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Bell XP-83 (Model 40)

Steve Pace

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As you know the second Bell XP-83 was built and flown (10/19/45) successfully. However, I for one have never seen a photograph of it. Its USAAF serial number is 44-84991. Has anybody out there seen a picture of it?
 

Stargazer2006

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The Wikipedia page does NOT feature any picture of the second prototype! Actually I don't think I ever saw any pictures of it, even on the ground. I'll have to double check in some books though.
 

Steve Pace

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I know the first example crashed to destruction but I have no idea what happened to number two (other than .60cal gun-firing tests at Wright Field).
 

Justo Miranda

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From
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Post-1
 

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Justo Miranda

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Post-2
 

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Bailey

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Justo, am I right in thinking the bottom picture shows RAM jets fitted under the wing ?

Cheers Bailey.
 

Bailey

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Thanks Justo, first shot I've seen with them fitted.

Cheers Bailey.
 

Stargazer2006

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All these pictures reinforce my conviction that there don't seem to be any photos of the second, probably unflown prototype. Am I right about this, or does anyone have a picture of that rare bird?
 

Steve Pace

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Stargazer2006 said:
All these pictures reinforce my conviction that there don't seem to be any photos of the second, probably unflown prototype. Am I right about this, or does anyone have a picture of that rare bird?
I've been told it flew but it was scrapped before anyone thought to take a picture of her; she was used for gun-firing tests at Wright Field.
 

Apophenia

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sagallacci: are you sure that those aren't the Marquardt 20" diameter ramjets?

Marquardt Aircraft used 44-84990 as a ramjet testbed (complete with a rear fuselage engineer’s station -- visible in the photo above).
 

Steve Pace

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In an old WINGS or AIRPOWER there was a two-page full color spread of an XP-83 cutaway drawing. Anyone remember it, or, have it? -SP
 

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Steve Pace

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Arjen said:
"Bell Aircraft since 1935" by AJ Pelletier, Putnam 1992:
The second prototype also served as a test-bed for various experiments until 1947 and was eventually scrapped.
No picture. Sorry.

There is an XP-83 cutaway in XB-70 Guy's "X-fighters" Motorbooks, 1991 :)

http://www.amazon.com/X-Fighters-Experimental-Prototype-Fighters-XP-59/dp/0879385405/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294171922&sr=1-6
Problem is it's the not the color one I have on mind. Thank you!
 

Arjen

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From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_XP-83:
Early wind tunnel reports had pinpointed directional instability but the "fix" of a larger tail would not be ready in time for flight testing.[2] The first prototype was flown on 25 February 1945, by Bell's chief test pilot Jack Woolams, who found it to be underpowered and unstable. The limited flight testing provided satisfactory flight characteristics although spins were restricted until the larger tailfin was installed. The second prototype did incorporate the extended tail and an aileron boost system.[3] One unique characteristic was the XP-83's refusal to "slow down" due to its sleek aerodynamic shape and lack of drag brakes; test pilots were forced to fly very long and flat landing approaches.[4]

The first prototype was used in 1946 as a ramjet testbed, with an engineer's station located in the fuselage behind the pilot and on 14 September 1945 one of the ramjets caught fire - the pilot "Slick" Goodlin and engineer Charles Fay had to parachute out. The second prototype flew on 19 October and was scrapped in 1947. Apart from range, the XP-83 was inferior to Lockheed's P-80 Shooting Star, and the XP-83 project was canceled in 1947.
 

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Think I have the Wings/Airpower spread. Give me a bit to find it. It's the January, 1982 'Airpower', with an article by richard C. Koehnen. Does have a nice two page color cutaway of the XP-83. Will post that as soon as I can get to my scanner. No pictures of the second prototype.

Just finished rereading the article. Last paragraph states:

"The author would like to apologize to all for the lack of photos of the second,modified aircraft. Other than the nose mock-up and the cockpit shot, no photos of -84991 could be secured in time for print"
 

Steve Pace

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jstar said:
Think I have the Wings/Airpower spread. Give me a bit to find it. It's the January, 1982 'Airpower', with an article by richard C. Koehnen. Does have a nice two page color cutaway of the XP-83. Will post that as soon as I can get to my scanner. No pictures of the second prototype.

Just finished rereading the article. Last paragraph states:

"The author would like to apologize to all for the lack of photos of the second,modified aircraft. Other than the nose mock-up and the cockpit shot, no photos of -84991 could be secured in time for print"
I can't wait to see it! -SP
 

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jstar said:
"Other than the nose mock-up and the cockpit shot, no photos of -84991 could be secured in time for print"

I could be wrong, but I don't think I ever saw a picture of the second prototype myself. Has anyone here seen one?
 

Steve Pace

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I never have but here's two images I just got that I haven't seen before. Cannot see the tail number however. -SP
 

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Stargazer2006

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Second pic could very well be the second example since the tail seems to have been extended.
 

Steve Pace

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Here's the scan from Joe Starns. -SP
 

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Arjen

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No need to wonder why you were after this. Very. Nice.
 

Arjen

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I found this on Joe Baugher's website:
A USAAF contract for two XP-83 prototypes was awarded on July 21, 1944, confirming the Letter Contract of March. Serials were 44-84990 and 44-94991. Only seven months after the awarding of the contract, the first prototype (44-84990) was flown on February 25, 1945 by chief Bell test pilot Jack Woolams. The aircraft proved to be underpowered and somewhat unstable. The close proximity of the turbojets was found to have the unintended side effect of allowing the hot jet exhaust gases to buckle the tailplane during run-ups on the ground unless fire trucks were standing by to spray cooling water on the rear fuselage.

The second prototype (44-84991) flew on October 19, 1945. It had a slightly different bubble canopy and a somewhat longer nose to accommodate a heavier armament of six 0.60-inch T17E3 machine guns. This aircraft was used in gunnery tests at Wright Field in Ohio.
http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_fighters/p83.html
 

Arjen

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I overlooked this in Joe Baugher's XP-83 entry:
The tailplane overheating problem was cured by modifying the tailpipes so that they angled outwards. Wind tunnel tests showed that an 18-inch extension of the vertical tail would cure the stability problems, but it is not certain whether or not this modification was actually carried out.
The vertical tail may not have been extended in aircraft#2, but it did have angled-out tailpipes, a different canopy and a longer nose. I would have liked to have this confirmed by photographic evidence, but no such luck.
 

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Came across this pic which I hadn't seen before. Cheers
 

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Steve Pace

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verner said:
Came across this pic which I hadn't seen before. Cheers
I believe that's the one that was used to test ramjet engines, the one that crashed to destruction, that killed the flight test engineer; pilot survived. Do you have a high res image of it? -SP
 

Arjen

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I was visiting a friend, he had a copy of "Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" by Dennis Jenkins and Tony Landis, Speciality Press, 2008. It contains a photo of aircraft#2. According to the accompanying caption, #2 had a nose 15in longer than the one fitted to #1, no extension visible to the vertical tail. The photo was from National Archives.
 

Steve Pace

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Arjen said:
I was visiting a friend, he had a copy of "Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" by Dennis Jenkins and Tony Landis, Speciality Press, 2008. It contains a photo of aircraft#2. According to the accompanying caption, #2 had a nose 15in longer than the one fitted to #1, no extension visible to the vertical tail. The photo was from National Archives.
I'd like to see a scan of it.
 

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I believe Steve Ginter's Air Force Legends #208 on the Bell P-59 Airacomet has good chances of featuring the XP-83, but unfortunately I never came across that issue... :-\
 

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The more I go through my aviation library, the more convinced I am that I've never seen a picture of aircraft #2. Even the Putnam book on Bell Aircraft, which devotes two pages to the Model 40, has none to show. Here are two images that I found valuable enough though.
 

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Steve Pace

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Stargazer2006 said:
I believe Steve Ginter's Air Force Legends #208 on the Bell P-59 Airacomet has good chances of featuring the XP-83, but unfortunately I never came across that issue... :-\
I wrote it and did not have a photo of XP-83 number two for it. -SP
 

Steve Pace

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Other than its longer nose, angled exhaust outlets, I see no other external differences between XP-83-1 and XP-83-2. It's great to FINALLY see a picture of it. Thanks to Dennis and Tommy! -SP
 

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