Sep 132011
 
Bell D188A VTOL Fighter—Design Data Summary, November 1957 (Part 2)

In our fifth article in a series on the Bell D188A (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present the second portion of a huge Bell design data summary from November 1957. To view the report in detail, please click through the image gallery above, which reproduces the Structures and Weights, Systems, […]

Sep 052011
 
Bell D188A VTOL Fighter—Design Data Summary, November 1957 (Part 1)

In our fourth article in a series on the Bell D188A (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present a Bell design data summary from November 1957. Due to the large size of this document, we have broken it into three separate parts. On June 28, 1957 Bell Aircraft Corporation […]

Aug 302011
 
Bell D188A VTOL Fighter Reports—September to November 1957

In our third article in a series on the Bell D188A (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L) supersonic VTOL fighter, we present a letter and two progress reports on the type dating from September through November 1957. The first document presented in the image gallery above is a letter from E.G. Bull, the Bureau of Aeronautics Representative (BAR) […]

Aug 202011
 
Bell D188A VTOL Fighter Brochure—July 1957

In our second article in a series on the Bell D188A (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L) supersonic VTOL fighter, we present a brochure dating from July 1957, in which the design has evolved from the five-jet configuration presented previously into a six-jet aircraft, though the general overall layout is similar to the earlier study. In the opening […]

Aug 022011
 
Bell D188A VTOL Fighter Reports—December 1956 to February 1957

On December 13, 1956 Bell Aircraft Corporation submitted a report to the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) outlining power plant and configuration improvements to its original D188 VTOL fighter proposal of October 1, 1956. The report is significant because it contains the earliest known configuration of the D188A (more commonly known as the XF-109/XF3L, […]

Jul 182011
 
Bell Aircraft Corporation 21st Annual Report 1956

The image gallery above features selected color artwork and photos taken from the Bell Aircraft Corporation Twenty-First Annual Report of 1956. This report was found in BuAer files and likely accompanied Bell’s D188 VTOL fighter proposal. It was illustrated with a few artist’s impressions of VTOL aircraft projects of the period, along with a photo […]

Jul 182011
 
Bell D188 Jet VTOL Fighter for the US Navy—Wind Tunnel Report

In our third article on the Bell D188 VTOL fighter, we present a wind tunnel report submitted by the company to the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) along with the lavish proposal brochure covered in Parts 1 and 2. Approximately 10 hours of wind tunnel testing was performed at the MIT Naval Supersonic Laboratory on […]

Jul 152011
 
Bell VTOL Aircraft Projects of October 1955

The document featured in the image gallery above was submitted by Bell Aircraft Corporation to the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) in 1955 in connection with the company’s efforts to land a contract for a VTOL fighter, which it ultimately did with its D188/D188A designs of late 1956. Titled simply as “VTOL: Vertical Take Off […]

Jul 022011
 
Bell D188 Jet VTOL Fighter for the US Navy—Proposal Brochure (Part 2)

The gallery above reproduces the second portion of the Bell D188 jet VTOL fighter proposal brochure dating from October 1956, specifically the Aerodynamics, Structures and Weights, Flutter Investigations, Systems, Vulnerability, Accessibility and Maintenance, Producibility, Base Support Equipment, Growth Potential, Development Program, and Conclusions sections of the report. Also included at the end of the gallery […]

Jul 022011
 
Bell D188 Jet VTOL Fighter for the US Navy—Proposal Brochure (Part 1)

From June to September 1956, Bell Aircraft Corporation engaged in a preliminary design competition for a Navy VTOL fighter under type specification TS-140. Designated as the Model D188, it was designed primarily for carrier-based operations and could also be flown from cruisers, auxiliary ship bases or shore bases. Initially, the aircraft would have used then-available […]

Jun 092011
 
Avro VTOL Fighter for US Navy Specification TS-140 (1956)

On October 1, 1956 Avro Aircraft Limited of Ontario, Canada submitted its proposal to fulfill US Navy specification TS-140 for a vertical take-off jet day fighter. It was a small flat-rising canard-type aircraft with two pairs of simple unswept wings of low aspect ratio. A Bristol Orpheus jet engine was mounted on each wing tip, […]

May 182011
 
L.H. Leonard "Helicopter-Type Aircraft" VTOL Tailsitters (1939)

Aeronautical history is littered with many unsuccessful VTOL aircraft proposals and prototypes.  Developing a practical military aircraft that takes off and lands vertically while remaining competitive with conventional types in terms of armament, handling, speed, range, payload, etc. has proven to be an enormous challenge, with only a handful of designs achieving production status.  In […]