19: Four Wright R-3350-5 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radials rated at 2000 hp each for takeoff and 1500 hp at 15,700 feet. Maximum speed 224 mph at 15,700 feet. Cruising speed 135 mph. Initial climb rate 650 feet per minute. Service ceiling 23,000 feet. Normal range 5200 miles, maximum range 7710 miles. Weights: 86,000 pounds empty, 140,000 pounds loaded, 162,000 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 212 feet, length 132 feet 4 inches, height 42 feet, wing area 4285 square feet. The internal bomb bay could accommodate eight 200-pound, 16 1100-pounds, or 30 600-pound bombs. Ten underwing racks could accommodate bombs of up to 2000 pounds in weight for short-range missions, for a maximum bomb capacity of 37,100 pounds. Defensive armament consisted of two 37-mm cannon, six 0.30 and five 0.50-in machine guns, distributed as follows: one 37-mm cannon and one 0.30-inch machine gun in each of the nose and forward dorsal turrets, one 0.5-inch machine gun in the tail position, rear dorsal turret, ventral turret, and port and starboard positions. One 0.30-inch machine gun was fitted on each side of the bombardier's position and on each side of the fuselage below the tailplane. Specification of Douglas XB-19A: Four 2600 hp Allison V-3420-11 twenty-four cylinder liquid cooled engines. Maximum speed 265 mph at 20,000 feet. Cruising speed 185 mph. Service ceiling 39,000 feet. Normal range 4200 miles Weights: 92,400 pounds empty, 140,230 pounds loaded. Dimensions: wingspan 212 feet, length 132 feet 4 inches, height 42 feet, wing area 4285 square feet. Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

38-471

Institute Press, 1988.


2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


3. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.
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Douglas XBLR-2/XB-19

4. E-mail from Richard Eaton on the correct spelling of Stanly Umstead's name.

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Boeing XB-20

Boeing XB-20
Last revised August 1, 1999

The Boeing XB-15 experimental four-engined long-range bomber of 1937 proved to be seriously underpowered and was never ordered into production. In March of 1938, in an attempt to remedy some of the deficiencies of the basic design, the Boeing company offered a more advanced version of the XB-15. It was known by the company as the Model 316, and was approximately the same size as the XB-15. However, in an attempt to provide more power, the Model 316 was to have been powered by four 1400 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2180 Twin Hornet air cooled radials. The Model 316 was offered to the Army in several different forms. The Model 316D version, which featured a high-winged design with an 80,000 pound gross weight, 152foot wingspan, seven machine guns, and a pressurized canopy, attracted sufficient attention so that two examples were ordered by the Army in June of 1938 under the designation Y1B-20. Shortly after the order, the Army concluded that the Y1B-20 was simply too expensive and that they really did not require bombers with range or carrying capability beyond those of the B-17. Consequently, both Y1B-20 prototypes were cancelled before anything could be built. Specification of the Boeing Y1B-20: Four Pratt & Whitney R-2180 Twin Hornet air cooled radials, rated at 1400 hp each. Weights: 80,000 pounds gross Dimensions: wingspan 152 feet Armed with seven machine guns. Source:
1. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.
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Boeing XB-20

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North American XB-21

North American XB-21


Last revised August 1, 1999

The XB-21 of the mid-1930s was North American Aviation's first venture into the bomber field. It was a twin-engined six-place heavy bomber powered by a pair of 1200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2180-1 Twin Hornet radial engines equipped with F-10 turbosuperchargers. The XB-21 was a mid-wing monoplane armed with five 0.30-inch machine guns. One gun was mounted in each of power turrets installed in the nose and in the rear dorsal positions, plus one 0.30-inch machine gun firing from a ventral hatch and from left and right waist positions. The aircraft was known by the company as the NA-21, and work on the project was begun in January 1936. The prototype took to the air on its maiden flight on December 22, 1936. After some rework, it was accepted by the Air Force as the XB-21. The serial number 38485 was assigned. Two 1100-pound bombs could be carried 1960 miles, or eight 1100 pound bombs for a 660 mile range. The XB-21 aircraft found itself in competition with the Douglas B-18A for production orders. Price was the determining factor, the two aircraft having roughly similar performances. North American was asking $122,600 for each plane, whereas Douglas was asking only $63,977. Consequently, Douglas got the order, and a contract for 177 B-18As was issued on June 10, 1937. No further XB-21s were built. Serial number of North American XB-21: 38-485. Specification of North American XB-21: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2180-1 radials, rated at 1200 hp for takeoff. Performance: Maximum speed 220 mph at 10,000 feet. Cruising speed 190 mph. Service ceiling 25,000 feet. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 10 minutes. Range was 1960 miles with 2200 pounds of bombs, 660 miles with 10,000 pounds of bombs. Maximum range
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North American XB-21

3100 miles. Weights: 19,082 pounds empty, 27,253 pounds gross, 40,000 pounds maximum. Dimensions: Wingspan 95 feet, length 61 feet 9 inches, height 14 feet 9 inches, wing area 1120 square feet. Armed with a 0.30-inch machine gun mounted in power turrets in the nose and in the rear dorsal positions, plus one 0.30-inch machine gun firing from a ventral hatch and from left and right waist positions. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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Douglas XB-22

Douglas XB-22
Last revised August 1, 1999

It was readily apparent by the late 1930s that the performance of the B-18 bomber was rapidly rendering it obsolete. In an attempt to improve the performance of the B-18A, Douglas proposed that 1600 hp Wright R-2600-1 radials be fitted to a version of the B18A to be designated XB-22. In spite of the substantial increase in power offered by the larger engines, the performance of the XB-22 still fell short of requirements and the project was abandoned before anything could be built. Sources:
1. Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, vol 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute

Press, 1988
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. U.S. Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James, C. Fahey

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b22.html08-09-2006 20:22:35

Douglas B-23 Dragon

Douglas B-23 Dragon


Last revised November 23, 2000

The Douglas B-23 Dragon was a development of the B-18A Bolo with a considerably refined fuselage and a tail gun position. By the late 1930s, it was readily apparent that the performance of the B-18 bomber was rapidly rendering it obsolete. In an attempt to improve the performance of the B-18A, Douglas proposed that a pair of 1600 hp Wright R-2600-1 radials be fitted to a version of the B-18A to be designated XB-22. In spite of the substantial increase in power that was offered by the change in engines, the performance of the XB-22 still fell short of requirements and the project was abandoned before anything could be built. As an alternative to the failed XB-22, Douglas proposed that the B-18 undergo a major redesign in which it would be fitted with the stronger wings of the DC-3 commercial transport and be equipped with a completely new and better-streamlined fuselage with a substantially larger fin and rudder. A pair of Wright R-2600 radials (that were to have powered the unbuilt XB-22) were to be used as the powerplants. The USAAC was sufficiently intrigued by the Douglas proposal that they issued a change order in late 1938 in which the last 38 B-18As ordered under Contract AC9977 would be delivered as B-23s. Serials would be 39-27 thru 39-64. It was agreed that the usual prototype and service test phases would be skipped, and that all the aircraft would be delivered as production aircraft designated simply B-23. The first B-23 (39-27) was completed in July of 1939, powered by a pair of 1600 hp Wright R-2600-3 radials. The fuselage of the B-23 was much less deep than that of the B-18A, and the vertical tail and rudder were much larger in area. This first aircraft had an unglazed nose, whereas later production aircraft were to have a glazed nose housing the bombardier's position plus a flexible 0.30-inch machine gun carried on a ball-andsocket mount. It was assumed that the higher top speed of the B-23 would make frontal attacks less likely, so a frontal turret was thought not to be necessary. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the B-23 was the presence of a glazed tail gunner's position, the first to be installed on an American bomber. The maiden flight of the B-23 took place from Clover Field at Santa Monica on July 27, 1939. After being evaluated by the Materiel Division at Wright Field in Ohio, the B-23 entered service with the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron based at March Field in California. The remaining 37 B-23s were delivered between February and September of 1940, replacing the Northrop A-17As of the 17th Bomb Group based at March Field. In service, the B-23 carried a flexible 0.30-inch gun on a ball-and-socket mount in the extreme nose, plus a 0.30-inch machine gun on a swing mount attached to the aft fuselage bulkhead and firing either through beam hatches or through a swing-down dorsal panel, a 0.30-inch machine gun firing through a ventral hatch, plus a 0.50-inch hand-held machine gun in the glazed tail-gunner's position. The aircraft also had provision for a camera mounted on the left hand side of the fuselage. The bomb bay could accommodate
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Douglas B-23 Dragon

bombs of up to 2000 pounds in weight. The crew was six--pilot, bombardier, navigator, radio operator, camera operator, and tail gunner. Although the B-23 was 66 mph faster than its B-18A predecessor and had a much better range, it was still clearly inferior to the Boeing B-17E, the first truly combat-capable version of the Fortress. The B-23 was slower than the North American B-25 Mitchell and Martin B-26 Marauder and was less heavily-armed. Consequently, the B-23 was never used in its intended bombardment role and never saw any combat overseas. After the 17th Bomb Group's B-23s were replaced by B-25s, their B-23s were passed on to the 12th Bomb Group at McCord and to the 13th Bomb Group at Orlando. After Pearl Harbor, a few B-23s were used briefly for patrol along the Pacific Coast before being relegated to training roles. Many B-23s were later used for various tests and experiments. B-23 serial number 39-028 was used in glider pickup tests in which a glider's tow line would be held off the ground between two poles and caught by a hook extending from underneath the rear fuselage of the B-23 as it flew overhead. 39-28 was also used by Emerson Electric to test various remotely-controlled turret arrangements. B-23 number 39-032 was handed over to Pratt & Whitney on August 20, 1940 to test the 1850 hp R-2800-5 engine in support of the B-26 and XB-28 program. 39-053 was used at Muroc Dry Lake in California as a controller for the Culver PQ-8 radiocontrolled drone. At least eighteen B-23s were modified as transports under the designation UC-67. Known serials are 39-029, 031, 034, 035, 039, 041, 043, 044, 047, 054/059, 061, 063, and 064. After the end of the war, surviving B-23s and UC-67s were sold off as surplus. Many were refitted as corporate aircraft and were provided with a new and longer metal nose, full washroom facilities, plus accommodations for twelve passengers in two compartments. Several of these civil conversions were still flying in the late 1970s. I am aware of four B-23s that still survive. B-23 serial number 39-037 is located at the Air Force Museum at Wright- Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. It was parked outside for several years, but has been recently moved inside for restoration. B-23 serial number 39-045 is on display at the Castle Air Museum in California. 39-036 is at the McChord Air Museum in Washington state. 39-051 is at the Pima Air Museum in Tuscon, Arizona. Serials: 39-027/064 Douglas B-23 Dragon c/n 035 036 037

2713/2750 converted to UC-67 at McChord Air Museum, WA. at USAF Museum, OH undergoing

restoration. 038 converted to UC-67 041 converted to UC-67 045 at Castle Air Museum, CA

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Douglas B-23 Dragon

047 converted to UC-67 051 at Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ. 052 crashed McCall, Idaho Jan 29, 1943. Crew recovered some time after Feb 13. 053 converted to UC-67. RFC/scrap, Patterson Field 5/31/45 056 RFC Patson Field, Savanna GA 6/5/45 062 RFC McKeller Field, TN 7/3/46 064 RFC McKeller Field, TN 9/3/44 Specification of the Douglas B-23 Dragon: Two Wright R-2600-3 air-cooled radial engines, rated at 1600 hp for takeoff and 1275 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 282 mph at 122,000 feet, cruising speed 210 mph. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be reached in 6.7 minutes. Service ceiling 31,600 feet. Normal range 1400 miles with 4000 pounds of bombs, maximum range 2750 miles. Weights: 19,089 pounds empty, 26,500 pounds loaded, 32,400 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 92 feet, length 58 feet 4 3/4 inches, height 18 feet 5 1/2 inches, wing area 993 square feet. Armed with a flexible 0.30-inch gun on a ball-and-socket mount in the extreme nose, a 0.30inch machine gun on a swing mount attached to the aft fuselage bulkhead and firing either through beam hatches or through a swing-down dorsal panel, a 0.30-inch machine gun firing through a ventral hatch, plus a 0.50-inch hand-held machine gun in the glazed tail-gunner's position. Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume 1. Rene Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian,

1989.
3. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 4. E-mail from Will Marshall on status of USAF Museum B-23. 5. E-mail from Charles Sill on B-23 at Castle Air Museum.

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Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Consolidated XB-24 Liberator Consolidated YB-24 Liberator Consolidated B-24A Liberator/LB-30B Consolidatee B-24A Liberator Liberator II for the RAF/LB-30 Consolidated XB-24B Liberator Consolidated B-24C Liberator The Liberator Production Pool Consolidated B-24D Liberator Liberator III/G.R.V for RAF B-24D for Australia XB-41 gunship Consolidated B-24E Liberator Liberator IV for RAF Consolidated XB-24F Liberator Consolidated B-24H Liberator Consolidated B-24G Liberator Consolidated B-24J Liberator Consolidated XB-24K Liberator Ford/Consolidated B-24L Liberator Liberator VI/VIII for RAF Convair/Ford B-24M Liberator Consolidated B-24N Liberator Consolidated XB-24P Liberator Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express Consolidated C-109 Consolidated F-7 Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator with Royal Australian Air Force Liberator with the Netherlands

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Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Liberators for India Liberators for China B-24s for South Africa B-24s for Czechoslovakia B-24s for Turkey B-24 with USAAF Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer Convair RY-3

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Consolidated B-24 Liberator

North American B-25 Mitchell

North American NA-40 North American B-25 Mitchell North American B-25A Mitchell North American B-25B Mitchell The Doolittle Tokyo Raid North American B-25C Mitchell North American B-25D Mitchell B-25C/D Strafers Mediterranean Modifications of B-25C/D F-10 Photo-Reconnaissance Version of B-25 North American XB-25E Mitchell North American XB-25F Mitchell North American B-25G Mitchell B-25C with 37-mm Cannon North American B-25H Mitchell North American NA-98X North American B-25J Mitchell B-25 Experiments with Glide Torpedoes PBJ-1 for US Navy B-25 VIP Transport Conversions AT-24, TB-25, VB-25 Mitchell with Royal Air Force B-25 Mitchell in Dutch Service B-25 Mitchell with Royal Australian Air Force B-25 Mitchell with Royal Canadian Air Force B-25 Mitchell in Service with China B-25 Mitchell with Free French B-25 Mitchell with Brazilian Air Force Postwar B-25s Postwar Latin American Use of the Mitchell Civilian and Surviving Mitchells

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Consolidated B-24 Liberator

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Martin B-26 Marauder

Martin B-26 Marauder

Martin B-26 Marauder Martin B-26A Marauder Marauder I for RAF Martin B-26B Marauder The Widow Maker Marauder IA for RAF Martin B-26C Marauder Marauder II for RAF Martin XB-26D Marauder Martin "XB-26E" Marauder Martin B-26F Marauder Martin B-26G Marauder Martin TB-26G Marauder Marauder III for RAF Martin XB-26H Marauder Martin AT-23 Marauder Martin JM-1 Marauder for US Navy Martin JM-2 Marauder Service of B-26 Marauder with USAAF Service of B-26 Marauder with Free French

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b26.html08-09-2006 20:23:07

Martin XB-27

Martin XB-27
Last revised April 17, 2000

The Martin XB-27 (Model 182) was to have been a high-altitude version of the B-26 Marauder. It was to have been powered by a pair of turbosupercharged Pratt & Whitney R2800-9 air-cooled radial engines and was to have had a pressurized cockpit. The crew was to have consisted of seven, and estimated maximum speed was 376 mph. However, the project was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b27.html08-09-2006 20:23:12

North American XB-28 Dragon

North American XB-28 Dragon


Last revised April 17, 2000

The North American XB-28 (NA-63) Dragon was a proposed high-altitude follow-on to the B-25 Mitchell twin-engined medium bomber. Two prototypes were ordered on February 13, 1940. The XB-28 aircraft was generally similar to the B-25 in overall configuration, but had a single vertical tail rather than two. It had appreciably more power than the B-25, being powered by a pair of turbosupercharged Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines It carried a crew of five in a pressurized cabin and could carry up to 4000 pounds of bombs. The defensive armament consisted of remotely-controlled upper, lower, and tail turrets, each of which contained two 0.50-inch guns. The guns were aimed by gunners inside the fuselage who operated periscopic sights in stations behind the pilots' seats. The XB-28 flew for the first time on April 26, 1942. The second prototype was completed as the XB-28A reconnaissance version with R-2800-27s. Although the high-altitude performance of the XB-28 greatly exceeded that of the B-25, most medium bombing during the war was done from relatively low altitudes, and it was decided not to interrupt Mitchell production for an untried type, and the XB-28 project was cancelled after only two examples were built. Specification of North American XB-28: Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-11 air-cooled radial engines, rated at 2000 hp for takeoff and 1840 hp at 25,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 372 mph at 25,000 feet. Cruising speed 255 mph. Service ceiling 34,600 feet. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 9 minutes. Range was 2040 miles with a load of 6000 pounds of bombs. Weights: 25,575 pounds empty, 35,740 pounds gross, 37,200 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 72 feet 7 inches, length 56 feet 5 inches, height 14 feet, wing area 676 square feet.

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North American XB-28 Dragon

Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Boeing XB-29 Superfortress Boeing YB-29 Superfortress Boeing B-29 Superfortress Boeing B-29A Superfortress Boeing B-29B Superfortress Boeing B-29C Superfortress Boeing B-29D/XB-44 Superfortrss Boeing F-13A Superfortress Operation Matterhorn B-29 Attacks on Japan from the Marianas The Atomic Bomb B-29 in Korean War Washington to the RAF Boeing XB-39 Boeing XB-29E Superfortress Boeing B-29F Superfortress Boeing XB-29G Superfortess Boeing XB-29H Superfortress Boeing YB-29J Superfortress Boeing CB-29K Superfortress Boeing B-29L Superfortesss KB-29M Tanker, B-29MR Receiver Boeing KB-29P Superfortress Boeing YKB-29T Superfortress P2B-1S for US Navy EB-29 Carrier for XF-85 Parasite Fighter B-29 Mothership for X-1 Preserved B-29s Tupolev Tu 4

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Boeing B-29 Superfortress

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Lockheed XB-30

Lockheed XB-30
Last revised May 27, 2000

General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, the acting head of the Army Air Corps, had become alarmed by the growing war clouds in Europe and in the Far East. He established a special committee, chaired by Brigadier General W. G. Kilner, to make recommendations for the long term needs of the Army Air Corps. No less a personage than the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh had been a member of the committee. Lindbergh had recently toured German aircraft factories and Luftwaffe bases, and had become convinced that Germany was well ahead of its potential European adversaries. In their June 1939 report, the Kilner committee recommended that several new long-range medium and heavy bombers be developed. Hastened by a new urgency caused by the outbreak of war in Europe on September 1, on November 10, 1939, General Arnold requested authorization to contract with major aircraft companies for studies of a Very Long-Range (VLR) bomber that would be capable of carrying any future war well beyond American shores. Approval was granted on December 2, and USAAC engineering officers under Captain Donald L. Putt of the Air Material Command at Wright Field began to prepare the official specification. In January of 1940, the Army issued requirements for a "superbomber" with a speed of 400 mph, a range of 5333 miles, and a bomb load of 2000 pounds delivered at the halfwaypoint at that range. The official specification was revised in April to incorporate the lessons learned in early European wartime experience, and now included more defensive armament, armor, and self-sealing tanks. This became the basis for Request for Data R40B and Specification XC-218. On January 29, 1940, the War Department formally issued Data R-40B and circulated it to Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, and Lockheed. On June 27, 1940, the Army issued contracts for preliminary engineering data for the new "superbomber" to four manufacturers, which were designated in order of preference as Boeing XB-29, Lockheed XB-30, Douglas XB-31, and Consolidated XB-32. The Lockheed XB-30 proposal envisaged a bomber powered by four 2200 hp Wright R3350-13 air-cooled radials. It was to have carried a crew of 12, and would have had a wingspan of 123 feet and a length 104 feet 8 inches. Seeing that it was at a competitive
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Lockheed XB-30

disadvantage against the Boeing B-29, Lockheed withdrew its XB-30 proposal from the competition before any detailed designs could be completed. However, the work that Lockheed performed on the abortive XB-30 did not go to waste, since it was later put to use on the development of the C-69 Constellation transport. Sources:
1. US Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946. 2. Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Chester Marshall, Motorbooks International,

1993.
3. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Mich Mayborn, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday,

1969.
4. B-29 Superfortress, John Pimlott, Gallery Books, 1980. 5. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1960. 6. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 7. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


8. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Douglas XB-31

Douglas XB-31
Last revised May 27, 2000

General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, the acting head of the Army Air Corps, had become alarmed by the growing war clouds in Europe and in the Far East. He established a special committee, chaired by Brigadier General W. G. Kilner, to make recommendations for the long term needs of the Army Air Corps. No less a personage than the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh had been a member of the committee. Lindbergh had recently toured German aircraft factories and Luftwaffe bases, and had become convinced that Germany was well ahead of its potential European adversaries. In their June 1939 report, the Kilner committee recommended that several new long-range medium and heavy bombers be developed. Hastened by a new urgency caused by the outbreak of war in Europe on September 1, on November 10, 1939, General Arnold requested authorization to contract with major aircraft companies for studies of a Very Long-Range (VLR) bomber that would be capable of carrying any future war well beyond American shores. Approval was granted on December 2, and USAAC engineering officers under Captain Donald L. Putt of the Air Material Command at Wright Field began to prepare the official specification. In January of 1940, the Army issued requirements for a "superbomber" with a speed of 400 mph, a range of 5333 miles, and a bomb load of 2000 pounds delivered at the halfwaypoint at that range. The official specification was revised in April to incorporate the lessons learned in early European wartime experience, and now included more defensive armament, armor, and self-sealing tanks. This became the basis for Request for Data R40B and Specification XC-218. On January 29, 1940, the War Department formally issued Data R-40B and circulated it to Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, and Lockheed. On June 27, 1940, the Army issued contracts for preliminary engineering data for the new "superbomber" to four manufacturers, which were designated in order of preference as Boeing XB-29, Lockheed XB-30, Douglas XB-31, and Consolidated XB-32. The Douglas XB-31 (company designation of Model 423) was somewhat larger and heavier than the other three competitors. It was to have been powered by four 3000-hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360 28-cylinder air-cooled radials driving three-bladed propellers.
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Douglas XB-31

Wingspan was to have been 207 feet with a wing area of 3300 square feet. The length of the fuselage was to have been 117 feet 3 inches. Weights were expected to be 109,200 pounds empty and 198,000 pounds maximum. The pilot and co-pilot were to be seated under separate double bubble canopies that were similar to those later fitted to the C-74 Globemaster transport and the XB-42 experimental bomber. The six other crew members were to be accommodated at separate stations throughout the fuselage. Defensive armament was to have consisted of twin 0.50-inch machine guns in remotely controlled dorsal and ventral turrets, plus a pair of 37-mm cannon in the tail. A maximum bombload of 25,000 pounds was to have been carried in two fuselage bays. In spite of the promise of the XB-31, the B-29 had the edge in the competition since work on the Boeing design was much further along. On May 17, 1941, the Army announced that an order would be placed for 250 B-29s. This order was confirmed in September of 1941. The Douglas XB-31 project was formally cancelled in late 1941 before anything could be built. Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.


2. US Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946. 3. Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Chester Marshall, Motorbooks International,

1993.
4. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Mich Mayborn, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday,

1969.
5. B-29 Superfortress, John Pimlott, Gallery Books, 1980. 6. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1960. 7. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


8. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Douglas XB-31

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Consolidated B-32 Dominator

Consolidated B-32 Dominator


Index
Last revised: 25 February 1996

1. B-29 Competitor
G

Sources

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_us/b032i.html08-09-2006 21:27:17

Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

Consolidated B-32 Dominator - Chapter 1


B-29 Competitor
Last revised: 12 June 1998 Consolidated B-32 Dominator Consolidated B-32 Dominator - Sources (From "Flying Terminated Inventory", Stephen Harding, Wings, April 1993, p. 40. Used with permission.) The Consolidated B-32 Dominator four-engined heavy bomber was ordered at the same time as the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. It was definitely the USAAF's second choice, and was intended primarily as insurance in case the favored Boeing design failed. Since the B-29 turned out to be an outstanding success, the B-32 was built only in relatively small numbers and used in only a very few combat actions during the last few weeks of the war. Although its brief combat career was unspectacular, it did have the distinction of flying the last aerial combat mission against Japan. In early 1939, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, the acting head of the Army Air Corps, had become alarmed by the growing war clouds in Europe and in the Far East. He established a special committee, chaired by Brigadier General W.G. Kilner, to make recommendations for the long term needs of the Army Air Corps. In their June 1939 report, the Kilner committee recommended that several new longrange medium and heavy bombers be developed. Hastened by a new urgency caused by the outbreak of war in Europe, on November 10, 1939, General Arnold requested authorization to contract with major aircraft companies for studies of a Very Long-Range (VLR) bomber that would be capable of carrying any future war well beyond American shores. It was to be superior in performance, range, load-carrying ability, and in defensive armament to existing B-17 and B-24 aircraft. Approval for the VLR bomber project was granted on December 2, and USAAC engineering officers under Captain Donald L. Putt of the Air Material Command at Wright Field began to prepare the official specification. In January of 1940, the Army issued a set of formal requirements for the "superbomber", calling for a speed of 400 mph, a range of 5333 miles, and a bomb load of 2000 pounds delivered at the halfwaypoint at that range. The official specification was revised in April to incorporate the lessons learned in early European wartime experience, and now asked for more defensive armament, more armor and provision for self-sealing fuel tanks. This became the basis for Request for Data R-40B and Specification XC-218. On January 29, 1940, the War Department formally issued Data R-40B and circulated it to Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas and Lockheed.

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Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

On June 27, 1940, the Army issued contracts for preliminary engineering data for the new "superbomber" to four manufacturers, which were designated in order of preference as Boeing XB-29, Lockheed XB-30, Douglas XB-31 and Consolidated XB-32. Seeing that they were at a competitive disadvantage, Lockheed and Douglas both subsequently withdrew from the competition before any detailed designs could be completed, but both Boeing and Consolidated stuck with it. On August 24, 1940, the Army ordered two prototypes and a static test model from Boeing under the designation XB29. At the same time, two XB-32 prototypes were ordered from Consolidated as insurance against the failure of the favored XB-29. The contract was dated September 6. A third XB-32 was later added to the contract. The first XB-32 was to be delivered within 18 months of the contract date, the second 90 days later, and the third 90 days after that. The Consolidated XB-32 was assigned the designation of Model 33 by the company. It was similar in overall layout to the twin-finned B-24 Liberator, with a high-mounted Davis-type wing, twin tails, and a twin bomb-bay covered over by a set of roll-up doors. It differed from the B-24 in having a larger wing, a cylindrical fuselage, and a rounded, B-29-type nose. However, the rounded nose was replaced by a more conventional stepped windshield before the first prototype flew. The engines were the same as those of the XB-29 -- four turbosupercharged Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone air-cooled radials. Like the Boeing B-29, the XB-32 had pressurized crew compartments and remotely-controlled turrets. However, the turrets on the XB-32 were retractable. The B-32 mockups were built in late December of 1940. They were modified to incorporate changes suggested by a Wright Field report on wind tunnel testing of a 1/35th scale wooden model. The revised mockups were reinspected and finally approved on January 6, 1941. Thirteen service test YB-32s were ordered in June of 1941. These would be developed in parallel to the construction of the three XB-32s. The first XB-32 (41-141) was rolled out at San Diego on September 1, 1942, nearly six months behind schedule. At this stage in the war, the B-32 was still an important part in the USAAF's war planning. The August 1941 plan was based on precision bombing of German industrial targets with 98 groups of bombers, 48 of them equipped with B-29s and B-32s. The USAAF was already unhappy about the delays in both the B-29 and B-32 programs, and since the B-32 had actually been the first to be completed, the Army wanted flight tests to begin at once. Because of problems with the pressurization system and the gun turrets, these items had been left off the first XB-32 so that it could begin flight testing right away. The first XB-32 took off on its maiden flight on September 7, 1942 from San Diego's Lindbergh Field, with test pilots Russell Rodgers and Richard McMakin at the controls. Problems with one of the rudder trim tab actuating rods forced an emergency landing at nearby NAS North Island after only 20 minutes in the air. The XB-32 had R-3350-13 engines inboard, and R-3350-21 engines outboard, all of which drove threebladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propellers. The XB-32 was later fitted with four 0.50-inch machine guns in each of its top and lower turrets, plus a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns and one 20-mm
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Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

cannon mounted in the rear of each outboard engine nacelle firing rearward and controlled by aiming stations in the fuselage and tail. In addition, two fixed 0.50-inch guns were carried in the wing leading edges, outboard of the propellers. Development problems continued, and in February 1943 the YB-32 contract was cancelled. However, a month later a contract for three hundred B-32s was placed, although some USAAF officers were in favor of cancelling the B-32 program outright since the B-29 program was now proceeding forward rapidly. The B-32s were to built at the Fort Worth Consolidated plant, although the prototypes had been built at San Diego. The popular name Terminator was assigned. On May 10, 1943, XB-32 41-141 crashed just after takeoff because of a flap malfunction, injuring six crewman and killing Consolidated test pilot Richard McMakin. This was a major setback for the B-32 program, since some vital test records had been destroyed in the crash, which meant that several tests had to be repeated. The second XB-32 (41-142) flew for the first time on July 2, 1943. The second XB-32 sported the same type of twin fin and rudder assembly but with modified rudder tabs. It was also pressurized and had remotely-controlled retractable gun turrets in the dorsal and ventral positions, with a manned tail "stinger". The first flight of the third XB-32 (41-18336) was delayed by further technical problems. When finally completed in November of 1943, the machine by now incorporated several features that the Army deemed unsatisfactory. In December of 1943, the USAAF came to the conclusion that the B-32 as it then existed was obsolete by contemporary world standards. A host of changes were recommended in order to save the program from cancellation. The USAAF felt that the defensive firepower of the XB-32 was totally inadequate and recommended that the remotely-controlled turrets be replaced by manned turrets. The armament was changed to a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns installed in nose, ventral, tail and two dorsal positions. The engine nacelles were redesigned, and four-bladed propellers were adopted. It was now envisaged that most of the missions carried out by the B-32 would be at low or medium altitudes, and the pressurized cabin was abandoned. The weight savings achieved by the omission of the pressurization enabled the maximum bombload to be increased to 20,000 pounds. Improved fuel, oil and bomb-release systems were needed, an automatic flight control system was installed, and emergency exits were improved. The bombardier's view was improved through installation of the B-24's Emerson Model 128 nose assembly. These changes were so major that they represented a virtual redesign of the entire B-32. The third XB-32 was used as the text bed for the changes. After its 25th flight, the third XB-32 was fitted with a single Boeing-designed 16.5-foot tall B-29-type vertical tail. However, this was still inadequate, and a Consolidated-designed 19 feet 6 inch vertical tail was substituted. This was first flown on the third XB-32 (41-18336) on November 3, 1943, and ultimately became standard on production B32s. With these revisions, the design became known as the Model 34, and orders were increased to over 1500 aircraft, including a third contract for 500 aircraft to be manufactured in the San Diego plant. San Diego
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Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

was to produce fuselage parts for Fort Worth, and the latter was to build wings for incorporation into complete aircraft at San Diego. Powerplant auxiliary packages were to be built at Downey, and the rudder and the engines were to come from the Chicago plant of General Motors. In August of 1944, the popular name of the B-32 was changed to Dominator. However, in August of 1945, this name was dropped because of objections made by the State Department at a United Nations conference. I am not sure of the reasons for the objection, but the name "Dominator" must have been deemed to be "politically incorrect" for the postwar environment. After that, the aircraft was officially referred to as simply B-32. Although the first production aircraft built at Fort Worth (42-108471) was initially fitted with a complete B-29 vertical tail, it was later fitted with the definitive tall tail. Production B-32s carried ten 0.50-inch Browning M2 machine guns, mounted two each in manned nose, tail, belly and two dorsal turrets. The two dorsal turrets were built by Martin and were electrically-operated and fitted with streamlining "teardrops". The nose, tail and dorsal turrets were electric-hydraulic ball turrets built by Sperry. The belly turret was retractable, but protruded slightly when retracted. The first B-32 delivery was made on September 19, 1944 with the second Fort Worth-built aircraft (42108472). However, it was written off the very same day when its nose wheel collapsed on landing. Production delays held up delivery of the next aircraft, 42-108475, until November 22. Service tests were to be carried out at Eglin and Pincastle Fields in Florida and at Wright Field and Vandalia, Ohio. By the end of December of 1944, only five aircraft had been delivered to the various test centers. In comparison, the B-29 had been in combat for nearly six months. By mid-December 1944, the USAAF was quite unhappy about the delays and deficiencies in the B-32 program. Those B-32s already delivered were experiencing a high rate of mechanical malfunctions, and there were complaints about faulty workmanship on some of the delivered aircraft. Many in the USAAF were now recommending that the B-32 program be cancelled outright, with B-32 crews being transferred to B-29 units. Brigadier General Donald Wilson reported on the status of the B-32 program in December, and recommended that even in spite of the difficulties it would be unwise to abandon the Dominator program until a full set of tests had conclusively demonstrated its unsuitability. He recommended that no final decision about the Dominator's future be made until after the completion of service tests and that the crew training program should continue. In support of the training of crews, starting on January 27, 1945, 40 aircraft (42-108485/108524) were delivered as TB-32s without turrets for crew training. The unarmed TB-32s carried ballast to compensate for the weight of the absent turrets and bombing equipment. Prospective B-32 pilots underwent 50 hours training in TB-32s and co-pilots received 25 hours of flight time and 25 hours of observer training.
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Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

In service, the B-32 had numerous deficiencies. The cockpit had an extremely high noise level and the instrument layout was poor. Bombardier vision was rather poor. The aircraft was overweight for the available engine power, the mechanical subsystems were inadequate, and there were frequent engine fires caused by a faulty nacelle design. There were frequent undercarriage failures, which caused the type to be grounded briefly during May of 1945. On the plus side, the B-32 had excellent low-speed directional control, good takeoff and landing characteristics and rapid control response. The B-32 was a stable bombing platform, its manned turrets provided good protection, its subsystems were easily accessible for maintenance, and its reversible inboard propellers gave it excellent ground-handling characteristics. Many of the problems encountered during the B-32 service tests were eliminated in subsequent production aircraft, either through design changes or through better quality control during manufacture. An August 1944 directive from the USAAF had required that a combat test be carried out before the B32 could be introduced into service. However, the AAFPGC agency opposed both a combat test and general service introduction of the B-32, so it seemed that the Dominator would be consigned to operational limbo indefinitely. In the meantime, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, the commander of the Far East Air Forces, had been anxious to get B-29s but his requests had always been turned down on the grounds that the B-29s were urgently needed elsewhere. As an alternative, General Kenney started requesting B-32s instead. On March 27, General Arnold approved Kenney's request and authorized a comprehensive Dominator combat test. Col. Frank R. Cook was appointed commander of the test detachment. Three B-32s were chosen for the combat test (42-108529, -108531 and -108532). -108531 was damaged in an accident before leaving Fort Worth, and was replaced by 42-108528. -108528 was in rather bad shape, since it had been used as a test machine at Fort Worth. The first two arrived on Luzon on May 24, with the recalcitrant -108528 not arriving until the next day. The test was to be carried out under the auspices of the 5th Bomber Command, with the 316th Bombardment Squadron of the 312th Bombardment Group as the host unit. If things worked out well, the A-20s which equipped the 312th would be replaced by B-32s. The first combat mission took place on May 29, 1945. It was a strike against a Japanese supply depot in Luzon's Cayagan Valley. All three of the Dominators were to take part, but -108528 aborted on takeoff. The other two proceeded to the target. Unopposed bombing runs were made from an altitude of 10,000 feet, and both aircraft returned without incident. This raid was followed by a series of attacks on Japanese targets in the Philippines, in Formosa, and on Hainan Island in the Tonkin Gulf. The only opposition encountered during these missions was some rather inaccurate flak. The tests were deemed a success, and plans were made to convert the entire 386th Bombardment Squadron to B-32s. The 312th BG was scheduled to move to Okinawa as soon as the 386th conversion was completed. Following the dropping of the atomic bombs, in August of 1945, the unit was ordered to move to Okinawa before the conversion could be carried out. Six more B-32s joined the squadron on Okinawa a
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Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

few days later. Combat operations continued in spite of the de-facto cease-fire that had been called following the bombing of Nagasaki. During this time, the B-32s flew mainly photographic reconnaissance missions, most of which were unopposed. However, on August 17 a group of 4 B-32s flying over Tokyo were fired on by radar-directed flak and were attacked by Japanese fighters. The American aircraft escaped with only minor damage, claiming one confirmed fighter kill and two probables. During a reconnaissance mission over Tokyo on August 18, 42-108532 and 42-108578 were attacked by Japanese fighters. The American gunners claimed two kills and one probable, but -108578 was badly shot up and one of her crew was killed with two being injured. This was to prove to be the last combat action of World War 2. The last Dominator mission of the war was flown by four B-32s on August 28 in a reconnaissance mission to Tokyo. The mission was a disaster, although not because of any enemy action. 42-108544 lost an engine on takeoff and skidded off the runway. All 13 men aboard perished when the aircraft exploded and burned. On the way back from the target, 42-108528 lost power on two of its four engines. The plane's pilot ordered the crew to bail out, but two men perished. After VJ-Day, the surviving B-32 aircraft were ordered to return to the USA. All further production of the B-32 was cancelled in September/October of 1945. At the time of cancellation, Fort Worth had produced 74 B-32s and 40 TB-32s, and San Diego had built only one. The last six fully-equipped Dominators (42-108579/108584) were flown from the production line directly into storage at DavisMonthan and Kingman, Arizona. Twelve additional aircraft in shop-assembled status at San Diego and Fort Worth were declared "terminal inventory" and were also flown directly to disposal sites. At least 37 partially-assembled machines were stripped of all their government-furnished equipment and engines and were scrapped on site by the contractor. Those Dominators that were already in service were flown to the nearest disposal center, and all the non-flyable examples were scrapped in place. By 1947, most of B-32s that had been sent to the disposal centers had been scrapped. No surplus B-32s were ever sold to foreign air forces, and the aircraft's complexity and reputation for mechanical unreliability made it unattractive on the postwar commercial market. There is only example in which a commercial customer showed any interest in a surplus B-32. In June 1947, Milton J. Reynolds, a pen manufacturer, announced that he was planning to buy a surplus B-32 for a round-theworld flight over both poles, but this plan was never carried out. No intact, complete B-32 survives today. B-32-1-CF 42-108474 had been set aside for display at the Air Force Museum, but was unaccountably declared excess and scrapped at Davis-Monthan in August of 1949. Only bits and pieces of B-32s remain in existence today. A nose turret from a B-32 is in storage at the Paul Garber Restoration Facility of the Smithsonian Institution at Suitland, Maryland. Another B-32 nose turret is on display in a Minnesota museum. A static test wing panel from a B-32 was erected as a monument to aviation pioneer John J. Montgomery on a hill near San Diego.

Serials of Consolidated B-32:

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Consolidated B-32 Dominator -- Chapter 1

41-141/142 41-18336 42-108471/108484 42-108485/108524 42-108525/108584

Consolidated Consolidated Consolidated Consolidated Consolidated

XB-32 Dominator - 141 w/o 5/10/43 XB-32 Dominator B-32-CF Dominator TB-32-CF Dominator B-32-CF Dominator

Specification of Consolidated B-32 Dominator:


Powerplant: Four 2200 hp Wright R-3350-23A Duplex Cyclone eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, each with two turbosuperchargers. Performance: Maximum speed 357 mph at 30,000 feet, 281 mph at 5000 feet. Initial climb rate 1050 feet per minute. An altitude of 25,000 feet could be reached in 38 minutes. Normal range 2400 miles at 20,000 feet. Maximum range 3800 miles. Weights: 60,278 pounds empty, 123,250 pounds maximum gross weight. Dimensions: Wingspan 135 feet 0 inches, length 32 feet 2 inches, wing area 1422 square feet. Armament: Ten 0.50-inch machine paired in nose, tail, ventral and two dorsal turrets. A maximum load of 20,000 pounds could be carried internally. Consolidated B-32 Dominator Consolidated B-32 Dominator - Sources

Joe Baugher jbaugher@worldnet.att.com Maintained by Carl Pettypiece

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Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Boeing B-29 Superfortress


Index
Last revised: 10 February 1996

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

XB-29 YB-29 Service Test Aircraft B-29 Production Model B-29A B-29B B-29C B-29D, XB-44, B-50A F-13 Photographic Reconnaissance Superfortress Operation Matterhorn B-29 Attacks on Japan from Marianas The Atomic Bomb B-29 in Korean War Boeing Washington for the RAF XB-39 XB-29E B-29F XB-29G XB-29H YB-29J CB-29K Cargo Transport B-29L KB-29M Tanker, B-29MR Receiver KB-29P Boom Tanker YKB-29T P2B-1S for US Navy EB-29 Carrier for XF-85 Parasite Fighter Launch Aircraft for X-1 The End of the Line Tu-4 Soviet Copy of the B-29

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Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Sources

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Martin XB-33

Martin XB-33
Last revised May 27, 2000

The Martin XB-33 was a bomber project submitted to the USAAF in March of 1941 for an improved version of the B-26 Marauder powered by a pair of Wright R-3350 air-cooled radials. By May 8, 1941, it had been redesigned with four 1800 hp Wright R-2600-15 radials and twin tails. The crew was to have been seven, and a gross weight of 95,000 was projected. The bombload was to have been 12,000 pounds, and an armament of eight 0.50inch machine guns was to have been carried. The high-winged aircraft was to have had a wingspan of 134 feet 0 inches and the length was to have been 79 feet 10 inches. Two prototypes were ordered under the designation XB-33A, and on January 17, 1942 an order for 402 B-33As was placed. The production of the B-33 was to have been carried out at a new government-owned plant at Omaha, Nebraska that would be operated by Martin. However, the entire B-33 project was cancelled on November 25, 1942 so that Martin-Omaha could concentrate on the manufacture of the B-29 Superfortress. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. US Army Aircraft, 1908-1946, James C. Fahey, Ships and Aircraft, 1946

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Lockheed B-34

Lockheed B-34

Lockheed Ventura for RAF Lockheed Ventura IIA for RAF, B34 Lockheed B-37 Lockheed PV-1 Ventura Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon

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Northrop B-35

Northrop B-35
Last revised January 19, 2000

John K. Northrop was one of the pioneering giants in aviation. He got his start in aviation back in 1916, when he went to work for the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company. Jack Northrop joined Douglas Aircraft in 1923, and rose to the rank of chief engineer, but he later left Douglas to rejoin his old team at what was now known as Lockheed. While there, he worked on the Lockheed Vega monoplane. In 1928, Northrop helped found the Avion Corporation, which built the well known Alpha monoplane. However, in 1930 he was forced to sell Avion to the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. At the height of the Depression in 1932, with partial financing from the Douglas Aircraft Company, Jack Northrop founded the first aircraft company bearing his name. His company built the famous Gamma and Delta monoplanes which were so successful during the 1930s. However, in August of 1939, Jack Northrop left the company he had founded, since by that time it had become just another division of Douglas, and founded an entirely new and completely independent company named Northrop Aircraft, Inc at Hawthorne, California. As early as 1923, Jack Northrop had been convinced that the flying wing, in which the aircraft carried all loads and controls within the wing and dispensed with fuselage and tail sections, was the next major step forward in aircraft design. In support of the flying wing idea, Jack Northrop had built a number of small-scale demonstrators to evaluate the concept. One of these was the N1M flying wing demonstrator which flew for the first time on July 3, 1940. On April 11, 1941, the USAAF issued a request for proposals for a high-altitude bomber that could carry a 10,000-pound bombload halfway across a 10,000 mile range. Maximum speed was to be 450 mph at 25,000 feet, cruising speed 275 mph, service ceiling 45,000 feet, and a maximum range of 12,000 miles at 25,000 feet. Invitations for preliminary design studies were sent to the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation and to the Boeing Airplane Company. The Consolidated submission was eventually to emerge as the B-36. As part of this project, Northrop was contacted on May 27, 1941 and asked to provide studies of a flying wing proposal as it related to requirements for a range of 8000 miles at 25,000 feet with one ton of bombs, a cruising speed of 250 mph, a service ceiling of 40,000 feet, and a bombload of 10,000 pounds, which were much less demanding than those of the April ll RFP. In August of 1941, slightly more ambitious requirements were again submitted to Northrop. The flying wing bomber project (designated NS-9 by the company) received approval for an initial start
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Northrop B-35

from the USAAC in September of 1941, following a visit to the Northrop plant by Assistant Secretary of War Robert Leavitt, General Henry H. Arnold, and Major General Oliver P. Echols. The order was confirmed on October 30, 1941. The contract included a purchase order for engineering data, model tests, plus a 1/3-scale flying mockup known as the N9M. On November 22, a contract for a single XB35 prototype and an option for a second was signed. The option for the second XB-35 was exercised on January 2, 1942. According to the terms of the contract, the first XB-35 was to be delivered in November 1943, with the second following in April of 1944. Detailed design work on the XB-35 began in early 1942, and the XB-35 full-scale mock-up was approved on July 5, 1942. On December 17, 1942, 13 YB-35 service test aircraft were ordered. Two more N-9M flying scale models were ordered in early 1943, with a fourth being ordered in mid1943. The advantages of a flying wing format were perceived as providing both low drag and high lift, which meant that the XB-35 could carry any weight faster, farther, and cheaper than conventional aircraft. In addition, the use of a flying wing meant that simpler construction methods could be used with fewer structural complications. A flying wing should cost less to build since it was built as a single unit with no added tail or fuselage. A flying wing provides a better weight distribution for the offensive load, since compartments along the entire span could distribute the weight of the bomb load much more evenly. Finally, a flying wing presented a smaller target when seen from fore, aft, or from the side when engaged in either offensive or defensive operations. Northrop lacked adequate production facilities for the manufacture of production B-35s, and enlarging the company's Hawthorne plant was out of the question at that time. At the end of 1942, in search of more production facilities, Northrop began negotiating with the Glenn L. Martin Company. Northrop management indicated that they would be satisfied to fabricate only the XB-35s and the YB-35s, with Martin having the responsibility for building the production B-35s at its plant in Baltimore, Maryland. A contract for 200 B-35s was initially planned in November of 1942, and was formally issued on June 30, 1943. The first production B-35 was to be delivered by June of 1945. In support of the program, Northrop built four 60-foot wingspan (about one-third the size of the proposed B-35) N9M flying wing test aircraft to train pilots in handling flying-wing aircraft and to see if the general concept was feasible. They were of mixed wood and metal construction, with the center section being of welded steel tubing. The covering was of wood and metal panels, with the outer wing panels being of wood with metal wing slots and wing tips. The four N9Ms were later called N9M-1, N9M-2, N9M-A, and N9M-B respectively. They were initially powered by a pair of 290 hp Menasco C65-4 six-cylinder air-cooled engines each driving a pusher two-bladed propeller by means of an extension shaft via a fluid-drive coupler. The engines were cooled by air admitted by large under-wing scoops. The N9M-B was later fitted with two air-cooled 400 hp Franklin engines. Provisions were made for a pilot and one passenger, both housed underneath a single transparent bubble canopy. It was provided with a retractable tricycle landing gear, and a rear outrigger tail wheel was fitted. These 4
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Northrop B-35

aircraft flew with neither civil registrations nor military serials. The design details worked out in the N9M were incorporated into the design of the XB-35. The first N-9M flew for the first time on December 27, 1942. It crashed on May 19, 1943, killing its pilot. On the maiden flight of the second model on June 24, 1943, the cockpit canopy of the aircraft flew off while in flight, but the pilot was able to land successfully. Nearly all the flight tests of the N9M were shortened by mechanical failures of one kind or another, particular with failures in the Menasco engines. The fourth and last N9M (the N9M-B) flew for the first time on September 21, 1943. The N9M-B (the last of the four) managed to survive all these years, and was restored to flying condition over a period of 12 years by volunteers at the Chino 'Planes of Fame Museum' and flew again, for the first time after about 45 years, on November 11, 1994. The new civil registration of the N9M-B is 'N9MB'. The wingspan of the B-35 was 172 feet, and the leading edges were swept back at an angle of 27 degrees. The wing of the B-35 was 37 1/2 feet wide at the center, tapering to 9 feet wide at the tips. Because of the wing sweep, the overall length of the aircraft was slightly over 53 feet. The lateral control that was normally provided by conventional rudders was provided on the B-35 by a set of double split flaps located on the trailing edges of the wingtips. These operated by having the split flaps open up in butterfly fashion to provide a braking effect. When the left rudder pedal was depressed, the left flaps would open up, forcing a turn to the left. If both pedals were depressed, both split flaps would open up to increase the gliding angle or reduce the air speed. These double split flaps could also act as trim flaps, and could be adjusted as a unit either up or down to trim the airplane longitudinally. Elevons were located along the trailing edge of each wing inboard of the trim flaps. When deflected together in the same direction (by the pilot moving the control column fore or aft), they could cause the airplane to descend or climb. When operated differentially (by having the pilot move the control wheel left or right), they caused the airplane to bank left or right in a fashion similar to the function of conventional ailerons. For landings and takeoffs, A set of flaps were located in the wing trailing edge near the center. The aircraft was powered by four Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major air-cooled radials (two R-4360-17s and two R-4360-21s) with double superchargers and feed by cooling air coming from long slots cut into the wing leading edge. Each engine drove a set of coaxial, counter-rotating four-bladed pusher propellers mounted at the end of a driveshaft that protruded beyond the trailing edge of the upper wing surface. The B-35 was 20 feet tall when sitting on its tricycle landing gear. 5' 6" dual wheels on the main gear and a 4'8" wheel on the nose gear.
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Northrop B-35

The crew of the XB-35 was carried in a crew cabin installed at the center of the wing, with a tailcone protruding beyond the central wing trailing edge. The normal crew was 9--a pilot, copilot, bombardier, navigator, engineer, radio operator and 3 gunners. The pilot sat in the very front of the wing center section (slightly offset to the left of center) underneath a transparent bubble-type canopy. The copilot sat to the right of the pilot and somewhat lower down, and sighted through a set of transparent windows cut into the front of the wing. His visibility, though, was fairly marginal. The bombardier's station was located to the right of the copilot's seat, and the bombardier operated the bombsight by aiming it through a square window cut into the forward underwing surface. The navigator and flight engineer sat to the rear of the copilot. The navigator had a small transparent bubble over his seat for the sighting of stars. Six more crew members could be added as substitutes on long-range missions, with folding bunks in the rear of the crew cabin to accommodate the off-duty crewmen. The defensive armament was to consist of a set of remotely-controlled barbettes. A quartet of 0.50inch machine guns were housed inside each of dorsal and ventral barbettes that were mounted on the tailcone along the wing's centerline. Four 0.50-inch machine guns were installed in the rear of the tailcone. A pair of 0.50-in machine guns were installed in each of four barbettes mounted on the wing outboard of the outermost engines, one above and one below the wing. The guns were remotely sighted by gunners sitting in stations in a bubble in the upper rear part of the tailcone, in a ventral station, and in a position in the pilot's bubble immediately behind the pilot's seat. The bombs were carried internally in eight individual bomb bays cut into the under surface of the wing outboard of the main crew cabin. The XB-35 was built of an entirely new aluminum alloy developed by Alcoa. This alloy was considerably stronger than previous metals. The fuel was carried in self-sealing leak-proof fuel cells in the wing, and additional fuel could be carried in tanks in the bomb bay and in other wing compartment areas. Unfortunately, by early 1944, the B-35 program was seriously behind schedule. Test results with the N-9M aircraft had indicated that the range of the XB-35 would most likely be 1600 miles shorter than anticipated. In addition, the maximum speed was estimated to be 24 mph slower than anticipated. Consequently, General Arnold began to question the wisdom of any extensive B-35 production program. In the meantime, the Martin company was experiencing severe shortages of trained engineers (many had been drafted) who could work on the B-35 project and had encountered delays in setting up the necessary tooling. These problems had forced Martin to push back the delivery date of the first B-35 to 1947. As a result, the USAAF concluded that it was unlikely that the B-35 would be ready in time to contribute to the war effort, and cancelled the Martin B-35 production contract on May 24, 1944. However, this did not spell the death of the B-35 project, since the Air Technical Service Command felt that the XB-35 flying wing project was worthwhile for test purposes even if it never achieved operational status. In December of 1944, the USAAF decided that Northrop should go ahead and build the XB-35 and YB-35 aircraft as test vehicles. The first six of the YB-35s would be built on the XBhttp://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b35.html (4 of 7)08-09-2006 21:28:25

Northrop B-35

35 pattern, but with certain individual differences. On June 1, 1945, orders were issued to have two of the YB-35 airframes fitted with Allison J35-A-5 jet engines. The jet-powered flying wing was initially assigned the designation YB-35B, but this was later changed to YB-49. In 1945, after two more YB35s had been added to the first YB-35 lot to replace the two that were earmarked for jet conversion, the USAAF told Northrop to manufacture the remaining 5 airplanes on the YB-35 contract to more advanced specifications, which resulted a redesignation to YB-35A. The first XB-35 (serial number 42-13603) took off on its maiden flight on June 25, 1946, with Max Stanley as pilot and Dale Schroeder as flight engineer. On this first flight, the aircraft was flown from Hawthorne to Muroc Dry Lake, a flight lasting 45 minutes. Almost immediately, the flight test program ran into difficulties. Gear box malfunctions and propeller control difficulties caused the XB35 to be grounded on September 11 after only 19 flights. The second XB-35 (serial number 42-38323) took to the air for the first time on June 26, 1947. Only eight flights took place before Northrop was forced to ground this plane too. The dual counter-rotating propellers and their gearboxes proved to be totally unsatisfactory, and both XB-35s had to be grounded in September of 1947 so that their dual-rotating propellers could be replaced by single-rotation propellers. Following the fitting of the new single-rotation propellers and the mounting of simpler gearboxes, flight testing of the first XB-35 was resumed in February of 1948. Seven more flights were made by the first XB-35 from February 12 to April 1, 1948. The new propeller installations operated without any particular mechanical difficulties, but there was considerable vibration and the performance of the aircraft was reduced. The XB-35's intricate exhaust system was a maintenance nightmare, and by the middle of 1948 the cooling fans of the R-4360 engines were beginning to show signs of metal fatigue. The first YB-35 (42-102366) flew on May 15, 1948, which was the only example actually fitted with defensive armament. The two XB-35s had carried only dummy turrets. The YB-35 was fitted with single-rotation propellers. This was destined to be the only one of the 13 YB-35s ordered that actually flew. Of the original 13 YB-35s ordered, four had been scheduled to be used as sources of spare parts for the extensive flight test program that was planned. However, by mid-1948 the piston-engined B-35 was definitely outdated, and the program was clearly doomed. A propeller-driven aircraft was simply much too slow for the era of jet propulsion, and the flying wing as it then existed was much too unstable to make a good bombing or camera platform. Nevertheless, the Air Force did not want to throw in the towel completely after having spent so much money, and for a while considered studying the feasibility of adapting the B-35 for the air-refuelling role, but this was not pursued any further. By the end of 1948, it was planned for five YB-35s and 4 YB-35As to be converted to six-jet configuration and fitted with cameras and redesignated RB-35B (later to be redesignated YRB-49A). One YB-35 was earmarked for static testing, and another jet-converted YB-35A was to be fitted out as a test-bed for the Turbodyne T-37 turboprop engine, which was then under development. This test
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Northrop B-35

aircraft was to have been designated EB-35B (it was the last of the 13 prototypes) and would be capable of carrying two T-37 engines, although only one of these engines would actually be fitted initially. The second XB-35 was to have been fitted with a flexible-mount gear box to try and cure the problems with the vibrations in the single-rotation propellers. In August of 1949, the two XB-35s and the first two YB-35s were scrapped. In November, the Air Staff cancelled plans for further conversions of YB-35s and YB-35As to jet propulsion. Scrapping of the remaining YB-35 airframes started in December of 1949 and was completed by March of 1950. The disassembly of the EB-35B testbed began in March of 1950. None of the series production B-35A were ever built. Serials of Northrop B-35: 42-13603 42-38323 42-102366/102378 49. 102368 w/o 6-5-48 102369/102375 scrapped before flying 102376 converted to YRB-49A 102377,102378 scrapped before flying Specification of Northrop XB-35: Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-4360-17, and two R-4360-21 Wasp Major air-cooled radials rated at 3000 hp each. Performance: Maximum speed 391 mph at 35,000 feet, cruising speed 183 mph. Service ceiling 39,700 feet. An altitude of 35,600 feet could be attained in 57 minutes. Range was 8150 miles at 183 mph with a 16,000 pound bombload, or 720 miles at 240 mph with 51,070 pounds of bombs. Dimensions: wingspan 172 feet 0 inches, length 53 feet 1 inches, height 20 feet 1 inches, wing area 4000 square feet. Weights: 89,560 pounds empty, 180,000 pounds gross, 209,000 pounds maximum. Armament: (only fitted to the first YB-35) Four 0.50-inch machine guns in remotelycontrolled dorsal turret. Four 0.50-inch machine guns in remotely-controlled ventral turret. Four 0.50inch machine guns in the rear of the tail cone. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in each of four barbettes installed above and below the wing outboard of the outermost engines. The guns were remotely sighted by gunners sitting in stations in a bubble in the upper rear part of the tailcone, in a ventral station, and in a position in the pilot's bubble immediately behind the pilot's seat. The bombs were carried in eight individual bomb bays cut into the under surface of the wing outboard of the main crew cabin. Sources: Northrop XB-35 Northrop XB-35 Northrop YB-35 102367 and 102368 converted to YB-

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Northrop B-35

1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Northrop Flying Wings, Edward T. Maloney, World War II Publications, 1988. 3. Post-World War II bombers, Marcelle Size Knaac, Office of Air Force History, 1988.

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Convair B-36 Peacemaker

Convair B-36 Peacemaker

Convair XB-36 Convair B-36A Convair B-36C The B-36 Affair Convair B-36B Peacemaker Convair B-36D Peacemaker Convair RB-36D Peacemaker Convair RB-36E Peacemaker Convair B-36F Peacemaker Convair B-36G/YB-60 Convair B-36H/RB-36H Peacemaker Convair B-36J Peacemaker Rascal DB-47H Convair NB-36H RB-36F "Tom-Tom" B-36/F-85 Combination GRB-36J FICON Service of B-36 With USAF

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b36.html08-09-2006 21:28:33

Lockheed B-37

Lockheed B-37
Last revised June 18, 2000

In August of 1941, large orders for Lockheed Venturas were placed with Lend-Lease funds. These planes would be owned by the US Government but would be "leased" or "lent" to Britain and its allies in support of their war effort against Germany. Among the orders that had been placed at that time was a contract for 550 armed reconnaissance versions of the Ventura to be built in Lockheed's B-1 plant under the designation O-56-LO (company designation Model 13796-03). Serial numbers were 41-37470/38019. The O-56 differed from the B-34 primarily in being powered by a pair of 1700 hp Wright R2600-13 air-cooled radials instead of 2000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radials. However, before the first O-56 could be completed, the USAAF had dropped the O-for-observation designation category, and the O-56 had been redesignated RB-34B-LO. Before the first RB-34B-LO could fly, the USAAF had redesignated the plane once again, this time to B-37-LO. The fact that different engines were being used was thought to justify a new bomber series number. Aside from the engines, the B-37 was almost identical to the B-34. However, the B-37 could be externally distinguished from the B-34 by the presence of two oval waist gun ports on either side of the rear fuselage for a single 0.30-inch flexible machine gun. During the early months of 1942, the USAAF had assumed the primary responsibility for flying antisubmarine patrols over the Atlantic Ocean in support of the battle against German U-boats. This was a thorn in the side of the US Navy, since that service had always felt that antisubmarine warfare was its responsibility. In order to carry out this mission, the Navy was anxious to acquire a long-range, land-based heavy maritime reconnaissance and patrol aircraft capable of carrying a substantial bombload. However, the USAAF had always resisted what it perceived as an encroachment by the Navy into its jealously-guarded land-based bomber program, and forced the Navy to rely on long-range floatplanes such as the PBY Catalina, the PBM Mariner, and PB4Y Coronado to fulfill the long-range maritime reconnaissance role. However, the USAAF needed an aircraft plant to manufacture its next generation of heavy bombers, the B-29 Superfortress. It just so happened that the Navy owned a plant at Renton, Washington, which was at that time being operated by Boeing for the manufacture of the PBB-1 Sea Ranger twin-engined patrol flying boat. The Army proposed that the Navy cancel the Sea Ranger program and turn over the Renton factory to them for B-29 production. In exchange, the USAAF would agree to get out of the antisubmarine warfare business and would drop its
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Lockheed B-37

objections to the Navy's operation of land-based bombers. In support of the Navy's new landbased antisubmarine patrol mission, it was proposed that the Navy be permitted acquire navalized versions of the B-24 Liberator and the B-25 Mitchell. In addition, it was proposed that Lockheed cease all production of B-34/37 Venturas for the USAAF and start building a navalized version of the Ventura for the Navy under the designation PV-1 for use in maritime reconnaissance and antisubmarine warfare. The Navy readily agreed to this arrangement. On July 7, 1942, the USAAF agreed to discontinue procurement of B-34/B-37s so that Lockheed Vega could concentrate on the production the PV-1. Manufacture of the B-37-LO ceased after the completion of only 18 examples (41-37470/37487). The Ventura III designation had been reserved for the RAF delivery of the O-56-LO, but since the O-56 never materialized, this designation was never used. Serials of Lockheed B-37-LO:
41-37470/38019 Lockheed B-37-LO Only 37470/37487 built (c/n 437-6476/6493).

Specification of Lockheed B-37-LO: Engines: Two 1700 hp Wright R-2600-13 air-cooled radials. Maximum speed 298 mph at 13,500 feet. Cruising speed 198 mph. An altitude of 10,000 feet and could be attained in 5.5 minutes. Service ceiling 22,400 feet. Normal range 1300 miles. Maximum range 2700 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 65 feet 6 inches, length 51 feet 5 inches, height 11 feet 11 inches, wing area 551 square feet. Weights: 18,615 pounds empty, 27,000 pounds loaded, 29,500 pounds maximum. Armament: Two 0.50-inch machine guns installed in dorsal turret. A pair of flexible 0.30-inch machine guns were mounted in a ventral position behind the wing trailing edge. Two fixed forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns were installed in the upper decking of the nose. One 0.30-inch machine gun in a lower waist position on each side of the rear fuselage. A bomb load of 3000 pounds could be carried in an internal bomb bay. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1988. 3. British Military Aircraft Serials, 1912-1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969.

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Lockheed B-37

4. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 5. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers,

Smithsonian, 1989.
6. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers,

Naval Institue Press, 1990.

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Vega XB-38

Vega XB-38
Last revised July 16, 1999

As part of its participation in the Boeing-Vega-Douglas manufacturing pool for the Fortress, the Vega division of Lockheed had been requested by the USAAF to explore the feasibility of adapting the basic B-17E airframe to the 1425 hp Allison V-1710-89 liquidcooled V-12 engine. Negotiations for development of the new design, known as Vega Model V-134-1, began in March of 1942 and a contract was signed on July 10. The project was considered sufficiently different from the stock B-17E that a new series number was assigned--XB38. The ninth production B-17E (serial number 41-2401) had been turned over to Vega for study during the initial formation of the B.V.D. manufacturing pool, and this plane was selected for the first XB-38 conversion. The basic airframe of the XB-38 was essentially that of the B-17E, with a few revisions necessitated by the installation of the new powerplants. For example, the oil coolers of the B-17E were mounted in the leading edges of the wings, but they were moved to positions underneath the propellers in the XB-38. Also, the coolant radiators for the Allisons were mounted in the wing leading edges between each pair of engine nacelles. The XB-38 made its first flight on May 19, 1943. As a result of the increased power of the Allison engines, the XB-38 was slightly faster than its radial-powered B-17E counterpart. However, the XB-38 prototype was destroyed on June 16, 1943 as a result of an engine fire which could not be extinguished, and a full comparison with the Wright-powered B17E could never be made. In any case, the performance improvement offered by the XB38 was only marginal, and since the liquid-cooled Allisons were in great demand for the P38 Lightning and P-40 Warhawk fighters, the USAAF decided to abandon further work on the XB-38, and plans for two additional XB-38 conversions were cancelled. Specification of Boeing XB-38: Four Allison V-1710-89 liquid-cooled V-12 engines, rated at 1425 hp at 25,000 feet.
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Vega XB-38

Performance: Maximum speed 327 mph at 25,000 feet. Cruising speed 226 mph. Service ceiling 29,700 feet. Range 2400 miles with 3000 pounds of bombs, 1900 miles with 6000 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 3600 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 103 feet 9 3/8 inches, length 74 feet 0 inches, height 19 feet 2 inches, wing area 1420 square feet. Weights: 34,748 pounds empty, 56,00 pounds gross, 64,000 pounds maximum. Armament: Armament was the same as that of the standard B-17E, namely one 0.30-inch machine gun which could be mounted on any one of six ball-and-socket mounts in the extreme nose, one Sperry No. 645473E power turret in the dorsal position with two 0.50 Browning M2 machine guns with 500 rounds per gun, a remotely-controlled power turret in ventral position with two 0.50-inch Browning machine guns with 500 rounds per gun, one 0.50-inch Browning M2 machine gun is each of the two waist windows, 400 rounds per gun, and two 0.50-inch M2 Browning machine guns in the tail position, with 500 rounds per gun. Sources:
1. Flying Fortress, Edward Jablonski, Doubleday, 1965. 2. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, Volume One, William Green,

Doubleday, 1959.
3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


5. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 6. Boeing B-17E and F Flying Fortress, Charles D. Thompson, Profile Publications,

1966.
7. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 8. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989.

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Boeing XB-39

Boeing XB-39
Last revised April 17, 2000

The first YB-29 (41-36954) was turned over to General Motors for installation of liquidcooled Allison V-3420 engines and further tests. The converted aircraft was later redesignated XB-39. The V-3420 engine was essentially a pair of Allison V-1710 twelvecylinder liquid-cooled Vee engines coupled to a single propeller shaft. Normal output was 2100 hp at 25,000 feet. Aircraft speed increased to 405 mph at 35,000 feet, but the improvement in performance was not considered sufficient to justify production. Sources:
1. Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Chester Marshall, Motorbooks International,

1993.
2. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Mich Mayborn, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday,

1969.
3. B-29 Superfortress, John Pimlott, Gallery Books, 1980. 4. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1960. 5. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 6. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, Military Press, 1989. 8. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b29_14.html08-09-2006 21:28:54

Boeing YB-40

Boeing YB-40
Last revised July 25, 1999

The YB-40 was the bomber escort variant of the Flying Fortress, where the Y stood for "service test". This aircraft was produced in an attempt to provide better defenses for B-17 daylight bomber forces which were suffering appalling losses in their raids against German targets on the European continent. The YB-40 was produced by converting existing B-17Fs in an attempt to provide additional firepower for the defense of bomber formations when they ventured into areas beyond the range of contemporary fighters. The first XB-40 prototype was produced in November of 1942 by the Vega division of Lockheed. They converted a standard Boeing-built B-17F (serial number 41-24341) to escort configuration by adding a dorsal turret in the radio compartment position carring a pair of 0.50-cal machine guns, a chin turret underneath the nose equipped with a pair of 0.50 cal machine guns, and twin gun mounts instead of the usual single gun mounts at each waist position. The regular top, belly, and tail turrets were retained, bringing total defensive armament to fourteen 0.50-inch machine guns. Additional protective armor was fitted for better crew protection. The bomb bays were replaced by storage areas which carried additional ammunition for the guns. The normal ammunition load was 11,135 rounds, which could be increased to 17,265 rounds if the fuel load was reduced. Twenty more Vega-built B-17Fs were converted to YB-40 configuration, plus four TB-40 trainers. Although they bore the Vega model number of V-139-3, they were actually modified by Douglas at Tulsa, Oklahoma from Vega-built B-17F airframes. A variety of different armament configurations was tried. Some YB-40s were fitted with four-gun nose and tail turrets. Some carried cannon of up to 40-mm in calibre, and a few carried up to as many as 30 guns of various calibres in multiple handheld positions in the waist as well as in additional power turrets above and below the fuselage! Oddly enough, there don't seem to have been any photographs ever published of these 30-gun YB40s (insofar as I am aware), although I have seen some drawings. The first operational YB-40 sortie took place on May 29, 1943 against St. Nazaire. Eight other missions were later flown, the last one taking place on July 4, 1943. Five kills and two probables were claimed during these missions, with the loss of one YB-40. Very early on, it was found that the net effect of the additional drag of the turrets and the extra weight of the guns, armor, and additional ammunition was to reduce the speed of the YB-40 to a point where it could not maintain formation with the standard B-17s on the way home from the target once they had released their bombs. The YB-40 could protect itself fairly well, but not the bombers it was supposed to defend. Consequently, it was recognized that the YB-40 project was an operational failure, and the surviving YB-40s were
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Boeing YB-40

converted back to standard B-17F configuration or used as gunnery trainers back in the States. However, the YB-40 was to have one lasting impact--the chin turret originally introduced on the YB40 was later adopted as standard for the B-17G series. Serials: XB-40: Conversion of B-17F-1-BO 41-24342

YB-40: Conversions of B-17F-10-VE 42-5732/5744, B-17F-30-VE 425871, and B-17F-35-VEs 42-5920, 5921, 5923, 5924, 5925, and 5927.

TB-40: Conversions of B-17F-25-VEs 42-5833 and 5834, B-17F-30-VE 42-5872, and B-17F-35-VE 42-5926. Sources:
1. Flying Fortress, Edward Jablonski, Doubleday, 1965. 2. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, Volume One, William Green, Doubleday, 1959. 3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers,

Smithsonian, 1989.
5. Boeing B-17E and F Flying Fortress, Charles D. Thompson, Profile Publications, 1966. 6. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989.

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Consolidated XB-41

Consolidated XB-41
Last revised August 10, 1999

The one-off XB-41 was a long-range escort version of the B-24D Liberator. It was designed to fill a similar requirement as was the Boeing YB-40, namely, to provide escort for bombers penetrating German airspace. The sole XB-41 was obtained by converting a Consolidated/San Diego-built B-24D-CO (serial number 41-11822). The conversion was carried out by Consolidated/Fort Worth and was delivered to Eglin Field, Florida on January 29, 1943. Additional guns were provided which brought the total armament to fourteen 0.50-inch machine guns. A second Martin A-3 power turret was added to the dorsal spine just behind the wing trailing edge. A Bendix remotely-controlled turret was added in a chin position underneath the nose, and the nose glazing was modified to give the operator of the Bendix turret a clear field of view. The cheek guns characteristic of the later B-24D were not fitted. A pair of powerboosted 0.50-inch machine guns were added at each waist position, replacing the single flexible mounts originally fitted. The original Martin A-3 power turret behind the cockpit was modified so that it could be raised during flight to increase its field of fire, then lowered to decrease aerodynamic drag when not in use. A total of 12,420 rounds of ammunition was carried, including 4000 reserve rounds carried in a box installed in the forward bomb bay. The additional weight of armor, guns and ammunition brought the gross weight up to 63,000 pounds, 6000 pounds heavier than a standard B-24D. Tests were carried out at Eglin during the early winter of 1943. These tests indicated that the center of gravity was improperly located, which made the aircraft quite unstable in flight. In addition, the climbing rate and service ceiling were rather poor because of the additional weight. The port waist gun position had originally been covered by a plexiglas bubble, but this was found to cause severe optical distortion and was removed. Consequently, because of these problems, on March 21, 1943, the Army declared the XB41 as being operationally unsuitable, and plans for thirteen YB-41 Liberator conversions were cancelled.
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Consolidated XB-41

Undaunted, Consolidated continued to work on the XB-41 prototype, and equipped the aircraft with wide-blade propellers and subjected the plane to a weight-reduction program in which some of the armor was removed. On July 28, 1943, the XB-41 was returned to Eglin for more tests. Tests showed that the stability problem had been cured, but the aircraft was still plagued with poor maneuverability. In the meantime, the Boeing YB-40 had entered combat in Europe, and the initial results had demonstrated that the basic escort gunship concept was fundamentally flawed. The heavily-laden YB-40 escorts could not keep up with the bomber formations once they had dropped their bombs. As a result of the negative experience with the YB-40, further work on the XB-41 was abandoned. The sole XB-41 was later redesignated TB-24D and was used as an instructional airframe for training Liberator mechanics. Sources:
1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959. 2. Liberator: America's Global Bomber, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Pictorial Histories

Publishing Co, Inc, 1993.


3. B-24 Liberator in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1987. 4. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecesssors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.
5. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


6. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster

Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster


Last revised May 27, 2000

The Douglas XB-42 began as a private venture by the manufacturer, and was not originally conceived in response to any official requirement. In early 1943, Douglas designer Ed F. Burton began a company-funded study to determine the feasibility of designing a twin-engined bomber having a maximum speed in excess of 400 mph and capable of carrying a bombload of 2000 pounds to targets within a 2000-mile radius. Burton's team came up with the idea of mounting the engines entirely within the fuselage and using a completely clean wing. An unsolicited proposal was submitted to the USAAF in May of 1943. The proposal attracted the attention of the Bombardment Branch of the Engineering Division of the Air Technical Service Command, and on June 25, 1943 a contract was issued for two flying prototypes and one static test airframe. The aircraft was considered as an attack aircraft at the time, and was assigned the designation XA-42. Almost immediately thereafter, the USAAF began to consider the Douglas proposal as a possible high speed bomber which could match the range of the B-29 at only a fraction of the cost. On November 26, 1943, the designation of the Douglas design was changed to XB-42. Progress on the XA-42/XB-42 was quite rapid under the supervision of Ed Burton and Carlos C. Wood, Chief of the Preliminary Design Division, and the mockup was inspected and approved in September of 1943. The aircraft that finally emerged was powered by a pair of 1325 hp Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines installed completely inside the fuselage immediately aft of the pilot's cabin. Air for the cooling radiators was provided by narrow slots cut into the leading edges of the inner wings. The centerline of each engine was about 20 degrees to the vertical and the engines were toed in a few degrees to the vertical. The power was transmitted via five lengths of shafting to a pair of contra-rotating propellers installed in the extreme tail cone. Each of the three-bladed contra-rotating propellers was driven by its own engines, the left powerplant driving the forward propeller and the right the aft. A lower fin and rudder was fitted underneath the tail to prevent the propellers from striking
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Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster

the ground during nose-high takeoffs and landings. The tricycle undercarriage had main members which retracted aft into large wells in the fuselage sides. The extremely-clean laminar-flow wing was mounted at middle fuselage. It had double-slotted flaps on the inboard trailing edge, with ailerons on the outboard trailing edge. A remotely-controlled General Electric turret with a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns was to be installed in the trailing edge of the wing between the ailerons and flaps. The guns were normally housed inside the wing underneath snap-action doors, but when extended into firing position, they could cover an area extending 25 degrees to either side, 30 degrees above, and 15 degrees below. They were controlled remotely by the copilot, who had a sighting station at the rear of his cockpit. It was true that this field of fire was rather limited, but it was assumed that the bomber's high speed would prevent any enemy fighter attacks except from the extreme rear. The crew consisted of three, with a navigator/bomb-aimer in the glazed nose section, and a pilot and copilot/gunner in a side-by-side cockpit with small separate canopies. The first XB-42 aircraft (43-50224) was completed in May of 1944. The XB-42 took off for the first time on May 6, 1944, with test pilot Bob Brush at the controls. As a safety measure, the initial flight was carried out entirely over Palm Springs Army Air Base. The performance of the XB-42 was outstanding. Speed was within a percent of that predicted, and range and rate of climb exceeded expectations. The XB-42 was as fast as the Mosquito B.XVI but carried twice the maximum bombload (8000 pounds versus 4000 pounds over short ranges or a bombload of 3750 pounds versus 1000 pounds over a range of 1850 miles). Moreover, the XB-42 carried a defensive armament of four 0.50-inch machine guns in two remotely-controlled turrets whereas the Mosquito was unarmed. However, the twin "bug-eye" canopies of the XB-42 were found to interfere with pilot/copilot communication, and the aircraft suffered from yaw, excessive propeller vibration (especially when the bomb-bay doors were open), poor harmonization of control forces, and from poor efficiency of the cooling ducts. The second XB-42 prototype (43-50225) flew on August 1, 1944. It was powered by V1710-129 engines. Shortly after its first flight, the twin bug-eye canopies were replaced with a single canopy as was proposed for production versions of the aircraft. In early December of 1945, 43-50225 was flown from Long Beach, California to Bolling Field
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Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster

near Washington, D.C. at an average speed of 433.6 mph. However, on the 16th of December, the aircraft crashed near Bolling Field and was destroyed. Fortunately, the crew managed to parachute to safety. By this time, the USAAF had decided that the XB-42 would not be put into production, since the end of the war had made it possible to wait for the more advanced, higherperformance jet-powered bombers that should soon be forthcoming. The surviving XB-42 was allocated to various test purposes. One of these modifications resulted in the replacement of the -125 Allisons by a pair of 1375 hp Allison V-1710-133 engines. In addition, two 1600 lb.s.t. Westinghouse 19XB2A axial-flow turbojets were installed underneath the wings. With these changes, the aircraft was redesignated XB-42A, and flew for the first time at Muroc Dry Lake, California on May 27, 1947. A total of 22 flights with the XB-42A were carried out by Douglas flight test crews, accounting for a total of 17 hours in the air. A maximum speed of 488 mph was achieved during the tests. On August 15, 1947, the XB-42A made a hard landing in the tail-low position, damaging the lower vertical stabilizer and lower rudder, and the aircraft was returned to Santa Monica late in 1947 for modifications of the jet nacelles. The remainder of the XB-42 modification program was cancelled in August of 1948, and the XB-42A was struck off charge on June 30, 1949. It was turned over to the National Air and Space Museum. For several years thereafter, it was kept at the National Air Museum Storage Facility in Park Ridge, Illinois. In April of 1959, the fuselage of the XB-42A was moved to the Paul Garber restoration facility at Suitland, Maryland, where I assume it still remains. Has anyone seen it? Specification of Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster: Two Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines, each rated at 1325 hp for takeoff and 1800 hp war emergency. Performance: Maximum speed 410 mph at 23,440 feet, 344 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 312 mph. Service ceiling 29,400 feet. Normal range 1800 miles, maximum range 5400 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 70 feet 6 inches, length 53 feet 8 inches, height 18 feet 10 inches, wing area 555 square feet. Weights: 20,888 pounds empty, 33,208 pounds gross, 35,702 pounds maximum loaded. Armament: Four 0.50-inch machine guns installed in remotely-controlled turrets on the trailing edges of the wings. The bomb bay could carry a maximum load of four 2000-pound bombs.
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Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster

Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.


2. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 3. Post World War 2 Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.

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Douglas XB-43

Douglas XB-43
Last revised May 27, 2000

The Douglas XB-43 was the first American jet bomber. It was a development of the XB42 Mixmaster twin-engined bomber, with turbojet engines replacing the twin inline Allison piston engines. The XB-43 had its origin back in October of 1943, when first consideration was given to fitting turbojets to the XB-42. Preliminary studies indicated that the scheme was practical, and on March 31, 1944 Douglas received a change order to the original XB-42 contract which called for the production of two jet-powered versions under the designation XB-43. The USAAF wanted the XB-43 to have a gross weight of 40,000 pounds. Two General Electric TG-180 (later redesignated J35-GE-3) axial-flow turbojets were mounted in the forward fuselage bays that were previously occupied by the Allison piston engines of the XB-42. Flush intakes were incorporated in the upper fuselage sides immediately behind the two-seat pressurized cockpit. The hot gases from the engines were exhausted via long tail pipes which extended all the way down the fuselage to side-by-side openings in the tail. Since there was no longer any rear propeller which had to be protected against hitting the ground, the lower ventral fin of the XB-42 could be omitted. This omission required that the upper vertical fin be increased in area to provide adequate lateral control. Assuming tests on the prototypes to be satisfactory, plans were made for an initial production order of 50 B-43s for the USAAF, while Douglas subitting a proposal for an eventual production rate of as many as 200 per month. The production B-43 would have had a conventional canopy in place of the two small bug-eye canopies of the XB-42. Two versions were planned--a bomber version with a transparent nose and a maximum bombload of 6000 pounds and an attack version with 16 forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns with an unglazed nose and an armament of 35 5-inch rockets. Both versions were to be fitted with a remotely-controlled, radar-directed tail turret with two 0.50-inch machine guns.

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Douglas XB-43

The end of the war resulted in a slowdown in the B-43 program, since a jet bomber was no longer urgently needed. In addition, late delivery of the turbojets resulted in a delay of several additional months. During a engine run-up test at Clover Field in October of 1945, the starboard engine shed some of its first-stage compressor blades, causing an instantaneous separation of all blades and damaging the engine casing and fuselage skin. The repairs that were required delayed the first flight by another seven months. The first XB-43 (44-61508) finally took off on its maiden flight on May 17, 1946, with test pilot Bob Brush and engineer Russell Thaw in the cockpit. Performance was generally satisfactory, but the aircraft was somewhat underpowered. During flight trials, the Plexiglas nose cracked due to temperature changes, and had to be replaced by a plywood cone. However, by the time of the XB-43's first flight, the USAAF had already decided against ordering the B-43 into production. USAAF thinking now favored a four-engined rather than a twin-engined configuration for its future jet bombers, and had already decided to order the North American B-45 Tornado into production. The XB-43 program would still continue, but it would now be relegated to the status of a flying testbed. The second aircraft (44-61509) was fitted with a single canopy and was delivered to Muroc in May of 1947. It was used there as an engine testbed. For this purpose, one of its J35s was replaced by a General Electric J47. This plane was kept flying by cannibalizing the first XB-43, which had been damaged in an accident on February 1, 1951. In late 1953, the second XB-43 was finally retired. The plane is now owned by the National Air and Space Museum. I presume that it is sitting in one of the hangars of the Paul Garber restoration facility at Suitland, Maryland. Has anyone seen it? Serials of the two XB-43s were 44-61508 and 44-61509. Specification of Douglas XB-43: Two General Electric J35-GE-3 turbojets, 4000 lb.s.t. each. Performance: Maximum speed 515 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 420 mph. Service ceiling 38,200 feet, Absolute ceiling 41,800 feet, Initial climb rate 2470 feet per minute. Range 1100 miles with 8000 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 2840 miles. Weights: 21,755 pounds empty, 37,000 pounds loaded, 39,553 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions: Wingspan 71 feet 2 inches, length 51 feet 2 inches, height 24 feet 3 inches, wing area 563 square feet. Armament:
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Douglas XB-43

Neither XB-43 was ever fitted with any armament. Sources:


1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.

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Boeing B-29D/XB-44 Superfortress

Boeing B-29D/XB-44 Superfortress


Last revised April 17, 2000

The Wright-powered B-29 had always been somewhat underpowered for its weight, and it became clear that the aircraft could take substantially more engine power if it were available. In pursuit of this objective, one B-29A (42-93845) was handed over to Pratt & Whitney for conversion as a testbed for the new four-row 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R4360 Wasp Major air-cooled radial engine, which was rated at 3500 hp. The aircraft was later redesignated XB-44, and was readily recognizable by the new engine installation, with the oil cooler intake pulled further back on the lower part of the nacelle. An order for 200 production examples under the designation B-29D was placed in July of 1945, but was reduced to only 50 after V-J Day. In December of 1945, the designation of the B-29D was changed to B-50A. This was a ruse to win appropriations for the procurement of an airplane that appeared by its designation to be merely a later version of an existing model that was already being cancelled wholesale, with many existing models being put into storage. Officially, the justification for the new B-50 designation was made on the basis that the changes introduced by the B-29D were so major that it was essentially a completely new aircraft. The ruse worked, and the B-50 survived to become an important component of the postwar Air Force. Sources:
1. Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Chester Marshall, Motorbooks International,

1993.
2. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Mich Mayborn, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday,

1969.
3. B-29 Superfortress, John Pimlott, Gallery Books, 1980. 4. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1960.

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Boeing B-29D/XB-44 Superfortress

5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, Military Press, 1989. 6. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 7. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


8. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, Military Press, 1989. 9. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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b50

North American B-45 Tornado

North American XB-45 Tornado North American B-45A Tornado North American B-45B Tornado North American B-45C Tornado North American RB-45C Tornado

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b45.html08-09-2006 21:29:42

Convair XB-46

Convair XB-46
Last revised April 16, 2000

The Convair B-46 officially originated back in 1944, at a time when the USAAF was already aware of German advances in the field of jet propulsion, especially as applied to the development of jet bombers. Alarmed by German developments, the War Department called for bids on a new family of jet-powered bombers, with gross weights ranging from 80,000 pounds to more than 200,000 pounds. An April 1944 specification called for a 1000-mile tactical radius, a maximum speed of 500 mph, and a 40,000 foot ceiling. These new aircraft were to be powered either by TG-180 or TG-190 engines which were then under development at General Electric. The TG-180 was eventually built by the Allison Division of General Motors as the J35, and the TG-190 was built by the General Electric company as the J47. On November 6, 1944, Convair submitted a proposal for a fairly conventional design with a shoulder-mounted Davis wing and a slim well-streamlined fuselage. The aircraft was to be powered by four General Electric TG-180 axial-flow turbojets, paired in two underwing pod nacelles. The three crew members were to be housed in a pressurized cockpit. The pilot and copilot sat in tandem underneath a fighter-type bubble canopy, and the bombardier sat in the forward nose with a glazed nose section. Defensive armament consisted of two 0.50-inch machine guns in a remotely- controlled tail turret. Normal bomb load was 8000 pounds. The proposal was known as Model 109 by Convair. Three prototypes of the Model 109 were ordered on February 27, 1945 under the designation XB-46. Serials were 45-59582/59584. At the same time, contracts were awarded to North American, Boeing, and Martin for the XB-45, XB-47, and XB-48 respectively. The end of the Second World War resulted in the cancellation of many projects and the delay of others. However, the War Department felt that the development of a jet-powered bomber should still be pressed forward with the utmost speed, and the XB-45, XB-46, XB47, and XB-48 contracts were left relatively unscathed. However, funds for two of the three XB-46s were diverted to Convair's XA-44 jet attack bomber project. In the event, the
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Convair XB-46

XA-44 design was converted to a light bomber design in December 1946 and redesignated XB-53. The XB-53 project was abandoned shortly thereafter. In 1946, tensions between the USA and its erstwile Soviet ally were rising, and the USAAF concluded that it needed to field a jet-powered bomber as soon as possible. The USAAF decided that it could save some time if it skipped the competition that would ordinarily be held between the four bomber proposals and went ahead and reviewed the available designs to see which of them could be produced first. By that time, the XB-45 and XB-46 were nearing completion, but the XB-47 and XB-48 were still at least two more years away. The USAAF decided to appraise the XB-45 and XB-46 right away and choose one of them for immediate production. Any consideration of the XB-47 and XB-48 would be deferred until after they had flown. if either the XB-47 or XB-48 turned out at that time to be markedly superior to the plane that was then being produced, then that aircraft would be purchased and the currently-produced version would be phased out. This is indeed what happened when the XB-47 appeared. The USAAF concluded that the Convair XB-46 would likely be inferior in performance to the North American XB-45 because of its higher weight, and that its thin, graceful fuselage would not be able to hold all the required radar equipment. Since the configuration of the XB-45 did not depart significantly from that of proven aircraft already in service and hence presented fewer risks, on August 2, 1946, the USAAF announced that they were going to endorse the immediate production of the B-45. Nevertheless, Convair would be permitted to complete a single XB-46 for test purposes, with essentially no chance of ever receiving a production contract for the type. The sole XB-46 (45-59582) took to the air for the first time on April 2, 1947, with E. D. "Sam" Shannon and Bill Martin at the controls. The wing had nearly full-span Fowler-type flaps on the trailing edge, and roll control was achieved primarily by 20-foot long spoilers, the ailerons being only 6 feet long. The main undercarriage retracted into wells in the engine nacelles. The XB-46 was unusual in that it had a complete pneumatic system for the actuation of the undercarriage, bomb bay, crew doors, and brakes. The B-46 program was officially cancelled by the USAF in August 1947, one year after the USAAF had endorsed the immediate production of the North American XB-45. Company flight tests at Muroc were completed by September 1947 after 14 flights. The aircraft was re-engined with Allison J35-A-3 turbojets and then flown to Wright Field.
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Convair XB-46

The aircraft was accepted by the Air Force on November 7, 1947. The XB-46 was used in a variety of tests such as noise measurements and tail vibration investigations. Additional stability and control tests were carried out at West Palm Beach AFB in Florida between August 1948 and August 1949. However, these tests became increasingly more difficult to complete because of maintenance difficulties aggrivated by the lack of spare parts. Following completion of trials, the XB-46 was flown to Eglin Field in Florida in July of 1950 where a series of low temperature tests on the aircraft's pneumatic system were carried out in the base's climatic hangar. Following the completion of the climatic tests, the Air Force had no further need for the XB-46. The nose section was sent to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio in early 1952. The remainder of the airframe was scrapped in February of 1952. Specification of Convair XB-46: Engines: Four 4000 lb.s.t. Allison-built General Electric J35-A-3 axial-flow turbojets. Performance: Maximum speed 545 mph at 15,000 feet, 491 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 439 mph at 35,000 feet. An altitude of 25,000 feet could be attained in 19 minutes. Service ceiling 40,000 feet. Range 2870 miles with 8000-pound bomb load. Maximum fuel capacity 6682 US gallons. Initial climb rate 2400 feet per minute at maximum takeoff weight. Weights: 48,000 pounds empty, 75,200 pounds combat, 94,400 pounds maximum take off. Dimensions: Wingspan 113 feet 0 inches, length 105 feet 9 inches, height 27 feet 11 inches, wing area 1285 square feet. Armament: Two 0.50-inch machine guns in tail turret. Space and structural provisions were made for an APG-27 remote control system with optics and radar sighting. Maximum bombload was 22,000 pounds. Sources:
1. Post-World War II Bombers, 1945-1973, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force

History, 1988.
2. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.
3. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Convair XB-46

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Boeing B-47 Stratojet

Boeing B-47 Stratojet

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet Boeing B-47A Stratojet Boeing B-47B Stratojet Boeing RB-47B Stratojet Brass Ring The B-47 Rascal Program Boeing TB-47B Stratojet Boeing WB-47B Stratojet Boeing YB-56/YB-47C Stratojet Boeing XB-47D Stratojet Boeing B-47E Stratojet Boeing YDB-47E, DB-47E Stratojet Boeing EB-47E Stratojet Boeing EB-47E(TT) Stratojet Boeing ETB-47E Stratojet Boeing QB-47E Stratojet Boeing WB-47E Stratojet Boeing RB-47E Stratojet Boeing YB-47F Stratojet Boeing KB-47G Stratojet Boeing RB-47H Stratojet Boeing ERB-47H Stratojet Boeing YB-47J Stratojet Boeing YB-47K Stratojet Boeing EB-47L Stratojet CL-52 Flying Testbed for Orenda Turbojet

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b47.html08-09-2006 21:29:57

Martin XB-48

Martin XB-48
Last revised June 5, 2000

The Martin XB-48 officially originated back in 1944, at a time when the USAAF was already aware of German advances in the field of jet propulsion, especially as applied to the development of jet bombers. Alarmed by German developments, the War Department called for bids on a new family of jet-powered bombers, with gross weights ranging from 80,000 pounds to more than 200,000 pounds. These new aircraft were to be powered either by TG-180 or TG-190 engines which were then under development at General Electric. The TG-180 was eventually built by the Allison Division of General Motors as the J35, and the TG-190 was built by the General Electric company as the J47. On November 17, 1944, the USAAF issued a specification calling for a bomber with a range of 3000 miles, a service ceiling of 45,000 feet, a tactical operating altitude of 40,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 550 mph. On January 29, 1945 these requirements were amended to stipulate that the aircraft would have to carry specific types of bombs, including the conventional M-121, a 10,000-pound "dam-buster" earthquake bomb. The Glenn L. Martin company of Baltimore, Maryland came up with the Model 223 in response to this requirement. The Martin proposal was submitted to the Air Technical Service Command on December 9, 1944, and led to Letter Contract W33-038 ac-7675. Approved on December 9, 1945, this initial contract called for one mockup of the Martin Model 223. The designation XB-48 was assigned. At the same time, three other contractors were awarded development contracts, North American for the XB-45, Convair for the XB-46, and Boeing for the XB-47. The end of the Second World War resulted in the cancellation of many projects and the delay of others. However, the War Department felt that the development of a jet-powered bomber should still be pressed forward with the utmost speed, and the XB-45, XB-46, XB47, and XB-48 contracts were left untouched. In 1946, the USAAF decided to forego the competition that would ordinarily be held between the four entries and opted instead to review the available designs to see which of the contestants could be produced first. By
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Martin XB-48

that time, the XB-45 and XB-46 were nearing completion, but the XB-47 and XB-48 were still at least two more years away. Since the USAAF was guided by what it felt to be a sense of great urgency, it decided to appraise the XB-45 and XB-46 right away and choose one of them for immediate production. Any consideration of the XB-47 and XB-48 would be deferred until after they had flown. if either the XB-47 or XB-48 turned out to be markedly superior to the plane that was then being produced, then that aircraft would be purchased and the currently-produced version would be phased out. This is indeed what happened when the XB-47 appeared. On December 13, 1946, the original contract was superseded by W33-038 AC-13492 which called for two XB-48 prototypes, spare parts, and a bomb bay mockup. The first XB-48 was to be flight tested and delivered by September 30, 1947, with the second being delivered by June 30, 1948. The XB-48 was to be powered by six General Electric TG-180 turbojets, later to be redesignated J35. The six engines were encased three each in lifting aerofoil section pods housed underneath each wing. The lift pods had air ducts between the pods and had adjustable tailpipes on the engines. The pilot and copilot were seated in tandem underneath a canopy-type enclosure, and the bombardier/navigator sat in the extreme nose. The wings were too thin to house a conventional landing gear, so The aircraft had a bicycle-type tandem undercarriage, with tandem twin-wheel units retracting into the fuselage ahead and behind the bomb bay. The aircraft had a pair of smaller outrigger wheels underneath each wing outboard of the engine pods. This arrangement had been tested on a XB-26H and had been found to be feasible. The armament was to have been a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns housed in a remotely-controlled tail turret and guided by an AN/APG-27 radar. The first XB-48 (serial number 45-59585) made its maiden flight on June 22, 1947. It took off from Martin's company airfield at Baltimore and landed at the Patuxent Naval Air Station some 80 miles away. It was powered by six TG-180-B1 (J35-GE-7) engines. Development and testing of the XB-48 was delayed by engine difficulties. The first XB-48 went through no less than 14 engines during its first 44 flights. In the spring of 1948, after early flight test data had been obtained on both the Boeing XB47 and the Martin XB-48, the Air Force concluded that the XB-47 had an appreciably better performance and showed greater development potential. In addition, the Martin design was over 50 mph slower than its guaranteed speed, and no production of the XB-48
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Martin XB-48

was ordered. The end of the line for the XB-48 became official in September of 1948, when the Air Force ordered its first lot of B-47 Stratojets. The second XB-48 flew for the first time on October 16, 1948, some three months behind schedule. However, this delay did not matter very much, since by that time the fate of the XB-48 program had already been decided. It was powered by six J35-GE-9 turbojets. In early 1949, Martin attempted to revive the B-48 program by proposing that the second XB-48 be re-engined with four XT40 turboprops installed in reconfigured nacelles. This converted XB-48 was to have been a prototype for the Martin Model 247-1, an airplane which the contractor insisted was capable of competing with the B-47, B-50, and B-54. The Air Force felt that the contractor's cost and performance estimates were too optimistic, and, in addition, since the XT40 was a Navy-developed engine, it was unlikely that Martin would be able to get enough engines to meet the schedules. Moreover, the Air Force was now of the opinion that turbojets, not turboprops, were the wave of the future for bombers, and on March 31, 1949, Martin was formally notified that the Model 247-1 would not be proceeded with. Flight tests with the XB-48s continued even after the formal end of the program. In the fall of 1949, the first XB-48 was cannibalized to keep the second flying. The latter aircraft was scheduled for a series of tests on the F-1 autopilot, jet engine cooling systems, and a hydraulic system for jet engines. However, these tests were cancelled before any could be carried out. The second XB-48 was used instead for the testing of thermal de-icing systems. In September 1951, the aircraft was flown to Phillips Field at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland where it was static tested to destruction. Specification of Martin XB-48: Engines: Six General Electric J35-GE-7 axial-flow turbojets, each rated at 3820 lb.s.t. Performance (contractor's estimate): Maximum speed 479 mph at 35,000 feet, 516 mph at 20,000 feet, and 486 mph at sea level. Average cruising speed 415 mph. Combat radius 500 miles with maximum bombload. Takeoff run 7900 feet at 102,600 pounds takeoff weight. Initial rate of climb 3250 feet per minute at takeoff weight of 102,000 pounds. Combat rate of climb 4200 feet per minute at combat takeoff weight of 86,000 pounds. An altitude of 30,000 feet could be attained in 21.5 minutes. Service ceiling 39,400 feet. Dimensions: Wingspan 108 feet 4 inches, length 85 feet 9 inches, Height 26 feet 6 inches, wing area 1330 square feet. Weights: 58,500 pounds empty, 92,600 maximum takeoff.
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Martin XB-48

102,600 pounds combat with 4968 gallons of fuel included. Armament: Two 0.50-inch machine guns in extreme tail in remotely-controlled turret (not actually fitted). Maximum bombload 22,000 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.

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Northrop YB-49/YRB-49A

Northrop YB-49/YRB-49A
Last revised January 21, 2000

Northrop YB-49 Northrop YRB49A Conspiracy?

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b49.html08-09-2006 21:30:13

b50

Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Boeing B-50A Superfortress Boeing B-50B Superfortress Boeing B-50C Superfortress Boeing B-50D Superfortress Boeing DB-50D Superfortress Boeing TB-50D Superfortress Boeing WB-50D Superfortrss Boeing RB-50E Superfortress Boeing RB-50F Superfortress Boeing RB-50G Superfortress Boeing TB-50H Superfortress Boeing KB-50 Superfortress Boeing KB-50J Superfortress Boeing KB-50K Superfortress

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b50.html08-09-2006 21:30:20

Martin XB-51

Martin XB-51
Last revised November 23, 2002

In 1945, the US Army Air Forces issued a requirement for a light bomber aircraft. In February of 1946, a design competition was announced based on the USAAF requirements. On April 1, 1946, the Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore, Maryland proposed a straight-winged, six-seat attack bomber powered by two TG-110 turboprops and two I-40 turbojets. The aircraft promised a maximum speed of 505 mph, a cruising speed of 325 mph, and a combat radius of 800 miles. The Martin design won the competition, and was assigned the designation XA-45 in the attack series. In the spring of 1946, the USAAF revised its requirement, calling for an aircraft with better performance for all-weather, close-support bombing. The revised characteristics called for a redesignation of the Martin design as XB-51. A fixed-price letter contract issued on May 23, 1946 called for two XB-51s, to be accompanied by wind tunnel models and mockups. The military characteristics specified in 1945 and 1946 were revised yet again in early 1947. The XB-51 was now pictured as a low-altitude attack aircraft and the combat radius requirement was reduced. The company designation of Model 234 was applied to the project. The aircraft that finally emerged was powered by three General Electric J47 turbojet engines, one in the tail fed by a top air inlet and two in nacelles underneath the forward fuselage. The wings were swept back at 35 degrees and had six degrees negative dihedral. The wings had variable incidence to enhance performance for takeoff and landing The wings were fairly advanced for the day, having spoilers instead of ailerons and sporting leading-edge slots and full-span flaps. The crew was two, consisting of a pilot seated underneath a bubble type canopy and a navigator seated behind him within the fuselage. The landing gear was similar to that of the B-47--consisting of a set of tandem dual mainwheels which retracted into the fuselage and supported by a set of small outrigger
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Martin XB-51

wheels which retracted into the wingtips. An unusual feature was the use of a rotatable bomb bay door on which the bombs were mounted. When open, the weapons bay load was essentially the same as with external stores, but without the speed restrictions. The XB-51 prototype (46-0685) flew for the first time on October 28, 1949. It was the USAF's first high-speed, jet-powered ground support bomber. Phase I tests, which lasted until the end of March 1951, indicated that the design required relatively few modifications. Phase II tests, carried out between April and November 1950 confirmed these findings. Martin test pilots flew the XB-51 for 211 hours in 233 flights. Air Force pilots carried out 221 hours of test flights. The second XB-51 (46-0686) flew for the first time on April 17, 1950. It was fitted with an armament of eight 20-mm cannon in the nose, with 160 rpg. Up to 10,400 pounds of bombs could be carried, but the basic mission consisted of the delivery of 4000 pounds over a 475-mile radius. In 1950, following the beginning of the Korean War, the USAF perceived a need for a night intruder bomber to replace the Douglas A-26 Invader. The XB-51 was entered in the contest, along with the North American B-45 Tornado and the North American AJ-1 Savage. Foreign entries included the Avro Canada CF-100, a twin-jet all-weather interceptor, and the English Electric Canberra. On December 15, 1950 a Senior Board of officers recommended that the XB-51 and the Canberra had the best potential as a night intruder. Although a relatively large aircraft, the XB-51 was highly maneuverable for its size. At low levels, it had a very satisfactory turning radius in the speed range of 280-310 IAS. However, its low limit load factor of 3.67 G severely limited its capability during tactical operations, and was generally considered unsatisfactory. The XB-51 was nearly a hundred knots faster than the Canberra at low level, its maximum speed of Mach 0.89 below 30,000 feet made interceptions of the XB-51 by aircraft such as the F-86 extremely difficult. However, the endurance of the XB-51 was much poorer than that of the Canberra, with the Canberra being able to loiter for 2 1/2 hours over a target 780 nautical miles from its base. The XB-51 could loiter only one hour over a target 350 nautical miles from its base. Despite the prospect that improved jet engines would eventually be available, there was little prospect that the range and endurance of the XB-51 would improve sufficiently to meet the loiter time requirement. In addition, it was thought that the small outrigger wheels on the XB-51 might be troublesome at hastily-prepared forward air bases. In early 1951, a flyoff at Andrews AFB finally settled the issue, and the
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Martin XB-51

Canberra was declared the winner. On March 23, 1951, 250 examples of the Canberra were ordered under the designation B-57A. The XB-51 program was cancelled in November of 1951. However, Martin was not all that upset, since they were awarded the contract to build the B-57. Flight tests with both prototypes continued after program cancellation. The second XB-51 (48-686) crashed on May 9, 1952 during low-level aerobatics over Edwards AFB, killing its pilot. The first prototype XB-51 continued on with various other test work. Extensive tests on high-speed bomb release were carried out, and the tail configuration, variable incidence wing, and bicycle-type landing gear provided much useful data. The XB-51 even starred in a movie--the film "Toward the Unknown" starring William Holden in which it was assigned the spurious designation "Gilbert XF-120". The aircraft was totally destroyed on March 25, 1956 when it crashed on takeoff from El Paso International Airport. Specification of Martin XB-51: Engines: Three General Electric J47-GE-13 turbojets, each rated at 5200 lb.s.t. Performance: Maximum speed 645 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 532 mph, landing speed 153 mph. Service ceiling 40,500 feet. Initial climb rate 6980 feet per minute. Normal range 1075 miles, maximum range 1613 miles. Weights: 29,584 pounds empty, 55,923 pounds gross, 62,457 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 53 feet 1 inches, length 85 feet 1 inches, height 17 feet 4 inches, wing area 548 square feet. Armament: Eight 20-mm cannon with total ammunition capacity of 1280 rounds. Normal bombload was four internal bombs of 1600 lb. each or two external bombs of 2000 pounds each. Maximum bombload of 10,400 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. Martin B-57 Canberra, The Complete Record, Robert C. Mikesh, Schiffer Military

History, 1995.
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Martin XB-51

4. E-mail from Nolan Tucker and Gene Cupples on crash of 685.

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Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratfortress

Origin of B-52 Boeing XB-52/YB-52 Stratofortress Boeing B-52A Stratofortress Boeing RB-52B/B-52B Stratofortress Service of Boeing RB-52B/B-52B Stratofortress Boeing B-52C Stratofortress Service of Boeing B-52C Stratofortress Boeing B-52D Stratofortress Service of Boeing B-52D Stratofortress Boeing B-52E Stratofortress Service of Boeing B-52E Stratofortress Boeing B-52F Stratofortress Service of Boeing B-52F Stratofortress Boeing B-52G Stratofortress Service of Boeing B-52G Stratofortress Boeing B-52H Stratofortress Service of Boeing B-52H Stratofortress

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b52.html08-09-2006 21:30:36

Convair XB-53

Convair XB-53
Last revised June 17, 2000

The Convair XB-53 was a stillborn project for a tactical jet bomber that originated back in 1945. It was to be powered by three J35 turbojet engines buried in the fuselage and fed by two lateral air intakes. The wings were swept forward at an angle of 30 degrees. The aircraft was originally designated XA-44 (in the attack series), and for a while the USAAF actually considered cancelling the Convair XB-46 four-jet bomber in its entirety in favor of the XA-44. However the contractor firmly believed that a better solution would be for one XB-46 to be built in stripped but flyable condition and to develop two XA-44s in lieu of the two other XB-46s remaining under the contract. The USAAF agreed to this change and the XB-46 contract was reduced from three to one, with the serials of the last two XB-46s (45-59583/59584) being reassigned to the XA-44. However, USAAF support of the XA-44 did not last long. In December of 1946, the design was converted into a light bomber and the designation was changed to XB-53. However, the XB-53 project was cancelled before anything could be built. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.

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Boeing B-50C/B-54 Superfortress

Boeing B-50C/B-54 Superfortress


Last revised June 17, 2000

The B-50C was an advanced version of the B-50, designed to squeeze the maximum amount of performance that could possibly be gotten from the basic Superfortress design. The B-50C was to be powered by four new R-4360-43 turbo-compound engines. The turbo-compound engines were sometimes referred to as Variable Discharge Turbine (VDT) engines, and had also been considered for the B-36. The change to turbocompound engines required a complete redesign of the airframe, with a wider wingspan and a longer fuselage. The takeoff weight of the B-50C was estimated to be 207,000 pounds, almost 50,000 pounds greater than that of most other B-50s. An early B-50A was set aside to serve as a prototype for the YB-50C. The mockup of the B50C was completed by November of 1948. 43 production aircraft (14 B-50Cs and 29 RB50Cs) were ordered. In late 1948, the Air Force concluded that the B-50C was sufficiently different from the B-50A and B which preceded it that a new bomber model number of B-54 was assigned. However, fiscal year 1949 was a difficult time for the American defense budget, with large cuts being forced by financial exigencies. The B-54 offered little or no growth potential since it squeezed the maximum possible amount out of an already obsolescent design. In addition, it promised to be quite expensive. The B-54 was fitted with an outrigger landing gear which required wider taxiways than those which existed at operating bases, and its introduction into service would require a massive program of base reconstruction. It was discovered that jet engines could not be installed on the B-54 without completely redesigning the wings. The new K-1 bombing system could not be installed without sacrificing a belly turret or without a drastic alteration in the aircraft's fuselage. Air Force Secretary W. Stuart Symington and General Vandenberg both supported the B-54 project, but General Curtis LeMay vigorously opposed it and argued for the cancellation of the B-54 in favor of more B-36s. The development of the B-36D with auxiliary jet pods fitted underneath the outer wings promised superior performance in speed, altitude and range, and, pending the availability of the B-52, General LeMay argued that the B-36 provided the best option for strategic deterrence. However, Secretary Symington and General Vandenberg were
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Boeing B-50C/B-54 Superfortress

reluctant to terminate the B-54 since the loss of the B-54 and the procurement of more B-36s would alter the medium/heavy bomber mix that had been recently approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As an alternative, Secretary Symington proposed that some additional B-50s be substituted for the B-54. General LeMay was unhappy with this proposal as well, and countered with an argument that if it were not possible to replace all programmed B-54s by B36s, the best alternative would be to secure additional B-47 medium bombers. After balancing all factors involved, the Board of Senior Officers agreed with General LeMay and recommended that the B-54 project be dropped in favor of the procurement of more B-36s and that the production of the B-47 Stratojet should be accelerated. The Board's recommendations were approved by Secretary Symington and General Vandenberg on April 5, 1949, and the B-54 project was formally cancelled. The partially-built YB-50C was also cancelled. Serials of B-50C/B-54:
46-061 49-200/206 49-207/229 49-1757/177O 49-1771/1799 Boeing YB-50C Superfortress - Project cancelled cancelled contract for Boeing B-54A - originally designated B-50C cancelled contract for Boeing RB-54A - originally designated RB-50C Cancelled contract for Boeing B-54A originally designated B-50C Cancelled contract for Boeing RB-54A originally designated RB-50C

Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1988. 3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

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Boeing XB-55

Boeing XB-55
Last revised June 17, 2000

In October of 1947, a request was issued to the aviation industry for a new medium bomber that would be the successor to the B-47, the prototype of which had made its first test flight only a month earlier. The program was assigned the bomber designation of XB55. On July 1, 1948, Boeing was named the winner of the contest and was granted a contract. The Boeing entry was assigned the company designation of Model 474. The Model 474 was essentially a turboprop adaptation of the jet-powered XB-47. It was to be powered by four 5643 hp Allison T40-A-2 turboprops housed in individual pods slung below a slightlyswept high-mounted wing. The turboprops drove a set of three-bladed contrarotating propellers. The landing gear configuration was similar to that of the XB-47--a tandem pair of wheels which retracted into the fuselage and supported by outrigger wheels which retracted into the outer engine nacelles. Gross weight was estimated at 153,000 pounds. Defensive armament was to consist of twelve 20-mm cannon housed in three separate turrets which were mounted in the rear of the aircraft and directed remotely by an aft-mounted gunner's compartment. The wingspan was to be 135 feet, and the length was to be 118 feet 11 inches. The Model 474 later metamorphosed into the Model 479, powered by six Westinghouse J40 turbojet engines and featuring a thickened wing root section. In January of 1949, the XB-55 project was cancelled. One reason for the cancellation was a lack of money caused by the Fiscal Year 1949 budgetary crisis, which caused the termination of several military projects and the delay of others. In addition, there no longer seemed to be any immediate need to develop a new medium bomber, in view of the currently-projected growth in the B-47. The XB-55 project promised to take much longer than originally expected, and the Air Force thought that its design should have been based on more-advanced aerodynamic principles as well as on improved propulsion systems. The mockup and detailed engineering work then taking place on the XB-55 were halted,
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Boeing XB-55

but the Air Force allowed the study reports and wind tunnel testing to continue. These were to prove useful in the development of the XB-52, which was also in development at the same time at Boeing. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. Post-World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

Washington, D.C., 1988.


4. Boeing B-52--A Documentary History, Walter Boyne, Smithsonian Institution

Press, 1981.
5. Boeing's Cold War Warrior--B-52 Stratofortress, Robert F. Dorr and Lindsay

Peacock, Osprey Aerospace, 1995.


6. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


7. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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Boeing YB-56/B-47C Stratojet

Boeing YB-56/B-47C Stratojet


Last revised June 17, 2000

The early versions of the Stratojet were all severely underpowered, and in pursuit of a more powerful Stratojet the Air Force proposed a version of the B-47 powered by four 10,090 lb.s.t. Allison J71-A-5 turbojets. The designation YB-56 was assigned to this project, since the different engine configuration was thought to justify a change in designation. A reconnaissance version known as RB-56A was also planned. According to the original planning, the 88th B-47B (50-092) was scheduled be converted to YB-56 configuration as a testbed for the concept. For a time, the YB-56 was intended to be the "definitive" Stratojet. However, since the airframe was basically that of a "stock" B-47B, the designation of the YB-56 was changed to YB-47C. The J71 engine was later found to be unsuitable for the Stratojet, and a decision was made to switch to the new Pratt & Whitney YJ57 turbojet. However, these engines were not yet available, and in any case they were already earmarked for the B-52. Consequently, the YB-47C program was cancelled in December of 1952, and no four-jet Stratojet was ever built. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. The Boeing B-47, Peter Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1968. 5. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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Boeing YB-56/B-47C Stratojet

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Martin B-57

Martin B-57

Martin B-57A Martin RB-57A Lightweight and Heartthrob Martin B-57B Martin B-57C Martin RB-57D Martin B-57E Martin RB-57F Martin B-57G B-57 with Pakistan B-57 with Republic of Vietnam Air Force

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b57.html08-09-2006 21:31:14

Convair B-58 Hustler

Convair B-58 Hustler

Origin of Convair B-58 Hustler Convair B-58 Hustler Convair TB-58A Hustler Service of B-58 Hustler with USAF Convair B-58B Hustler Convair B-58C Hustler Convair B-58D/E Hustler Testbed for YF-12A Weapons System NB-58A Testbed for General Electric J93 Hustler Supersonic Transport Hustler for Australia? Reconnaissance Hustlers Super Hustler Hustler Missile Launcher

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b58.html08-09-2006 21:31:30

Boeing XB-59

Boeing XB-59
Last revised July 3, 2000

In May of 1947, Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, at that time Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development, wrote a letter to Lt. Gen. Nathan F. Twining, chief of the Air Materiel Command, to request that work begin on a new jet-powered medium bomber that would be ready for service by the late 1950s. The new bomber should have a combat radius of 2500 miles, a cruising speed of at least 500 mph, and a gross weight of 170,000 pounds. It was proposed that the development of such an aircraft would follow the development of the B-52. General LeMay's proposal led the Air Staff to solicit ideas from the leading US maker of bombing aircraft, the Boeing Airplane Company, as well as from several other manufacturers. At this stage, the project was still rather ill-defined. By October of 1947, things had begun to firm up sufficiently so that the War Department submitted a requirement for a new medium bomber to the aviation industry. The aircraft was to weigh less than 200,000 pounds, have a 2000 mile radius, and be able to carry a 10,000 pound bombload. The aircraft was tentatively assigned the designation XB-55. Boeing submitted the winning proposal, and a Phase I contract for the XB-55 was initiated with FY 1948 funds. However, in the immediate postwar environment, funding for any type of military project was in short supply and it was decided that the initial design study for the XB-55 would be converted into a purely paper study to explore new aeronautical technologies. As part of the project, the Air Force began to explore the potential of delta wing configurations and began to consider the possibility of bomber designs capable of supersonic flight. Some of this work had actually gotten started before the advent of the XB-55 project, and several companies had launched informal internally-funded studies. On January 27, 1949, the AMC was directed to cancel the XB-55, since the projected B-47 production rate had reached the point that another subsonic medium bomber would probably be unnecessary. However, the general requirement for a high-performance medium bomber remained intact.
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Boeing XB-59

Among the initial approaches to the design of a long-range supersonic bomber was the Generalized Bomber Study (better known as GEBO), which had been carried out by several aircraft companies, in particular Convair. GEBO began with the exploration of the the feasibility of a delta-winged aircraft weighing about 150,000 pounds. This had begun in October 1946 under an Air Force contract given to Convair. One of the positive results of the shelving of the XB-55 project was that it freed up some scarce funds for additional development. Brig. Gen. Donald Putt, Director of the Research and Development Office and Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel, recommended that the AMC ask the aircraft industry for new and possibly unconventional proposals for intercontinental bombers. A second Generalized Bomber Study (known as GEBO II) was initiated. The design parameters were a radius of 1200 to 2500 miles with a 10,000 pound bombload, a cruising speed of more than 450 knots, a combat altitude greater that 35,000 feet and a takeoff distance of less than 6000 feet. In the meantime, the Boeing Airplane Company, now freed up by the cancellation of the XB-55 project, began to study the possibility of a high-performance medium bomber. Performance objectives included a combat radius of 3000 miles at an altitude of 50,000 feet. The aircraft would be capable of a supersonic speed of Mach 1.3 within 200 miles of the target. After looking at several different configurations, the Air Force selected the Boeing Model 484-405B as having the highest potential. The 484-405B was a fairly conventional design, with a low aspect ratio, high-mounted wing with a sweep of 47 degrees. A bomb bay similar in size to that of the B-47 would be provided. Gross weight was 200,000 pounds. The aircraft was to be powered by four Pratt & Whitney J57-P-5 afterburning turbojet engines. The engines were to be mounted side-by-side, two in the inboard section of each wing. Because the wing had to be thin in order to make it possible to achieve supersonic performance, all of the fuel had to be housed entirely within the fuselage. The fuselage housed a pressurized cabin for a crew of three. A remotelycontrolled tail turret was to be fitted. The Convair Aircraft Corporation also submitted a design to meet the requirement. In January of 1950, Convair, as part of its work on GEBO II, began to explore a parasite concept. They proposed a fairly small delta-winged aircraft which would be carried partway to its target underneath a B-36. The aircraft was to carry a two-man crew and would have four turbojet engines. Very early on, however, the parasite concept was abandoned, to be replaced by an aircraft with conventional landing gear.

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Boeing XB-59

By the end of 1950, the Bombardment Branch of the Air Materiel Command's Aircraft and Guided Missiles Section began to prepare a detailed military specification for both the Boeing and Convair proposals. Based on the AMC proposal, which was in turn based on input from both the Boeing and Convair design studies, requests were made for funds for beginning projects. The supersonic bomber was now officially a part of the Air Force's future plans. On January 26, 1951, following the completion of the detailed study, Convair proposed that it develop a long range supersonic reconnaissance bomber. The project was given the number MX-1626 by the AMC under contract AF33(038)-21250. In February, the competing Boeing project was given a development contract by the AMC under the designation MX-1712 and contract AF33(038)-21388. Boeing's contract called for Phase I development of two bomber/reconnaissance aircraft through wind tunnel testing, engineering, and mock-up. Initial flight dates for both designs were tentatively set for late 1954. On February 1, 1952, the USAF issued General Operational Requirement SAB-51, where SAB stood for Supersonic Aircraft Bomber. It called for a multi-mission strategic reconnaissance bomber capable of carrying 10,000 pounds of bombs. It had to be capable of operating in all weather conditions, and had to be able to achieve a combat radius of 5000 miles with a single outbound inflight refuelling. It had to be capable of supersonic performance at altitudes of 50,000 feet or more and had to be able to achieve a high subsonic performance at lower altitudes. It was considered important that the aircraft be fairly small, since this would reduce the radar reflectivity and make the aircraft harder to detect. The Air Force wanted production to begin within five years. On February 26, 1952, the SAB-51 GOR was revised in a document which came to be known as Directive Number 34. It was conceded that it was unrealistic to expect the rapid development of a high-altitude, long-range supersonic bomber that could also be suitable for low-altitude high-speed missions. Consequently, the low-altitude performance requirement was dropped. Following discussions with the Air Council and representatives of the ARDC, SAC, the Rand Corporation, and the Scientific Advisory Board, the Air Force endorsed this recommendation, and the revised SAB became formalized on September 1, 1952 as SAB-52-1. However, the Air Force still wanted the aircraft by 1957. At the end of February 1952, General J. W. Sessums, ARDC Deputy for Development recommended that it would be better to forego the traditional industry-wide competition
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Boeing XB-59

that would ordinarily be held for the supersonic bomber project. Time and money would be saved if contractors could be selected on the basis of the proposals already submitted. Although the AMC felt that the Boeing and Convair proposals offered the best hope for a supersonic bomber, the AMC had requested informal proposals from other manufacturers, including Douglas, Lockheed, Martin, and North American. However, only two of the last four companies actually submitted proposals, and these were not very interesting. Shortly thereafter, the Wright Air Development Center endorsed this strategy and called for a competition between Boeing and Convair, the only two companies to have submitted proposals that were of any significant interest. The Air Force was now committed to the advanced bomber project, and placed heavy emphasis on the MX-1626 and MX-1712 programs. It requested that two parallel Phase 1 projects be initiated, thus engaging Boeing and Convair in an official competition. It was anticipated that contracts would be issued to both competetors in the fall of 1952 for detailed designs and mockups, followed by the selection of a winning design in February or March of 1953. The emphasis would continue to be on minimum size and maximum altitude and speed performance. The financing of the Phase I development of two parallel projects was extremely difficult to support, especially during a period of financial austerity. The Boeing MX-1712 program had benefited somewhat from the XB-55 cancellation, which freed up some Boeing developmental funding for the new project, but Convair's MX-1626 was experiencing a severe funding problem. In late February, the MX-1626 program was almost cancelled due to the lack of funds, and the project remained in some danger until May 15, when enough additional funds were obtained to keep the project going. Directive 34 had also dictated that the project use the weapons system concept, in which the equipment, weapons, electronics, and components of the aircraft would be developed as an integrated whole to ensure that each component would be compatible with the others. By mid-1952, both Boeing and Convair had made considerable progress in bringing their projects into compliance with the weapons system philosophy. In the process of making their designs conform with the requirements of Directive 34, Convair's MX-1626 was now known as MX-1964 and Boeing's MX-1712 was now called MX1965. The USAF designations B-58 and B-59 were tentatively assigned to the two competing projects, even though no production orders were yet forthcoming. In the summer of 1952, the Wright Air Development Center concluded that a less costly
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Boeing XB-59

alternative would be to select just one of the two competitors even before the design and mockup stage was reached. The small bomber concept was endorsed by the Air Force Council and by General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, who was Chief of Staff of the Air Force. However, General Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command, generally favored the development of larger bombers with longer ranges. SAC felt that high performance alone would not necessarily assure mission success, and that the small supersonic bomber's lack of range would prevent it from operating without midair refueling from most forward bases. Despite SAC's objections, the Wright Air Development Center recommended that the Boeing/Convair competition be stopped. Even though the Air Force thought that Convair's estimates of the MX-1964's supersonic drag and gross weight were overly optimistic, the Air Force felt that the Convair design was superior to the Boeing proposal. It was concluded that the Boeing design would offer insufficient supersonic capabilities, and on November 18, 1952, General Vandenberg formally announced that Convair was the winner of the contest. All work on the competing B-59 project was stopped. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. Convair B-58 Hustler: The World's First Supersonic Bomber, Jay Miller, Aerofax,

1997.

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Convair YB-60

Convair YB-60
Last revised December 25, 2004

On August 25, 1950, Convair issued a formal proposal for an all-jet swept-winged version of the B-36, initially designated XB-36G. The Air Force was sufficiently interested that on March 15, 1951 the USAF authorized Convair to convert two B-36Fs (49-2676 and 492684) as B-36Gs. Since the aircraft was so radically different from the existing B-36, the designation was soon changed to YB-60. In the interest of economy, as many components as possible of the existing B-36F were used to build the YB-60. The fuselage from aft of the cabin to near the end of the tail remained essentially the same as that of the B-36F. However, the nose was lengthened to accommodate more equipment, and was tapered to a needle-like instrument probe. The conversion to a swept wing had moved the center of gravity farther aft, which necessitated the addition of a retractable tail wheel underneath the rear fuselage. The plan was to leave the tail wheel still extended during the takeoff run, retracting it just prior to rotation. During landing, the tail wheel remained retracted until both the main and nose gears were firmly on the ground. Because of the higher landings speeds that were inherent with a swept-wing design, the design team included provisions for a drag chute in the tail cone, although it is unclear if it was actually fitted to either prototype. The fuselage was a bit longer than that of the B-36F, having a length of 171 feet. The most readily-noticeable difference between the YB-60 and the B-36F was the swept wing. A wing sweep of 37 degrees was accomplished by inserting a wedge-shaped structure at the extremity of the center portion of the center wing. A cuff was added to the leading edge of the center wing to continue to sweep line to the fuselage. The net result was an increase of wing area to 5239 square feet. The wing span was 206 feet, about 24 feet less than that of the B-36F. The aircraft was also fitted with a new swept vertical tail and a set of swept horizontal elevators. The new swept vertical tail made the YB-60 somewhat taller than the B-36F, the tip of the new swept vertical fin reaching 60 feet 6 inches from the ground. The YB-60 was to be powered by eight 8700 lb.s.t. J57-P-3 turbojets, housed in pairs on
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Convair YB-60

four pods that were suspended below and forward of the wing leading edge, similar to the B-52, but turboprop engines were still considered as a possible option if the jet engines did not work out. The YB-60 also differed from the B-36F in its crew allocation and in its armament fit. The original YB-60 concept had only five crew members-pilot, copilot, navigator, bombardier/ radio operator and radio operator/tail gunner. All were seated in the pressurized and heated forward compartment. All of the defensive armament of the B-36F was omitted, save the twin 20-mm tail cannon that were remotedly directed by the radio operator/tail gunner seated in the forward fuselage via an AN/APG-32 radar in the extreme tail. The K-3A bombing/navigation system, with Y-3A optical and radar bombing sight was retained. The maximum bombload capacity was the same as that of the B-36F, namely 72,000 pounds. The second YB-60 and any production aircraft were to have the crew increased to nine. Early in the design process, the Air Force asked Convair to add back some of the retractable turrets that had been omitted from the initial design. The upper forward and lower aft turrets wer to be identical to those of the standard B-36F, but the upper aft turret was still to be omitted. The conversion of 49-2676 to YB-60 configuration began in the spring of 1951. The work was completed in only 8 months, since almost 72 percent of the parts of the YB-60 were common with those of the B-36F. However, the project was delayed by the late delivery of the J57 turbojets, which did not arrive at Convair until April of 1952. The aircraft was rolled out on April 6, 1952. It was the largest jet aircraft in the world at the time. The first flight of YB-60 49-2676 took place on April 18, 1952, with Convair chief test pilot Beryl A. Erikson at the controls. The Boeing YB-52 took to the air for the first time only three days later. Although there was never any formal competition between the YB60 and the B-52, the B-52 quickly exhibited a clear superiority. Although the YB-60 had a clear cost advantage over the B-52 (the YB-60 had a 72 percent parts commonality with the B-36 and used much already-proven equipment), the B-52 clearly had a superior performance. The top speed of the YB-60 was only 508 mph at 39,250 feet, more than 100 mph slower than the B-52. In addition, flight tests of the YB-60 turned up a number of deficiencies--engine surge, control system buffeting, rudder flutter, and electrical enginecontrol system problems. The stability was rather poor because of the high aerodynamic forces acting on the control surfaces acting in concert with fairly low aileron effectiveness. Consequently, the Air Force concluded that there was no future for the YB-60 and
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Convair YB-60

canceled the flight testing program on January 20, 1953. At that time, 66 hours of flight time had been accumulated. The second prototype was never flown at all. Although it was 95 percent complete, it was never provided with any engines and was not fitted with any government-supplied equipment. After flight test cancellation, Convair vainly attempted to convince the Air Force to continue interest in the YB-60. Convair even offered to complete the remaining B-36s on the production line as B-60s without charging the Air Force any more money. This proposal was turned down. Convair then tried to convince the Air Force that the YB-60 could be used as an experimental test bed for turboprop engines. This proposal was also rejected. Convair even considered trying to adapt the YB-60 as a commercial jet airliner. Nothing came of this idea either. There was even some consideration of using the YB-60 as a test vehicle for the proposed nuclear-powered X-6. This idea went nowhere as well. Although the Air Force formally accepted both YB-60s in mid 1954, flight testing was already over and the two aircraft had been permanently grounded. The two YB-60s were shunted off to the side of the runway at Fort Worth, where they sat out in the weather for several months. By the end of July 1954, they had both been scrapped, with some of the components that were common with the B-36F being scavenged for spare parts. Specification of Convair YB-60 Engines: Eight 8700 lb.s.t. Pratt & Whitney J57-P-3 turbojets. Performance: Maximum speed 508 mph at 39,250 feet. Combat ceiling 44,650 feet. Maximum range 8000 miles. Combat radius 2920 miles with 10,000 pound bomb load. Initial climb rate 1570 feet per minute. An altitude of 30,000 feet could be attained in 28.3 minutes. Ground run 6710 feet, takeoff to clear a 50 feet obstacle 8131 feet. Normal cruising altitude 37,000 feet. Maximum cruising altitude 53,300 feet. Dimensions: wingspan 206 feet 0 inches, length 171 feet 0 inches, height 60 feet 6 inches, wing area 5239 square feet Weights: 153,016 pounds empty, 300,000 pounds gross Armament: Two 20-mm cannon in the extreme tail. Maximum bombload 72,000 pounds. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.
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Convair YB-60

2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History,

1988.
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


4. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.
5. Convair B-36-A Comprehensive History of America's "Big Stick", Meyers K.

Jacobsen, Schiffer Military History, 1998.


6. Eight-Engined Giant, Dennis R. Jenkins, Wings, Feb 2005.

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b66

Douglas B-66 Destroyer

Douglas RB-66A Destroyer Douglas RB-66B Destroyer Douglas B-66B Destroyer Douglas RB-66C Destroyer Douglas WB-66D Destroyer Northrop X-21A

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Cargo Aircraft Designations


Last revised March 15, 2006

Here are the designations of US Army and US Air Force transport aircraft. The C for Cargo designation for Army transport aircraft was originally introduced in May of 1924 There were two series of C-planes, one beginning in 1924 and ending in 1962, and another one beginning in 1962 and continuing to the present day.

Original C-Series (1924-1962)


Here are the aircraft in the original C-series, beginning with the C-1 and ending in 1962 with the C-142.
Douglas C-1 Single-engine biplane military transport. One 435 hp Liberty V-1650-1 water-cooled engine. Best known for participation in early mid-air refuelling experiments (1929). 26 built. Standard USAAC transport until 1929. Military version of Fokker F-VIIA/3m trimotor transport. Eleven built. Designation given to eight 4-AT-B commercial trimotor transports acquired by USAAC. Designation given to 5-AT trimotor commercial transports acquired by USAAC. 5 built. radials. Military version of 12-passenger commercial Fokker F-10A. Three Wright R-975 radials in place of the P&W Wasps of the commercial version. Only one ordered. Military version of 12-seat S-38A twin-engined sesquiplane amphibian. Two 450 hp R-1340-7 radials. 112 mph crusing speed at sea level. Total of eleven procured. Ten-passenger military transport. XC-7 was a C-2A with engines replaced by 3 330 hp Wright R-975 radials. It and four other

Fokker-Atlantic C-2

Ford/Stout C-3

Ford/Stout C-4

Fokker-Atlantic C-5

Sikorsky C-6

Fokker-Atlantic C-7

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

similarly re-engined C-2As were redesignated C-7. C-7A was designation given to six production planes which had a slightly larger wing, new vertical fins, and fuselages patterned after the commercial F-10A. Max. speed: 136 mph. Fairchild C-8 Designation given to commercial Model 71 singleengine light cabin monoplanes used by USAAC as light transports and photographic survey aircraft. Some were briefly designated F-1. An unusual feature was a folding wing. Designation given to C-3 trimotor transports after being re-engined with 300 hp. R-975-1 radials. Designation given to one Curtiss Robin W delivered to USAAC. As compared to standard civil Robins, C-10 had increased wing dihedral, enlarged vertical tail surfaces, raised thrust line. Used for early experiments in radio-controlled unpiloted aircraft. Designation given to a single Consolidated Model 17 Fleetster 6-7 seat passenger and mail transport monoplane acquired by USAAC in 1932. One Wright R-1820-1 radial. Designation given to a single Lockheed Vega DL-1 commercial monoplane acquired by USAAC for tests as fast command transport. Designation not used. Either for superstitious

Ford/Stout C-9

Curtiss XC-10

Consolidated Y1C-11

Lockheed Y1C-12

C-13 reasons transport

or to avoid confusion with the Curtiss O-13B, a version of the O-13. Fokker-Atlantic C-14 Military version of six-seat Fokker F-14 singleengine parasol-wing commercial transport. 20 ordered as Y1C-14s with 525 hp Wright R-1750-3 Cyclone radial. Ninth Y1C-14 was converted ambulance aircraft and was Y1C-15. Single C-15 was a F-14 acquired from General as a specialized redesignated commercial Fokker Aviation.

Fokker-Atlantic C-15

Fokker-Atlantic C-16

Designation given to one commercial F-XI amphibian acquired by USAAC for tests.

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Lockheed Y1C-17

Designation given to a single Lockheed Vega DL-1B Special commercial monoplane acquired by USAAC for tests in 1930. All-metal fuselage, wire-braced single strut landing gear, NACA cowling, and wheel pants. At the time, the Y1C-17 was the fastest aircraft of any type in USAAC service (221mph). Designation given to commercial Model 221 Monomail acquired by USAAC for tests. Designation given to three Alpha 1 light transports acquired by USAAC. Designation given to F-32 commercial transport acquired by USAAC for tests. Designation given to military version of Douglas Dolphin commercial amphibian transport. Two 350 hp Wright R-975-3 radials mounted in separate nacelles above the high-mounted wing. Military version of Model 17 Fleetster 6-7 seat passenger and mail transport. Improved version of C-11. Three built. Designation given to a single Lockheed Altair DL-2A two-seat single-engined commercial monoplane acquired by USAAC in 1931 for use as transport for high-ranking military and civil officials. Military version of commercial American Pilgrim single-engined transport. One 575 hp Wright R-1820-1 Cyclone. Ten seats. Used by USAAC as general utility aircraft. Four built. Designation given to prototype Lockheed Altair 8D two-seat single-engined commercial monoplane acquired by USAAC in 1931. Extensively revised version of C-21 amphibian transport. Two 300hp P&W R-985-1 radials in nacelles above the high-mounted wing. Larger wing area, longer fuselage, higher vertical tail, auxiliary fins removed. Later redesignated OA-4. 8 built. Adaptation of civilian Airbus four-seat cabin sesquiplane light tranport to military transport/cargo requirements.

Boeing C-18

Northrop C-19

Fokker-Atlantic C-20

Douglas C-21

Consolidated Y1C-22

Lockheed Y1C-23

American Y1C-24

Lockheed Y1C-25

Douglas C-26

Bellanca C-27

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Total of 15 built Sikorsky C-28 Douglas C-29 Commercial S-39C with R-985-1. Only one built.

Version of C-26 amphibian transport with more powerful 550 hp P&W R-1340-29 radials. Two built. Military version of T-32 Condor biplane civil transport. Two supplied to US Army. High-wing freighter. one built. R-1820-25 engine. Only

Curtiss YC-30 Condor

Kreider-Reisner C-31

Douglas C-32

Original XC-32 was a military version of the DC-2 commercial airliner. Differed from the the commercial airliner only in minor details and in being powered by 750 hp Wright R-1820-12 radials. Only one built. Designation C-32A given to 24 DC-2 commercial airliners acquired by the Army in 1942 from civilian sources (including 5 aircraft previously acquired by the British Purchasing Commission). Military cargo version of DC-2 series. Enlarged vertical tail, reinforced cabin floor, large cargo door. 18 built. Military version of DC-2 commercial airliner. Similar to XC-32 except for minor revisions in interior arrangements. Two built. Experimental high-altitude adaptation of Model 10E Electra light transport. Completely circular cross-section fuselage, smaller cabin windows. Three Lockheed Model 10A Electra twin-engined light transports were purchased by USAAC "offthe-shelf" in 1937 In 1942, 15 12-place Model 10As were "drafted" by USAAC and designated C-36A. 2 450 hp. P&W R-985-13s. Surviving aircraft were returned to civil register beginning in 1944. Four similar Model 10Es became C-36B. Two 600 hp P&W R-1340-49 radials. Seven 10-place Model 10Bs (450 hp Wright R-975 Whirlwinds) became C-36C. Maximum speed: 205 mph. Redesignated UC-36 in 1943. Designation given to a single Lockheed Model 10A

Douglas C-33

Douglas C-34

Lockheed XC-35

Lockheed C-36

Lockheed C-37

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Electra ten-passenger commercial transport ordered "off-the-shelf" by War Department in 1937. 450 hp P&W R-985-13 radials. Assigned to National Guard as staff transport. Redesignated UC-37 in 1943. Douglas C-38 Military version of DC-2 twin-engine commercial airliner. Had DC-3 outer wing "married" to a DC-2 fuseslage and center section. Prototype of the series of aircraft sometimes known as "DC 2 1/2". One built. Twin-engine military transport. Production version of C-38 aerodynamic prototype. Had DC-3 outer wing "married" to a DC-2 fuselage and center section. Two 795 hp Wright R-1820-55 Cyclone radials. Used primarily as cargo transport. 35 built. Military version of Lockheed Model 12-A Electra Junior commercial light transport. C-41 was a "one-off" version of C-39 intended as staff transport for Chief of Staff of Army Air Corps. Two 1200 hp P&W R-1830-21 radials. Generally similar to C-39. One built. C-41A was military version of DC-3A reequipped with military instruments and communication equipment. Two 1200 hp P&W R-1830-21 radials. Served as staff transport. One built. Staff transport for use by Commanding General of the Air Force GHQ. Similar to C-41 but powered by two 1000 hp. Wright R-1820-21 radials. One built. Designation given to civilian Model 17 five-seat staggerwing biplane cabin transport acquired by Army and used as light personnel transport. Designation given to one Bf 108B Taifun engine cabin monoplane purchased in Germany for use by US military attache in Berlin. Beechraft C-45 Expeditor Curtiss C-46 Commando Military transport version of civilian Model 18S twin-engine, twin tail light transport. Twin-engine personnel/cargo transport. P&W R-2800 radials. 3182 built Two

Douglas C-39

Lockheed C-40

Douglas C-41

Douglas C-42

Beechcraft UC-43 Traveller

Messerschmitt C-44 single-

Douglas C-47 Skytrain

Redesign of civilian DC-3 twin-engine commercial

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

airliner for role of military cargo transport. Most widely used military transport in World War 2. Used by RAF as Dakota, by U. S. Navy as R4D. Douglas C-48 Designation given to 36 DC-3As taken over from the airlines and used by the Army as personnel transports. Designation given to 138 DC-3s taken over from the airlines and used by the Army as personnel transports. Designation given to 14 DC-3s taken over from airline orders and used by the Army as personnel transports. Designation given to a single DC-3 taken over from airline order and used by the Army as paratroop transport. Designation given to 6 DC-3s taken over on the production lines before delivery and fitted as paratroop transports Paratroop transport version of C-47. Fixed metal seats, no large cargo door, no reinforced floor, no astrodome. Military version of DC-4 four-engine commercial transport. Both cargo and troop transport versions built. Navy version was R5D. Total of 1084 built. Prototype CW-20T civil transport purchased by US Army for use as troop transport Military version of civilian Model 18 Lodestar twin-engine commercial airliner. Crew 3, 14 passengers. 36 acquired in 1942-43 from various civilian sources and used by Army as general personnel transport Military version of civilian Model 18 Lodestar twin-engine commercial airliner. Crew 3, 14 passengers. Impressed under different contracts than C-56 series. 20 acquired from various civilian sources and used by Army as general personnel transport. Designation given to two B-18A bombers modified as unarmed cargo transports.

Douglas C-49

Douglas C-50

Douglas C-51

Douglas C-52

Douglas C-53 Skytrooper

Douglas C-54 Skymaster

Curtiss C-55

Lockheed C-56 Lodestar

Lockheed C-57 Lodestar

Douglas C-58

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Lockheed C-59 Lodestar

Designation given to 10 civilian Model 18-07 Lodestar commercial airliners acquired by Army from various sources and used as general personnel transport. C-60 was designation given to 36 Model 18-56 twin-engine commercial airliners acquired from civilian sources and used by Army as general personnel transport. C-60A was designation given to 325 aircraft of the same general type built from scratch as military paratroop transports. Military version of Model 24 civilian four-seat high-wing single-engine cabin monoplane. Used by Army as general light utility transport. Projected twin-engined, high-wing cargo transport. Order for 253 was cancelled before any could be built. Proposed transport variant of A-29 Hudson light attack bomber. Cancelled before any could be produced. Light transport and communication aircraft. Single engine, high wing cabin monoplane powered by 600 hp P&W R-1340 Wasp radial. Crew 2, up to 8 passengers. 746 built. Designation given to Stout Skycar used by USAAC for tests. Designation given to a single civilian Model 18-10 Lodestar twin-engine commercial airliner impressed by the Defense Supply Corporation. Designation given to 18 B-23 Dragon bombers converted to transport role and stripped of all armament. Designation given to commercial airliners airlines and used by transports. Two P&W two DC-3A twin-engine taken over from the Army as personnel R-1830-92 radials.

Lockheed C-60 Lodestar

Fairchild UC-61 Forwarder

Waco C-62

Lockheed C-63

Noorduyn C-64 Norseman

Stout C-65

Lockheed C-66 Lodestar

Douglas UC-67

Douglas C-68

Lockheed C-69 Constellation

Originally initiated as the L.049 four-engined commercial airliner explicitly designed to meet the requirements of TWA. Taken over as a military project following Pearl Harbor, and modified to meet troop transport needs..

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Only 20 were delivered as C-69 to USAAF before end of World War 2. At the end of the war, USAAF decided to standardize on the Douglas C-54 as its four-engined transport of choice, and most of the C-69s were promptly declared surplus and sold on the commercial market. Production of the basic design was turned over to the civil market, which was to lead to the famous Constellation series of airliners. Howard UC-70 Designation given to 20 Howard DGA-8,9,12, and 15 commercial four-seat high-wing cabin monoplanes acquired from various sources and used by Army for general light utility transport duties. Designation given to 16 Model 7W Executive civilian 5-seat cabin monoplanes acquired by the USAAF. One 450 hp P&W R-985 radial. 212 mph. Designation given to 44 Waco civilian cabin biplanes impressed by USAAF for use as staff transports and station ferries. Sixteen different Waco models were included, some with tricycle undercarriage. Designation given to 27 Boeing 274 twin-engined commercial transports "drafted" by USAAF in 1942. Small airline cabin and doors prevented use as heavy cargo and troop transport, so they were used primarily for crew ferrying and later for training. Long range heavy transport aircraft. Four 3250 hp P&W R-4360-69 Wasp Major radials. 312 mph at 20,800 feet. Max range of 7250 mi. Could carry 125 troops or up to 48,000 lbs of cargo. Only 14 built. Served only briefly with USAAF, then declared surplus and sold on the commercial market. Designation given to 5 Boeing 307 Stratoliner commercial airliners impressed into USAAF service. Four Wright GR-1820 Cyclone radials. Pressurized cabin, 33 passengers. 241 mph at 6000 feet. Returned to commercial users after the war. Twin-engined transport. Structure largely made of wood to minimize use of critical materials. shortage failed to materialize and program was
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Spartan UC-71

Waco UC-72

Boeing C-73

Douglas C-74 Globemaster

Boeing C-75 Stratoliner

Curtiss C-76 Caravan Aluminum

Cargo Aircraft Designations

canceled after only 25 had been built. Cessna C-77 Designation given to eleven Model DC-6 planes impressed by USAAF. Military version of T-50 civilian 5-seat twin engine cabin monoplane. Used by Army as light personnel transport. 3356 built. Designation given to one Junkers Ju 52/3m acquired by USAAF as war prize from Brazil. Designation given to four Harlow PJC-2 civilian aircraft impressed into service with USAAC. Designation given to 47 privately-owned Stinson Reliant commercial 5-seat high-wing monoplanes impounded by USAAF and used for general utility transport duties. Wartime production of Reliant was under designation of AT-19. Twin-engined high-wing, twin boom, twin-tailed tactical freighter and troop transport. Total of

Cessna UC-78 Bobcat

Junkers C-79

Harlow C-80

Stinson UC-81 Reliant

Fairchild C-82 Packet 220 built. Piper C-83

Designation given to seven Cub aircraft impressed into service with USAAC in 1942. Later redesignated L-4F. Designation given to four DC-3Bs taken over from the airlines and used by the Army as personnel transports. Designation given to a single Model 9-D2 Orion six-passenger commercial transport impressed into service by USAAF in 1942. Designation given to nine commercial F-24-R-40 aircraft acquired by USAAF. Transport version of B-24 Liberator. Bomb

Douglas C-84

Lockheed UC-85

Fairchild C-86

Consolidated C-87 bay Liberator Express

and rear fuselage replaced by passenger compartment. Loading door cut into rear fuselage. 286 built. Designation given to two F-45 low-wing commercial aircraft acquired by USAAF. Designation given to H-47 high-wing commercial aircraft acquired by USAAF.

Fairchild C-88

Hamilton C-89

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Luscombe C-90

Designation given to two Model 8 high-wing commercial planes acquired by USAAF. Designation given to SM-6000 trimotor transport acquired by USAAF. Designation given to one B-75-L commercial aircraft acquired by USAAF. Twin-engined stainless-steel transport. Cancelled by Army but ordered by Navy as RB-1. Designation given to three C-165 commercial aircraft acquired by USAAF. Designation given to 7 commercial BL-65 light high-wing monoplanes taken over by USAAC and used as light communications aircraft. Later redesignated as L-2F. One Lycoming O-145-B1 engine. Designation given to three Model 71 commercial single-engined cabin monoplanes "drafted" by USAAF in 1942 and used for photographic survey duties. Four-engined aerial refuelling aircraft. Four P&W R-4360 radials. 375 mph at 25,000 ft. Midair refuelling boom under rear fuselage. Can be converted into transport role. When acting as transport, can carry up to 96 fullyequipped troops. 888 built. Designation given to four examples of Model 314 flying boat requisitioned by USAAF from PAA. Later transferred to US Navy. Transport version of Convair B-36 strategic bomber. Two decks. Capable of carrying 400 equipped troops, 300 stretchers, or 100,000 pounds of cargo. Six R-4360-41 radials. Only one built Designation given to one commercial 2D Gamma single-engine mail-carrying and special purpose aircraft acquired by USAAF from Texaco. in 1942. Used as utility transport until 1943. Designation given to a single civilian Lockheed Model 5C Vega single-engine light transport "drafted" by USAAF in 1942. Returned to civil

Stinson C-91

Akron-Funk UC-92

Budd C-93A Conestoga

Cessna C-94

Taylorcraft UC-95

Fairchild UC-96

Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter

Boeing C-98

Convair XC-99

Northrop UC-100

Lockheed UC-101

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

register in 1944 Rearwin C-102 Designation given to three Speedsters acquired by USAAF. Designation given to two Grumman G-32 two-seat demonstration aircraft (conversion of single seat F3F biplane fighter) impressed by USAAF and used as utility light transports and ferry pilot trainers. Model 118 transport derived from civilian Lodestar transport. Redesignated C-60C, then cancelled. Conversion of XB-15 experimental long-range bomber to cargo transport. High-wing twin-engine transport. for tests. Two used

Grumman UC-103

Lockheed C-104

Boeing C-105

Cessna C-106

Stout C-107 Boeing YC-108

Skycar III commandeered in 1942 for tests. Transport version of B-17 bomber. XC-108 was B-17E converted as VIP transport for General McArthur. All armor and armament was removed (except for nose and tail guns) and interior was fitted out as office. YC-108 was B-17F converted to VIP transport in similar manner as XC-108. XC-108A was B-17E converted to experimental cargo transport. XC-108B was tanker conversion of B-17F. Designation given to 200 B-24 Liberator converted for use as aerial tankers to support China-based B-29 squadrons.

Consolidated C-109 bombers

Douglas C-110

Designation given to three DC-5 twin-engined commercial transports impressed by Army in Australia from Dutch operators. Designation assigned to three Model 14-WF62 Super Electra commercial airliners flown to Australia in 1942 to avoid capture by Japanese. Purchased by USAAF for service with Allied Directorate of Air Transport. Pressurized development of C-54E Skymaster military transport. Longer fuselage, larger rectangular windows in place of circular

Lockheed C-111

Douglas XC-112

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

portholes of C-54. Four 2100 hp P&W R-2800-34 radials. End of war resulted in lack of production orders. Became basis of DC-6 series of commercial airliners. Curtiss XC-113 Conversion of C-46G to test General Electric TG-100 turboprop. The turboprop was in starboard nacelle, original R-2800 radial in port nacelle. Arrangement found to be completely unmanageable. Program terminated by a ground accident. Aircraft never flown. Proposed Allison V-1710 powered version of C-54. Not built. Projected Packard Merlin V-1650-209-powered version of XC-114. Not built. Proposed Allison V-1710 powered version of C-54. Similar to XC-114, but with thermal deicers. Not

Douglas XC-114

Douglas XC-115

Douglas XC-116 built Douglas C-117

Twin-engine staff transport externally similar to C-47, the military version of the DC-3 commercial airliner. Combination of original features developed for DC-3 with latest improvements developed for C-47. Military version of commercial DC-6A freighter. Can carry up to 76 fully-equipped troops or up to 27,000 pounds of cargo. Four 2500 hp P&W R-2800-52W radials. 372 mph at 18,000 ft. 101 built. 74 troops or 27,000 lbs. of cargo. 40 R6D-1 (Navy logistic transport versions of DC-6A) were also transferred to USAF. Twin-engine, twin boom, twin tail cargo and troop transport. Evolved from C-82 by relocating the flight deck, widening the fuselage, and providing more powerful engines. Two Wright R-3350 radials. 296 mph at 17,000 feet. Can carry up to 62 fully-equipped troops or a 30,000 pound cargo load. Clamshell doors in rear cockpit can accommodate wheeled or tracked vehicles. Experimental version of C-119 with detachable cargo pod. Aircraft could be flown with or without the pod. Only one built. C-121A was military version of commercial Model 749 Constellation. Military transport versions and

Douglas C-118A

Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar

Fairchild XC-120 Packplane

Lockheed C-121

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

radar picket versions both built. One was used by President-elect Eisenhower as *Colombine II* in 1952. Chase YC-122 Avitruc Twin-engined assault transport evolved from the all-metal XCG-18A 30-seat troop transport glider. Only nine built. After evaluation by USAF, declared surplus and disposed of on the commercial market. Twin-engined assault transport Two P&W R-

Fairchild C-123 2800 Provider

radials. Can accommodate up to 60 fullyequipped troops or a 24,000 lb cargo load. 300 built. Achieved some notoriety in Vietnam as carrier plane for "Agent Orange" defoliant. Four-engine long-range military transport. Based on C-74 wing, engines, and tail, married to a new, deeper fuselage. Clamshell doors in lower fuselage for cargo loading. Short-field light assault transport and Arctic rescue aircraft. Three 1200 hp Wright R-1820-99 radials. Used mainly for mechanical training until disposed of as surplus in 1955. Designation given to 78 civilian Model 195 high-wing 4/5-seat cabin monoplanes ordered by USAF. Used primarily for instrument training and light transport duties. One Jacobs R-775 air-cooled radial. 180 mph. Initial designation given to DeHavilland Beaver single-engine utility monoplane. Later redesignated L-20 and then eventually to U-6. Designation later reassigned to Boeing-built four-engined turboprop transport. Cancelled while still on drawing board. Variant of C-119. Redesignated C-119D and E.

Douglas C-124 Globemaster II

Northrop YC-125 Raider

Cessna LC-126

C-127

Fairchild C-128 Douglas YC-129

Designation given to a single Super DC-3 ordered by USAF in 1951 for trials. Larger horizontal and vertical tail surfaces with squared tips. New outer wing panels with squared tips. The famous Hercules assault transport!!! Four Allison T-56 turboprops. High wing, cargo door in rear fuselage. 345 mph at

Lockheed C-130 Hercules

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

18,000 ft. Probably the most successful military transport since the Douglas C-47. Used by just about every air force in the Production still continues today. Convair C-131 Samaritan USAF transport Douglas XC-132 Proposal for heavy cargo aircraft. Highmounted wing with 25 degree sweepback and four 15,000 hp. P&W T-57 turboprops Cancelled in 1956 after only a mockup was built. Four-engine, long-range military cargo transport. Clamshell-type cargo loading doors in rear fuselage. Four 5700 hp P&W T34-P-3 turboprops. Total of 50 built Modification of C-123B to test a boundary layer control system. Two Wright R-3350-89A radials with four bladed props. Longer and wider fuselage, much-modified undercarriage. Small endplane fins and rudders replaced the dorsal fin. Four engine midair refuelling tanker. Four P&W J-57 jets/TF-33 turbofans. Versions for Midair refuelling, long range transport, cargo, photo mapping, electronic reconnaissance, readiation measuring, space communication, weather reconnaissance, nuclear blast detection, aerial command posts, and laser weapons testing. Proposed improved version of C-123B Provider. Cancelled early in the design stage Military version of commercial 707 transport. Used Military version of Convair 240-440 series of twin-engine commercial airliners. Used by as general aeromedical, cargo, and personnel

Douglas C-133 Cargomaster

Stroukoff C-134

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

Fairchild C-136

Boeing VC-137 by

USAF for use as personnel and high-priority cargo transports. Two used by President as "Air Force One". C-138 Lockheed SC-139 Neptune. Reserved for Fairchild F-27 but not taken up Reserved for USAF transport version of Navy P2V Cancelled before anything could be built

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Lockheed C-140 Jetstar

Four-engined jet utility transport and trainer. Four P&W J-60 turbojets. 573 mph at 36,000 ft. Four-jet long-range strategic transport. Four P&W TF-33 turbofans. 570 mph at sea level. High mounted swept wing, high mounted t-tail. Clamshell cargo doors in rear fuselage. Four-engined V/STOL tactical transport. Four General Electric T-64 turboprops mounted on a wing which can be tilted vertically for VTOL. ordered into production. Reserved for Model 200 VTOL but not approved.

Lockheed C-141 Starlifter

LTV-Hiller-Ryan XC-142A

Not

Curtiss-Wright XC-143 Became X-19 instead. The original C-series seems to end here.

New C-Series (1962-Present)


In 1962, the Defense Department introduced a scheme under which Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force aircraft would all be designated in exactly the same manner. In addition, they decided to start the C-series over again from one. However, Air Force transports in the C- category still in service (such as the C-141) had their designations unchanged. Here are the post-1962 C-series aircraft:

New Transport Series

Designation

Description

Grumman C-1A Trader Grumman C-2A Greyhound Martin VC-3A Grumman C-4A Academe Lockheed C-5 Galaxy Beechcraft VC-6A DeHavilland Canada C-7A

Transport version of S-2 Tracker twin-engine carrier-based antisubmarine aircraft. Used by Navy as general utility shipboard transport and training aircraft Transport version of E-2A Hawkeye shipboard early-warning aircraft Two commercial Martin 4-0-4 airliners acquired by US Coast Guard in 1951. Redesignated VC-3A in 1962. Later transferredto US Navy. Military version of Gulfstream twin-engine business transport intended for U. S. Coast Guard and U. S. Navy as VIP transport and training aircraft Four-engined long range military strategic transport. Four General Electric TF39 turbofans. One King Air 90 commercial executive aircraft delivered to USAF as VIP transport. Designation given to 134 US Army DHC-4 Caribou twin-engined light tactical transports taken over by USAF.

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

DeHavilland Canada C-8A Douglas C-9A/B Nightingale/Skytrain II

Designation given to 4 US Army DHC-5 twin- turboprop light tactical transports taken over by USAF C-9A Nightingale is aeromedical evacuation transport. Basically similar to commercial DC-9-32CF convertible freighter. Flight refueling tanker and military freighter adaptation of commercial DC-10 airliner. Three General Electric CF6 turbofans. C-10 designation was originally allocated to a military version of British Aerospace HP-137 Jetstream 3 executive transport and feederliner. Order cancelled before any could be delivered. Designation given to Gulfstream II executive aircraft purchased by US Coast Guard for use as a VIP transport. Designation given to versions of the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 ordered for use by all the services. Not used (I assume for superstitious reasons) Advanced Medium STOL transport (AMST) prototypes. Two built. Two CF650 turbofans and USB system. Did not go beyond prototype stage. Advanced Medium STOL Stransport (AMST). Four JT8D-17 turbofans and EBF systems. Did not go beyond prototype stage. Designation assigned to Cessa Caravan CE-208 intended for use by Army in FLIR missions against leftist rebels in El Salvador and the forces of Nicaragua. Aircraft not accepted. Long-range heavy airlifter project. Four 37,000 lb. st. P&W F117-PW-100 turbofans. Designation given to eight ex- airline Boeing 707-320Cs acquired by USAF in 1981. Version of commercial Boeing 747 personnel cargo transport ordered for Air National Guard. Order cancelled before any could be acquired. One of my references has 19 examples being modified for Civil Reserve Air Force use in case of national emergencies. Planes remain in civilian service until called up by the Secretary of Defense. Designation given to military version of Gulfstream III business jet used for special mission support and electronic surveillance roles. Military version of Gates Learjet Model 35A executive jet. Used for delivery of high- priority and time-sensitive cargo, as well as for general light transport and medevac duties C-22A was ex-airline 727-100 operated by USAF as VIP transport for US Southern Command in Panama. C-22B was designation given to four ex-airline Boeing 727-100 three-jet transports used by Air National Guard to carry inspection and training teams from Washington to various points in the USA. Light freighter and utility aircraft based on Shorts 330-200 30-passenger commercial transport. Designation given to DC-8-54F acquired by US Navy for use as "electronic aggressor" aircraft with fleet electronic warfare support group. Extensively-modified Boeing 747-200 used as presidential aircraft

McDonnell-Douglas KC-10A Extender

Gulfstream VC-11A Beechcraft C-12 Huron C-13 Boeing YC-14 McDonnell-Douglas YC-15

C-16

McDonnell-Douglas C-17 Globemaster III Boeing C-18

Boeing C-19

Gulfstream C-20A

Gates Learjet C-21A

Boeing C-22

Shorts C-23A Sherpa Douglas EC-24A Boeing VC-25A

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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Fairchild C-26A Alenia C-27A Cessna C-28

Military version of 19-seat Metro 3 twin- turboprop light commercial transport. Used as operational support transport by Air National Guard units. Alenia G-222-710 twin-turboprop transport acquired for use as short takeoff transport in the Canal Zone. One commercial Model 404 Titan ordered for use by US Navy as personnel transport. Military version of British Aerospace 125-800 light corporate executive transport. Six ordered by USAF for the combat flight inspection and navigation mission roles. Designation skipped for unknown reasons. Designation applied to two Fokker F-27s used by US Army for Golden Knights parachute team. Designation applied to four Boeing 757-200s acquired for USAF for use as executive VIP transports. Non-Developmental Airlift Aircraft project for a commercial freighter to supplement the C-17. Project cancelled before anything was ordered. At the time, the C-17 project was in trouble and Boeing proposed a version of the 747400F to supplement a reduced C-17 acquisition. The proposal was rejected. Lockheed made a similar proposal (C-5D) which was also rejected. Designation skipped at the request of the US Army when the latter requested the MDS for what later became th UC-35A. The Army wanted to avoid confusion with "T-34" Military version of Citation V Ultra (Model 560) Reserved for a four-engined aircraft, but not used. Believed to have been the original designation for the YAL-1A airborne laser prototype Gulfstream Vs acquired by USAF for technical and logistics support. Military version of Model 1125A Astra SPX business jet for ANG. Initial designation for Navy Unique Fleet Essential Aircraft. Designation changed to C-40 for reasons that remain unclear. Perhaps the Navy never noticed that C-40 was not next in the sequence. Designation applied to three Boeing 737-700Cs For Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift Replacement Aircraft to replace C-9B Skytrain II Military version of CASA C.212-200 Military version of CL-641 Challenger for US Coast Guard

British Aerospace C-29A C-30 Fokker C-31A Boeing C-32A

C-33

C-34 Cessna UC-35A YFC-36A Gulfstream Aerospace C-37A Galaxy Aerospace C-38A C-39

Boeing C-40A CASA C-41A Canadair C-43 Sources:

1. The Aircraft of the World, William Green and Gerald Pollinger, Doubleday, New York, 1962 2. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989. 3. The "C" Planes-US Cargo Aircraft 1925 to the Present, Bill Holder and Scott Vadnais, Schiffer Military History, 1996. 4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution
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Cargo Aircraft Designations

Press, 1989. 5. E-mail from Jasper Versteeg on C-110 6. E-mail from David Shiflett on C-16A designation. 7. E-mail from Andreas Parsch on C-41, C-138, C-139, C-143, C-34, C-36. 8. E-mail from GOMACjdm on C-22 designation. 9. E-mail from Vahe Demirjian on reason for skipping C-13 in pre-1962 series, and C-39 in post-1962 series. 10. E-mail from Jos Heyman on C-43 designation.

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Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express

Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express


Last revised June 13, 2004

The C-87 Liberator Express was a transport version of the B-24D bomber. The first Liberator transport was created by converting B-24D serial number 42-40355 which had been damaged in a crash landing in the Arizona desert in early 1942. All of the bombing equipment and defensive armament were deleted, and the nose glazing where the bombardier sat was replaced by a sheet metal nose which hinged to the right. A floor was installed through the bomb bay and into the waist compartment. Rectangular windows were cut into the sides of the fuselage, and 25 seats were added. There was a large 6x6 door incorporated into the port side of the fuselage. The navigator's compartment was relocated to a position just aft of the pilot's cockpit, and an astrodome was installed where the top turret had been located. The tail turret was removed and replaced by a metal fairing. The crew was normally four--pilot, copilot, navigator, and radio operator. The prototype was flown to Bolling Field in Washington, DC for evaluation. The Army was sufficiently impressed that they ordered the aircraft into production as the C-87 Liberator Express. All of the C-87s were built at Consolidated/Fort Worth and were delivered between September 2, 1942 and August 10, 1944. The first 73 C-87s were conversions from existing B-24Ds, with the remainder being built from scratch on the Fort Worth production line as transports. A total of 287 C-87s were built by Consolidated/Fort Worth. The C87s were not assigned production block numbers, but there were six different versions of the C-87 that were built which incorporated a number of specific changes. Most C-87s were assigned to Air Transport Command. When Burma fell to the Japanese in April of 1942, China's only route to the Allied supply line, the Burma Road, was cut. The only route to China from India was now by air, involving a treacherous flight over the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. This route came to be known as the *Hump*. On September 12, 1943, the Air Transport Command established a new route to China via the Hump. This route began at Patterson Field, Ohio and ended in China. This round trip route covered 28,000 miles and took twelve days to complete. ATC C-87s became an important part of this operation. So dangerous was this route that the USAAF ended up losing three crewmen for each thousand tons of cargo that reached China. The Hump operation ended up costing the lives of over a thousand USAAF crewmen. During the war, so great was the need for an air transportation system that the Army was forced to turn to the commercial airlines to help operate the system. In addition to ATC, four commercial airlines operated the Liberators under contract. These were Consairways, American Airlines, United Air Lines, and T&WA. Consairways was organized as a separate subsidiary of Consolidated Aircraft. The original purpose of Consairways was to return the crews ferrying aircraft to the Pacific back to the USA, but it later ended up
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Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express

flying cargo of just about every imaginable type back and forth between the USA and the Pacific theatre. It also flew USO shows to entertain the troops in the Pacific. Consairways operated a mixture of LB-30s, C-87s, and B-24s. Two C-87s known to have been operated by Consairways were 41-24029 and 41-11706. In January of 1943, American Airlines was awarded a contract by ATC to operate C-87s over North Atlantic and South Atlantic routes. These planes flew in military insignia and markings and carried USAAF serials, but were operated by civilian crews. Later, American Airlines personnel also flew numerous dangerous Hump missions. C-87s flown by American Airlines: 41-11608, 41-11639, 41-11657, 41-11674, 41-11675, 4111729, 41-11731, 41-11744, 41-11745, 41-11746, 41-11788, 41-23695, 41-23859, 41-23792, 41-23959, 4124141, 41-24163, 42-107274, 43-30565. One of the more notable exploits of AA-piloted C-87s was the 31,000-mile trip made by FDR's "One World Ambassador", Wendell Wilkie, aboard C-87 41-11608 *Gulliver*. This involved a 51-day mission to Cairo, Palestine, Baghdad, Teheran, Moscow, and China, and then a return to the United States via a route across the Pacific. AA later traded in their C-87s for more advanced C-54 Skymasters. United Airlines was awarded a contract by ATC to fly trans-Pacific routes and to fly intra-theater leave shuttles ferrying armed forces personnel back and forth between the front and leave ports in Australia and New Zealand. C-87s operated by United Airlines included 41-24005, 41-24027, 41-24028, 41-24160, 4124252, 41-24253, 41-11608, 41-11640, 41-11642, 41-11642, 41-11655, 41-11656, 41-11789, and 41-11861. During the war, Transcontinental & Western Airlines (T&WA)--later to become Trans World Airlines or TWA--operated Liberators for training and in support of USAAF Ferry Command operations. In late 1942, T&WA's new Intercontinental Division was assigned three C-87s to fly the South Atlantic route between the USA and the Middle East. The C-87A was a VIP transport version of the basic C-87. The C-87 had been essentially a "no-frills" transport, with little attention being paid to passenger comfort. The C-87A was designed for more passenger comfort, and had only 16 seats. It could be fitted with Pullman-type upholstered seats that could be converted into five berths. Because of the different seating accommodation, the window arrangement was different. The first three C-87As were named Gulliver I, Gulliver II, and Gulliver III. A total of six were built, three for the USAAF and three for the US Navy. Gulliver I (serial 41-11680 (some sources have it as 41-11608)), converted from a B-24D) was used by Wendell Wilkie in a 31,000 mile 51-day around the world flight in 1942. C-87A 41-24159 later became the first "Air Force One" for President Franklin Roosevelt, and was renamed *Guess Where II*. Three C-87A VIP transports were turned over to the Navy under the designation RY-1. Navy BuNos were 67797/67799. Five C-87s were transferred to the US Navy under the designation RY-2. BuNos were 39013/39017. Five C-87s were converted into AT-22 trainers, which were employed for training flight engineers. Their serial numbers were 42-107266, 43-30549, 43-30561, 42-30574, and 43-30584. Six stations were provided in the fuselage for the instruction of flight engineers in the operation of powerplants. They were intended to train engineers that were going to be flying aboard B-24 and B-32 bombers In 1944, these five planes were redesignated TB-24D.

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Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express

24 USAAF C-87s were transferred to the RAF under Lend-Lease for use by Transport Command as Liberator C.VII. Their RAF serials were EW611/EW634. Known USAAF serial numbers are 44-39219 and 4439248/39261, which accounts for only 15 of the 24 C.VIIs. They were used by Nos. 232, 246, and 511 Squadrons starting with mid to late 1944 up until the end of the war. EW611, ex-USAAAF 44-39219, became G-AKAG. The RAF did not keep its Liberator C.VIIs very long, disposing of the last examples in 1946. The C-87s were not very popular with their crews, who complained about all sorts of hazards, particularly with the fuel system, with the engines, and with the cockpit accessories. The C-87 was notorious for problems with leaking fuel tanks, and midair fires were an ever-present danger. The C-87 also had some dangerous icing properties, which made it a very risky plane to fly over the Hump. There were few tears shed when the Army's C-87s were withdrawn from service and replaced by more reliable Douglas C-54 Skymasters. Serials of C-87 and C-87A Liberator Express: 41-11608 41-11639/11642 41-11655/11657 41-11674/11676 41-11704 41-11706/11709 41-11728/11733 41-11742/11747 41-11788/11789 41-11800 41-11837/11838 41-11907/11908 41-23669/23670 41-23694/23696 41-23791/23793 41-23850/23852 41-23859/23862 41-23863 41-23903/23905 41-23959 41-24004/24006 41-24027/24029 41-24139/24141 41-24158 41-24159 41-24160/24163 41-24172/24173 41-24174 41-39600 42-107249/107275 Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express later reserialed 41-39600 Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87A-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87A-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87A-CF Liberator Express Consolidated XC-87 Liberator Express Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express

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Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express

43-30548/30568 43-30569/30571 43-30572/30627 44-39198/39298

107266 converted to AT-22 Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express Consolidated C-87A-CF Liberator Express all to US Navy as RY-1 67797/67799 Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express 30574 and 30584 converted to AT-22 Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express 39198/39202 to US Navy as RY-2 39013/39017 39219, 39248/39261 to RAF as Liberator C. Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express

VII 44-52978/52987

Specification of Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines with General Electric turbosuperchargers rated at 1200 hp at 2700 rpm for takeoff. Performance: Maximum speed 300 mph at 25,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be reached in 60 minutes. Service ceiling 28,000 feet at 56,000 pound takeoff weight. Normal range at 60 percent power was 1400 miles at 215 mph at 10,000 feet. Maximum range was 3300 miles at 188 mph at 10,000 feet. Weights: 30,645 pounds empty, 56,000 pounds normal loaded. Dimensions: Wingspan 110 feet 0 inches, length 66 feet 4 inches, height 17 feet 11 inches, wing area 1048 square feet. Fuel: 2910 US gallons. Accommodation: Crew was normally four (pilot, copilot, navigator, radio operator). Up to 25 passengers could be carried. For ranges of 1000 miles or less, average cargo capacity was 10,000 pounds. On trans-oceanic routes, cargo capacity was 6000 pounds. Sources:
1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959. 2. British Military Aircraft Serials, 1912-1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969. 3. Liberator: America's Global Bomber, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co, Inc, 1993. 4. The Consolidated B-24J Liberator, Roger A. Freeman, Profile Publications, Inc. 1969. 5. B-24 Liberator in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1987. 6. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecesssors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990. 7. Consolidated B-24D-M Liberator IN USAAF-RAF-RAAF-MLD-IAF-CzechAF and CNAF Service,

Ernest R. McDowell, Arco, 1970.


8. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian,

1989.
9. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 10. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J.H. Taylor, Mallard Press.
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Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express

11. E-mail from Lord Jim on 41-11680 (not 41-11608) being Gulliver I.

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Boeing XC-108

Boeing C-108
Last revised July 25, 1999

The designation XC-108 was assigned to a B-17E (serial number 41-2593) that was converted as a special transport for General Douglas MacArthur in 1943. All armor an armament except the nose and tail guns were deleted. Extra windows were installed, and the interior was fitted out as a flying office for the General, complete with living and cooking facilities. A drop-down entry door with built-in steps was cut into the rear fuselage. The designation YC-108 was assigned to B-17F-40-VE serial number 42-6036 which was converted into VIP transport aircraft similar to General MacArthur's XC-108. The XC-108A was B-17E 41-2595 converted in March 1944 at Patterson Field as a cargo aircraft. It was part of an experimental program to test the feasibility of converting obsolescent bombers into cargo transports. All armament and military equipment was removed, and a large cargo door was cut into the rear fuselage. The interior arrangement was reworked, and the radio operator and navigator were moved to a position behind the pilot's where the top turret had originally been located. The nose compartment was rebuilt to provide space for cargo or personnel, with access being gained by the crawlway underneath the cockpit or by a solid, hinged nose piece that replaced the transparent nose of the standard B-17E. The bomb bay doors were sealed shut and the bulkhead between the bomb bay and what had been the radio compartment was opened up. The bulkhead between the radio compartment and the waist area was removed. Provision for cargo or troop-transport was installed in both the former bomb bay and the aft fuselage. The XC-108A was based in India and was used for transportation of materials into China over the Hump. It was not a success as a transport, being subject to continual engine problems, and there were no further cargo transport conversions of the Fortress. The XC108A returned to the States in October of 1944, and after the war ended up in bits and pieces in a junkyard near Dow Field in Maine. In 1985, a vintage airplane buff moved the pieces of the XC-108A to Galt Airport in Illinois, and current plans are to restore the plane to B-17E configuration for display in a museum. This will make it the only surviving Bhttp://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b17_15.html (1 of 2)08-09-2006 21:32:33

Boeing XC-108

17E. The XC-108B was B-17F serial number 42-30190 converted as a fuel transport aircraft. It was a test of the feasibility of converting bombers into tankers for use in ferrying fuel over the Hump from Burma to China. All armor and armament was removed, and extra fuel tanks were installed in the fuselage. Many other B-17s were converted to VIP transport configuration under the designation CB-17, the C indicating their status as converted bombers. Sources:
1. Flying Fortress, Edward Jablonski, Doubleday, 1965. 2. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, Volume One, William Green,

Doubleday, 1959.
3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


5. Boeing B-17E and F Flying Fortress, Charles D. Thompson, Profile Publications,

1966.
6. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989.

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Consolidated C-109

Consolidated C-109
Last revised August 16, 1999

The designation C-109 was assigned to existing B-24Js and B-24Ls that were converted into fuel transports to support B-29 operations out of China. An early plan called for ten B29 groups to be stationed in China for operations against Japan, and these bombers were to be supported by no less than 2000 C-109s which would fly in aviation gasoline over the Hump from India for the bombers. Unlike the C-87 cargo/passenger transport, the C-109 fuel transports were not new aircraft, but were conversions of existing B-24 bombers. All armament and bombardment equipment was removed and both the forward and aft turrets were removed and faired over with sheet metal. The waist windows were retained. Eight fuel tanks were installed inside the fuselage that could carry 2900 US gallons of aviation gasoline. Most C-109s were equipped with a dual ADF system, as indicated by the presence of two football-shaped antennae on top of the fuselage. C-109s were generally devoid of any armament, although photographs do show that some of the turrets were retained on a few aircraft. A total of 218 Liberators were modified to C-109 tanker specifications at the various modification centers in the USA. They were not popular with their crews, since they were very difficult to land when fully loaded, especially at airfields that were above 6000 feet in elevation. In addition, longitudinal stability was rather poor when the tank in the forward fuselage was full, so quite often the C-109 flew with this tank empty. The C-109s were initially operated by the 20th Air Force in the CBI theatre in support of the B-29 operations out of China. The original plan to acquire up to 2000 C-109s was cut way back when the B-29 Superfortress operations relocated from China to the Marianas, from where they could be much better supported by US Navy seaborne tankers. The C-109s were then transferred to the Air Transport Command. Some limited use was also made of the C-109 in Europe. Conversions of B-24s to C-109s:
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Consolidated C-109

42-7172/7229 42-51293/51395

42-51396/51430

42-51611/51825

Ford B-24E-20-FO Liberator 7221 converted to XC-109 Douglas-Tulsa B-24J-5-DT Liberator 51368 converted to C-109 51390 converted to C-109 Douglas-Tulsa B-24J-10-DT Liberator 51411 converted to C-109 51420 converted to C-109 51424/51427 converted to C-109 51429 converted to C-109 Ford B-24J-10-FO Liberator 51615 converted to C-109 51647 converted to C-109 51659 converted to C-109 51676 converted to C-109 51684 converted to C-109 51697 converted to C-109 51706 converted to C-109 51712 converted to C-109 51716 converted to C-109 51721 converted to C-109 51727 converted to C-109 51730 converted to C-109 51734 converted to C-109 51740 converted to C-109 51748 converted to C-109 51756 converted to C-109 51758 converted to C-109 51766 converted to C-109 51774 converted to C-109 51782 converted to C-109 51784 converted to C-109 51786 converted to C-109 51788 converted to C-109 51792/51793 converted to C-109 51809/51810 converted to C-109 51817 converted to C-109

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Consolidated C-109

42-51826/52075

44-48754/49001

51825 converted to C-109 Ford B-24J-15-FO Liberator 51826 converted to C-109 51830 converted to C-109 51839 converted to C-109 51844 converted to C-109 51846/51847 converted to 51849/51850 converted to 51854 converted to C-109 51857 converted to C-109 51860 converted to C-109 51862 converted to C-109 51876/51877 converted to 51883 converted to C-109 51887 converted to C-109 51890 converted to C-109 51893 converted to C-109 51901 converted to C-109 51904 converted to C-109 51921 converted to C-109 51930 converted to C-109 51962 converted to C-109 51982/51983 converted to 52000/52001 converted to 52005/52006 converted to 52012 converted to C-109 52014 converted to C-109 52020/52021 converted to 52023 converted to C-109 52033 converted to C-109 52042 converted to C-109 52049 converted to C-109 Ford B-24J-20-FO Liberator 48755 converted to C-109 48792 converted to C-109 48877 converted to C-109 48879 converted to C-109 48882/48883 converted to

C-109 C-109

C-109

C-109 C-109 C-109

C-109

C-109

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Consolidated C-109

44-49002/49251

48888 converted to C-109 48890/48892 converted to 48948 converted to C-109 48968 converted to C-109 48974 converted to C-109 48979 converted to C-109 48984 converted to C-109 48995/48996 converted to 49001 converted to C-109 Ford B-24L-1-FO Liberator 49007/49009 converted to 49011/49020 converted to 49022/49023 converted to 49025 converted to C-109 49030/49031 converted to 49034/49035 converted to 49037 converted to C-109 49040 converted to C-109 49045/49046 converted to 49050/49051 converted to 49057 converted to C-109 49059/49060 converted to 49062/49063 converted to 49065 converted to C-109 49067 converted to C-109 49071 converted to C-109 49075 converted to C-109 49077 converted to C-109 49079 converted to C-109 49184 converted to C-109 49191 converted to C-109 49197 converted to C-109 49204 converted to C-109 49208 converted to C-109 49219 converted to C-109 49222 converted to C-109 49230 converted to C-109 49234/49236 converted to

C-109

C-109

C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109

C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109

C-109

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Consolidated C-109

44-49252/49501

44-49502/49751

49238 converted to C-109 49240 converted to C-109 49245/49249 converted to 49251 converted to C-109 Ford B-24L-5-FO Liberator 49253 converted to C-109 49255/49258 converted to 49265 converted to C-109 49267 converted to C-109 49269/49272 converted to 49274/49277 converted to 49280/49281 converted to 49283/49285 converted to 49288/49290 converted to 49292 converted to C-109 49295 converted to C-109 49299 converted to C-109 49302/49303 converted to 49305 converted to C-109 49313 converted to C-109 49317 converted to C-109 49319 converted to C-109 49326 converted to C-109 49330 converted to C-109 49333 converted to C-109 49337 converted to C-109 49344 converted to C-109 49348 converted to C-109 49351/49354 converted to 49358/49359 converted to 49445 converted to C-109 49466 converted to C-109 49490 converted to C-109 Ford B-24L-10-FO Liberator 49510 converted to C-109 49615 converted to C-109 49621 converted to C-109 49628 converted to C-109

C-109

C-109

C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109

C-109

C-109 C-109

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Consolidated C-109

49660 49662 49684 49691 49704 49715 49720 49723 49728 Sources:

converted converted converted converted converted converted converted converted converted

to to to to to to to to to

C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109 C-109

1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959. 2. Liberator: America's Global Bomber, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Pictorial Histories Publishing

Co, Inc, 1993.


3. The Consolidated B-24J Liberator, Roger A. Freeman, Profile Publications, Inc.

1969.
4. B-24 Liberator in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1987. 5. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecesssors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.
6. Consolidated B-24D-M Liberator IN USAAF-RAF-RAAF-MLD-IAF-CzechAF and

CNAF Service, Ernest R. McDowell, Arco, 1970.


7. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


8. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 9. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J.H. Taylor, Mallard

Press.

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USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations


Last revised June 6, 1999

There seems to be some confusion about the designations of American fighter planes. Here's a summary I put together which I hope will clear up some of that confusion. I hope that you have as much fun reading this as I had in writing it. Enjoy!!! Up until 1920, there was no unified designation scheme for American combat aircraft. Before that time, aircraft had always served under their original manufacturer's designation (e. g. SPAD XIII, DH-4, S.E.5, etc). In 1920, it was decided that some sort of unified designation scheme was needed for American combat planes. In that year, the Army Air Service adopted an official designation scheme for all newly-procured aircraft. Henceforth, all Army aircraft were to be subdivided into 15 basic categories, seven of which were pursuit-type categories: PA PG PN PS PW R TP Pursuit, Pursuit, Pursuit, Pursuit, Pursuit, Racer Pursuit, Air-Cooled Ground Attack Night Special Alert Water-Cooled Two-Seat

(Yes, that's right, R for Racer; the Army raced planes back in those days!). The category letters were followed by a chronological number. This number gave the sequence in which an aircraft in a given category was ordered into service. The chronological number was often (but not always) followed by a letter which designated minor modifications of that particular aircraft type in the order in which they were performed. For example, the Boeing PW-9C was the ninth basic type of pursuit aircraft powered by a water-cooled engine to be ordered by the Army Air Service. The letter "C" indicates the third modification of the basic PW-9 design. As always, there were a few exceptions to this scheme. For example, the S. E. 5 scout of World War 1 fame which remained in USAAC service until 1926 retained its original designation. In 1924, the Army scheme was changed again. At that time, it was decided that it made no sense to classify pursuit aircraft according to the type of engine which powered them, and the seven pursuit categories were reduced to four: F FM P Photographic reconnaissance Fighter, Multiplace Pursuit

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USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

PB

Pursuit, Biplace

However, the basic philosophy of the chronological numbering scheme remained the same, with aircraft being assigned numbers in the sequence in which they were ordered into service. Chronological numbers for all four categories of pursuit aircraft were started at one. For example, the Boeing P-12 was the twelfth pursuit design to be ordered by the Army after 1924. Pursuit aircraft already in service at the time of the change were redesignated; for example, the Curtiss PW-8 became the Curtiss P-1. This basic scheme is summarized as follows: (prefix)(type)-(chron. num.)(variant)-(production block)-(factory) where "type" is a letter indicating basic category of aircraft (P for pursuit, B for bomber, C for transport, etc) and "chron. num" is thechronological number of the aircraft of that particular type. The "prefix" was not always used; it designated special features or roles (such as X for experimental). The "variant" was a letter in the sequence A, B, C,....which indicated the version of that particular aircraft in order of its entry into service. The "production-block" number was introduced in 1942 to keep track of relatively minor modifications of aircraft not deemed to be sufficiently significant to merit a separate variant letter. The "factory" code was an innovation also introduced at the beginning of World War 2 to keep track of the large numbers of aircraft manufacturers coming on line in support of the war effort. It was a two-letter code which indicated the plant where the aircraft was manufactured. Often, the same aircraft would be built by two or more different manufacturers. For example, the first of the "bubble-canopy" Thunderbolts bore the designation P-47D-25-RE, which meant that it was the forty-seventh basic pursuit aircraft to be ordered by the Army, it was the fourth basic variant, and was manufactured in the 25-th production block coming off the line at the Republic Aircraft Corporation in Farmingdale, New York. This designation scheme remained in force all throughout the Second World War. In 1948, the Army Air Forces were split off from the Army and became the Air Force. This evidently called for a new designation scheme. The four fighter categories were replaced by one, designated by F. The old F-for-reconnaissance designation was eliminated as a separate category. However, it was decided NOT to start the chronological numbering system over again from one. Fighter aircraft already in service at the time of the change had the P replaced by an F, but kept their original chronological number. For example, the North American P-51 became the F-51, the Lockheed P-80 became the F-80, etc. As newer aircraft were ordered into service by the Air Force, they were assigned succeeding chronological numbers in the order in which they entered service. Here is a complete list of all pursuit aircraft in the P/F series:

Curtiss P-1 Hawk 435 hp Curtiss First of famed


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Single seat biplane powered by V-1150-1 liquid-cooled engine.

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Curtiss Hawk series of fighters Curtiss P-2 Hawk replaced by Version of P-1 with V-1150 engine 500 hp Curtiss V-1400 (D-12 Curtiss P-3 Hawk radial Pratt & Adaptation of Curtiss P-1 to Whitney R-1340-3 engine Boeing XP-4 Packard 1A-1500 Modification of PW-9 to test turbosupercharged engine Curtiss P-5 Hawk turbosupercharged Version of Curtiss P-1 with V-1150 435 hp engine. Curtiss P-6 Hawk Curtiss V-1570 Modification of P-1 powered by Conqueror engine of 600 hp Boeing XP-7 1570 Conqueror PW-9D modified to test Curtiss Vengine Boeing XP-8 powered by Packard Single-seat biplane fighter 2A-1530 liquid-cooled engine Boeing XP-9 with high-mounted Single-seat monoplane fighter wing and external bracing. Curtiss XP-10 fighter with Single-seat high-altitude biplane gull-type upper wing Curtiss P-11 Hawk hp H-1640 Chieftain P-6 converted to use of the 600 12-cylinder air-cooled engine Boeing P-12 powered by Pratt and Single-seat biplane fighter Whitney R-1340 radial engine.
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USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Most successful of the "between-wars" fighters. built. Thomas-Morse XP-13 Viper Curtiss H-1640 Single-seat biplane powered by Chieftain engine Curtiss XP-14 Thomas-Morse Proposed Curtiss-built version of XP-13. Boeing XP-15 of P-12) to one built. Berliner-Joyce P-16 Curtiss XP-17 Hawk with Wright engine. Only one built. Proposed biplane fighter built V-1560 12-cylinder inline aircooled engine. Never built Curtiss XP-19 fighter built around air-cooled engine. Never built. Curtiss YP-20 Hawk hp Wright R-1870 one built. Curtiss XP-21 for P&W R-985 built.
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341

Never built.

Conversion of F4B (Navy version monoplane configuration. Only

Two seat biplane fighter. Version of Curtiss P-1 re-engined V-1460 Tornado inline aircooled

Curtiss XP-18 around Wright

Proposed low-wing monoplane Wright V-1560 12-cyliner inline

Conversion of P-11 to use of 650 Cyclone air-cooled radial. Only

Conversion of P-1 Hawk as testbed Wasp Junior radial engine. Two

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Curtiss XP-22 Hawk V-1570 inline 6E. Curtiss XP-23 Hawk pursuit biplanes. advent of Boeing

Conversion of P-6A to use Curtiss engine. Acted as prototype for P-

Last of the Hawk series of Only one built. P-26 monoplane. Abandoned due to

Lockheed XP-24 monoplane with on Lockheed Altair

Two-seat, low-wing, cantilever retractable undercarriage. civil transport. Project Based

abandoned when parent company (Detroit Aircraft) went belly-up. 25. Consolidated Y1P-25 seat fighter with V-1570 liquidcooled engine. Served as prototype for P-30. Boeing P-26 seat monoplane radial engine. 136 built. beginning of World War 2. Consolidated YP-27 radial P & W Proposed version of Y1P-25 with R-1340-21 engine. Consolidated YP-28 radial P & W Never built. Some service at The famous "Peashooter". SingleTwo built. Revision of Lockheed YP-24 twometal wings. Powered by Curtiss Project became basis of Consolidated Y1P-

fighter powered by P & W R-1340

Proposed version of Y1P-25 with R-1340-19 engine. Never built.

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USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Boeing YP-29 enclosed cockpit.

All-metal low wing monoplane with Only 2 built.

Consolidated P-30A fighter powered by 700 hp engine with turbo-

Two-seat low-wing monoplane Curtiss V-1710-61 liquid-cooled Supercharger. 54 delivered.

Later redesignated PB-2A Curtiss XP-31 Swift design. cockpit. one built. Boeing XP-32 & W R-1535 engine. Developed version of P-29 with P Never got past the design stage. Consolidated XP-33 take P & W built. Wedell-Williams XP-34 cockpit pursuit 1535. Project cancelled before any prototypes could be completed. Seversky P-35 with semi-retractable 36 in initial competition. Curtiss P-36 Hawk fighter. Air-cooled First Americanhttp://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/Fdesig.html (6 of 25)08-09-2006 21:32:50

First monoplane Curtiss pursuit All metal. Fully-enclosed

Lost out to Boeing P-26 for production orders. Only

Proposed adaptation of P-30 to R-1830 radial engine. Never

Single-seat, low-winged, enclosed aircraft powered by P & W R-

Cantilever, low-wing monoplane landing gear. Beat out Curtiss P-

Closed-cabin, all-metal monoplane radial engine (Wright R-1820).

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

designed fighter to enter largescale production. 210 built for Army, many more for export. Curtiss XP-37 Allison V-1710 inone built. Lockheed P-38 Lightning Two Allison liquidtail. 10,037 built. Bell P-39 Airacobra powered by Allison mounted behind pilot and driving propellor via a shaft. 9558 built. Curtiss P-40 Warhawk teethed airplane. conversion of P-36 to use of Allison V-1710 inline engine. Fought on all fronts in World War 2. Served with many allied air forces. built. Many different modifications. Seversky XP-41 retractable landing engine with supercharger. Curtiss XP-42 take new aerodynamic improve performance.
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Adaptation of P-36 airframe to line water-cooled engine. Only

The famous "Fork-Tailed Devil". cooled engines. Twin booms, twin

Single seat, low-winged monoplane V-1710 liquid-cooled engine

The famous Flying Tiger sharkStarted life as a straightforward

13,738

Adaptation of P-35 with fullygear and more powerful R-1830-19 Only one built.

Conversion of P-36 airframe to cowling around radial engine to

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Lost out to P-40 in competition. Only one built. Republic P-43 Lancer turbosupercharged R-1830-35 Adaptation of XP-41 with engine. Republic P-44 Rocket R-2800 engine. Never proceeded past the design state. Bell XP-45 version of Bell changed to P-39C. Curtiss XP-46 on European design. Ten guns, automatic leading edge slots, fully-retractable undercarriage. development abandoned in favor of production of P-40D. Only two built. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and escort fighter The famous "Jug" fighter-bomber of World War 2. Douglas XP-48 light-weight drawing board. Lockheed XP-49 1540 hp engines. cockpit.. New nacelles, new tail booms, pressurized Project cancelled after only one example
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272 built.

Adaptation of P-43 with R-2180 or Cancelled in favor of P-47.

Designation for first production Airacobra. Designation later

Proposed follow-on to P-40, based advances in combat aircraft

Further

15,660 built.

Proposal for single-engine ultra fighter. Never got off the

Improved version of P-38 with two Continental XIV-1430-9/11

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

was built Grumman XP-50 Skyrocket twinfighter. Prototype crashed on test flight, and project was abandoned. North American P-51 Mustang more need be said? fighter of World War 2. Total of 14,819 built. Bell XP-52 cockpit and mounted on twin booms attached to wings. Continetal XIV-1430 proposed as powerplant. canceled in favor of XP-59. Curtiss XP-53 with laminar flow liquid-cooled engine. Two airframes built. cancelled when the engine failed to materialize. Vultee XP-54 Swoose Goose interceptor powered by hp. Fuselage had engine in rear, driving a pusher prop built. Curtiss XP-55 Ascender Allison V-1710
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"De-navalized" version of XF5F-1 engined, carrier-based monoplane

Only one built What

The incomparable Mustang!!! Probably the best all-round

Mid-wing monoplane with engines, armament in fuselage. Tailplane

Order

Proposal for follow-on to P-40 wings and Continental V-1430 Project was

Unconventional high-altitude Lycoming XH-2470 engine of 2300

Project was cancelled after only two were

Unorthodox canard aircraft with

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

in extreme rear of fuselage driving pusher prop. Swept-back wings. problems caused project to be abandoned. built. Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet with Pratt & Whitney contrarotating props. Only one built. Tucker XP-57 based on 720 hp bellied-up before any detailed drawings could be completed. Lockheed XP-58 Chain fighter. Two Allison Lightning time that the XP-58 longer any need for a new long-range escort fighter, and the project was cancelled after only one was built. Bell P-59 Airacomet more powerful This was covertly abandoned and used as a "cover" for the development of the first American jet powered aircraft, which was designated as P-59A. Conventional mid-wing monoplane with two jet engines, one on either side of the fuselage, mounted under the wing roots.
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Performance Only 3

Flying wing single-seat fighter R-2800 engine driving pusher

Proposal for lightweight fighter Miller engine. Tucker company

Two-seat, long range escort V-3420 inline engines. By the

finally emerged, there was no

Original P-59 proposal was for a variant of XP-52 pusher fighter.

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

50 built. it unsuitable for combat. trainer to gain

Poor performance made Used only as a fighter-

experience with jet operations Curtiss P-60 improved P-40. powered by Packard Merlin and Allison V-1710 inlines , and by Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial. disappointing performances. Project finally cancelled. Northrop P-61 Black Widow fighter powered by two Crew of three. Total of 706 built. Curtiss XP-62 interceptor based on with supercharger driving contra-rotating propellors. built. Bell P-63 Kingcobra 39 Airacobra with a taller tail, and a four-blade propellor. Intended as closesupport aircraft. built, most of which were sent to the Russian front. North American P-64 single seat seized by US
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Abortive attempt to produce Several versions produced,

All had

Twin engine, twin boom night Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines

Design for high-altitude Wright R-3350 18-cylinder radial

Project cancelled after only one was

Extensively-modified version of Plaminar flow wings, a new engine,

Total of 3303

Designation applied to six NA-50 fighters ordered by Thailand and

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Government and used as fighter trainers. Grumman XP-65 of Navy F7F Tigercat Proposed Army Air Forces version twin-engined carrier-based fighter Project cancelled before work could start. Vultee P-66 Vanguard venture single-seat Sweden but embargoed before they could be delivered. 129 sent to China, 15 transferred to USAAF as advanced fighter trainers. McDonnel XP-67 Bat range fighter. Twin-engined, single-seat longOnly one built. Vultee XP-68 Tornado re-engine the powerplant. Project abandoned when Tornado engine was cancelled. Republic XP-69 fighter based on engine. Engine was mounted in fuselage behind pilot (a la P-39 Airacobra) driving a pair of contrarotating props via a long extension shaft. Envisaged as replacement for P-47. P-72 before construction could begin. Douglas P-70 attack bomber as
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Designation applied to private low-winged fighters ordered by

Designation given to proposal to XP-54 with Wright R-2160 Tornado

Proposal for long-range escort Wright 42-cylinder (!!!) R-2160

Cancelled in favor of

Night-fighter conversion of A-20

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

stopgap measure until P-61 Black Widow was available. Curtiss XP-71 escort fighter. 200 produced

Large, heavy two-seat long-range Never got off the drawing board.

Republic XP-72 Pratt & Whitney Two built. Hughes P-73 boom high-altitude Only one built. P-74 designation P-74 was

Modification of P-47 to take the R-4360 3450 hp radial engine.

Experimental twin-engine, twin fighter made largely of wood.

For some obscure reason, the never assigned to any aircraft.

Fisher P-75 Eagle by 2600 hp Allison fuselage (a la P-39)

Long-range escort fighter powered V-3420 engine mounted in middriving contrarotating props.

Project was abandoned when it was found that P-51 and P47 with underwing tanks were perfectly capable of fulfilling the bomber escort role. Bell XP-76 conversion of P-39 to cut tips. Ordered into production as P-76, but later cancelled. Bell XP-77 of non-strategic performance. Shortage Ultra-light fighter constructed materials. Disappointing Only 13 built.

Originally XP-39E, which was a laminar flow wings with square-

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USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

of aluminum did not materialize, and project was cancelled. North American XP-78 to use Packard redesignated XP-51B. This change was to turn the Mustang from a relatively mediocre fighter into an outstanding success. Northrop XP-79B Flying Ram aircraft. Two prone in a cockpit between the two engines. Reinforced leading edge to make it possible to destroy enemy aircraft by slicing off their wings or fuselages by ramming them!!! machine guns. Lots of stability and control problems. The sole prototype crashed and the project was canceled. Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star fighter Convair XP-81 by combination engine did not perform as expected. cancelled after only two were built. North American P-82 central rectangular Twin Mustang Six 0.50-cal machine
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Only two built.

Conversion of basic P-51 airframe Merlin V-1650 engine. Later

Jet-powered, flying wing fighter Westinghouse 19B jets. Pilot lay

Also carried 4 0.50 cal

First fully-operational USAAF jet

Long-range escort fighter powered jet/turboprop engines. Turboprop Project was

Two P-51H fuselages joined by a wing section and a tailplane.

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

guns in wing center section. cockpits with dual controls. Bell XP-83 two General Disappointing performance 270 built

Two

Long-range jet fighter powered by Electric J-33 engines. caused cancellation of project.

Only 2 built. Republic P-84/F-84 bomber. Versions Thunderjet/ were straight-winged Thunderstreak/ engine. Thunderflash experience in Korea. swept wing and more powerful Wright J-65 engine. 2474 built. Equipped many NATO air forces. RF-84F Thunderstreak was recon version with wing root intakes replacing nose intakes. McDonnell XP-85/XF-85 fighter designed to be Goblin of B-36 bomber. Single seat, swept-wing jet carried as parasite inside belly Only two built. North American P-86/F-86 Korean War. First Sabre Fighter-bomber and produced. air force. Curtiss XP-87 Blackhawk
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Single-seat, jet-powered fighterB, C, D, E, and G Thunderjets aircraft powered by Allison J-35 Thunderjet had extensive combat F-84F Thunderstreak version had

The famous "MiG-killer" of the swept-wing US jet fighter. interceptor versions also

Served with just about every non-Communist

Four-engined, jet-powered, all-

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

weather interceptor. Lost out to Northrop F-89 Scorpion. Only one built. This was the last airplane to be built by Curtiss. McDonnell XP-88/XF-88 fighter. Designed to Voodoo short endurance fighters. jets. Two 3000 lb. st. Westinghouse XJ-34-WE-13 Only 2 built Twin engine, two-seat all-weather mounted tail gave the aircraft its name. A, B, and C versions had 6 20-mm cannon, D and H versions had exclusively missile armament. 1050 built. Twin-engine long-range Two Westinghouse XJ34-WE-15 engines of 3000 lb. st. each. Only 2 built. Republic XF-91 interceptor powered by Thunderceptor and four rocket root and had "inverse taper" (wider at the tips than at the roots). production due to high cost and high sophistication. Only two built. Single-seat delta-wing Acted Not placed in series Single-seat, swept-wing General Electric J-47 jet engine engines. Wings pivoted at the Twin-engine, long-range escort overcome the limited range and characteristic of early jet

Northrop F-89 Scorpion fighter. High-

Lockheed XF-90 penetration fighter.

Convair XF-92A experimental fighter.

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as proof-of-concept for F-102. Only one built. North American YF-93A penetration fighter/ of F-86D. Only two built. Lockheed F-94 Starfire fulfill requirement for interim all-weather fighter F-94C was an extensively revised version with an allrocket armament installed in the nose, replacing the guns. built. North American YF-95A afterburning All-weather version of Sabre with engine. Republic XF-96 swept-back wings. Later redesignated F-86D. Total of 853 Starfires Two-seat all-weather interceptor. Adaptation of Lockheed T-33 to Long-range swept-wing jet interceptor. Cancelled in favor

Version of F-84 Thunderjet with Later redesignated F-84F.

Lockheed YF-97A with J-48 engine and redesignated F-94C. Hughes F-98 Falcon Falcon air-to-air 98. Boeing F-99 Bomarc surface-to-air 99. North American F-100 bomber. World's
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Proposal for revised Starfire all-rocket armament. Later

Initial designation of Hughes missile. Later redesignated GAR-

Initial designation of Bomarc missile. Later redesignated IM-

Swept-wing, single-seat fighter-

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Super Sabre supersonic speed in level

first fighter capable of flight. Total of 2292 built.

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo fighter and strike single-seat recon

Single-seat long range escort aircraft, two-seat interceptor, aircraft. Basically a scaled up,

more powerful XF-88. Convair F-102 Delta Dagger weatherinterceptor. single-seat version built. (TF-102A) built. Republic XF-103 interceptor/fighter speeds. Powered by combined turbojet/ramjet engine. Very small delta wing mounted at mid fuselage. High cost of project, coupled with success of F-102, caused cancellation before any prototypes could be completed. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter General Electric produced as highperformance day-fighter. served in limited numbers for brief time with USAF. Outstanding success in export market when converted into all-weather multirole attack fighter Only Single-seat Mach 2 fighter. J-79 with afterburner. First One Ultra-futuristic plan for a capable of reaching Mach 4 111 two-seat versions Single-seat, delta-winged allAll-missile armament. 875 of

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Republic F-105 Thunderchief The famous "Thud"

Mach-2 tactical fighter bomber -of Vietnam. 824 built.

Convair F-106 Delta Dart & W J-75 engine and missile armament. 63 two-seat (B) 277

Enhanced version of F-102 with P revised vertical tail. All-

single-seat (A) versions built. versions built North American YF-107A development of F-100 fuselage. nose. Top-mounted intake to make room for radar in Lost out to Republic F-105 in tactical fighter competition. Production plans cancelled in 1957. North American F-108 Rapier act as escort for delta-winged aircraft powered by two General Electric J93 engines. Canceled due to high cost and advent of long-range missiles. mock-up stage. F-109 aircraft. McDonnell F-110 Spectre Phantom. Later Designation not assigned to any Never got past the Long-range Mach 3 interceptor to B-70 Valkyrie bomber. Large, All-weather interceptor Super Sabre. Area-ruled

Air Force version of Navy F4H redesignated F-4.

General Dynamics F-111 turbofans. FB-111 was

Two-seat swing-wing fighter bomber Two Pratt & Whitney TF-30 strategic bomber version. Total

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of 563 built. [Note: The series seems to end here. of article ] But see commentary at end

Now for the Navy's designation scheme for its fighters. From the start, the US Navy had an entirely different designation scheme for its combat aircraft. Like the Army, the Navy originally had no consistent scheme for designating their aircraft, and they simply used the original manufacturers designation. However, in 1923, the Navy decided to adopt a consistent scheme for designating its aircraft, but the scheme they chose was quite different from that chosen by the Army Air Services in 1920. The Navy scheme is as follows: (prefix)(function)(succession num)(mfg code) - (variant number)(suffix) The function was designated by a letter or letters (F for fighter, TB for torpedo bomber, etc). The prefix designated special features or role (such as X for experimental) and was not always used. The mfg code was a single letter which specified the manufacturer of the aircraft (C for Curtiss, B for Boeing, U for Vought, F for Grumman, etc). The succession number indicated the chronological order in which the particular aircraft of the given type had been ordered from the manufacturer designated by the manufacturer code. The suffix was used to indicate a special modification of the basic aircraft to fulfill a role for which the original design had not been intended. For example, the F4U-5N Corsair was the fourth basic fighter type to be ordered by the Navy from the Chance Vought Aircraft Corporation. The "5" designates the fifth modification of the basic Corsair aircraft to enter service. The N suffix designates a special modification for night-fighting applications. The Navy designation scheme remained essentially unchanged until 1962. The new Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara reportedly got hopelessly confused when his subordinates attempted to explain the Air Force and Navy combat aircraft designation schemes to him. He was shocked to find that the Air Force and Navy had different designations for basically the same aircraft (e. g. the FJ Fury and the F-86 Sabre). McNamara ordered that the Air Force and Navy immediately adopt common designation schemes for their aircraft. Henceforth, the Navy was to abandon its separate designation scheme, and both services were to adhere to a new unified designation system which was quite similar in form to the Air Force scheme already in effect. However, some new category letters had to be provided to include aircraft types which the Air Force did not have (e. g. P for Patrol). By 1962, Air Force chronological numbers for bombers had reached 70, and chronological numbers for both fighters and transport aircraft had exceeded a hundred, and it was decided to start the chronological numbering scheme over again from one for all aircraft categories. The new scheme meant that all Navy aircraft had to be redesignated (for example the Lockheed P2V Neptune became the P-2, the Vought F8U Crusader became the F-8, etc). However, for some reason it was decided not to change the designations of Air Force aircraft already in service in 1962 (the F-100 Super Sabre remained F100, the Boeing B-52 remained B-52, etc). Most of the earlier sequence numbers in the new F-series were taken up by redesignated Navy fighters. Once these numbers were used up, the succeeding chronological numbers were allocated to new Air Force and Navy aircraft in the sequence in which they were ordered into service.
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Here is the new unified fighter designation scheme: North American F-1 Fury version of F-86 Sabre. McDonnell F-2 Banshee vintage two-engine Formerly FJ Fury, the navalized

Formerly F2H Banshee, Korean Warcarrier-based strike fighter.

McDonnell F-3 Demon single-engine

Formerly F3H Demon, a late 1950's carrier-based strike fighter.

McDonnell F-4 Phantom II Phantom/F-110 Spectre.. since the F-86 Sabre.

The famous Phantom.

Formerly F4H

Most successful Western fighter Two General-Electric J-79 jets with afterburner. Over 5000 built in both carrierbased and land-based versions. Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter T-38 Talon export. Douglas F-6 Skyray engine carrier-based Formerly designated F4D, a singleinterceptor fighter. 419 built Convair F-7 Sea-Dart experimental twin-engine on water skis. [ Note: mystery. The Sea Dart was cancelled in 1957. bother to give it a new designation in 1962? ] Vought F-8 Crusader engine, carrier-based Formerly designated F8U, a single Why This one is sort of a Formerly XF2Y Sea Dart, an delta-winged fighter that landed Fighter adaptation of twin-engine jet trainer. Primarily used for

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day fighter/interceptor. you're out of Crusaders, you're out of fighters!" Grumman F-9 Cougar single-engine carrier-based

"When

Formerly designated F9F Cougar, a fighter.

Douglas F-10 Skyknight Skyknight, two-seat, carrier-based vintage. Two 3400 lb.st.

Formerly designated F3D night-fighter of Korean War Westinghouse J-34-WE-36 turbojets

in semi-external nacelles beneath the fuselage center section Grumman F-11 Tiger singleFormerly designated F11F Tiger, engine, carrier-based day fighter. Lockheed YF-12A interceptor Blackbird replacement for F-106. lb. st. each. Only four built. F-13 to any aircraft, I Designation not assigned suspect for superstitious reasons. Grumman F-14 Tomcat geometry Two-seat, twin-engine variable carrier-based interceptor. McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle interceptor/fighter. of Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia. General Dynamics F-16
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Conversion of "A-12" spyplane to configuration as possible 2 P & W J-58 turbojets of 32,500

Twin-engine all-weather In service with USAF, air forces

Single-seat fighter, fighter-

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

bomber. Fighting Falcon other air forces. Northrop YF-17A interceptor fighter. jets. built. Used as basis for F/A-18 Hornet. McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and attack aircraft. turbofans. In service with Navy, Marine Corps, air forces of Canada, Spain, Australia, Finland, Switzerland. F-19 At one time, this designation was reserved for the long-rumored stealth fighter. out to be F-117. Northrop F-20 Tigershark multirole designed for 1986 due to lack Israel Aircraft Industries F21 Industries Kfir C-2 (IsraelMirage with J-79 engine) used briefly as aggressor aircraft by Navy "Top Gun" training units. Lockheed/Boeing/General prototype. Named as next
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In service with USAF and several

Single-seat all-weather Two General Electric YJ-101

Lost out In competition with F-16. Only 2

Carrier-based multirole fighter Two General Electric F-404

Not allocated to any aircraft. It was at one time assumed that

But the stealth designation turned

Single-engine lightweight export. Project terminated in

of customers. Several Israel Aircraft built modification of French

Advanced tactical fighter

USAAC/USAAF/USAF Fighter Designations

Dynamics YF-22A Raptor fighter. Northrop YF-23A prototype. Lost out to

generation advanced tactical

Advanced tactical fighter YF-22A for production orders.

Now back to the F-19/F-117 controversy. Just *what* does the 117 in F-117 stand for? Is it in the pre-1962 Air Force fighter designation sequence? By 1962, the *known* Air force fighters had reached F-111. If F-117 is *really* in this sequence, this would imply that the Stealth fighter had been ordered into service prior to 1962, which seems quite improbable. If one accepts even this as plausible, one now is faced with the question of what happened to the missing numbers between F-111 and F-117 in the sequence. What, then, were F-112, F-113, F-114, F-115, and F-116? There has been some suggestion that these are designations for Soviet-built aircraft that were "acquired" by the Americans and taken out West to be test flown and evaluated in the Nevada ranges. They might, for example, be American designations for MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, Su-7, etc. However, enemy aircraft captured during World War 2 were never assigned US designations when they were evaluated by American forces, so the assignment of USAF designations to purloined Soviet aircraft would therefore be a departure from past practice. In view of the above, it is at likely that F-117 is NOT in the pre1962 USAF fighter sequence at all; I remember some Defense Department spokesman saying that the designation "117" was actually derived from the radio call sign used by the Stealth prototypes during their early tests out in the Nevada desert. We can only speculate until someone in the know is willing to talk. What about the F-19? For a long time, it had been assumed that this number referred to Lockheed's supersecret stealth fighter that had long been rumored to exist. When the Stealth came out of the black in 1989, it was revealed to everyone's suprise that its designation was F-117, not F-19. So what then *was* F-19? I remember a Defense Department spokesperson saying that the F-19 designation had been deliberately skipped so that "noone would confuse it with the Soviet MiG-19 fighter" (If anyone actually believes this explanation, I've got a bridge for sale :-) :-) ). It is at least conceivable that F-19 stands for some supersecret project that is so "black" that we won't hear anything about it for at least a decade? Could it be the "Aurora" aircraft that is rumored to be under test out in the desert as a possible replacement for the SR-71? Aviation Week and other sources have been full of rumors about hypersonic "waveriders", "pulsers", "plasma-propulsion" drives and other such exotica being seen or heard out in the Nevada desert. Perhaps F-19 refers to one of these. Finally, perhaps the F-19 *really* is a "hole" in the designation scheme, and all of this confusion and inconsistency in aircraft designation schemes was deliberately designed to confuse Soviet intelligence about what we are up to. It has certainly succeeded in confusing ME!!! Sources
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers 2. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner 3. Warplanes of the Second World War, William Green 4. McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Rene Francillon

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Curtiss PW-8/P-1 Hawk

Curtiss PW-8/P-1 Hawk


Last revised September 12, 1998

The Curtiss "Hawk" series of fighter aircraft was developed directly from a line of specialized racing planes that the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company of Buffalo and Garden City, New York had built for the Army and Navy between the years 1921 and 1925. The powerplant for these racers was a Curtiss-developed compact, water-cooled, direct- drive V-12 design with a displacement of 1150 cubic inches and a power of 435 hp. This engine bore the manufacturer's designation of D-12, but in the middle 1920s the US military services adopted a system in which the type and displacement were used as the basis of the designation for engines. The D-12 engine was given the designation V-1150, V for the basic Vee design and 1150 for the amount of displacement as measured in cubic inches. The first fighter based on the new 435 hp Curtiss D-12 engine originated in 1922 as a private venture by Curtiss. The design was given the company designation of Model 33. Three prototypes were ordered by the Army Air Service on April 27, 1923 under the designation PW-8. Serial numbers were 23-1201, 1202, and 1203. Examples of a basically similar competing Boeing design were also ordered by the Army, and were given the designation PW-9. The designation PW-8 stood for "Pursuit, Water-cooled, Model 8". This Army designation scheme had been introduced in 1920. There were seven separate Pursuit categories, chosen according to the role of the aircraft and the type of engine which powered it--PA (Pursuit, Air- cooled), PG (Pursuit, Ground Attack), PN (Pursuit, Night), PS (Pursuit, Special Alert), PW (Pursuit, Water-cooled), R (Racer), and TP (Two-seat, Pursuit). The PW-8 prototypes were redesignated XPW-8 in 1924 when the X-for-experimental prefix was adopted. The first PW-8 prototype was delivered to the Army on May 14, 1923. The fuselage of the PW-8 was of welded steel tube construction with fabric covering. The undercarriage was of a divided-axle design. The wings were entirely of wood and were of a very thin section
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which required two bays of interplane struts for stiffening. The cooling system for the D12 engine consisted of a set of wing-surface radiators that had been pioneered on Curtiss racers in 1922. These radiators were mounted flush with the upper and lower surfaces of the top wing, resulting in an extremely well-streamlined wing surface. In the flyoff between the XPW-8 and the competing Boeing XPW-9 at McCook Field, the PW-8 proved faster, but the PW-9 was found to be more maneuverable, tougher, and more reliable. The primary problem that the Army found with the PW-8 was in its unique surface radiator cooling system. Although these radiators improved streamlining, they turned out to be a maintenance headache and were prone to constant leaks. In addition, the Army concluded that such a cooling system would probably be extremely vulnerable to damage by gunfire were the Hawk to be used in combat. The second XPW-8 prototype (Ser No 23-1202) differed from the first in having a divided type of landing gear with reduced drag. The streamlining of the cowling was improved, and strut-connected ailerons and unbalanced elevators were provided. Gross weight increased from 2768 lbs. to 3151 lb Although the Army favored the Boeing design, the Curtiss company nevertheless did get an order from the Army for 25 production PW-8 fighters. This order was given to Curtiss in return for the company's agreement to collaborate on a pet scheme of General Billy Mitchell, which involved an attempt a coast-to-coast flight across the USA to be completed between dawn and dusk on the same day. The prototype XPW-8 23-1201 was stripped of all military equipment and used in two unsuccessful attempts piloted by Lt. Russell Maughan in July of 1923 to cross the USA in a dawn-to-dusk flight. This aircraft was later fitted with a second cockpit, temporarily given a spurious designation of CO-X (for Corps Observation, Experimental) and entered in the 1923 Liberty Engine Builders Trophy race for military two- seaters. It was withdrawn before the race because of objections from the Navy. The 25 production PW-8s (Ser Nos 24-201/225) that had been ordered in September 1923 began to be delivered to the Army in June 1924. These aircraft were in the configuration of the second XPW-8 (Ser No 23- 1202), which differed from 23-1201 by having a different undercarriage. Most of the production PW-8s served with the 17th Pursuit Squadron, although several production PW-8s were sent to McCook Field for experimental work.
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On June 23, 1924, PW-8 Ser. No. 24-204 was finally able to complete the first successful dawn-to-dusk crossing of the USA. The aircraft, piloted by Lt. Russell Maughan, took off from Mitchell Field on Long Island, with refuelling stops at Dayton, Ohio, St. Joseph, Missouri, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Saldura, Utah. The PW-8 was powered by a 435 hp Curtiss D-12 engine. Maximum speed was 171 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was 136 mph. Initial climb rate was 1830 ft/min. Service ceiling was 20,350 ft. Range was 544 miles. Armament consisted of a pair of 0.30 cal machine guns mounted above the engine synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. Weights were 2185 lbs. empty, 3155 lb. gross. The third prototype XPW-8 (23-1203) from the original order had been held back at the factory for installation of a set of single-bay wings. These new wings had heavier spars which produced a stiffer structure, permitting the installation of only a single bay of struts. The new aircraft was assigned the company designation of Model 34. It was delivered in this form to the Army in September 1924, and was later redesignated XPW-8A. The troublesome surface radiators of the first two prototypes were replaced by a core-type radiator built flat into the center section of the upper wing panel. A modified rudder without balance area was fitted. XPW-8A Ser No 23-1203 was entered into the 1924 Pulitzer Trophy race. When modified for the race, the radiator was installed in a "tunnel" underneath the engine, similar to the installation on the Boeing PW-9. In this guise, 231203 was known as XPW-8AA. It came in third in the race. The new core-type radiator of the XPW-8A proved to be somewhat less temperamental than the surface radiators of the first two XPW-8s, but it was still considered inadequate by the Army. In the meantime, the Army Air Service had been impressed by the performance of the competing Boeing XPW-9 at McCook Field. The XPW-9 was basically similar to the XPW-8, but it had tapered wings and was provided with a tunnel radiator underneath the engine. The Army was impressed with both of these features. Consequently, the Army asked Curtiss to fit tapered wings and a tunnel radiator to its XPW-8A and resubmit the aircraft for consideration. Curtiss agreed to the changes, and the modified 23-1203 was delivered to the Army in March 1925. The changes resulted in a change of designation to XPW-8B. The Army was satisfied with the improved XPW-8B, and decided on March 7, 1925 to give Curtiss a contract for a production series based on this design. In the meantime, in May 1924 the Army had combined its seven separate pursuit category designations into
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one single category--P for pursuit. The first pursuit aircraft ordered by the Army under this new designation scheme were the production versions of the XPW-8B, 15 of which were ordered as serial numbers 25-410/424. These were given the designation P-1, the first entry in the new series. The P-1 (company designation Model 34A) was the first of the Curtiss biplane fighters to carry the name "Hawk", a name which stuck to Curtiss-designed fighters up to and including the P-40 of World War 2. The only external difference between the XPW-8B and the P-1 was the addition of an aerodynamic balance to the rudder of the P-1, plus some minor changes to the single-bay struts. These airframes were fitted with the 435 hp Curtiss V-1150-1 (D-12C) engine, but were provided with engine mounts that would permit the installation of the larger 500 hp Curtiss V-1400 engine. Original plans were for the last five aircraft of the P-1 order to have this V-1400 engine installed at the factory. Wings were again of wooden construction, but were tapered. Fuselage was of metal tube construction with fabric covering. A 55 gallon auxiliary fuel tank could be fitted underneath the belly. The first P-1s were delivered to the Army in August 1925. Weights were 2058 lb. empty, 2846 lb. gross. Maximum speed was 163 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was 136 mph. The P-1 could climb to 5000 feet in 3.1 minutes. Service ceiling was 22,500 feet. Range was 325 miles. The P-1 was armed with one 0.50-cal and one 0.30-cal machine gun mounted in the upper fuselage deck and firing through the propeller arc. The first P-1 (Ser No 25-410) was used primarily for test work. It was briefly fitted with an inverted air-cooled "Liberty" engine and was entered in the 1926 National Air Races. Later, it was fitted with an experimental Wright V-1460-3 Tornado inline inverted aircooled engine and was redesignated XP-17. The last 5 P-1s which were destined for the larger Curtiss V-1400 engine were considered sufficiently different that they were redesignated P-2 when they were delivered to the Army. However, the V-1400 engine proved to be completely unsatisfactory in service, and three of these P-2s (25-421, 422, and 424) were converted back to P-1A standards after less than a year of service. The P-1A (Model 34G) was an improved P-1. It was the first of the Hawks to serve in quantity with the Army Air Corps. 25 were ordered in Sept 1925, with deliveries beginning in April 1926. Serial numbers were 26-276/300. Power was provided by the
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improved D-12C. The fuselage was 3 inches longer than the P-1, the cowling lines were revised, the fuel system was changed, and the bomb-release system was improved. In addition, some additional service equipment was provided which increased the weight by some 20 pounds and decreased the top speed slightly. Weights were 2041 lb. empty, 2866 lb. gross. Maximum speed was 160 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was 128 mph. The P1A could climb to 5000 feet in 2.6 minutes. Initial climb rate was 2170 ft/min. Service ceiling was 21,000 feet and range was 342 mi. The P-1A had the same armament as did the P-1. Three additional P-1As resulted from installation of D-12 engines in P-2 airframes 25-421, 422, and 424, as described earlier. Only 23 out of the 25 P-1As originally ordered were delivered as such. 26-296 was later modified as the prototype for the XAT-4 trainer, and 26-300 was transformed first into XP-3, then to XP-21 and XP-21A. P-1A Ser. No. 26-295 was modified into an Army racer known as XP-6A No. 1. The old XPW-8A wings were installed on 26-295, along with the PW-8-type surface radiators. The new V-1570 Conqueror engine was installed in a PW-8-type nose cowling, and various other minor refinements were made. A really fast aircraft was the result. The XP-6A No. 1 won the 1927 National Air Race at a speed of 201 mph. However, the aircraft was destroyed shortly before the 1928 National Air Race. The designation XP-1A was applied to a stock P-1A (26-280) diverted to test work. Despite the X-prefix, the aircraft was NOT a prototype. The P-1B was an improved model ordered in August 1926. Serials were 27-63/87. Deliveries to the Air Corps began on October 28, 1926. The radiator was slightly more rounded and the wheels were slightly larger in diameter. The cowling was redesigned. Flares were added for night landings and controls were improved. Equipment changes increased the weight still further, and reduced the performance still more. First deliveries to the Army began in December 1926. Power was provided by the 435 hp Curtiss V-11503 (D-12D) engine. Weights were 2105 lb. empty, 2932 lb. gross. Maximum speed was 160 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was 127 mph. Initial climb rate was 1540 ft/min., service ceiling was 21,400 feet, and maximum range was 600 miles. Armament was identical to that of the P-1 and P-1A. The P-1Bs served with squadrons already flying the earlier Hawks. The designation XP-1B was applied to a couple of stock P-1Bs (Ser. Nos. 27-71 and 2773) which were used for test work at Wright Field. 27-73 had machine guns mounted in the wings.
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33 improved versions known as P-1C (Model 34O) were ordered in October 1928. This was the largest Army Hawk order to date. Serial numbers were 29-227/259. First deliveries to the Army began in April 1929. The P-1C had larger wheels which were fitted with brakes. The last two P-1Cs were fitted with hydraulic instead of rubber-block shock absorbers. Once again, the weight increased and the performance decreased. The P-1C was powered by the 435 hp Curtiss V-1150-5 (D- 12E). Maximum speed was 154.4 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was 124 mph. Service ceiling was 20,800 feet. Empty weight was 2136 lb. and gross weight was 2973 lbs. The P-1C could climb to 5000 feet in 3.9 minutes. Initial climb rate was 1460 ft/min. Service ceiling was 20,800 feet. The normal range was 328 miles, with the maximum range being 554 miles. The P-1C Ser. No. 29-259 was completed as the XP-6B, with the Conqueror engine in place of the D-12. It was intended for a long- range flight from New York to Alaska. However, the XP-6B crashed short of its goal and was shipped back to the USA for repair and subsequent test work. XP-1C was the designation applied to P-1C Ser. No. 29-238 diverted to test work. It was fitted with an experimental Heinrich radiator and Prestone cooling system. Despite its Xprefix, the XP-1C was not a prototype. In 1924, The US Army decided that it might be a good idea to equip some of its up-to-date pursuit designs with lower-powered engines and use them as advanced trainers. These advanced trainers were all unarmed. However, the concept was not very successful. Since the trainers used the same airframes as did the fighters, the lower- powered trainers were vastly over-stressed for their missions and were overweight for their power and had very poor performances. After a short service, these advanced trainers were converted to full fighter configuration, provided with armament, and were retrofitted with D-12 engines. These converted trainers were then given pursuit designations, and were designated P-1D through P-1F. The first Curtiss advanced trainer prototype had been created by fitting P-1A Ser No 26296 with the 180 hp Wright-Hispano E liquid- cooled engine. It was delivered to the Army in July 1926 under the designation XAT-4, where "AT" stood for "Advanced Trainer". The AT-4 was the production version of XAT-4. Forty AT-4s were ordered in October 1926 under Ser Nos 27-88/97 and 27-213/242. All of these were powered by the WrightHispano E (V-720) engine. Maximum speed was 133 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was
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Curtiss PW-8/P-1 Hawk

107 mph. Initial climb was 950 ft/min. Range was 535 miles. Weights were 1847 lb. empty, 2484 lbs. gross. 35 AT-4s were eventually converted back to fighter configuration by the fitting of the Curtiss V-1150-3 (D-12D) engine and the mounting of a single 0.30cal machine gun. These converted aircraft were assigned the designation P-1D. The last five airframes of the AT-4 order (Ser. Nos. 27-238/242) were completed as AT5s, with the 220 hp Wright J-5 (R-970-1) Whirlwind radial engine in place of the WrightHispano liquid-cooled engine. This engine was considerably lighter than the WrightHispano, but the disadvantage of lower power was still there. Maximum speed was 125.4 mph at sea level. Cruising speed was 100 mph. Initial climb was 1096 ft/min. Range was 488 miles. Weights were 1802 lbs. empty, 2445 lbs. gross. These AT-5s were later redesignated P-1E when they were re- engined with D-12D engines of 435 hp and fitted with a single 0.30-cal machine gun. Both the P-1D and the P-1E served with the 43rd School Squadron at Kelly Field. The AT-5A (Model 34M) was an improved AT-5, with the longer fuselage and other structural improvements of the P-1A. 31 examples were ordered by the Army on July 30, 1927. Serial numbers were 28-42/72. In 1929, these AT-5As were all converted to fighter configuration with the switch to the 435 hp D-12D engine and the addition of armament. These aircraft were then redesignated P-1F. One other P-1F (Ser No 28-189) was obtained by converting an XP-21, which in turn had earlier been converted from a P-3A. There were only a few export sales of the P-1 Hawk. Four P-1s were sold to Bolivia. Eight export models of the P-1A were sold to Chile in 1926. One example was sold to Japan in 1927. Eight export models of the P-1B were sent to Chile in 1927. Some examples are believed to have been built in Chile. With each successive variant of the P-1, the weight of the fighter increased, leading to a gradual falloff in the top speed and in the climbing performance. P-1s were flown by 27th and 94th Pursuit Squadrons of the 1st Pursuit Group based at Selfridge Field in Michigan and later by the 17th Squadron which kept them in service until 1930 until they were replaced by later types. I don't they ever fired a shot in the defense of American territory. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


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Curtiss PW-8/P-1 Hawk

2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Curtiss P-2 Hawk

Curtisss P-2 Hawk


Last revised June 6, 1998

The designation P-2 (company designation Model 34B) was the Army designation for the last five P-1 Hawks (Ser Nos 35-420/424) which were reengined at the factory with the 500 hp Curtiss V-1400 liquid- cooled engine in place of the standard 435 hp Curtiss V-1150 (D-12) engine which powered the rest of the aircraft in the original P-1 order. The new engine made these five planes sufficiently different from the rest of the P-1 order that the Army deemed them worthy of a different P-designation. The first flight of the P-2 took place in December 1925. The increased power provided to the P-2 by the V-1400 engine resulted in an improvement in performance vis-a-vis the "standard" P-1 Hawk. Maximum speed at sea level was 172 mph, 151 mph at 15,000 feet. Initial climb was 2170 ft/min, and an altitude of 6500 feet could be attained in 3.5 minutes. Weights were 2018 lbs. empty, 2869 lbs. gross. Service ceiling was 22,950 feet, and range was 400 miles. The P-2 was armed with a pair of 0.30 cal machine guns installed in the upper engine cowling, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. However, the V-1400 engine proved to be unsatisfactory in service. After less than a year of operation, the Army converted P-2s 25-421, 422, and 424 to P-1A configuration with the replacement of the V1400 engine by the D-12 engine of the P-1 series. P-2 Ser No 25-423 became XP-6, the prototype for the P-6 line when fitted with the new 600 hp Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror liquid-cooled engine. Stripped of military equipment, it placed second (at 189 mph) in the unlimited event of the 1927 National Air Races. The winner of this race was the Conqueror- powered XP-6A, which had been produced by the conversion of a P-1A. Only Ser No 25-420 remained a P-2. 25-420 temporarily became XP-2 when tested with turbosupercharged Curtiss V-1400. Top speed was almost 180 mph, but the basic shortcomings of the V1400 engine precluded any further development. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books,

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Curtiss P-2 Hawk

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Curtiss P-3 Hawk

Curtiss P-3 Hawk


Last revised June 5, 1998

The P-3 was an attempt to adapt the Curtiss P-1 Hawk airframe to a radial engine. Like the Navy, the USAAC was initially undecided as to whether it preferred radial or in-line engines for its fighters. The radial engine had been successfully applied to the Boeing P12, and the Army wanted to determine if the same could be done for the Curtiss Hawk. The designation XP-3 had originally been reserved for P-1A Ser No. 26-300 which was to be fitted with the new experimental 390 hp Curtiss R-1454 air-cooled radial engine. However, this engine had already been tested in other aircraft and had been found to be unsatisfactory. Consequently, the XP-3 designation was cancelled before this new engine could be installed. In October 1927, P-1A Ser No 26-300 was fitted instead with the new 410 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-1 Wasp air-cooled radial engine. This aircraft was redesignated XP-3A No. 1 (factory designation Model 34N). This aircraft was originally delivered to the Army uncowled, but the plane was used by the Army to test some early NACA cowling designs for radial engines. The lighter engine installation gave the XP-3A an improved climb and ceiling performance as compared with the P-1 series. The Army was sufficiently impressed that they ordered 5 P-3As on December 27, 1927. Serials were 28-189/193. Deliveries began in October 1928. Power was provided by the 450 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-3 (SR1340B). Maximum speed was 171 mph at sea level, 168 mph at 5000 feet. Initial climb rate was 1742 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 23,000 feet. Weights were 2024 pounds empty, 2730 pounds gross. Range was 342 miles. Armament was two 0.30-cal machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. The P3As were originally delivered to the Army completely uncowled, but narrow Townend rings were soon added. These rings did little to increase the speed over that of the original uncowled XP-3A.

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Curtiss P-3 Hawk

The designation of XP-3A 26-300 was changed to XP-21 when it was used to test-fly the 300-hp R-985-1 Wasp Junior in December 1930. This new designation was used to identify a particular test configuration and not a new prototype. However, this engine had only half the power of service fighters of the period, and the project was not successful. A later engine change to the 300 hp Pratt and Whitney R-975 radial changed the designation of 26-300 to XP-21A. The designation XP-3A No. 2 was applied to a production P-3A (Ser No 28-189) which was used for test work for the development of a NACA cowling with fuselage faired to match the cowl. The XP-3A No. 2 was fitted with a tight cowling and large spinner, and was entered in the 1929 National Air Race Free-for-All. It came in second at 186 mph, when the Army raced against civilians for the last time. This airplane was later redesignated XP-21 No. 2 when it was fitted with a Pratt and Whitney R-985-1 Wasp Junior engine of 300 hp. 28-189 was later brought up to standards of P-1F following a change to D-12 (V- 1150-3) engine. Tests with the P-3 and the XP-21 failed to convince the Army of any intrinsic superiority of the radial engine for the Hawk, and it was decided that the Hawk line of Army fighters was to stick with the liquid-cooled engine. Sources: United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 2. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 3. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Boeing XP-4

Boeing XP-4
Last revised June 6, 1998

In June 1925, before the first of the Boeing PW-9s ordered in 1924 had been delivered, the USAAS decided to have the 30th and last PW-9 aircraft (Ser No 25-324) modified during production to test the high-altitude performance of the new 510 hp Packard 1A-1500 turbosupercharged engine. This modification was considered important enough to warrant a designation change to XP-4 in accordance with the new system which had just been adopted. The XP-4 had a new, more aerodynamic wing profile, with both wings being of equal size and larger than those of the PW-9 in order to provide the necessary larger area needed to lift the increased weight. The fuselage-mounted pair of 0.30-cal machine guns were supplemented by two extra 0.30-cal machine guns mounted in the lower wing, situated far enough outboard to clear the propeller arc. A four-bladed propeller was fitted. The new engine made it necessary to redesign the cowling, and the turbosupercharger was mounted externally on the right-hand side. The XP-4 was delivered to the Army at Wright Field for tests on July 27, 1927. The Packard engine did not prove to be sufficiently powerful to compensate for the 800-lb increase in empty weight, and the performance of the XP-4 was rather disappointing. It did, in fact, actually perform more poorly than did the standard PW-9, and the XP-4 project was abandoned after only four hours of flying time. The airframe was surveyed on May 1, 1928. Empty weight was 2711 lbs, with gross weight being 3603 lbs. Maximum speed was 161 mph. Initial climb rate was 2055 ft/min. Service ceiling was 22,000 feet, and range was 375 miles. Sources: Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 1. "Boeing F4B-4", Peter M. Bowers, in "Aircraft in Profile", Doubleday, 1969. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing XP-4

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Curtiss P-5 "Superhawk"

Curtiss P-5 "Superhawk"


Last revised June 6, 1998

The Curtiss P-5 (company designation Model 34L) was the designation given to a version of the P-1 Hawk that was powered by a turbosupercharged Curtiss D-12 engine. At the request of the USAAC, five airframes identical to the P-1A had the 435 hp turbosupercharged V-1150-4 (D-12F) engine installed and were designated P-5. The turbosupercharger was mounted externally on the left hand side of the fuselage. Five examples of the P-5 were ordered on May 14, 1927. Serial numbers were 27-327/331. The first example was delivered in January 1928. The high altitude performance showed a marked improvement over that of the standard P-1A. The top speed of the P-5 was only 142 mph at sea level, but it increased to 173.5 mph at 25,000 feet. The aircraft could climb to 10,000 feet in 8.4 minutes. Initial climb rate was 1250 ft/min. The service ceiling was 31,900 feet, almost ten thousand feet greater than than of the P-1B. Weights were 2551 lb. empty, 3340 lbs. gross. Armament was the same as that of the "standard" P-1, namely a pair of 0.30 cal machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage cowling synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. Although the P-5 exhibited a much better high-altitude performance than the standard P-1, the general feeling on the part of the Army was that it would be better to wait for the arrival of the more powerful Conqueror engine rather than to go ahead with a large procurement for series production of the P-5. Consequently, only five P-5s were built. Two of the five P-5s were destroyed during the test program, but the surviving three planes entered service with the 97th Pursuit Squadron. They remained in service until mid 1932. Curtiss chose the name "Superhawk" for the P-5, but I don't think that this name was ever official. Sources: United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 2. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 3. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Curtiss P-5 "Superhawk"

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Curtiss P-6 Hawk

Curtiss P-6 Hawk


Last revised June 6, 1998

The P-6 Hawk series resulted from the installation of the new 600 hp Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror liquidcooled engine in what were essentially P-1C airframes. The variant which is best remembered today is the P-6E, which IMHO was one of the best-looking biplane fighters ever manufactured. The Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror engine was a evolutionary descendent of the Curtiss D-12 which powered the P-1 Hawk. The direct ancestor of the Conqueror was the unsuccessful Curtiss V-1400 engine which powered the P-2. The first aircraft to carry the P-6 designation was the fourth P-2(Ser No 25-423), modified to race for the Army in the National Air Races of 1927. It was the first Hawk to be fitted with the new Curtiss V-1570 engine which later became known as Conqueror. Because of the use of the new Conqueror engine, the Army gave the airplane a new designation--XP-6. Stripped of military equipment, it placed second in the unlimited event of the 1927 National Air Races. For its principal entry in the 1927 National Air Races, the Army ordered that extensive modifications be made to a stock P-1A (Ser No 26-295). It was fitted with a V-1570-1 Conqueror engine and was equipped with a set of PW-8A-type un-tapered wings complete with the skin-mounted radiators. It bore the company designation of Model 34Q. The Army redesignated this aircraft XP-6A No 1 because of its use of the Conqueror engine. It took first place in the 1927 race at a speed of 201 mph. However, the XP6A crashed during preparations for the 1928 National Air Races. The success of the Curtiss Conqueror engine in these two racing aircraft led to an Army contract for a service test quantity of 18 P- 6s placed on October 3, 1928. These aircraft were assigned the serial numbers 29-260/273 and 29-363/366. These aircraft were given the company designation Model 34P. The Y-for-service-test designation had just been adopted at this time, but it does not appear to have actually been applied to these planes, although they are sometimes recorded as YP-6s. One of the innovative features of the new Conqueror-powered P-6 was in its cooling system. The water coolant of the earlier P-1 series was to be replaced by Prestone, a trade name for an ethylene glycol (HOCH2CH2OH) mixture. Prestone was a product of the Union Carbide corporation, and had an advantage of having a very high boiling point and a very low freezing point. By using Prestone instead of water, Curtiss was able to reduce the surface area of its radiators by one third. In addition, since less coolant was needed, the use of Prestone rather than water resulted in the savings of about 50 pounds of weight.
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Curtiss P-6 Hawk

However, since the new Prestone-cooled Conqueror engines were not yet ready, aircraft 39-269/273 and 39-363/366 were delivered in October 1929 with water-cooled V-1570-17 engines as P-6s, so that they could be gotten into service as rapidly as possible. The rest of the aircraft in the order were completed later as P-6As once the Prestone-cooled V-1570-23 Conqueror engines were finally ready. The P-6 was generally similar to the P-1 in construction and appearance. However, the P-6 differed from the P-1 in having its fuselage rounded out to match the fatter engine cowling required by the Conqueror engine. A series of stringers were added to the fuselage sides to round out the cross section. In addition, the rear fuselage was deepened in order that it could faire cleanly into the bottom of the radiator. The result was an airplane which had a much deeper and broader fuselage than did the P-1. Maximum speed was 178 mph at sea level, 171 mph at 10,000 feet. The P-6 could climb to 10,000 feet in 6.6 min. Service ceiling 27,200 feet, and range was 260 miles. Weights were 2450 lb. empty, 3310 lb gross. The armament of the P-1 was a pair of 0.30 cal machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage decking inside the V-cylinder blocks and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. Deliveries of the P-6 to the USAAC were made between October 1929 and December 1930. The first nine P-6s (Ser Nos 29-260/268) were completed with Prestone-cooled V-1570-23 Conqueror engines once these engines were ready. These aircraft were redesignated P-6A once they were delivered to the Army. Weights were 2389 lb. empty, 3172 lb. gross. Maximum speed was 176 mph at 5000 feet. Initial climb was 1910 ft/min. Service ceiling was 27,300 feet. Armament was the same as that of the P1. Two additional P-6s resulted from conversions of the Curtiss P-11. The P-11 was basically a P-6 airframe modified so that it could be powered by the new 600-hp Curtiss H-1640 twelve-cylinder twobank air-cooled engine. Three examples of the P-11 had been ordered by the Army for tests. However, before any of the P-11s could actually be completed, the H-1640 engine had proved itself to be completely unsatisfactory, and the first two P-11s (Ser No 29-367 and 368) were completed as P-6s with water-cooled Conqueror engines. The last P-11 (Ser No. 29-374) was fitted with a 575 hp Wright R1820 Cyclone radial engine and was redesignated YP-20. During the service test period, various minor changes in the radiator shape were made and some of the machines were fitted with three blade propellers in place of the original two-bladers. XP-6A No 2 was the designation given to P-6A Ser No 29-263 diverted to test work. Despite its Xprefix, it was not a prototype. XP-6B was the designation given to the last P-1C (Ser No 29-259) when it was delivered on July 18, 1929 with a 600 hp V-1570C Conqueror engine. It was intended to be used by Captain Hoyt in a longrange flight from the eastern USA to Alaska. The aircraft came to be known as "The Hoyt Special". The fuselage lines and the cowling were similar to those of the later P-6 and P-6A. Long-range tanks were built in. The flight attempt took place in July of 1929. However, the XP-6B only got as far as Valemont,
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Curtiss P-6 Hawk

British Colombia, where it made a crash landing. After repair and deletion of the long range tanks, it was returned to service as the sole XP-6B. Maximum speed was 197 mph at 15,000 feet. Service ceiling was 32,000 feet. Weights were 2698 lb. empty, 3483 lb. gross. Initial climb was 1730 ft/min. P-6C was a new designation that had been initially assigned to 46 Y1P-22s. [Y1 was a prefix used from 1931 to 1936 to indicate that these service test aircraft had been purchased with "F-1" funds rather than from regular USAAC appropriations. This distinction from the regular Y-for-service-test prefix was only budgetary and had no technical significance.] The P-6C designation was later canceled in favor of P-6E for the same planes. The XP-6D was a new prototype created by installing a turbosupercharged V-1570-C Conqueror in P6A Ser No 29-260. The turbosupercharger was mounted externally on the right-hand side of the fuselage. Sea level top speed increased to 172 mph and speed at 15,000 feet increased to 197 mph. The modifications were later removed, and the aircraft reverted to the configuration of a standard P-6A. All of the surviving P-6s and all the P-6As except 29-267 were fitted with turbosupercharged Conquerors in March and April of 1932. These were redesignated P-6D and were assigned to Langley Field, Virginia for service trials. The only outward difference between these planes and the XP-6D was in the use of three-bladed propellers. The path to the famous P-6E variant is sort of complicated, and involves several modifications and quite a few redesignations along the way. It can be said to begin with the third P-6A (Ser No 29-262) which was redesignated XP-22 when used to test new radiator and oil cooler installations for the 700 hp V1570-23 engine. The final modification to the XP-22 produced an entirely new nose, with the oil cooler and radiator located on the belly situated between the undercarriage legs. A three-bladed propeller was used. Machine guns were lowered to troughs on the fuselage sides under the engine cylinder banks rather than between them as on previous versions. A new single-leg undercarriage was also installed. Spats were placed around the wheels. These new features were eventually removed from the XP-22 and were installed on the YP-20. They were replaced by the original P-6A equipment and the XP-22 reverted to a standard P-6A. In the meantime, the third P-11 (Ser No 29-374) had been completed as a YP-20 with a 650 hp Wright R1870-9 Cyclone radial engine in place of the failed Chieftain engine. The fin and rudder were changed slightly by raising the division between the rudder balance area and the top of the fin by half a rib space. This radial powerplant installation ultimately turned out to be unsatisfactory. 29-374 was then fitted with the 700 hp V-1570-23 Conqueror engine, mounted with a new horizontal tail, and given the single-strut undercarriage first tried out on the XP-22. A tailwheel was used in the place of the tail skid. The YP-20 was then redesignated XP-6E, the prototype of the most famous of the Hawk line of pursuit aircraft. 46 production examples of the XP-22, with the 700 hp V-1570C (V-1570- 23) Conqueror engine, had been ordered on July 8, 1931. These were initially designated Y1P-22. However, since many of the parts of the Y1P-22 were identical with P-6 spares, the designation was changed to P-6C in order to simplify

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Curtiss P-6 Hawk

the bookkeeping. However, this designation was changed yet again to P-6E before delivery. In the meantime, features that had first been tried out on the XP-22 had been added to the YP-20 airframe and it was decided that the production aircraft should be to the YP-20 standard as P-6E. The YP-20 was then redesignated XP-6E, which is considered as being the true prototype of the P-6E variant. Deliveries of the P-6E began in December 1931. Serial numbers were 32-233/278. The company designation for the P-6E version of the Hawk was Model 35. 32-278 was held back at the factory for conversion to XP-23. 32-233 became the XP-6H, and 32-254 became XP-6G, then P-6G, and eventually reverted to P-6E. Structural refinements had brought the empty weight of the P-6E down to 2715 lbs. Gross weight was 3436 lbs. Maximum speed was 193 mph at sea level. Initial climb rate was 2480 ft/ min. Service ceiling was 23,900 feet and range was 244 miles. The P-6E was quite a good-looking airplane, and became the most famous of the Hawk line of biplane fighters. It is perhaps the best-known of all the "between wars" Army pursuits. In a flyoff against the contemporary Boeing P-12B, the P-6E was faster, but the P-12B was more maneuverable. The good speed of the P-6E was counterbalanced by some unsatisfacory handling characteristics which made it sluggish in response to controls. The 700 hp Conqueror engine was exceptionally powerful for its day, but it had many minor and some major faults which needed to be corrected. P-6Es served from 1932 onward with the 1st and 8th Pursuit Group, flown by the 17th, 94th, and 33rd Squadrons based at Selfridge Field, Michigan and at Langley Field, Virginia. They were kept in service until 1937. The shapely wheel spats for which the P-6E is best remembered today were often replaced in service with a set of open-sided wheel fairings, especially in later years. In Army service, the P-6Es were involved in numerous accidents which claimed no less than 27 of the 46 examples built. The Army's P-6Es rapidly became obsolete as the 1930s wore on. Instead of being given expensive overhauls when they were called for, the P-6Es were allowed to deteriorate and wear out in service. One by one, they either wore out and were scrapped, or else they crashed. However, at least one survived into 1942. The XP-6F (Model 35C) was the designation given to XP-6E Ser No 39-374 that was sent back to the factory for installation of a turbosupercharged V-1570F (V-1570-55) engine delivering 675 hp. It was fitted with an experimental cockpit canopy. It was redelivered to the Army in March 1933 as XP-6F. The gross weight was nearly 400 lbs greater than that of the standard P-6E. Sea level top speed decreased to 194 mph, but speed at 15,000 feet was an impressive 225 mph. Cooling difficulties with the engine precluded any careful testing above that altitude. However, the XP-6F did prove that as speeds exceeded 200 mph, the traditional open cockpit was no longer satisfactory. The XP-6F later became an P-6F with a 775 hp V-1570-55 engine. The XP-6G was P-6E Ser No 32-254 fitted with an unsupercharged V-1570F engine. When the experimental work was done, the plane retained the F engine, but dropped the experimental prefix to become just plain P-6G and finally converted back to P-6E again when the standard V-1570C engine was installed.

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Curtiss P-6 Hawk

The XP-6H was the designation given to the first production P-6E (Ser No 32-233) returned to the factory for installation of four 0.30-cal machine guns in the wings. Two guns were in the upper wing and one in each lower wing panel. All four fired outside the propeller arc. The fuselage guns were retained, resulting in a very heavily-armed fighter for its day. Gross weight went up to 3858 lb and top speed declined to 190 mph. Delivered April 20, 1933. After the tests, the special wings were removed and the plane reverted to standard P-6E configuration. The last P-6E (Ser No. 32-278) was retained at the factory for coversion to XP-23 (Model 63). This plane resembled previous Hawks only in the wings. The fuselage structure was a metal monocoque. The tail surfaces had different shapes, and a turbosupercharged and geared G1V-1570-C Conqueror drove a left-handed 3-blade prop. The nose was much more pointed. It was delivered April 16, 1932. It had improved altitude performance, but the Army recognized that the biplane fighter had finally reached the end of the line and no production was ordered. The turbosupercharger was removed, and the XP-23 was redesignated YP- 23. P-6S was an export model with a P-6 airframe fitted with 450 hp Pratt and Whitney Wasp radial engine. Three were sold to Cuba and one to Japan in 1930. Company records are unclear about the Japanese Hawk. In some photos, it appears with a Conqueror engine. Hawk 1 was the designation given to civil and export versions of the P-6. A company demonstrator built in 1930 and registered as 9W. Following a crash, it was rebuilt and registered NR9110. Because it was demonstrated by the famous pilot James Doolittle, it became to be known as the "Doolittle Hawk". This airplane was later sold to air show pilot Jesse Bristow and used for air show work until forced down at sea between Florida and Cuba during an air race in January 1940. Another Hawk 1 was a special demonstrator built in April 1929 for long-distance flights. It was powered by the Conqueror engine and had extra fuel tanks fitted into the sides of the fuselage. The original civil registration was NR636E. After a crash, it was rebuilt as a Hawk 1A with a 575 hp Wright Cyclone radial engine and was sold in August 1930 to Alford J. Williams, a famous air show pilot of the 1930s. Registration was NR982V. Since Al Williams flew for the Gulf Oil Company, his plane was known as the *Gulfhawk*. In August 1931, Al Williams installed in the *Gulfhawk* a 575 hp Bliss Jupiter engine, an American-built version of the British Bristol Jupiter. Following another crash, NR982V was again rebuilt with a 710 hp Wright R-1820F-3 Cyclone engine. The side fuel tanks were removed and the fuselage was skinned with metal rather than fabric. The engine was later taken out and transferred to Williams' new Grumman *Gulfhawk II* in 1936. NR982V was then placed in an aeronautical trade school. It was retrieved in 1958 by movie pilot Frank Tallman, who installed a 600-hp Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine in the airframe. It is presently owned by the US Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, Virginia. A P-6E currently resides in the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum. I do not know anything about the history of this particular airplane.

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Curtiss P-6 Hawk

Sources: United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 2. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 3. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Boeing XP-7

Boeing XP-7
Last revised June 6, 1998

The Boeing XP-7 was an attempt to adapt the PW-9 fighter to the new Curtiss Conqueror engine, and bore much the same relationship to the PW-9 as did the Curtiss P-6 to the Curtiss P-1. The Army was interested in seeing how much the performance of the PW-9 fighter could be improved by the use of the Conqueror engine, and they ordered a single example on March 5, 1928. The last Boeing PW-9D off the production line (Ser No. 28-041) was experimentally fitted with a new 600-hp Curtiss V-1570-1 Conqueror engine and was redesignated XP-7 under the new system. The cowling had to be redesigned to contain the larger radiator, giving a shorter, deeper nose than that of the PW-9D. In addition, the new model incorporated an all-duralumin tailplane, a different type of tailskid, and a new control system for the ailerons. The XP-7 was delivered to the Army on September 8, 1928, and began flight testing shortly thereafter. The Conqueror engine proved to be suitable for use in fighters, and an Air Corps specification was drawn up to cover the building of four service test P-7s. However, subsequent tests demonstrated that the performance of the XP-7 was not much better than that of the standard PW-9D, maximum speed being 168 mph at sea level as compared with 163 mph for the PW-9. Since Boeing's radial-engined XF4B-1 had already reached nearly 170 mph, it was concluded that the XP-7 project showed little promise and the Army cancelled its order for the four service-test P-7s. After the end of the tests, 28-041 was converted back to standard PW-9D configuration. Performance of the XP-7 included a maximum speed of 167.5 mph at sea level and 163.5 mph at 5000 feet. Initial climb was 1867 ft/min, and an altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 7.1 minutes. The XP-7 had the same armament as did the PW-9D, namely one 0.50 cal. and one 0.30 cal machine gun mounted in the upper fuselage decking and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. Weights were 2358 lbs empty, 3260 lbs. gross. Sources: 1. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing XP-7

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Boeing XP-8

Boeing XP-8
Last revised June 6, 1998

The Boeing XP-8 was a new design initiated by Boeing to conform to an Air Corps specification issued in April 1925 for a fighter to be powered by the new 600 hp Packard 2A-1500 inverted liquid cooled engine. It was built under a bailment contract, in which the Army agreed to supply the engine and the military equipment and to test the airplane, but Boeing would retain actual ownership of the airframe. The project was assigned the company designation of Model 66. Although the Model 66 owed a great deal to the PW-9/FB series, it was essentially a new design. The Model 66 was a single-bay biplane with staggered wings that were tapered in chord and joined by a single bay of duralumin N-struts. The span of the upper wing was reduced by almost two feet from the PW-9, while that of the upper wing was increased by the same amount. The fuselage consisted of a welded steel tube framework forward section from the nose to the cockpit, whereas the real of the fuselage including the rudder consisted of a bolted duralumin framework. The wing was made of wood, and both the wings and the fuselage were fabric covered. The radiator was located in the lower fuselage, situated at the point where the bottom wings were joined onto the fuselage. The twin-bladed propeller had an aerodynamically-faired spinner. The forward landing gear struts incorporated oleo-pneumatic shock absorbers, a feature which became standard on subsequent Boeing fighters. Boeing delivered the Model 66 aircraft to the Army in July 1927. It flew for the first time in July 14, 1927. The designation XP-8 was not assigned to the aircraft until the USAAC bought the plane from Boeing on a separate contract signed in January 1928. The Army assigned it the serial number 28-359. Testing showed that the performance of the XP-8 was rather disappointing, and the Army decided not to order the aircraft into production. The Achilles heel of the XP-8 was in its Packard engine, which was still in the experimental stage. Performance included a maximum speed of 173 mph, an initial climb rate of 2138 ft/min, a service ceiling of 23,000 feet, and a range of 325 miles. Weights were 2390 lbs. empty and 3421 lbs. gross. Armament consisted of one 0.30 cal and one 0.50 cal machine gun in the upper fuselage decking synchronized to fire thru the propeller The sole XP-8 was surveyed at Wright Field in June 1929. Sources: 1. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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Boeing XP-8

2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing XP-9

Boeing XP-9
Last revised June 6, 1998

The XP-9 was Boeing's first monoplane fighter design. Bearing the company designation Model 96, it was designed to Army Specification X-1623A which was issued on May 24, 1928. The Model 96 was designated XP-9 by the Army when a contract for one example was signed on May 29, 1928. The serial number was 28-386. The XP-9 was actually the first Boeing monoplane to start through the factory, but various delays postponed the delivery date from April 1929 to September 1930, so it was not the first actually to fly, having been beaten into the air by the new Model 200 Monomail. The construction of the XP-9 was entirely new to Boeing. The fuselage was a semi-monocoque structure of sheet dural over metal formers for the portion aft of the rear undercarriage struts and welded steel tubing from that point forward to the engine. The tail surfaces of the XP-9 were identical to those of the contemporary P-12/F4B. The shoulder-mounted, externally-braced monoplane wing had a conventional two-spar structure with a metal framework and fabric covering. Power was supplied by a 600 hp Curtiss SV-1570-15 Conqueror liquid-cooled engine with supercharging. A chin-type radiator was mounted underneath the engine. A 0.50-cal machine gun was mounted on each side of the fuselage, firing through tunnels mounted just below the engine cylinder blocks. In addition, two 122-lb or five 25-lb bombs could be carried. Upon completion, the XP-9 was delivered by rail to the Army Test Centre at Wright Field. It made its first flight there on November 18, 1930. Flight tests of the XP-9 by the Army were rather disappointing. Visibility from the cockpit was extremely poor. The plane suffered with such a large number of serious instability problems that it frightened even the most experienced Army pilots, who dubbed it a menace. However, controllability was improved somewhat by replacing the P-12-like corrugated metal vertical tail with a larger design. However, this was not sufficient to overcome the basic shortcoming of the design, and the Army chose not to order the XP-9 into production. The Army was in fact so dissatisfied with the XP-9 that they did not even exercise their option for five Y1P-9 monoplanes to be built under the P-12D contract. In August 1931, the Army relegated the XP-9 to use as a non-flying instructional airframe. Only 15 flying hours had been completed. Performance included a maximum speed of 213 mph and an initial climb rate of 2560 ft/min. An altitude of 5000 feet could be reached in 2.3 minutes, and service ceiling was 26,800 feet. Range was 425 miles. Weights were 2669 lbs. empty, 3623 lb gross. Sources:

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Boeing XP-9

1. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Last revised June 5, 1998

The Curtiss XP-10 was designed and built under an Army contract dated June 18, 1928, which called for a new pursuit aircraft having good maneuverability and high speed at high altitude. The upper wing of the XP-10 had a gull form, and was joined directly to the fuselage. By eliminating the wing center section in front of and above the cockpit, the traditional upward and forward blind spot for the pilot was removed, and exceptionally good pilot visibility was anticipated. In the pursuit of higher speed, Curtiss decided to readopt the old PW-8 style surface radiators for the XP-10, and these were fitted to the upper and lower surfaces of the inner half of the top wing. The fuselage was of steel tube construction with fabric skinning. The wings were of wood, enveloped in the special "Curtiss ply" covering. The powerplant was a 600-hp Curtiss V-1570-15 Conqueror liquid-cooled engine. The Conqueror was mounted inside an extremely tight-fitting and well-streamlined cowling, made possible by the use of the wing-mounted radiators. The two-bladed propeller was capped with a spinner which faired neatly into the engine cowling. The result was an airplane with extremely clean and attractive lines. The XP-10 (Ser No 28-387) was delivered to the Army in April 1930. It made its first flight one month later. As expected, the pilot visibility was excellent. However, the performance of the XP-10 was rather disappointing, being only marginally better than the Army's contemporary Hawk models powered by the same Conqueror engine. The major fault with the P-10 was with the old PW-8 style surface wing radiators. These proved to be quite as troublesome as they were for the PW-8, and were the principal reason for the Army's rejection of the design. During tests, the XP-10 attained a maximum speed of 191 mph at sea level and 215 mph at 12,000 feet. Initial climb was 1650 ft/min and service ceiling was 26,500 feet. Range was 461 miles. Weights were 3040 lb. empty, 3975 lbs gross. The XP-10 was armed with two 0.30-cal machine guns in the upper fuselage cowling, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. The XP-10 was scrapped by the Army in August 1931 after only ten hours of flight time. Thereafter, Curtiss confined its biplane pursuit development to variants of the established Hawk line. Sources: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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2. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

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Curtiss P-11 Hawk

Curtiss P-11 Hawk


Last revised June 6, 1998

The Curtiss P-11 Hawk was an attempt to adapt the P-6 airframe to the new 600 hp Curtiss H-1640 Chieftain two-row, 12-cylinder air-cooled engine. Three P-6 airframes (29-367, 368, and 374) were to be reserved for the P-11 project. However, a similar conversion of an existing airframe to the Chieftain engine had already progressed somewhat further along--a standard production Curtiss O-1B Falcon two-seat observation plane converted as a flying test bed. When fitted with the new Chieftain engine, the O- 1B was redesignated XO-18. Flight tests with the XO-18 showed that the new Chieftain engine was subject to chronic overheating problems. It was thought that the problems with the Chieftain were insoluble, and any further work on this engine was abandoned. The XO-18 flying testbed was converted back into standard O-1B configuration with a Conqueror engine. With the failure of the Chieftain engine, any thoughts of proceeding further with the P-11 project were abandoned. Ser Nos 29-367 and 268 were subsequently completed to P-6 standards (later converted to P-6D) with the installation of Conqueror engines. Ser No 29-374 was to have a completely different history. It later became the YP-20 when a 650 hp Wright R-1860-9 Cyclone radial engine was fitted. The fin and rudder of the YP-20 were changed slightly by raising the division between the rudder balance area and the top of the fin by half a rib space. The Cyclone radial engine installation in the YP-20 proved to be unsatisfactory, and this engine was replaced with the 700 hp V-1570-23 Conqueror liquid-cooled engine, mounted with an new horizontal tail, and given the single-strut undercarriage first tried out on the XP22. A tailwheel was used in place of the tail skid. The YP-20 was then redesignated XP-6E, to become the prototype of the famed P-6E variant of the Hawk pursuit. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

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Curtiss P-11 Hawk

4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Boeing P-12

Boeing P-12
Last revised June 6, 1998

The Boeing P-12 was one of the best known Air Corps fighters of the entire inter-war period. It equipped most of the Air Corps fighter squadrons during the early 1930s. Numerically, it was the most important of all the "between-wars" pursuit aircraft. Here is a history of this important warplane. The origin of the P-12 series can be traced back to a pair of experimental aircraft produced by Boeing at company expense in hope of replacing the PW-9 and the Navy's F2B and F3B fighters. These two sires of the entire P-12/F4B line of fighters bore the company designations of Model 89 and Model 89. These planes departed from earlier Boeing construction practice in that they had fuselages made largely of bolted-up aluminum tubing construction, rather than the welded steel tubing of earlier Boeing fighters. They retained welded steel tubing in the engine mounting and center-section area, but bolted squaresection dural tubing was used aft of the cockpit. Bolted instead of welded joints had been used in earlier fighters, but the steel tubes had been bolted to tabs welded to the longerons. On these planes, the tubes were bolted directly to one another through dural gussets. The wings of the Model 83/89 had a straight rather than tapered planform, which was a departure from previous Boeing practice. The wings were constructed of two wooden box spars with spruce flanges and mahogany ply webbing. The ribs were band-sawed from mahogany ply and were fitted with spruce strips. The upper wing was built up in one piece, but the lower wings were constructed separately and bolted together at the spar butts for installation as a unit. The airfoil section was the newly-developed Boeing 106 section. The entire tail unit was of semi-monocoque metal construction using the integrally stiff corrugated skinning originally developed for the F3B-1. Armament was provided by two 0.30-cal or one 0.30- and one 0.50-cal machine guns. These guns were located in the top of the nose with troughs in the paneling and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. The powerplant was the 450 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-7 radial, driving a ground-adjustable variable-pitch two blade metal propeller. No cowling was fitted around the engine, but streamlined "hats" were positioned behind each cylinder. A 55-gallon auxiliary fuel tank could be fitted between the undercarriage legs. Up to 700 pounds of bombs could be distributed under the lower wing and fuselage belly. First to fly was the Model 83 which flew June 25, 1928 at Seattle and was delivered to the Navy at San Diego three days later. The Model 89 was completed the next month and was shipped by rail to the Naval Test Center at Anacostia, Maryland on July 24. It flew for the first time there on August 7. The two planes were virtually identical, but the Model 83 had a spreader-bar undercarriage with diagonal
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Boeing P-12

strut bracing to the middle of the bar, whereas the Model 89 had a split-axle gear. The 89 had a 500-lb bombrack between the undercarriage legs, whereas the 82 had an arrester hook. Although not Navy property, these two planes were referred to as XF4B-1 for administrative purposes during the testing. Since both aircraft were Boeing-owned, they did not carry military markings. However, they did not carry the civil registrations that were allocated to them. Both aircraft were originally powered by "long-nosed" R-1340B engines which were supposed to improve the aerodynamic shape of the nose. They were soon replaced by the standard dash-7 engine with no more than marginal effect on performance. Flight testing of these two prototypes showed that they outperformed all serving fighters. As a result of testing of the two prototypes, the Navy ordered 27 production F4B-1s (serial numbers A-8130/8156). Navy bought both the Model 83 and 89 on June 19, 1929, and the designation XF4B-1 became official. Both prototypes were returned to the factory after testing for modification to the standards of production F4B-1s. These two planes were then assigned Navy serial numbers immediately ahead of those in the F4B-1 contract (A8128 for Model 89 and A8129 for Model 83). F4B-1 #A8133 was modified as a special executive airplane for Assistant Secretary of the Navy David S. Ingalls, the Navy's only World War 1 ace. It was stripped of all armament, fitted with a ring cowl and painted with the special blue fuselage coloring of Naval executive aircraft. This plane was designated F4B-1A. Although the Model 83/89 had both been submitted to the Navy, the Model 89 was loaned to and tested by Army pilots at Bolling Field, which was located just on the other side of the airstrip from Anacostia. Like their Navy counterparts, the Army pilots were impressed. As a result of the Army pilots' reports on the Model 89, Boeing received a contract for ten P-12s (Ser Nos 29-353/362) on November 7, 1928. These airplanes bore the company designation of Model 102. This order by the Army was quite unusual, because they had not even tested a prototype, simply having "borrowed" the Navy's plane for the tests. The first nine P-12s were similar to the F4B-1 naval version with the exception of the deletion of the arrester hook and other purely naval equipment. The first P-12 completed was handed over to Air Corps Captain Ira C. Eaker on February 26, 1929 for use in a good-will high-speed flight to Central America. The first flight of a "standard" P-12 was on April 11, 1929. The last example was delivered on April 26. The basic P-12 was the only model in the Army series to use the tapered ailerons of the prototypes. Production P-12s were delivered with fairings aft of the engine cylinders, but cooling problems led to their removal soon afterwards. The P-12 was powered by the 500 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-7 radial. Maximum speed was 158 mph at sea level and 171 mph at 5000 feet. Initial climb was 2080 ft/min. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 5.8 minutes. Service ceiling was 28,200 feet and range was 520 miles. Weights were 1758 lb. empty, 2536 lb. gross. Armament was the same as that of the prototypes--a pair of 0.30-cal or one 0.50-cal and one 0.30-cal machine guns.

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Boeing P-12

The last P-12 (Ser No 29-362) was delivered as the XP-12A (Boeing Model 101). It incorporated various refinements suggested to Boeing by Army pilots. The differences included the use of Frise balanced ailerons with hinge lines lying parallel to the wing spar, a shorter undercarriage, a long-chord engine cowling, redesigned elevators, and a castoring tail skid in place of the fixed skid of the P-12. The first flight of the XP-12A took place on April 11, 1929. However, after only four hours of flying, it was destroyed in a midair collision with another P-12 at Wright Field on May 18. Nevertheless, evaluation of the remaining P-12s sufficed to eliminate some of the minor snags. The P-12B was an improved version, owing a great deal to Army experience with its nine P-12s. On June 10, 1929, Boeing received an order for 90 P-12Bs, the largest single aircraft order placed by the Army in peacetime thus far. Serials were 29-329/341 , 29-433/450 and 30-029/087. The company designation for the P-12B was Model 102B. The P-12B could be distinguished outwardly from the P-12 by the Frise balanced ailerons as originally fitted to the XP-12A, by the revised elevators, and by the use of slightly larger wheels. The landing gear and uncowled engine were the same as on the P-12 (omitting the cylinder fairings), but some P-12Bs were retrofitted with ring cowlings developed on later versions. Rail delivery of dismantled P- 12B aircraft began on February 1, 1930 The first P-12B flew May 12, 1930, and the last example was delivered on May 17. The P-12B was somewhat heavier than the P-12, and its performance suffered accordingly. The engine was the 500 hp Pratt and Whitney R- 1340-9. Weights were 1956 lb. empty, 2638 lb. gross. Maximum speed was 166 mph at 5000 feet. Initial climb rate was 2040 ft/min Service ceiling was 27,450 feet, and range was 540 miles. The armament was the same as that of the P-12. The P-12C was an improved P-12B with a later engine and some minor refinements. The Army ordered 131 P-12Cs on June 2, 1930. Serials were 31-147/277. The company designation for the P-12C was Model 222, and the the naval equivalent of the Army P-12C was F4B-2. The P-12C differed from the Bversion in having an engine ring cowl and a spreader bar undercarriage similar to that fitted to the original Model 83. This undercarriage arrangement had been first tried out on the experimental XP-9. Wingtip navigational lights were provided. Delivery of dismantled P-12C aircraft to the Army began August 30, 1930 and was completed on February 12, 1931. The first recorded flight of a P-12C was on January 30, 1931. In the event, only the first 96 examples of the original order (31-147/242) were actually completed as P-12Cs, the remaining 35 being completed as P-12Ds. In addition, Ser Nos 31-152/154,156,157,159/161,175,195,209/212,233, and 234 were later converted to P-12D standards after having initially been delivered as Cs. The engine powering the P-12C was the 450 hp R-1340-9 (SR-1340D). Maximum speed was 175.5 mph at 10,000 feet and 176.5 mph at sea level. Initial climb was 1410 ft/min, service ceiling was 26,200 feet, and range was 580 miles. Weights were 1938 lb. empty, 2630 lb. gross. The Navy equivalent of the P-12C was the F4B-2. Serial numbers were 8621/8639 8791/8809.

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Boeing P-12

Only the first 96 examples of the original P-12C order (31-147/242) were actually completed as P-12Cs. The last thirty-five examples of the original P-12C order were completed as P-12Ds, beginning on February 25, 1931 and ending on April 28. Serial numbers of the Ds were 31-243/277. The company designation of the P-12D was Model 227. Deliveries of the P-12D began on February 25, 1931, and were completed on April 28. The first flight of a P-12D was made on March 2, 1931. The P-12D differed only internally from the P-12C. On the P-12D, the ignition harness was on the front of the engine rather than behind it as on the P-12C. In addition, the cowling support struts visible on the P-12C were not used on the P-12D. The P-12D was powered by the more powerful 525 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-17. Performance was improved. Maximum speed was 178 mph at 7,000 feet and 176.5 mph at sea level. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 5.8 minutes. Initial climb was 1410 ft/ min, service ceiling was 25,400 feet, and range was 475 miles. Weights were 1956 lb. empty, 2648 lb. gross. Both C and D models were later retrofitted with P-12E vertical tails by the Army. The best-known version of the P-12 series was the P-12E. The P-12E had its origin in the private venture Model 218 which flew for the first time on September 29, 1930. The Model 218 was a company-owned aircraft intended to develop new features for the P-12/F4B series. It was essentially a P-12B with a semimonocoque metal fuselage structure similar to that of the experimental XP-9 monoplane. It had a tail wheel in place of the tail skid of the earlier versions. A pilot's headrest was provided behind the cockpit. The fin and rudder of the Model 218 were originally the same as that of the P-12B, but they were soon enlarged to a more rounded form. An experimental Army designation of XP-925 was assigned during testing with a R-1340D engine and was changed to XP-925A when an R-1340E engine was installed. Empty weight increased to 1954 lb, gross weight was 2694 lb. Speed with the altitude-rated R-1340D engine was 195 mph at 8000 feet. The Model 218 was temporarily fitted with wheel spats in an attempt to obtain additional speed. The Model 218 was tested by both the Army and Navy under bailment contracts. During the test program, the Model 218 bore the civil registration X66W. The Model 218 was sold to China after the testing was completed. Once there, it was flown by the American volunteer pilot Robert Short. In an air battle over Shanghai in 1932, it destroyed two out of three attacking Japanese fighters before it was shot down. The Army ordered the Model 218 into production as the P-12E (Boeing Model 234). 135 P-12Es were ordered on March 3, 1931. 110 aircraft (31-553 to 586 and 32-1 thru 76) were delivered as such between September 19 and October 15 of 1931. They bore the factory designation of Model 234. The naval equivalents were designated F4B-3 and F4B-4. The first flight of a P-12E took place on October 15, 1931. The P-12E was the most widely used and long-lived of the Army series. It used the new fuselage and tail surfaces of the Model 218, but most other components were essentially those of the P-12D. The P-12E was initially fitted with a tailskid, but it was replaced in service with a tailwheel as first tried out on the Model 218. P-12Es were originally built with flotation gear in the upper wing as on previous

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Boeing P-12

models, but this feature was deleted in service and replaced in most examples by a rubber life raft for the pilot stored in an enlarged "Panama" headrest, so named because it was originally developed for use in the Canal Zone area. This gave the P-12E a distinctive "hunchback" appearance. The maximum speed was 189 mph at 7,000 feet, and initial climb was 1920 feet/min. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 5.8 minutes. Weights were 2014 lb. empty, 2701 lb. gross. Service ceiling was 31,400 ft and range was 585 miles The last 25 aircraft of the March 1931 order (Ser No 32-077/101) were powered by 600 hp R-1340-19 engines, rated for maximum performance at 10,000 feet, 3000 feet higher than the -17 in the P-12E. As this significantly altered the performance characteristics, these aircraft were designated P-12F (Model 251). Deliveries of the P-12F took place between March 6 and May 17, 1932. The last ten P-12Fs had tailwheels rather than tailskids, but tailwheels were later retrofitted to all the E's and the F's. Many P12Fs were fitted in service with the "Panama" headrest. The maximum speed was 195 mph at 10,000 feet, and initial climb was 1784 feet/min. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 4.2 minutes. Weights were 2035 lb. empty, 2726 lb. gross. Service ceiling was 31,400 ft and range was 300 miles The last aircraft in the P-12 batch (Ser No 32-101) was fitted experimentally with an enclosed cockpit and sliding canopy. The production history of the P-12 ends with the F-version. All later versions were produced by "oneoff" conversions of earlier variants. P-12E Ser No 31-553 was redesignated XP-12E on October 1, 1931 immediately after delivery. This was used to identify a standard example of the E-series withdrawn from service for test work, and was not considered as a prototype. It was later restored to service and resumed its P-12E title. The XP-12G was produced by the conversion of P-12B Ser No 29-329 by fitting it with an experimental Y1SR-1340G (R-1340-15) radial engine equipped with turbosuperchargers and ring cowlings. Later, other experimental versions of the R-1340 were fitted to this airframe. After the series of tests were over, the plane reverted to standard P-12B configuration. P-12D Ser No 31-275 was modified as the XP-12H to accommodate an experimental Pratt and Whitney GISR-1340E geared radial engine and a P-12E tail. This engine arrangement turned out to be unsatisfactory and the aircraft was returned to P-12D configuration in June 1932. P-12E Ser No 32-042 became P-12J with installation of a 575 hp Pratt and Whitney SR-1340H (R-134023) engine and a special bombsight. This engine improved the service ceiling but gave few other advantages. This plane became one of the seven YP-12Ks after yet another engine change. The XP-12E, the P-12J, and five standard P-12Es (32-033, -036, -040, -046, and -049) became YP-12Ks when SR-1340E engines with fuel injection were installed for service trials. One YP-12K was flown with a combination of ski-wheel chassis. All reverted back to P-12E standards in June, 1938.
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Boeing P-12

YP-12K 31-553 (ex XP-12E) was redesignated XP-12L on January 2, 1934 when fitted with a Type F-7 turbosupercharger. It reverted back to YP-12K in February 1937 and then to P-12E in June 1938. Boeings were used by the 17th Pursuit Group (34th, 73rd, and 95th Squadrons) at March Field, and the 20th Pursuit Group (55th, 77th and 79th Squadrons) at Barksdale Field. The older P-12s equipped the overseas units; the 3rd Squadron in the Philippines, the 16th Pursuit Group (24th, 29th , 745h, and 79th Squadrons) in the Canal Zone, and the 18th Pursuit Group (6th and 19th Squadrons) in Hawaii. The P12E and F remained in service with front-line pursuit units until replaced by Boeing P-26s in 1934 and 1935. Thereafter, they were relegated to secondary roles and to training duties. Most P-12E and Fs were grounded and assigned to mechanics's schools in 1941. After American entry into the war, twenty-three miscellaneous P-12s (P-12C: 31-151,- 154,-209,-210; P-12D: 31-245, -258; P-12E: 31-561,-564,-576,32010,- 013,-025,-033,-040,-041,-044,-046,-048, -057, -066,-069,-074; P-12F: 32-85) were handed over to the Navy for use as radio-controlled target aircraft. These were all referred to by the Navy as F4B-4A, the A designating their former Army status. They were assigned Navy serial numbers 2489/2511 in the second series. Most were shot down during training exercises. P-12E 32-017 which had been given to civilian schools in 1940-41 was later obtained by the Ontario Air Museum in California from the California Polytechnic Institute. It was slowly restored to display conditions and was made airworthy in 1962 under the civil registration N3360G. It was painted as a Navy F4B-3 for Navy celebrations of Armed Forced Day in 1961. In 1962, it was repainted to its correct configuration as a P-12E. It is now based at the Museum's new facilities at Chino Airport, California. Ser No 31-559 was a former ground school P-12E which was acquired by a private owner and donated to the US Air Force Museum at Wright- Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. It was rebuilt and put on display in the markings of the 6th Pursuit Squadron which it once carried. Yours truly saw it there in May of 1992. Quite a thrill! Sources: 1. American Combat Planes (3rd edition), Ray Wagner, Doubleday, New York, 1982. 2. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 3. "Boeing F4B-4", Peter M. Bowers, in "Aircraft in Profile", Doubleday, 1969. 4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 5. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing P-12

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Berliner-Joyce XP-13 Viper

Berliner-Joyce XP-13 Viper


Last revised June 7, 1998

The XP-13 Viper was the last fighter built by the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation of Ithaca, New York. The Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation had started life in early 1917 when the Thomas Brothers Aeroplane Company merged with the Morse Chain Works. The Thomas-Morse outfit built the well-known S-4 fightertrainer of World War 1, which never actually served in combat, but became a very popular participant at postwar air shows. They also designed and developed the MB-3, the first American fighter of indigenous design to enter service. However, under the bizarre military procurement policy of the early 1920s, Boeing actually obtained the bulk of the production contracts for the MB-3. During the 1920s, Thomas-Morse specialized in the construction of all-metal designs, observation planes, and racers, although a few unsuccessful fighter projects were attempted. Like lots of other companies, Thomas-Morse found that firm military orders were hard to come by. The XP-13 (named "Viper" by the company) was created for the new 600 hp Curtiss H-1640-1 Chieftain twelve-cylinder 2-row air cooled engine. Thomas-Morse's experience with the manufacture of all-metal aircraft stood them in good stead in the design of the Viper. The fuselage had an all-metal structure covered by a corrugated aluminum-sheet skin. The wing was of wooden construction with fabric covering, but the ailerons were made of corrugated metal sheet. Tail surfaces were of metal and fabric, but the control surfaces were covered with corrugated sheet metal. The Viper was delivered to the USAAC for evaluation in early 1929. The aircraft was tested at Wright Field in June 1929 as P-559, then purchased by the Army and designated XP-13. The serial number was 29-453. Performance was satisfactory, but the Chieftain suffered with insurmountable cooling problems. Similar problems had been encountered with Curtiss-built fighters powered by this engine. The XP-13 had an empty weight of 2262 lbs and a gross weight of 3256 lb. The maximum speed was 172.5 mph at sea level, 169.9 mph at 5000 feet. The XP-13 could climb to 5000 feet in 3 minutes, and the service ceiling was 20,800 feet. The XP-13 was not fitted with any armament. Because of the insoluble overheating problems, the Chieftain engine was abandoned. The XP-13 prototype then had a new engine installed in September 1930, a 525 hp Pratt and Whitney SR-1340-C enclosed in a NACA cowling, along with a revised fin and rudder. The designation was changed to XP-13A. The change to a new engine resulted in even better performance. The XP-13A had an empty weight of 2224 lbs and a gross weight of 3194 lb. Maximum speed was 188.5 mph at 5000 feet. The XP-13A could climb to 5000 feet in 3.5 minutes, and service ceiling was 24,150 feet. A USAAC performance report of 1930 described the XP13A as having a "comfortable feel" in all aerobatics and that it "makes a wonderfully smooth slow roll". However, by then the opportunity was lost. and the Army never ordered the aircraft into production. The Viper caught fire during its last test flight and was destroyed in the resulting crash.

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Berliner-Joyce XP-13 Viper

A second Viper was to have been built by Curtiss under the designation XP-14. However, the failure of the Chieftain engine was to cause this project to be cancelled before any aircraft could be built. The failure of the XP-13 to win a contract was catastrophic for the Thomas-Morse company. In August, 1929, the Thomas-Morse company was taken over by the Consolidated Aircraft Company of Buffalo, New York. The Thomas-Morse company disappeared as a separate entity shortly thereafter. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

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Curtiss XP-14

Curtiss XP-14
Last revised June 7, 1998

The Curtiss XP-14 was a proposed Curtiss-built version of the Thomas- Morse XP-13 Viper. The failure of the Chieftain engine which was to power both the XP-13 and the XP-14 resulted in the cancellation of the XP-14 project, and the XP-14 was never built. Source: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p14.html09-09-2006 10:28:44

Boeing XP-15

Boeing XP-15
Last revised June 7, 1998

By the end of the 1920s, Boeing had realized that the biplane fighter was soon going to reach the end of the line, and that the monoplane held the key to the future. Rather than start with a radically new design, as had been attempted in the abortive XP-9, Boeing decided to adapt an existing design for its next monoplane fighter project. From the start, the project was a company-financed venture, with no promises of support from the military. As first planned, the new Boeing design was merely the basic Model 89 (second prototype of the F4B/P12 series) redesigned as a monoplane through deletion of the lower wing and the addition of struts to support the upper wing which was moved slightly aft to keep the center of lift in the correct position. This design was known by Boeing as the Model 97, but was not built. Following a decision to go to allmetal construction with a new fuselage design based on the XP-9 (Model 96), the designation was changed to Model 202. The reason for the large gap in company designations was due to the fact that company model numbers 103 through 199 had been reserved for Boeing-designed aerofoil sections. The Model 202 that finally emerged was essentially a P-12/F4B with the lower wing removed and with a newly-designed parasol wing of increased wingspan attached to the fuselage by numerous struts. The wing was similar to that of the upper P-12 wing except for a 6-inch increase in span, the substitution of built-up dural spars and ribs for wood, and the use of dural skin for covering. The undercarriage was of split-axle design, and a tail wheel replaced the tail skid of the P-12. The portion of fuselage aft of the undercarriage rear attachment point was a semi-monocoque all-metal structure with dural formers, longitudinal stiffeners, and dural skin. The structure forward of this point was welded steel tubing covered with removable access panels and cowling. The original metal skin of the tail surfaces was smooth, but the second fin-rudder combination that was used was covered with corrugated metal. External tail bracing was similar to that of the biplanes. The undercarriage was of split-axle design, and a tail wheel replaced the tail skid of the P-12. The powerplant was the Pratt and Whitney SR-1340D Wasp air-cooled radial, rated at 450 hp at 8000 feet. Since the Model 202 was a company venture rather than a military- financed project, it carried a civil registration (X-270V) rather than a military serial number. The Model 202 flew for the first time in January of 1930. The shape of the vertical tail was changed to that eventually standardized for the later P-12E and a ring cowl similar to that installed on production P12Cs was added before the XP-15 was sent to Wright Field. The military designation of XP-15 was assigned unofficially when the USAAC accepted the Model 202 at Wright Field for flight test under a
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Boeing XP-15

bailment contract on March 10, 1930. During tests at Wright field, the XP-15 attained a maximum speed of 163 mph at sea level and 190 mph at 8000 feet. The initial climb rate was 1800 ft/min at 800 feet. Service ceiling was 26,550 feet and range was 421 miles. Weights were 2052 lb empty, 2746 lb gross. The aircraft was to have been armed with two 0.30 cal machine guns, but these were never actually fitted. The deletion of the lower wing increased the top speed of the XP-15 over that of the P-12B, but the rate of climb, the maneuverability, and the landing speed all suffered from the decrease in wing area. Consequently, the design was not accepted for production by the military, and the Army never actually purchased the XP-15 prototype. Therefore, it was never assigned a USAAC serial number. The XF5B-1 was an almost identical duplicate of the Model 202 that had been ordered for the US Navy. It differed mainly in being fitted for operation from aircraft carriers as a fighter-bomber. An arrester hook was fitted. The engine was a supercharged Pratt and Whitney SR-1340C offering 480 hp at sea level. The company designation for this aircraft was Model 205. The Model 205 was delivered to the Navy in February 1930. Like the Model 202, it was originally tested by the Navy under a bailment contract and bore the civil registration X-271V. By the time that test flights were terminated at the beginning of 1932, it had been decided that the monoplane still did not have the reliability needed for a successful carrier-based airplane. Although the Navy did not accept the aircraft as a production type, they nevertheless purchased the airplane and the designation XF5B-1 became official. The serial number was A-8640. After three years of testing, the airframe was static tested to destruction. After return to the factory from Wright Field, the XP-15 was used for further test and development work, in the vain hope that it might eventually be granted an Army contract. However, all such hopes were dashed on February 7, 1931, when the XP-15 crashed near Seattle after a propeller blade failed during a vertical climb following a high speed run. The resulting vibration shook the engine out of the airframe. The program was abandoned shortly thereafter. Although the aerodynamic design was not accepted by the Army, many of the structural features of the XP-15 were incorporated into later models of the P-12/F4B series then in production. Sources: 1. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 2. "Boeing F4B-4", Peter M. Bowers, in "Aircraft in Profile", Doubleday, 1969. 3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 4. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing XP-15

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Berliner-Joyce P-16/PB-1

Berliner-Joyce P-16/PB-1
Last revised June 7, 1998

The Berliner-Joyce P-16 is not exactly one of the best-known fighters of the between-wars period. It is remembered today only by aviation historians and by such amateur buffs as myself. The P-16 had the distinction of being the last biplane fighter to enter service with the USAAC. In addition, the P-16 was the only two-seat biplane fighter to enter production for the Army since 1918. The Berliner-Joyce Aircraft Corporation of Dundalk, Maryland is not exactly a household name in the annals of aviation. Only the most esoteric of aviation historians still remember the name of this relatively obscure company today. It was founded by Henry Adler Berliner and Temple Nach Joyce in 1929. Henry Berliner had in 1922 opened up an aircraft company in Pennsylvania which had marketed a two-seat touring plane and which had experimented with early rotorcraft patents. Temple Joyce was a well-known aviator with World War 1 combat experience. Unfortunately, the founding of the BerlinerJoyce company coincided with the outbreak of the Great Depression, and the new company was forced to abandon its ambitious plans for a line of civilian monoplanes. Instead, they concentrated on designs they hoped to sell to the USAAC and to the US Navy. One of the early Berliner-Joyce projects was the result of an USAAC decision in April 1929 to launch a design competition for a two-seat fighter. The perceived need for a two-seat fighter is sort of strange, the single seat fighter by that time having been accepted as the standard. Perhaps the USAAC wanted to give its fighters some protection against attack from the rear where single-seat fighters of the time were very vulnerable. Against competition from Boeing and Curtiss, Berliner-Joyce won the design competition in June, 1929. and a single prototype was ordered under the designation XP-16. The serial number was 29- 326. The prototype was known as TP-2 in company documents. The XP-16 prototype was powered by a liquid-cooled 600 hp Curtiss V-1570A Conqueror with supercharging. A two-blade propeller with conical spinner was fitted. A tunnel radiator was mounted underneath the engine. Airframe and wings were of metal tubing construction with fabric covering. The upper wing was of gull configuration, and was attached at the roots to the upper fuselage. The lower wing was shorter and narrower and positioned slightly behind the top wing (positive stagger) Two crewmen sat in tandem, pilot in front and gunner in back. The XP-16 was delivered to Wright Field on September 1, 1930. It gave a relatively good account of itself when tested. Maximum speed was 176 mph at sea level, 186 mph at 5000 feet. It could climb to 5000 feet in 2.6 minutes. Service ceiling was 26,200 feet. Weights were 2756 lb empty, 3727 lb gross. Two 0.30-in machine guns were mounted in the upper fuselage cowling, firing through the propeller arc.
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Berliner-Joyce P-16/PB-1

The second crewman fired a single flexible 0.30-cal machine gun. In addition, two 122-lb bombs could be carried. During 1931, orders were placed for fifteen, followed by a further ten preseries aircraft. Serials were 31502/515; 31-597 and 32-221/230. First delivery to Wright Field was on March 1, 1932. Airframes of the series aircraft were identical to the prototype, but the engine was changed to a 600 hp V-1570-25 without supercharger driving a three-bladed propeller. The speed and operational ceiling dropped dramatically as a result. The P-16 had a maximum speed of 175 mph at sea level, 172 mph at 5000 feet. Service ceiling was 21,600 feet, and the P-16 could . climb to 5000 feet in 2.9 minutes. Weights were 2803 lb empty, 3996 lb gross. Apart from the deleterious affect of having an unsupercharged engine, the pilot had poor visibility during landing, and the center of gravity was too far forward, making landing and takeoff rather hazardous. Most of the P-16s went to the 94th Pursuit Squadron, which passed its Curtiss P-6Es on to the 33rd Squadron. During service, the P-16s were redesignated PB-1 (PB for Pursuit, Biplace). Their poor performance and hazardous landing/takeoff properties caused them to be taken out of front-line service on January 21, 1934, after having been operational for only a few months. In spite of the problems the Army had encountered with the P-16, in 1931 the Navy ordered a carrierbased version which it designated XF2J-1. Since the Navy favored radial engines for its fighters, the XF2J-1 was powered by by the 625 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1510-92 Hornet. The XF2J-1 differed from the P-16 in having a wider fuselage to accommodate the larger engine. In the original design the two cockpits were open, but an enclosed sliding canopy was subsequently fitted. The Bureau of Aeronautics number was 8973. Because of the financial difficulties encountered by the Berliner-Joyce company, the XF2J-1 was two years in the making. By the time that the XF2J-1 was finally ready in 1934, the Grumman FF-1 was also ready, far outclassing all competitors. Testing showed that, like the P-16, the XF2J-1 had very poor landing visibility, a particularly fatal defect in a carrier-based airplane. In addition, the decision on the part of Wright to discontinue development of the R-1510-92 radial did not help, and the Navy did not order any further examples of the XF2J-1. The Berliner-Joyce company could not long survive the dearth of military orders in the early 1930s. In 1933, North American Aviation, Inc. acquired a controlling share ownership of the Maryland-based company. In 1934, the Berliner-Joyce company officially became a division of North American. Shortly thereafter, what was left of the old Berliner-Joyce company was transferred from Maryland out to Inglewood, California. The name Berliner-Joyce vanished from the aviation scene forever. Sources: 1. American Combat Planes (3rd Edition), Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

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Berliner-Joyce P-16/PB-1

3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Curtiss XP-17

Curtiss XP-17
Last revised September 12, 1999

The first Curtiss P-1 off the production line (Ser No 25-410) had been used as an test machine throughout its entire life. For a time, it had been used to test an experimental inverted Allison air-cooled variant of the "Liberty" engine, but no change in designation had been made. However, when it was used as a testbed for the new 480 hp Wright V1460-3 Tornado inverted V-12 air-cooled engine in June 1930, the designation XP-17 was applied. This experiment had not been performed by Curtiss, but rather by the Engineering Division of the USAAC, and the experimental designation was intended to indicate the test status of the airframe, and was not meant to designate a new experimental fighter prototype. The XP-17 achieved a maximum speed of 165 mph at sea level and 161 mph at 5000 feet. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 8 minutes. Service ceiling was 21,400 feet. Weights were 2204 lb. empty and 2994 lb gross. Since no production was envisaged, the engine cowling was a simple sheet metal shell designed to cover the engine without much concern for aerodynamics. The performance of the XP-17 was uninspiring, and the experiment went no further. The aircraft was scrapped in March 1932 after testing was completed. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Curtiss XP-17

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Curtiss XP-18

Curtiss XP-18
Last revised June 8, 1999

The Curtiss XP-18 was a proposed biplane fighter built around the Wright V-1560 12-cylinder inline aircooled engine. This engine was cancelled, and the aircraft never got off the drawing board. Source: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p18.html09-09-2006 10:29:12

Curtiss XP-19

Curtiss XP-19
Last revised June 8, 1999

The Curtiss XP-19 was a proposed low-wing monoplane fighter built around the new Wright V-1560 12cyliner inline air-cooled engine. The Wright engine was cancelled, and the XP-19 project never got off the drawing board Sources: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p19.html09-09-2006 10:29:18

Curtiss YP-20

Curtiss YP-20
Last revised June 8, 1999

It is probably a gross understatement to say that the designation scheme used by the Army for its pursuit aircraft during the late 1920s and the early 1930s was bizarre and inconsistent. Sometimes, an experimental change in powerplant in an existing pursuit design would call for an entirely new designation. On other occasions, it would call only for a new version letter in the existing designation. And sometimes it would call for no redesignation at all. Often, an existing pursuit airframe would be taken off the production line, experimentally fitted with a new engine, given a new designation, and then would revert back to the old designation when the engine was removed. No example typified the eccentricities of the designation system more than the wild gyrations which produced the Curtiss YP-20. The history of the YP-20 can be said to start back with the first Army production contract for the Curtiss P-6 Hawk. The designation P-11 had been reserved by the Army for a version of the P-6 powered by the 600 hp Curtiss H-1640 Chieftain two-row twelve-cylinder air-cooled engine. Three P-11s had been ordered (Ser Nos 29-267, 29-268, and 29-374) by the Army at the same time that the original P-6 order had been issued. However, in tests with other airframes the Chieftain engine had proven itself to be completely unsatisfactory, being subject to chronic overheating problems. The Chieftain engine project was cancelled while the P-11 airframes were still on the production line. The three P-11 airframes were then used for other purposes. 29-267 and 29-368 were fitted with Conqueror engines and then delivered to the Army as standard P-6s. However, 29-374 was to have an entirely different fate. In October 1930, Ser No 29-374 was fitted with a 650 hp Wright R- 1870-9 Cyclone radial engine. The fin and rudder were changed slightly by raising the division between the rudder balance areas and the top of the fin by half a rib space. The aircraft was redesignated YP-20, continuing the rather bizarre practice of giving new pursuit designations to existing airframes which had been experimentally fitted with different kinds of engines. A large set of wheel pants was briefly fitted to the YP-20 in the interest of attaining greater speed. The YP-20 had a maximum speed of 187 mph at sea level and 184 mph at 5000 feet. The initial climb rate was 2600 feet/minute, and an altitude of 5600 feet could be attained in 2.3 minutes. Service ceiling was 26,700 feet. Weights were 2477 lbs empty, 3323 lbs gross. The YP-20 was armed with two 0.30-cal machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage decking, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. In June, 1931, the YP-20 participated unsuccessfully in a flyoff against a standard P-6, a standard Boeing P-12, and the Conqueror- powered XP-22. The high speed of the XP-22 won it a production order for 46 production examples under the designation YP-22.
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Curtiss YP-20

After the tests were over, Ser No 29-374 was fitted with a V-1570-23 Conqueror engine and with the new nose, belly radiator, and single-leg undercarriage first tried out on the XP-22. With these changes, Ser No. 29-374 was redesignated XP-6E, and became the prototype for the famed P-6E version of the Hawk. After having proven out the P-6E concept, the aircraft was fitted with a turbosupercharger and became the P-6F. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Curtiss XP-21

Curtiss XP-21
Last revised September 12, 1999

The Curtiss XP-21 is yet another example of the infuriatingly inconsistent designation system used by the USAAC during the 1920s and early 1930s. The history of the XP-21 begins with the Curtiss P-3 pursuit. The P-3 was an attempt to adapt the Curtiss P-1 single-seat biplane fighter to a radial engine. The last P-1A of the series (Ser. No 26-300) had been modified as the XP-3A with the replacement of the original liquid-cooled Curtiss D-12 by a 410 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-1 air-cooled radial engine. This airplane flew for the first time in April 1928, and became the prototype for the P-3A series, of which only five examples were built (Ser Nos 28-189/193). In 1930, XP-3A Ser No 26-300 and P-3A Ser No 28-189 were used as flying test-beds for the new 300 hp Pratt and Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine. These planes were then redesignated XP-21. This new designation was intended to identify a particular test configuration and was not intended to indicate a new prototype. The first flight of an XP21 took place in December 1930. Tests did not convince the Army that there was any intrinsic superiority of the radial engine as a powerplant for the Hawk. Consequently, XP21 Ser No 28-189 was later fitted with a D-12 engine and became a standard P-1F. However, XP-21 Ser No 26-300 continued on as a testbed and became XP-21A when it was fitted with an improved 300 hp R-975 Wasp Junior engine. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.
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Curtiss XP-21

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Curtiss XP-22

Curtiss XP-22
Last revised June 9, 1999

The Curtiss XP-22 is one of the steps in the convoluted process of evolution and adaptation which produced the famous Curtiss P-6E pursuit. It was basically the third P-6A (Ser No 29-262) which was used to test new radiator and oil cooler installations for a V-1570-23 engine. Under the bizarre designation scheme used by the Army during the late 1920s and early 1930s, the experimental use of a different engine was thought to call for an entirely new designation, and the aircraft was redesignated XP-22. Final modification produced an entirely new nose, with belly radiator and oil cooler, machine guns lowered to troughts on the sides of the fuselage under the engine cylinder banks rather than between them as on previous versions. A new single-leg undercarriage was also installed. The XP-22 flew for the first time in June of 1931. Weights were 2597 lbs empty, 3354 lb gross. During tests, the XP-22 achieved a maximum speed of 202.4 mph at sea level and 195.5 mph at 10,000 feet. Initial climb rate was 2400 ft/min, and an altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 2.3 minutes. Service ceiling was 26,500 feet. Armament consisted of a pair of 0.30-cal machine guns mounted on the fuselage sides and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. In June 1931, a flyoff was held between a standard P-6, a standard Boeing P-12, a YP-20 with the Cyclone radial, and the XP-22. The XP-22's speed of 202.5 mph at sea level gained it the upper hand over all its rivals, and won it an order for 46 service test versions under the designation Y1P-22. However, for budgetary reasons, this designation was changed to P-6C and finally to P-6E before the planes were delivered. After the tests were completed, these new features were removed from the XP-22 and were replaced by the original equipment, and the aircraft reverted to a standard P-6A. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.
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Curtiss XP-22

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Curtiss XP-23

Curtiss XP-23
Last revised June 9, 1999

The Curtiss XP-23 was the last biplane fighter design to be produced by the Curtiss company, and was perhaps one of the best-looking fighter biplanes ever produced by any manufacturer. The last P-6E in the USAAC order (Ser No 32-278) had been held back at the Curtiss factory for tests. It was completed with an entirely new monocoque aluminum fuselage, new tail surfaces, a new nose, new landing gear, and a turbosupercharged and geared Curtiss G1V-1570-C engine. A three-bladed propeller was fitted. The nose was much sharper and more pointed than that of the P-6E, giving a much more aerodynamically-clean appearance. The cooling radiator was mounted on the underside of the fuselage between the landing gear legs, just as it was on the P-6E. The wings had the same design as the P-6E, but were of all-metal construction rather than wood. However, the wings still had a fabric covering. The result was an airplane quite different in appearance from the P-6E. Since it was essentially a new design, the aircraft was redesignated XP-23 by the USAAC. The XP-23 was delivered to the USAAC on April 16, 1932. Weights were 3274 lb empty, 4124 lb gross. Maximum speed was 180 mph at sea level, 223 mph at 15,000 feet. Initial climb was 1370 ft/min, service ceiling was 33,000 feet, and range was 435 miles. Armament was one 0.50-cal and two 0.30-cal machine guns, all mounted in the nose. Although the XP-23 was the fastest biplane fighter yet produced and had an improved altitude performance, the USAAC recognized that the era of the biplane fighter had finally come to an end. Since they had already ordered the Boeing P-26A monoplane fighter, the Army opted not to go ahead with an order for production examples of the P-23. Even though no production orders were forthcoming, tests still continued with the XP-23. The XP-23 designation was switched to YP-23 when the status changed from "experimental" to "service test". As YP-23, it had its supercharger removed and the three-bladed propeller was replaced by a two-bladed unit. This airplane was later used in a rather interesting test to determine the effects of radiator drag on high-speed aircraft. For a brief period, the aircraft was flown without any radiator at all, the cooling water being pumped through the engine from an isolated tank and discharged overboard rather than being recirculated. Sources: 1. "United States Military Aircraft Since 1909", Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers,

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Curtiss XP-23

Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. "The American Fighter", Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. "Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947", Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. "The Curtiss Army Hawks", Peter M. Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

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Lockheed YP-24

Lockheed YP-24
Last revised June 10, 1999

The Lockheed-Detroit YP-24 of 1931 was a design ahead of its time. It was the first USAAC low-wing monoplane fighter with retractable undercarriage and was the first USAAC fighter with enclosed cockpits. Perhaps more significantly for later developments, it was the first military pursuit design to carry the Lockheed name, although at that time Lockheed was owned by the Detroit Aircraft Corporation of Michigan. The Lockheed Aircraft Company of Santa Barbara, California had been a going concern all throughout the 1920s, its best-known product being the famous Vega high-wing monoplane which had set so many records. However, in 1929, the management of Lockheed voted to sell majority share ownership to the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, a Michigan-based holding company which already owned the Ryan and Eastman aircraft companies and which also had a substantial manufacturing capacity in Detroit. In July 1929, the Detroit Aircraft Corporation acquired 87 percent of the assets of Lockheed. On the surface, it appeared that the change of owners was not going to affect the day-to-day business of Lockheed, and the operationally-independent California team went right on producing Vegas, Air Expresses, and Explorers. New designs were also forthcoming: In 1929 Lockheed produced the Sirius, in 1930 they produced the Altair, and in 1931 the Orion appeared. However, the Detroit holding company had some ideas of its own, and these resulted in Lockheed's first entry into the pursuit field. The Detroit company undertook the private development of a prototype of a two-seat fighter based on the design of the Lockheed Altair low-wing cantilever monoplane of 1930. The Altair was unique for its time in that it possessed a cantilever monoplane wing with a fully-retractable main undercarriage. The chief engineer responsible for the project was Robert J. Woods, who was based in Detroit. A mockup of the fighter was completed in March of 1931. It bore the Wright Field project number of XP-900. The slim metal fuselage and the metal tail surfaces were built by Detroit Aircraft, but the wood-framed, plywood-covered wings as well as the undercarriage were essentially those of the Altair and were built by Lockheed in
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Lockheed YP-24

California. The final assembly and the initial testing of the aircraft were done in Detroit by the parent company. The XP-900 was powered by a 600 hp Curtiss Conqueror V-1570C (the military designation was V-1570-23) liquid-cooled 12-cylinder vee engine driving a three-bladed propeller. The tunnel radiator and the oil cooler were housed beneath the engine just ahead of the wing. The crew of two (pilot and gunner) was housed back to back in enclosed cockpits. The aircraft was armed with two synchronized machine guns (one 0.30-in and one 0.50-in) mounted in the upper fuselage nose, plus one flexible 0.30-cal gun operated by the gunner firing upward and to the rear. Brief manufacturer's trials were conducted in Detroit during the summer of 1931. The XP900 was delivered to Wright Field on Sept 29, 1931. At that time, the plane was purchased by the USAAC and given the designation YP-24. It was assigned the USAAC serial number of 32-320. The YP-24 underwent testing as a potential replacement for the Berliner-Joyce P-16 two-seat pursuit. The speed of the YP-24 was impressive for its time-it was 40 mph faster than the P-16, but it was also 20 mph faster than the P-6E, at that time the fastest fighter in the USAAC inventory. Maximum speed was 235 mph. Initial climb was 1820 feet/minute. Service ceiling was 25,000 feet and range was 556 miles. Weights were 3010 lbs. empty, 4360 lbs. loaded. As a result of the tests, the War Department ordered five Y1P-24 two-seat fighters and four Y1A-9 attack planes. The Y1A-9 attack version differed from the pursuit version in being powered by a V-1570-27 rated at a lower altitude and carried a heavier forwardfiring armament plus bombs. The YP-24 seemed to have a promising future ahead of it. However, on October 19, 1931 the YP-24 prototype was lost when its pilot was ordered to bale out rather than attempt a wheels-up landing after the undercarriage lever had broken off. This problem was, of course, easily correctable, but for reasons unrelated to the YP-24 accident, some rather harsh economic realities were about to overtake the Detroit Aircraft Corporation. The timing of Detroit's acquisition of Lockheed had been particularly unfortunate, since it took place only three months before the stock market crash which was to plunge the USA into the Great Depression. As the Depression deepened, the Detroit Aircraft holding company found that it was in over its head. Rising losses from other operations drained it of any profit. On October 27, 1931, the Detroit Airctraft Corporation went into
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Lockheed YP-24

receivership. The bankruptcy of the Detroit holding company meant that it could not undertake the manufacture of the Y1P-24s and Y1A-9s. The project was tentatively shelved. It did not revive until after Robert Woods had joined the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, but that is another story! It looked like the Depression had Lockheed on the ropes. The bankruptcy of its holding company caused the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation subsidiary to be placed under the aegis of the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles. Staff was cut to the bone, but operations were able to continue on a shoestring basis. However, on June 16, 1932 the end of the line finally came and the doors of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation were shut. It would seem that Lockheed would be just one out of many casualties of the Depression, going down the tubes in much the same manner as did Thomas-Morse and Berliner-Joyce, its name never to be heard again. However, only five days after the doors of the corporation had been locked, a miracle took place. A new group of investors bought the assets of the now-defunct Lockheed Aircraft Corporation for only $40,000, and the company was brought back from the dead. And the rest, as they say, is history! Sources:
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 2. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

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Consolidated Y1P-25

Consolidated Y1P-25
Last revised June 10, 1999

When Lockheed's holding company, the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, went into receivership in 1931, they were unable to fulfill their contract to manufacture YP-24 fighters for the USAAC. In addition, Detroit Aircraft's chief engineer Robert J. Woods was now out of a job. However, Woods was soon recruited by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York. Robert Woods continued to work on his YP-24 design when he went over to Consolidated. Despite the failure of the Detroit company, the USAAC was still interested in the YP-24 design. The Army ordered a single prototype of Wood's basic design from Consolidated under the designation Y1P-25. The serial number was 32-321. At first glance, Consolidated's Y1P-25 looked much the same as did the Detroit YP24. It was a two-seat, low wing monoplane with fully-retractable main landing gear. However, there were significant differences. The Y1P-25 had an all-metal wing in place of the wood-frame, plywoodcovered wing of the YP-24. In addition, the tail of the Y1P-25 was larger, and metal was substituted for the fabric covering on the tail control surfaces. The engine was a 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-27 Conqueror, 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with turbosupercharger mounted on the port side (the YP-24 had no supercharger). The armament was two fixed, forward-firing machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage, plus one flexible machine gun operated by the gunner in the rear cockpit. A second prototype of the basic Consolidated design was built as a ground attack aircraft. Designated Y1A-11, the aircraft differed from the Y1P-25 primarily in having a Conqueror engine without a supercharger. In addition, the Y1A-11 had two more guns in the nose and racks for up to 400 pounds of bombs. The serial number of the Y1A-11 was 32-322. The Y1P-25 was delivered to the Army on December 9, 1932. First tests were very encouraging. Thanks to the turbosupercharger, the Y1P-25 could achieve 247 mph at 15,000 feet in spite of 700 lbs more weight as compared to the YP-24. The maximum speed was 205 mph at sea level. The Y1P-25 could climb to 10,000 feet in 6.7 minutes. Weights were 3887 lbs empty, 5110 lbs gross. The flight tests with the Y1P-25 and its Y1A-11 attack counterpart went quite well. However, the Y1P25 crashed on January 13, 1933, and was so badly damaged that it was a writeoff. The Y1A-11 crashed a week later. In spite of the two crashes, the USAAC did not feel that there was any intrinsic flaw in the basic design, and later that month a contract for four production examples was issued under the designation P-30 (Ser Nos 33-204/207). The P-30 differed from the Y1P-25 by having a 675 hp Curtiss V-1570-57 with twinhttp://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p25.html (1 of 2)09-09-2006 10:30:01

Consolidated Y1P-25

blade constant-speed prop, simplified undercarriage, and revised cockpit canopy. Four similar A-11s (33308/311) were also ordered with unsupercharged V-1570-59 engines. Plans for the construction of two Y1P-25s with Pratt and Whitney radial engines which were allocated the designations YP-27 and YP-28 did not materialize. Sources: 1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

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Boeing P-26

Boeing P-26
Last revised June 12, 1999

Boeing XP-26 Boeing P-26A Boeing P-26B Boeing P-26C Boeing Model 281 Operational History of Boeing P26

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Consolidated YP-27

Consolidated YP-27
Last revised June 12, 1999

The Consolidated YP-27 was to have been a version of the Y1P-25 two-seat monoplane fighter powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-21 air-cooled radial engine in place of the Curtiss Conqueror liquidcooled, inline engine. It was never built. Sources: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Consolidated YP-28

Consolidated YP-28
Last revised June 12, 1999

The Consolidated YP-28 was to have been a version of the Consolidated Y1P-25 with a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-19 air-cooled radial engine in place of the Curtiss Conqueror liquid-cooled inline engine. It was never built. Sources: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing YP-29

Boeing YP-29
Last revised June 12, 1999

The Boeing YP-29 was an attempt to produce a modernized version of the highly successful P-26 pursuit aircraft. The YP-29 originated as the Boeing company's Model 264 project. The Model 264 was a new and more advanced fighter design developed at company expense in the interval between the appearance of the XP-936 (P-26 prototype, company designation of Model 248) and the delivery of the first P-26A (Model 266) to the Army. The new model was initiated as a private venture by Boeing in collaboration with the Army, in which the company agreed to construct three prototypes under a bailment contract. Basically, the Model 264 was an updated and modernized P-26. It differed from the P-26 in having fullycantilever wings and a retractable undercarriage. The undercarriage was similar to that which appeared on the Monomail, in which the main landing gear wheels retracted backwards about halfway into the wings. The fuselage and the tail unit were basically the same as those of the P-26. The engine was the tried and true Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp air-cooled radial, basically the same type of engine which powered the P-26. The aircraft had the same armament as did the P-26A, namely one 0.30-cal and one 0.50 cal machine guns mounted in the fuselage sides and firing between the cylinder heads of the radial engine. The first Model 264 to leave the Boeing factory featured a narrow sliding cockpit enclosure that was essentially a transparent continuation of the pilot's oversize protective headrest all the way to the windshield frame. The engine was the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-31 Wasp of 550 hp, essentially identical to the engine which powered the engine. However, the radial engine was enclosed in a full NACA cowling rather than being surrounded by the narrow Townend ring that was used on the P-26. The airplane made its maiden flight on January 20, 1934 and was flown to Wright Field for Army testing 5 days later. The plane was originally tested by the Army on a bailment contract under the experimental military designation of XP-940. During testing, the XP-940 achieved a maximum speed of 220 mph at 10,000 feet. The gross weight was 3814 pounds. Upon testing of the XP-940, the Army decided on June 29, 1934 to buy it and its two sister ships. The pursuit designation of P-29 was assigned. In the meantime, the XP-940 had been returned to the factory in March for modifications. The Army did not like the narrow cockpit enclosure, feeling that it restricted pilot vision too much. Consequently, Boeing replaced the narrow sliding cockpit enclosure by a standard open cockpit installation, but the distinctive long headrest that extended all the way to the tail was
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Boeing YP-29

retained. The engine was replaced by a 600 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-35. The full NACA engine cowling that had been originally used was replaced by a drag ring similar to that which appeared on the P-26A. The modified XP-940 was returned to the Army in April of 1934. The newly-configured plane flew for the first time on June 4, 1934. Later that June, when the Army purchased the airplane outright, it was assigned the designation YP-29A and given a serial number of 34-24. It eventually became just plain P29A after an engine change to a 600 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-27 in place of the R-1340-35. The cleaner design of the YP-29A resulted in a plane which was 16 mph faster than the P-26A, but the greater weight cut down on the ceiling and the maneuverability, and the Army cancelled an intended P29A order. The three prototypes were subsequently used strictly for experimental purposes. As mentioned earlier, the military was displeased with the narrow cockpit enclosure of the XP-940. The second Model 264 ordered by the Army was completed with a large and roomy glasshouse enclosure around the cockpit. In addition, the tailwheel was housed in a different fairing. The engine was the 600 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-35, enclosed in an anti-drag ring. The plane was delivered to the Army on September 4, 1934 under the designation YP-29 with a serial number of 34-23. Despite its earlier Army designation and serial number, it was actually the second Model 264 to fly. Weights were 2509 lbs. empty, 3518 lbs. gross. Maximum speed was 250 mph at 10,000 feet. Initial climb was 1600 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 26,000 feet, and absolute ceiling was 26,700 feet. Range was 800 miles. This new cockpit enclosure satisfied the requirement for pilot protection at 250 mph operating speeds. Nevertheless, the landing speed of the YP-29 was considered too high for Army operational use. Because of the increased landing speed of the new monoplane design, the YP-29 was returned to the factory for the installation of wing flaps. Following service testing by the Army and Boeing, which included trials with controllable pitch propellers, the service test designation was dropped and changed to plain P-29 after the engine was changed to a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-39. The third Model 264 was completed as YP-29B with an open cockpit configuration similar to that of the YP-29A. The serial number was 34-25. It was delivered to the USAAC on October 11, 1934. The only outward differences between it and the YP-29A were the addition of a one-piece wing flap similar to that of the YP-29, an additional one degree of dihedral in the wing, and an oleo tail wheel assembly similar to that of the YP-29. The YP-29B was sent to Chanute Field in Illinois for service testing. It was eventually redesignated just plain P-29B. Sources: 1. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Boeing YP-29

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Consolidated P-30/PB-2A

Consolidated P-30/PB-2A
Last revised February 26, 2000

The P-30 was the production version of the Consolidated Y1P-25 two-seat monoplane fighter which in turn had evolved from the Lockheed-Detroit YP-24. It was the first aircraft to be built by Consolidated in its new factory at San Diego, California, after the company had relocated from Buffalo in 1935. Based on tests with the Consolidated Y1P-25, a contract for four production examples (33204/207) was placed by the Army on March 1, 1933. For some reason, the Army decided to give the production version of the Y1P-25 a completely different designation, and the P30 number was next in line. Overall, the P-30 was quite similar to the Y1P-25 which preceded it, but was powered by a different engine, a 675 hp Curtiss V-1570-57 Conqueror with driving a two-blade constant-speed propeller. In addition, the undercarriage was simplified and the cockpit canopy was revised. At the same time, four similar A-11 attack versions (Ser Nos 33-308/311) were ordered. These A-11s were to be powered by V-1570-59 engines without superchargers, since high altitude performance was not considered important for an attack plane. Tests of the first P-30 (33-204) began at Wright Field in January of 1934. Although the Army was generally pleased with the performance of the P-30 (especially with its highaltitude performance), pilots complained that the gunner who sat in a partly open cockpit was of limited value, as his position ensured that he would black out whenever maneuvering started. Maximum speed was 239 mph at 15,000 feet and 194 mph at sea level. Weights were 3832 lbs empty, 5092 lbs. gross. The P-30 could climb to 10,000 feet in 7.6 minutes. Range was 495 miles. Armament was two 0.30-cal machine guns in the nose, plus one flexible 0.30-cal machine gun operated by the gunner in the rear cockpit. Three of the P-30s were issued in 1934 to the 94th Pursuit Squadron, stationed at Selfridge Field, Michigan. The fourth P-30 (33-205) was never issued to an operational unit. Despite misgivings about the value of the second crewman, on December 6, 1934, 50 P30As were ordered by the Army under contract W535-AC-7220. This contract was
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Consolidated P-30/PB-2A

finalized on February 19, 1935. Serial were 35-001/050. These aircraft were redesignated PB-2A (PB for Pursuit, Biplace) before delivery. The engine which powered the PB-2A was the 700 hp Curtiss V-1570-61, with General Electric F-2H turbosupercharger. The PB2A was equipped with a three-bladed controllable-pitch propeller. In addition, it carried oxygen for the crew, an absolute requirement for the altitudes at which the PB-2A was capable of operating. The first production PB-2A came off the new line at San Diego and flew for the first time on December 17, 1935. The PB-2A had a maximum speed of 274 mph at 25,000 feet, 255.5 mph at 15,000 feet, and 214 mph at sea level. It could climb to 15,000 feet in 7.78 min. Service ceiling was 28,000 feet and range was 508 miles. Weights were 4306 lb empty, 5643 lbs gross. Armament consisted of two fixed 0.30-cal machine guns in the upper cowling synchronized to fire through the propeller arc, plus a single 0.30-cal machine gun operated by the gunner in the rear seat. In addition, the PB-2A could carry ten 17-pound fragmentation bombs. Unfortunately, the first PB-2A crashed at Wright Field in late May. Nevertheless, the deliveries of the PB-2A built up quite rapidly, being completed by July 1936. The PB-2A initially served with the 27th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan. A few were also operated by that group's 94th Squadron. In 1937, the 1st Pursuit Group converted to Seversky P-35s and their PB-2As were passed on to the 33rd, 35th, and 36th Squadrons of the 8th Pursuit Group based at Langley Field, Virginia. A few wee also issued to the 60th Service Squadron at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On October 17, 1936, A PB-2A flown by Lt. John M. Sterling won the Mitchell Trophy race at Selfridge Field at a speed of 217.5 mph. In March 1937, a PB-2A reached an altitude of 39,300 feet over Langley Field and remained there for 20 minutes, but high altitude flights were seldom performed in practice because of the expense, inconvenience, and discomfort of the bulky pressure suits. The PB-2A proved to be a sturdy aircraft, and there were relatively few fatal accidents. However, the retractable undercarriage of the PB-2A was a relatively new and unfamiliar innovation, and on numerous occasions pilots forgot to lower it before landing. In the spring of 1939, the 8th Pursuit Group reequipped with the Curtiss P-36, and most of the 35 or so surviving PB-2As were transferred to Maxwell Field, Alabama. A few others were transferred to Eglin Field. By 1941, most were out of use. The last one was donated
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Consolidated P-30/PB-2A

to a ground school in March of 1942. I don't know if any examples survive today. Although the PB-2A was not exactly one of the shining lights in American aviation history, it nevertheless did chalk up an impressive list of firsts. The PB-2A was the only single-engined two seat monoplane fighter to attain operational status with the USAAC during the inter-war year, it was the first fighter in service with the USAAC to have a fully retractable undercarriage, it was the first fighter with a constant speed propeller, and it was the first truly successful application of a supercharger to an operational military aircraft. However, the two-seat fighter design concept was outdated by the time it appeared. The idea of defending the fighter against attack from the year by stationing a second crew member in the rear cockpit never gained much support. The penalties entailed in terms of lost speed and maneuverability caused by the added load seemed to be too high a price to pay for the addition of just one more gun. Consequently, the service life of the PB-2A was quite short. In 1936, the USAAC held a competition for a replacement for the Boeing P-26 fighter. Since the second crewman seemed to be the main drawback of the PB-2A, the Consolidated company thought that a single-seat version of their fighter might be successful in the competition. In April 1936, PB-2A Ser No 35-7 was converted by Consolidated to single-seat configuration and entered in the USAAC competition. It differed from the standard PB-2A in having the rear cockpit removed and the position faired over with a raised decking, but was otherwise quite similar to the PB-2A. Competitors were the Seversky SEV-1XP, the Curtiss Model 75, and the Northrop 3A. Unfortunately, flight tests revealed that the single-seat PB-2A fighter was still much too heavy in comparison to its competitors to make an effective fighter. And if that wasn't enough, the single-seat PB-2A crashed during testing, which permanently doomed its chances. The ultimate winner of the competition was the Seversky design, which entered production as the P-35. Some of the PB-2As serving with the Army were used for tests. PB-2A Ser No 35-26 was used to test a laminar flow aerofoil in 1940 with a new structure built over the existing wing. The P-33 was a proposed version of the P-30 powered by a new Pratt & Whitney R-18301 radial engine. This project never got off the drawing board. Sources:
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Consolidated P-30/PB-2A

1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 2. General Dynamics Aircraft And Their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990
3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


4. Singular Two Seater, Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, Issue 85, 2000

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Curtiss XP-31

Curtiss XP-31
Last revised April 3, 2003

The Curtiss Model 66 Swift was an unsuccessful competitor against the Boeing XP-936/P26 for the US Army's interim monoplane pursuit of 1932. Encouraged by the Army, Curtiss undertook the development of a new pursuit as a private venture for which the Army agreed to provide the powerplant and the military equipment under a bailment contract. The experimental project number XP-934 was assigned. The all-metal Swift drew heavily on the Curtiss A-8 Shrike attack plane. Like the P-26, the Curtiss Swift was an intriguing mixture of the old and the new. It was fitted with a lowmounted monoplane wing with external bracing struts. The fixed, non-retractable undercarriage was enclosed by a set of spats. The pilot's cockpit was fully enclosed by a sliding canopy. The wing was fitted with trailing-edge flaps and carried a set of full-span leading-edge slats that opened automatically at 15 mph above stalling speed. Armament was four 0.30-cal machine guns, two in troughs in the nose and two in external packages on each side of the cockpit. The Swift had originally been planned for the 600 hp Curtiss Conqueror liquid-cooled V12 engine, but the Army believed that this engine was nearing the end of its development cycle and insisted that the powerplant be changed to the 700 hp Wright R-1820 Cyclone air cooled radial. The aircraft was also fitted briefly with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial. The Swift left the factory in July 1932. During the early flight testing, the performance was found to be rather disappointing. Within a month, the Cyclone radial was replaced by a Curtiss G1V-1570F Conqueror of 600 hp, which was the engine that Curtiss had wanted all along. Although the speed increased, other performance characteristics suffered because the plane was now seriously overweight. Maximum speed was 215 mph at sea level, initial climb rate was 2130 ft/min, service ceiling was 22,700 feet, and range was 396 miles. Weights were 3334 lbs. empty, 4143 lbs. gross. The Army bought the XP-934 in February 1933 and assigned it the designation XP-31 and the serial number 33-178. The civil-type engine was replaced by an equivalent militaryhttp://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p31.html (1 of 2)09-09-2006 10:30:47

Curtiss XP-31

type V-1570-53 engine. The XP-31 was re-designated ZXP-31 (Z for obsolete) and was retired to an Air Corps mechanics' school in July 1936. It was surveyed at Edgewood Arsenal on December 10, 1936. Sources:
1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft: 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 4. E-mail from Terence Geary on fate of XP-31

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Boeing XP-32

Boeing XP-32
Last revised June 12, 1999

XP-32 was the USAAC designation given to the Boeing Model 278A, a company-financed design project of 1934. The XP-32 was basically a developed version of the earlier P-29 with a 750 hp P & W R-1535 Twin Wasp radial engine. The project drawings show a low-wing, cantilever monoplane design with a fully-retractable undercarriage and a fully-enclosed cockpit with a rearward-sliding canopy. The XP-32 design looked a lot like the Model 264 (YP-29A), but the XP-32 differed in the means by which the undercarriage was retracted. Whereas the P-29's main wheels retracted rearwards to lie partiallyexposed underneath the wing, the main wheels of the XP-32 retracted inward to be stowed flush with the sides of the fuselage, a pattern that would be followed by the Brewster F2A-1 Buffalo of 1938. The gross weight was 3895 pounds. The USAAC did not encourage the development of the project, and the XP-32 never got past the design stage. Boeing got out of the fighter business altogether shortly thereafter. Boeing was not to submit another fighter design to the military until the XF8B-1 long-range carrier-based fighter-bomber of late 1944. Sources: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 2. Boeing Aircraft since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p32.html09-09-2006 10:30:53

Consolidated XP-33

Consolidated XP-33
Last revised June 12, 1999

The Consolidated XP-33 was a proposed adaptation of the P-30 two-seat fighter to take an 800hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-1 radial engine in place of the 700 hp turbosupercharged Curtiss V-1570-61 liquidcooled V12-engine. It was never built. Sources: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p33.html09-09-2006 10:30:58

Wedell-Williams XP-34

Wedell-Williams XP-34
Last revised June 12, 1999

The Curtiss company had demonstrated that it was possible to evolve a successful pursuit design from a racing aircraft. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the Wedell-Williams Company, one of the bestknown manufacturers of racing planes during the 1920s and 1930s, would also attempt to adapt its racing designs to a fighter proposal. The Wedell-Williams company submitted a cantilever, low-wing monoplane powered by a 700 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1535 Twin Wasp radial housed in a tightly-fitting cowling that looked too big for the rest of the airframe. The landing gear retracted inward to be stowed under the fuselage, and the cockpit was fully enclosed by a rearward-sliding canopy. The cockpit was situated well-aft, reminiscent of the manufacturer's racing planes from which the design was evolved. A maximum speed of 286 mph was anticipated. The proposal was sufficiently appealing to the USAAC that on October 1, 1935 they ordered that a set of construction drawings be prepared under the designation XP-34. However, by 1936, fighters were already flying with performances exceeding that of the proposed XP-34. When confronted with this reality, the Wedell-Williams company proposed that the engine be switched to the 900hp Pratt & Whitney XR-1830-C radial in the pursuit of better performance. However, this revision failed to interest the USAAC, and the whole program was cancelled before anything could leave the drawing board. Source: 1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p34.html09-09-2006 10:31:05

Seversky P-35

Seversky P-35
Last revised June 12, 1999

Seversky P-35 Seversky P35A Seversky NF-1

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p35.html09-09-2006 10:31:15

Curtiss P-36

Curtiss P-36
Last revised June 13, 1999

Curtiss P-36A Curtiss P-36B Curtiss P-36C Curtiss P-36D Curtiss P-36E Curtiss P-36F Curtiss P-36G Curtiss Model 75A Demonstrator Curtiss Hawk With Armee de l'Air RAF Mohawk Hawk 75A-5 for China Hawk 75A-9 for Iran Hawk 75A-6/75A-8 for Norway Hawk 75A-7 for Netherlands Simplified Hawk

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p36.html09-09-2006 10:31:21

Curtiss XP-37

Curtiss XP-37
Last revised June 13, 1999

In early 1937, the USAAC expressed an interest in seeing how much the performance the P-36 could be improved if its radial engine were replaced by the new turbosupercharged Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine. On February 16, the USAAC placed an order with Curtiss for a single P-36 airframe to be powered by this new engine. In response to this USAAC request, Curtiss's chief designer Donovan Berlin fitted a 1150 hp Allison V1710-11 turbosupercharged engine to the original Model 75 prototype airframe. He positioned the three Prestone cooling radiators immediately behind the engine. In order to balance the aircraft and to make room for the radiators, the pilot's cockpit was moved quite far aft. Except for the cockpit relocation and the V-12 liquid-cooled engine, the XP-37 was otherwise identical to the P-36. The modified Model 75 prototype was redesignated Model 75I by Curtiss and was delivered to the Army as a new airframe. It was designated XP-37 with Army serial number 37-375. The XP-37 flew for the first time in April 1937 and was delivered to the army in June. The XP-37 attained a maximum speed of 340 mph at 20,000 feet and a service ceiling of 35,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be reached in 7.1 minutes. Gross weight was 6350 lbs. The aircraft was equipped with what was the standard USAAC armament of the time--one 0.30-in and one 0.50-in machine gun mounted in the fuselage and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. Almost from the first, the XP-37 aircraft ran into trouble. The supercharger was extremely unreliable, and the performance of the aircraft fell short of expectations. In addition, the positioning of the cockpit that far aft on the fuselage resulted in extremely poor visibility, especially during takeoffs and landings. >p> The XP-37 was retired to an Army mechanics' school in August 1941 with a total of only 152 hours of flying time. Although the new engine/supercharger combination was quite troublesome in the XP-37, the Army was nevertheless impressed by the potential of the design, and on December 11, 1937 they ordered 13 service test YP-37s. Serials were 38-472/484. These used Allison V-1710-21 engines fitted with improved B-2 superchargers, revised nose contours, a 25-inch increase in fuselage length aft of the cockpit, and most of the aerodynamic improvements worked out on the XP-37. The first one of these flew in June of 1939. However, the YP-37s continued to suffer with the same supercharger problems of the X-model and did not live up to their potential. All but one of the YP-37s were out of service or retired to mechanics' schools by early 1942. The highest-time aircraft had only 212 hours. The last active
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Curtiss XP-37

example (38-474) was transferred to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) for research in August 1942. It survived until January 1946. The YP-37 was powered by a 1000 hp Allison V-1710-21. Wing span was 37 feet 3 1/2 inches, length was 32 feet 11 1/2 inches, and wing area was 236 square feet. Weights were 5592 lbs empty, 6700 lbs gross. Maximum speed was 340 mph at 10,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 8 min 30 sec. Service ceiling was 34,000 feet. In the meantime, the USAAC had already held a competition for a new fighter in January 1939, and had chosen another Berlin design, the Model 75P which was also derived from the P-36. This was eventually to emerge as the famous P-40. All further work on the P-37 was abandoned. Sources: 1. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979 2. The Curtiss Hawk 75, Aircraft in Profile No. 80, Profile Publications, Ltd. 1966 3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1961.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p37.html (2 of 2)09-09-2006 10:31:28

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Lockheed P-38 Lightning


Last revised June 19, 1999

Lockheed XP-38 Lightning Lockheed YP-38 Lightning Lockheed P-38 Lightning Lockheed XP-38A Lightning Lockheed P-38B/C Lightning Lockheed P-38D Lightning Lightning I for RAF Lockheed P-38E Lightning Lockheed F-4 Lightning Lockheed P-38F Lightning Lockheed P-38G/F-5A Lightning Lockheed P-38H Lightning Lockheed P-38J Lightning Lockheed P-38K Lightning Lockheed P-38L Lightning Lockheed P-38M Lightning P-38 in European Theatre P-38 in Pacific Theatre P-38 with US Navy and Foreign Air Forces

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p38.html09-09-2006 10:31:33

Bell P-39 Airacobra

Bell P-39 Airacobra

Bell XP-39 Airacobra Bell YP-39 Airacobra Bell P-39C Airacobra Bell P-39D Airacobra Airacobra I for RAF, P-400 Bell P-39D-1,2 Airacobra Bell XP-39E Airacobra Bell P-39F Airacobra Bell P-39J Airacobra Bell P-39G/H Airacobra Bell P-39K Airacobra Bell P-39L Airacobra Bell P-39M Airacobra Bell P-39N Airacobra Bell P-39Q Airacobra Bell XFL-1 Airabonita, XF2L-1 Wartime Service of P-39 with USAAF Airacobras to Portugal Airacobras to the Soviet Union Airacobras to Italy Airacobras to Free French Airacobras to Australia Postwar Racing

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p39.html09-09-2006 10:31:40

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Tomahawk, Kittyhawk

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Tomahawk, Kittyhawk

Curtiss XP-40 Curtiss P-40 Curtiss P-40A Curtiss P-40B Curtiss P-40C Curtiss Tomahawk Curtiss P-40D, Kittyhawk I Curtiss P-40E, Kittyhawk IA Curtiss P-40F Warhawk, Kittyhawk II Curtiss P-40G Curtiss P-40J Warhawk Curtiss P-40K Warhawk, Kittyhawk III Curtiss P-40L Warhawk, Kittyhawk II Curtiss P-40M Warhawk, Kittyhawk III Curtiss P-40N Warhawk, Kittyhawk IV Curtiss P-40Q Warhawk Curtiss P-40R Warhawk P-40 with Royal New Zealand Air Force

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p40.html09-09-2006 10:31:55

Seversky XP-41

Seversky XP-41
Last revised August 12, 2005

The last aircraft on the Seversky P-35 contract (36-430) was delivered in 1938 as the XP41 (company designation Model AP-2) with a revised wing and a 1200-hp R-1830-19 air cooled radial engine with a medium-altitude two-stage turbosupercharger in place of the standard 850 hp R-1830-9 engine. The supercharger was located in a ventral position just aft of the wings and had its air intake in the left wing root. Overall length was increased from 25 feet 2 inches to 27 feet 0 inches. In addition, this aircraft had a fully retractable undercarriage, the legs and wheels folding inward into the wings and fuselage. The canopy was somewhat lower than that of the standard P-35, and was more aerodynamically streamlined. The XP-41 made its first flight in March, 1939, shortly before the Seversky company threw out Major de Seversky as its CEO and changed its name to Republic Aviation Corporation. A maximum speed of 323 mph at 15,000 feet was attained. Maximum range was 1860 miles. Empty weight was 5390 pounds and maximum loaded weight was 7200 pounds. Armament was the same as that of the standard P-35--one 0.50-in and one 0.30-in machine gun. On January 25, 1939, with war clouds gathering in Europe, the USAAC invited manufacturers to submit proposals for new pursuit aircraft. At this time, the Army was still thinking in terms of low-altitude, short-range fighters. Among the contenders were the Lockheed XP-38, the Bell XP-39, no less than three planes from Curtiss, the H75R, XP40, and XP-42, plus two parallel designs from Seversky/Republic--the XP-41 (AP-2) and XP-43 (AP-4). Although the XP-40 could not match the performance (especially at altitude) of the turbosupercharged types, it was less expensive and could reach quantity production fully a year ahead of the other machines. In addition, the XP-40 was based on a already-proven airframe that had been in production for some years. Consequently, on April 26, 1939, the Army adopted a conservative approach and ordered 524 production versions under the designation P-40 (Curtiss Model 81). Although the XP-41 showed significantly better performance than that of the standard P-35, the Army preferred the other Seversky/Republic development, the high-altitude AP-4 which was eventually to
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p41.html (1 of 2)09-09-2006 10:34:54

Seversky XP-41

emerge as the YP-43, and the XP-41 was not developed any further. Sources:
1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

1964.
2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter

Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.


4. E-mail from Vahe Demirjian

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p41.html (2 of 2)09-09-2006 10:34:54

Curtiss XP-42

Curtiss XP-42
Last revised June 26, 1999

The fourth Curtiss P-36A (serial number 38-4) was used by the US Army and NACA for aerodynamic research in an attempt to overcome the aerodynamic drag penalty inherent in large-diameter air-cooled radial engines as compared to narrower liquid-cooled Vee-type engines. The aircraft was given the company designation of Model 75S, and the USAAC assigned it the designation of XP-42. As initially delivered in March of 1939, the XP-42 had a special 1050 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-31 radial engiine fitted with a long extension fitted to the propeller shaft and nose casing which permitted the use of a streamlined nose with a large propeller spinner. The intake for cooling air was located under the engine, and the intake for carburetor air was located above the engine. The initial configuration of the XP-42 suffered from serious overheating problems and from vibrations of the propeller shaft. Attempts to cure these problems resulted in no less than twelve different cowling designs being tested on the XP-42. Various types of cowl flaps were fitted, and short-nose high- and low- inlet velocity cowlings were tried with and without fans. The nose was progressively shortened until the airplane gradually once again resembled a P-36A. The XP-42 was entered by Curtiss in the 1939 USAAC fighter competition. Although the XP-42 was faster than the P-36A, it was slower than the XP-40. Consequently, the XP-42 lost out to the XP-40 for production orders. The XP-42 was finally scrapped in January 1947. Sources: 1. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979 2. The Curtiss Hawk 75, Aircraft in Profile No. 80, Profile Publications, Ltd. 1966 3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1961. 4. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p42.html (1 of 2)09-09-2006 10:34:59

Curtiss XP-42

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p42.html (2 of 2)09-09-2006 10:34:59

Republic P-43 Lancer

Republic P-43 Lancer


Last revised June 26, 1999

The Republic P-43 Lancer was a progressive development of the Seversky P-35. It can be regarded as an "intermediate" between the P-35 and the superlative P-47. During 1938, the Seversky Aircraft Corporation initiated work on two developments of the P-35. One was the AP-2, a conversion of an existing P-35 airframe with a Pratt and Whitney R-1830-19 radial containing an integral, medium altitude supercharger. The other was the AP-4, with a similar engine but with a turbosupercharger mounted in the rear fuselage aft of the cockpit. The airframes of the AP-2 and AP-4 were almost identical to each other, and both featured inward-retracting main undercarriage members. The AP-2 was eventually delivered to the USAAC as the XP-41. It was unsuccessful in attracting any production orders. Initially, the AP-4 featured a close-fitting engine cowling and an inordinately large propeller spinner in an attempt to reduce drag. However, this arrangement caused cooling problems and a more orthodox radial cowling was fitted at an early stage. Initially, the AP-4 looked a lot like its P-35 predecessor--the cockpit was raised quite high and there was a large area of transparency behind the pilot. On March 12, 1939, thirteen service test models of the AP-4 were ordered by the Army under the designation YP-43. Serial numbers were 39-704/716. The YP-43 differed from the original AP-4 in several respects. The cockpit was lowered in an attempt to reduce drag, the rear fuselage upper decking was raised, and the transparent area behind the cockpit greatly reduced. The tailwheel leg was made longer. The air intake for the turbosupercharger was moved from the port wing root and was mounted underneath the engine inside the deeper, oval-shaped cowling. The two 0.5-inch machine guns in the engine cowling were supplemented by a pair of wing-mounted 0.3-inch machine guns. The Pratt and Whitney R-1830-35 engine was adopted, offering 1200 hp for takeoff and 1100 hp at 20,000 feet. The first YP-43s were delivered to the Army in September 1940. By this time, Major de Seversky had been ousted as president of Seversky, and his company had changed its name to Republic Aviation Corporation. The last YP-43 was delivered by April 1941, the type being given the name *Lancer*. Maximum speed was 349 mph at 25,000 feet. Initial climb rate was 2850 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 38,000 feet, and range was 800 miles. Wingspan was 36 feet, length was 27 feet 11 inches, height was 14 feet, and wing area was 223 square feet Weights were 5656 pounds empty and 7300 pounds gross. Although the weight of the YP-43 was excessive, the turbosupercharger gave the new aircraft a considerable advantage in both speed and operational ceiling over the earlier P-35.
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p43.html (1 of 4)09-09-2006 10:35:05

Republic P-43 Lancer

However, by 1941, the Lancer was already outdated by the rapid advances in air combat technology that had taken place in Europe. It suffered from poor maneuverability and climbing performance, and lacked such modern innovations as armor protection for the pilot and self-sealing fuel tanks. Consequently, the Army did not anticipate ordering any more P-43s beyond the initial service-test contract. In fact, on September 13, 1939, the Army had already ordered eighty examples of the more advanced AP-4J from Republic under the designation P-44. However, combat reports coming out of Europe in the spring of 1940 indicated that even the P-44 would not be up to the task, and Alexander Kartveli began to consider the successor which was eventually to emerge as the P-47 Thunderbolt. On September 13, 1940, all work on the P-44 was cancelled in favor of the P-47. It would seem, therefore, that the P-43 would have a rather bleak future. However, since the R-2800 Double Wasps that were to power the P-47 would not be available for some time, the Army felt that Republic's Farmingdale production lines needed to be kept busy in the interim. Consequently, the P-43 was ordered into production as a stop-gap measure. Fifty-four P-43 Lancers were ordered by the Army in late 1940. Serial numbers were 41-6668/6721. They were virtually identical to the YP-43. The engine was the turbosupercharged Pratt & Whitney R1830-47, delivering 1200 hp. The first P-43 was delivered on May 16, 1941, the last example being delivered on August 28, 1941. Maximum speed was 349 mph at 25,000 feet. Initial climb rate was 2850 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 38,000 feet, and range was 800 miles. Wingspan was 36 feet, length was 28 feet 6 inches, height was 14 feet, and wing area was 223 square feet Weights were 5654 pounds empty and 7810 pounds gross. Maximum takeoff weight was 7935 pounds. Armament consisted of two 0.50-inch and two 0.30-inch machine guns. The P-43 was immediately followed by the P-43A, 80 examples of which were ordered. Serials were 402891/2970. Deliveries began in September of 1941. The P-43A was essentially the same as the earlier P43, but differed in having the turbosupercharged R-1830-49 which afforded its full 1200 hp at 25,000 feet. Armament was increased to a full four 0.50-in machine guns, two in the fuselage and two in the wings. Deliveries began in September 1941. Maximum speed was 356 mph at 25,000 feet. An altitude of 15,000 feet could be reached in 6 minutes. Service ceiling was 36,000 feet, and range was 650 miles. Wingspan was 36 feet, length was 28 feet 6 inches, height was 14 feet, and wing area was 223 square feet Weights were 5996 pounds empty and 7435 pounds gross. Maximum takeoff weight was 8480 pounds. In the USAAF, the P-43 went to the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan, to the 55th Pursuit Group at Portland Field, and then to the 14th Pursuit Group at March Field, California. Their service life with these groups was quite brief, and they were quickly replaced by P-38 Lightnings as soon as they became available. On June 30, 1941, 125 further examples were ordered with Lend-Lease funds for supply to the Chinese Air Force, although their primary purpose was still to keep the Farmingdale production lines occupied

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Republic P-43 Lancer

until the Thunderbolt could be ready. The Chinese Lend-Lease P-43s were designated P-43A-1. Serial numbers were 41-31448/31572. The P-43A-1 differed from the P-43A by having a Pratt and Whitney R1830-57 engine with the same power. The four 0.50-inch machine guns were all concentrated in the wings. Some attempt was made to make the design more combat-worthy by adding such modern features as armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. Provision was made for the carrying of a 41.6 Imp. gall. drop tank, one 200-pound bomb, or six 20-pound bombs. maximum speed was 356 mph at 10,000 feet, service ceiling was 36,000 feet, and maximum ferry range was 1450 miles. Weights were 5996 pounds empty, 7435 pounds loaded, and 8480 pounds maximum. Wingspan was 36 feet 0 inches, length was 28 feet 6 inches, height was 14 feet 0 inches, and wing area was 223 square feet. Production of the P-43A-1 was completed in March of 1942, and 108 of these aircraft were ultimately transferred to China. They saw a certain amount of action there, but they proved uniformly unequal to the task at hand. They were handicapped by poor maneuverability and inefficient self-sealing fuel tanks and achieved little success against the Japanese. The USAAF always viewed the P-43 as only an interim type and considered it unfit for any combat role. None of the USAAF P-43s ever saw any action, being used strictly for advanced training in Stateside units. In 1942, most of the surviving USAAF P-43 and P-43A Lancers were converted as specialized photographic reconnaissance aircraft and redesignated P-43B. These were fitted with cameras in the rear fuselage. Most of these were used to train squadrons until Lockheed F-4s became available. Conversions to P-43B standards also included those P-43A-1s which did not get sent to China. A total of 150 Lancers were eventually converted to P-43B standards. Two other P-43As (serials 40-2894 and 40-2897) were modified as P-43C photographic reconnaissance aircraft, which were similar to the P-43B but with different photographic fixtures. Yet another set of modifications of existing P-43s (serials 41-6685, 41-6687, 41-6692, 41-6695, 41-6707, 41-6718) took place to produce the P-43D photographic version, which differed only in minor details from the P-43C. The designation P-43E was applied to a projected but unbuilt photo- reconnaissance version of the P43A with different types of fixtures. In August of 1942, six Lancers were withdrawn from USAAF stocks and transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). They served with No. 1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit, based at Coomlie, Northern Territory. The aircraft were two P-43Ds (A56-1 and -2) and four P-43A-1s (A56-3 to 6). Two more P-43Ds (A56-7 and A56-8) were delivered in November of 1942. A56-6 was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident, and A57-7 went missing on April 28, 1943 on a flight from Wagga Wagga in central New South Wales (the wreckage was not found until 1958). The remaining six were returned to the USAAF 5th Air Force at Charters Towers in 1943. I don't think that the RAAF Lancers ever saw any combat. In October 1942, surviving P-43s were redesignated RP-43, the R standing for "restricted from combat
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Republic P-43 Lancer

use". Sources: 1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green, Doubleday, 1964. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 4. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982 5. E-Mail from Gary Barns, Melbourne, Australia 6. Website of RAAF Museum, http://www.raafmuseum.com.au/research/index.htm

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p43.html (4 of 4)09-09-2006 10:35:05

Republic XP-44 Rocket

Republic XP-44 Rocket


Last revised June 26, 1999

The Republic P-44 Rocket was a progressive development of the P-43 Lancer. It can be regarded as yet another step along the road which led ultimately to the P-47 Thunderbolt. As described earlier, the AP-4 project was a progressive adaptation of the Seversky P-35 fighter powered by a turbo-supercharged Pratt and Whitney R-1830-35 radial engine. The supercharger was mounted underneath the rear fuselage and was fed by an air intake mounted beneath the engine. On March 12, 1939, thirteen service test models of the AP-4 were ordered by the Army under the designation YP-43. Although the weight of the YP-43 was excessive, the turbosupercharger gave the new aircraft a considerable advantage in both speed and operational ceiling over the earlier P-35. However, by 1939, the Lancer was already outdated by the rapid advances in air combat technology that had taken place in Europe. It suffered from poor maneuverability and climbing performance, and lacked such modern innovations as armor protection for the pilot and self-sealing fuel tanks. Consequently, the Army did not anticipate ordering any more P-43s beyond the initial service-test contract. On September 13, 1939, the Army ordered eighty examples of the more advanced AP-4J from Republic under the designation P-44. The P-44/AP-4J was basically similar to the P-43 but was provided with the more-powerful Pratt and Whitney R-2180-1 radial engine of 1400 hp. Drawings of the projected P-44 show an aircraft which looked very much like the P-43 but with a somewhat longer nose and a somewhat heavier armament of six machine guns. However, combat reports coming out of Europe in the spring of 1940 indicated that even the P-44 Rocket would not be up to the task, and Alexander Kartveli and his design team began to consider an even more advanced project known under the company designation of AP-10. A prototype of the AP-10 had been ordered by the USAAF in November 1939 under the designation XP-47. Since the USAAF regarded the XP-47 as showing greater promise, they cancelled all work on the P-44 project on September 13, 1940, before any P-44 prototype could be completed. 170 P-47Bs and 602 P-47Cs were ordered in their place. Kartveli and his team then concentrated all their efforts on the P-47 project, which was to turn out to be a wise decision indeed. However, P-47 development promised to be protracted, the first production aircraft not scheduled to roll off the production lines until late 1942. The Army felt that Republic's Farmingdale production lines needed to be kept busy in the interim. Consequently, the P-43 was ordered into production as a stop-gap measure.
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Republic XP-44 Rocket

Sources: 1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green, Doubleday, 1964. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Sqanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989. 4. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p44.html (2 of 2)09-09-2006 10:35:14

Bell XP-45 Airacobra

Bell XP-45 Airacobra


Last revised June 26, 1999

The Bell P-45 was the designation initially applied to the first proposed production model of the Bell XP39 Airacobra, even though it were almost identical to the YP-39 service test aircraft already under evaluation. However, in the political climate of 1940 it was virtually impossible for the USAAC to acquire any new aircraft. But it could order more examples of an already-existing model. Consequently, the designation of the Airacobra was changed to P-39C prior to the delivery of the first aircraft. Sources: 1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 4. The Calamitous 'Cobra, Air Enthusiast, August 1971.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p45.html09-09-2006 10:35:19

Curtiss XP-46

Curtiss XP-46
Last revised June 5, 1999

At the time when the Curtiss P-40 fighter was initially entering production, Curtiss's chief designer Donovan Berlin was already thinking about its successor. The P-40 was already largely obsolescent by contemporary European standards even before it had entered production, and early war experience in Europe suggested that more speed, more protection, and more firepower would very soon be required. Influenced by contemporary British and French thinking, Berlin submitted his ideas to the USAAC. The USAAC was sufficiently impressed that they issued a Circular Proposal (CP 39-13) based on Berlin's proposal. The Army ordered two prototypes from Curtiss under CP 39-13 on September 29, 1939. The designation was XP-46 and the serials were 40-3053 and 40-3054. The XP-46 was generally similar to its P-40 predecessor, but was somewhat smaller and featured a widetrack, inwardly-retracting undercarriage. The engine was to be the newly-developed Allison V-1710-39 (F3R) twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee of 1150 hp. This same engine was also later to power the Dversion of the P-40. In view of the relatively high wing loading, automatic leading-edge slots (a la Bf 109E) were fitted to the outer portions of the wing to give increased aileron control near the onset of the stall. Armament was to be two 0.50-in machine guns in the nose below the cylinder banks and no less than eight 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings. This made the XP-46 the most heavily-armed American fighter up to that time. A month after the initial XP-46 order, the USAAC modified their requirement and called for the provision of self-sealing fuel tanks and armor protection for the pilot. The maximum speed when fully armed and armored was to be a rather ambitious 410 mph at 15,000 feet. In order to save time and get something in the air as quickly as possible, the second prototype (40-3054) was delivered without armament or radio. This aircraft was redesignated XP-46A. The XP-46A was actually the first to fly, taking to the air on February 15, 1941. Even with all the military equipment taken off, the XP-46A was just barely able to achieve 410 mph at 12,200 feet, the required maximum speed when fully equipped. When the fully-equipped XP-46 flew for the first time on September 29, 1941, the additional weight of the military equipment slowed the fighter down to only 355 mph at 12,200 feet. In the meantime, while the XP-46 and XP-46A prototypes were still under construction, the USAAC decided in June of 1940 not to order the P-46 into production, but rather to order a similarly-powered version of the already-existing P-40. This was eventually to emerge as the P-40D. This option had the advantage in not disrupting Curtiss production lines by the introduction of a completely new airframe at
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Curtiss XP-46

a critical period. In the event, this turned out to have been a wise decision, since the fully-equipped XP46 was actually slower than the P-40D. Specification of the Curtiss XP-46: One 1150 hp Allison V-1710-29 liquid-cooled engine. Armed with eight 0.3-inch machine guns in the wings and two 0.50-inch guns in the nose. Maximum speed of 355 mph at 12,300 feet. Climb to 12,300 feet in 5 minutes. Service ceiling of 29,500 feet. Range at maximum cruising speed was 325 miles. Weights were 5625 pounds empty, 7322 pounds loaded, and 7665 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 34 feet 4 inches, 30 feet 2 inches long, 13 feet 0 inches high, and wing area 208 square feet. Sources: 1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Anguluci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987. 3. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.

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Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt


Last revised July 18, 1999

Republic XP-47B Thunderbolt Republic P-47B Thunderbolt Republic P-47C Thunderbolt Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Republic XP-47E Thunderbolt Republic XP-47F Thunderbolt Curtiss P-47G Thunderbolt Republic XP-47H Thunderbolt Republic XP-47J Thunderbolt Republic XP-47K Thunderbolt Republic XP-47L Thunderbolt Republic P-47M Thunderbolt Republic P-47N Thunderbolt P-47 in European Theatre with USAAF P-47 in Pacific Theatre with USAAF P-47 USAAF Squadron Assignments P-47 with Brazilian Air Force P-47 with Royal Air Force P-47 with Mexico P-47 with Free French P-47 with Soviet Union P-47 with Air National Guard

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p47.html09-09-2006 10:35:33

Douglas XP-48

Douglas XP-48
Last revised August 1, 1999

In early 1939, the Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica, California submitted a proposal to the USAAC for an ultra-lightweight single-seat high-altitude fighter. The project was given the company designation of Model 312. The general arrangement drawings of the Model 312 that have survived show a rather unusual-looking low-wing cantilever monoplane sporting a wing with a rather high aspect ratio. Power was to be provided by a supercharged Ranger SGV-770 twelve-cylinder inverted-vee liquid-cooled engine offering 525 hp. A three-bladed propeller was to be used. A tricycle undercarriage was to be fitted. The wing was so thin that the main undercarriage members had to be attached to the fuselage, the mainwheel members retracting rearward into recesses within the rear fuselage. Armament was to consist of a 0.30-in and a 0.50-in machine gun, both mounted in the upper fuselage deck and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. The dimensions of the proposed Model 312 were to be wingspan 32 feet, length 21 feet 9 inches, height 9 feet, and wing area of 92 square feet. Weights were only 2675 pounds empty and 3400 pounds gross. The Douglas designers projected a maximum speed of no less than 525 mph for the Model 312 design! The USAAC looked over the Douglas proposal, and were sufficiently interested that they reserved the pursuit designation of XP-48 for the design. However, upon further investigation, the USAAC concluded that Douglas' performance estimates were grossly over-optimistic, and the project was not funded. Consequently, the Douglas company pursued the Model 312 project no further. Sources:
1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920: Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval

Institute Press, 1988.

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Douglas XP-48

2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

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Lockheed XP-49

Lockheed XP-49
Last revised August 2, 1999

On March 11, 1939, the USAAC Materiel Division issued Circular Proposal 39-775 to the aircraft industry. This proposal called for a new type of twin-engined, high-performance interceptor fighter. The successful entry was, however, to derive as many design features as possible from already existing aircraft. Four contractors submitted proposals. The Lockheed entry was a progressive development of the P-38 Lightning, and was given the company designation of Model 222. The Model 222 had the same general arrangement as the P-38, but featured a pressure cabin and was powered by a pair of turbosupercharged twenty-four cylinder Pratt & Whitney X-1800SA2-G (military designation XH-2600) liquid-cooled engines which were supposed to develop somewhere between 2000 and 2200 horsepower. Lockheed proposed to replace these engines by a pair of 2300 hp Wright R-2160 Tornado turbosupercharged radials in production aircraft. Armament was to be a pair of 20-mm cannon and four 0.50-inch machine guns. Total fuel capacity was to be 300 US gallons, as compared to 230 US gallons for the early production P-38. The Model 222 was rather optimistically estimated to have a top speed of 473 mph at 20,000 feet when powered by the Pratt & Whitney XH2600s, and a speed of no less than 500 mph at the same altitude when powered by the Wright Tornadoes. The USAAC finished looking over the four proposals on August 3, 1939. The Lockheed proposal (which by this time had had its company designation changed to Model 522) was judged the most promising of the four entries, and the USAAC ordered one example under the designation XP-49 in October 1939. The competing Grumman entry was their Design 41, which was a development of the XF5F-1 Skyrocket twin-engined carrier-based fighter. The Grumman design came in second, but the USAAC considered it sufficiently promising that they ordered one example under the designation XP-50. A contract for a single XP-49 prototype was officially issued on January 8, 1940. Because
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Lockheed XP-49

the Lockheed company was preoccupied with the P-38 Lightning, work on the XP-49 proceeded quite slowly during the early months of 1940. Both the USAAC and Lockheed soon came to realize that with either the Pratt & Whitney XH-2600 or the Wright R-2160 engines, the XP-49 would be seriously overpowered. Consequently, in March 1940 it was decided to substitute a pair of experimental Continental XIV-1430-9/11 twelve-cylinder inverted-vee liquid-cooled engines rated at 1540 hp for takeoff. In order to counteract torque, the engines rotated in opposite directions--the port propeller rotated CCW when viewed from the rear, and the starboard propeller rotated CW. Other changes included the substitution of dummy armor plate for the genuine armor plate called for in the original specification, thus expediting construction of the prototype. A maximum speed of 458 mph at 25,000 feet was now anticipated. On December 23, 1940 , detailed design of the XP-49 began under the direction of project engineer M. Carl Haddon. Two-thirds of the XP-49 airframe components were common with the P-38. The primary differences were in the engine installation, the use of a heavier and stronger undercarriage, and a pressurized cockpit similar to that of the XP-38A. Since much of the airframe was common with the production P-38, the construction of the XP-49 prototype (serial number 40-3055) went fairly rapidly. However, the first flight was delayed by problems with the experimental Continental engines, which were not yet cleared for flight operations at the time they were delivered to Lockheed in April 1942. It was not until November 14, 1942 that the XP-49 took to the air for the first time, flown by test pilot Joe Towle. The aircraft was grounded only a week later for replacement of the engines by XIV-143013/15 engines rated at 1350 hp for takeoff and 1600 hp at 25,000 feet. The fuel tanks were replaced by self-sealing tanks taken from a P-38, and a flight engineer's jump seat was added behind the pilot's seat. Flights were resumed in December, but were marred by continual hydraulic problems. When it was actually able to fly at all, the aircraft handled fairly well and had good maneuverability, but the Continental engines gave the XP-49 a rather uninspiring performance--the maximum speed was only 406 mph at 15,000 feet as against a promised speed of 458 mph at 25,000 feet. On January 1, 1943, the XP-49 was damaged during an emergency landing at Muroc AAB after a simultaneous inflight failure of both the hydraulic and the electrical systems. While being repaired, the XP-49 received 7 3/4 inch taller vertical tail surfaces. The XP-49 flew again on February 16, 1943. In this form, it was delivered to Wright Field on June 26,
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Lockheed XP-49

1943, almost 27 months later than expected. By that time, the Army had lost all interest in the XP-49, since the performance was actually inferior to that of the standard P-38J which was already in service. In addition, the questionable future of the troublesome Continental engine caused the Army to abandon any further consideration of quantity production of the XP-49. Even after the USAAF had decided not to proceed with quantity production of the XP-49, the Army continued testing the aircraft at Wright Field. However, maintenance difficulties with the Continental engines and problems with the fuel system limited the usefulness of the XP-49, and it was flown only rarely. It ended its useful life by being dropped from a bridge crane to simulate hard landings. It was finally scrapped in 1946. Performance of the XP-49 included a maximum speed of 406 mph at 15,000 feet, 384 mph at 10,000 feet, and 347 mph at sea level. Initial climb rate was 3300 feet per minute, and the XP-49 could climb to 20,000 feet in 8.7 minutes. Normal range was 679 miles, and maximum range was 1800 miles. Service ceiling was 37,500 feet. Weights were 15,410 pounds empty and 18,750 pounds loaded. Wingspan was 52 feet 0 inches, length was 40 feet 1 inch, height was 9 feet 9 1/2 inches (original tail), 10 feet 5 1/4 inches (revised tail), and wing area was 327.5 square feet. The proposed armament of 2 20-mm cannon with 670 rpg and four 0.50-inch machine guns with 300 rpg was never actually fitted. Sources:
1. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988. 2. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964.
3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter M. Bowers, Orion, 1987.

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Grumman XP-50

Grumman XP-50
Last revised August 2, 1999

The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation of Bethpage, Long Island is best known for its line of superb carrier-based fighters such as the F4F Wildcat and the F6F Hellcat. One of its less well-known products was the XP-50, which was an Army-financed development of the Navy's Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket experimental twin-engined shipboard fighter. The XF5F-1 traces its origin back to 1935, when the US Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) first contemplated the development of a single-seat, twin-engined carrier-based fighter. In early 1937, the BuAer sent out to the aircraft industry a request for proposals for twin-engined, carrier-based fighter designs capable of exceeding 300 mph. Brewster, Curtiss, Lockheed, Seversky, and Vought all submitted proposals in response to the request. Grumman's submission was known by the company as Design 25--a highaltitude fighter powered by a pair of turbosupercharged Allison V-1710 liquid- cooled engines. However, the Navy deemed that none of these proposals promised sufficient performance improvements over new single-engined fighters to justify issuing a development contract. The Bureau of Aeronautics revised its fighter requirements in early 1938. They concluded that the best performance could be obtained by using either a pair of turbosupercharged R1535 or R-1830 radials, or a single turbosupercharged V-1710 liquid-cooled engine. On February 1, 1938, the BuAer issued a new request for proposals, calling for either a singleengined fighter powered by a mechanically-supercharged Allison engine or for a twinengined fighter powered by a pair of radial engines. Armament was to be 2 20-mm cannon and two 0.30-in machine guns. The top speed was not specified, but it was to be the highest possible that could be attained. Bell, Brewster, Curtiss, Grumman, and Vought all submitted designs in response to the
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Grumman XP-50

request for proposals. Vought also took a chance and submitted a design powered by the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 radial engine, although this particular engine was not specified in the RFP. On April 11, 1938, the Navy issued contracts to Vought for the XF4U-1 with an 1850 hp Pratt and Whitney XR-2800-4 radial (this was to evolve into the famous Corsair), and to Grumman for the XF5F-1 powered by a pair of 750 hp. Pratt and Whitney R-1535-96 radials driven by two-speed superchargers. On November 8, 1938, a third contract was issued to Bell for the XFL-1 (a navalized version of the P-39 Airacobra) powered by the 1150 hp Allison V-1710-6 liquid-cooled engine. Grumman's XF5F-1 design was given the company designation of Design 34. Very early on, Grumman was forced to substitute Wright R-1820 radials for the much smaller R-1535 engines, since Pratt and Whitney was no longer offering the two-speed supercharger as an option. Although the greater diameter of the Wright engines offered the gloomy prospects of considerably poorer forward and downward visibility (particularly serious defects for a carrier-based aircraft), the Navy reluctantly agreed to the change. Since Grumman was at that time forced to give priority to the development of the F4F-3 Wildcat, work on the XF5F-1 proceeded very slowly. The prototype XF5F-1 (BuNo 1442) finally took to the air for the first time on April 1, 1940. An unusual feature of the aircraft was an extremely short nose--the forward extremity of the nose did not go past the leading edge of the wing. A large and high cockpit canopy was fitted. Like Navy carrier-based planes of the period, the XF5F-1 was a taildragger. The wings folded just outboard of the engine nacelles, and the main undercarriage members retracted into the engine nacelles. The XF5F-1 was powered by two 1200 hp Wright XR-1820-40 and -42 engines driving 3-bladed propellers rotating in opposite directions. Provision was made for four 23-mm Madsen cannon to be mounted in the abbreviated nose, but no armament was ever actually fitted. There were problems with the XF5F-1 almost from the very beginning-- engine oil cooling was inadequate, aerodynamic drag was excessive, and there were problems with the closing of the undercarriage doors. Sideward and downward visibility were both atrocious, owing to the forward location of the wings and the position and large diameter of the radial engines. The XF5F-1 was delivered to the Navy at NAS Anacostia on February 22, 1941. By that time, it was painfully obvious to just about everyone that the Skyrocket would never make a useful carrier-based fighter. The XF4U-1 Corsair was already exceeding 400 mph in its
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Grumman XP-50

test flights, and the Navy had requested that Vought adapt its design for production. Nevertheless, the Navy was not entirely ready to give up on the XF5F-1, and returned the aircraft to Grumman for some major modifications in an attempt to alleviate some of its more obvious shortcomings. The engine nacelles were lengthened and extended further aft, spinners were fitted to the propellers, the height of the canopy was reduced, wing fillets were added, and the fuselage nose was extended forward of the wing leading edge. However, when the plane was returned to Anacostia on July 24, 1941, it was found that the changes had not provided any significant improvements in the aerodynamic drag or in the engine cooling problems. The strongest point of the XF5F-1 was its rate of climb--4000 feet per minute as compared to 2660 ft/min for the XF4U-1 and 2630 ft/min for the XFL-1. However, maximum speed was only 383 mph at sea level. Empty weight was 8107 lbs and normal loaded weight was 10,138 lbs. Service ceiling was 33,000 feet and maximum range was 1170 miles. The XF5F-1 was used off and on for tests in support of the XF7F-1 project for the next couple of years, until it was finally stricken off record on December 11, 1944 after suffering an undercarriage failure. As detailed in the article on the XP-49, in early 1939, the Army had issued a Circular Proposal calling for a new generation of fighters which would match existing airframes with new and more powerful engines. Four companies submitted designs in response to the proposal. Lockheed submitted its Model 522, which was an adaptation of the P-38 powered by either Pratt and Whitney XH-2600 or Wright R-2160 turbosupercharged engines. Grumman submitted a proposal known under the company designation of Design 41. Design 41 was an aircraft quite similar to Design 34 (XF5F-1) but was powered by a pair of Wright R-1820 radials fitted with turbosuperchargers. The Lockheed design came in first in the competition, and was ordered by the Army as the XP-49. However, the Army saw sufficient merit in Grumman's Design 41 that they encouraged the company to submit a revised design, just for insurance in case the XP-49 ran into problems. The revised proposal, known by the company as Design 45, incorporated a nosewheel tricycle undercarriage and a longer nose. Provision was to be made for self-sealing fuel tanks and for armor protection for the pilot. On November 25, 1939, the Army issued a contract for one prototype of Grumman's Design 45 under the designation XP-50. The XP-50 was to be powered by two 1200 hp Wright R-1820-67/69 radials fitted with turbosuperchargers. Armament was to be two 20-mm cannon and two
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Grumman XP-50

0.50-in machine guns, all mounted in the nose. The XP-50 (Ser No. 40-3057) flew for the first time on February 18, 1941, with Grumman test pilot Robert L. Hall at the controls. Early tests were encouraging, and the XP-50 handled much better than did the XF5F-1. Furthermore, the supercharged engines of the XP-50 gave it a much better performance at medium and high altitudes. However, on May 14, 1941 the XP-50 experienced an inflight turbosupercharger explosion while on a flight over Long Island Sound, and pilot Robert Hall was forced to parachute to safety. The loss of the aircraft brought an abrupt end to the XP-50 program. Estimated maximum speed of the XP-50 (never achieved in tests) was 424 mph at 25,000 feet. Estimated service ceiling was 40,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could supposedly be reached in 5 minutes. Maximum range was estimated to be 1250 miles. Empty weight was 8307 lbs, and loaded weight was 10,558 lbs. Maximum weight was 13,060 lbs. Wingspan was 42 feet, length was 21 feet 11 inches, height was 12 feet, and wing area was 304 square feet. Sources:
1. Grumman Aircraft Since 1929, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1989. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964.

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North American P-51 Mustang

North American P-51 Mustang


Last revised September 6, 1999

North American NA-73 Mustang I/IA for RAF Service of Mustang I/IA With RAF North American XP-51 Mustang North American A-36 Invader North American P-51/F-6A Musang North American P-51A Mustang North American P-51B/C Mustang Mustang III For RAF North American P-51D/K Mustang P-51D/K in Foreign Service North American XP-51F, G, J Mustang North American P-51H Mustang Piper Enforcer

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p51.html09-09-2006 10:35:56

Bell XP-52

Bel XP-52
Last revised September 6, 1999

The Bell XP-52 was an unorthodox fighter project that arose out of a USAAC competition held in the winter of 1939 for a fighter that would be much more effective than any extant-with a top speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, armament, and pilot visibility, all of which would be far superior to those of any existing fighter. In addition, the fighter was required to have a low initial cost and had to be easy and inexpensive to maintain. A tall order, indeed! The USAAC issued its requirements to the industry in the form of Request for Data R40C. No less than 50 responses came in. Among these was the Model 16, which the Bell company had developed some months earlier. Bell was famous for submitting unconventional designs, and the Model 16 was no exception. It had a round, barrel-shaped fuselage with the pilot seated in the nose and a 1250 hp Continental XIV-1430-5 liquidcooled twelve-cylinder inverted vee engine mounted behind the pilot and driving a pair of contrarotating coaxial propellers operating in pusher fashion. The wing was mounted in mid-fuselage position, and was swept back at an angle of about 20 degrees. Twin booms were mounted about one-third of the way along the wings outboard of the fuselage. The horizontal tailplane at the rear connected the two booms. A tricycle landing gear was to be fitted, with the nosewheel retracting into the fuselage and the mainwheels retracting into the booms. One unusual feature of the XP-52 was the presence of an air inlet for the engine radiators mounted in the extreme nose, a feature which was to be seen later in jet-powered fighters. Two 20-mm cannon were to be mounted in the lower fuselage, and three 0.50-in machine guns were to be mounted in the front of each of the twin booms. By the end of 1940, the Army purchasing commission had chosen six of the submissions for further development. Among them was the Bell Model 16. A single prototype was ordered under the designation XP-52. However this order was canceled on November 25,
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Bell XP-52

1941, before anything could be built. It was replaced by an order for another Bell design, based on the XP-52 but equipped with a more-powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800-52 aircooled radial engine. This aircraft was assigned the designation XP-59 by the US Army. Estimated performance of the XP-52 included a maximum speed of 425 mph at 19,500 feet. It was expected that an altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 6.3 minutes and that the service ceiling would be 40,000 feet. Maximum range was to be 960 miles. Weights were estimated to be 6840 lbs empty and 8750 lbs gross. Dimensions were wingspan 35 feet, length 34 feet, height 9 feet 3 inches, and wing area 233 square feet. Source:
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

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Curtiss XP-53

Curtiss XP-53
Last revised September 6, 1999

Following the failure of the XP-46 to win any Army production orders, the Curtiss company proposed another design in their search for the eventual replacement for the P40. This was the Curtiss Model 88, which was an improved XP-46 powered by the yet-tobe-built 1600-hp Continental XIV-1430-3 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled inverted Vee engine. The Model 88 was to use the fuselage and tail assembly from the P-40D combined with a NACA laminar flow wing. Armament was to have consisted of eight wing-mounted machine guns. The mainwheel retraction scheme reverted to the sequence used by the original P-40, with the mainwheels rotating 90 degrees before they retracted rearwards into wing wells. Maximum speed was projected to be 430 mph. On October 1, 1940, the USAAC ordered two examples of the Model 88 under the designation XP-53. Serials were 41-140 and 41-19508. In a conference held six weeks later, the USAAC informed Curtiss-Wright of its need for a fighter combining laminar flow wing technology with the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Since the XP-53 was already being designed for laminar-flow wings, Curtiss proposed to convert the second XP53 airframe (41-19508) to the Merlin engine while it was undergoing construction. This airframe was redesignated Model 90 by the company. The USAAC accepted this idea, and assigned the designation XP-60 to the new aircraft. The other XP-53 airframe was to retain the Continental engine. However, while the XP-53 and XP-60 were both undergoing construction, the Army cancelled the XP-53 order because of the excessive delays in the temperamental Continental XIV-1430 engine. The XP-53 never flew. As it turned out, the Continental engine never did enter production, and all of those aircraft projects which had planned for it ultimately failed.

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Curtiss XP-53

In November 1941, the XP-53 airframe was converted into a static test airframe in support of the P-60 project, and its bullet-proof windshield, self-sealing fuel tanks, and armament were scavenged and transferred to the XP-60. Sources:
1. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 2. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964.
3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

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Vultee XP-54

Vultee XP-54
Last revised August 12, 2005

The Vultee Aircraft Corporation was very largely the brainchild of Gerard Vultee, formerly chief engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation during the time that Lockheed was owned by Detroit Aircraft. When Detroit Aircraft went belly-up, Vultee was out of a job. Eventually, he went off on his own in pursuit of financial backing for some ideas he had for a single-engine passenger monoplane. Vultee attracted the attention of the "boy wonder" of Wall Street, Errett Lobban Cord, who already owned or controlled several airlines, automobile manufacturers, and aircraft companies. With $50,000 in cash (sounds like small potatoes today :-) ), Cord founded the Airplane Development Corporation in January 1932, as a subsidiary of the Cord Corporation. Vultee was established as chief engineer of this new company. In 1934, the ADC was reorganized as a division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation, which was in turn a subsidiary of the Aviation Corporation, which had recently been taken over by Cord in a stock deal. The Aviation Corporation is best known today as being the parent company of what later became American Airlines. Vultee became a vice-president of the ADC, but retained his title as chief engineer. In 1936, the ADC moved its plant to Downey, California. In 1937, this plant was renamed the Vultee Aircraft Division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation. Gerard Vultee and his wife were killed in a plane crash in January 1938. He was succeeded as chief engineer by Richard Palmer, who had worked for a time on the Hughes H-1B racer. A syndicate bought out Cord's interest in the company, and a California investment banker named Richard Millar was brought in as vice-president. He moved up as president when Vultee Aircraft Inc. was established in 1939 to acquire the assets of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation. On November 27, 1939 the USAAC issued Circular Proposal R-40C, which called for a fighter that would be much more effective than any extant--with a top speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, armament, and pilot visibility, all of which would be far superior to those
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Vultee XP-54

of any existing fighter. In addition, the fighter was required to have a low initial cost and had to be easy and inexpensive to maintain. The Army specifically mentioned in R-40C that they would consider aircraft with unconventional configurations. No less than 50 responses came in. Many of them were quickly ruled out, but by the end of 1940, four designs were considered sufficiently worthy of further study. These were designs submitted by Bell, by Curtiss, by Northrop, and by Vultee. The Vultee Aircraft Corporation's only previous venture into fighter design had been the Model 48 Vanguard, which had been unsuccessful in attracting any Army production contracts. Nevertheless, Richard Palmer's team at Vultee came up with the proposal which was judged the best of the entrants. An initial Army contract covering engineering data and wind tunnel models was issued on June 22, 1940. A contract for one prototype was issued on January 8, 1941 under the designation XP-54. The serial was 41-1210. A second XP-54 was ordered on March 17, 1942, with the serial 42-108994 being assigned. However, photographs of the second XP-54 exist with the tail number 11211 painted on the fins, which implies that its serial was 41-1211, which would make both planes having consecutive serial numbers, even when ordered more than a year apart. Moreover, 411211 conflicts with a serial number allocated to a BT-13A Valiant basic trainer. It appears that the explanation of the discrepancy is a simple printing error in painting the second XP54 and that its serial really was 42-108994. According to Ray Wagner, the second XP-54 took off on its first flight with the faulty tail number 11211 painted on its fin. However by the time of the second flight, the serial had been replaced with the correct 2108994. The XP-54, designated Model 84 by Vultee, was a twin-boom, low-mounted, inverted gullwing monoplane powered by an engine mounted in pusher configuration. The engine was to be the Pratt & Whitney X-1800-A4G (military designation H-2600) twenty-four cylinder liquid-cooled engine offering a power output of 1850 hp and driving a set of contra-rotating pusher propellers. The Model 84 was actually an outgrowth of an earlier Vultee proposal known as Model 78, which had a similar configuration but was to be powered by a unsupercharged Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine. The single-seat cockpit was sited in the center section of the bullet-shaped fuselage. Magnesium alloy construction was to be used throughout the fuselage. A tricycle landing gear was fitted, with the nosewheel retracting into the fuselage and the mainwheels retracting into the booms.

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Vultee XP-54

The center wing section was designed around the newly-developed NACA "ducted wing", in which the airflow was taken in via narrow slots in the wing leading edge and directed over the oil and coolant radiators and then to the intercoolers and eventually fed into the engine via ducts in the wing trailing edge. The landing flaps were so designed that their secondary function was to regulate the airflow through the coolers. This innovation made it possible to house the coolant radiators and the intercooler entirely within the wings. The original mission of the XP-54 was envisaged to be low- and medium-altitude combat. Six 0.50-inch machine guns were to be mounted in the nose. The estimated maximum weight was 11,500 pounds, and maximum speed was expected to be no less than 510 mph at 20,000 feet, taking six minutes to reach that altitude. On September 7, 1940, the USAAC announced to Vultee that they were changing the mission of the XP-54 from that of low-level combat to that of high-altitude bomber interceptor. This change necessitated the development of a pressurized cockpit and the installation of turbosupercharging equipment. Armament was changed to a pair of 37-mm T-12/T-13 cannon with 60 rpg and twin 0.50-in M2 machine guns with 500 rpg, all mounted in the nose. The Army also required the fitting of heavy armor protection for the engine and pilot. All of these changes caused the estimate gross weight to creep up to 18,000 pounds. The pressurized cockpit requirement, combined with the considerable height of the aircraft from the ground, made cockpit entry and exit a problem. In order to attack these problems, a unique solution was evolved--a pilot seat which functioned as an elevator. In order to enter the aircraft, the seat was electrically lowered from the bottom of the aircraft by a switch mounted on the outside of the plane. The pilot would sit down on the seat, throw a switch, and the seat would electrically raise itself up into the aircraft until it reached the flight position. Flight control cables were routed around the opening in the floor, and an inverted U-column was used to support the pilot's control wheel. This ventral access was also valuable in that it made possible the design of a fixed cockpit canopy, which simplified the problem of making a pressure-tight seal. In an emergency (assuming sufficient altitude were available), the elevator seat assembly would be catapulted downward clear of the propeller, making the XP-54 the first American fighter to be fitted with an ejector seat. The nacelle-type fuselage incorporated yet another unusual feature. Because of the different muzzle velocities of the cannon and machine guns, the entire nose section was
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Vultee XP-54

moveable so that direction of fire of the machine guns could be elevated by as much as three degrees or depressed by as much as six degrees without changing the flight attitude. The cannon were fixed and did not move. The movement of the nose section and the machine guns was controlled by a special compensating gunsight. The management of these differentially- pointing guns probably would have been a real nightmare. In October 1940, Pratt & Whitney discontinued all work on its X-1800 engine, and Vultee decided to substitute the 2200 hp twenty-four cylinder liquid-cooled Lycoming XH-2470 in its place. The Lycoming engine was still under development for the Navy at the time. The Lycoming engine was to be fitted with a turbosupercharger, in view of the XP-54's newly-assigned high-altitude role. With all of these changes, it came as no surprise that the delivery date slipped substantially from the promised date of July 1942. The first XP-54 (41-1210) did not, in fact, fly until January 15, 1943, when test pilot Frank Davis took it for a 31-minute flight from Muroc Dry Lake (now Edwards AFB). This flight went fairly uneventful except for the malfunction of the Curtiss propeller. The faulty propeller was subsequently replaced by a Hamilton-Standard unit. By March 11, ten flights had been made, but it was clear that performance was substantially below that which was guaranteed. In addition, the engine showed metal traces in the oil, and the aircraft was returned to Downey for an engine change. 86 more flights were carried out at Ontario AFB, California, and on October 28, the XP-54 was flown to Wright Field for service testing. However, the Lycoming engine again developed serious problems, and the entire engine had to be returned to the manufacturer for repairs. Repair costs turned out to be prohibitive, and the engine had to be scrapped. Some sources claim that the XP-54 was known under the popular name "Swoose Goose" while it was at Wright Field. The name came from the fact that the XP-54 looked like a goose when it was flying, and the "Swoose" part of the name is a misspelling of the word "Swiss". By late 1943, the continual troubles with the Lycoming H-2470 engine had led the Navy to abandon the entire program. The XP-54 was therefore left without an engine. A proposal to adapt the Wright R-2160 Tornado radial engine to fit the XP-54 airframe was briefly considered, the project being redesignated P-68. However the Tornado engine also failed to achieve production, and the P-68 project was abandoned. Although it appeared possible to install the Allison W-3420 in the XP-54 without major structural changes, the
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Vultee XP-54

delay and expense involved in making such a change resulted in the decision being made not to try to introduce the XP-54 into quantity production. There was even thought given to the installation of a jet engine in the XP-54 airframe, but such a proposal was rejected on the grounds of cost. The second XP-54 (42-108994) was delayed by the need to change from two Wright turbosuperchargers to a single experimental General Electric XCM model. Consequently, by the time it was ready for flight, all hope of quantity production of the XP-54 had been abandoned. The second XP-54 finally took to the air on May 24, 1944, when it was taken on a 20-minute flight from Downey to Norton AFB, California. The engine/ turbosupercharger combination was found to be unsatisfactory and they were returned to the manufacturer. Although another engine was fitted to the second XP-54, it was never flown again. The nose section was sent to Elgin AFB for armament tests (the guns were never fired from the air). The rest of the airframe was scrapped. The first XP-54 was static tested to destruction at Wright Field. The XP-54 was the last project that the Vultee corporation carried out for the USAAF under its own name. In June 1943, Vultee Aircraft, Inc. merged with Consolidated to form Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation. Although the name of the new conglomerate was contracted to "Convair" internally, this name was not officially registered until 1954 when Convair became a division of General Dynamics. Specs of the XP-54: Maximum speed: 381 mph at 28,500 feet, 290 mph at sea level. Initial climb rate: 2300 feet per minute. Climb to 32,100 feet in 27.7 minutes. Service ceiling: 37,000 feet. Weights were 15,262 pounds empty, 18,233 pounds normal loaded, and 19,337 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 53 feet 10 inches, length 54 feet 8 3/4 inches, height 14 feet 6 inches, and wing area 455.5 square feet. Sources:
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 2. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute

Press, 1990.

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Vultee XP-54

3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

1964.
4. E-mail from Vahe Demirjian on correct serial of the second XP-54 and the origin of

the name "Swoose Goose".


5. Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes of the 20th Centyry, Bacon, 2004 on serial

number mixup on second XP-54 prototype.

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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

Curtiss XP-55 Ascender


Last revised March 12, 2004

The Curtiss XP-55 Ascender was another response to Circular Proposal R-40C, which was issued on November 27, 1939. It called for a fighter that would be much more effective than any extant--with a top speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, armament, and pilot visibility, all of which would be far superior to those of any existing fighter. In addition, the fighter was required to have a low initial cost and had to be easy and inexpensive to maintain. The Army specifically mentioned in R-40C that they would consider aircraft with unconventional configurations. No less than 50 responses came in. Many of them were quickly ruled out, but by the end of 1940, four designs were considered sufficiently worthy of further study. These were designs submitted by Bell, by Curtiss, by Northrop, and by Vultee. The Curtiss entry, designated CW-24 by the company, was perhaps the most unconventional of the four finalists. It was to be one of the last projects supervised by Donovan Berlin before he left the Curtiss company to go over to Fisher to work on the P75. The CW-24 was a swept-wing pusher aircraft with canard (tail-first) elevators. The low-mounted sweptback wings were equipped with ailerons and flaps on the trailing edge as well as directional fins and rudders mounted near the wing tips both above and below the airfoil. The elevators were located near the front of the nose in a horizontal surface. A completely-retractable tricycle undercarriage was to be used, the first time such an undercarriage was to be employed in a Curtiss fighter. Curtiss proposed to use the new and untried Pratt & Whitney X-1800-A3G (H-2600) liquid-cooled engine, mounted behind the pilot's cockpit and driving a pusher propeller. Project maximum speed was no less than 507 mph! On June 22, 1940, the Curtiss-Wright company received an Army contract for preliminary engineering data and a powered wind tunnel model. The designation P-55 was reserved for the project.
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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

Since the USAAC was not completely satisfied with the results of the wind tunnel tests, Curtiss-Wright took it upon itself to build a flying full-scale model. Designated CW-24B by the company, the flying testbed was powered by a 275 hp Menasco C68-5 engine. It had a fabric-covered, welded steel tube fuselage and a wooden wing. The undercarriage was fixed. After completion, the CW-24B was shipped out to the Army flight test center at Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards AFB) in California. It made its first flight there on December 2, 1941. Although the maximum speed was only 180 mph because of the low engine power, the CW-24B proved out the basic feasibility of the concept. However, early flights indicated that there was a certain amount of directional instability. The original auxiliary wingtip fins were increased in area and moved four feet farther outboard on the wings, which enhanced the directional stability. The wingtips were made longer, and further improvements were obtained by adding vertical fins to both the top and the bottom of the engine cowling. 169 flights with the CW-24B were made at Muroc between December 1941 and May 1942. After that, the airplane (having been assigned the USAAC serial number 42-39347) was transferred to Langley Field, Virginia, for further testing by NACA. During the flight testing of the CW-24B, work on the CW-24 fighter project continued. On July 10, 1942, a USAAF contract was issued for three prototypes under the designation XP-55. Serial numbers were 42-78845/78847. Since the Pratt & Whitney X-1800 engine was experiencing serious program delays (it eventually was cancelled outright before attaining production status) Curtiss decided to switch to the Allison V-1710 (F16) liquidcooled inline engine for the sake of reliability and availability. Armament was to be two 20-mm cannon and two 0.50-inch machine guns. During the mockup phase, it was decided to switch to the 1275 hp Allison V-1710-95 engine, and the 20-mm cannon were replaced by 0.50-inch machine guns. The first XP-55 (42-78845) was completed on July 13, 1943. It had essentially the same aerodynamic configuration as did the final CW-24B. It made its first test flight on July 19, 1943 from the Army's Scott Field near the Curtiss-Wright St Louis plant. The pilot was J. Harvey Gray, Curtiss's test pilot. Initial flight testing revealed that the takeoff run was excessively long. In order to solve this problem, the nose elevator was increased in area and the aileron up trim was interconnected with the flaps so that it operated when the flaps were lowered.

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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

On November 15, 1943, test pilot Harvey Gray was flying the first XP-55 (42-78845) through a series of stall tests when the aircraft suddenly flipped over on its back and fell into an uncontrolled, inverted descent. Recovery proved impossible, and the plane fell out of control for 16,000 feet before Gray was able to parachute to safety. The aircraft was destroyed in the ensuing crash. At the time of the crash, the second XP-55 (42-78846) was too far advanced in construction for its configuration to be conveniently modified to incorporate any changes resulting from an analysis of the cause of the loss. The second XP-55 was essentially similar to the first one, apart from a slightly larger nose elevator, a modified elevator tab system, and a change from balance tabs to spring tabs on the ailerons. It flew for the first time on January 9, 1944, but all flight tests were restricted so that the stall zone was carefully avoided until the third XP-55 had been satisfactorily tested. The third XP-55 (42-78847) flew for the first time on April 25, 1944. It was fitted with the designed complement of four machine guns. It incorporated some of the ideas learned from the investigation into the cause of the loss of the first XP-55. It was found that stall characteristics could be improved by adding four-foot wingtip extensions of greater area and by increasing the limits of nose elevator travel. However, the first flight revealed that the increased elevator limits resulted in the pilot being able to hold such a high elevator angle during takeoff that the elevator could actually stall. After modifications, stall tests were performed satisfactorily, although the complete lack of any warning prior to the stall and the excessive loss of altitude necessary to return to level flight after the stall were undesirable characteristics. An artificial stall warning device was introduced to try and correct some of these problems, and between September 16 and October 2, 1944, the second XP-55 (42-78846), which had been modified to the same standards as that of the third aircraft, underwent official USAAF trials. The trials indicated that the XP-55 had satisfactory handling characteristics during level and climbing flight, but at low speeds and during landings there was a tendency on the part of the pilot to overcontrol on the elevators because of a lack of any useful "feel". Stall warning was still insufficient, and stall recovery still involved an excessive loss of altitude. Engine cooling was also a problem. The performance of the XP-55 was not very impressive and was in fact inferior to that of the more conventional fighters already in service. In addition, by 1944, jet-powered fighter aircraft were clearly the wave of the future. Consequently, no production was undertaken,
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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

and further development was abandoned. The name Ascender had originated as a joke on the part of a Curtiss engineer. The name stuck, and eventually became official. The third prototype (42-78847) survived the testing program, but was destroyed in a crash during an airshow at Wright Field, Ohio on May 27, 1945, killing the pilot. The sole surviving XP-55 (42-78846) was flow to Warner Robins Field in Georgia in May of 1945. It was later taken to Freeman Field to await transfer to the National Air Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. For a long time, its fuselage was on display at the Paul Garber facility in Suitland, Maryland. In December of 2001, the aircraft was sent to the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum for restoration, which will take two or three years. Specs of the XP-55: One 1275 hp Allison V-1710-95 (F23R) twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee engine. Four 0.50-inch Colt-Browning M2 machine guns with 200 rpg. Maximum speed 390 mph at 19,300 feet, 377.5 mph at 16,900 feet. Normal range was 635 miles at 296 mph. Maximum range was 1440 miles. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 7.1 minutes. Service ceiling was 34,600 feet. Weights were 6354 pounds empty, 7330 pounds normal loaded, and 7939 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 44 feet 0 1/2 inches, length 29 feet 7 inches, height 10 feet 0 3/4 inches, wing area 235 square feet. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes (3rd Edition), Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982. 2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

1964.
4. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 5. E-mail from Clarence Wentzel on restoration of XP-55.

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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

6. Enduring Heritage, by Gerald Pahl, Aviation History, May 2004.

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Northrop XP-56

Northrop XP-56
Last revised September 6, 1999

The experimental Northrop XP-56 flying wing fighter of 1943 was one of the most unusual fighter aircraft to be evolved by any of the combatants during World War II. Although unsuccessful in attaining production, the XP-56 gained a lot of valuable data on flying wing designs, some of which was ultimately used in the design of the Northrop B-2 Spirit stealth bomber of the 1990s. The founder of Northrop Aircraft Inc. was John Knudsen "Jack" Northrop, who at one time worked for Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company (later changed in spelling to Lockheed) as well as for Douglas Aircraft. It is not widely known, but there were actually THREE separate and distinct aircraft companies that carried Jack Northrop's name. The first one of these companies ("Northrop I") had been founded by Jack Northrop in 1927, initially under the name of the Avion Corporation. For the first couple of years as head of the California-based Avion Corp., Jack Northrop spent his time experimenting with ideas for all-metal construction and for flying-wing designs. Unfortunately for the bottom line, nothing actually got built or sold by Avion in the first two years of its existence, and economic reality eventually made itself felt. Lacking sufficient capital to carry on by itself, the Avion Corporation was absorbed in 1929 by the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, and operated until 1931 as the Northrop Aircraft Corporation, a division of UA&T Corp. During this period, Northrop built the Alpha (a single-engined passenger- and mail-carrying aircraft) and the Beta (a two-seat sports aircraft). In 1931, UA&T consolidated its two subsidiaries--Northrop Aircraft Corp and Stearman Aircraft--into a single unit and moved everything to Wichita, Kansas. Jack Northrop was a dyed-in-the-wool Californian, and found the prospect of facing Kansas winters unpalatable. Consequently, he left UA&T and tried once again to establish another California-based aircraft company. He got together with his old friend and former employer, Donald Douglas, to found the Northrop Corporation ("Northrop II"), with
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Northrop XP-56

Douglas retaining 51 percent of the stock and Jack being named as its president. The main factory was located at El Segundo, California, ensuring that Jack could remain living in the state that he loved. The Northrop Corporation was responsible for the famous Gamma and Delta commercial monoplanes which were so successful during the 1930s. The Northrop Corporation was also responsible for the 3A monoplane fighter of 1935 and for the A-17 attack plane of 1935/36. Northrop was also responsible for the BT-1 attack bomber, which was to evolve into the famous SBD Dauntless of World War II fame. However, the Northrop Corporation began to experience some serious labor strife in the late 1930s. The labor problems eventually got so bad that the Army refused to accept any further deliveries of A-17 attack planes until they were corrected. In an attempt to correct the labor problems, on April 5, 1937, Douglas decided to acquire the rest of the stock of the Northrop Corporation. Continued labor difficulties forced Douglas to dissolve the Northrop Corporation altogether on September 8, 1937. It was immediately reformed under the direct aegis of Douglas, the name of the company changing to the El Segundo Division of Douglas. By 1939, the Northrop Corporation had become just another division of Douglas Aircraft, and Jack Northrop went out on his own for a third time to found yet another Californiabased aircraft company bearing his name, this one named Northrop Aircraft Inc. of Hawthorne, California ("Northrop III"), the forerunner of today's Northrop Corporation, the maker of the B-2 stealth bomber. The Northrop XP-56 was the first USAAF fighter aircraft to be built by "Northrop III". The Northrop XP-56, like the Bell XP-52, the Vultee XP-54, and the Curtiss XP-55, was evolved as a response to Circular Proposal R-40C, which was issued on November 27, 1939. It called for a fighter that would be much more effective than any extant--with a top speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, armament, and pilot visibility, all of which would be far superior to those of any existing fighter. In addition, the fighter was required to have a low initial cost and had to be easy and inexpensive to maintain. The Army specifically mentioned in R-40C that they would consider aircraft with unconventional configurations. The Northrop entry, designated N2B by the company, was nothing if it was not unconventional. It was a unique tailless interceptor made entirely of magnesium. The N2B was a swept-wing tailless flying-wing aircraft with no forward-mounted elevators. Northrop proposed to use the new and untried Pratt & Whitney X-1800-A3G (H-2600) liquid-cooled engine, mounted behind the pilot's cockpit and driving a pair of
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Northrop XP-56

contrarotating pusher propeller. Jack Northrop had actually been thinking about flying wing aircraft as far back as 1929 when he was with the Avion Corporation. In 1939, Northrop had, in fact, built a full-scale flying testbed to explore the possibility of all-wing designs. Designated N1M by the company, the flying testbed was powered by a pair of Lycoming engines driving pusher propellers. The N1M has survived to the present day and is in storage at the Paul Garber facility in Suitland, Maryland. I saw it there in November of 1992. It seems to be in pretty good shape. On June 22, 1940, Northrop Aircraft, Inc. received a contract for preliminary engineering data and a powered wind tunnel model. The designation P-56 was reserved for the project. On September 26th, 1940, a single prototype was ordered as the XP-56. The serial number was 41-786. However, shortly after development of the XP-56 began, Pratt & Whitney abandoned all work on its X-1800 liquid-cooled engine. This left the XP-56 (and the competing XP-54 and XP-55 along with it) out on a limb, without an engine. Northrop's design team reluctantly decided to switch to the less-suitable Pratt & Whitney R-2800 air-cooled radial engine. Although the R-2800 engine was more powerful (2000 hp as opposed to 1800 hp), it was also wider. The larger diameter of the radial engine required in turn that the fuselage be widened in order to accommodate it. These changes resulted in an increase in the weight. The fuselage was stubby and rounded, with an unpressurized cockpit situated well forward. The plane had a short and stubby dorsal fin and a very large ventral fin, so large, in fact, that it very nearly scraped on the ground when the aircraft stood on its landing gear. The cantilever mid-mounted wing had elevons which functioned both as ailerons and wingflaps mounted on the trailing edge of the drooping wing tip. Air ducts for cooling of the radial engine were located on the wing leading edge. The mainwheels retracted into the wing, and the nosewheel retracted into the fuselage. Proposed armament was to be two 20-mm cannon and four 0.50-inch machine guns, all mounted in the nose. On February 13, 1942, a USAAF contract was issued for a second XP-56 prototype. The serial number was 42-38353. The name *Black Bullet* has been attached to the project, but I don't know if this name was official.

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Northrop XP-56

The first XP-56 (41-786) was ready in April of 1943. It was shipped out to Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards AFB) for tests. During initial ground handling trials, it was found that the aircraft tended to yaw sharply and dangerously while taxiing at high speeds. It was thought that this problem was caused by faulty wheel brakes, and trials were halted until the aircraft was re-equipped with manual hydraulic brakes. This delayed the first flight until September 30, 1943, when test pilot John Myers took the XP-56 into the air for the first time. An altitude of five feet was maintained, and the XP-56 appeared to fly normally. Several additional flights were undertaken, during which somewhat greater altitudes were attained. These test flights were not particularly encouraging. Nose-heaviness was a persistent problem, and lateral control was difficult to maintain in all flight regimes. However, before any of these aerodynamic problems could be addressed, the port mainwheel tire blew out during a high-speed taxiing run and the aircraft somersaulted over onto its back. It was totally wrecked. In an attempt to correct the deficiencies encountered with the first XP-56, the second XP56 (42-38353) underwent some major changes. The center of gravity was moved further forward. There was a major increase in the size of the upper vertical surface--it was enlarged from a mere stub into a surface larger in area than the ventral fin. A new form of rudder control was fitted which made use of air bellows at the wing tips which operated a set of split flaps for directional control. The control of the bellows was achieved by valving air to or from the bellows by means of wingtip venturis. On March 23, 1944, test pilot Harry Crosby took the second XP-56 up for the first time. However, Crosby found it impossible to lift the nosewheel off the ground at speeds below 160 mph, and the test flight lasted only a few minutes. The second flight went better, and it was found that the nose heaviness went away after the landing gear was retracted. However, the aircraft was severely underpowered for its weight, and only relatively low speeds could be attained, much less than the projected maximum speed of 465 mph at 25,000 feet. On May 39, 1944, it was decided that NACA would use their wind tunnel at Moffett Field, California to look into the causes of the XP-56s low performance. However, the higher priority of other projects led to postponement of the XP-56 wind tunnel tests until late October of 1944. While awaiting the beginning of the wind tunnel testing, further flight test trials were undertaken with the XP-56. On the tenth test flight, the pilot complained of extreme tail
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Northrop XP-56

heaviness on the ground, low power, and excessive fuel consumption. After consultations, it was concluded that the XP-56 was basically not airworthy , and that it was just too dangerous to continue flight tests with it. Shortly thereafter, the whole project was abandoned. The further development of higher-performance piston-engined fighters was futile in any case, since the advent of jet propulsion would soon bring the era of propellerdriven fighters to a close. Although the XP-56 project was a failure, it was not a total loss for Northrop, since the company had learned a lot about flying wing designs. This data gained during the XP-56 project was put to good use in later Northrop designs such as the XB-35 piston- engined bomber, the YB-49 jet-powered bomber, and the B-2 stealth bomber. Specs of the XP-56: One 2000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-29 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. Proposed armament was to be two 20-mm cannon and four 0.50-inch machine guns, all mounted in the nose. No armament was, in fact, ever actually fitted. In view of the limited flight testing of the XP-56, the following performance figures are based on manufacturer's estimates and were never achieved during actual tests. Maximum speed 465 mph at 25,000 feet, 417 mph at sea level. Climb rate of 3125 feet per minute at 15,000 feet. Climb to 20,000 feet in 7.2 minutes. Normal range 445 miles at 396 mph. Maximum range 660 miles. Service ceiling 33,000 feet. Weights were 8700 pounds empty, 11,350 pounds normal loaded, and 12,145 pounds maximum. Dimensions (second prototype) were wingspan 42 feet 6 inches, length 27 feet 6 inches, height 11 feet, wing area 306 square feet. The length of the first prototype was 23 feet 6 inches and the height was 9 feet 8 inches. Sources:
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 2. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

1964.

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Tucker XP-57

Tucker XP-57
Last revised September 6, 1999

The Tucker XP-57 was a proposal for a lightweight fighter, issued at a time when the trend was toward fighters of increasing weight and complexity. In May of 1940, the Tucker Aviation Company of Detroit, Michigan issued a proposal to the USAAC for the construction of a lightweight fighter. Preliminary drawings showed a small single-seat aircraft built up around a small 720 hp Miller L-510 eight-cylinder inline engine mounted at mid-fuselage behind the pilot and driving a two-bladed propeller by means of an extension shaft. The all-wooden wing was low-mounted, and a retractable tricycle undercarriage was fitted. Loaded weight was estimated to be an amazingly light 3400 pounds. Armament was to consist of three 0.50-inch machine guns or one 0.50-inch and two 20mm cannon, all mounted in the nose. This was amazingly heavy armament for so small an airplane. Tucker had some rather optimistic estimates for the performance of their proposed fighter--they claimed that their airplane would be able to attain a speed of 308 mph and a range of up to 960 miles. The USAAC found the Tucker proposal sufficiently interesting that they decided to order a single prototype under the designation XP-57. However, by February of 1941, before even any construction drawings had been completed, the Tucker company had gotten themselves into some severe financial difficulties, and the XP-57 project stalled. Since the trend was toward fighters of increasing weight and complexity, the XP-57 contract was allowed to lapse, and no prototype was ever completed. Sources:
1. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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Tucker XP-57

2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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Lockheed XP-58

Lockheed XP-58
Last revised September 6, 1999

The Lockheed XP-58 is almost a textbook example of what changing requirements, military mismanagement, and vacillating officialdom can do to a promising military aircraft project. The XP-58 started life as a fairly straightforward development of the P-38 Lightning fighter, evolved in stages into an escort fighter, then into an attack plane, then into a bomber, then into a tank buster, and then finally into a bomber destroyer. These incessant changes in requirements, combined with several changes in powerplants, resulted in the XP-58, which started life in 1940, being delayed until nearly the end of the war. In early 1940, the US Army reserved for itself the right to refuse permission for its American military aircraft suppliers to export these aircraft to overseas customers. This was particularly true if the Army felt that the foreign order might possibly result in undue delays in deliveries of these aircraft to its own squadrons. Consequently, when Britain and France wanted to purchase the Model 322 Lightning from Lockheed, the Army was reluctant to give its approval since it had already ordered YP-38 Lightnings for its own use. However, the USAAC finally did grant authorization to export the unturbosupercharged Lightning to Britain and France, but only under the condition that Lockheed agree to develop and produce at no cost to the U.S. government a prototype of an advanced version of the Lightning. The formal agreement was signed on April 12, 1940. This advanced Lightning was given the company designation of L-121, and James Gerschler was named as project engineer. The L-121 was to be powered by a pair of turbosupercharged Continental IV-1430 liquid-cooled engines. It was to be offered in two versions, a single- seater and a two-seater. The single-seat version was to retain the standard P-38 armament of one 20-mm cannon and four 0.50-inch machine guns. The twoseat version was to have an additional armament of a single 0.50-inch machine gun mounted in a remotely-controlled barbette situated at the end of each tail boom. Gross
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Lockheed XP-58

weight was estimated at 16,500 pounds, and the aircraft was expected to attain 450 mph at 25,000 feet. During a meeting at Wright Field in May 1940, it was decided to drop the single-seater and proceed with the two-seat version, which was assigned the designation XP-58. In July 1940, it was concluded that the XP-58 would be underpowered with the Continental engines, and the decision was made to switch to a pair of 1800 hp Pratt & Whitney XH2600-9/11 liquid-cooled engines. The re-engined XP-58 was given the company designation of Model 20-14, and revised specifications were issued by Lockheed on September 10, 1940. A second 20-mm cannon was added to the forward-firing armament. The tail boom guns were deemed to be highly impractical, and were replaced by a single remotely-controlled dorsal turret containing a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns. The serial number 41-2670 was assigned to the prototype. Estimated gross weight had crawled upward to 24,000 pounds, and estimated top speed had fallen to 402 mph. Range on internal fuel was anticipated to be 1600 miles. However, scarcely a month after these revised specifications had been issued, Lockheed's new project engineer, Neil Harrison, was told that Pratt & Whitney was suspending development of the XH-2600 engine. The XP-58 was now without an engine. Attention focused on the XH-2470, the Continental XH-2860, and on the Pratt & Whitney R-2800, as possible choices for the XP-58 powerplants. Lockheed preferred the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine, and estimated that with these powerplants the XP-58 would have a a loaded weight of 26,000 pounds and a maximum speed of 418 mph at 25,000 feet. However, the USAAC considered this performance to be inadequate, and suggested that Lockheed turn to the experimental Wright XR-2160 Tornado forty-two cylinder, six-row engine offering a power output of 2350 hp. One advantage of this engine was that it had an extremely small frontal area. However, the Tornado engine was highly complex, and its development was fraught with problems from the start. Nevertheless, in March of 1941 the USAAC announced that it was going to go with the Tornado for the XP-58. Two months later, the USAAC issued an change order for the installation of cabin pressurization for the pilot and the aft-facing gunner, and for the addition of a remotelycontrolled ventral turret to supplement the dorsal turret. These changes caused the estimated gross weight to soar upward to 34,242 pounds. Estimated range had dropped to 1300 miles. Nevertheless, the top speed of the Tornado-powered XP-58 was estimated to
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Lockheed XP-58

be no less than 450 mph. The XP-58 was scheduled for delivery to the USAAF in August of 1942, and to meet this deadline the project team grew to a peak of 187 people by October of 1941. However, following Pearl Harbor, the XP-58 was assigned a lower priority and most of the engineering staff were moved off to other more pressing projects. By early 1942, the XP58 staff was down to twelve people. In March of 1942, Lockheed suggested that the USAAF order a second XP-58 prototype using Government funds. Since the Tornado engines were already experiencing serious delays and were now not expected to be delivered until the spring of 1943, Lockheed felt that there was sufficient time to redesign the second XP-58 machine in order to provide it with enough fuel capacity to increase the range to 3000 miles. The USAAF agreed to this request and indeed placed the order in May of 1942. However, shortly thereafter, the USAAF began to go through a protracted series of flipflops in their thinking about the ultimate mission for the XP-58. First, the USAAF suggested that the nose-mounted forward-firing armament should be changed to a 75-mm cannon with a 20-round automatic feeder plus a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns. This was an odd choice of armament for an escort fighter, so the USAAF began to think seriously of the XP-58 as a ground attack aircraft. This in turn led to considerations of several different alternative configurations, including a two-seat attack aircraft with six forward-firing 20mm cannon and a three-seat bomber with a bombardier in the nose, an enlarged central nacelle containing an internal bomb bay, and with or without the 75-mm nose cannon. In both the attack and bomber versions, the dorsal and ventral turrets were to be deleted, and unsupercharged engines were to be used. It was soon realized that the last thing the USAAF need was another attack bomber. The Douglas A-26 Invader was already in production, and it more than adequately filled all USAAF attack bomber requirements. The experimental Beech XA-38 Grizzly then under development showed considerable promise as a low-altitude tank buster and ground attack aircraft (this airplane always looked to me like a Beech Model 18 on steroids :-) ). Consequently, the USAAF decided that there was little point in trying to make the XP-58 into a low-level attack plane. The XP-58 program was then re-oriented back to its original role as a high-altitude aircraft. However, this time it was to be bomber destroyer rather than an escort fighter.
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Lockheed XP-58

The turbosuperchargers and the dorsal and ventral turrets were put back on. The first prototype was to have four forward-firing 37-mm cannon, whereas the second was to have a 75-mm cannon and two 0.50-inch machine guns. Gross weight was now up to an astronomical 38,275 pounds, and top speed was down to 414 mph at 25,000 feet. Range was only 1150 miles. However, at this stage of the war (late 1942), the enemy bomber threat had largely disappeared, both in the European and in the Pacific theatres. The P-58 was being designed for a role it was unlikely ever to have to perform. By early 1943, the XP-58 program was in utter chaos because of the constantly changing Army requirements. In desperation, Lockheed recommended in January 1943 that only one prototype actually be built, and that it have interchangeable noses that would permit the fitting of either type of forward-firing armament. To make things even worse, the trouble-ridden Tornado engine program finally collapsed in February 1943, leaving the XP-58 without engines once again. Lockheed and the USAAF both agreed to switch to a pair of turbosupercharged Allison V-3420-11/13 twenty-four cylinder liquid-cooled engines, rated at 2600 hp for takeoff and 3000 hp at 28,000 feet. With these Allison engines, the XP-58 (serial number 41-2670) was finally completed in June of 1944, more than four years after its design had begun. Its company designation was now Model 20-86. When the XP-58 rolled out of the factory it was really only halffinished--no cabin pressurization equipment was provided, no forward-firing armament was installed, and dummy dorsal and ventral turrets were fitted in place of the real things. It made its initial flight from Lockheed Air Terminal at Burban on June 6, 1944 (what else happened that day? :-) ), piloted by test pilot Joe Towle. On its first flight, it was ferried to Muroc AAB (later Edwards AFB) Twenty-five flights were made at Muroc prior to the delivery of the XP-58 to Wright Field in Ohio on October 22, 1944. These flights were marred by turbosupercharger problems. Once at Wright Field, the XP-58 quickly became a white elephant--by the end of 1944, the USAAF certainly had no further need for bomber destroyers. Maintenance of the prototype proved to be such a headache that it was very rarely flown. In early 1945, it was transferred for use as a non-flying instructional airframe. I don't know anything about the eventual fate of the XP-58. In all likelihood, it was scrapped. However, perhaps there is
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Lockheed XP-58

the odd chance that bits and pieces of the XP-58 are still sitting today in some forgotten corner of a hanger at WPAFB, waiting for a patient restorer to come along and discover them. The second XP-58 was abandoned before construction could be completed. The XP-58 project, which started off its career as having absolutely no cost to the US government, ended up costing the taxpayer over two million dollars. $400,000 of this money covered the USAAF-requested changes to the first prototype, and the rest of the money covered the government-ordered, but then cancelled, second prototype. Specifications of the XP-58: Performance: Maximum speed: 436 mph at 25,000 feet, cruising speed: 274 mph at 25,000 feet, initial climb rate: 2660 feet per minute, service ceiling: 38,400 feet, normal range: 1250 miles, maximum range: 2650 miles. Weights: 21,624 pounds empty, 39,192 pounds normal loaded, 43,000 pounds maximum. Dimensions: wingspan 70 feet 0 inches, length 49 feet 4 inches, height 16 feet 0 inches, wing area, 600 square feet. Armament was to consist of a quartet of 37-mm cannon with 250 rpg or, alternately, one 75 mm cannon with 20 rounds and two 0.50-inch machine guns with 300 rpg, all mounted in the nose. Two 0.50-inch machine guns were to be fitted in each of two remotely-controlled turrets. It was anticipated that external military loads of up to 4000 pounds could be carried. The XP-58 was, in fact, never fitted with any armament. Sources:
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 2. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

1964.
4. American Combat Planes, Third Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

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Bell P-59 Airacomet

Bell P-59 Airacomet


Last revised June 27, 2002

The Bell XP-59A Airacomet was America's first jet aircraft. For that reason alone, the aircraft is of historic significance. Although it never fired a shot in anger during World War II, it was nevertheless important in that it provided a lot of important data on the care and maintenance of jet aircraft, which proved invaluable when more advanced jet fighters came in to service. The history of the Airacomet is one of the most interesting of any of the aircraft we have encountered so far in this series. For that, we must go back a bit and start with the Bell XP52. The Bell XP-52 was an unorthodox fighter project that arose out of a USAAC competition held in the winter of 1939 for a fighter that would be much more effective than any extant-with a top speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, armament, and pilot visibility, all of which would be far superior to those of any existing fighter. In addition, the fighter was required to have a low initial cost and had to be easy and inexpensive to maintain. The USAAC issued its requirements to the industry in the form of Request for Data R40C. No less than 50 responses came in. Among these was the Model 16, which the Bell company had developed some months earlier. Bell was famous for submitting unconventional designs, and the Model 16 was no exception. It had a round, barrel-shaped fuselage with the pilot seated in the nose and a 1250 hp Continental XIV-1430-5 liquidcooled twelve-cylinder inverted vee engine mounted behind the pilot and driving a pair of contrarotating coaxial propellers operating in pusher fashion. The wing was mounted in mid-fuselage position, and was swept back at an angle of about 20 degrees. Twin booms were mounted about one-third of the way along the wings outboard of the fuselage. The horizontal tailplane at the rear connected the two booms. A tricycle landing gear was to be fitted, with the nosewheel retracting into the fuselage and the mainwheels retracting into the booms. Two 20-mm cannon were to be mounted in the lower fuselage, and three 0.50http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p59.html (1 of 7)09-09-2006 10:36:51

Bell P-59 Airacomet

in machine guns were to be mounted in the front of each of the twin booms. One unusual feature of the Model 16 was the presence of an engine radiator cooing air intake mounted in the extreme nose. Nose-mounted air intakes were features which were later to be seen in jet-powered fighters. By the end of 1940, the Army purchasing commission had chosen six of the submissions for further development. Among them was the Bell Model 16. A single prototype was ordered under the designation XP-52. However this order was canceled on November 25, 1941, before anything could be built. It was replaced by an order for another Bell design, based on the XP-52 but equipped with a more-powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800-52 aircooled radial engine rated at 2000 hp and driving a pair of three-bladed contrarotating pusher propellers. This aircraft was assigned the designation XP-59 by the US Army. The XP-59 had more-or-less the same unorthodox configuration as that of the XP-52, complete with the unusual nose intake. Estimated maximum speed was 450 mph at 22,000 feet, and service ceiling was to have been 38,000 feet. In the meantime, something happened in England which was to alter radically the fate of the XP-59. In April of 1941, Major-General H. H. Arnold paid a visit to Britain. While there, he was shown the top-secret Gloster E-28/39 jet-powered aircraft, powered by one of Wing Commander Frank Whittle's W2B centrifugal turbojets. Work on jet-powered aircraft was well-advanced in Britain, and similar projects were underway in both Germany and Italy. The USA was clearly behind other major aircraft manufacturing nations in this revolutionary new form of aircraft propulsion. General Arnold was so impressed by the potentiality of this new technology that he immediately asked if American engineers could be given the blueprints of the new jet engine so that they could manufacture it under license in the USA. Since the US government was being so generous with its Lend-Lease aid to Britain, the RAF readily agreed. On September 4, 1941, at a meeting at Wright Field, General Arnold asked the General Electric Corporation of Schenectady, New York to act as the prime American contractor for license production of the British jet engine. General Electric was selected for this work because of the company's extensive experience with turbines for various industrial and aviation applications. Fifteen jet engines were ordered. This work was to be carried out under the utmost secrecy. The very next day, Bell Aircraft of Buffalo, New York was approached and asked if it
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Bell P-59 Airacomet

would build a fighter aircraft powered by the new General Electric jet engines. The choice of Bell as prime contractor for the manufacture of the first American jet fighter is sort of curious. Some have suggested that Bell was chosen because, of all the primary aircraft manufacturers in the USA, it had the least work to do in building aircraft vital for the war effort. Others have suggested that Bell was chosen because of its flair for imaginative design. Still others claim that Bell was chosen by General Arnold for this assignment primarily because of its proximity to the General Electric plant, a primary concern if strict secrecy was to be maintained. Perhaps all of these factors played a role. Bell accepted the assignment, and agreed to build three aircraft. They accepted a deadline to complete the first prototype eight months after signing the contract on September 30, 1941. The serial numbers of the three prototypes were to be 42-108784/108786. In order to provide for strict secrecy, some rather extreme measures were taken. In order to provide a cover, the Bell jet fighter project was assigned the designation XP-59A. This was done in the hope that even if Axis intelligence were to get wind of the XP-59A project, they would mistakenly think that it was just an adaptation of the totally-unrelated XP-59 piston-engined pusher fighter. At this time, Bell engineers were already hard at work on the XP-59 pusher, but work on this project was quietly abandoned in the next couple of months as work on the jet fighter got under way. The XP-59 project was officially cancelled on December 1, 1941. The General Electric jet engine was assigned the cover designation I-A, in the hope that enemy intelligence might mistake it for a new turbosupercharger. So the XP-59A and its jet engines were an early example of a "black" project. Many more such "black" projects were to follow in later years. With the XP-59A project being given the highest priority, work proceeded very rapidly. Since the General Electric jet engines were being designed and built in parallel with the XP-59A, Bell engineers had little or no knowledge about performance data of the engines, so they adopted a fairly conservative design approach. Within two months after the initial order, Bell engineers had submitted a design for a fairly conventional aircraft, with a cantilever, laminar-flow, mid-mounted wing and a fully-retractable tricycle landing gear. The aircraft was fitted with two 1400 lb. st. General Electric I-A jet engines, one mounted on either side of the fuselage under the wing roots. The aircraft had a high tailplane, well out of the way of the turbojet exhausts. It was fitted with a pressurized cockpit, still a
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Bell P-59 Airacomet

rather unusual feature for the time. Access to the cockpit was through a side-hinged canopy. The fuselage was to be built in two sections, the forward section comprising armament bay and cabin, and the rear section being of stressed-skin semi-monocoque construction. All control surfaces were fabric covered and manually-operated, the ailerons being of the pressure-balance type with pressure seals. The aircraft was fitted with aerodynamically-balanced, fabric-covered flaps located inboard of the ailerons. Although the XP-59A was primarily viewed as a test-bed for jet engines, the USAAF also viewed it as a potential combat aircraft, and it was to carry a nose-mounted armament of two 37-mm cannon with 44 rpg. The USAAF approved the initial design, and construction of the three prototypes got underway on January 9, 1942. Without even waiting for the flight of the first XP-59A prototype, the USAAF ordered thirteen service test YP-59As in March of 1942. Serial numbers of the YP-59As were 42108771/108783. These were to be powered by improved versions of the General Electric engine, the I-16 (later designated J-31) rated at 1650 lb. st. each. They were to have rearward-sliding cockpit canopies in place of the hinged canopies of the prototypes. The first XP-59A prototype was ready by the late summer of 1942, and was ferried by rail out to Muroc Dry Lake, California (now Edwards AFB) on September 12, 1942. Once it arrived in California, it was fitted with a dummy propeller attached to its nose, just in case the curious might see it and start asking why this aircraft didn't have a propeller. On October 1, 1942, Bell's test pilot Robert Stanley was undergoing some high-speed taxiing trials with the XP-59A when the aircraft "inadvertently" became airborne for a short time. It made its first official flight the next day, with a USAAF pilot at the controls. This was remarkably rapid progress, the first flight of the prototype taking place only 13 months after the contract had first been awarded. The XP-59A weighted 7320 pounds empty and 12,562 pounds maximum loaded. Wingspan was 45 feet 6 inches, length was 28 feet 2 inches, height was 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area was 386 square feet. As might be expected for such a revolutionary system of aircraft propulsion, there were serious problems right from the start. The jet engines were too heavy in relation to the amount of power they could develop, and their exhaust was so hot that the turbine blades regularly overheated and often broke off with catastrophic results. The maximum speed was 404 mph at 25,000 feet, somewhat below expectations. The engine installation was found to result in an inordinate amount of aerodynamic interference, and the aircraft was
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Bell P-59 Airacomet

subject to severe directional snaking, making it a poor gun platform. Nevertheless, work on the P-59 continued unabated, and remedies were eventually found for its long list of faults. The second XP-59A flew on February 15, 1943 and the third late in April. The first YP-59A reached Muroc in June of 1943, and the USAAF gave the aircraft the name *Airacomet*. The first YP-59A flew in August of 1943. The YP-59A had more powerful 1650 lb. st. General Electric I-16 (J31) turbojets. However, the YP-59A showed little improvement in performance over the XP-59A. Empty weight increased to 7626 pounds, and maximum speed was a disappointing 409 mph at 35,000 feet. Service ceiling was 43,200 feet. The last four YP-59As had a heavier armament--three 0.50-inch machine guns and a single 37-mm cannon, which had been standardized for the production P-59A. The third YP-59A (Ser No 42-22611) was shipped to Britain in exchange for the first production Gloster Meteor I. Upon arrival in England, it was assembled by Gloster at Moreton Vallance, where it was flown for the first time by a Bell test pilot on September 28, 1943. It was assigned the RAF serial number of RJ362/G. It was transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough on November 5, 1943. It was on the topsecret Jet Flight list (along with the Gloster E.28/39, the De Havilland Vampire, and the Gloster Meteor), but the Airacomet was flown very little because of unserviceability and the lack of spares. The RAF test pilots found the aircraft to be badly underpowered, with an unacceptably-long takeoff run. Like all other early jet-powered fighters, the Airacomet suffered from very poor engine acceleration. In December of 1943, the US Navy got the eighth and ninth YP-59As (42-108778 and 42100779) for use in tests. Some sources list their naval designation as being YF2L-1, which is sort of curious since the F2L designation was also used by a couple of Bell P-39Q Airacobras employed by the Navy as target aircraft. Perhaps this inconsistency was simply a part of the overall program of official deception, in the hope that enemy intelligence would mistakenly think that the jets were simply more naval Airacobras. In any case, the Airacomet was totally unsuited for carrier operations because of the poor view from its cockpit and the poor acceleration of its engines. In addition, the Airacomet suffered from a lack of adequate drag during landing approaches, so that there was a lot of "float" before touchdown when the power was cut. The lack of drag was primarily caused by the absence of dive brakes, which had been deliberately omitted because of the Airacomet's anticipated mediocre performance.
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Bell P-59 Airacomet

The last YP-59A had been delivered by the end of June 1944. Shortly before the first flight of the XP-59A, the USAAF had placed an order for one hundred P-59A Airacomets. However, the performance of the YP-59A service test aircraft had proved to be rather disappointing, not even up to the standards of conventional pistonengined fighter aircraft already in service with the USAAF. It was considered rather unlikely that any appreciable improvements in the performance of the P-59 would be soon be forthcoming, and by the early fall of 1943 the Airacomet was no longer considered by the USAAF as being worthy of consideration as an operational combat type. The Airacomet was therefore relegated to the operational training role, and the P-59A order was halved on October 30, 1943. The production P-59A differed very little from the YP-59A. Only the first twenty of the P59A order were actually completed as P-59As. Serials were 44-22609/22628. Most of these P-59As were powered by a pair of 1650 lb. s.t. General Electric J31-GE-3 turbojets, although the last few were powered by uprated 2000 lb. st. J31-GE-5 turbojets. The J31GE-5-powered P-59A had a maximum speed of 413 mph at 30,000 feet and 380 mph at 5000 feet. Range on internal fuel was 240 miles, and range with two 125-Imp. gall. drop tanks was 520 miles. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be reached in 3.2 minutes, and 20,000 feet in 7.4 minutes. Weights were 7950 pounds empty, 10,822 pounds loaded, 12,700 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 45 feet 6 inches, length 38 feet 10 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 385.8 square feet. Armament consisted of one 37-mm cannon and three 0.50-inch machine guns, all mounted in the nose. In addition, two 1000-pound bombs or eight 60-pound rockets could be carried on underwing racks. The twenty-first and remaining twenty-nine Airacomets of the P-59A order were completed as P-59Bs. Serials were 44-22629/22658. They had the uprated J31-GE-5 jets of the later P-59As, but had internal fuel capacity increased by 55 Imp gall. Maximum range was increased to 950 miles. Empty weight of the P-59B was increased to 8165 pounds and normal and maximum loaded weights were 11,049 pounds and 13,700 pounds respectively. The last P-59B was delivered in May of 1945. Most of the P-59s went to the 412th Fighter Group of the Fourth Air Force based at Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards AFB), where they served in the training role. The Airacomets provided USAAF pilots and ground crews with valuable data about the difficulties and pitfalls involved in converting to jet aircraft. This information proved quite useful when
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Bell P-59 Airacomet

more advanced jet fighters finally became available in quantity. A few P-59s were later modified and used as drone directors or manned target aircraft aircraft with a second cockpit installed forward of the main cockpit. Although the Airacomet never saw service in its originally-intended role as a fighter aircraft, it nevertheless provided the USAAF with valuable orientation experience in the use of jet aircraft and furnished a nucleus of trained jet pilots. The Airacomet was to have one other major impact on aviation history, one that is not generally recognized. Bell engineers undertook some initial work on a single-engined version of the Airacomet, which was designated XP-59B (not to be confused with the P59B). It had a low-mounted wing and was to be powered by a single General Electric I-16 turbojet engine housed in the rear fuselage with an air inlet at the wing roots and an exhaust in the tail. However, the Buffalo plant was so busy with other projects that in late 1942 the USAAF transferred the preliminary drawings of the single-engined XP-59B to Lockheed, where it became the inspiration of the famed P-80 Shooting Star. Sources:
1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 2. Wings of the Weird and Wonderful, Volume 2, Captain Eric Brown, Airlife, 1985. 3. Warplanes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green, 1964. 4. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982. 5. United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M.

Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.


6. British Military Aircraft Serials, 1912-1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969.

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Curtiss P-60

Curtiss P-60
Last revised September 6, 1999

The story of the Curtiss P-60 is a rather sad one. This aircraft was a desperate attempt on the part of Curtiss to design a replacement for the venerable P-40. It went through a dizzying series of changes in engines, changes in requirements, and changes in designations, the gyrations of which are difficult to keep straight. Its ultimate failure was a reflection of changing USAAF requirements, but was also a reflection of a company which was beginning to run out of fresh new ideas. The story of the Curtiss P-60 is quite convoluted and rather difficult to follow. Nevertheless, pour yourself a cup of coffee and follow along :-). The convoluted history of the P-60 actually begins back with the Curtiss XP-46. Following the failure of the XP-46 to win any Army production orders, the Curtiss company proposed yet another design in their search for the eventual replacement for the P-40. This was the Curtiss Model 88, which was basically an improved XP-46 powered by the yet-to-be-built 1600-hp Continental XIV-1430-3 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled inverted Vee engine. The Model 88 was to use the fuselage and tail assembly of the P-40D combined with a NACA laminar flow wing. Armament was to have consisted of eight wing-mounted 0.50-inch machine guns. The mainwheel retraction scheme reverted to the sequence used by the original P-40, with the mainwheels rotating 90 degrees before they retracted rearwards into wing wells. Maximum speed was projected to be 430 mph. On October 1, 1940, the USAAC ordered two examples of the Model 88 under the designation XP-53. Serials were 41-140 and 41-19508. However, in a conference held six weeks later, the USAAC informed Curtiss-Wright of its need for a fighter combining laminar flow wing technology with the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Since the XP-53 was already being designed for laminar-flow wings, Curtiss proposed to convert the second XP53 airframe (41-19508) to the Merlin engine while it was undergoing construction. This airframe was redesignated Model 90 by the company. The USAAC accepted this idea, and assigned the designation XP-60 to the new aircraft. The XP-60 was to take the 1300-hp
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Curtiss P-60

Packard-built Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650-1 engine as used in the XP-40F then under development. The other XP-53 airframe was to retain the Continental engine. However, while the XP-53 and XP-60 were both undergoing construction, the Army cancelled the XP-53 order because of the excessive delays in the temperamental Continental XIV-1430 engine. The XP-53 never flew. As it turned out, the Continental engine never did enter production, and all of those aircraft projects which had planned for it ultimately failed. In November 1941, the XP-53 airframe was converted into a static test airframe in support of the P-60 project, and its bullet-proof windshield, self-sealing fuel tanks, and armament were scavenged and transferred to the XP-60. During construction of the XP-60 aircraft, it was decided to replace the rearward- retracting P40 style landing gear with a new inward-retracting gear similar to that which had been fitted to the abortive XP-46. Initially, the XP-60 was fitted with a British-built Merlin 28 engine. The Model 90 (XP-60) flew for the first time on September 18, 1941, only eleven days before the first flight of the disappointing XP-46. The performance of the XP-60 was disappointing as well, with a top speed of only 387 mph at 22,000 feet. It took 7.3 minutes to reach an altitude of 15,000 feet, and service ceiling of 29,000 feet. Some of the reason for the disappointing performance was due to the wing surface not being finished to the degree of smoothness required for the laminar flow wing. Another factor was the fact that the Merlin engine did not deliver the guaranteed output. Empty weight was 7008 pounds, gross weight was 9277 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 9700 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 45 feet 5 1/4 inches, length 33 feet 7 1/2 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. On two occasions, the XP-60 had suffered damage as the result of undercarriage failures. During the test flights, it was found necessary to enlarge the vertical and make some minor modifications. These resulted in a change in company designation to Model 90A. The XP-60 (41-19508) was modified in August of 1942 with the installation of a Packard Merlin V-1650-3 (license-built Merlin 61) of 1350 hp with a two stage supercharger. A fourbladed propeller was fitted. The aircraft was redesignated XP-60D by the Army and Model 90B by the factory. By the time that the changes were made, the intervening Army designations B and C had been assigned to other improved versions of the XP-60. The XP60D (41-19508) was destroyed in a crash on May 6, 1943. In late 1941, concern was expressed that the license-built Merlin engine would be in such great demand for other aircraft that there would likely be engine shortages which would delay
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Curtiss P-60

the P-60 program. Consequently, consideration was given to alternative powerplants for the P-60. The liquid-cooled Allison V-1710 engine was selected on the basis of reliability and availability. On October 21, 1941, a contract for 1950 P-60As was approved. The turbosupercharged Allison V-1710-75 liquid-cooled engine offering 1425 hp at 25,000 feet was specified as the powerplant. However, on November 17, 1941, it was concluded that the P-60A would be underpowered if the Allison engine were used, and that either a more powerful engine should be found or else another fighter be built instead of the P-60A. Following Pearl Harbor, officials had second thoughts about the desirability of interrupting P40 production at such a critical point by the introduction of a completely new type. On December 20, 1941, work on the P-60A project was ordered halted, and on January 2, 1942, the production order for the 1950 P-60A fighters was officially cancelled in favor of more P40Ks and Ls plus some Curtiss-built P-47G Thunderbolts. However, the P-60 program was not to be scrubbed completely. The Army decided that three experimental P-60s should be built--one XP-60A, one XP-60B, and one XP-60C. The XP60A (serial number 42-79423) was to have the Allison V-1701-75 engine and a General Electric B-14 turbo- supercharger. The XP-60B (serial number 42-79425) was to be similarly powered, but was to use the Wright SU-504-2 turbosupercharger. The XP-60C (serial number 42-79424) was to use the experimental Chrysler XIV-2220 sixteen-cylinder engine. Normally, a switch in engines was considered by the Army as calling for change of model number as well, but such was not the case here. The first of these new experimental P-60 aircraft was the XP-60A. The Allison-powered XP60A could be considered as an adaptation of the XP-60 wing to a new fuselage and a new powerplant, in much the same spirit as the XP-60 could be regarded as a P-40D with a new wing. The XP-60A was given the company designation of Model 95A (Model 95 having been a design study which had been discontinued). Nose and fuselage contours of the XP60A (serial no 42-79423) were extensively revised to accommodate the Allison engine, and armament was reduced to six 0.50-inch guns in the wings. A four-bladed propeller was fitted. The XP-60A made its initial ground taxiing tests in late October of 1942. However, during one of these tests, a minor fire occurred in the engine due to the lack of cooling air in the shrouds surrounding the exhaust manifold. The turbosupercharger and long exhaust manifold were therefore removed from the aircraft, and short exhaust stacks were substituted. The XP60A (42-79423) flew for the first time in this form on November 11, 1942. Empty weight was 7806 pounds, gross weight was 9616 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 10,160
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Curtiss P-60

pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 33 feet 7 1/2 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Estimated maximum speed (never achieved in tests) was 420 mph at 29,000 feet and 324 mph at sea level. It was estimated that an altitude of 15,000 feet could be attained in 6.5 minutes. Service ceiling was 35,200 feet. The maximum speed (especially at low altitudes) and the initial climb rate were rather disappointing. The XP-60A aircraft was soon dismantled and some of its parts were used in the later XP-60C and XP-60E. The poor performance of the XP-60A had caused official interest in the P-60 fighter to sour, the project being in serious danger of being cancelled outright. However, Curtiss-Wright proposed to the Army that the XP-60C prototype then under construction be fitted with the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial air-cooled engine driving a pair of three-bladed contrarotating propellers. The substantial improvement in performance that this modification promised to provide aroused sufficient interest that in November 1942 the Army issued a letter contract for the production of five hundred R-2800-powered production P-60A-1-CU fighters. The first 26 aircraft on this production contract, Army serials 43-32762/32787, were to be delivered as service test models designated YP-60A. The XP-60C (Model 95C, Army serial number 42-79424) was originally to have had an airframe similar to that of the XP-60A and XP-60B, but fitted with the new and experimental 2300 hp Chrysler XIV-2220 engine. Since this engine was experiencing development difficulties, an order was given in September 1942 to complete this aircraft with a 2000-hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-53 engine driving a a pair of three-bladed contrarotating propellers. Armament was reduced to four 0.50-inch machine guns. First flight of the XP-60C was on January 27, 1943. Apart from somewhat high elevator and rudder forces, the aircraft's flight characteristics were generally satisfactory. The single XP-60B (Model 95B, Army serial number 42-79425) was to have been similar to the XP-60A but with a Wright instead of a General Electric supercharger for the V-1710-75 engine. The aircraft was never completed in this configuration. On December 2, 1942, the Army ordered that it be fitted with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 radial engine in place of the original V-1710. Unlike the XP-60C, a single-rotation four-bladed propeller was to be used. In this form, the aircraft was redesignated XP-60E. Owing to the lighter propeller installation of the XP-60E as compared to that of the XP-60C, it was found necessary to move the R2800 engine forward by ten inches. Owing to a fault experienced during the initial ground running tests which necessitated a change of engines, the first flight of the XP-60E did not take place until May 26, 1943.

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Curtiss P-60

During the latter part of April 1943, the USAAF decided to undertake a series of comparative tests at Patterson Field with various fighter types in an attempt to weed out the least desirable types so that it could concentrate on the best types. Curtiss-Wright was notified by the Army that the XP-60E would have to be delivered for tests within four days. Since the XP-60E had not yet made its first flight, Curtiss-Wright decided to substitute the XP-60C in its place. The XP-60C was hastily reassembled and delivered to Patterson Field. During trials with the XP-60C at Patterson Field, it proved impossible to obtain full rated power. In addition, the experimental wing finish had peeled off from the leading edge of the wing, destroying the smooth laminar-flow characteristics and resulting in a further loss of speed. Consequently, the XP-60C made a very poor impression on the Army, being in fact inferior to the Republic P-47D and the North American P-51B. The P-60 series was henceforth eliminated from any further consideration for production. In June 1943 the Army contract for the P-60A-1-CU was reduced from 500 to just two aircraft. The XP-60C was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-53 engine delivering 2000 hp. Empty weight was 8698 pounds, gross weight was 10,785 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 11,835 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 34 feet 1 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Maximum speed was 414 mph at 20,350, 324 mph at sea level. An altitude of 30,000 feet could be attained in 6 minutes, and initial climb rate was 3890 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 37,900 feet. Normal range was 315 miles. Armament consisted of four 0.50-inch machine guns with 300 rpg mounted in the wings. Following the return of the XP-60C to Curtiss-Wright, some further tests were undertaken, but a forced landing terminated all testing work with this aircraft. By this time, there was essentially no chance for the P-60, since the P-47 and P-51 seemed to satisfy all the Army's needs for fighters. Nevertheless, the Army agreed to test the delayed XP-60E which had missed out on the May 1943 trials at Patterson Field. In January 1944, the XP-60E (Model 95D) was flown to Elgin Field for official tests. The engine was a Pratt & Whitney R2800-10 eighteen-cylinder radial offering 2000 hp. Empty weight was 8285 pounds, gross weight was 10,320 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 11,520 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 33 feet 11 inches, height 12 feet 6 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Maximum speed was 410 mph at 20,200, 391 mph at 24,200 feet, and 405 mph at 15,000 feet. An altitude of 15,000 feet could be attained in 4.8 minutes. Service ceiling was 38,000 feet. Normal range was 315 miles. Armament consisted of four 0.50-inch machine guns with 250 rpg mounted in the wings. USAAF test pilots found that the XP-60E did not compare very favorably in level flight performance with later
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Curtiss P-60

fighters, but it did match them in climbing rate. The aircraft was sensitive to slight changes in flight condition and had to be constantly retrimmed. Stability in level flight was poor and the climing speed was difficult to maintain. In May of 1944, Curtiss-Wright finally recognized that the P-60 was a lost cause, and indicated to the Army that they wanted to discontinue all further work on the project. However, the USAAF insisted that the company follow through on its agreement and complete at least one of the two YP-60A aircraft still under construction under the revised P60A-1-CU contract. These aircraft had been redesignated YP-60E owing to the number of design modifications incorporated that were related to the XP-60E. One of the YP-60As was to see the light of day as a YP-60E. This was the second YP-60A, serialled 43-32763. It flew for the first time on July 15, 1944, powered by a 2100 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18 eighteen-cylinder radial engine driving a single four-bladed propeller. It differed from previous P-60s in having a bubble canopy over the cockpit and revised fuselage and vertical tail shapes, so that it ended up looking a lot like a P-47D-25 Thunderbolt. Empty weight of the YP-60E was 8225 pounds, gross weight was 10,270 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 11,520 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 33 feet 11 inches, height 12 feet 6 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Estimated maximum speed was 405 mph at 24,500. Initial climb rate was estimated at 4200 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 34,000 feet. Armament consisted of six 0.50-inch machine guns with 267 rpg mounted in the wings. Only two test flights of the YP-60E were undertaken by Curtiss-Wright before the aircraft was transferred to Wright Field. By this time, the Army had absolutely no need for the P-60, and no further trials were undertaken. The YP-60E was eventually disposed of as surplus after the war. It was purchased by James DeSanto and was entered in the 1947 National Air Races with Race No. 80 and civil registration NX21979, but crashed on a qualifying flight. Here is a brief summary of serial numbers, which may help to make the history of the P-60 a bit less confusing :-) 41-140 41-19508 42-79423 42-79424 42-79425 43-32762/32787 cancelled. Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss Curtiss XP-53 - cancelled before construction XP-53 ---> XP-60 ---> XP-60D XP-60A XP-60C XP-60B --> XP-60E YP-60A 32763 to YP-60E, rest

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Curtiss P-60

43-32789/33262 Sources:

Curtiss P-60A-1-CU - all cancelled June 1943.

1. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979. 2. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964.
3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987. 4. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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Northrop P-61 Black Widow

Northrop P-61 Black Widow


Last revised September 11, 1999

Northrop XP-61/YP-61 Black Widow Northrop P-61A Black Widow Northrop P-61B Black Widow Northrop P-61C Black Widow Northrop XP-61D Black Widow Northrop XP-61E Black Widow Northrop F-15A Reporter Northrop F2T-1 for US Navy Wartime Service of Northrop P-61 Black Widow Postwar Service of Northrop P-61 Black Widow

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p61.html09-09-2006 10:37:22

Curtiss XP-62

Curtiss XP-62
Last revised September 12, 1999

In January of 1941, the Army issued a requirement for a heavily-armed, high-performance interceptor fighter. The fighter was to be built around the 2300 hp Wright R-3350-17 "Duplex Cyclone" twin-row, eighteen-cylinder air cooled radial engine. This was the heaviest engine yet to be mounted in a fighter, and was the same engine that was to power the B-29 bomber, then under development. Built-in armament was to comprise no less than EIGHT 20-mm cannon or TWELVE 0.5-inch machine guns. Guaranteed maximum speed was to be 468 mph at 27,000 feet. Curtiss's proposal was submitted to the Army on April 29, 1941. Their design was a cantilever low-wing monoplane with retractable main landing gear and tailwheel. The Wright R-3350 engine was to drive a pair of contrarotating three-bladed propellers. Since the aircraft was intended for high altitude operation, the engine was to be fitted with a turbosupercharger and the aircraft was to be equipped with a pressurized cabin. The pressurized cabin feature was a design first for a new single-seat fighter, the earlier Lockheed XP-38A being an adaptation of an existing design. On June 27, 1941, the Army ordered two prototypes, one under the designation XP-62 and the other under the designation XP-62A. The XP-62 prototype was to be delivered within fifteen months, and the XP-62 was to be delivered three months later. On August 2, 1941, some changes in specifications were submitted for approval. The principal changes were a reduction in maximum speed to 448 mph and an increase of 1537 pounds in loaded weight. A mock-up inspection took place in December, and ninety changes were recommended. The status of the XP-62 project was reviewed on January 1, 1942, and it was recommended that the loaded weight be reduced from 15,568 pounds to 14,000 pounds by revising the structure, by removing four of the eight cannon, and by eliminating the propeller anti-icing equipment.

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Curtiss XP-62

Proposals were submitted on January 13, 1942 for 100 production P-62 fighters, the first of which was to be delivered in May of 1943. A letter contract for 100 P-62s was approved on May 25, 1942. However, the contract was terminated by the Army on July 27, 1942 since it was feared that production of the new P-62 would have adversely affected deliveries of critically-needed Curtiss-built P-47G Thunderbolts. Even though no production of the P-62 was envisaged, work on the XP-62 continued. The pressure cabin proved to be a problem, and delays in its delivery caused the first flight to the XP-62 to be pushed back. Eventually, it was decided that the first flight testing of the XP-62 should take place without the pressurized cabin being fitted. The first flight of the XP-62 (serial number 41-35873) took place on July 21, 1943. The portion of the contract covering the XP-62A was cancelled on September 21, 1943. A limited amount of flight testing had been conducted with the XP-62 by February 1944 when it was decided to install the pressure cabin for general development work. However, by this time the XP-62 project had a very low priority and work proceeded very slowly. In the fall of 1944, the XP-62 was finally scrapped without any further flight testing. Specification of Curtiss XP-62: Powerplant: One 2300 hp Wright R-3350-17 "Duplex Cyclone" twin-row, eighteencylinder air cooled radial engine. Performance: The following performance figures are manufacturer's estimates, since only limited flight testing of the XP-62 took place. Maximum speed: 448 mph at 27,000 feet, 358 mph at 5000 feet. Normal range: 900 miles. Maximum range: 1500 miles. Climb to 15,000 feet in 6.9 minutes. Service ceiling: 35,700 feet. The weights of the XP-62 were 11,773 pounds empty, 14,660 pounds normal loaded, and 16,651 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 53 feet 7 3/4 inches, length 39 feet 6 inches, height 16 feet 3 inches, and wing area 420 square feet. Sources:
1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964.
2. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987. 3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

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Curtiss XP-62

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Bell P-63 Kingcobra

Bell P-63 Kingcobra


Last revised September 18, 1999

Bell XP-63 Kingcobra Bell XP-63A Kingcobra Bell P-63A Kingcobra Bell P-63B Kingcobra Bell P-63C Kingcobra Bell P-63D Kingcobra Bell P-63E Kingcobra Bell P-63F Kingcobra Bell RP-63A/C "Pinball" Bell RP-63G Kingcobra Swept-wing L-39 Bell TP-63 Kingcobra Vee-Tailed P-63 Bell XP-63H Kingcobra Air Racing P-63s P-63s in the Soviet Union French P-63s

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p63.html09-09-2006 10:37:32

North American P-64

North American P-64


Last revised August 13, 2001

The North American NA-16 basic training monoplane of 1935 was the ancestor of a whole series of military trainers, culminating in the fabulously successful AT-6 Texan of World War 2 fame. Less well-known is the fact that there was a single-seat fighter aircraft based on this design which actually served for a brief period of time with the USAAF. The series of single-seat fighters based on the NA-16 trainer were originally developed by North American Aviation for export to the air forces of smaller nations which required relatively simple and inexpensive aircraft but which also wanted aircraft with such advanced features as enclosed cockpits and retractable undercarriages. To meet this need, North American evolved the single-seat NA-50A, a single-seat fighter adaptation of the company's two-seat NA-26 advanced trainer, the first development of the NA-16 which featured a retractable undercarriage. The philosophy used by North American was moreor-less the same as that used much later by Northrop in the F-5 fighter which was based on the T-38A Talon two-seat trainer. The NA-50A was powered by an 870 hp Wright R-1820-77 Cyclone nine-cylinder aircooled radial engine driving a three-bladed propeller. The NA-50A was armed with a pair of 0.30-inch machine guns. Maximum speed was 295 mph at 9500 feet, range was 645 miles, and service ceiling was 32,000 feet. The only customer for the NA-50A was the Peruvian Air Force. Seven examples were delivered to Peru in 1938-1939. The Peruvians fitted racks underneath the fuselage for light bombs. During the brief war between Peru and Ecuador in 1941, the Peruvian NA50As actually flew a number of operational sorties, two examples being lost in action. On December 30, 1939, Thailand ordered six examples of a design basically similar to the NA-50A. Designated NA-68 by the company, these planes differed from the NA-50A in having redesigned tail surfaces with a more angular rudder and a modified undercarriage.
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North American P-64

It had heavier armament, consisting of a pair of 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings and two 20-mm cannon in underwing gondolas. The engine was the same as that of the NA50A, namely a Wright R-1820-77 Cyclone. The increased weight caused the performance to suffer--maximum speed was only 270 mph at 8700 feet, normal range was 635 miles, and service ceiling was 27,500 feet. Weights were 4660 pounds empty, 5990 pounds normal loaded, and 6800 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 37 feet 3 inches, length 27 feet 0 inches, height 19 feet 8 inches, and wing area 227.5 square feet. The six NA-68s were on their way to Thailand via ship when Japan invaded that country. The ship was detained at Hawaii by the U.S. government and the six NA-68s were seized to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. They were requisitioned by the Army and assigned the designation P-64. The serials assigned were 41-19082/19087. The P-64s were obviously not suited for front-line combat duty, and when they were returned to the USA they had their cannon armament removed and were assigned to advanced fighter training schools at Luke Field in Arizona. While the P-64s were serving with the Army as advanced fighter trainers, the Thai national insignia were replaced with USAAC insignia, but the planes kept their original Thai camouflage paint job. The P-64s rounded out their brief service lives as liaison aircraft aircraft with Trainer Command. In 1943, surviving P-64s were redesignated RP-64, where the R stood for "Restricted", meaning that they were to be excluded from combat duties. Most of the P-64s were eventually scrapped, but one survives today in the collection of the Experimental Aircraft Association of Oskosh, Wisconsin. It is 41-19085, which bore civilian registrations of NX37498, XB-KUU and N68622 during its postwar years. It is interesting to compare the P-64 to the Commonwealth CA-12 Boomerang of Australia, which was a fighter adaptation of the Wirraway trainer (license-built North American NA-33). Sources:
1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987

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North American P-64

E-mail from Michael Pearson on surviving 41-19085.

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Grumman XP-65

Grumman XP-65
Last revised September 18, 1999

The Grumman XP-65 was to have been the Army equivalent of the Navy's Grumman F7F Tigercat twin-engined carrier-based fighter. You may recall the Grumman XP-50, which was the Army version of the Navy's XF5F Skyrocket experimental carrier-based twin-engined fighter. The Army had ordered a single XP-50 prototype from Grumman as insurance against the failure of the Lockheed XP-49 high-altitude interceptor. Test flights revealed that the XP-50 had a good performance, but the sole prototype was destroyed on May 14, 1941 after the pilot was forced to bale out after an inflight turbosupercharger explosion. Work on the XP-50 was abandoned shortly thereafter. Following the loss of the sole XP-50, Grumman succeeded in interesting the Army in a different proposal, named Design 46 by the company. Design 46 called for a somewhat larger twin-engined fighter powered by a pair of supercharged 1700-hp Wright R-2600 radials. Work had actually began on Design 46 in October of 1939, nearly two years before the loss of the XP-50. This initial work led to the company's Design 49, which was an export version proposed in February 1940 and to Design 51, a naval fighter adaptation which was submitted on March 24, 1941. The Grumman proposals attracted enough attention that both the Army and the Navy decided to pursue the development of similar Grumman-designed twin-engined fighters. They were to be essentially the same aircraft, but the Army version was to have turbosupercharged engines and the Navy version was to have mechanically- supercharged engines. Both versions were to have been armed with four 0.50-in machine guns, but the Army version was to have had an additional pair of 37-mm cannon and the Navy version was to have had a additional quartet of 20-mm cannon. In addition, the Army version was to have a pressurized cockpit.

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Grumman XP-65

The Army ordered two prototypes of the Grumman-designed twin-engined fighter under the designation XP-65 on June 16, 1941. The Navy ordered two prototypes under the designation XF7F-1 two weeks later. However, both services eventually concluded that a single design would not actually be able to satisfy their individual requirements, and on January 16, 1942 the Army decided to back out of the project in order to permit Grumman to optimize their design to meet naval requirements. The XP-65 was destined to be Grumman's last fighter submission to the USAAF. Thereafter, all of Grumman's fighter designs were submitted to the Navy. Estimated performance of the XP-65 included a top speed of 427 mph at 25,000 feet, a service ceiling of 42,000 feet, and a normal range of 825 miles. Weights were to be 15,943 pounds empty and 21,425 pounds loaded. Sources:
1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green,

Doubleday, 1964.
2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987 3. Grumman Aircraft Since 1929, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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