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Author Topic: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra  (Read 19994 times)

Offline Pioneer

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‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« on: July 05, 2006, 06:56:43 am »
‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra

When Bell first came up with the efficient and versatile Bell AH-1 Cobra combat helicopter design, it originally went one step further by incorporating a retractable skid arrangement. This arrangement featured the skid’s retracting into the narrow fuselage. I think the idea was to minimise drag, to achieve maximum speed.     
Was it the US Army that decided against this retractable skid concept or was it Bell?

I personally think that they got it right, using a fixed skid layout because of the potential of added weight of the hydraulics that would have been needed.
More important in my mind is with such a narrow fuselage design as the Cobra, it would have been a very dangerous and risky task for a pilot to put the Cobra safe on the ground if the retraction failed or due to battle damage.

Was a retractable skidded AH-1 Cobra actually built and test flown?
If so does anyone have any pictures or drawings of it?


Regards
Pioneer
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

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Offline Matej

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2006, 07:18:13 am »
Skids must be very robust on combat helicopter. If nothing other, than because they must absorb some kinetic energy during emergency landing. Idea of a retractable skids on attack helicopter is useless - what is the counter-value of additional weight, another device with potential failure, less safety.... Plus 10 kmph during max. speed?

I have some pics of the mockup D-255 that is without any gear but I assume, that this is not what you are looking for....

Bizarre aviation expert.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2006, 04:54:06 pm »
I really can't see an operational combat helicopter being made with retractible skids as the extra complications for maintenance, reliability, et al. are just too much for the gain (a comparatively small one) in performance.  Retractible wheeled gear is a different story since either way it has the energy absorbing function already built in and the retraction system is fairly straight-forward and simple (well, generally; some engineers needlessly complicate everything - a pain for those of us who don't).

Offline Jemiba

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2006, 11:23:12 pm »
It isn't the photo, I was looking for, but if this isn't a fake, the Cobra prototype
has retractable skids. The photo is from http://www.aircav.com/cobra/ahgal06/ah1g-009.html ,
there's a vast number of other photos, but I stopped browsing, when I found this.
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline elmayerle

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2006, 09:50:04 pm »
I'd be willing to wager that evaluation of the prototype led to the abandonment of retractible skids.

Offline Jemiba

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2006, 03:05:00 am »
But the idea seems to have been interesting for others, too. Or
should I say : The cockpit section of the Cobra was so attractiv,
that Nord Aviation planned to bolt it to it's N.500 ducted fan VTOL
a/c, to get an attack version  ?   ;D
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2006, 02:06:17 pm »
I have a picture of the Model 209 prototype in Air International, it has retractable skids and a ventral fin.
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Offline Maverick65

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 11:02:56 pm »
It isn't the photo, I was looking for, but if this isn't a fake, the Cobra prototype
has retractable skids. The photo is from http://www.aircav.com/cobra/ahgal06/ah1g-009.html ,
there's a vast number of other photos, but I stopped browsing, when I found this.


Hi Guys,

My first post here, the site is very cool, heaps of informative threads.  Regarding the Cobra, the photo looks like it's a photoshop job, the original prototype flew without skids, not retractable, just removed, altho this isn't the case with this pic as the aircraft has the TOW system from an AH-1Q and the tribarrel cannon (albeit shortened) from an AH-1S.  There is a bit of pixel damage around the cockpit area in addition.

Just a thought,

Maverick

Offline Cobrapilot

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 08:39:29 am »
The original Prototype AH-1 Cobra did have retractible skids. It registered as N209J and was on display for many years at the Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry at Ft. Knox, KY. It is my understanding it has recently been moved to Ft. Rucker, AL for display at the Army Aviation Museum. The weight of the retraction system as well as maintenance and reliability issues outweighed the limited reduction in drag it offered. Fixed skid offer the added benefit that pilots can't forget to extend them prior to landing and therefore don't require warning lights and warning tones and remind us  ;D

Offline F-14D

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 10:08:38 am »
The original Prototype AH-1 Cobra did have retractible skids. It registered as N209J and was on display for many years at the Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry at Ft. Knox, KY. It is my understanding it has recently been moved to Ft. Rucker, AL for display at the Army Aviation Museum. The weight of the retraction system as well as maintenance and reliability issues outweighed the limited reduction in drag it offered. Fixed skid offer the added benefit that pilots can't forget to extend them prior to landing and therefore don't require warning lights and warning tones and remind us  ;D

Exactly so.  In fact, fairly early in the test program Bell just locked the skids down on the prototype for exactly the reasons mentioned. 

Offline Nico

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2011, 09:31:29 am »
Sorry for the delay folks!
The pic you referred is probably the one I enclose: I remeber have seen several shot of the same flight and I'm pretty sure wasn't a fake


Nico

Offline Jemiba

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 01:01:33 pm »
In L + K 1965/1 a front view from the AH-1 prototype was shown, which
despite the quite bad quality shows at least the shape of struts.
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline luedo34

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 04:05:29 am »
Two more pics of the N209J, one on the ground, one in flight. The second picture shows a very early N209J with  the ventral fin, which was later removed because it proved to be unneccessary. It was intended to improve stability during autorotation.

Offline Pioneer

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2011, 12:10:21 am »
To Nico, Jemiba and Luedo34

Thanks heaps for your time and fantastic effort in finding these very interesting picks!!!!

Keep them coming if you find them!!!!!


Regards
Pioneer
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

— Lt Col Ralph Honner DSO M

Offline Nick

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Re: ‘Retractable Skidded’ AH-1 Cobra
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2011, 04:02:22 pm »
There's a very good pic of the skid and where it would have retracted to over on ARC. Photos taken at Fort Rucker. I found this via the RAH-66 Comanche thread here!
 
http://s362974870.onlinehome.us/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=137962&hl