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Author Topic: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches  (Read 3788 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« on: April 11, 2010, 05:45:20 pm »
I'm interested in real built examples of one aircraft launched from on top of another aircraft.

My knowledge of aviation history is limited but I know two examples:
  • Short-Mayo Composite
  • Enterprise prototype space shuttle off (modified) B747

Are there many (any?) others?

Offline Trident

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 07:46:27 pm »
Does the daughter aircraft need to be manned? M-21/D-21 comes to mind, although that didn't work too well, of course.

Offline SOC

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 09:30:46 pm »
It worked fine until they changed the launch profile...

Can't think of any others off the top of my head, but there were a lot of conceptual designs that never became reality.  For example, the delta-wing X-15 fired from the back of an XB-70.

Offline Jemiba

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2010, 09:35:06 pm »
Maybe not, what you're actually looking for, but it certainly fits your description :  :D
(from jeunes-ailes.org)
(Colomban Cri-cri launched from a Max Holste Broussard)
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 10:04:17 pm »
Aerospace Projects Review


And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 12:00:48 am »
Thanks all for the replies so far - a couple of great pictures too!

Can't think of any others off the top of my head, but there were a lot of conceptual designs that never became reality.

Exactly, I've often wondered about the practicality of many of those concepts so I thought it would be interesting to see what has actually been achieved before.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010, 01:09:32 am »
Thanks Orionblamblam for pointing to a great little French site on composite and parasite aircraft.

For anyone else interested the original French contents page is at http://aerostories.free.fr/appareils/compopara/page2.html, with the English translation at http://aerostories.free.fr/appareils/compopara/page11.html.

The very original story of the above Luftwaffe example is at http://aerostories.free.fr/appareils/compopara/page15.html - I'd never have guessed that the lower bomber aircraft is actually being used as a flying bomb, remotely controlled from the fighter aircraft on top! Just from the picture I wondered if they were trying to give fighter escorts longer range by an assisted take-off.

However, my absolute favourite just has to be the 'mad' Soviet Zveno Z-2 (below) ;D

Offline Jemiba

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2010, 01:59:19 am »
Well, there are quite a lot of examples for "Mistel" composites, e.g. the combination of
the DFS 230 and the Focke Wulf Fw 56.
(from http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/mistel-11.jpg)
I'm just not completely sure, that it matches your needs, because generally the BOTTOM
aircraft is launched here by the upper one.   ;)
But in the SNCASO SO M1/ SNCASE SE.161 or the AAM.1/Leduc 10 combinations the upper
aircraft was launched in flight without doubt.
(from http://aviation-ancienne.forumactif.com/photographies-f47/photos-cev-t5352-105.htm
and http://aerostories.free.fr/constructeurs/leduc/page8.html)
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 02:03:09 am by Jemiba »
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Example of aircraft air launch: Short-Mayo composite video
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 06:26:06 pm »
I forgot to post a link to this fantastic newsreel compilation video of the Short-Mayo composite (including in-flight separation).
 


The 30s clipped British accents really do evoke a lost era :)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 06:30:00 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline LowObservable

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2010, 06:31:32 am »
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane!

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 12:46:22 am »
Thanks to Wikimedia have found a picture of what I believe is the first aircraft composite, a Bristol Scout on a Felixstowe Porte Baby in 1916.

Virtually all the composite examples appear to be from WWI through to WWII. I guess this is because prior to that period the aircraft/ technology didn't exist to make it practical and after then aircraft capabilities were such that there was little benefit to doing it?  (Excepting of course special requirements, such as glide testing an unpowered shuttle orbiter!)

Offline robunos

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2010, 12:56:16 pm »
Some more on the Bristol Scout/Porte Baby, from
'Profile' No.139, 'Bristol Scouts C & D'

"The RNAS displayed remarkable resourcefulness
in their attempts to combat enemy airships and
evolved many ingenious techniques and devices.
One of the most ambitious of these, was the air-
launching of a Bristol Scout c from the upper wing
of the prototype Porte Baby flying boat.
The big flying boat could stay aloft for several hours
longer than the Scout's maximum endurance and
was expected to launch the scout should an enemy
airship be sighted.
A test of this combination was made in May 1916.
a successful separation was made at 1,000ft over
Felixstowe. despite the success the idea was not
developed and no further launches were attempted."

The identity of the Scout was No. 3028.


cheers,
         Robin.
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Offline robunos

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2010, 02:31:02 pm »
another one...
DFS 228 and Do217M...

(source http://jpcolliat.free.fr/trident/dfs228/dfs228_13.jpg)


cheers,
         Robin.
The one thing we will not tolerate is intolerance...

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2010, 07:06:21 am »
Thanks robunos for the extra info and pictures. There are rather more examples of aircraft air launches than I'd imagined!

Found a couple of links at the jpcolliat site you referenced with extra info on DFS228:

Offline robunos

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Re: Examples sought of on top aircraft air launches
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2010, 02:39:36 pm »
Quote
another one...
DFS 228 and Do217M...

Ooops....

As you can see from the picture, it's a Do217K-3.... :-[
The one thing we will not tolerate is intolerance...