Archive for April, 2008

29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n130 – B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing introduced the first monoplane bomber, the Y1B-9, which could outfly most of the fighter aircraft of the era. Boeing answered the need for a high performance fighter with the P-26 Peashooter. Armed with a pair of .30 caliber machine guns, the P-26 had a speed of 235 mph, thirty-five mph faster than contemporary fighters. Boeing began to build large aircraft in 1933 with the introduction of the Model 247 airliner. The 247 was a monoplane with fully retractable landing gear, de-icers on the wings and supercharged engines. The Model 247 led directly to the XB-15 and the B-17 Flying Fortress. The B-17 was the first four engined bomber with supercharged engines and the first to carry its entire bomb load internally. The B-17 made Boeing an industry giant and in June of 1944. the Boeing plant at Seattle was turning out sixteen B-17Gs a day. Additionally, both Douglas and Lockheed license built the bomber and a total of 12,731 B-17s were built.
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29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n129 – Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot

The T-8-1 was soon followed by a second prototype, the T-8-2 (coded Yellow 82). The second prototype differed from the first in that it featured wingtip mounted pods which contained avionics. The rear half of each pod was split to act as speed brakes. The wing fences were changed with the larger wing fence being inboard on the T-8-2. The second prototype carried four underwing pylons plus a smaller fifth pylon capable of carrying a K-l3 (AA-2) air-to-air missile for self defense. The fin and rudder of the second prototype were enlarged and the single piece rudder of the T-8-1 was replaced by a two piece rudder. The nose was recontoured slightly, the small blister fairing on the underside of the nose on the T-8-1 was deleted and the exhaust was recontoured.
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29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n128 – Curtiss Army Hawks

The first U.S. Navy aircraft was the Curtiss A.l. Other Curtiss “firsts” include: the first passenger seaplane takeoff and landing, first aviator license, first enclosed hull on a seaplane, first use of a Vee-hull on a seaplane and the first company to mass-produce an aircraft (five flying boats for the Navy and three more for the Army). The First World War saw the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company move to the forefront of aircraft production, not only in the United States but the world! Curtiss built flying boats for both the U.S. and Royal Navy, and license-built several foreign designs for use by the U.S. military. By 1917, orders for Curtiss aircraft outgrew the company’s production facilities and other manufacturers like Boeing and Lockheed license-built several Curtiss designs to meet the demand.
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29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n127 – de Havilland Mosquito (Part 1)

The prototype reconnaissance Mosquito PR Mk I (W4051) flew for the first time on 10 June 1941. It differed from the Mosquito prototype in having twenty inch longer wings (fifiy-four feet two inch wing span) and in the camera installation, which normally consisted of three vertical cameras (F24, F52, or K17) and one oblique (F24) camera mounted in the lower fuselage. The camera arrangement varied depending on the mission. One of the most common was a single Kl 7 6 inch focal length camera forward and a split vertical F52 20 or 36 inch installation behind the wing and an F24 14 inch oblique moun-tedcamera firing to port. This was sometimes changed to a split vertical F52 20 or 36 inch camera installation forward, two standard vertical F52 cameras and one oblique F24 camera behind the wing. The F24 camera could use either a 5 inch, 8 inch, 14 inch (most widely used) or 24 inch lens depending on the scale of photography desired and area to be covered.
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29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n126 – North-American F86 Sabre

The installation of the J47-GE-1 engine was the main difference between the XP-86 prototype and the F-86A production aircraft. The J47-GE-1 engine was rated at 5,200 lbst, compared with the 4.000 Ibst available with the J35 engines used in the XP-86s. Installation of the J47 brought the performance of the F-86A-1 into the transonic region. with a top speed of over 670 mph. MAJ Robert L. Johnson exhibited this performance when he set a new World Speed Record of 670.98 mph in a production F-86A-1 on 15 September 1948. Externally the production F-86A differed only slightly from the XP-86 prototypes. The F-86A-1 was armed with six .50 caliber machine guns which had not been installed on the XP-86. The guns were in three-gun packs installed on each side of the fuselage nose. The gun ports were covered with electrically operated doors for aerodynamic streamlining and opened inward whenever the guns were fired. The F-86A was outfitted with an ejection seat so that the pilot could safely leave a crippled F-86 at high speeds. The underfuselage dive brake was eliminated and the fuselage speed brakes nowopened rearward instead of forward as on the XP-86s.
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29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n125 – MiG-17 Fresco

The MiG-17 Fresco followed the MiG-15 Fagot into Soviet Air Force service and evolved into a highly maneuverable, reliable and easy to maintain air combat fighter. The Fresco was one of the most widely exported fighters of all time and saw service in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, seeing combat in a number of conflicts. During the Vietnam war. the MtG-17F was respected by U. S. pilots flying faster, heavier aircraft of a newer generation. They quickly found out that the extremely maneuverable, cannon armed Fresco C was a formidable opponent in air-to-air combat. Based on reports of air engagements over Vietnam, the MiG-17 had an influence on future American fighter designs. The cannon armament of the MiG-17 proved that gun armament for fighters was far from obsolete, a lesson fighter pilots brought home from Vietnam and impressed on the designers of the next generation of U.S. combat aircraft (the F-14, F-15 and F-16 all have cannon armament).
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29
Apr
08

Aircraft in Action n124 – Chase C123 Provider

The powered version of the XCG-20 was given the designation XC-123 and made its first flight from the company’s West Trenton, N J. facility on 14 October 1949. The XC-123 was actually the first of the two XCG-20 prototypes to fly, the glider not making its first flight until 26 April 1950. The prototype Chase XC-123 successfully completed its flight test period and Chase was issued a production contract for 300 aircraft under the designation C-123B. Chase Aircraft began construction of the C-123B at its Trenton, N. J. facility during 1952 and. after completing five C-123Bs, a majority interest in the Chase Company was purchased by the Kaiser-Fraser Company under the leadership of Henry J. Kaiser. Contract disputes between Kaiser and the USAF resulted in the 300 aircraft under contract to Chase being cancelled by the USAF.
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