Monday, September 30, 2013

Fieseler Fi 156-C Storch

Here are some images of Hasegawa's 1/32 scale Fieseler Fi 156-C Storch (Stork). Never was an aircraft more aptly named.
This model bares the Fascist Italy markings of the Regia Aeronautica Commando Albania Tirana 1941.

From Wikipedia"
The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (English: Stork) was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II. Production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous to this day for its excellent STOL performance; French-built later variants often appear at air shows.
In 1935, the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium, Reich Aviation Ministry) invited tenders from several companies for a new Luftwaffe aircraft suitable for liaison, army co-operation (today called Forward Air Control), and medical evacuation. This resulted in the Messerschmitt Bf 163 and Siebel Si 201 competing against the Fieseler firm's tender. Conceived by chief designer Reinhold Mewes and technical director Erich Bachem, Fieseler's design had a far better STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) performance. A fixed slat ran along the entire length of the leading edge of the long wings, while a hinged and slotted flap ran along the entire length of trailing edge. This was inspired by earlier 1930s Junkers "double-wing" aircraft wing control surface designs, including the ailerons.

Fi 156 in flight
A design feature rare for land-based aircraft, enabled the wings on the Storch to be folded back along the fuselage in a manner similar to the wings of the US Navy's Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter. This allowed the aircraft to be carried on a trailer or even towed slowly behind a vehicle. The primary hinge for the folding wing was located in the wing root, where the rear wing spar met the cabin. The long legs of the main landing gear contained oil-and-spring shock absorbers that had a travel of 450 mm (18 inches), allowing the aircraft to land on comparatively rough and uneven surfaces. In flight, the landing gear legs hung down, giving the aircraft the appearance of a long-legged, big-winged bird, hence its nickname, Storch. With its very low landing speed the Storch often appeared to land vertically, or even backwards, in strong winds from directly ahead.

Because of its superb STOL characteristics, there have been many attempts to recreate or copy the Storch, namely in the form of various homebuilt aircraft such as the Pazmany PL-9 Stork and Roger Mann's RagWing RW19 Stork. Another is the Slepcev Storch designed and manufactured by Nestor Slepcev. It is a ¾ scale reproduction of the original with some simplifications. The use of modern materials provides better STOL performance than the original with a take-off run of 30 m and landing-roll of 50 m with no headwind. It was originally designed and manufactured in Australia and is now manufactured in Serbia.

The actual Storch involved in Mussolini's rescue in the Gran Sasso raid
The Storch was deployed in all European and North African theaters of World War II. But it is probably most famous for its role in Operation Eiche, the rescue of deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from a boulder-strewn mountain-top near the Gran Sasso. Even though the mountain was surrounded by Italian troops, German commando Otto Skorzeny and 90 paratroopers parachuted onto the peak and quickly captured it. But the problem remained of how to get back off. A Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 helicopter was sent, but it broke down en route. Instead, pilot Heinrich Gerlach flew in a Storch. It landed in 30 m (100 ft), and after Mussolini and Skorzeny boarded, it took off in 80 m (250 ft), even though the aircraft was overloaded. The Storch involved in rescuing Mussolini bore the radio code letters, or Stammkennzeichen, of "SJ + LL" in the motion picture coverage of the daring rescue.
On 26 April 1945, a Storch was one of the last aircraft to land on the improvised airstrip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate during the Battle of Berlin and the death throes of the Third Reich. It was flown by the test pilot Hanna Reitsch, who flew Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to answer a summons from Hitler. Once in Berlin von Greim was informed that he was to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Hermann Göring.

Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst and his Storch, Italy, 1943
A Storch was the victim of the last dog fight on the Western Front and another was downed by a direct Allied counterpart of the Storch, an L-4 Grasshopper, the military version of the well-known American Piper J-3 Cub civilian training and sport aircraft. The pilot and co-pilot of the L-4, Lieutenants Duane Francis and Bill Martin, opened fire on the Storch with their .45 caliber pistols, forcing the German air crew to land and surrender.
Field Marshal Rommel used Storch aircraft for transport and battlefield surveillance during the North African desert campaign of World War II.
During the war a number of Störche were captured by the Allies. One became the personal aircraft of Field Marshal Montgomery. Others were used as the personal aircraft of Air Vice Marshal Arthur Coningham and Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst, who acquired his Storch in North Africa, and flew it subsequently in Italy and North-West Europe.
The British captured 145, of which 64 were given to the French as war compensation from Germany.
 The ALA and the ALAT used the Criquet from 1945 to 1958 throughout the Indochina War and the Algerian War. The Swiss Air Force and other mountainous European countries continued to use the Storch for rescues in terrain where STOL performance is necessary. Many Storches are still operational today and are commonly shown at air shows. In North America, both the Collings Foundation and the Fantasy of Flight museum are known to still have fully airworthy Fi 156 Storch aircraft in their collections.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lt Josef Jacob's Fokker Dr.I

Here are some images of Revells 1/28 scale Fokker Dr.1 Triplane.
This aircraft was flown by Lt Josef Jacobs Kommander Jasta 7 St Marguerite June 1918.

From Wikipedia"
The Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker (triplane) was a World War I fighter aircraft built by Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The Dr.I saw widespread service in the spring of 1918. It became renowned as the aircraft in which Manfred von Richthofen gained his last 19 victories, and in which he was killed on 21 April 1918.
In February 1917, the Sopwith Triplane began to appear over the Western Front. Despite its single Vickers machine gun armament, the Sopwith swiftly proved itself superior to the more heavily armed Albatros fighters then in use by the Luftstreitkräfte. Fokker-Flugzeugwerke responded by converting an unfinished biplane prototype into the V.4, a small, rotary-powered triplane with a steel tube fuselage and thick cantilever wings, first developed during Fokker's government-mandated collaboration with Hugo Junkers. Initial tests revealed that the V.4 had unacceptably high control forces resulting from the use of unbalanced ailerons and elevators.
Instead of submitting the V.4 for a type test, Fokker produced a revised prototype designated V.5. The most notable changes were the introduction of horn-balanced ailerons and elevators, as well as longer-span wings. The V.5 also featured interplane struts, which were not necessary from a structural standpoint, but which minimized wing flexing. On 14 July 1917, Idflieg issued an order for 20 pre-production aircraft. The V.5 prototype, serial 101/17, was tested to destruction at Adlershof on 11 August 1917.

The first two pre-production triplanes were designated F.I, in accord with Idflieg's early class prefix for triplanes. These aircraft, serials 102/17 and 103/17, were the only machines to receive the F.I designation and could be distinguished from subsequent aircraft by a slight curve to the tailplane leading edge. They were sent to Jastas 10 and 11 for combat evaluation, arriving at Markebeeke, Belgium on 28 August 1917.
Richthofen first flew 102/17 on 1 September 1917 and shot down two enemy aircraft in the next two days. He reported to the Kogenluft (Kommandierender General der Luftstreitkräfte) that the F.I was superior to the Sopwith Triplane. Richthofen recommended that fighter squadrons be reequipped with the new aircraft as soon as possible. The combat evaluation came to an abrupt conclusion when Oberleutnant Kurt Wolff, Staffelführer of Jasta 11, was shot down in 102/17 on 15 September, and Leutnant Werner Voss, Staffelführer of Jasta 10, was killed in 103/17 on 23 September.
The remaining pre-production aircraft, designated Dr.I, were delivered to Jasta 11. Idflieg issued a production order for 100 triplanes in September, followed by an order for 200 in November. Apart from minor modifications, these aircraft were almost identical to the F.I. The primary distinguishing feature was the addition of wingtip skids, which proved necessary because the aircraft was tricky to land and prone to ground looping. In October, Fokker began delivering the Dr.I to squadrons within Richthofen's Jagdgeschwader I.
Compared to the Albatros and Pfalz fighters, the Dr.I offered exceptional maneuverability. Though the ailerons were not very effective, the rudder and elevator controls were light and powerful. Rapid turns, especially to the right, were facilitated by the triplane's marked directional instability. Vizefeldwebel Franz Hemer of Jasta 6 said, "The triplane was my favorite fighting machine because it had such wonderful flying qualities. I could let myself stunt — looping and rolling — and could avoid an enemy by diving with perfect safety. The triplane had to be given up because although it was very maneuverable, it was no longer fast enough."
As Hemer noted, the Dr.I was considerably slower than contemporary Allied fighters in level flight and in a dive. While initial rate of climb was excellent, performance fell off dramatically at higher altitudes because of the low compression of the Oberursel Ur.II, a clone of the Le Rhône 9J rotary engine. As the war continued, chronic shortages of castor oil made rotary operation increasingly difficult. The poor quality of German ersatz lubricant resulted in many engine failures, particularly during the summer of 1918.
The Dr.I suffered other deficiencies. The pilot's view was poor during takeoff and landing. The cockpit was cramped and furnished with materials of inferior quality. Furthermore, the proximity of the gun butts to the cockpit, combined with inadequate crash padding, left the pilot vulnerable to serious head injury in the event of a crash landing.
On 29 October 1917, Leutnant der Reserve Heinrich Gontermann, Staffelführer of Jasta 15, was performing aerobatics when his triplane broke up. Gontermann was fatally injured in the ensuing crash landing. Leutnant der Reserve Günther Pastor of Jasta 11 was killed two days later when his triplane broke up in level flight. Inspection of the wrecked aircraft showed that the wings had been poorly constructed. Examination of other high-time triplanes confirmed these findings. On 2 November, Idflieg grounded all remaining triplanes pending an inquiry. Idflieg convened a Sturzkommission (crash commission) which concluded that poor construction and lack of waterproofing had allowed moisture to damage the wing structure. This caused the wing ribs to disintegrate and the ailerons to break away in flight.
In response to the crash investigation, Fokker improved quality control on the production line, particularly varnishing of the wing spars and ribs, to combat moisture. Fokker also strengthened the rib structures and the attachment of the auxiliary spars to the ribs. Existing triplanes were repaired and modified at Fokker's expense. After testing a modified wing at Adlershof, Idflieg authorized the triplane's return to service on 28 November 1917. Production resumed in early December. By January 1918, Jastas 6 and 11 were fully equipped with the triplane. Only 14 squadrons used the Dr.I as their primary equipment. Most of these units were part of Jagdgeschwadern I, II, or III.Frontline inventory peaked in late April 1918, with 171 aircraft in service on the Western Front.
Despite corrective measures, the Dr.I continued to suffer from wing failures. On 3 February 1918, Leutnant Hans Joachim Wolff of Jasta 11 successfully landed after suffering a failure of the upper wing leading edge and ribs. On 18 March 1918, Lothar von Richthofen, Staffelführer of Jasta 11, suffered a failure of the upper wing leading edge during combat with Sopwith Camels of No. 73 Squadron and Bristol F.2Bs of No. 62 Squadron. Richthofen was seriously injured in the ensuing crash landing.
Postwar research revealed that poor workmanship was not the only cause of the triplane's structural failures. In 1929, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) investigations found that the upper wing carried a higher lift coefficient than the lower wing — at high speeds it could be 2.55 times as much.
The triplane's chronic structural problems destroyed any prospect of large-scale orders. Production eventually ended in May 1918, by which time only 320 had been manufactured. The Dr.I was withdrawn from frontline service as the Fokker D.VII entered widespread service in June and July. Jasta 19 was the last squadron to be fully equipped with the Dr.I.
Surviving triplanes were distributed to training and home defense units. Several training aircraft were reengined with the 75 kW (100 hp) Goebel Goe.II. At the time of the Armistice, many remaining triplanes were assigned to fighter training schools at Nivelles, Belgium, and Valenciennes, France. Allied pilots tested several of these triplanes and found their handling qualities to be impressive.
 Several Dr.Is were used as testbeds for experimental engines. One aircraft, designated V.7, was fitted with the Siemens-Halske Sh.III bi-rotary engine. The V.7 exhibited exceptional rate of climb and ceiling, but it proved difficult to handle. Serial 108/17 was used to test the 118 kW (160 hp) Goebel Goe. III, while serial 469/17 was used to test the 108 kW (145 hp) Oberursal Ur. III. None of these engines were used on production aircraft.

Three triplanes are known to have survived the Armistice. Serial 528/17 was retained as a testbed by the Deutschen Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (German Aviation Research Institute) at Adlershof. After being used in the filming of two movies, 528/17 is believed to have crashed sometime in the late 1930s. Serial 152/17, in which Manfred von Richthofen obtained three victories, was displayed at the Zeughaus museum in Berlin. This aircraft was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid during World War II.
In 1932, Fokker assembled a Dr.I from existing components. It was displayed in the Deutsche Luftfahrt-Sammlung in Berlin. In 1943, the aircraft was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid. Today, only a few original Dr.I artifacts survive in museums.

Large numbers of replica and reproduction aircraft have been built for both individuals and museums. Bitz Flugzeugbau GmbH built two Dr.I replicas for use in Twentieth Century Fox’s 1966 film The Blue Max. Because of the expense and scarcity of authentic rotary engines, most airworthy replicas are powered by a Warner Scarab or Continental R-670 radial engine. A few, however, feature vintage Le Rhône 9 or reproduction Oberursel Ur.II rotary engines.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bell P 39 D Airacobra

Here are some more images of Special Hobby's 1/32 scale Bell P 39 D Airacobra. From Wikipedia "The Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the principal American fighter aircraft in service at the start of World War II. It was the first fighter in history with a tricycle undercarriage and the first to have the engine installed in the center fuselage, behind the pilot. Although its mid-engine placement was innovative, the P-39 design was handicapped by the lack of an efficient turbo-supercharger, limiting it to low-altitude work. The P-39 was used with great success by the Soviet Air Force, who scored the highest number of individual kills attributed to any U.S. fighter type. Other important users were the Free French and co-belligerent Italian air forces. Together with the derivative P-63 Kingcobra, these aircraft became the most successful mass-produced fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by Bell.

Bell Model 13, production variant based on the P-39C with 245 lb (111 kg) of additional armor, self-sealing fuel tanks. Armament increased to 1 × 37 mm/1.46 mm cannon (30 rounds), 2 × .50 in/12.7 mm (200 rpg) and 4 × wing mounted .30 in/7.62 mm (1,000 rpg) machine guns; 60 Produced.
Bell Model 14A, production variant fitted with a M1 20 mm (.79 in) M1 cannon. Specifically ordered for delivery under Lend-Lease; 336 produced
Bell Model 14A-1, production variant with a V-1710-63 (E6) engine (1,325 hp/988 kW) restored the 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon, provisions for a single 145 gal (549 l) drop tank or maximum 500 lb (227 kg) bomb under the fuselage; 158 produced.
26 conversions from P-39D-1 to Photo Reconnaissance Configuration; K-24 and K-25 camera in rear fuselage, extra armor for oil coolers
11 conversions from P-39D-2 to Photo Reconnaissance Configuration. Same modifications as D-3 aircraft.

In 1945, Italy purchased the 46 surviving P-39s at 1% of their cost but in summer 1946 many accidents occurred, including fatal ones. By 1947, 4 Stormo re-equipped with P-38s, with P-39s sent to training units until the type's retirement in 1951. Only a T9 cannon survives today at Vigna di Valle Museum.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

British Aerospace BAe T.1a Hawk

Here are some images of Revell's 1/32 scale British Aerospace BAe T.1a Hawk in Red Arrows markings.

From Wikipedia"
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft. The Hawk is still in production with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 customers around the world.
In 1964 the Royal Air Force specified a requirement (Air Staff Target (AST) 362) for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat. The SEPECAT Jaguar was originally intended for this role, but it was soon realised that it would be too complex an aircraft for fast jet training, and only a small number of two-seat versions were purchased. Accordingly, in 1968, Hawker Siddeley Aviation (HSA) began studies for a simpler aircraft, initially as special project (SP) 117. The design team was led by Ralph Hooper.[1] This project was funded by the company as a private venture, in anticipation of possible RAF interest. The design was conceived of as having tandem seating and a combat capability in addition to training, as it was felt the latter would improve export sales potential. Through 1969 the project was first renamed P.1182, then HS.1182. By the end of the year HSA had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence based on the design concept, and in early 1970 the RAF issued Air Staff Target (AST) 397 which formalised the requirement for new trainers of this type. The RAF selected the HS.1182 for their requirement on 1 October 1971 and the principal contract, for 175 aircraft, was signed in March 1972.

Renamed "Hawk" following an employee naming competition (the name "Tercel", a male hawk, was the actual winning name, but the RAF preferred the more common and simpler name), the aircraft first flew on 21 August 1974.

At the time, its main competitor was the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet; both types were intended to be exported and John W. R. Taylor commented on the situation: "What Europe must avoid is the kind of wasteful competition that has the Hawker Siddeley Hawk and Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet battling against each other in the world market."

In 1977 Hawker Siddeley merged with other British aircraft companies to form the nationalised British Aerospace (BAe), which subsequently became BAE Systems upon merger with Marconi Electronic Systems in 1999.

Hawk T1A

The Hawk T1A is a modified Hawk T1, which was intended to replace the Hawker Hunter in the RAF's Tactical Weapons Units. A total of 89 aircraft were converted to carry two underwing AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and a centreline gun pod. During the 1980s, the RAF began using TWU Hawks in the Mixed Fighter Force (MFF) concept; the intention was to attach three of four Hawks to a Phantom or Tornado interceptor, which would guide them using its powerful radar onto enemy targets.

This is also the variant used by the RAF's Red Arrows display team; the underbody gun pod is repalced by a similarly shaped fairing used used to carry oil for the display smoke system.
Red Arrows"
The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Scampton, but due to move to RAF Waddington in 2011. The team was formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.

The Red Arrows badge shows the aircraft in their trademark diamond nine formation, with the motto Éclat, a French word meaning "brilliance" or "excellence".
Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team. This aircraft was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters. In their first season, they flew at 65 shows across Europe. In 1966, the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their Diamond Nine formation. In late 1979, they switched to the BAE Hawk trainer. The Red Arrows have performed over 4,000 displays worldwide in 53 countries.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chengdu Jian-7

Here are some more images of Trumpeter's 1/32 scale Chinese F-7 MG.
From Wikipedia" The Chengdu Jian-7 (Chinese: 歼-7; export versions F-7) is a People's Republic of China-built version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. Though production ceased in 2008 it continues to serve, mostly as an interceptor, in several air forces.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Soviet Union shared most of its conventional weapons technology with the People's Republic of China. One of these was the limited cooperation between the two countries in the early stage development of the famous MiG-21 short-range interceptor-fighter aircraft. Powered by a single engine and designed on a simple airframe, these fighters were inexpensive but fast, suiting the strategy of forming large groups of 'people's fighters' to overcome the technological advantages of Western aircraft. However, the Sino-Soviet split ended Chinese early participation in the developmental program of the MiG-21 abruptly, and from July 28 to September 1, 1960, the Soviet Union withdrew its advisers from China, resulting in the project being forced to stop in China.
However, Nikita Khrushchev suddenly wrote to Mao Zedong in February, 1962 to inform Mao that the Soviet Union was ready to transfer MiG-21 technology to China and asked the Chinese to send their representatives to the Soviet Union as soon as possible to discuss the details. The Chinese viewed this as a Soviet gesture to make peace, and were obviously suspicious, but they were extremely quick to take up on the Soviet offer for the aircraft deal. A delegation headed by Colonel General Liu Yalou (刘亚楼), the commander-in-chief of the PLAAF and a Soviet military academy graduate was dispatched to Moscow immediately and the Chinese delegation was even allowed to have three days to visit the production facility of the MiG-21, which was previously off limits to foreigners. The authorization was personally given by Nikita Khrushchev himself, and on March 30, 1962, the deal was signed. However, given the political situation and relationship between the two countries, the Chinese were not optimistic about gaining the technology and thus were prepared for reverse engineering.
Russian sources stated that complete examples of the MiG-21 were sent to China flown by Soviet pilots, and China did receive MiG-21Fs in kits along with parts and technical documents. Just as the Chinese had expected, when the Soviets delivered the kits, parts and documents to Shenyang Aircraft Factory five months after the deal was signed the Chinese discovered that the technical documents provided by the Soviets were incomplete and some of the parts could not be used. China set about to reverse engineer the aircraft for local production, and in doing so, succeeded in solving 249 major problems and came up with eight major technical documents that were not delivered. The effort was largely successful, as the Chinese design showed only minor differences from the original. In March, 1964, Shenyang Aircraft Factory began the first domestic production of the jet fighter, which they successfully achieved the next year. However, the mass production of the aircraft was severely hindered by an unexpected problem—the Cultural Revolution, which resulted in poor initial quality and slow progress, which in turn, resulted in full scale production only coming about in the 1980s, by which time the design was showing its age. However, the fighter is affordable and widely exported as the F-7, often with Western systems incorporated like the ones sold to Pakistan. Based on the expertise gained by this program, China later developed the Shenyang J-8 by utilizing the incomplete technical information of the Soviet Ye-152 developmental jet.
  • F-7MG Export variant of the J-7MG, with the single piece windshield replacing the 3-piece windshield of the J-7MG. Evolved to F-7BG. Zimbabwe bought at least 12 of these in 2004.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chance Vought F4U 1D Corsair

Here are some images of Trumpeter's 1/32 scale Chance Vought F4U 1D Corsair.

From Wikipedia"
The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and Brewster-built aircraft F3A. From the first prototype delivery to the U.S. Navy in 1940, to final delivery in 1953 to the French, 12,571 F4U Corsairs were manufactured by Vought, in 16 separate models, in the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history (1942–53).
The Corsair served in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, Fleet Air Arm and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, as well as the French Navy Aéronavale and other, smaller, air forces until the 1960s. It quickly became the most capable carrier-based fighter-bomber of World War II. Some Japanese pilots regarded it as the most formidable American fighter of World War II, and the U.S. Navy counted an 11:1 kill ratio with the F4U Corsair. As well as being an outstanding fighter, the Corsair proved to be an excellent fighter-bomber, serving almost exclusively in the latter role throughout the Korean War and during the French colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria.

In February 1938 the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics published two requests for proposal for twin-engined and single-engined fighters. For the single-engined fighter the Navy requested the maximum obtainable speed, and a stalling speed not higher than 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). A range of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) was specified. The fighter had to carry four guns, or three with increased ammunition. Provision had to be made for anti-aircraft bombs to be carried in the wing. These small bombs would, according to thinking in the 1930s, be dropped on enemy aircraft formations.

The XF4U-1 prototype in 1940/41, showing its more forward cockpit location
In June 1938, the U.S. Navy signed a contract with Vought for a prototype, the XF4U-1, BuNo 1443. The Corsair design team was headed up by Rex Beisel. After mock-up inspection in February 1939, construction of the XF4U-1 powered by an XR-2800-4 prototype of the Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp twin-row, 18-cylinder radial engine, rated at 1,805 hp (1,346 kW) went ahead quickly, as the very first airframe ever to have a Double Wasp engine fitted for flight. When the prototype was completed it had the biggest and most powerful engine, largest propeller and probably the largest wing on any naval fighter to date. The first flight of the XF4U-1 was made on 29 May 1940, with Lyman A. Bullard, Jr. at the controls. The maiden flight proceeded normally until a hurried landing was made when the elevator trim tabs failed because of flutter.
On 1 October, the XF4U-1 became the first single-engine U.S. fighter to fly faster than 400 mph (640 km/h) by setting an average ground speed of 405 miles per hour (652 km/h) during a flight from Stratford to Hartford.The twin-engine Lockheed P-38 Lightning had flown over 400 mph in January–February 1939. The XF4U-1 also had an excellent rate of climb but testing revealed that some requirements would have to be rewritten. In full-power dive tests, speeds of up to 550 miles per hour (890 km/h) were achieved but not without damage to the control surfaces and access panels and in one case, an engine failure. The spin recovery standards also had to be relaxed as recovery from the required two-turn spin proved impossible without resorting to an anti-spin chute.The problems clearly meant delays in getting the type into production.
Reports coming back from the war in Europe indicated that an armament of two .30 in (7.62 mm) (mounted in engine cowling) and two .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns (one in each outer wing panel) was insufficient. The U.S. Navy's November 1940 production proposals specified heavier armament.[ The increased armament consisted of three .50 caliber machine guns mounted in each wing. This improvement greatly increased the ability of the Corsair to effectively shoot down enemy aircraft.
Formal U.S. Navy acceptance trials for the XF4U-1 began in February 1941. The Navy entered into a letter of intent on 3 March 1941, received Vought's production proposal on 2 April and awarded Vought a contract for 584 F4U-1 fighters, which were given the name "Corsair" — inherited from the firm's late-1920s Vought O2U naval biplane scout which first bore the name — on 30 June of the same year. The first production F4U-1 performed its initial flight a year later, on 24 June 1942. It was a remarkable achievement for Vought; compared to land-based counterparts, carrier aircraft are "overbuilt" and heavier, to withstand the extreme stress of deck landings.

F4U-1D (Corsair Mk IV): Built in parallel with the F4U-1C, but was introduced in April 1944. It had the new -8W water-injection engine. This change gave the aircraft up to 250 hp (190 kW) more power, which, in turn, increased performance. Speed was increased from 417 mph (671 km/h) to 425 mph (684 km/h). Due to the U.S. Navy's need for fighter-bombers, it had a payload of rockets double the -1A's, as well as twin-rack plumbing for an additional belly drop tank. However, these modifications necessitated the need for rocket tabs (attached to fully metal-plated underwing surfaces) and bomb pylons to be bolted on the fighter, causing extra drag. The extra fuel carried by the two drop tanks would still allow the aircraft to fly relatively long missions despite the heavy, un-aerodynamic loads. A single piece "blown" clear-view canopy was adopted as standard equipment for the -1D model, and all later F4U production aircraft. Additional production was carried out by Goodyear (FG-1D) and Brewster (F3A-1D). In Fleet Air Arm service, the latter was known as the Corsair III, and both had their wingtips clipped - 8 inches (203 mm) per wing - to allow storage in the lower hangars of British carriers.

Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger

Here are some more images of Revell's 1/32 scale Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (peoples hunter).

From Wikipedia"
The Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger (German, "People's Fighter"), the name of the project of the Emergency Fighter Program design competition, was a German single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft fielded by the Luftwaffe in World War II. Designed and built quickly, and made primarily of wood as metals were in very short supply and prioritised for other aircraft, the He 162 was nevertheless the fastest of the first generation of Axis and Allied jets. Volksjäger was the Reich Air Ministry's official name for the government design program competition that the He 162 design won. Other names given to the plane include Salamander, which was the codename of its construction program, and Spatz ("Sparrow"), which was the name given to the plane by Heinkel.
Heinkel had designed a relatively small, 'sporty'-looking aircraft, with a sleek, streamlined fuselage. Overall, the look of the plane was extremely modernistic for its time, appearing quite contemporary in terms of layout and angular arrangement even to today's eyes. The BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet was mounted in a pod nacelle uniquely situated atop the fuselage, just aft of the cockpit and centered directly over the wing's center section. Twin roughly rectangular vertical tailfins were mounted at the ends of highly dihedralled horizontal tailplanes to clear the jet exhaust, a high-mounted straight wing with a forward-swept trailing edge and a noticeably marked degree of dihedral, with an ejection seat was provided for the pilot — which the Heinkel firm had pioneered in a front-line combat aircraft, with the earlier He 219 night fighter in 1942. The He 162 airframe design featured an uncomplicated tricycle landing gear that retracted into the fuselage, performed simply with extension springs, mechanical locks, cables and counterweights. The He 162 V1 first prototype flew within an astoundingly short period of time: the design was chosen on 25 September and first flew on 6 December, less than 90 days later. This was despite the fact that the factory in Wuppertal making Tego film plywood glue — used in a substantial number of late-war German aviation designs whose airframes were meant to be constructed mostly from wood — had been bombed by the Royal Air Force and a replacement had to be quickly substituted, without realizing that the replacement adhesive would turn out to be highly corrosive to the wooden parts it was intended to be fastening.
The first flight of the He 162 V1, by Flugkapitän Gotthard Peter, was fairly successful, but during a high-speed run at 840 km/h (520 mph), the highly acidic replacement glue attaching the nose gear strut door failed and the pilot was forced to land. Other problems were noted as well, notably a pitch instability and problems with sideslip due to the rudder design. Neither was considered important enough to hold up the production schedule for even a day. On a second flight on 10 December, again with Peter at the controls, in front of various Nazi officials, the glue again caused a structural failure. This allowed the aileron to separate from the wing, causing the plane to roll over and crash, killing Peter.
An investigation into the failure revealed that the wing structure had to be strengthened and some redesign was needed, as the glue bonding required for the wood parts was in many cases defective. However, the schedule was so tight that testing was forced to continue with the current design. Speeds were limited to 500 km/h (310 mph) when the second prototype flew on 22 December. This time, the stability problems proved to be more serious, and were found to be related to Dutch roll, which could be solved by reducing the dihedral. However, with the plane supposed to enter production within weeks, there was no time to change the design. A number of small changes were made instead, including adding lead ballast to the nose to move the centre of gravity more to the front of the plane, and slightly increasing the size of the tail surfaces.
The third and fourth prototypes, which now used an "M" for "Muster" (model) number instead of the older "V" for "Versuchs" (experimental) number, as the He 162 M3 and M4, after being fitted with the strengthened wings, flew in mid-January 1945. These versions also included small. anhedraled aluminium wingtip "droops", reportedly designed by Alexander Lippisch and known in German as Lippisch-Ohren ("Lippisch Ears"), in an attempt to cure the stability problems via effectively "decreasing" the main wing panel's marked dihedral angle. Both prototypes were equipped with two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons in the He 162 A-1 anti-bomber variant; in testing, the recoil from these guns proved to be too much for the lightweight fuselage to handle, and plans for production turned to the A-2 fighter with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons instead while a redesign for added strength started as the A-3. The shift to 20 mm guns was also undertaken because the smaller-calibre weapons would allow a much greater amount of ammunition to be carried.
The He 162 was originally built with the intention of being flown by the Hitler Youth, as the Luftwaffe was fast running out of pilots. However, the aircraft was far too complicated for any but a highly experienced pilot. An unpowered two-seat glider version, designated the He 162S (Schulen), was developed for training purposes. Only a small number were built, and even fewer delivered to the sole He 162 Hitler Youth training unit to be activated (in March 1945) at an airbase at Sagan. The unit was in the process of formation when the war ended, did not begin any training, and it is doubtful that more than one or two He 162S gliders ever took to the air.

The Hinterbrühl underground production line for the He 162A was captured in April 1945
Various changes had raised the weight over the original 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) limit, but even at 2,800 kg (6,170 lb), the aircraft was still among the fastest aircraft in the air with a maximum airspeed of 790 km/h (491 mph) at sea level and 839 km/h at 6000 meters (521 mph @ 19,680 ft), but could reach 890 km/h (550 mph) at sea level and 905 km/h (562 mph) at 6,000 m (19,690 ft) using short burst extra thrust. The short flight duration of barely 30 minutes - only somewhat better than the even shorter 7.5-minute flight duration of the faster-flying Me 163B rocket fighter - was due to only having a single 695-litre (183 US gallon) capacity flexible-bladder fuel tank in the fuselage directly under the engine's intake.
He 162 construction facilities were at Salzburg, the Hinterbrühl, and the Mittelwerk.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat

Here are some more images of Trumpeters 1/32 scale Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat. Being this was Grumman's last piston fighter aircraft it was meant to be the replacement for the F6F Hellcat. Though this aircraft was to late to see combat in World War Two some units did receive the first production examples. The Bearcat affectionately referred to by its units as "The Bear" was based heavily off a captured Focke Wulf FW 190 though no parts were copied.

From Wikipedia"
The Grumman F8F Bearcat (affectionately called "Bear") was an American single-engine naval fighter aircraft of the 1940s. It went on to serve into the mid-20th century in the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, and the air forces of other nations. It would be Grumman Aircraft's final piston engined fighter aircraft. Modified versions have broken speed records for propeller-driven aircraft, and are popular among warbird owners.
The Bearcat concept began during a meeting between Battle of Midway veteran F4F Wildcat pilots and Grumman Vice President Jake Swirbul at Pearl Harbor on 23 June 1942. At which time Lieutenant Commander Jimmie Thach emphasized one of his most important factors in fighters to Mr. Swirbul, "climb rate", which connoted "power." After intensively analyzing carrier warfare in the Pacific Theater of Operations for a year and a half, Grumman commenced designing the F8F Bearcat, and the first prototype flew on 31 August 1944. Prior to the F8F Bearcat, F6F Hellcats had been tasked with the primary missions of outperforming the exceptionally long range and highly maneuverable late-model Japanese fighter aircraft such as the A6M5 Zero; a later role was defending the fleet against incoming airborne suicide (kamikaze) attacks.
Work on the Grumman G-58 Bearcat began in 1943 with the specifications calling for an aircraft able to operate from the smallest carrier, primarily in the interceptor role. The F6F's Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine was retained but compared to the Hellcat, the Bearcat was 20% lighter, had a 30% better rate of climb and was 50 mph (80 km/h) faster. To achieve this, range was necessarily sacrificed.

An XF8F-1 prototype at the NACA, in 1945.
In comparison with the Vought F4U Corsair, the initial F8F-1 Bearcat series was marginally slower but was more maneuverable and climbed more quickly. Its huge 12 ft 4 in Aero Products four-bladed propeller required a long landing gear, giving the Bearcat a "nose-up" profile. The hydraulically operated undercarriage used an articulated trunnion which extended the length of the oleo legs to lengthen when down; as the undercarriage retracted the legs were shortened, enabling them to fit into a wheel well which was entirely in the wing. An additional benefit of the inward retracting units was a wide track, which helped counter propeller torque on takeoff and gave the F8F good ground and carrier deck handling. For the first time in a production U.S. Navy fighter, a bubble canopy offered 360° visibility.
The target loaded weight of 8,750 lb/3,969 kg (derived from the land-based German aircraft) was essentially impossible to achieve as the structure of the new fighter had to be made strong enough for aircraft carrier landings. Structurally the fuselage used flush riveting as well as spot welding, with a heavy gauge 302W aluminum alloy skin. Armor protection was provided for the pilot, engine and oil cooler; weight saving measures include restricting the internal fuel capacity to 160 gal (606 l) (later 183) and limiting the fixed armament to four .50 cal Browning M2/AN machine guns, two in each wing.
As a weight-saving concept the designers came up with detachable wingtips; if the "g"-force exceeded 7.5 "g", then the tips would snap off, leaving a perfectly flyable aircraft still capable of carrier landing. While this worked very well under carefully controlled conditions in flight and on the ground, in the field, where aircraft were repetitively stressed by landing on carriers and since the wings were slightly less carefully made in the factories, there was a possibility that only one wingtip would break away with the possibility of the aircraft crashing. This was replaced with an explosives system to blow the wing tips off together, which also worked well, however this ended when a ground technician died due to accidental triggering. In the end the wings were reinforced and the aircraft limited to 7.5 "g".
An unmodified production F8F-1 set a 1946 time-to-climb record (after a run of 115 ft/35 m) of 10,000 ft (3,048 m) in 94 seconds (6,383 fpm). The Bearcat held this record for 10 years until it was broken by a modern jet fighter (which still could not match the Bearcat's short takeoff distance).

The F8F prototypes were ordered in November 1943 and first flew on 21 August 1944, a mere nine months later. The first production aircraft was delivered in February 1945 and the first squadron, Fighter Squadron 19 (VF-19), was operational by 21 May 1945, but World War II was over before the aircraft saw combat service.
Postwar, the F8F became a major U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps fighter, equipping 24 fighter squadrons in the Navy and a smaller number in the Marines. Often mentioned as one of the best-handling piston-engine fighters ever built, its performance was sufficient to outperform many early jets.Its capability for aerobatic performance is illustrated by its selection as the first demonstration aircraft for the navy's elite Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron in 1946, who flew it until the team was temporarily disbanded in 1950 during the Korean War and pressed into operational combat service. The F9F Panther and McDonnell F2H Banshee largely replaced the Bearcat as their performance and other advantages eclipsed piston-engine fighters.
 The first combat for the F8F Bearcat was during the French Indochina War (aka First Indochina War 1946-1954) when nearly 200 Bearcats were delivered to the French forces in 1951. When the war ended in 1954, 28 surviving Bearcats were supplied to the new South Vietnamese Air Force and entered service in 1956 The SVAF retired their F8Fs in 1959 which were replaced by North American T-28 Trojans, then later Douglas A-1 Skyraiders as the Vietnam War (aka Second Indochina War 1957–1975) continued through the 1960s. F8Fs were also supplied to Thailand during the same time period.
 Bearcats have long been popular in air racing. A stock Bearcat flown by Mira Slovak and sponsored by Bill Stead won the first Reno Air Race in 1964. Rare Bear, a highly-modified F8F owned by Lyle Shelton, went on to dominate the event for decades, often competing with Daryl Greenamyer, another famous racer with victories in his own Bearcat ("Conquest I", now at the Smithsonian's NASM) and holder of a propeller-driven aircraft world speed record in it. Rare Bear also set many performance records, including the 3 km World Speed Record for piston-driven aircraft (528.33 mph/850.26 km/h), set in 1989, and a new time-to-climb record (3,000 m in 91.9 seconds (6,425.9 fpm), set in 1972, breaking the 1946 record cited above)