All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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..
 

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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!
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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.
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
Completely forgotten (and therefore presumably unsuccessful) was this pleasant little postewar machine, the Bolton 1-B (thanks a lot to walter for identifying it).
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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.
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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
 

Attachments

elmayerle

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
1,245
Reaction score
0
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.
 

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
The wacky and wonderful Wainfan FMX-4 Facetmobile [N117WD—a 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)
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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.

Sawyer’s 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:
  • http://www.mojaveflyin.com/2013/03/sky-jacker-to-be-on-display.html
  • http://kiwiwebhost.exon.net.nz/~terryjs/index.php/component/content/article/54/9628-sawyer-skyjacker-ii
  • http://svsm.org/gallery/skyjacker
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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).
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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 Force’s 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
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
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.
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
Fred Smith, president of Frederick-Ames Research Corporation at Novi, Michigan, USA, designed a small single-seat sporting aircraft called the EOS (after the Greek goddess of the dawn) [N10AE], which first appeared in an incomplete form at the 1973 EAA Fly-in at Oshkosh. On its maiden flight on April 25, 1974, the 55 hp Hirth 650 cc engine seized and the aircraft crash landed, causing extensive damage. Despite some restoration work, the aircraft was abandoned through lack of finance.

In early 1978 the project was revived, with a modified Volkswagen motor car engine in place of the original engine. First flight of the reworked aircraft was in mid-1978, piloted by Robert Bishop. By August 1978 the EOS had completed about ten flying hours, and further modifications to the aircraft had been made. Eventually the release of plans and/or kits was never realized, and the prototype remains the only example ever built.

More info (and another pic) at 1000aircraftphotos:
http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/SmithRon/11610.htm
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
The Halsmer Aero Car [N9085C] was built in 1959 by Joseph L. Halsmer of Lafayette, Indiana was one of the numerous attempts at building a roadable aircraft (and it is quite remarkable that this Seaboard World Airlines captain and father of 11 children could find any time at all to get this airplane built and flown!)

The Aero Car was a high-wing monoplane with two engines in a tractor-pusher configuration, a tri-cycle gear and tail booms. Helsmer built this machine over a two-year period, and later converted into the single-engine pusher Aero Car 3 presented in 1963 (see photos below), powered by a Continental C-85-12 engine.

Halsmer also built a high-wing two-seater [N12043] (possibly the Aero Car 2) with a uni-twin arrangement of two 65 hp engines driving two counter-rotating props.

Also see: http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/GauthierDavidJ/7493.htm
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
The Heuberger-Rinker H-5 Stinger [N3638G] was yet another one-off, built at Tucumcari, New Mexico. This two-seat aircraft powered by a 140 hp Lycoming O-290-G engine was an original design by Lawrence K. "Larry" Heuberger, who started its construction around the early 1960s. Prior to completion the project was acquired (around 1968) by Bud Rinker of Santa Barbara, Cal., who almost certainly did some limited testing in 1970. This truly one-of-a-kind aircraft still exists in pretty good condition, as shown in photo below.

More pics and discussion here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5158.0
More pics in hi-res at: http://whotalking.com/flickr/Heuberger-Rinker
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
The Horton HW-X-26-52 Wingless [N39C] was a highly-modified Cessna UC-78 Bobcat with a more airfoil-shaped fuselage than wing — although the original airframe's lines were really not apparent in the finished product! It was Horton's second experiment (the first being a single-engined lifting-body type [N87698]) and was designed and built by Bill Horton in a three-way partnership with Howard Hughes and Harlow Curtice (of General Motors fame). The aircraft was not of riveted construction but was a welded steel frame covered with a fabric skin and powered by two Pratt and Whitney R-985 radial engines.

The Wingless failed not because the it didn't or couldn't fly... Actually it logged around 160 hrs of flight time before Bill Horton had a falling out with Howard Hughes. The latter wanted to take full credit for the patents and production rights, which Horton refused to do. To prove that money talks, Hughes slapped a law suit on Horton that effectively stopped any further development of the aircraft until this day. Hughes managed to have Horton railroaded to prison on trumped up charges and to get both the prototype and its partially constructed production version moved to a bone yard and destroyed.


Much more info and lots of pics in this forum's fascinating thread about William Horton's wingless designs, built and unbuilt:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5996.0.htm
 

Attachments

Stargazer2006

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
13,244
Reaction score
0
The Carma VT-1 Weejet [N8209H] was one of the rare civilian jet prototypes developed in the 1950s and the first jet aircraft in the small plane field submitted to the CAA. It was designed and built by Harold Dale, a project engineer with North American who was working on the F-100 at the time. Like many other enthusiasts working in the industry, he set out to conceive his ideal jet trainer in his spare time.

Dale's project was a mid-wing cantilever monoplane of aluminium alloy structure, with slotted flaps, leading edge intake ducts, semi-monocoque fuselage, upwards opening doors, butterfly tail unit and retractable tricycle landing gear. It would have side-by-side seating in front of the wing for clear visibility all around. It should have a slow landing speed and a comfortable cruising speed of 350 mph. To help him in his task, Dale got assistance from his wife Eleanor, who also had an engineering degree and handled much of the mathematics, administration, etc. The name chosen was the Weejet 800 (WE=Harold and Eleanor), the 800 meaning the power class of the licence built Turbomeca Marboré II engine of 880 lb thrust.

The Carma Manufacturing Co., a local aircraft parts manufacturer, heard of the design and got involved in the project and offered to built the aircraft. Construction started at Tucson in the second half of 1954 and five people worked one and a half years on it. First flight took place on March 30, 1956, with Harold Dale at the controls. During the following weeks further test flights were made by another pilot, except for the spin tests; the aircraft handled and performed well.

Now designated the VT-1 Weejet, it was proposed on March 25, 1956 to the US Navy, who showed some interest and decided to evaluate it at Patuxent, but before delivery of the aircraft, the spin tests had to be performed. Unfortunately, during the final spin test USAF pilot Doneby inadvertently activated the trim tab into full nose-down position, lost control while trying to recover and had to bail out. Later data was found thrown clear of the wreckage, showing the spin tests were a complete success. However, the Weejet crashed and burned, and all work was interrupted.

A variant designated the Weejet 1300 was considered in June 1957, powered by two Fiat model 4002 centrifugal flow engines with 650 lb thrust. However the Temco's TT-1 Pinto was eventually procured by the Navy and both Dale and Carma probably didn't have the financial backing that could have enabled them to make that project come alive.


Much more about the Weejet (a lot of the above info comes directly from the second link—walter's great site):
 

Attachments

Top