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Author Topic: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...  (Read 43593 times)

Offline Skyblazer

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All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« on: May 28, 2013, 09:13:16 am »
No other country has seen as many aircraft designs as the United States.

Apart from those emanating from the big industrial companies, many of these have largely fallen into oblivion... Sometimes they appear in a corner of an old magazine and we think "Wow! Never heard about THAT ONE!", and obviously the more types we know, the more there seems to still discover...

I'm starting this topic with the purpose of it being a place to regroup all these isolated and worthwhile prototypes, mostly homebuilts. Let's not post types from major companies here, only from small businesses or individuals.

PLEASE can we stick to this rule: ONE TYPE = ONE POST? This way it will be easier to move posts around when/if a separate topic becomes justified.

Let's also apply this principle to our replies, so that if we reply about a certain type, we 1) quote from the original post (which could be a few posts/pages before) and 2) reply ONLY about that type. If multiply replies are needed, let's reply under separate posts. Thanks in advance!

I'm starting with the next post..

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 09:15:41 am »
Here is the Option Air Acapella 100L [N360 CB]. It crashed on July 28, 1982.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 09:17:47 am »
The Aero-Dynamics Sparrow Hawk [N5832M]:

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 09:20:20 am »
The Ward RA Super BD-4 [N62RW] was the improbable hybrid of a Bede BD-4 fuselage, a Cessna 172's undercart, and a Swearingen SX-200's nose and engine!

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 09:25:33 am »
This apparently undesignated Miller biplane entirely made of plywood was built in Milwaukee in the after-war years. It took 850 hours of work on its inventor's spare time and 500 dollars' worth of material to get it completed. It had a wingspan of 4.6 m and a length of 4.1 m, and was powered by a Henderson engine. Miller, a licensed mechanic and student-pilot, claimed a speed of 230 km/h and a range of 640 km for his diminutive biplane.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 09:51:42 am »
Completely forgotten (and therefore presumably unsuccessful) was this pleasant little postewar machine, the Bolton 1-B (thanks a lot to walter for identifying it).

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 10:08:04 am »
Cliff Kysor's torpedo-shaped plane of 1950 had tail controls built flush with fuselage. The conventional elevators and rudder were eliminated to minimize air drag and permit greater speed. The four control surfaces at the top, bottom and sides of the tail section, were operated by a stick and by rudder pedals. Small tabs at the trailing edge of the fins were used only to trim the aircraft.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2013, 11:39:33 am »
An amazing homebuilt that still exists to this day: the Bowyer BW-1 Challenger.

We have a topic devoted to this beauty here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,19592.0

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 01:47:32 pm »
In 1966, the Mississippi-based Burns Aircraft Co. presented the 6-7 place BA-42 twin-engine business aircraft prototype. It was powered by two 210 hp Continental IO-360D engines with constant-speed MacCauley propellers. A pressurized version was planned, offered with either the same engines or a pair of Allison 250 turbines. The BA-42 was of aluminum construction with numerous plastic components. First flight took place on April 28.

Wingspan: 8.7 m
Length: 9.75 m
Height: 2.3 m
Maximum weight: 1950 kg
Empty weight: 1086 kg
Maximum speed (sea level): 375 km/h
Cruise speed (at 3000 m altitude and with 75% of power): 275 km/h
Range (with 75% of power): 1450 km


Offline elmayerle

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2013, 01:57:52 pm »
The vertical tail looks a bit on the small side and the engines are probably pushed hard, but it's not a bad design.  Switching to the turboprops likely won't change the weight but should definitely improve performance.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2013, 02:19:15 pm »
The wacky and wonderful Wainfan FMX-4 Facetmobile [N117WDa play on the F-117 resemblance] was described as an "experimental lifting-body sportplane." It was the creation of Barnaby & Lynne Wainfan and Rick Dean, and took 2.5 years to develop and build. It was inspired originally by a little flying wing glider in one of the aeromodelling magazines some years ago, and then further by a larger model that he made based on it.

After logging 130 hours of flight time, the Facetmobile was damaged in a forced landing after some engine malfunction, and was in reconstruction in 1999. A two-place version designated as the FMX-5 was also in development at that time, but apparently nothing came of it.

More on Wainfan:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,19333.0
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,9989.0 (senior members only)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 03:02:08 pm by Stargazer2006 »

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2013, 02:39:04 pm »
The Sawyer Skyjacker II [N7317] was a two-seat experimental research vehicle, a flying wing of all-metal construction built by Ralph Sawyer and first flown on July 3, 1975.

Sawyers objective for constructing this vehicle was to prove the stability, controllability and capability of such a radical, low-aspect-ratio aircraft, the size for this type of aircraft being unlimited due to the nature of its lifting body design.  In fact, it was even marketed in its day as the only flying "true lifting body"not as a sporting aircraft.

Sawyer's design calculations determined the aircraft would be able to carry 4.5 times the load as a typical aircraft with the same span. The airplane was named the Skyjacker because "it jacks itself into the sky."

The Skyjacker was cheap to build because there wereno compound curves, highly stressed areas or complex control systems. The design would not stall or spin and had no rudders. The aircraft was powered by a 200hp Lycoming IO-360-A1B6D pusher engine. Its span was 18 ft. and it was 17 ft. 6 in. long. It is not known what the #I design may have been.

Great info and pics can be found at:
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 02:52:00 pm by Stargazer2006 »

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2013, 02:58:25 pm »
The Schapel SA-882 was a diminutive flying wing prototype not unlike some of the Horten designs:

More here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,13386.0

The company had quite a few projects on the side all pushers, such as the Thunderbolt business aircraft or the twin-boom S-1275 Finesse, S-525 Super Swat and SA-981 Swat (a light COIN proposal).

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2013, 03:19:42 pm »
Designed and flown by Ron Beattie and Walt Fellers, two North American Engineers who came to work for the Northrop Division, the Acme Sierra (a.k.a. "Sierra Sue") [N12K] was built by the Acme Aircraft Co. at the Torrance Airport in late 1948. The first flight took place on 23 November 1953. It was built according to Goodyear Racing Plane specifications. Although it was never entered in any races, extensive data was obtained during its many flights.

This experimental aircraft was built to investigate the advantages of a pusher propeller configuration. It has a "Y" shaped tail incorporating ruddervators on the upper fins, an unswept wing mounted midway up the fuselage, an engine mounted directly behind the cockpit, and large air scoops mounted in the forward end of both wing roots. The aircraft, now designated as the Sierradyne S-1, was used by Sierradyne Inc. in the 1960's to test and promote Northrop's and Dr Werner Pfenninger's boundary layer control concepts. Northrop used it as a flying technology demonstrator for the Air Forces AX close-support aircraft design competition in 1972, but despite its being re-labeled as the Northrop Turbo-Pusher, the plane was never officially considered a Northrop aircraft.

The aircraft's relationship to the AX program is also discussed twice in the AX-dedicated topic:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2615.msg10250.html#msg10250
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2615.msg107687.html#msg107687

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2013, 03:28:30 pm »
The Fogle V333 Sky Cat tilt-rotor was built in 1982 but never been flown. It was designed and built by Hal Fogle, who also worked on the SR-71 Blackbird program.

Photos below depict the prototype (now on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum) and the full-scale mockup that preceded it, at some airshow.