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Before Chuck Yeager?

greenmartian2017

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I'd like to see if anyone has more information on the rumors that the Russians broke the sound barrier before Chuck Yeager did in Glamorous Glennis in 1947. There was a book on German aircraft and aircraft projects from the mid-1970s (and reprinted many times) that has a short discussion about this. No actual information, but it does mention this rumor. (Sorry, I don't have the book's title in front of me.) Perhaps J. Richard Smith was one of the authors?

This may have been discussed in another thread, about the Russians beating Chuck Yeager to it, but I haven't found it.

I am well aware of the British attempting to break it, in nose dives. They were not successful, as far as I can recall. But they got near it.

This is a different type of animal. Allegedly it was done via a German project taken to the USSR, and built, and then flown.

However, I should tell you that in the early and mid-1990s, Flateric (Grigori) had attempted to help me track down materials on this from the Russian publication side of things.

The DFS 346 Project would have been a candidate. But I don't remember any article saying that it was the project that got them there.

But I don't think that there has been any information definitively saying the Russians broke the sound barrier until much later after Yeager.

But I wonder....

Perhaps some of the airplance history dudes on this discussion grouping might be able to help out.
 

frank

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There's also a tale of a Luftwaffe pilot breaking Mach 1 in a Me 262, IIRC.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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The source of this rumour, as best I can tell, is the book "Ost Minus West=Null, Der Aufbau Russlands Durch Den Westen" by Werner Keller from 1960.

http://www.antiqbook.de/boox/domdey/13359.shtml

I don't have access to this book directly, but there is a Word document here which is supposedly a translation of the relevant section.

http://www.scientistsandfriends.com/files/RussianJets.doc

Many of the details here are accurate, which if they truly are translated from the 1960 book lends a little credibility to the story. If this translation correctly represents the book, then the book must have been written with the assistance of repatriated German designers and test pilots, some of whom might have felt the need to bolster their cvs, as it were, when they returned to Germany, and probably thinking noone would be able to contradict their story.

It seems to me more likely that the official Russian account is correct. The DFS 346 didn't work, and by the time the design was revised to make it more suitable it was already obsolete and other Russian planes had broken the sound barrier.

Astronautix.com has a good English summary of 346 project;

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/346.htm

as does Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DFS_346
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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http://www.airwar.ru/enc/xplane/346.html

Translation:

The projects, with which the German specialists of profit in the USSR, were situated before different stages of assimilation. Directed By G Rossing OKB-2 continued the developments of experimental aircraft with ZhRD (liquid propellent rocket engine), which in Germany had a designation DFS-346. It they named "346". Building the first vehicle was begun before Germany, and in 1946. it they transmitted before TsAGI.

The aircraft of "346" was all-metal midwing monoplane. Fuselage consisted of three units. Nose section was body of revolution with the duct, formed by profile NACA 00121-0,66-50. Further followed the unit of the cylindrical form and tail, whose round cross section smoothly passed beside the vertical oval. The removed landing ski was located from below the fuselage. Sealed cockpit occupied the nose section of the housing, to gunstock was accommodated it was horizontally so that it located before the recumbent position face down. This layout of the work site of pilot adapted for the purpose of reduction in the fuselage drag. Well matched with it there was the system of the rescue of pilot in the case of accident. Cabin was attached down the fuselage down the [vzyvnykh] bolts and before the major force situation was separated based on the aircraft. In the rear wall of cabin the small parachute, which stabilized its position before free fall, was accommodated. Bed had its ejection device. It ejected pilot from cabin itself through several seconds after its squad.

The power plant of "346" consisted of the dual chamber liquid propellent rocket engine "Walter" by general thrust in the earth 3740 kgf, and at the height - 4000 kg. the total fuel capacity (kerosene), oxidizer (nitric acid) and peroxide of hydrogen was 1900 kg. it ensured work ZhRD on complete thrust during two minutes. Before the more economical mode one camera worked.

The wing of aircraft had a sweepback, which composes 45 deg across quarter-chord lines. It was collected from the profiles of the type NACA-0,012-0,55-1,25, which had relative thickness 12%. Wing area of 19,87 sq m. Landing mechanization consisted of the slanted flaps.

Ailerons consisted of two sections with the kinematic constraint of the internal and exteriors of the ailerons, which could change by pilot. The angles of deflection of all sections of ailerons must be identical against the low speeds, while on the large - be slanted were they must only external sections (with the tests of aircraft gear ratio from the control stick to the internal sections of ailerons it was made two times less than to the external). Aircraft had T-shaped tail assembly. Stabilizer - mobile (angles of deflection from -2 " 40 ' to +2 "). Elevators consisted of two sections, which were being slanted as ailerons, down the different bearings. Above the stabilizer was accommodated small moving surface - so-called [padtsel]. During the small movements of control pedals the deflections of rudder had to originate from lateral aerodynamic force down [padtsel] with the deviation of the latter. With the large pedal displacements it had to be switched directly down the control. In the course of further works of [padtsel] they abolished.

Aircraft relied on reaching of the velocity, which corresponds approximately to M-2. Launching weight about the detachments had to be 5230-5300 kg.

In autumn 1946 g. aircraft brought before TsAGI and approached the wind tunnel T-101. The entry of experiments it was established that against the high angles of attack on the wing is formed the sharply pronounced tip stall, which is extended almost down entire wing and leading down the total loss of longitudinal stability. This was natural since wing throughout entire span was collected from the uniform profiles. However, ailerons even due to the conditions for stalled flow preserved satisfactory effectiveness. On the wing it was possible to substantially decrease early flow separation as far as installation on the upper side of the wing of fences.

The flight tests of "346" began in 1948. on the airfield before by heat camp. As the carrier aircraft was used one of the fallen on the territory of the USSR American bombers Boeing B-29. The aircraft of "346" was hung up to the girder under the right wing B-29 between the engine nacelles.

Even throughout the flights of this vehicle on the glider of "Kranikh" was perfected control besides apparatus with the recumbent position of pilot. Before Leah the tests and the finishing escape capsule with the ejection device were conducted. Incline and squad of cabin in flight conducted with the aid of the medium- bomber B-25. Before the flights of "346" with working ZhRD were conducted the tests of his glider version, which was not intended for the flights with ZhRD. The glider version of aircraft was called 346-P. The procedure of towing and jettisoning based on the carrier aircraft was perfected on it, stability was inspected in free-air conditions with different centering, pilotage and landing beyond the ski without the wingtip skids was perfected. Outwardly 346-P barely differed from aircraft, the fairings about the ski before the retracted position were taken on it and the fairings about the underwing skids were established. The weight of glider was 1180-2180 kg. tested 346-P the engineer-pilot of the 1st class Wolfgang Zeise, who by that time already had almost 20-year period of the autonomous flight activity (it graduated from flight school with the aviation institute in Hannover). V. Ya. Molochaev was the chief engineer for the tests.

On May 5, 1949. was completed building the aircraft, beyond which they installed engine, true, thus far even before the simulated, i.e., before the nonoperating state. This aircraft was called 346-1. For the summer and September 1949. its surface preparation at the point of the flight tests was conducted. The first flight took place on September 30. The weight of aircraft was 3145 kg. Of [ottsepka] 346-1, which piloted W. Zeise, occurred against height 9700 m. it was explained that the aircraft possesses the number of deficiencies before control. These deficiencies were inherent before the glider of 346-P, but then pilot did not consider it their dangerous. Down 346-1 the situation proved to be different - before a number of flight conditions to carry out evolutions was impossible. In spite of difficulty pilot nevertheless could master control. However, landing calculation was produced insufficiently accurately, and aircraft approached the earth against the increased velocity (approximately 310 km/h). After the first touchdown it rocketed down the height of 3-4 m and flew 700-800 additional m. with the second touchdown the landing ski of aircraft it established, and further landing run to the total stoppage completed aircraft on the fuselage. The bed of pilot and the system of seat belts proved to be also not entirely reliable. With the abrupt deceleration on W. Zeise's landing run it was considerably shifted forward, was struck by face according to the front transverse strut of cabin and lost consciousness. Fortunately, the injuries, obtained by pilot, proved to be not heavy, and after a certain time after treatment in the hospital it could return to the flight activity.

For explaining the reasons for accident was created the commission headed by of test pilot N. S. Rybko. Commission is alien to the output that the incomplete production of landing ski became the reason for accident. Before the emergency survey report it was recorded: the [Edinstvennoy] possible reason for the incomplete production of ski in flight… were improper actions of pilot Zeise, who were expressed before the fact that it completely did not press beyond the button of the cohesion of the exhaust gear rod of ski. As a result the lever of winch ran idle, and ski was not placed down [zamok]. To this conclusion it is possible to add that because of the difficulties, which arose before control, entire attention of pilot, apparently, was concentrated on aircraft handling, and for this very reason it did not completely press the button of the cohesion of the exhaust gear rod of ski.

The aircraft was repaired after accident, on it they produced a number of modifications, and then transported before LEAH. There before the vehicle flew test pilot Peter Ivanovich Kazmin. Primary attention before his flights was paid to the flight qualities of 346-1. ZhRD was not included. However, before the first flight the ski again did not arise down the lock. However, the landing, produced down the snow, was finished completely satisfactorily, and 346-1 proved to be barely damaged. After a certain time P. I. Kazmin produced the second flight, before which 346-1 was towed by aircraft Tu-2 down the height of approximately 2 km, then it was disengaged and completed free flight. Landing again did not succeed, since it occurred with the round short of target. Repair again was required.

After building of the second aircraft, which had a designation of 346-3, was conducted ground testing of ZhRD. With obtaining of satisfactory results a decision about the flight tests was made power-on. Preference they gave down pilot Zeise, who had the greatest test of flights for 346.

And here advanced the day of flight with ZhRD. B-29 with the suspension of the aircraft of 346-3 started based on the airfield before [Lukhovitsakh], which had longer takeoff and landing strip than before by heat camp. The apparatus was disengaged against the height of approximately 10 km. ZhRD was included, and 346-3, quick-to-accelerate, for the sake of candle it went upward. It flew before the very cabin of medium and it continued to gain altitude. Spectacle was impressive, but brief. Soon pilot reported that the aircraft was unguided, after which they gave to it the command to be ejected. Ejection device operated smoothly, and Zeise landed as far as the parachute. Findings of the commission of LEAHS MAP about the product test of 346: Samolet 346 it is the experimental laboratory aircraft, task of which is the research of flights with the trans- and supersonic velocities; for this purpose aircraft is supplied for the sake of the special recording installation, by dynamometric suspension it is wing, by dual ailerons, by elevators with different aerodynamic compensation and dual chamber ZhRD. The start of the aircraft of 346 was carried out based on the mother aircraft B-29, equipped for the sake of the special harness, which allows the squad of the laboratory of 346 against heights 8000-10000 m.

In all were prepared two flying versions of the aircraft: 346-1 and 346-3, which had the working power plant ZhRD. 346-3 differed from 346-1 regarding the larger sweep angle of horizontal tail assembly, regarding the smaller profile thickness G.O.3 and regarding the absence of landing flaps, the aircraft of 346 had the metal construction, with exception of sealed cockpit, which was made from wood.

The start of mother aircraft occurred with the uncoupling with the flight speed 300 km/h against height 9300 m. reaching the height of 10000 m, provided before the program, it was hindered because mother aircraft it had the aerodynamic properties, [ukhudshenye] by the suspension of the aircraft of 346 under the wing. The rate of climb was reduced against high altitudes, and the significant time of climb exhausted pilot.

Before the process of tests were achieved the following aircraft performance of 346: maximum flight altitude is 12000-13000 m, the maximum speed of 950 km/h, the greatest Mach number = 0,9-0,95 before the level flight, maximum rate of climb 100 m/s. The assumed diving speed before the last flight with working ZhRD was supersonic.

LTKH:
Modification “346-1”
Span of wing, m 9.00
Length, m 15.81
Height, m 3.54
Wing area, m2 19.86
Mass, the kgf
the empty aircraft
the maximum takeoff 5260
Type of the engine 1 rd walter HWK 109-509C
Thrust, kG 1 X 4000
Maximum speed, the km/h 950, [M]=0.8
Flying range, km
Service ceiling, m
Crew, the man 1
 

CFE

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It's likely that George Welch beat Yeager to the punch when putting the XP-86 through dive tests (perhaps as much as two weeks ahead of Yeager.) I wouldn't rule out the possibility of some Luftwaffe pilot going supersonic in 1944-45, but I don't know if Mach 1 would be possible with either the ME-163 or ME-262.
 

r16

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just another case of Germans did it first mentality . But they did reach 2700 mph with a winged V-2 , unmanned .Although the wings were broken off as ı remember it .
 

Jemiba

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I think, for the Me 163 supersonic speeds can be ruled out. There was an article in a FlugRevue
issue, I think, written by Mano Ziegler, pilot on the Me 163 himself, who said, that the Me became
uncontrollable at speeds near Mach 1, an experience, that was shared by other pilots (In his book
"Raketenjäger" he told the same story, but as this was more or less a novel, I wouldn't regard this
as a very reliable source). Looking at the very thick wing profile Me 163, that seems to be quite
plausible.
 

Archibald

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The Me 163 going supersonic is a myth - best speed ever reached by the machine was just above 1000 kph or mach 0.83. Le Fana de l'aviation (among others) debunked the myth some years ago.
 

greenmartian2017

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Wow! So the Bachem Natter may have been the first [semi-] successful entry!

All of these commentaries are very interesting.

Also, the translation of the Russian article is also of value.

Thanks very much. ;D
 

Artie Bob

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If exceeding Mach 1 in a fragment of an airframe in an uncontrolled terminal velocity plunge to its destruction is the criteria, then possibly several WWII aviators may have met that criteria. But IMHO, "before Chuck Yeager" is talking about piloted controlled flight, which the aircraft utimately survived relatiely intact.

Best Regards,

Artie Bob
 

Archibald

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Don't want to be nitpicking but Lothar Sieber was actually killed in the process.
Never heard that the Natter could go supersonic. It had the very same engine as the Me-163, and its aerodynamics were worse ???
Did the thing broke the sound barrier in an uncontrolled dive ?
in a fragment of an airframe in an uncontrolled terminal velocity plunge to its destruction
good point here...
 

Barrington Bond

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That's strange, I always thought Seiber had his neck broken on take-off ???

Regards,
Barry
 

Archibald

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The exact cause of the crash is unknown.
Some said the canopy striked Siebert and that he lose conciousness, then the machine crashed.
 

mz

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I recall one story of a He 162 going supersonic, but I can't find the source right now. Has this been proved as just a myth?
 

hs1216

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i doubt that, the HE-162 rarely reached its designed speeds of 521 mph, much less mach 1.
 

Sundog

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Something else that has to be considered in many of these instances is that some of the instruments in some of these aircraft could have indicated the aircraft was going above Mach 1, but that doesn't mean it actually was going that fast. Knowledge of transonic effects was quite limited at the time and while the local airspeed near the pitot tube may have been sonic, it doesn't mean the aircraft was going that fast. Also, I doubt the airspeed indicators of the day were calibrated for accurately indicating airspeeds in the transonic speed range, especially as they neared Mach unity.
 

CFE

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Sundog said:
Something else that has to be considered in many of these instances is that some of the instruments in some of these aircraft could have indicated the aircraft was going above Mach 1, but that doesn't mean it actually was going that fast. Knowledge of transonic effects was quite limited at the time and while the local airspeed near the pitot tube may have been sonic, it doesn't mean the aircraft was going that fast. Also, I doubt the airspeed indicators of the day were calibrated for accurately indicating airspeeds in the transonic speed range, especially as they neared Mach unity.

Do you think this applied to the XP-86? And would production Sabres have better instrumentation based on the fact they were built after Yeager went supersonic?
 

Archibald

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Sundog said:
Something else that has to be considered in many of these instances is that some of the instruments in some of these aircraft could have indicated the aircraft was going above Mach 1, but that doesn't mean it actually was going that fast. Knowledge of transonic effects was quite limited at the time and while the local airspeed near the pitot tube may have been sonic, it doesn't mean the aircraft was going that fast. Also, I doubt the airspeed indicators of the day were calibrated for accurately indicating airspeeds in the transonic speed range, especially as they neared Mach unity.

I think he talked about German machines. US aircrafts are other matter.

The french air force grabbed some He-162 after the war and used them until 1948 as "trainers" for future jets pilots and mecanicians, along Me-262s.
That was the CTAR in Mont de Marsan (Centre de Transformation sur Avions a Reaction)
They found that the He-162 was seriously underpowered, let alone disastrous flight caracteristics at high speeds. can't see this thing going supersonic!

For going supersonic you need thin, transonic wing profiles, reheat, pointed nose and others goodies.
German aircrafts had none of them, so they certainly never broke the sound barrier. End of the game.
 

Tophe

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r16 said:
just another case of Germans did it first mentality . But they did reach 2700 mph with a winged V-2 , unmanned .Although the wings were broken off as ı remember it .
That reminds me the dubious starting of aviation dated Wright Brothers while flying models were numerous decades before.
My opinion: one of the presentation of aviation to children is human beings becoming birds (Icarus legend, Wright Br., Yeager). I prefer the technical presentation of aviation to teenagers: human flying objects (Egypt bJC, engined models 1870, V-2)...
 

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