Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar is an American military transport aircraft developed from the World War II-era Fairchild C-82 Packet, designed to carry cargo, litter patients, mechanized equipment, to drop cargo and troops by parachute. The first C-119 made its initial flight in November 1947, by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,100 C-119s had been built, its cargo-hauling ability and unusual twin-boom design earned it the nickname "Flying Boxcar". The Air Force C-119 and Navy R4Q was a redesign of the earlier C-82 Packet, built between 1945 and 1948; the Packet provided service to the Air Force's Tactical Air Command and Military Air Transport Service for nearly nine years during which time its design was found to have several serious problems. All of these were addressed in the C-119. In contrast to the C-82, the cockpit was moved forward to fit flush with the nose rather than its previous location over the cargo compartment; this resulted in larger loads than the C-82 could accommodate.
The C-119 featured more powerful engines, a wider and stronger airframe. The first C-119 prototype first flew in November 1947, with deliveries of C-119Bs from Fairchild's Hagerstown, Maryland factory beginning in December 1949. In 1951, Henry J. Kaiser was awarded a contract to assemble additional C-119s at the Kaiser-Frazer automotive factory located in the former B-24 plant at Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan; the Kaiser-built C-119F differed from the Fairchild aircraft by the use of Wright R-3350-85 Duplex Cyclone engines in place of Fairchild's use of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engine. Kaiser built 71 C-119s at Willow Run in 1952 and 1953 before converting the factory for a planned production of the Chase C-123 that never eventuated; the Kaiser sub-contract was frowned upon by Fairchild, efforts were made through political channels to stop Kaiser's production, which may have proven successful. Following Kaiser's termination of C-119 production the contract for the C-123 was instead awarded to Fairchild.
Most Kaiser-built aircraft were issued to the U. S. Marine Corps as R4Qs, with several turned over to the South Vietnamese air force in the 1970s; the AC-119G "Shadow" gunship variant was fitted with four six-barrel 7.62×51mm NATO miniguns, armor plating, flare launchers, night-capable infrared equipment. Like the AC-130 that succeeded it, the AC-119 proved to be a potent weapon; the AC-119 was made more deadly by the introduction of the AC-119K "Stinger" version, which featured the addition of two General Electric M61 Vulcan 20 mm cannon, improved avionics, two underwing-mounted General Electric J85-GE-17 turbojet engines, adding nearly 6,000 lbf of thrust. Other major variants included the EC-119J, used for satellite tracking, the YC-119H Skyvan prototype, with larger wings and tail. In civilian use, many C-119s feature the "Jet-Pack" modification, which incorporates a 3,400 lbf Westinghouse J34 turbojet engine in a nacelle above the fuselage. Number built: 1,183 consisting of: 1,112 built by Fairchild 71 built by Kaiser-Frazer CorpTwo additional airframes were built by Fairchild for static tests The aircraft saw extensive action during the Korean War as a troop and equipment transport.
In July 1950, four C-119s were sent to FEAF for service tests. Two months the C-119 deployed with the 314th Troop Carrier Group and served in Korea throughout the war. In December 1950, after Chinese PLA troops blew up a bridge at a narrow point on the evacuation route between Koto-ri and Hungnam, blocking the withdrawal of U. N. forces, eight U. S. Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcars flown by the 314th Troop Carrier Group. Were used to drop portable bridge sections by parachute; the bridge, consisting of eight separate sixteen-foot long, 2,900-pound sections, was dropped one section at a time, using two parachutes on each section. Four of these sections, together with additional wooden extensions were reassembled into a replacement bridge by Marine Corps combat engineers and the US Army 58th Engineer Treadway Bridge Company, enabling U. N. forces to reach Hungnam. From 1951 to 1962, C-119C, F and G models served with U. S. Air Forces in Europe and Far East Air Forces as the first-line Combat Cargo units, did yeoman work as freight haulers with the 60th Troop Carrier Wing, the 317th Troop Carrier Wing and the 465th Troop Carrier Wing in Europe, based first in Germany and in France with 150 aircraft operating anywhere from Greenland to India.
A similar number of aircraft served in the Far East. In 1958, the 317th absorbed the 465th, transitioned to the C-130s, but the units of the former 60th Troop Carrier Wing, the 10th, 11th and 12th Troop Carrier Squadrons, continued to fly C-119s until 1962, the last non-Air Force Reserve and non-Air National Guard operational units to fly the "Boxcars." The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-119 Flying Boxcars in service from 1955 to 1973. The most remarkable use of the C-119 was the aerial recovery of balloons, UAVs, satellites; the first use of this technique was in 1955, when C-119s were used to recover Ryan AQM-34 Firebee unmanned targets. The 456th Troop Carrier Wing, attached to the Strategic Air Command from 25 April 1955 – 26 May 1956, used C-119s to retrieve instrument packages from high-altitude reconnaissance balloons. C-119s from the 6593rd Test Squadron based at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii performed several aerial recoveries of film-return capsules during the early years of the Corona spy satellite program.
On 19 August 1960, the recovery by a C-119 of film from the Corona mission code-named Discoverer 14 was the fi
Antonov An-225 Mriya
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes, it has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe with a different configuration was built, its construction was halted in 1994 because of lack of funding and interest, but revived in 2009, bringing it to 60–70% completion. On 30 August 2016, Antonov agreed to complete the second airframe for Aerospace Industry Corporation of China as a prelude to AICC commencing series production; the Antonov An-225 developed for the task of transporting the Buran spaceplane, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years.
It was refurbished and re-introduced, is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kilograms, an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg, it has transported a payload of 247,000 kg on a commercial flight. The Antonov An-225 was designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran orbiter for the Soviet space program, it was developed as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. The An-225's original mission and objectives are identical to that of the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft; the An-225 first flew on 21 December 1988 with a 74-minute flight from Kiev. The aircraft was on static display at the Paris Air Show in 1989 and it flew during the public days at the Farnborough air show in 1990. Two aircraft were ordered, it can carry ultra-heavy and oversize freight, up to 250,000 kg internally, or 200,000 kg on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage can be 70 m long.
A second An-225 was built during the late 1980s for the Soviet space program. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the cancellation of the Buran space program, the lone operational An-225 was placed in storage in 1994; the six Ivchenko-Progress engines were removed for use on An-124s, the second uncompleted An-225 airframe was stored. When it became clear that a cargoliner bigger than the An-124 was needed, the first An-225 was re-engined and put back into service. By 2000, the need for additional An-225 capacity had become apparent, so the decision was made in September 2006 to complete the second An-225; the second airframe was scheduled for completion around 2008 delayed. By August 2009, the aircraft had not been completed and work had been abandoned. In May 2011, the Antonov CEO is reported to have said that the completion of a second An-225 Mriya transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 250 tons requires at least $300 million, but if the financing is provided, its completion could be achieved in three years.
According to different sources, the second aircraft is 60–70% complete. In April 2013, the Russian government announced plans to revive Soviet-era air launch projects that would use a purpose-built modification to the An-225 as a midair launchpad. In August 2016, representatives from Ukraine's Antonov and Airspace Industry Corporation of China, an import-export company operating out of Hong Kong, signed an agreement to recommence production of the An-225, with China now planning to procure and fly the first model by 2019; the aviation media cast doubt on the production restart, indicating that due to the ongoing Russia–Ukraine conflict needed parts from Russia are unavailable, although they may be made in China instead. AICC's president, Zhang You-Sheng, told a BBC reporter that AICC began to contemplate cooperation with Antonov in 2009 and contacted them in 2011. AICC intends to modernize the second unfinished An-225 and develop it into an air launch to orbit platform for commercial satellites at altitudes up to 12,000 m.
Based on Antonov's earlier An-124, the An-225 has fuselage barrel extensions added fore and aft of the wings. The wings received root extensions to increase span. Two more Progress D-18T turbofan engines were added to the new wing roots, bringing the total to six. An increased-capacity landing gear system with 32 wheels was designed, some of which are steerable, enabling the aircraft to turn within a 60-metre-wide runway. Like its An-124 predecessor, the An-225 has nose gear designed to "kneel" so cargo can be more loaded and unloaded. Unlike the An-124, which has a rear cargo door and ramp, the An-225 design left these off to save weight, the empennage design was changed from a single vertical stabilizer to a twin tail with an oversized, swept-back horizontal stabilizer; the twin tail was essential to enable the plane to carry large, heavy external loads that would disturb the airflow around a conventional tail. Unlike the An-124, the An-225 was not intended for tactical airlifting and is not designed for short-field operation.
The An-225 had a maximum gross weight of 600 t, but from 2000 to 2001 the aircraft underwent modifications at a cost of US$20M such as the addition of a reinforced floor, which increased the maximum gross weight to 640 t (710 short tons.
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
The Armstrong Whitworth A. W.38 Whitley was one of three British twin-engined, front line medium bomber types that were in service with the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of the Second World War. Alongside the Vickers Wellington and the Handley Page Hampden, the Whitley was developed during the mid-1930s according to Air Ministry Specification B.3/34, which it was subsequently selected to meet. In 1937, the Whitley formally entered into RAF squadron service. Following the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Whitley participated in the first RAF bombing raid upon German territory and remained an integral part of the early British bomber offensive. By 1943, it was being superseded as a bomber by the larger four-engined "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster, its front line service included maritime reconnaissance with Coastal Command and the second line roles of glider-tug and transport aircraft. The type was procured by British Overseas Airways Corporation as a civilian freighter aircraft; the aircraft was named after Whitley, a suburb of Coventry, home of one of Armstrong Whitworth's plants.
In July 1934, the Air Ministry issued Specification B.3/34, seeking a heavy night bomber/troop transport to replace the Handley Page Heyford biplane bomber. John Lloyd, the Chief Designer of Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, chose to respond to the specification with a design designated as the AW.38, given the name Whitley after the location of Armstrong Whitworth's main factory. The design of the AW.38 was in fact a development of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.23 bomber-transport design that had lost to the Bristol Bombay for the earlier Specification C.26/31. Lloyd selected the Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX radial engine to power the Whitley, capable of generating 795 horsepower. One of the more innovative features of the Whitley's design was the adoption of a three-bladed two-position variable-pitch propeller built by de Havilland; as Lloyd was unfamiliar with the use of flaps on a large heavy monoplane, they were omitted from the design. To compensate, the mid-set wings were set at a high angle of incidence to confer good take-off and landing performance.
Although flaps were included late in the design stage, the wing remained unaltered. The Whitley holds the distinction of having been the first RAF aircraft with a semi-monocoque fuselage, built using a slab-sided structure to ease production; this replaced the traditional tubular construction method employed by Armstrong Whitworth, instead constructing the airframe from light-alloy rolled sections and corrugated sheets. According to aviation author Philip Moyes, the decision to adopt the semi-monocoque fuselage was a significant advance in design. On June 1935, owing to the urgent need to replace biplane heavy bombers in service with the RAF, a verbal agreement was formed to produce an initial 80 aircraft, 40 being of an early Whitley Mk I standard and the other 40 being more advanced Whitley Mk IIs. Production was at three factories in Coventry. During 1935 and 1936, various contracts were placed for the type. On 17 March 1936, the first prototype Whitley Mk I, K4586, conducted its maiden flight from Baginton Aerodrome, piloted by Armstrong Whitworth Chief Test Pilot Alan Campbell-Orde.
K4586 was powered by a pair of 795 hp Tiger IX engines. The second prototype, K4587, was furnished with a pair of more powerful medium-supercharged Tiger XI engines; the prototypes differed little from the initial production standard aircraft. After the first 34 aircraft had been completed, the engines were replaced with the more reliable two-speed-supercharged Tiger VIIIs. K7243, the 27th production Whitley, is believed to have served as a prototype following modifications; the resulting aircraft was designated as the Whitley Mk II. A total of 46 production aircraft were completed to the Whitley Mk II standard. One Whitley Mk II, K7243, was used as a test bed for the 1,200 hp 21-cylinder radial Armstrong Siddeley Deerhound engine. Another Whitley Mk I, K7208, was modified to operate with a higher gross weight. K7211, the 29th production Whitley, served as the prototype for a further advanced variant of the aircraft, the Whitley Mk III; the Whitley Mk III featured numerous improvements, such as the replacement of the manually operated nose turret with a powered Nash & Thompson turret and a powered retractable twin-gun ventral "dustbin" turret.
The ventral turret was hydraulically-powered but proved to be hard to operate and added considerable drag, thus the Whitley Mk III was the only variant to feature this ventral turret arrangement. Other changes included increased dihedreal of the outer wing panels, superior navigational provisions, the installation of new bomb racks. A total of 80 Whitley Mk III aircraft were manufactured. While the Tiger VIII engine used in the Whitley Mks II and III was more reliable than those used in early aircraft, the Whitley was re-engined with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in 1938, giving rise to the Whitley Mk IV. Three Whitley Mk I aircraft, K72
Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is a retired American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft. He designed the record-breaking Voyager, which in 1986 was the first plane to fly around the world without stopping or refueling, the sub-orbital spaceplane SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 for becoming the first funded spacecraft to enter the realm of space twice within a two-week period. With his VariEze and Long-EZ designs, Rutan is responsible for helping popularize both the canard configuration and the use of moldless composite construction in the homebuilt aircraft industry, he has designed 46 aircraft throughout his career, been the co-recipient of the Collier Trophy on two separate occasions, received six honorary doctoral degrees, has won over 100 different awards for aerospace design and development. Rutan has five aircraft on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D. C. United States: SpaceShipOne, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, Voyager and the VariEze.
Born in 1943 in Estacada, Oregon, 30 miles southeast of Portland, raised in Dinuba, Burt Rutan displayed an early interest in aircraft design. By the time he was eight years old he was building model aircraft, his first solo flight piloting an airplane was in an Aeronca Champ in 1959. In 1965 he graduated third in his class from the California Polytechnic State University with a BS degree in aeronautical engineering. From 1965 to 1972 Rutan was a civilian flight test project engineer for the U. S. Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base, working on nine separate projects including the LTV XC-142 VSTOL transport and spin tests of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom fighter, he left to become Director of Development of the BD-5 aircraft for Bede Aircraft in Newton, Kansas, a position he held until 1974. In June 1974, Rutan returned to California to establish the Rutan Aircraft Factory. In this business he designed and developed prototypes for several aircraft intended for amateur builders, his first design, executed while he was still at Bede, was the VariViggen, a two-seat pusher single-engine craft of canard configuration.
The canard would become a feature of many Rutan designs, notably the popular VariEze and Long-EZ. In April 1982, Rutan founded Scaled Composites, LLC, which has become one of the world's pre-eminent aircraft design and prototyping facilities. Scaled Composites is headquartered in California, at the Mojave Air & Space Port; that same year, Beechcraft contracted Rutan's Scaled Composites to refine the design and build the prototype Beechcraft Starship. In 1988, Rutan was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. In 1995 Rutan was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, in 2004 he was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World", in 2005 he received the NAS Award in Aeronautical Engineering from the National Academy of Sciences. In a 2010 interview, Rutan articulated his motivation for developing suborbital technology projects with SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo, he was developing suborbital spaceflight technology because in this "we can achieve some breakthroughs," making such flight "orders of magnitude safer and orders of magnitude more affordable.
I'm taking this step because I think achieving something that has never existed in manned spaceflight – and, high volume and public access – I think it is important to do that and to do it as soon as possible."Rutan is married to Tonya Rutan. He retired from Scaled Composites in April 2011; that same year, he became recognized as a Living Legend of Aviation, receiving the Bob Hoover Freedom of Flight Award. In 2012, Rutan spoke on "Innovation and the Space Race" to the World Affairs Council, as recorded on C-Span. Flying magazine ranked him at number 18 on their 2013 list, "51 Heroes of Aviation". Rutan was a recipient of the prestigious Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 2015. In a 45-year career, each of Rutan's designs have been quite dissimilar from their predecessors; the Los Angeles Times said of his designs: "His airplanes and spacecraft take on all types of sleek shapes and sizes, looking more like the work of a sculptor than an engineer. In all, Rutan has come up with 367 individual concepts — of which 45 have flown."
VariViggen and VariViggen SP In 1968, he began building his first design, the VariViggen, which first flew in April 1972. It had the rear wing, forward canard, pusher configuration design elements which became his trademarks. In lieu of wind tunnel testing, Rutan developed aerodynamic parameters for the VariViggen using a model rigged atop his station wagon, measured the forces while driving on empty roads; the VariViggen was the Rutan model 27. A new set of outer wings, with winglets, was developed by Rutan for the VariViggen, producing the VariViggen SP, Rutan model 32; the VariViggen was named in honor of the Saab 37 Viggen, a canard-configured fighter jet developed in Sweden. One VariViggen, built in France and named Micro Star, was powered by two Microturbo TRS-18 jet engines in lieu of the usual piston engine. VariEze and Long-EZ The VariViggen design led to the successful VariEze homebuilt aircraft designs, in which he pioneered the use of moldless glass-reinforced plastic construction in homebuilts.
The prototype, designated Model 31, made its public debut at the 1975 EAA Convention and Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. That same year, his brother Dick Rutan set a world distance record in the under-500 kg class in the VariEze, these aircraft went on to set other world records in this class, they were also
The vertical stabilizers, vertical stabilisers, or fins, of aircraft, missiles or bombs are found on the aft end of the fuselage or body, are intended to reduce aerodynamic side slip and provide direction stability. It is analogous to a skeg on ships. On aircraft, vertical stabilizers point upwards; these are known as the vertical tail, are part of an aircraft's empennage. This upright mounting position has two major benefits: The drag of the stabilizer increases at speed, which creates a nose-up moment that helps to slow down the aircraft that prevent dangerous overspeed, when the aircraft banks, the stabilizer produces lift which counters the banking moment and keeps the aircraft upright at the absence of control input. If the vertical stabilizer was mounted on the underside, it would produce a positive feedback whenever the aircraft dove or banked, inherently unstable; the trailing end of the stabilizer is movable, called the rudder. Navigational radio or airband transceiver antennas are placed on or inside the vertical tail.
In all known trijets, the vertical stabilizer houses the central engine inlet duct. Vertical stabilizers, or fins, have been used in automobiles in top level motor sports, with the concept making a resurgence in both Formula 1 and Le Mans Prototype racing. A few aircraft models have a ventral fin under the rear end; this is small, or can fold sideways, to allow landing. Both the North American X-15 supersonic/hypersonic experimental aircraft, the late World War II German twin-engined Dornier Do 335 heavy fighter used differing forms of the cruciform tail stabilizing surface format; the vertical stabilizer is mounted vertically, the horizontal stabilizer is directly mounted to the empennage. This is the most common vertical stabilizer configuration. A T-tail has the horizontal stabilizer mounted at the top of the vertical stabilizer, it is seen on rear-engine aircraft, such as the Bombardier CRJ200, the Fokker 70, the Boeing 727, the Vickers VC10 and Douglas DC-9, most high-performance gliders.
T-tails are incorporated on configurations with fuselage mounted engines to keep the horizontal stabilizer away from the engine exhaust plume. T-tail aircraft are more susceptible to pitch-up at high angles of attack; this pitch-up results from a reduction in the horizontal stabilizer's lifting capability as it passes through the wake of the wing at moderate angles of attack. This can result in a deep stall condition. T-tails present structural challenges since loads on the horizontal stabilizer must be transmitted through the vertical tail; the cruciform tail is arranged like a cross, the most common configuration having the horizontal stabilizer intersecting the vertical tail somewhere near the middle. The PBY Catalina uses this configuration; the "push-pull" twin engined Dornier Do 335 World War II German fighter used a cruciform tail consisting of four separate surfaces, arranged in dorsal and both horizontal locations, to form its cruciform tail, just forward of the rear propeller. Falconjets from Dassault always have cruciform tail.
Rather than a single vertical stabilizer, a twin tail has two. These are vertically arranged, intersect or are mounted to the ends of the horizontal stabilizer; the Beechcraft Model 18 and many modern military aircraft such as the American F-14, F-15, F/A-18 use this configuration. The F/A-18, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II have tailfins that are canted outward, to the point that they have some authority as horizontal control surfaces. A twin tail may be either H-tail, twin fin/rudder construction attached to a single fuselage such as North American B-25 Mitchell or Avro Lancaster, or twin boom tail, the rear airframe consisting of two separate fuselages each sporting one single fin/rudder, such as Lockheed P-38 Lightning or C-119 Boxcar. A variation on the twin tail, it has three vertical stabilizers. An example of this configuration is the Lockheed Constellation. On the Constellation it was done to give the airplane maximum vertical stabilizer area while keeping the overall height low enough so that it could fit into maintenance hangars.
A V-tail has horizontal stabilizers. Rather, they are merged into control surfaces known as ruddervators which control both pitch and yaw; the arrangement looks like the letter V, is known as a butterfly tail. The Beechcraft Bonanza Model 35 uses this configuration, as does the F-117 Nighthawk, many of Richard Schreder's HP series of homebuilt gliders. Winglets served double duty on Burt Rutan's canard pusher configuration VariEze and Long-EZ, acting as both a wingtip device and a vertical stabilizer. Several other derivatives of these and other similar aircraft use this design element. Fin is an alternative name for the vertical stabilizer; the vertical stabilizer employs a small fillet or "dorsal fin" at its forward base which helps to increase the stall angle of the vertical surface and to prevent a phenomenon called rudder lock or rudder reversal. Rudder lock occurs when the force on a deflected rudder reverses as the vertical stabilizer stalls; this may leave the rudder stuck at full deflection with the pilot unable to recenter it.
The dorsal fin was introduced in the 1940s, like for the 1942 Douglas DC-4, predating the wing strakes of the 1970s fighter prototypes like the YF-16 or YF-17. While vertical stabilizers have been used in some race cars, such as the 1955 Jaguar D-type, t
Lockheed P-38 Lightning
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a World War II–era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Developed for the United States Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Allied propaganda claimed it had been nicknamed the fork-tailed devil by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese; the P-38 was used for interception, dive bombing, level bombing, ground attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance and visual pathfinding for bombers and evacuation missions, extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings. The P-38 was used most in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the aircraft of America's top aces, Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire and Charles H. MacDonald. In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.
The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, since the exhaust was muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was forgiving and could be mishandled in many ways but the rate of roll in the early versions was too low for it to excel as a dogfighter; the P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in large-scale production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day. At the end of the war, orders for 1,887 more were cancelled. Lockheed designed the P-38 in response to a February 1937 specification from the United States Army Air Corps. Circular Proposal X-608 was a set of aircraft performance goals authored by First Lieutenants Benjamin S. Kelsey and Gordon P. Saville for a twin-engine, high-altitude "interceptor" having "the tactical mission of interception and attack of hostile aircraft at high altitude." In 1977, Kelsey recalled he and Saville drew up the specification using the word interceptor as a way to bypass the inflexible Army Air Corps requirement for pursuit aircraft to carry no more than 500 lb of armament including ammunition, as well as the restriction of single-seat aircraft to one engine.
Kelsey was looking for a minimum of 1,000 lb of armament. Kelsey and Saville aimed to get a more capable fighter, better at dog-fighting and at high-altitude combat. Specifications called for a maximum airspeed of at least 360 mph at altitude, a climb to 20,000 ft within six minutes, the toughest set of specifications USAAC had presented; the unbuilt Vultee XP1015 was designed to the same requirement, but was not advanced enough to merit further investigation. A similar single-engine proposal was issued at the same time, Circular Proposal X-609, in response to which the Bell P-39 Airacobra was designed. Both proposals required liquid-cooled Allison V-1710 engines with turbo-superchargers and gave extra points for tricycle landing gear; the Lockheed design team, under the direction of Hall Hibbard and Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, considered a range of twin-engine configurations, including both engines in a central fuselage with push–pull propellers. The eventual configuration was rare in terms of contemporary fighter aircraft design, with only the preceding Fokker G.1, the contemporary Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter having a similar planform.
The Lockheed team chose twin booms to accommodate the tail assembly and turbo-superchargers, with a central nacelle for the pilot and armament. The XP-38 gondola mockup was designed to mount two.50-caliber M2 Browning machine guns with 200 rounds per gun, two.30-caliber Brownings with 500 rpg, a T1 Army Ordnance 23 mm autocannon with a rotary magazine as a substitute for the non-existent 25 mm Hotchkiss aircraft autocannon specified by Kelsey and Saville. In the YP-38s, a 37 mm M9 autocannon with 15 rounds replaced the T1; the 15 rounds were in three five-round clips, an unsatisfactory arrangement according to Kelsey, the M9 did not perform reliably in flight. Further armament experiments from March to June 1941 resulted in the P-38E combat configuration of four M2 Browning machine guns, one Hispano 20 mm autocannon with 150 rounds. Clustering all the armament in the nose was unusual in U. S. aircraft, which used wing-mounted guns with trajectories set up to crisscross at one or more points in a convergence zone.
Nose-mounted guns did not suffer from having their useful ranges limited by pattern convergence, meaning that good pilots could shoot much farther. A Lightning could reliably hit targets at any range up to 1,000 yd, whereas the wing guns of other fighters were optimized for a specific range; the rate of fire was about 650 rounds per minute for the 20×110 mm cannon round at a muzzle velocity of about 2,850 ft/s, for the.50-caliber machine guns, about 850 rpm at 2,900 ft/s velocity. Combined rate of fire was over 4,000 rpm with every sixth projectile a 20 mm shell; the duration of sustained firing for the 20 mm cannon was 14 seconds while the.50-caliber machine guns worked for 35 seconds if each magazine was loaded with 500 rounds, or for 21 seconds if 300 rounds were loaded to save weight for long distance flying. The Lockheed design incorporated tricycle undercarriage and a bubble canopy, featured two 1,000 hp turbosupercharged 12-cylinder Allison V-1710 engines fitted with counter-rotating propellers to eliminate the effect of engine torque, with the turbochargers positioned behind the engines, the exhaust side of the units exposed along
Northrop P-61 Black Widow
The Northrop P-61 Black Widow, named for the American spider, was the first operational U. S. warplane designed as a night fighter, the first aircraft designed to use radar. The P-61 had a crew of three: pilot and radar operator, it was armed with four 20 mm Hispano M2 forward-firing cannon mounted in the lower fuselage, four.50 in M2 Browning machine guns mounted in a remote-controlled dorsal gun turret. It was an all-metal, twin-engine, twin-boom design developed during World War II; the first test flight was made on May 26, 1942, with the first production aircraft rolling off the assembly line in October 1943. The last aircraft was retired from government service in 1954. Although not produced in the large numbers of its contemporaries, the Black Widow was operated as a night-fighter by United States Army Air Forces squadrons in the European Theater, Pacific Theater, China Burma India Theater, Mediterranean Theater during World War II, it replaced earlier British-designed night-fighter aircraft, updated to incorporate radar when it became available.
After the war, the P-61—redesignated the F-61—served in the United States Air Force as a long-range, all-weather, day/night interceptor for Air Defense Command until 1948, Fifth Air Force until 1950. On the night of 14 August 1945, a P-61B of the 548th Night Fight Squadron named Lady in the Dark was unofficially credited with the last Allied air victory before VJ Day; the P-61 was modified to create the F-15 Reporter photo-reconnaissance aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces and subsequently used by the United States Air Force. In August 1940, 16 months before the United States entered the war, the U. S. Air Officer in London, Lieutenant General Delos C. Emmons, was briefed on British research in radar, underway since 1935 and had played an important role in the nation's defense against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. General Emmons was informed of the new Airborne Intercept radar, a self-contained unit that could be installed in an aircraft and allow it to operate independently of ground stations.
In September 1940, the Tizard Mission traded British research, including the cavity magnetron that would make self-contained interception radar installations practicable, for American production. The British Purchasing Commission evaluating US aircraft declared their urgent need for a high-altitude, high-speed aircraft to intercept the Luftwaffe bombers attacking London at night; the aircraft would need to patrol continuously over the city throughout the night, requiring at least an eight-hour loiter capability. The aircraft would carry one of the early AI radar units, mount its specified armament in "multiple-gun turrets"; the British conveyed the requirements for a new fighter to all the aircraft designers and manufacturers they were working with. Jack Northrop was among them, he realized that the speed, fuel load and multiple-turret requirements demanded a large aircraft with multiple engines. General Emmons returned to the U. S. with details of the British night-fighter requirements, in his report said that the design departments of the Americans' aviation industry's firms could produce such an aircraft.
The Emmons Board developed basic requirements and specifications, handing them over towards the end of 1940 to Air Technical Service Command at Wright Field, Ohio. After considering the two biggest challenges—the high weight of the AI radar and the long loiter time of eight hours minimum—the board, including Jack Northrop, realized the aircraft would need the considerable power and resulting size of twin engines, recommended such parameters; the United States had two twin-row radials of at least 46 liters displacement in development since the late 1930s. These engines had been airborne for their initial flight tests by the 1940/41 timeframe, were each capable, with more development, of exceeding 2,000 hp. Vladimir H. Pavlecka, Northrop Chief of Research, was present on unrelated business at Wright Field. On 21 October 1940, Colonel Laurence Craigie of the ATSC phoned Pavlecka, explaining the U. S. Army Air Corps' specifications, but told him to "not take any notes,'Just try and keep this in your memory!'"
What Pavlecka did not learn was radar's part in the aircraft. The mission, Craigie explained, was "the interception and destruction of hostile aircraft in flight during periods of darkness or under conditions of poor visibility." Pavlecka met with Jack Northrop the next day, gave him the USAAC specification. Northrop compared his notes with those of Pavlecka, saw the similarity between the USAAC's requirements and those issued by the RAF, pulled out the work he had been doing on the British aircraft's requirements, he was a month along, a week Northrop pounced on the USAAC proposal. On 5 November and Pavlecka met at Wright Field with Air Material Command officers and presented them with Northrop's preliminary design. Douglas' XA-26A night fighter proposal was the only competition, but Northrop's design was selected and the Black Widow was conceived. Following the USAAC acceptance, Northrop began comprehensive design work on the aircraft to become the first to design a dedicated night fighter.
The result was the largest and one of the deadliest pursuit-class aircraft flown by the U. S. during the war. Jack Northrop's first proposal was a long fuselage gondola between two engine nacelles and tail booms. Engines were Pratt & Whitney