terça-feira, 7 de novembro de 2017

Jimmy Doolittle: "The Guy"

          Nowadays, you buy your ticket online, take a webcheck-in and board modern aircrafts (most of the time), aircraft with Glasscockpits, guided by Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). These aircraft fly in any weather conditions, of course, within safety standards! But in the first decades of aviation, more precisely between 1903 and 1929, things were not like that. To fly, the sky had to be blue, clean, no wind, otherwise there was no flight!

          When a plane enters a layer of cloud, we lose all visual references, there that expression "what the eyes do not see, the heart does not feel!", Because the turbulence inside a cumulus cloud can be so severe as to lose the aerospace perception. But at that time there was a North American pilot who would change the concept of flying in just fine weather. His name: James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle.

          In 1929, he was the first airman to make a solo flight based only on instruments, with no vision of what was happening outside the cabin, taking flight, flying for a few minutes, and landing next. He also developed two of the most accurate and useful air navigation instruments, common today, the artificial horizon and the directional gyroscope, attracting world attention by performing the first complete 'blind flight'. He drew great attention newspaper with this feat of flying "blind" and later received the Harmon Trophy for conducting the experiments. These achievements made for all climates practical air operations.

          In January 1930, he advised the Army on the construction of Floyd Bennett Field in New York. Doolittle resigned on February 15, 1930, and became a major in the US Air Force reserve a month later, when he was appointed manager of the aviation department of Shell Oil Company, where he conducted several tests of aviation. While in the Reserve, he also returned to temporary duty with the Army frequently for testing.

          Doolittle helped the Shell Oil Company to produce the first 100 octane amounts of Avgas (high octane fuel), that was crucial to the high performance aircraft that were developed in the late 1930s. In 1931, Doolittle won the Bendix Trophy race from Burbank, Calif., to Cleveland, in a Laird Super Solution biplane.

          In 1932, Doolittle broke the high-speed world record for ground planes at 296 miles per hour at Shell Speed Dash. He later "took" the Thompson Trophy race in Cleveland as a pilot on the notorious Gee Bee R-1 aircraft with an average speed of 252 miles per hour. After winning the three major air races, Schneider, Bendix, and Thompson, with record speeds and times, he officially retired from the air contest stating, "I still have to hear anyone involved in this work die of old age."

          In April 1934, Doolittle was selected to be a member of the Baker Council. Chaired by former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the council was summoned during the Air Mail scandal to study Air Corps organization. In 1940, he became president of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences.

          Doolittle returned to active duty at USAAC on July 1, 1940 with Major's patent. He was appointed as assistant district supervisor for the Central Acquisition District of USAAC in Indianapolis and Detroit where he worked with major automakers on converting their plants to aircraft production. The following August he went to England as a member of a special mission and brought back information about the air forces of other countries and military preparations.

          Doolittle was promoted tha lieutenant colonel on January 2, 1942, and assigned to the USAAF (United States Army Air Force) to plan the first air strike of retaliation in the Japanese homeland. He volunteered and received the approval of General H. H. Arnold to lead the secret attack with 16 North American B-25 Mitchell mid-bombers of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier, with targets in Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, and Nagoya. But the B-25 was too heavy to operate on an aircraft carrier. So the solution was to decrease the amount of armor of the aircraft and its defense system (cannons and machine guns). Doolittle followed the modifications to the point where they were able to adjust the weight of the aircraft for takeoff and landing on the USS Hornet aircraft carrier.

          Following the attacks on Japanese cities, fifteen of the planes headed for their recovery landing field in China, while a team chose to land in Russia because of the exceptionally high fuel consumption of their bombers. As did most of the other crew members who participated in the mission, Doolittle's crew were safely rescued over China when their bomber ran out of fuel. By then they had flown about 12 o'clock, it was night, the weather was stormy, and Doolittle was unable to locate his landing field. Doolittle fell on a rice plantation (economy of an ankle previously injured from breaking) near Chuchow (Quzhou). He and his crew were aided after the rescue through Japanese lines by Chinese guerrillas and the American missionary John Birch. Other crews were not so lucky. Although most finally arrived safely with the help of the friendly Chinese force, four crew members lost their lives as a result of being captured by the Japanese and three due to the aircraft crash. Doolittle went on to fly more combat missions as the commander of Air Force 12 in North Africa, for which he was awarded four aviation medals. The other surviving members of the attack also went on to new assignments.

          Doolittle received President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Medal of Honor in the White House for planning and leading his invasion in Japan. His quote reads: "For visible leadership above and beyond the call of duty, involving personal courage and intrepidity to a danger extreme for life with the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or perishing at sea, Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteers, in a highly destructive attack on the Japanese mainland ". The invasion of Doolittle is seen by historians as a major morale-building victory for the United States. Although the damage caused to the Japanese war industry was minor, the attack showed the Japanese that their homeland was vulnerable to an air strike, and forced them to withdraw several units of fighter from the front line of Pacific war zones for the defense of the homeland.

          On May 10, 1946, Doolittle was dispensed from the Army Air Forces as lieutenant general, a rarity on days when almost all other reserve officers were confined to the rank of Major General or Rear Admiral, a restriction which did not end in the United States military until the 21st century. In September 1947, its reserve commission as a general-officer would be transferred to the newly created United States Air Force. Doolittle returned to Shell Oil as vice president, and later as director.

Doolittle is awarded a fourth star, set by President Ronald Reagan.

          In addition to his medal of honor for the attack in Tokyo, Doolittle also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, three Illustrious Flying Crosses, the bronze star, four air medals, and decorations the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Poland, China and Ecuador. He was the first person to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Medal of Freedom, two of the country's highest honors. Doolittle was awarded the Public Health Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 1959. In 1983 he was awarded the Thayer Sylvanus Award by the United States Military Academy. He was inducted into the American Motorsports Hall of Fame as the only member of the air race category in the inaugural edition in 1989 and the Aerospace Walk of Honor in the inaugural 1990 edition. The headquarters of the Air Force Academy Diplomat Association of the United States (AOG) on the foundations of the United States Air Force Academy, Doolittle Hall, is named in his honor.
          James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle died at the age of 96 in Pebble Beach, California, on September 27, 1993, and was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, near Washington, DC, with his wife. In honor of the funeral, there was Miss Mitchell, a solitary B-25 Mitchell, and eight USAF bombers from the Barksdale air base, Louisiana. After a brief funeral ceremony, fellow of the Doolittle Raid, Bill Bower began the final homage on the bugle.

          On May 9, 2007, the new Combined Air Operations Center 12th CAOC, Building 74, at Davis-Monthan in Tucson, Arizona, was named in its honor as the "General James H. Doolittle Center." Several surviving members of Doolittle's invasion were present during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Photos: Wikipedia

Rene Maciel / Rock Aircraft
Editor and Private Pilot.

In the year 2012 there was a great homage to the Doolittle and its historic achievement!

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segunda-feira, 6 de novembro de 2017

Curtiss C-76 Caravan

             In 1941, The Curtiss received an Army contract for the design and construction of a military transport made of wood. Like many aircraft built in the US at the time, it was part of a series produced as a prototype to develop manufacturing techniques for a new generation aircraft of woodcraft as a safe policy against a possible lack of aluminum alloys. The initial contract provided for 11 YC-76 pre-series aircraft built from the mid-size twin-engine Curtiss CW-27, which resembled the Curtiss Commando.

             The biggest difference was in the wings, installed on the fuselage of the Caravan, unlike the C-46. The landing gear was retractable tricycle, the two piston engines were installed on the wings, and could carry 23 people, including the crew.

             The first YC-76 made its inaugural flight on January 1, 1943, and the original contract followed orders for five C-76 series and nine modified YC-76A for in-service testing, all delivered in 1943. Production was completed when it became clear that a serious shortage of aluminum alloys was unlikely, and the 175 C-76A ordered were canceled.

Photos: wikimedia, RC Groups.

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domingo, 5 de novembro de 2017

GM / FISHER XP-75 EAGLE: The eagle that did not fly!

Fisher XP-75 Eagle (Photo militaryfactory.com).

        Many people do not know, but some automobile manufacturers have risked themselves in the world of aviation, whether at it's manufacturing airplanes like FIAT and FORD, or just engines like BMW. Rolls Royce still manufactures aeronautical engines and the Japanese Mitsubishi and Honda manufacture aircraft in addition to cars. A carmaker who was very influential in the IIWW, but that is little quoted is General Motors, that's right, GM helped the Grumman in the manufacture of some aircraft to meet the demand for war. But what few know is that GM even designed its own airplane, and it's him that we'll talk about in this matter!

        In October 1942, the contract for two prototypes, designated "XP-75", was signed with the Fisher Body, a division of GM. The design concept was to use the exterior wing panels of the North American P-51 Mustang, the Douglas A-24 (SBD) tail set, Vought F4U landing gear and a general layout equal to the Bell P-39 Airacobra, with the engine located in the middle of the fuselage (behind the cockpit), with the propeller driven through cardans (extension bars). At an early stage of the project, however, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk's outer wing panels were replaced with P-51 panels.

Fisher XP-75 Eagle (Photo militaryfactory.com).

       The aircraft was developed in response to the requirement of the United States Army Air Force for a fighter aircraft that possessed an extremely high rate of climb with the most powerful liquid-cooled engine available then the Allison V-3420. By mid-1943, the need for long range escort fighters became more urgent than interceptors with high ascent rates, so the order was 6 XP-75 modified for long-range role. At this time, an order of 2,500 production aircraft was also abandoned, but with the proviso that if the first P-75A were unsatisfactory, the complete order would be canceled.

       At the time, General Motors was engaged in several war effort projects, including the mass production of several different types of aircraft, including TBF Avenger. Some sources claim that the P-75 was the result of a scheme for General Motors to be forced to build the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. The P-75's design was "high-priority" to help GM relieve the additional pressure of Superfortress production. With the name, "P-75 Eagle", designation chosen in reference to the French 75, weapon in the First World War considered a symbol of defeating the Germans. The "Eagle" was given extensive media coverage prior to its first flight, being announced as a "wonder plan".

Fisher XP-75 Eagle (Photo 1000aircraftphotos.com).

       Equipped with a 24-cylinder W-engine (two V-3420-19 engines) with approximately 2,600 hp, driven by counter-rotating propellers, the XP-75 first fly on November 17, 1943. The second XP-75 flew shortly afterwards, and all long-range XP-75s entered the test program in mid-1944. The test program brought numerous problems of adaptation, including calculation error of the center of mass of the aircraft, engine failure to produce its expected power, inadequate engine cooling, high-speed ailerons performance problems, and poor "bearings" characteristics. The long-range XP-75s were redesigned including a modified tail mount, new canopy "bubble", and a V-3420-23 engine that corrected most of the deficiencies by the time the first P-75A Eagles entered the flight test in September 1944.

       By this time, the Army Air Force decided to limit the number of types of combat aircraft in production and then new models that were not available before the end of the war would not go into large-scale production. Because the Lockheed P-38 Lightning twin engine and the North American P-51 Mustang demonstrated excellent long-range capabilities, the P-75A Eagle's production cycle was substantially completed on October 6, 1944. It was decided to use the six production aircraft to complete the experimental work and development of the V-3420 engine. As a result of these events, the P-75A did not complete the formal performance tests due to termination of the production contract. Ultimately, only eight XP-75s and six P-75A's were built.
XP-75 Eagle Expansion Bar and Motor (Photo aviation-history.com).

General features:

Crew: One
Length: 40 ft 5 in (12.32 m)
Wingspan: 49 ft 4 in (15.04 m)
Height: 15 feet in 6 (4.72 m)
Engine: 1 Allison V-3420-23 24-cylinder dual-V with liquid cooling, 2,885 hp (2,150 kW)
Maximum speed: 433 mph (697 km / h) to 20,000 (6,100 m)
Range: 2,050 miles (3,300 km)
Service ceiling: 36,400 feet (11,100 m)
Ascent rate: 4,200 ft / min (21.3 m / s)


6x caliber .50 (12.7 mm) machine guns mounted on the wings
4x caliber .50 (12.7 mm) machine guns mounted on the fuselage
2x 500 lb (227 kg) pumps

Rene Maciel / Rock Aircraft.
Editor and Private Pilot.

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sexta-feira, 3 de novembro de 2017

WEP: The NOS of Aviation!

F4U Super Corsair (Photo: www.warbirdimages.com).

          For fans of the Fast and the Furious saga, many have seen in the middle of the race Vin Diesel or Paul Walker push that little button written NOS (Nitro Oxide System) and "kapow" the car flies leaving dust to the opponent. Well, I can not say that this NOS technology used in racing cars may have some relation to the War Emergency Power (WEP) used by fighters in the IIWW, but the system is similar.

          War Emergency Power (WEP) is an term for an acceleration adjustment on some WWII military aircraft engines. For use in emergency situations, it produces more than 100% of rated motor power for a limited period of time, often about five minutes. Similar systems used by non-US forces are now often referred to as WEP, as well as, although they may not have been at the time, such as the German Luftwaffe Notleistung (WEP) systems.

WEP in World War II Aircraft

          The maximum normal power may be limited by a mechanical stop, for example a wire through the throttle lever groove, but a stronger pressure would break the wire, allowing the use of the additional power. In normal service, the Mustang P-51H was rated at 1,380 hp, but with WEP driven the engine generated up to 2,218 hp. In the P-51D Mustang, the most produced and used model during World War II, WEP increased HP from 1490hp to 1720hp. The Vought F4U Corsair originally was not equipped with the WEP system, later it was verified a power increase of up to 410 hp (17%) when WEP was installed. Several methods have been used to increase engine power from manufacturers, including water injection and methanol-water injection. Some earlier mechanisms simply opened the throttle with a longer stroke than normal, allowing the intake of more air. All WEP methods have resulted in higher than normal voltages in the motor, resulting in reduced motor life. For some aircraft, such as the P-51D, the use of WEP resulted in an inspection of the engine before returning to the air.
Engine Rolls Royce Merlin P-51 (Photo: www.canonrumors.com).

          British and Commonwealth aircraft could increase power by the pressure of the supercharger turbo. This change was common in the summer of 1940, with the wide availability of AvGas 100LL. Triggering the 6 lb to 12 lb pressure boost supercharger increased the Merlin III engine rating to 1310 hp, an increase of more than 250 hp. Pilots had to record the use of emergency boost and were advised not to use it for more than 5 minutes continuously.

          In the MW50, German methanol-water injection system, additional piping was needed, as was a storage tank, increasing the total weight of the airplane. Like other pulse techniques, MW50 has been restricted by temperature and engine capacity, and can only be used for a limited period of time. The GM 1, nitrous oxide injection system, also used by the Luftwaffe, allowed extreme power of 25% to 30% at high altitude by adding oxidizing gases, but required cooling on the ground and added significant weight. One of the few German aircraft that was equipped with both Notleistung systems was the high-altitude fighter Focke-Wulf Ta 152H, which could reach a speed of about 756 km / h (470 mph) with both systems used together. To escape an American P-51D's attack, pilot Kurt Tank has already made use of both Notleistung systems when he was flying a Ta 152H prototype, powered by Junkers Jumo 213E and equipped with MW 50 and GM-1.

The Modern Times

          Perhaps the most striking feature of WEP was found on the MiG-21bis fighter plane. This variant of the standard Soviet light fighter aircraft was built as a palliative measure to contain the newer and more powerful American F-16 and F / A-18 fighters until the next generation of the MiG-29 could be brought into service.
Engine MIG-21 (Photo: The Aviation Forum).

          The MiG-21bis received the upgraded Tumanski R-25 engine, which retained the standard 42/65 kN normal power settings and standard "Forsazh" (WEP Russian) of the previous R-13 powerplants, but added a new super- combustion. The use of this "diamond regime" provided a huge thrust of 97.4 kN for no more than 3 minutes, with effective use of wartime. The use of this temporary power gave the MiG-21bis slight equality of nominal capabilities of the F-16 in close-quarters duel.

          In practical aerial combat with the MiG-21bis, the use of the WEP was limited to 1 minute to save the 800 hours of life of the engines. When the WEP was on, the engine of the MiG-21bis R-25 produced a huge five-meter long torch in the exhaust - the six or seven "shock diamonds" visible inside the flames gave this configuration the Diamond".

WEP in surface vehicles

          Some modern surface military vehicles also employ WEP capabilities. The EFV (next generation US Marine Corps expeditionary combat vehicle) boasts a 12-cylinder diesel-powered engine delivering 1200 bhp. When the EFV is running the power of the motor can be increased to 2,700 hp, through the use of seawater open circuit and cooling (WEP). This warp power setting allows the MTU engine to drive four huge water jet exhausts that propel the EFV vehicle at speeds at sea that reach 35 knots.

This content has been modified from the wikipedia.org site.

Rene Maciel / Rock Aircraft.
Editor and Private Pilot.

quinta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2017

Douglas O-46 Vigilant

Douglas O-46 (Photo: Wikipedia).
           Eager to maintain its position as the principal supplier of USAAC observation aircraft, the Douglas developed the design of a two-seater monoplane to replace the end-of-life bi-planes of the 1920s. Two XO-31 prototypes flew in January 1930, and they were followed by five Y1O-31A for in-service tests, ordered in mid-1931. These aircraft were received in 1933 under the designation Y1O-43 and differed considerably from the final configuration of the O-31, with new wing supports and a larger drift.

           They went into service as O-43 and the 24th cell was completed as the XO-46 prototype, with a radial engine instead of the V12 used from the start. Approved in the tests, an order was made of 71 O-46A standard, then increased by another 90 aircraft. The O-46A served on the USAAC observation squadrons until 1940, when most were transferred to National Guard reserve units.

           At least 11 O-46s flew overseas; Two were destroyed in the Japanese invasion at Clark Field in the Philippines on December 8, 1941. The Maryland National Guard operated the O-46A off the coast of New Jersey for anti-submarine service. The remainder was declared obsolete at the end of 1942 and after that it was mainly used in training functions. A proposed variant of a Wright R-1670-3 engine was given the designation O-48, but was not built.

           The only survivor of the time it's the O-46A (s / n 35-179) is currently at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, Ohio.

           On November 27, 1942, O-46A, 35-179, of the 81st Squadron, landed at Brooks Field, Harlingen, Texas. The O-46A suffered one incident and was abandoned in place. More than 20 years later, it was discovered by the Association of Old Airplanes with trees growing through its wings, in 1967, it was rescued and transported to Ottumwa, Iowa. The restoration was beyond the capacity of the organization, and in September 1970 it was replaced by a C-47 from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The (then) Air Force Museum restored it at Purdue University, and put it on display in 1974, the only survivor of of more than 90 O-46 built.

General features

Length: 34 ft 6¾ in (10.54 m)
Overflight: 45 feet 9 in (13.94 m)
Height: 10 feet 8 ½ inches (3.25 m)
Wing area: 332 ft² (30.8 m²)
Weight: 4,776 lb (2,166 kg)
Weight loaded: 6,639 lb (3,011 kg)
Engine: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1535 -7 14 cylinder radial engine, 725 hp (541 kW).


Maximum speed: 200 mph (174 knots, 322 km / h)
Cruising speed: 171 mph (149 knots, 275 km / h)
Range: 435 miles (378 mi, 700 km)
Service ceiling: 7,350 m (24,150 ft)
Ascent rate: 1,765 ft / min (9.0 m / s)

2 × .30 cal (7.62 mm) Tanning samples (one wing mounted and one flexible).

Font: Airforce / Wikipedia. 

Douglas O-46 Vigilant

Douglas O-46 (Foto: Wikipedia).

           Ansiosa para manter sua posição de principal fornecedora de aviões de observação do USAAC, a Douglas desenvolveu o projeto de um monoplano de asa alta biposto para substituir os biplanos da década de 20, que já estavam no fim da sua vida útil. Dois protótipos XO-31 voaram em Janeiro de 1930, e a eles seguiram-se cinco Y1O-31A para testes em serviço, encomendados em meados de 1931. Esses aviões foram recebidos em 1933 com a designação Y1O-43 e diferiam consideravelmente da configuração final do O-31, com novos suportes das asas e uma deriva maior.

           Eles entraram em serviço como O-43. A 24° célula do O-43A foi completada como protótipo XO-46, com um motor radial em vez do V12 utilizado desde o início. Aprovado nos testes, foi feita uma encomenda de 71 O-46A de série, logo aumentada em mais 90 aeronaves. Os O-46A serviram nos esquadrões de observação do USAAC até 1940, quando a maioria foi transferida a unidades de reserva da Guarda Nacional,antes do tipo ser relegado a funções de treinamento, em 1942.

           Pelo menos 11 O-46 voaram no exterior; Dois foram destruídos na invasão japonesa em Clark Field, nas Filipinas, em 8 de dezembro de 1941. A Guarda Nacional de Maryland operou o O-46A na costa de Nova Jersey para o serviço anti-submarino. O restante foi declarado obsoleto no final de 1942 e depois disso foi usado principalmente em funções de treinamento e outras utilidades. Um variante proposto de um motor Wright R-1670 -3 recebeu a designação O-48, mas não foi construída.

           O único sobrevivente do tempo o O-46A (s/n 35-179) está atualmente no Museu Nacional da Força Aérea dos Estados Unidos em Wright-Patterson AFB, perto de Dayton, Ohio.

           Em 27 de novembro de 1942, O-46A, 35-179 , do 81º Esquadrão, pousou em Brooks Field , Harlingen, Texas. O 35-179 sofreu um incidente e, foi abandonado no lugar. Mais de 20 anos depois, foi descoberto pela Associação de Aviões Antigos com árvores crescendo através de suas asas, em 1967, foi resgatado e transportado para Ottumwa, Iowa. A restauração ficou além da capacidade da organização e, em setembro de 1970, foi trocado por um C-47 do Museu Nacional da Força Aérea dos Estados Unidos. O (então) Museu da Força Aérea o restaurou na Universidade de Purdue, e colocou-o em exibição em 1974, o único sobrevivente dos 91 O-46 construídos.

Características gerais

Comprimento: 34 ft 6¾ in (10,54 m)
Sobrevoo : 45 pés 9 in (13,94 m)
Altura: 10 pés 8 ½ polegadas (3,25 m)
Área da ala: 332 ft² (30,8 m²)
Peso vazio : 4,776 lb (2,166 kg)
Peso carregado: 6,639 lb (3,011 kg)
Motor: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1535 -7 Motor radial de 14 cilindros, 725 cv (541 kW).


Velocidade máxima : 200 mph (174 nós, 322 km / h)
Velocidade do cruzeiro : 171 mph (149 nudos, 275 km / h)
Gama : 435 milhas (378 nmi , 700 km)
Tecto de serviço : 7.350 m (24.150 ft)
Taxa de subida : 1,765 ft / min (9,0 m / s)

2 × .30 cal (7,62 mm) Amostras de bronzeamento (uma ala montada e uma flexível).

Fonte: Airforce / Wikipedia.