Goodyear's Inflatoplanes

Stargazer2006

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Robunos was suggesting having some pics of the Goodyear Inflatoplane, so here goes... The Goodyear Model 466 and 468 were called Inflatoplanes. Like the Hiller Flying Platform and other odd aircraft, they were part of a multi-service evaluation by the Army and the Navy's ONR, except here the CIA was also part of the deal. I don't think the ONR-tested example had a Navy designation of any kind. The Army Inflatoplanes were designated as AO-2 (Model 466) and AO-3 (Model 468) (with AO-1 being the Grumman Mohawk, of course). Never was able to tell the difference between the two variants, so don't ask me!

Can't remember which site I got these pictures from, but it's probably on the web, still.
 

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circle-5

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Current photo of the last known Goodyear Inflatoplane, taken yesterday at NASM Silver Hill. It was kept inflated while in storage for many years, but the rubber is now getting tired, so it looks more like a Deflatoplane.
 

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robunos

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XLNT!!!

Thanks so much for these, and the brief history. From what little I know about these, one was a single seater, while the other was a two-seater.
Now, can I be really pushy, and ask after a 3-view??? ;D

cheers,
Robin.
 

walter

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I think the Goodyear Inflatoplane family consisted of:
GA-33; Company project designation for the prototype which was a single-seater with open cockpit,
tail wheel, 44hp Nelson H-44 engine and span of 22ft and length 19.6ft. Date of first flight probably 28 May 1957, but I have also seen dates 13 February 1956 and year 1955. Registration N39635
GA-447: Reportedly development of GA-33 with closed cockpit, 34ft span and said to have been tested with various u/c configurations. (Never saw a photo of a GA-447)
GA-466 (XAO2-GI): Side-by-side two-seater (closed cockpit) for USArmy trials and powered by 65hp McCullogh 4318E (O-100) engine. Tricycle gear and appearing AFTER the GA-468 single-seater. Span 28ft and length 19.167ft
GA-468 (XAO-3-GI): Single-seater tested by USArmy and USN/ONR. Engine as in GA-33 and trials with tail ,wheel, skid u/c and capable of operating from water. Span 28ft, length 22ft.
Sometimes the names Inflatoplane I and II were used for the single-seat resp. two-seat aircraft.
Production: GA-33 (1), GA-447 (1?), XAO2 (1), XAO-3 (5)
 

walter

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Goodyear Inflatoplane confusion all over!
The prototype N39635 definitely had an open cockpit.
Other aircraft were likely tested with both open and closed cockpits and in many photos the u/c has a central main wheel. However, I've also see at least one aircraft with a tricycle gear

Stargazer2006: Could it be that the aircraft with ONR on the rear fuselage, Goodyear near the cockpit and no Serialno on the tail is the GA-447?
For those interested, Google for photo of Goodyear GA-466, then select photo of N39635 on bayoumen site and there is a nice (not necessarily correct) article with photos including one of a GA-468 in storage.

And the confusion continues
 

Stargazer2006

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Walter, thank you so much for adding to this topic. And, no, the confusion does NOT continue, you've straightened things out quite a bit. Indeed, the AO-2 and AO-3 were Models 466 and 468, NOT 464 and 466 as I'd previously written (that's what happens when you use your memory instead of reaching for the binder!)

As for the GA-447, it seems pretty obvious to me that, being the missing link between the GA-33 and GA-466, it is more that likely to be none other but the ONR-CIA example. Of course this would have to be confirmed by official documents.
 

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In the Article in Air and Space Magazine, there was mention of giant bomber Inflatoplanes carrying Nuclear bombs. There was also mention of loading hundreds of Inflatoplanes in aircraft carriers. Anyone come across more information or pictures of these interesting concepts?
 

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Thanks for starting the post on a truly unique aircraft. I like the concept, but nuclear bomb carriers? I don't know that this concept can be gainfully extended to large aircraft
 

Stargazer2006

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The largest derivative I've seen of a Goodyear Inflatoplane is this project for a large Army aircraft, though it is not clear 1°) what type of propulsion it uses 2°) what purpose it was supposed to serve. At any rate it can't be a bomber, but perhaps it was along those lines?
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
The largest derivative I've seen of a Goodyear Inflatoplane is this project for a large Army aircraft, though it is not clear 1°) what type of propulsion it uses 2°) what purpose it was supposed to serve. At any rate it can't be a bomber, but perhaps it was along those lines?

I don;t think that's an Inflatoplane, but a wholly different concept with the engines in the wings for low-speed takeoff.
 

Stargazer2006

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Oh, okay... Fair enough, I wasn't so sure about that one. It's been in my Goodyear file for a while and I didn't know what to make of it...
 

aim9xray

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circle-5 said:
Current photo of the last known Goodyear Inflatoplane, taken yesterday at NASM Silver Hill. It was kept inflated while in storage for many years, but the rubber is now getting tired, so it looks more like a Deflatoplane.
Limpus Inflatoplanus, oh my.

Some years ago (circa 1988 or so), I saw an inflated example at the Flight Test Museum at Patuxent River. Is this that example, or is there... another?
 

Jemiba

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"It's been in my Goodyear file for a while and I didn't know what to make of it..."

The same with me, found it in an issue of the aerokurier, 1962, together with this
drawing of the internal arrangement. It was called "Convopplane" there, but I've
no further information though.
 

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AeroFranz

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very interesting layout. it looks almost like a "ducted helicopter". I'm assuming the louvers and flaps surrounding the rotor could be used to redirect the flow in hover and forward flight. Very ambitious to say the least! :)
 

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aim9xray said:
circle-5 said:
Current photo of the last known Goodyear Inflatoplane, taken yesterday at NASM Silver Hill. It was kept inflated while in storage for many years, but the rubber is now getting tired, so it looks more like a Deflatoplane.
Limpus Inflatoplanus, oh my.

Some years ago (circa 1988 or so), I saw an inflated example at the Flight Test Museum at Patuxent River. Is this that example, or is there... another?

According to the NASM curator, that is the one from Pax and it's going to be a challenge to restore.
 

circle-5

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From what I observed, it seems the rubber is starting to sweat, outgas and lose compliance. What it probably needs most is the right petroleum compound to stop or slow this decomposition process.
 

royabulgaf

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From what I observed, it seems the rubber is starting to sweat, outgas and lose compliance

Interesting. The same thing happens to me after a couple bowls of chili.


Kim Margosein
 

saturncanuck

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I always loved the Pogo

But, here's one of my all-time favs.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMXfyV_nJSI&feature=related
 

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Some inflatoplane pictures from NARA:

The reason the concept art has Army/Navy markings is because it was a joint project between both services.
 

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Arjen

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Source: "Experimentele vliegtuigen" by Hugo Hooftman, Uitgeverij De Kern, 1957
 

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Grey Havoc

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Stargazer2006 said:
The largest derivative I've seen of a Goodyear Inflatoplane is this project for a large Army aircraft, though it is not clear 1°) what type of propulsion it uses 2°) what purpose it was supposed to serve. At any rate it can't be a bomber, but perhaps it was along those lines?

From the look of the illustration, it was an proposal for a V/STOL Inflatoplane. Possibly for Aeromedical evacuation from field hospitals? (No medivac markings that I can see, though.) Alternatively, it might have been intended as a light resupply bird for remote outposts.
 

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From Aviation Week August 1957, a picture showing the single- and twin-seat
version of the Inflatoplane:
 

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http://fly.historicwings.com/2013/03/the-inflatable-plane/
 

Stargazer2006

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A different set of four pics than the one shared by Arjen earlier on, this time from a German magazine of the late 1950s:
 

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covert_shores

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CIA inflatable one man aircraft, 1958

Never seen this before. Anyone have any more info?

vgJr5Gk.jpg


Found in CIA archives https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp09-01333r000100730001-3
My notes (more on other things in the booklet) http://www.hisutton.com/CIA_Water-Air_1958.html



It is briefly mentioned here I think as the inflatable aircraft https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp78-03642a001300030073-4


This doesn't cover this exact type but might be of interest https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp78-03642a001300040033-7 <massive hydrogen powered flying wing blimp...
 

hesham

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Re: CIA inflatable one man aircraft, 1958

Hi Covert,

it was a Goodyear AO-3 Inflatoplane;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodyear_Inflatoplane
 

hesham

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Re: CIA inflatable one man aircraft, 1958

Also;

http://www.aerofiles.com/_ga.html
 

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SpudmanWP

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Re: CIA inflatable one man aircraft, 1958

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gGygxDIJX0
 

Arjen

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Re: CIA inflatable one man aircraft, 1958

Earlier topic on Goodyear Inflatoplane here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,8145.0.html

Merge topic?

Yes, we can !
(I've chosen this section, as the idea never proceeded further, than the stage of prototypes)
 

Sineva

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It turns out that the british had a similar idea around about the same time.The British Inflatoplane ML Utility Mk.I,tho they were of a much different configuration.There were only 3 examples built,but with around 12 different wing designs tested,and were intended more for a light reconnaissance or utility role.Evidently one of the nick names for this peculiar little machine was the Durex Delta
Theres more information and pictures at:
https://www.hangarflying.eu/2018/04/lavion-gonflable-etait-aussi-quelque-part-une-histoire-belge/
http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/waf/uk/army/types/utility.htm
https://rec.aviation.military.narkive.com/o2cZqBK6/british-inflatoplane-ml-utility-mk-i

0223262.jpg
0223263.jpg
british-inflatoplane-ml-utility-mk-i i.1.1_full.jpg
201804ML02.jpg
201804ML05.jpg
201804ML13.jpg
 
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riggerrob

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The concept was revived during the early 21st century by a pair of Swiss scientists/engineers named Dr. Rolf Luchainger and Dr. Mauro Pedretti who applied modern materials to develop inflatable beams. They started with simple inflatable structural beams, even parking a VW car on top of an experimental inflated bridge.
Tensairity is the reverse of compression technology used to build Gothic cathedrals. T
By using high inflation pressures, Tensairity structures always keep the outer skin in tension, reducing the risk of buckle by.
They flew a conventional configuration ultralight airplane with inflated flight surfaces.
Their most exciting “Tensairity” project was the blended wing/bodyStingray airplane. Again, it was in the same ultralight class as their first effort, but much more exotic looking.
We have not heard much from Airlight Ltd. Or Tensairity Corp. since 2004.
Perhaps the next generation of inflatable airplanes will utilize the through stitch technology currently used to build inflatable stand on top paddle boards. Current through stitch machines only weave constant thickness sheets, but the near future will see variable thickness looms that can through stitch curved spars and ribs. The third step will involve weaving in diagonal/bias threads to better carry beam loads.
 

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The first video looks like a blurry home movie but contains valuable technical details.

Again, a lack of sharpness but has further details:

The GA-468. I'm getting the feeling that the image quality was degraded on purpose.
 

Sineva

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The concept was revived during the early 21st century by a pair of Swiss scientists/engineers named Dr. Rolf Luchainger and Dr. Mauro Pedretti who applied modern materials to develop inflatable beams. They started with simple inflatable structural beams, even parking a VW car on top of an experimental inflated bridge.
Tensairity is the reverse of compression technology used to build Gothic cathedrals. T
By using high inflation pressures, Tensairity structures always keep the outer skin in tension, reducing the risk of buckle by.
They flew a conventional configuration ultralight airplane with inflated flight surfaces.
Their most exciting “Tensairity” project was the blended wing/bodyStingray airplane. Again, it was in the same ultralight class as their first effort, but much more exotic looking.
We have not heard much from Airlight Ltd. Or Tensairity Corp. since 2004.
Perhaps the next generation of inflatable airplanes will utilize the through stitch technology currently used to build inflatable stand on top paddle boards. Current through stitch machines only weave constant thickness sheets, but the near future will see variable thickness looms that can through stitch curved spars and ribs. The third step will involve weaving in diagonal/bias threads to better carry beam loads.

Its always been a bit of a puzzle to me why the inflatoplane concept hasnt been revived for the civilian microlight aircraft market,as on the face of it it would seem to have a lot to offer.You would have an extremely compact machine that could be literally folded up and put away after use,after being deflated of course,but this could be done very quickly using the engine driven inflation pump in reverse.Plus you`ve had 60 years worth of development in the field of synthetic fabrics,plastics,rubbers etc which I`m sure would offer huge potential gains in terms of the strength,lightness and durability of a modern inflatoplane design.So far about the closest has been hybrid inflated wing type designs like the Bede wing or Woopyfly.
Its one of these abandoned concepts that still appears to have a lot of potential left in it.
Whats also surprising is that the concept of an inflatable aircraft dates back to even before ww2,with a soviet designer by the name of Pavel Grokhovsky/Grojovsky[?] building a series of inflatable glider designs,tho sadly there doesnt appear to be very much about this online apart from a few pics.
ce2b471bf79d49e9835d10b3926a33b2.jpg

Groj_inf_Prensa.jpg

Groj_inf_2.jpg


5fadf38933b1409ea62f5cdbd70b9d35.jpg

ti3fbm6c-r.jpg
 

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