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Knowledge Quiz for Warbird wiz

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Knowledge Quiz for Warbird wiz

Old 01-28-2018, 08:18 PM
  #15326  
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Me-262
Old 01-29-2018, 03:14 AM
  #15327  
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How about the Swedish FFVS J 22? Thanks; Ernie P.
The FFVS J 22 was a Swedish single-engine fighter aircraft developed for the Swedish Air Force during World War II.

Development

At the onset of World War II, the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) was equipped with largely obsolete Gloster Gladiator (J 8) biplane fighters. To augment this, Sweden ordered 120 Seversky P-35 (J 9) and 144 P-66 Vanguard (J 10) aircraft from the United States. However, on 18 June 1940 after the German occupation of Norway, the United States declared an embargo against exporting weapons to any nation other than Great Britain. As the result, Flygvapnet suddenly faced a shortage of modern fighters. Several other foreign alternatives were considered: the Finnish VL Myrsky and Soviet PolikarpovI-16 were unsatisfactory, and while the MitsubishiA6M Zero was available, delivery from Japan was impractical. A batch of Fiat CR.42 Falco (J 11) biplanes and ReggianeRe.2000 Falco (J 20) were eventually purchased but this was clearly an interim solution.

With Flygvapnet facing a serious shortage of aircraft and Saab running at full capacity building its single-engine Saab 17 and twin-engined Saab 18 bombers, a new firm and factory were established specifically for the new fighter — Kungliga Flygförvaltningens Flygverkstad i Stockholm ("Royal Air Administration Aircraft Factory in Stockholm", FFVS) under Bo Lundberg. The aircraft, designated J 22, was a monoplane with a plywood-covered steel airframe. Wing and fuselage layout were conventional, with the narrow-track main landing gear retracting rearward entirely within the fuselage, somewhat similar to the 1935 Focke-Wulf Fw 159 parasol-wing monoplane fighter design. Power came from a Swedish copy of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp, manufactured without a license at the time, though license fees were paid later (a symbolic US$1).

The J 22 first flew on 20 September 1942 from Bromma airport, where the factory was located. It entered service in October 1943, at the F9 air wing at Gothenburg, with the last of the 198 aircraft delivered in April 1946. Sub-assemblies for the J 22 were made by over 500 different contractors.

Operational history

The J 22 was well liked by its pilots and possessed good manoeuvrability and responsive controls. Forward visibility on the ground left something to be desired and if the tailwheel was left unlocked and able to swivel during take-off there was the potential to ground-loop. In mock dogfights with P-51 Mustangs (called J 26 in Swedish service) it was able to "hold its own" up to 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) although, above 6,000 m (19,000 ft), without a good high altitude supercharger, it became sluggish. J 22 pilot Ove Müller-Hansen: "This was one of the finest aircraft that I have ever flown. The responsiveness of the controls and overall handling was exceptionally nice. It was not a high altitude fighter but up to about 5000 m (16,000 ft) it could hold its own very well. We flew mock dog fights with P-51 Mustangs and they could not catch us below 4000 m (13,000 ft) but if the fight was higher than that we had to be very careful. At altitudes above 6000 m (19,500 ft) it was getting sluggish and at 9000 m (29,000 ft) it was not much power left. Stalls in turns and straight forward were usually not a problem. If you pulled really hard in turn it would sometime flip over on its back. The first version, the 22-A, did not have much fire power, but the 22-B was better." Because of its simple systems the J 22 was very easy to maintain and service.

With 575 km/h (360 mph) from a 795 kW (1,065 hp) engine, the press called the diminutive fighter "World's fastest in relation to the engine power" (while not absolutely true, it was in the same class as the early marks of Supermarine Spitfire and Zero). The J 22 crews promptly modified this to "World's fastest in relation to the track width" (for which the Spitfire might also have competed), because of the very narrow wheel track. The aircraft was retired in 1952.
Old 01-29-2018, 05:36 AM
  #15328  
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No correct answers yet.

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.
Old 01-29-2018, 06:09 AM
  #15329  
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How about the Italian Breda Ba65?
Old 01-29-2018, 07:48 AM
  #15330  
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Not the Ba 65, but good to see so much participation. Here's another clue.

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.

7. Pilots liked it because it was easy to fly and visibility from the cockpit was unusually good for a plane that first flew when this one did.
Old 01-30-2018, 05:27 AM
  #15331  
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Today's clue.

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.

7. Pilots liked it because it was easy to fly and visibility from the cockpit was unusually good for a plane that first flew when this one did.

8. It was better suited to ground attack than to the fighter role because it had limited range and its engines functioned poorly at high altitudes.
Old 01-30-2018, 05:57 AM
  #15332  
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How about the P-39 Airacobra? I know the Russians loved it in the ground attack roll.
Maybe the P-63 Kingcobra?
Old 01-30-2018, 07:29 AM
  #15333  
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Not the P-39 or the P-63, both of which were produced in much greater numbers than the plane I'm looking for. I've seen claims that the widely held belief that the Russians used the P-39 mainly for ground attack is mistaken. It was a good low-altitude fighter, and they had a lot of IL-2's for ground attack. I don't know for sure if this is right, but Ernie probably does.

You've earned another clue, so here it is.

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.

7. Pilots liked it because it was easy to fly and visibility from the cockpit was unusually good for a plane that first flew when this one did.

8. It was better suited to ground attack than to the fighter role because it had limited range and its engines functioned poorly at high altitudes.

9. The previous clue contains a somewhat subtle clue in addition to the ones about range and altitude.
Old 01-30-2018, 08:19 AM
  #15334  
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Originally Posted by Top_Gunn View Post
Not the P-39 or the P-63, both of which were produced in much greater numbers than the plane I'm looking for. I've seen claims that the widely held belief that the Russians used the P-39 mainly for ground attack is mistaken. It was a good low-altitude fighter, and they had a lot of IL-2's for ground attack. I don't know for sure if this is right, but Ernie probably does.

You've earned another clue, so here it is.

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.

7. Pilots liked it because it was easy to fly and visibility from the cockpit was unusually good for a plane that first flew when this one did.

8. It was better suited to ground attack than to the fighter role because it had limited range and its engines functioned poorly at high altitudes.

9. The previous clue contains a somewhat subtle clue in addition to the ones about range and altitude.
Top_Gunn; your clues sound very much like one of the series of ground attack aircraft Hawker Aircraft Company built in WWII. This series contained several aircraft which were to use then experimental or brand new engines. Your description could fit several of them, so how about the Hawker Tornado, or its Vulture engined twin? Thanks; Ernie P.

The Hawker Tornado was a British single-seat fighter aircraft design of World War II for the Royal Air Force as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane. The planned production of Tornados was cancelled after the engine it was designed to use—the Rolls-Royce Vulture—proved unreliable in service. A parallel airframe with the Napier Sabre continued into production as the Hawker Typhoon.
Design and development

Shortly after the Hawker Hurricane entered service, Hawker began work on its eventual successor. Two alternative projects were undertaken: the Type N (for Napier), with a Napier Sabre engine, and the Type R (for Rolls-Royce), equipped with a Rolls-Royce Vulture powerplant. Hawker presented an early draft of their ideas to the Air Ministry who advised them that a specification was in the offing for such a fighter. The specification was released by the Ministry as Specification F.18/37 after further prompting from Hawker. the specification called for a single-seat fighter armed with twelve 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns, a maximum speed of 400 mph (644 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m) and a service ceiling of 35,000 ft (10,700 m) were required. Two prototypes of both the Type N and R were ordered on 3 March 1938. Technical description

Both prototypes were very similar to the Hurricane in general appearance, and shared some of its construction techniques. The front fuselage used the same swaged and bolted duralumin tube structure, which had been developed by Sydney Camm and Fred Sigrist in 1925. The new design featured automobile-like side-opening doors for entry, and used a large 40 ft (12 m) wing that was much thicker in cross-section than those on aircraft like the Spitfire. The rear fuselage, from behind the cockpit, differed from that of the Hurricane in that it was a duralumin, semi-monocoque, flush-riveted structure. The all-metal wings incorporated the legs and wheel-bays of the wide-track, inward-retracting main undercarriage. The two models were also very similar to each other; the R plane had a rounder nose profile and a ventral radiator, whereas the N had a flatter deck and a chin-mounted radiator. The fuselage of the Tornado ahead of the wings was 12 in (30 cm) longer than that of the Typhoon, the wings were fitted 3 in (76 mm) lower on the fuselage, and the radiator was located beneath the fuselage. The X-24 cylinder configuration of the Vulture required two sets of ejector exhaust stacks on each side of the cowling, and that the engine was mounted further forward than the Sabre in order to clear the front wing spar. Flight trials

On 6 October 1939, the first prototype (P5219) was flown by P.G. Lucas, having first been moved from Kingston to Langley for completion. Further flight trials revealed airflow problems around the radiator, which was subsequently relocated to a chin position. Later changes included increased rudder area, and the upgrading of the powerplant to the Vulture Mark V engine. Hawker production lines focused on the Hurricane, with the result that completion of the second prototype (P5224) was significantly delayed. It featured the chin radiator, additional window panels in the fairing behind the cockpit, and the 12 .303 in machine guns were replaced by four 20 mm Hispano cannon. It was first flown on 5 December 1940, and was powered by a Vulture II, although as in the case of the first prototype, a Vulture V was later installed. Production

In order to avoid upsetting the Hurricane lines, production was sub-contracted to Avro (another company in the Hawker group) in Manchester[2] and Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft in Eastleigh, with orders for 1,760 and 200 respectively being placed in 1939. However, only one of these aircraft, from Avro, was ever built and flown, this being R7936. Shortly after its first flight at Woodford, on 29 August 1941, the Vulture programme was abandoned, followed closely by the cancellation of the Tornado order. At that time four aircraft were at various stages of production at the Avro plant at Yeadon, West Yorkshire. Vulture engine

The Vulture was effectively cancelled by Rolls-Royce in July 1941, partly due to the problems experienced in its use on the Avro Manchester, but mostly to free up resources for Merlin development and production. The Rolls-Royce Merlin was also starting to deliver the same power levels. However, the Vulture engine installation in the Tornado was relatively trouble free[2] and the aircraft itself had fewer problems in flight than its Sabre-engined counterpart. The third prototype (HG641), the only other Tornado to fly, was flown on 23 October 1941, powered by a Bristol Centaurus CE.4S sleeve valve radial engine. This Tornado was built from two incomplete production airframes (R7937 and R7938), was a testbed for a number of Centaurus engine/propeller combinations and was the progenitor of the Hawker Tempest II.
Specifications

Orthographic projection of the second prototype Tornado, with the distinctive "beard" radiator, modified tail and fitting for four cannon. Inset profile of the first prototype in the original configuration looking very much like an enlarged Hurricane.
Data from Thomas & Shores, Mason
General characteristics·
Crew: One, pilot·
Length: 32 ft 10 in (10.01 m)·
Wingspan:
41 ft 11 in (12.78 m)·
Height: 14 ft 8 in (4.47 m)·
Wing area: 283 ft² (26.3 m²)·
Empty weight:
8,377 lb (3,800 kg)·
Useful load: 2,291 lb (1,039 kg)·
Loaded weight: 9,520 lb (4,318 kg) for P5219·
Max. takeoff weight:
10,668 lb (4,839 kg)·
*Fuel capacity: 140 gallons[[i]clarification needed] (636 Litres)·
Powerplant:
1 × Rolls-Royce Vulture II or V [C 1] X-24 piston engine, 1,760 hp (1,312 kW)Vulture II
(Vulture V: 1,980 hp (1,476))
[C 2]·
Propellers: 3 or 4 bladed propeller · P
ropeller diameter:
13 feet 3 in (Vulture: 12 feet 9 in) Performance·
Maximum speed:
398 mph (641 km/h) for Vulture V at 23,300 ft (7,102 m).[C 3]·
Service ceiling:
34,900 ft (10,640 m)·
Wing loading:
max takeoff: 37.7 lb/ft² (184.81 kg/m²)·
Power/mass:
max takeoff 5.38 lb/hp (3.58 kg/Kw)·
Time to height: 7.2 min to 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
Armament· Guns: Provision for 12 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns (1st prototype P5219) or 4 × 20 mm Hispano cannon. (2nd and Centaurus prototypes P5224, HG641).
Avionics
TR 9 VHF R/T fitted (P5224)

Last edited by Ernie P.; 01-30-2018 at 08:23 AM.
Old 01-30-2018, 08:48 AM
  #15335  
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Originally Posted by Top_Gunn View Post
Not the P-39 or the P-63, both of which were produced in much greater numbers than the plane I'm looking for. I've seen claims that the widely held belief that the Russians used the P-39 mainly for ground attack is mistaken. It was a good low-altitude fighter, and they had a lot of IL-2's for ground attack. I don't know for sure if this is right, but Ernie probably does.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Top_Gunn. Yes, I think you're correct in that the P-39 was primarily used as a fighter, rather than a ground attack aircraft; although anything was used in an emergency, just as with Allied aircraft. The Sturmovik was somewhat vulnerable to German fighters, and required protection from the P-39's to avoid heavy losses. There was some confusion among English speaking writers who reviewed Soviet writings over what a "ground support" mission meant. That lead to misinterpretation of the P-39's role. And, most of the higher scoring Soviet aces scored many, if not the majority, of their victories in P-39's. The better Soviet home built fighters didn't appear in significant numbers until later in the war. And don't forget... The Soviets were getting the P-39's free; allowing them to concentrate on producing other aircraft. I looked and found the below references to support my opinion. Thanks; Ernie P.


Soviet pilots appreciated the cannon-armed P-39 primarily for its air-to-air capability. A common Western misconception is that the Bell fighters were used as ground attack aircraft. This is because the Soviet term for the mission of the P-39, prikrytiye sukhoputnykh voysk (coverage of ground forces) is commonly translated ground support, which is often taken to mean close air support. In Soviet usage, it has a broader meaning. Soviet-operated P-39s did make strafing attacks, but it was "never a primary mission or strong suit for this aircraft".

The Soviets developed successful group aerial fighting tactics for the Bell fighters and scored a surprising number of aerial victories over a variety of German aircraft. Soviet P-39s had no trouble dispatching
Junkers Ju 87 Stukas or German twin-engine bombers and matched, and in some areas surpassed, early and mid-war Messerschmitt Bf 109s. The usual nickname for the Airacobra in the VVS was Kobrushka ("little cobra") or Kobrastochka, a blend of Kobra and Lastochka (swallow), "dear little cobra".

The Soviets used the Airacobra primarily for air-to-air combat[ against a variety of German aircraft, including Bf 109s, Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, Ju 87s, and Ju 88s. During the battle of Kuban River, VVS relied on P-39s much more than Spitfires and P-40s. Aleksandr Pokryshkin, from 16.Gv.IAP (16th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment), claimed 20 victories in that campaign in a P-39.


The last plane shot down by the Luftwaffe was a Soviet P-39, on May 8 by Oblt. Fritz Stehle of 2./JG 7 flying a Me 262 on Erzgebirge. Also, the last Soviet air victory was in a P-39 on May 9 when Kapitan Vasily Pshenichikov scored against a Focke-Wulf Fw 189, in the sky over Prague. Five of the 10 highest scoring Soviets aces logged the majority of their kills in P-39s. Grigoriy Rechkalov scored 44 victories in Airacobras. Pokryshkin scored 47 of his 59 victories in P-39s, making him the highest scoring P-39 fighter pilot of any nation, and the highest scoring Allied fighter pilot using an American fighter. This does not include his 6 shared victories, at least some of which were achieved with the P-39.
Old 01-30-2018, 09:34 AM
  #15336  
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Not the Tornado, but the story of the Rolls Royce Vulture engine, although not directly relevant to this airplane, is at least similar to the events that led to the low production figures for this plane. So I'll add a clue. (Did I mention that clue 8 tells you three things about the airplane?)

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.

7. Pilots liked it because it was easy to fly and visibility from the cockpit was unusually good for a plane that first flew when this one did.

8. It was better suited to ground attack than to the fighter role because it had limited range and its engines functioned poorly at high altitudes.

9. The previous clue contains a somewhat subtle clue in addition to the ones about range and altitude.

10. Its low production numbers were due to the unavailability of the only engine that suited its design.
Old 01-30-2018, 09:47 AM
  #15337  
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Actually, the P-39 was used for ground attack prior to the IL-2 being deployed in great numbers. The nose mounted cannon was deadly to the early German tanks, almost more so than it was to the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe. What is a very unknown bit of trivia is EVERY US FIGHTER used against Japan with little to no success were actually very successful against German and Russian forces. Specifically:
The P-39 was used with great success against the Germans by the Russians
The F2A Buffalo was used with great success by the the Finns against the Russians
Then again, the P-38 and P-40 have been generally thought of as "also flown" fighters in Europe. Truth be told, they not only held their own against the Germans and Italians when used in roles that hi-lighted their strengths, they were more than capable of mixing it up with the more maneuverable Japanese fighters like the A6M Zero until the Corsair and Hellcat arrived.
Even the F4F Wildcat, the plane that held the line against the Japanese prewar elite pilots in their Zeros through the dark days of 1942 in the Pacific, was successful in the Atlantic and over Norway and was actually the first US built fighter to down a German plane in WWII

Last edited by Hydro Junkie; 01-30-2018 at 10:02 AM.
Old 01-30-2018, 10:23 AM
  #15338  
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Actually, the P-39 was used for ground attack prior to the IL-2 being deployed in great numbers. The nose mounted cannon was deadly to the early German tanks, almost more so than it was to the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe. What is a very unknown bit of trivia is EVERY US FIGHTER used against Japan with little to no success were actually very successful against German and Russian forces. Specifically:
The P-39 was used with great success against the Germans by the Russians
The F2A Buffalo was used with great success by the the Finns against the Russians
Then again, the P-38 and P-40 have been generally thought of as "also flown" fighters in Europe. Truth be told, they not only held their own against the Germans and Italians when used in roles that hi-lighted their strengths, they were more than capable of mixing it up with the more maneuverable Japanese fighters like the A6M Zero until the Corsair and Hellcat arrived.
Even the F4F Wildcat, the plane that held the line against the Japanese prewar elite pilots in their Zeros through the dark days of 1942 in the Pacific, was successful in the Atlantic and over Norway and was actually the first US built fighter to down a German plane in WWII
Well, according to this account, which seems to be informed, the Russians didn't use the P-39 against tanks at all:

"Contrary to popular myth, the P-39 was not employed as a "tank-buster" for two very good reasons: the M4 37mm cannon was slow-firing and only had 30 rounds of ammunition, and the Soviets never received M80 Armor Piercing Shot ammunition for this cannon through Lend-Lease. (Even had they received AP ammo, it was only capable of penetrating 1.0 inches of armor at 500 yards. After 1943 there weren't many German tanks that vulnerable, especially from the top quadrant.) Our government did deliver approximately 1.2 million M54 High Explosive shells, however, and Soviet P-39 aces put them to good use against both air and soft ground targets." (From Bell P-39 Airacobra - Fighter Airplane Used by Russia in WW2).

At Kursk, where the Germans lost a lot of tanks, the Russians used Il-2's, which claimed a lot of tank kills but which may have been ineffective. The Wikipedia article on the Il-2 says this about German tank losses in Russia (after reporting impressive claims by Il-2 pilots):

"... Other studies of the fighting at Kursk suggest that very few of German armour losses were caused by the IL-2 or any other Soviet aircraft. In fact, total German tank losses in Operation Citadel amounted to 323 totally destroyed, the vast majority to anti-tank guns and armored fighting vehicles.[24] In addition it is difficult to find any first-hand accounts by German panzer crews on the Eastern Front describing anything more than the occasional loss to direct air attack. The vast majority, around 95%–98%, of tank losses are due to enemy anti-tank guns, tanks, mines, artillery, and infantry assault, or simply abandoned as operational losses like mostly happened during the last eleven months of the war."

I don't claim any particular knowledge of this myself, but a quick scouring of the internet turns up several sources saying the P-39's that went to Russia never had anti-tank rounds. It does seem clear that the Russians used them mainly as fighters and for ground attack against soft targets. They weren't of much use in Europe because of their poor high-altitude performance, but that wasn't important in Russia.
Old 01-30-2018, 11:41 AM
  #15339  
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Originally Posted by Top_Gunn View Post
Not the Tornado, but the story of the Rolls Royce Vulture engine, although not directly relevant to this airplane, is at least similar to the events that led to the low production figures for this plane. So I'll add a clue. (Did I mention that clue 8 tells you three things about the airplane?)

Looking for the name of an airplane.

1. Not many produced: Under 200, which was very few for a successful airplane of its type at the time.

2. But the low production number was not was not due to poor performance.

3. It was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed.

4. Crew of one.

5. Although few were produced, the plane's wartime service lasted a little over two years.

6. Most of that wartime service consisted of ground attack.

7. Pilots liked it because it was easy to fly and visibility from the cockpit was unusually good for a plane that first flew when this one did.

8. It was better suited to ground attack than to the fighter role because it had limited range and its engines functioned poorly at high altitudes.

9. The previous clue contains a somewhat subtle clue in addition to the ones about range and altitude.

10. Its low production numbers were due to the unavailability of the only engine that suited its design.
Well, you've never actually said it was a single engine fighter/fighter bomber; so... How about the Whirlwind? Thanks; Ernie P.

The Westland Whirlwind was a British twin-engined heavy fighter developed by Westland Aircraft. A contemporary of the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane, it was the first single-seat, twin-engined, cannon-armed fighter of the Royal Air Force. When it first flew in 1938, the Whirlwind was one of the fastest combat aircraft in the world, and with four Hispano-Suiza 404 autocannon in its nose, the most heavily armed.

Protracted development problems with its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines delayed the project and few Whirlwinds were built. During the Second World War, only three RAF squadrons were equipped with the Whirlwind but despite its success as a fighter and ground attack aircraft, it was withdrawn from service in 1943.By the mid-1930s, aircraft designers around the world perceived that increased attack speeds were imposing shorter firing times on fighter pilots. This implied less ammunition hitting the target and ensuring destruction. Instead of two rifle-calibre machine guns, six or eight were required; studies had shown that eight machine guns could deliver 256 rounds per second.[4]

The eight machine guns installed in the Spitfire and the Hurricane fired rifle-calibre rounds, which did not deliver enough damage to quickly knock out an opponent. Cannon, such as the French 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404, which could fire explosive ammunition, offered more firepower and attention turned to aircraft designs which could carry four cannon. While the most agile fighter aircraft were generally small and light, their limited fuel storage also limited their range and tended to restrict them to defensive and interception roles. The larger airframes and bigger fuel loads of twin-engined designs were therefore favoured for long-range, offensive roles.


The first British specification for a high-performance machine-gun monoplane was F.5/34 but the aircraft produced were overtaken by the development of the new Hawker and Supermarine fighters.[5] The RAF Air Staff thought that an experimental aircraft armed with the 20 mm cannon was needed urgently and Air Ministry specification F.37/35 was issued in 1935. The specification called for a single-seat day and night fighter armed with four cannon. The top speed had to be at least 40 mph (64 km/h) greater than that of contemporary bombers – at least 330 mph (530 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m).[6]
[7]


Eight aircraft designs from five companies were submitted in response to the specification. Boulton Paul offered the P.88A and P.88B (two related single engine designs), Bristol the single-engined Type 153 and the twin-engined Type 153A. Hawker offered a variant of the Hurricane, the Supermarine 312 was a variant of Spitfire and the Supermarine 313 a twin-engined design with four guns in the nose and potentially a further two firing through the propeller hubs, the Westland P.9 had two Rolls-Royce Kestrel K.26 engines and a twin tail.[8]
[9]
When the designs were considered in May 1936, there was concern that two engines would be less manoeuvrable than a single-engined design and that uneven recoil from cannon set in the wings would give less accurate fire. The conference favoured two engines with the cannon set in the nose and recommended the Supermarine 313.[10]

Although Supermarine's efforts were favoured due to their success with fast aircraft and the promise of the Spitfire which was undergoing trials, neither they nor Hawker were in a position to deliver a modified version of their single-engined designs quickly enough. Westland, which had less work and was further advanced in their project, was chosen along with the P.88 and the Type 313 for construction. A contract for two P.9s was placed in February 1937 which were expected to be flying in mid-1938. The P.88s were ordered in December along with a Supermarine design to F37/35 but both were cancelled in January.
[10] Westland's design team, under the new leadership of W. E. W. "Teddy" Petter (who later designed the English Electric Canberra, Lightning and Folland Gnat) designed an aircraft that employed state-of-the-art technology. The monocoque fuselage was tubular, with a T-tail at the end, although as originally conceived, the design featured a twin tail, which was discarded when large Fowler flaps were added that caused large areas of turbulence over the tail unit.[11] The elevator was moved up out of the way of the disturbed airflow caused when the flaps were down.[11] Handley Page slats were fitted to the outer wings and to the leading edge of the radiator openings; these were interconnected by duraluminium torque tubes.[12]

In June 1941, the slats were wired shut on the recommendation of the Chief Investigator of the Accident Investigation Branch, after two Whirlwinds crashed when the outer slats failed during hard manœuvering; tests by the A&AEE confirmed that the Whirlwind's take-off and landing was largely unaffected with the slats locked shut, while the flight characteristics improved under the conditions in which the slats normally deployed.
[13] The engines were developments of the Rolls-Royce Kestrel K.26, later renamed Peregrine. The first prototype, L6844, used long exhaust ducts that were channelled through the wings and fuel tanks, exiting at the wing's trailing edge. This configuration was quickly changed to more conventional, external exhausts after Westland's Chief test pilot Harald Penrose nearly lost control when an exhaust duct broke and heat-fractured an aileron control rod.[14] The engines were cooled by ducted radiators, which were set into the leading edges of the wing centre-sections to reduce drag.[15] The airframe was built mainly of stressed-skin duraluminium, with the exception of the rear-fuselage, which used a magnesium alloy stressed skin.[16]
[15]


With the pilot sitting high under one of the world's first full bubble canopies and the low and forward location of the wing, all round visibility was good (except for directly over the nose). Four 20 mm cannon were mounted in the nose; the 600 lb/minute fire rate made it the most heavily armed fighter aircraft of its era.
[17][[i]clarification needed] The clustering of the weapons also meant that there were no convergence problems as with wing-mounted guns. Hopes were so high for the design that it remained "top secret" for much of its development, although it had already been mentioned in the French press.L6844 first flew on 11 October 1938, construction having been delayed chiefly due to the new features and also because of the late delivery of the engines.[15] L6844 was passed to RAE Farnborough at the end of the year, while further service trials were later carried out at Martlesham Heath.[18]

The Whirlwind exhibited excellent handling characteristics and proved to be very easy to fly at all speeds. The only exception was the inadequate directional control during take-off which necessitated an increased rudder area above the tailplane.
[11]Whirlwind I undergoing fighter-bomber trials at the A&AEE. The Whirlwind was quite small, only slightly larger than the Hurricane but smaller in terms of frontal area. The landing gear was fully retractable and the entire aircraft was very "clean" with few openings or protuberances. Radiators were in the leading edge on the inner wings rather than below the engines. This careful attention to streamlining and two 885 hp Peregrine engines powered it to over 360 mph (580 km/h), the same speed as the latest single-engine fighters.[11] The aircraft had short range, under 300 mi (480 km) combat radius, which made it marginal as an escort. The first deliveries of Peregrine engines did not reach Westland until January 1940. By late 1940, the Supermarine Spitfire was scheduled to mount 20 mm cannon so the "cannon-armed" requirement was being met and by this time, the role of escort fighters was becoming less important as RAF Bomber Command turned to night flying.

The main qualities the RAF were looking for in a twin-engine fighter were range and carrying capacity (to allow the large radar apparatus of the time to be carried), in which requirements the Bristol Beaufighter could perform just as well as or even better than the Whirlwind.
Production orders were contingent on the success of the test programme; delays caused by over 250 modifications to the two prototypes led to an initial production order for 200 aircraft being held up until January 1939, followed by a second order for a similar number, deliveries to fighter squadrons being scheduled to begin in September 1940.[19] Earlier, due to the lower expected production at Westland, there had been suggestions that production should be by other firms and an early 1939 plan to build 600 of them at the Castle Bromwich factory was dropped in favour of Spitfire production.[15]
[20]


Despite the Whirlwind's promise, production ended in January 1942, after the completion of just two prototypes and 112 production aircraft. Rolls-Royce needed to concentrate on the development and production of the Merlin, and the troubled Vulture, rather than the Peregrine.[21] Westland was aware that its design – which had been built around the Peregrine – was incapable of using anything larger without an extensive redesign.[22] After the cancellation of the Whirlwind, Petter campaigned for the development of a Whirlwind Mk II, which was to have been powered by an improved 1,010 hp Peregrine, with a better, higher-altitude supercharger, also using 100 octane fuel, with an increased boost rating.[nb 1]This proposal was aborted when Rolls-Royce cancelled work on the Peregrine.[25][nb 2] Building a Whirlwind consumed three times as much alloy as a Spitfire.[24]

Last edited by Ernie P.; 01-30-2018 at 11:45 AM.
Old 01-30-2018, 12:42 PM
  #15340  
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Originally Posted by Top_Gunn View Post
Well, according to this account, which seems to be informed, the Russians didn't use the P-39 against tanks at all:

"Contrary to popular myth, the P-39 was not employed as a "tank-buster" for two very good reasons: the M4 37mm cannon was slow-firing and only had 30 rounds of ammunition, and the Soviets never received M80 Armor Piercing Shot ammunition for this cannon through Lend-Lease. (Even had they received AP ammo, it was only capable of penetrating 1.0 inches of armor at 500 yards. After 1943 there weren't many German tanks that vulnerable, especially from the top quadrant.) Our government did deliver approximately 1.2 million M54 High Explosive shells, however, and Soviet P-39 aces put them to good use against both air and soft ground targets." (From Bell P-39 Airacobra - Fighter Airplane Used by Russia in WW2).

At Kursk, where the Germans lost a lot of tanks, the Russians used Il-2's, which claimed a lot of tank kills but which may have been ineffective. The Wikipedia article on the Il-2 says this about German tank losses in Russia (after reporting impressive claims by Il-2 pilots):

"... Other studies of the fighting at Kursk suggest that very few of German armour losses were caused by the IL-2 or any other Soviet aircraft. In fact, total German tank losses in Operation Citadel amounted to 323 totally destroyed, the vast majority to anti-tank guns and armored fighting vehicles.[24] In addition it is difficult to find any first-hand accounts by German panzer crews on the Eastern Front describing anything more than the occasional loss to direct air attack. The vast majority, around 95%–98%, of tank losses are due to enemy anti-tank guns, tanks, mines, artillery, and infantry assault, or simply abandoned as operational losses like mostly happened during the last eleven months of the war."

I don't claim any particular knowledge of this myself, but a quick scouring of the internet turns up several sources saying the P-39's that went to Russia never had anti-tank rounds. It does seem clear that the Russians used them mainly as fighters and for ground attack against soft targets. They weren't of much use in Europe because of their poor high-altitude performance, but that wasn't important in Russia.
Your source could very well be correct as mine had some questions about accuracy and has since been pulled down. Then again, any information coming from the Russian Front is subject to question since the Russians weren't really forthcoming on losses and many of the German records were lost/destroyed.
Old 01-30-2018, 12:54 PM
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That's the airplane! Clue 8 did mention its "engines," so it's not as if I was hiding the ball. Quite an airplane for one that first flew in 1938. Wouldn't have been fun being shot at by a plane with four cannons in the nose. Too bad about the engines.

(Reply to Ernie's post about the Whirlwind.)
Old 01-30-2018, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Your source could very well be correct as mine had some questions about accuracy and has since been pulled down. Then again, any information coming from the Russian Front is subject to question since the Russians weren't really forthcoming on losses and many of the German records were lost/destroyed.
True. And the regular cannon rounds might have been enough to mess up the early German tanks, which weren't as heavily armored as the later versions, and which were, to the Germans' surprise, inferior to the Russian tanks when the Germans invaded Russia. I do recall reading somewhere that the P-39's cannons tended to jam after the first couple of rounds, but that may have been solved by the time they started shipping the N and Q versions to Russia.

I've always had a soft spot for the P-39. My father worked for Bell for a while early in the war, and I grew up in a house which had a solid metal model of the P-39 sitting on a table in the living room. No idea what happened to it.
Old 01-30-2018, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Top_Gunn View Post
That's the airplane! Clue 8 did mention its "engines," so it's not as if I was hiding the ball. Quite an airplane for one that first flew in 1938. Wouldn't have been fun being shot at by a plane with four cannons in the nose. Too bad about the engines.

(Reply to Ernie's post about the Whirlwind.)
Thank you, Sir. Great question! I'll have something up shortly. Thanks; Ernie P.
Old 01-31-2018, 08:36 AM
  #15344  
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Guys; my apologies for being slow. I had a new question ready to go, but life gets in the way occasionally. Other obligations and all that. Nevertheless, I think I have a new question which will keep you both occupied and amused. Thanks; Ernie P.



What warbird do I describe?



Clues:

1. This aircraft was fast.

2. In fact, it was the fastest of any aircraft, not only of its type (by designation), but the fastest of any of its category (by type).
Old 01-31-2018, 09:24 AM
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Sr-71
Old 01-31-2018, 09:25 AM
  #15346  
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MIG-25
I figured Id get the two obvious out of the way
Old 01-31-2018, 09:49 AM
  #15347  
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How about the rumored SR-91 Aurora?
Old 01-31-2018, 10:08 AM
  #15348  
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Well, I guess those are all qualified answers; though I would point out both clues used the term "was". Two of your answers would have to be considered as "still are" and the other is definitely a "maybe will be" kind of thing. IOW; wrong time frame. But I will award not one, but two, bonus clues to reward all the participation. Thanks; Ernie P.



What warbird do I describe?



Clues:

1. This aircraft was fast.

2. In fact, it was the fastest of any aircraft, not only of its type (by designation), but the fastest of any of its category (by type).

3. It was considered to be “uncatchable” by its opponents.

4. Considerable thought and effort was put into slowing the aircraft’s landing speed.
Old 01-31-2018, 10:31 AM
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Messerschmitt Me 262 ?
Old 01-31-2018, 12:15 PM
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