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Old 09-12-2020, 01:34 PM
Ernie P.
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And another clue. Thanks; Ernie P.

What warbird do I describe?

1. During WWII, a number of nations explored, designed, tested and perhaps constructed a variety of “Emergency Fighters”.

2. These were planes intended to be produced, should supply lines be cut and certain “strategic materials”, normally essential to modern aircraft production, become unavailable.

3. By and large, these “Emergency Fighters” were simply taken to the “proof of concept” stage; and then forgotten until such time as they might be needed, should the war effort not go in their favor.

4. However, a number of these planes were seriously considered, and intended to be put into mass production.

5. And this is the story of one such plane.

6. Strangely enough, this project started as a design for a glider.

7. A wooden glider.

8. The glider was a very simple and straightforward design.

9. It was intended to be very easy to control.

10. The program was rushed so rapidly that the plane was being constructed even before the plans were finalized.

11. The first flight was performed even before the results of wind tunnel testing was completed.

12. The first flight seemed to confirm the glider was easy to control and quite stable.

13. Unfortunately, the second flight revealed some nasty problems with vibration as speed was increased.

14. So, the tail was reinforced and a second stabilizer was added.

15. Which seemed to correct the problems for the moment.

16. So, the decision was made to add engines into the mix.

17. Which didn’t work out very well.

18. It turned out the glider design, when engines were added, wasn’t as easy to control as had been hoped.

19. And, there were some problems with the engines, which were very inconsistent in flight.

20. So, the decision was made to change everything; redesign the plane for a new mission; and convert it from a glider to a fully powered aircraft.

21. A completely new design was created.

22. One that used four engines.

23. But the requirement for an easy to control aircraft was still paramount.

24. So, the design concentrated on producing a very maneuverable aircraft, but one that could be easily controlled.

25. Spoilers were to be used on each wing.

26. And, should the mechanism for controlling the spoilers be damaged in combat, they would automatically return to the closed position.

27. And, to ensure an easily controllable design, canards were to be utilized.

28. The operating temperature of the engines proved to be a concern.

29. Since time was of the essence, the simplest approach to the cooling problem was adopted.

30. Injectors which sprayed water and alcohol were to be utilized.

31. Rather than bothering with landing gear, with all the attendant problems and weight, a dolly and skid arrangement was to be used.

32. Alternate methods of takeoff and landing may have been considered, although exactly what they were isn’t completely clear.

33. One method that may have been considered was an air drop from a “mother ship”.

34. Towing the aircraft to altitude may have been another.

35. The cockpit area was to have been pressurized.