Jun 032012
Flight Tests of the Prototype Grumman F6F-5K Target Drone (1946-7)

This article reproduces the “Final Report on Flight Tests of Prototype F6F-5K High Speed Target Drone with Eclipse-Pioneer P-1K Auto-Pilot,” Report No. R-0168, produced by the Naval Air Material Center, Naval Aircraft Modification Unit located in Johnsville, Pennsylvania in 1947. The following paragraphs reproduce the main conclusions of the report, a high resolution version of […]

May 262012
NACA and the Convertible Aircraft, 1945-9

The convertible aircraft, a vehicle which can function either as a direct lift, rotary aircraft or as fixed wing airplane, with conversion from one to the other type as required, has long been a dream of aeronautical inventors. Combining the vertical flight capacity of the helicopter with the greater efficiency in forward flight of the […]

May 172012
Higgins-Bellanca Cargo Model 39-60 (1944)

This article reproduces the original specification document for the Higgins-Bellanca Cargo Model 39-60 of 1944, an enormous transport aircraft designed for the USAAC which combined an elegant blended wing-fuselage with a twin boom tail assembly. According to various sources, this project began in 1941 and was also referred to as the “HC-57,” with the HC […]

May 122012
USAAF Evaluation of Navy SWOD Mk 9 Bat Glide Bomb (1945)

The U.S. Navy’s “Special Weapons Ordnance Device” (SWOD) Mark 9 “Bat” glide bomb was one of the world’s earliest fully-automatic, target-seeking “smart” weapon systems. The Bat was a development of the “Pelican” glide bomb, which was equipped with a Receiving Homing Beacon (RHB) that required a radar beacon to illuminate the target. The Bat had […]

May 052012
Convair Generalized Supersonic Bomber (GEBO) II Studies (1951)

The Forth Worth Division of Consolidated Vultee (Convair) Aircraft Corporation initiated conceptual studies of a supersonic bomber for the USAAF in October 1946 under the Generalized Supersonic Bomber (GEBO) program. This was followed by GEBO II in March 1949, under which Convair further refined the concept. This article presents excerpts from Convair Report Nos. 3 […]

Apr 262012
Martin 246 Naval Attack Aircraft Proposal (1949)

The aircraft shown in the brochure at left is the Martin 246, a jet attack aircraft submitted to the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) on an unsolicited basis in 1949. Its chief characteristics were its inverted gull wing and T-tail, the latter being a popular design choice at Martin in this period. According to […]

Apr 192012
Stroop "X-Wing" Convertible Speed Planes (1935-9)

Robert C. Stroop is one of the many obscure Depression-era aeronautical inventors who created innovative if somewhat impractical designs that, for various reasons, never saw their full potential. The author has unable to uncover much about the background of Mr. Stroop apart from a few interesting facts. In surviving correspondence with the Army Air Corps, […]

Apr 142012
Bell XF-109 VTOL Fighter Brochure and Mock-up Inspection Program (1959)

In our final article in a series on the Bell D188A/Model 2000 (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L—both spurious designations invented by the Bell marketing department) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present a brochure and mock-up inspection guide dating from February 1959. A preview of the brochure is shown to the left; it is remarkable for being […]

Apr 062012
Doblhoff Wnf 342 V4 Helicopter—Evaluation by General Electric (1948)

The photos above depict the Doblhoff Wnf 342 V4, an experimental German helicopter which employed tip jets to drive the rotor. It was built by a group of Austrian engineers at the Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke headed by Friedrich von Doblhoff and was originally designed to fulfill a German Navy requirement for an observation platform to be […]

Mar 302012
Scherrer Jet Propulsion Airplane Proposal (1943)

Avid students of the history of jet propulsion may be aware of “Jake’s Jeep,” a ducted-fan engine similar to the Campini design that was developed at NACA Langley by Eastman Jacobs and Albert E. Sherman from 1941 to 1943 before being abandoned in favor of superior turbojet technology imported from England. Even a dedicated research […]

Mar 232012
Bell D188A/Model 2000 VTOL Fighter Mock-up Report—February 1959

In our latest article in a series on the Bell D188A/Model 2000 (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L—both spurious designations invented by the Bell marketing department) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present this huge, heavily illustrated mock-up report dating from February 6, 1959. By this time, the Air Force had become a significant partner in the program, […]