Hans Multhopp and his designs


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In R.Bud/P.Gummett "Cold War, Hot Science" a fighter project based on the supersonic
research aircraft designed by M.Winter and H. Multhopp is shown, which shows
similarites to the Gloster P.284/285 .Both types were designed in a version with
a sitting pilot and another version for a prone pilot.
And interesting again for me, was the statement, that the cancellation of the Miles
M.52 was triggered by considerations, that the available jet engine wouldn't develop
enough thrust AND that the design with straight wings was somewhat outdated,
after studying the german research work about swept wings.


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BTW, this is Hans Multhopp in person, father of Martin DynaSoar, SV-5 family of lifting bodies and bunch of other interesting stuff (XB-51 to say).

Multhopp designed the P.183 and is famous for his T-tail designs. After the war he first worked in England and then in 1949 he came to the US under "Operation Paperclip" and worked for the Martin Aircraft Co. He went on to design a large number of aircraft. Much of the design of the Martin XB-51 was performed by Multhopp working as a consultant.

Wingless Flight: The Lifting Body Story by R. Dale Reed


A high-volume lifting body, the SV-5 was the brain child of Hans Multhopp, an aerodynamicist at the Martin Aircraft Company. The SV-5 quickly became the centerpiece of a new Air Force program known as START (Spacecraft Technology and Advanced Reentry Tests). Established in January 1964, START consisted of dual programs-the unpiloted PRIME (Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry) and the piloted PILOT (Piloted Lowspeed Tests).

In early 1964, I visited the Martin Aircraft Company to gather information on the SV-5 and possibly gain some support from Martin and the Air Force in convincing NASA management to fund a supersonic lifting-body flight-test program. I met Hans Multhopp, introduced to me as Martin's chief scientist and the designer of the SV-5. A soft-spoken man with a heavy German accent, Multhopp seemed to be highly respected and admired by others in Martin engineering. After a conversation with him about the SV-5, I could understand why he was so highly respected, for his knowledge of aerodynamics and aircraft design was impressive.

A former aeronautical engineer, Multhopp had worked during World War II for the Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau in Bremen, Germany, first as head of the aerodynamics [130] department and then as chief of the advanced design bureau. One of his projects at Focke-Wulf was designing, in conjunction with Kurt Tank, the Ta-183. Information on the Ta-183 design obtained by the Russians at the end of World War II greatly influenced the design of the Russian Mig-15 jet fighter. The Pulqui-II, a derivation of the Ta-183 design flown in Argentina after World War II, had been built by former Focke-Wulf employees who had fled to Argentina.

Whisked out of Germany at the end of World War II, Multhopp went to work for the British at Farnborough. There, he designed the swept-wing British Lightning fighter, using calculation techniques he had developed. After four years, however, the British found his arrogance intolerable and he was sacked. He then became the chief scientist for the company that eventually became the giant American aviation and space contractor, Martin Marietta.

Multhopp was able to convince Martin management as well as the Air Force that the SV-5 shape was superior to NASA's M2-F3 and HL-10 shapes on the basis of six features. First, the SV-5 was a maneuverable lifting body with no essential surface components that would be destroyed on re-entry from orbit. Second, the vehicle had a hypersonic lift-to-drag ratio of 1.2 or better, permitting a lateral range of 1,000 miles. This feature would enable a recall to any preselected site at least once a day as well as emergency recall to a suitable location from every orbit.

My first meeting with Hans Multhopp at Martin in early 1964 also turned out to be my last. After that visit, he seemed simply to disappear from public view. Later, when the X-24A was being flown at Edwards Air Force Base as the final stage of the PILOT portion of the SV-5 program, I was surprised to learn that my Air Force colleagues at Edwards had never even heard of Hans Multhopp. At that time, there was still considerable resentment in this country about using German engineers in American aerospace projects. Consequently, it became the usual practice to keep German engineers at low profile. However, this was not always true. A good example of an exception to this practice was Wernher von Braun, who rose to high rank in NASA in full public view and made a significant contribution to our space program.


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Whisked out of Germany at the end of World War II, Multhopp went to work for the British at Farnborough. There, he designed the swept-wing British Lightning fighter, using calculation techniques he had developed. After four years, however, the British found his arrogance intolerable and he was sacked. He then became the chief scientist for the company that eventually became the giant American aviation and space contractor, Martin Marietta.

The bit about designing the Lightning is complete and total b*llocks. Multhopp designed a swept wing fighter for the RAE which has no relation to the Lightning.
Multhopp swept wing fighter for the RAE (From Reichdreams 19)
Lancaster drawing is speculative


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Designed in 1947 by Drs Multhopp and Winter while they were at RAE Farnborough.

Intended top speed was M1.24 at 30,00ft, and service ceiling 60,000ft.

Dimensions :-

Span 25', length 333' 9", height 7'10", sweep 55 degrees at quarter chord.

Engine :- one Rolls-Royce AJ.65 turbojet of 6500lbst.

Makes an interesting comparison to the two Martin designs, here :-


and here :-


That Dr. Multhopp may have a hand in designing.

sources; 'Project Cancelled', and 'Reichdreams 19'.



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Speaking of Hans Multhopp (not really, this is thread necromancy), I have just read Douglas Campbell's very interesting book The Warthog and the Close Air Support Debate. The book does a good job of tracing the politics and military policy changes that influenced the development of the A-10, including both the USAF and US Army's vacillating support at various times.

Campbell mentions Hans Multhopp a couple of times, including his work in the mid-sixties to debunk the fighter pilots mantra that faster is always better regardless of the mission. He also mentions a Multhopp project for a close air support aircraft armed with a heavy gun for anti-tank operations proposed to Martin, but Martin didn't bite. Does anyone have any info on and, ideally, images of Multhopp's proposal for a CAS aircraft?


Any relation with the Mighty Midget?

A family relation, to be sure, via Papa Multhopp, but I doubt that it was the same design. The Might Midget was all about being small and cheap, tough and hard to hit in the first place. I don't think there was ever any kind of tank-busting cannon proposed for the MM, though I could be wrong. IIRC, there was nothing larger than a pair of 27mm Mauser cannon mentioned in the brochure I got from Scott.

Pure speculation, but at the time, the A-10's enormous 30mm GAU-8A didn't exist, so I have to assume that we are talking about something more like the WWII tankbusting Hurricane and Stuka, say single shots or very short bursts from a 40mm or larger gun. A lightened Bofors L/70 with APDS ammo for tanks and the ability to switch to HE for soft targets might have worked very well, especially with some sort of fire control system to help accurate fire. Still, even that would have been a lot for the Mighty Midget to carry, so I suspect this was a separate design.
From L+K 1996/24.


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"and here is a strange patent for him"
“Strange patent by Hans Multhopp” – something like that easily catches attention.. So, I have tried to do a little of web research. It's about one of the longest lasting problems of aerodynamics and aircraft engineering - circulation control wings - in the broadest sense - how to get in the air at a low speed. There have been many solutions researched and applied - like blown flaps, externally-blown flap, suction flow control… But it seems that Mulhtopp was willing to do some “extra miles”. General disadvantage of CCW is a need to use bleeding air (lowering the thrust) or directing exhaust over flaps(need to cool somehow exhaust gas), so Muhltops solution is to apply free turbines in the jet engines to extract power for a number of small compressors along the wing. These compressors are placed on the same shaft, generating circulation around a wing and producing thrust. So there is no air-bleeding and no hot exhaust gas used. The novelty seems to be enhancing thrust, not just a lift of wings. This approach is to be seen even better on another Multhopps patent - US2964264A - Power flap for aircraft

This time, the idea is to add separate small jet engines along the wing - in the flaps. Jet engines were to be producing a lot of thrust when it was most needed - during takeoff and low speed… In this way, it could be said that Multhopp actually patented not a high-lift device, but a very important new concept - distributed propulsion.
From an aerodynamic point of view, this concept of high lift/distributed propulsion is perfect, problem solved, but from an engineering point, it's a nightmare - imagine how difficult it is to power all these engines, compressors, to do ducting all around wings, install shafts, and to control it….. So, this concept has been tried again and again, without much success (like https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/nasa-multijet-flap-stol-airliner-project.17403/#post-48802) . It has been like a cold fusion of aviation - so close and yet so far !
And suddenly, something happened - the age/trend of electric engines aviation has come. Electric engines are light, strong, highly efficient - you can put them practically everywhere, and control is super easy. So, in recent years, we do have quite a lot of promising distributed electric propulsion projects - both, scientific and commercial:
The concept itself had been best applied to Lilium jet - literally everything is in a flap - power and control. The Lilium jet flies without vertical stabilizer, without ailerons - it has been controlled only by vectoring thrust - like a rocket. That's probably what Multhopps originally envisaged as an end state - a goal to be achieved…. At least, I like to see it this way…strange, and beautiful…


But, ironically, the only issue with electric aviation is, sadly, electricity itself - capacity and power of batteries is simply not good enough for aviation. So..to be continued..
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