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Old 11-02-2018, 02:30 AM
Ernie P.
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bealeton, VA
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Morning clue. Thanks; Ernie P.

What warbird do I describe?

1. This aircraft was originally designed to serve one purpose, but wound up serving several.

2. But it was never a star performer in its original purpose; although that could be argued.

3. And it gave birth to an entire family of aircraft.

4. It was originally intended to be a fighter.

5. But it was decided, after testing, it wasn’t maneuverable enough to successfully fulfill the role of a fighter.

6. It was, however, rugged and solidly built and easily controlled.

7. It was very fast.

8. And it could climb rapidly.

9. And it had a high ceiling.

10. The engine was powerful and reliable.

11. And the plane had a good range and could stay aloft an impressively long time.

12. So, rather than abandon it, it was decided to convert it to a reconnaissance aircraft.

13. And even a light bomber.

14. Still, a number of them were produced as fighters.

15. Perhaps, at the time, it wasn’t yet realized speed and rate of climb were more important than maneuverability for a fighter.

16. The construction method used freed it from much of the wire bracing used on most aircraft of the day.

17. With few exceptions, the producing service wasn’t noted for being able to produce a first rate aircraft.

18. But a couple of pioneers weren’t content to produce copies of foreign designs.

19. They were determined to produce a domestic aircraft that could compete with any foreign design.

20. So, they designed and built a winner.

21. It was expressly designed to be the fastest aircraft of its day; and to have an impressive range. The designers felt this would make it a good fighter.

22. It was about this time the government experts stepped in and assumed control of the construction process. They did, however, bring money and access to, and the cooperation of, various government agencies with them.

23. Early in 1917, the first single seat, unequal span biplane prototype flew.

24. The test pilot was enthusiastic; and described its speed and handling as impressive.

25. Testing showed the plane to be over 30 mph faster than anything else available at the time.

26. A rather long testing regimen was followed; during which the plane was demonstrated to, and flown by, foreign governments and pilots.
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