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BuAer Design 124 Parasite Reconnaissance Aircraft?

cluttonfred

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I was reading up on the Sperry M1 Messenger, which naturally led to the Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk, and this intriguing reference:

There were by now moves afoot to replace the F9C in Skyhook operations, and a questionnaire circulated among the pilots confirmed their dissatisfaction with it. They wanted a light, unarmed reconnaissance aircraft of high speed and endurance. They also required stability, good all-round visibility, easily dismountable landing gear, and, if possible, an autopilot. The only significant response to BuAer was Design 124, a sleek all-metal, low wing monoplane with a Menasco in-line engine. The design remained on the drawing board.

Source: http://www.unrealaircraft.com/forever/skyhook.php

I have to ask...does anyone have any more info on or images of Design 124?

Cheers,

Matthew
 

Jos Heyman

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Google for a Robert Craig Johnson who made a copyrighted picture in 2005 of what a BuAer 124 might have looked like if it would have ever been built. No idea how genuine this is and I suspect it is based on pure fantasy.
 

cluttonfred

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I have spent some time doing that with every permutation I can think of, no luck. If anyone has a lead, I would be grateful. Cheers, Matthew
 

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Mole said:
I have spent some time doing that with every permutation I can think of, no luck. If anyone has a lead, I would be grateful. Cheers, Matthew

http://www.chandelle-jah.com/articles/buaer124.html

You will, however, require a time machine. That page has been wiped clean, and no record of it appears to exist on archive.org.
 

cluttonfred

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Thanks, err, I guess. ;-)

I can confirm that, while I can find some pages linking to that page and even some text from it, no images. Unless someone here has this on their hard drive somewhere....

Cheers,

Matthew
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Just found it in book. Sorry for distorsion and low-quality - there is no scanner at the moment.
Hope, this helps.
Did you see the book "The Airships Akron and Macon" by Richard K Smith?
I guess it's a original source of BuAer 124 design.


Source of picture: Vaclav Nemecek "Voenska letadla" vol.2
 

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Jemiba

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Here are the pictures of the former Chandelle website:
 

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Silencer1

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Mole said:
I knew this group would come through...thanks Silencer1 and Jemiba!

You are welcome! ;)

By the way, is there were any other projects developed inside the Bureau of Aeronautics?
As far as I knew, this was a organisation, that issue requirements for aircraft design for aircraft-building companies. Or not just that?

Cheers!
 

cluttonfred

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Here's a link to a list posted by Jos of Aerofiles, they are mentioned in a couple of other threads as well.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5372.msg42820.html#msg42820
 

Silencer1

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Thanks for the link!

Mole said:
Here's a link to a list posted by Jos of Aerofiles, they are mentioned in a couple of other threads as well.

Looks like, there were internal numbering system of reqirements, issued by the BuAer.
So it's quite interesting, who could be direct designer of this low-wing monoplane?
 

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Does anyone know wWhat type of Menasco engine was envisioned for the BuAer 124...maybe the Menasco Unitwin 2-544? This engine was two C6S-4 Super Buccaneer 260hp engines mounted side by side driving one propeller
 

iverson

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I drew the illustrations in question (I published Chandelle and wrote and illustrated most of it).

The first illustration was based on a tracing I took of a Bu Aer design in some old government publication that I found in the George Mason University library in Fairfax, VA about 20 years ago. The article was on the airship carriers, but more than that I don't recall. The WW2 versions are, of course, imaginary.
 

Stargazer2006

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There were by now moves afoot to replace the F9C in Skyhook operations, and a questionnaire circulated among the pilots confirmed their dissatisfaction with it. They wanted a light, unarmed reconnaissance aircraft of high speed and endurance. They also required stability, good all-round visibility, easily dismountable landing gear, and, if possible, an autopilot. The only significant response to BuAer was Design 124, a sleek all-metal, low wing monoplane with a Menasco in-line engine. The design remained on the drawing board.

Unless I'm mistaken, this text does NOT state that the design emanated FROM BuAer, but that it was submitted TO BuAer...

Now, considering the timespan, only two manufacturers had models in the 100+ range, Martin and Boeing. Unfortunately, Martin's Model 124 is described as a "general purpose bomber project" for the Army... Boeing never had any model between 102 and 200. So there remains a mystery...
 

lark

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Maybe this helps a bit.

From : 'The US Navy Skyhook aircraft' - Flying Review December 1965.

...The only significant response by BuAer appeared in its Design No124
a sleek ,all-metal, low wing monoplane with a Menasco in-line
air-cooled engine. But it died on the drawing board.....

The design was put on paper after a questionnaire was circulated
among the hook-on pilots.
 

Antonio

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Drawing courtesy of Lark from 'The US Navy Skyhook aircraft' - Flying Review December 1965.
 

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samardza

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Menasco (Albert) Menasco Motors, Los Angeles CA; Burbank CA.

A-4 Pirate 1930 (ATC 50) = 90hp 326ci 4LAI.

A-6 Buccaneer 1930 (ATC 69) = 140hp 6LAI.

B-2 19?? = 260hp unknown type.

B-4 Pirate 1930 (ATC 65) = 95hp 326ci 4LAI.

B-6 Buccaneer 1930 (ATC 68) = 160hp 489ci 6LAI.

B-6S Buccaneer 1938 (ATC 139) = 200hp 489ci 6LAI.

C-4 Pirate 1930 (ATC 67) = 125hp 363ci 4LAI.

C-4S Pirate 1930 (ATC 134) = 150hp 363ci 4LAI.

C-6 Buccaneer 19?? = 290hp 545ci 6LAI.

C-6S Super Buccaneer 19?? (ATC 197) = 260hp 545ci 6LAI.

D-4 Super Pirate 1930 (ATC 67) = 125hp 363ci 4LAI.

D-4B Super Pirate 19?? (ATC 134) = 150hp 4LAI.

D-6 Super Buccaneer 19?? = 260-390hp 545ci 6LAI.

L 19?? = 50hp unknown type.

M-50 Pirate, O-145 1937 (ATC 191) = 50hp 144.3ci 4HOA; dry wt: 156#.

U-2 Unitwin 19?? = 600hp 1088ci twin 12LAI. Two engines merged as one.

-Salmson B-2 19?? = 230-260hp 9RA.


This is from Aerofiles, my guess would be the U-2
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Did you knew, who is this article's author?
I have an impression, that there is only source, claiming the existence of BuAer No.124 is this article.
And by the way, is there any other aircraft, named "BuAer No.___"?

Thanks in advance!
 

cluttonfred

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U-2 Unitwin engine was used on Vega/Altair/Starliner in 1938-39, which seems to indicate that it was a later development than this 1933 concept. My money would be on the 260 hp B-2 or a Buccaneer derivative.
 

Jos Heyman

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I think I may have posted this before - apologies if so.
The US Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics was established on 10 August 1921. Its duties were defined as comprising "all that relates to designing, building, fitting out, and repairing Naval and Marine Corps aircraft".
As such the Bureau issued specifications for a number of aircraft which were built by contractors. In the late 1920s and early 1930 a number of these specifications were identified as BuAer designs. Known numbers are listed, along with the designations of the contractors’ aircraft.

BuAer 35 Boeing TB
BuAer 77 NAF T2N, Martin T5M
BuAer 86 Berliner Joyce OJ
BuAer 96 Atlantic FA, Curtiss F9C, Berliner Joyce FJ
BuAer 106 Great Lakes SG, Loening S2L, Sikorsky SS
BuAer 107 Martin FM
BuAer 110 Great Lakes BG, Consolidated B2Y
BuAer 111 Two seat bi-plane fighter (F12C)
BuAer 113 Vought F3U, Douglas FD
BuAer 120 Berliner Joyce F3J, Loening FL, Grumman F2F
BuAer 124 ‘Hook-up’ fighter for airships, to replace F9C (not built)
BuAer 145 Replacement of Douglas TBD (not built)
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Jos Heyman said:
I think I may have posted this before - apologies if so.

Thank you for this list - although he rises more questions to me.

Why this BuAer numbers is so rare mentioned in the design history of particular aircraft?
In UK most of military aircraft have been built according to official requirements, that could be found in many sources.
So, if BuAer issued this specification fo contractors, where are they now? Moreover, is it possible to see an example of such specification?

The strangest thing in this No.124 specification for me is a presence of aircraft 3-view and lack of designer name.
Required characteristics could be found directly in specifcation, but I hardly imagine, that there was an precise aircraft layout inside it.
Perhaps in 1965 some wise person just draw the impression of aircraft, matching the specs? Of course - this just a plain speculation.

Cheers!
 

Stargazer2006

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Like you, I am puzzled. These BuAer numbers correspond to specifications, to which one or several manufacturers answered by submitting their designs. In this case, there is no manufacturer's name... As I said before, the first of the two articles talks about a submission TO BuAer, while only the second one (obviously adapted from the first) gives BuAer as the submitter (could be a mistake). Do we have circumstanciated evidence that the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics had its own design team?
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Stargazer2006 said:
Do we have circumstanciated evidence that the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics had its own design team?

With an Admiral, old sea wolf, as a chief designer :cool:

The aircraft layout, in my humble opinion, is too advanced for 1933.
Moreover, in the US Navy, most of the period's aircraft were biplanes.
The monoplane could reach more maximum speed, although its low-speed characteristics (which has been required for flying carrier operations) were not as low as for conventional biplane.
In any case, the speed of airship is factor, influencing the characteistic of parasite aircraft.
 

Jos Heyman

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Several maybe answers to the questions you guys raised.

First of all, I suspect BuAer was much more involved in designs in those days, so they may have come forward with some more detailed 'specification' that may have look more like a design.

There is nothing to suggest that the BuAer number I listed were issued in sequential order. They may have been but then they may not have been.

The BuAer numbers may have been assigned to the design of parts of aircraft and/or engine or whatever equipment. We do not know.

Finally, the BuA 124 pics we see may just have arisen out of somebody's fantasy and the pics that we see may have little or nothing to do with reality.

So, you can see there are many mays and, frankly, I do not believe we are going to solve these by discussion in this forum through putting up theories, assumption and the like, unless some magic happens (and don't forget, it occassionally does :)).
I cannot do this from my comfortable desk in Perth Western Australia, but perhaps some of you who are located in the good old USA, near the US Navy archives, can take this up as a project. You would at least get a great amount of gratitude from me.
 

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It's likely that the answers are to be found in Record Group 72 at National Archives. I don't have a copy of Richard Smith's book on the USS Akron and USS Macon, but I'm told that he talks about BuAer Design 124 and another aircraft (a parasite intended to carry high priority cargo and passengers to/from the Dirigibles) on page 201-203. BuAer and the Naval Aircraft Factory conducted aircraft design studies (much as the Air Materiel Division did for the Army Air Corps) in order to ensure that the contractors' submissions (and cost projections) were realistic. The Naval Aircraft Factory did the same for aircraft construction. Mind you, this doesn't bring us any closer to knowing what designation system resulted in "Design 124", but RG72 would be the place to start.
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Perhaps among participants of this forum were some owners of this book (http://www.amazon.com/Wings-Navy-History-Aircraft-1917-1956/dp/0870216635).

Or you could obtain access to it in library?

I kindly asks you to search it about possible citation of Bureau of Aeronautics project numbers, namely BuAer No.124. There was a thread (http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10678.0/highlight,macon.html), related to this quite obscure project, and there was small hope, that NAF has been the originator of it.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I have this book and just skimmed through it. There's no mention of the BuAer 124 in the illustrations, appendices, or index. The table of contents doesn't highlight any effort in lighter-than-air.
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Tailspin Turtle said:
I have this book and just skimmed through it. There's no mention of the BuAer 124 in the illustrations, appendices, or index. The table of contents doesn't highlight any effort in lighter-than-air.


Thanks a lot for both rapid and conclusive answer!

As far as I conclude, reading your's site (and I like it :cool:) you are aware on postwar designation system of US Navy aviation. Perhaps, however, you are familiar with this BuAer internal sysytem of designations in pre-war period?

Cheers!
 

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Tailspin Turtle said:
I have this book and just skimmed through it. There's no mention of the BuAer 124 in the illustrations, appendices, or index. The table of contents doesn't highlight any effort in lighter-than-air.

Didn't you mean "heavier-than-air", here? Or did I miss something out?
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Stargazer2006 said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
I have this book and just skimmed through it. There's no mention of the BuAer 124 in the illustrations, appendices, or index. The table of contents doesn't highlight any effort in lighter-than-air.

Didn't you mean "heavier-than-air", here? Or did I miss something out?

If I remember correctly the thread correctly, the BuAer 124 was intended to fly to and from from dirigibles, hence the reference to lighter-than-air...
 

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Silencer1 said:
Hi!

Tailspin Turtle said:
I have this book and just skimmed through it. There's no mention of the BuAer 124 in the illustrations, appendices, or index. The table of contents doesn't highlight any effort in lighter-than-air.


Thanks a lot for both rapid and conclusive answer!

As far as I conclude, reading your's site (and I like it :cool:) you are aware on postwar designation system of US Navy aviation. Perhaps, however, you are familiar with this BuAer internal sysytem of designations in pre-war period?


Cheers!
This was the first I've heard of this particular designation system, but I'm not very familiar with BuAer activity prior to the late 1930s. It seems similar to the later practice of creating ADRs (see http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10714.0.html). I'd add this to my list of things to investigate
 

Stargazer2006

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Confirmation of the Bureau of Aeronautics's role in design:

The Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) was the U.S. Navy's material-support organization for Naval Aviation from 1921 to 1959. The bureau had "cognizance" (i.e., responsibility) for the design, procurement, and support of Naval aircraft and related systems. (...) During the 1930's, BuAer presided over rapid technological change in Naval aircraft. The bureau's policy was to limit its own production, in order to support the civilian aircraft industry. BuAer used the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a facility for building small numbers of prototype aircraft.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Confirmation of BuAer design number system:

Perhaps the most romantic period in the Navy’s LTA operations was the era of the rigid airships Akron and Macon. The
Akron - Macon design was conceived in the Bureau of Aeronautics in 1924 as a major improvement over the Shenandoah design, based on the experience gained from her operation. The design embodied a series of tentative
studies designated BuAer Design No. 60.

Source: The Development of LTA’s Home Base and the Rigid Airship Program


More can probably be found there:

 

Tailspin Turtle

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Clioman said:
It's likely that the answers are to be found in Record Group 72 at National Archives. I don't have a copy of Richard Smith's book on the USS Akron and USS Macon, but I'm told that he talks about BuAer Design 124 and another aircraft (a parasite intended to carry high priority cargo and passengers to/from the Dirigibles) on page 201-203. BuAer and the Naval Aircraft Factory conducted aircraft design studies (much as the Air Materiel Division did for the Army Air Corps) in order to ensure that the contractors' submissions (and cost projections) were realistic. The Naval Aircraft Factory did the same for aircraft construction. Mind you, this doesn't bring us any closer to knowing what designation system resulted in "Design 124", but RG72 would be the place to start.

I have a copy of Smith's book, which was published in 1965. It describes "BuAer Design No. 124 of 5 October 1933, a proposed replacement for the F9C." The specifications and three-view drawing provided are basically the same as above. Although there is no reference cited, the scholarship apparent in the rest of the book suggests that this report is credible. He also mentions his article in Air Progress, Fall 1962, pp 20-30, "Forty Years of Skyhooks." I don't have that.

Both the Northrop FT-1 and Boeing F7B were Navy monoplane fighters. The F7B flew in September 1933 and the FT-1 in January 1934, so a monoplane configuration for the Design 124 is not inappropriate. The Akron/Macon had a top speed of 75.6 knots; the required stall speed for the FT/F7B monoplane fighters was about 56 knots and at a higher wing loading than that suggested for the Design No 124.

In another history of Navy air ships by James R. Shock, I found the statement "Of the three (large rigid airship) proposals submitted to fulfill the Navy's Design No. 60 competition, the three-keel, deep main ring design won out.", another example of Design Numbers and one not included in the list above. This 1927 competition resulted in Akron and Macon.
 

Stargazer2006

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Tailspin Turtle said:
In another history of Navy air ships by James R. Shock, I found the statement "Of the three (large rigid airship) proposals submitted to fulfill the Navy's Design No. 60 competition, the three-keel, deep main ring design won out.", another example of Design Numbers and one not included in the list above. This 1927 competition resulted in Akron and Macon.

Interesting. I found the exact same reference earlier today and quoted it in a parallel thread:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10985.msg103558.html#msg103558

I suggest both topics could be merged. What do the mods think?
 

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Detailed description of BuAer's design process:

BuAer, as part of the process of defining types of aircraft needed, was already using its drafting rooms to make design studies, including three-view drawings, performance calculations and, sometimes, wind tunnel data. After basic decisions were made, BuAer began sending the drawings and data to industry as part of informal design competition. Thus, the companies could either propose their own designs or develop an airplane based on the BuAer design. After they responded, BuAer evaluated their proposals, usually selected one or more for development, and issued contracts for complete design data and prototype airplanes.

In the late 1930s, BuAer stopped putting three-view drawings in the design competition package. Losers
sometimes complained that they were not chosen because they had not slavishly followed the whims of BuAer's designers. Eliminating the drawings not only freed BuAer from that charge, but also eliminated any tendency among company designers to copy a BuAer design rather than use it as guidance in thinking creatively about the Navy's problems.

To obtain improved models of an existing design, a product improvement, or evolutionary, path was followed: new engine, changes to armament, improved structure, changes requested by squadrons, etc. For example, the 1934 XBT-1 (see “Naval Aircraft,” NANews, Sep-Oct 89) through product improvement became the SBD that in -5 and -6 configurations served as a firstline dive-bomber into 1944 and in less demanding roles for the duration. In contrast, the TBD-1, developed the same year, received only minimal improvements and was in production for only two years. Thus, it was outdated by December 1941 and was replaced in mid-1942 as soon as the vastly superior TBF became available. Product improvement was important in aircraft designs that remained in production over a period of years.

Source: Naval Aviation in WW II - Wings of Victory
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Tailspin Turtle said:
Both the Northrop FT-1 and Boeing F7B were Navy monoplane fighters. The F7B flew in September 1933 and the FT-1 in January 1934, so a monoplane configuration for the Design 124 is not inappropriate. The Akron/Macon had a top speed of 75.6 knots; the required stall speed for the FT/F7B monoplane fighters was about 56 knots and at a higher wing loading than that suggested for the Design No 124.

Thanks for mentioning this monoplane. I'm comletely forget about them. Although, I think that reurements for parasite fighters could harder, then for carrier- or land-based ones. Perhaps, F9C' usage experience lead to Design No.124 special requirements (which we don't see till now). Anyway, the monoplanes in the world and in US Navy became more familiar in 1933. I'm still had an impression, that those No.124 fighter was not related to any big aircraft-building company in USA, at least to the traditional contractors of US Navy.

If you find any details on BuAer designs numbering system - please share them with us!
It would be interesting also to see the real example of BuAer pre-war requirements to the aircraft, that well-known now, just to compare them. I'm looking forward to it :cool:
 

Silencer1

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Hi Jos!

Jos Heyman said:
As such the Bureau issued specifications for a number of aircraft which were built by contractors. In the late 1920s and early 1930 a number of these specifications were identified as BuAer designs. Known numbers are listed, along with the designations of the contractors’ aircraft.

Perhaps you could start a topic in "Designation systems" section with list of BuAer designs?
Despite it's incompleteness it could be a "anchor" to add forum' participants to this problem, or even add some items to it.

Cheers!
 

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That has been there for some time already. See http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5372.0/highlight,bua+124.html
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

I'm so inattentive 8-(
Thanks for the pointing for topic. Just add to entries.

Regards!
 
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