Convair Model 48 Charger

sferrin

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There seem to be several posts on this aircraft scattered amongst half a dozen threads, but no dedicated thread, so. . .
 
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Stargazer2006

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Wonderful! Thanks a lot for sharing this.

Despite being a great lover of the Bronco, I must say the Charger had amazing potential and great aesthetics too. Too bad it didn't get its chance.

It was also, I believe, the last new aircraft built under the name Convair (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). Even then the General Dynamics name was already painted on it and variously used instead of Convair.

The incredibly short landing run would have made it a great carrier-borne utility transport, for instance. It could also have served as a COIN type for foreign Armies.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Hi All -

On EPay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Convair-Model-48-Charger-General-Dynamics-Prototype-Airplane-Desk-Model-US-Army-/301405456283?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item462d2a479b

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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cluttonfred

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This book is definitely worth it for anyone interested in the Charger.

 

kocovgoce

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Guerrilla air combat concepts against the Soviet occupation of the western United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s also for fire support of helicopter landing but also for anti -armored combat
 

cluttonfred

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Huh? My understanding from the book I cited above among other sources was that COIN was the primary mission of the Charger concept, which eventually led to the adoption of the OV-10 Bronco.
 

kocovgoce

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Оne of the goals of the concept was guerrilla warfare but also support for infantry that will fight in Western Europe and Western part od U.S.A if they (soviets) succeed to somehow move across Alaska and Canada to West America with large Soviet mechanized units. And one of the reasons for the 106mm recoilless rifle on the Brоnco's hull was to get something like a nazi JU-87 dive bomber but to use recoilles rifle when airplane are diving , as some form of artillery support in the fight against tanks and bunkers.
 

fightingirish

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Recently uploaded at the SDASM Archives on flickr and for me new pictures showing the General Dynamics/Convair Charger Model 48.
Link:
https://flic.kr/p/2kntLT9 View: https://flic.kr/p/2kntLT9

https://flic.kr/p/2knydn6 View: https://flic.kr/p/2knydn6

_________________________________________
Also some pictures posted by Ron Downey on his blog.
Ron Downey said:
Convair Model 48 Charger Photos
A few photos of the proposed prototype light attack and observation aircraft Convair Model 48 Charger.

Download
here or here or here or here (4.7 Megs).
Source: http://aviationarchives.blogspot.com/2021/01/convair-model-48-charger-photos.html
 
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cluttonfred

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Very nice drawings! Note the short 27' wingspan on the Charger, though the revised model submitted to LARA had 30' wings. The OV-10 Bronco that we eventually got, which is still not a big aircraft, had a span of 40' so much less practical for the type of dispersed road use originally envisioned for both the COIN and conventional roles.
 

Tim treeborgsen

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Wonderful! Thanks a lot for sharing this.

Despite being a great lover of the Bronco, I must say the Charger had amazing potential and great aesthetics too. Too bad it didn't get its chance.

It was also, I believe, the last new aircraft built under the name Convair (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). Even then the General Dynamics name was already painted on it and variously used instead of Convair.

The incredibly short landing run would have made it a great carrier-borne utility transport, for instance. It could also have served as a COIN type for foreign Armies.

I am imagining it made from carbon fiber with a Kevlar lined cockpit!!

Where does one get engineering and a plan for it???!

Anyone have a key to the vault or know someone in the doc department at General Dynamics.
 

F-14D

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Did this plane have armor
For the purposes for which this aircraft was intended, internal armor was not in the basic design, outside of the bullet proof canopy. In theory, additional armor could have been hung inside or outside, but there would be a weight and performance hit.

One of the advantages the Charger had over the OV-10 was that if you had to ditch you'd probably survive. Although some back seaters made it, no pilot of an OV-10 that had to ditch ever survived.
 
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Colonial-Marine

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Did this plane have armor
For the purposes for which this aircraft was intended, internal armor was not in the basic design, outside of the bullet proof canopy. In theory, additional armor could have been hung inside or outside, but there would be a weight and performance hit.

One of the advantages the Charger had over the OV-10 was that if you had to ditch you'd probably survive. Although some back seaters made it, no pilot of an OV-10 that had to ditch ever survived.
What about the OV-10's design made ditching such a particularly lethal prospect to the pilot?
 

Richard N

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A reference here:


"As the twin-boomed Bronco pulled up from its fifth attack, a missile rose up from behind and struck the plane’s left engine. The explosion set the engine on fire and knocked the left landing gear from its stowed position, leaving it hanging down. The canopies over the two airmen were pierced by fragments.

Captain Bennett veered southward to find a field for an emergency landing. As the fire in the engine continued to spread, he was urged by the pilot of an escorting OV-10 to eject. The wing was in danger of exploding. He then learned that his observer’s parachute had been shredded by fragments in the explosion.

Captain Bennett elected to ditch in the Gulf of Tonkin, although he knew that his cockpit area would very likely break up on impact. No pilot had ever survived an OV-10 ditching. As he touched down, the extended landing gear dug into the water. The Bronco spun to the left and flipped over nose down into the sea. His Marine companion managed to escape, but Captain Bennett, trapped in his smashed cockpit, sank with the plane. His body was recovered the next day.

For sacrificing his life, Captain Bennett was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The decoration was presented to his widow by Vice President Gerald R. Ford Aug. 8, 1974."
 

F-14D

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Did this plane have armor
For the purposes for which this aircraft was intended, internal armor was not in the basic design, outside of the bullet proof canopy. In theory, additional armor could have been hung inside or outside, but there would be a weight and performance hit.

One of the advantages the Charger had over the OV-10 was that if you had to ditch you'd probably survive. Although some back seaters made it, no pilot of an OV-10 that had to ditch ever survived.
What about the OV-10's design made ditching such a particularly lethal prospect to the pilot?
I would surmise that the shape of the nose and location of the canopy were such that the water would come right up and smash through the windscreen in front, battering the pilot. Additionally, the cockpit of the OV-10 was below the wing. That meant when the aircraft came to rest in the water, even if it was temporarily floating, the cockpit was underwater. The Charger's nose looks like it would act as more of a waterbreak and the cockpit was mostly at or above wing level, giving the crew extra time to get out. Just my guess.

I've had a couple of ocacassions to talk to pilots who fly the OV-10 for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and they say they're briefed that if they have to ditch they probably won't make it out
 

cluttonfred

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That ditching issue with the Bronco is new to me. The story that Richard N. posted does make me wonder, though. Why would you ditch an aircraft with retractable gear with the gear down? "As he touched down, the extended landing gear dug into the water."
 

Richard N

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"As the twin-boomed Bronco pulled up from its fifth attack, a missile rose up from behind and struck the plane’s left engine. The explosion set the engine on fire and knocked the left landing gear from its stowed position, leaving it hanging down. The canopies over the two airmen were pierced by fragments."
 

cluttonfred

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"The explosion set the engine on fire and knocked the left landing gear from its stowed position, leaving it hanging down."
Fair enough, I get that, but then why would it be the case that "No pilot had ever survived an OV-10 ditching"? Did no one ever ditch with the gear up? Was the issue in the gear mechanism or the hydraulic system rather than some fundamental flaw in fuselage structure?
 

F-14D

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"The explosion set the engine on fire and knocked the left landing gear from its stowed position, leaving it hanging down."
Fair enough, I get that, but then why would it be the case that "No pilot had ever survived an OV-10 ditching"? Did no one ever ditch with the gear up? Was the issue in the gear mechanism or the hydraulic system rather than some fundamental flaw in fuselage structure?
I opined on the reasons for this a couple of posts back. Although in this particular case one of the gear was down, it doesn't seem that gear position made any difference to the ultimate outcomes. No front seater ever survived a ditching in an OV-10.
 

apparition13

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This really is one of my favorite unproduced aircraft. Also worth mentioning is it's outstanding strategic range. With auxiliary fuel tanks it could transit the pacific to Vietnam in three hops; west coast to Hawaii, then to Guam, then to Vietnam. Europe or Africa would be two legs, with the east coast to the Azores being the first leg.

However, since this forum is about unbuilt aircraft, here are the proposed Convair Model 48 variants, summarized from Ginter's Naval Fighters 36, which has illustrations of each.

1. Standard LARA configuration, tandem seating, small cargo area that can hold a couple troops in a cramped space. If the rear seat is removed up to 6 troops can be carried, but they would be seated on the floor back to front. The cargo area could also be converted with an optional personnel pod that could carry 8 troops, 7 in seats. The rear of the cargo area is hinged and opens up for access to the cargo hold.

2. A standard LARA version fitted with floats for amphibious operations.

3. A surveillance version of the LARA configuration, with SLAR, IR, and photo-recon equipment. The cargo area is used for mission equipment.

4. An armed Air Force arrangement, with a side by side cockpit and seats for 6 passengers or paratroops. There is also a civil support aircraft that looks to be about the same. All the following aircraft are also side by side seating for the pilot and co-pilot.

5. A light armed transport with seats for 8, or up to 12 paratroops. It looks like the Air Force/civil support aircraft with a slightly longer fuselage and therefore bigger cargo/passenger area. There is also an unarmed light transport that looks like the same thing, only without pylons.

6. A Roughneck civil transport. It looks like the Air Force version with a taller cargo area for more headroom for passengers. The center aisle (6 seats) looks to be 72 inches. Unarmed.

7. Finally, a CST close support transport that is 72 feet long and has a ramp rather than swing out cargo door at the rear. It looks like it could carry a Wiesel or two, or three or four standard shipping pallets. It looks a bit like an Arava scaled up to Short Skyvan size. Also Unarmed.

The armed versions have five pylons for bombs, rocket pods, and perhaps missiles, two near the ends of the wings and three under the fuselage, with two more stations on the side of the fuselage for machine gun pods. I'd say their weapon load could be roughly similar to an attack helicopter. In the modern era they could carry SDBs and Hellfires with perhaps a designator pod.
 

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