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Aircraft Carrying Airship Projects

Jemiba

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Aircraft were already launched from airships during WW I, when the British airship R.23 was
used for trials with two Sopwith Camel fighters. But the first practical design, that could launch
AND recover more than one aircraft, was the USN ZRS-4 Akron, later followed by the ZRS-5
Macon. In "Luftschiffe, die nie gebaut wurden" (Airships, that were never built), Zeppelinmuseum
Friedrichshafen I found two drawings of pre-projects, directly leading two those two airships
The shapes of the fins and gondola are different, the upper fin containing a cabin, too, and
the nose is more blunt.
A Goodyear advertisment from the '420s (!) shows a similar, but obviously heavily armed airship,
with a more modern fighter complement (looks like a F5U derivative), but that's for sure more a
notional drawing, than a real project !

 

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Grey Havoc

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It'd be interesting to find out if this had any basis in reality: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/diving-spider-plane-to-hurl-big-bomb/

xlg_spider_plane.jpg
 

Jemiba

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The concept of the dirigible carrying hooked aircraft is clearly derived from the
USN Akron/Macon and to use those aircraft as bombers, too, would have been a logical
step. But I'm sceptical about this type of aircraft: With bomb and bomber so closely
linked, the aircraft would suffer severe aerodynamic dsadvantages after release. In the
shown form, there seems not to be very much room for an engine powerful enough to
drive the aircraft with its heavy load. And if those bombs would have formed part of the
armoury, it wouldn't have been just one or two, but probably quite a number and so, to
my opinion bitten off a large part of the dirigibles limited payload.
 

sienar

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Jemiba said:
. In the
shown form, there seems not to be very much room for an engine powerful enough to
drive the aircraft with its heavy load.


From the looks of it, I don't think this would be a problem. It seems that the plane would be released from the airship above its target and the plane would essentially just dive after release. The plane would only be used to make the airship released bombs accurate and the engine would just need to be enough to get the plane back to the airship.
 

Jemiba

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Taking the sketch literally, you're right. Nevertheless, I think the distance between the airship and the target would be
much longer, thahn just a "ballistic" dive. And if the aircraft should act as an interceptor, as stated in the caption, it probably
would need a powerful engine nevertheless.
 

hesham

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My dear Jemiba,

here is a same concept from Mr. John Dingle of Michigan,proposed it for US Army
Air Corps,the far right aircraft in the picture seemed to be a tailless ?,page 340;

https://books.google.com.eg/books?id=qca6PvHpQ34C&printsec=frontcover&hl=ar&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

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cluttonfred

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Grey Havoc said:
It'd be interesting to find out if this had any basis in reality: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/diving-spider-plane-to-hurl-big-bomb/

Neat, though the pilot would have been $#@! out of luck if the bomb release jammed. I doubt that anything that small could have climbed with a 4,000 lb bomb aboard no matter what the engine. In some ways this is very akin to kamikaze aircraft, just with a reusable rather than "disposable" airframe and pilot.
 

hesham

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hesham said:
here is a same concept from Mr. John Dingle of Michigan,proposed it for US Army
Air Corps,the far right aircraft in the picture seemed to be a tailless ?,page 340;

https://books.google.com.eg/books?id=qca6PvHpQ34C&printsec=frontcover&hl=ar&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Hi,

http://www.avia-it.com/act/biblioteca/periodici/PDF%20Riviste/Ala%20d'Italia/L'ALA%20D'ITALIA%201937%20010.pdf
 

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Cdre. Peter Strasser

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Hi, if this has already been addressed I apologize, but I was just writing a piece about the parasite aircraft trials being conducted with HMA R-23, and two questions came up that I can't seem to find the answers to -

1. Was the first test with the dummy pilot and locked controls just dropped and left to glide to the ground?

2. If not, how was the engine of the Sopwith Camel 2F.1 N6814 started once the airship had taken off?
 

Jemiba

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From Ridley-Kitts, "Military, Naval and Civil Airships since 1783", page 160 :

"During November 1918 an unpiloted Sopwith Camel fighter was taken aloft, suspended
on a release mechanism under the midship’s cabin and launched over the sea near Great
Yarmouth to test the feasibility of carrying aircraft for protective purposes. Later the same
month a Camel piloted by Lt R.B. Keys of the Royal Air Force was successfully dropped over
Pulham airstation, with the pilot descending safely to the ground."

No mention how Keys actually started the engine. By the available photos I think, cranking up
by hand, as on the ground was impossible, but the slip stream may have been enough ?
 

nuuumannn

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"During November 1918 an unpiloted Sopwith Camel fighter was taken aloft, suspended
on a release mechanism under the midship’s cabin and launched over the sea near Great
Yarmouth to test the feasibility of carrying aircraft for protective purposes. Later the same
month a Camel piloted by Lt R.B. Keys of the Royal Air Force was successfully dropped over
Pulham airstation, with the pilot descending safely to the ground."


Hi, if this has already been addressed I apologize, but I was just writing a piece about the parasite aircraft trials being conducted with HMA R-23, and two questions came up that I can't seem to find the answers to -

1. Was the first test with the dummy pilot and locked controls just dropped and left to glide to the ground?

Apparently the first drop of the unpiloted aircraft was unpowered and the controls were locked in place as you mentioned above, the aircraft making a gliding descent to Pulham. During the manned attempt Keys essentially allowed the slipstream to rotate the engine as it nose dived after release and was able to start the aircraft with "no trouble" according to Patrick Abbott in The British Airship at war 1914 - 1918 (Terence Dalton, 1989)

Just a wee pedantic point regarding British airship designations, the 'R' prefix did not appear on British airships until R.26 and its predecessors were simply known as No.23 or No.24 etc. The early ships simply had the number printed on their flanks, whereas later ships had the 'R' prefix to their number.
 

nuuumannn

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The British also carried out experiments with airship carrying aircraft post war; the R.32 carried a de Havilland DH.53 Hummingbird underneath on a swinging cradle. Successful drops were made by Commanding Officer of the Royal Aircraft Establishment Experimental Section, Sqn Ldr Rollo A. de Haga Haig in October 1925, one of which was a successful reattachment in flight.

A year later the hummingbird was replaced by two Gloster Grebes, and although successful releases were made, no attempts at reattachment were made. The Grebes were suspended below the airship with rigid spars and the cradle used for the DH.53 was not used.

Grebes J7385 and J7400 suspended below the airship. This latter aircraft was refurbished and sold to the New Zealand government following these trials.
 

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