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Old 11-07-2018, 03:02 AM
  #16544  
Ernie P.
 
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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.

27. And it was about this time that it was decided to redesign the plane for a different role; that of recon and light bombing.

28. It may have been that the pilots testing the plane simply didn’t realize what speed and rate of climb could do for a fighter. They wanted maneuverability.

29. So, the decision finally came down to this: “This is a great plane. Make it into something else”.

30. And so the design work began to convert it into a recon and observation aircraft.

31. And, for good measure, a float plane and an interceptor.

32. And a trainer.

33. And it was tested using a series of engines.

34. A slightly modified version of the original fighter plane was designed and produced.

35. Followed by what became the standard production model of the fighter version.

36. It was faster and climbed better than the S.E. 5a; or the Fokker D-7.

37. So, of course, it was produced as a (very few) fighter, trainer, float plane, interceptor, reconnaissance and even a pathfinder aircraft; which could use different engines.

38. And it seemed to be pretty good at all of these roles.
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