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Martin « Mighty Midget » close support aircraft (1954)

Jemiba

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Martin proposed an interesting concept for close air suport in 1952.
The twin engined jet aircraft was designed for simplicity, short field
performance, low vulnerabilty, high maneuverability and provision for
a wide variety of different weapons, including side firing guns, as later
introduced in the AC-47 . The pilot was housed in prone position in a
heavily armoured cockpit section, which in the case of an emergency,
could be jettisoned .
An early form of the Wharthog !
(from AviationWeek November 1954)
 

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LowObservable

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Amazing! If anything more perfectly encapsulates - was it Crossfield's description of an escape capsule as "a way to commit suicide to keep from getting killed", I have yet to see it.
 

Apophenia

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Jemiba said:
Martin proposed an interesting concept for close air suport in 1952...An early form of the Wharthog !
(from AviationWeek November 1954)

Excellent find Jemiba!

I couldn't resist knocking up an image of this puppy. In RCAF colours of 439 (Wildcat) Squadron -- Martin Mudwrestler MkI?
 

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Skybolt

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Photo of the display model.... found it in a very peculiar place... 8)
 

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Mike Pryce

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Amazing! If anything more perfectly encapsulates - was it Crossfield's description of an escape capsule as "a way to commit suicide to keep from getting killed", I have yet to see it.

At least there would have been no need for a coffin!

In Britain two prone piloting aircraft flew - the Reid and Sigrist Bobsleigh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_and_Sigrist_R.S.3 and an adapted Gloster Meteor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloster_Meteor_F8_%22Prone_Pilot%22. One of those ideas that had paper advantages (reduced g forces) but proved inconvenient in practice (and g-suits came along).

I think it was John Fozard, when talking about the early tail-sitting VTOL aircraft that had pilots lying on their back for take-off/landing, that said "it is a good position, but not for flying!" Goes for prone piloting too, IMHO! That said, hang-gliders do OK with it (no control stick in funny places).
 

lark

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It seems that there is some variation on the theme..

One with a 'T' tail and one with a butterfly tail.
Maybe an evolution in the development .

Martin Midget I and Midget II ?
 

Jemiba

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"Martin Midget I and Midget II ?"

There's no mentione of other or earlier variants, but this projects seems to
have been around for wo or three years and it is said, that the concept
found favour with the air force. Budget restrains and the lack of a small,
powerful and fuel efficient engine precluded a realisation.
The concept with the prone pilot was hosen for two reasons: I enabled the
pilot to stand higher g-loads and it reduced frontal area, which meant a smaller
target, that could be easier protected with armour plates. The same idea was
used in the german Blohm & Voss Bv 40 glider fighter.
Interesting too, is the concept of the elevator and rudder control, as rudder
pedals obviously were not suitable.
 

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LowObservable

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It was Foz who said that about tail-sitters... it was at the same conference that Marine Col Harry Blot opened his presentation with the statement that "My voice has been scientifically analyzed and it has been found to have a tendency to put homosexuals to sleep", which I'm sure he wouldn't have been allowed to say later, when he worked for LockMart.

Powered Lift 1987... all very optimistic on the surface, except it was gradually becoming clear that the whole US-UK thing was about to founder on the stealth issue, which everyone knew about except the Brit industry people.
 

Skybolt

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In late '40s there was a lot of research in the US on piloting in prone position. Hans Amtmann of B&V worked estensively when at Wright Field to a prone pilot seat that was mounted in a centrifuge and then in a modified P-80E. There are photos and description in "The Vanishing Paperclips" by Amtmann. The Midget was designed to a Korea War-era specification for a low-level high-G manouvering close support aircraft. Additional material can be found in an old "Airplane" article. Besides the G-resistance, the prone position permits to reduce the frontal section of the design and allow a better protection (read armour).
 

borovik

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The Interesting plane, the present find.Except whole plane possesses good size (for Scale Modeller )
Agree with Apophenia plane does not leave indifferent.
Thank you Jens!
 

Rickshaw

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Didn't Eric "Winkle" Brown say that he found the prone position acceptable and far preferrable to the reclining position? He flew both the modified Meteor and the modified Tigercat which respectively used the two positions. I also seem to remember he decribed flying the Meteor as quite exhilerating.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Apophenia said:
Excellent find Jemiba!

I couldn't resist knocking up an image of this puppy. In RCAF colours of 439 (Wildcat) Squadron -- Martin Mudwrestler MkI?

I think "Mudskipper" would be more appropriate.
 

Jemiba

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"Didn't Eric "Winkle" Brown say that he found the prone position acceptable ..."

Couldn't find Eric Browns comment, but the descrition of the Meteor WK 935 with
the additional prone pilot cockpit. The results were, that this position is quite
unsuitable for a fighter, because of the very restricted rear view, and for longer
flight time. But both reasons wouldn't rule out this position for an aircraft like the
Martin "Mighty Midget", I think ..

By the way, nice picture, Apophenia ! But I really would like to know, where Skybolt
found the photo ....
 

Skybolt

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Scott spoiled my little surprise.. ;)
But I have more up my sleeve, a gorgeous sectioned view from "Flight" (not "The Aeroplane".. sorry) 8). Courtesy of my friend Lark.
 

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Apophenia

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Jemiba said:
... By the way, nice picture, Apophenia ! ...

Thanks Jens. I wish I'd seen the Flight cutaway posted by skybolt first -- I've left off the tailskid for starters. :-\

Mention of the Bv-40 also makes me think of the cockpit shape of the FFG Berlin B-9.
 

Sundog

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BTW, the model that is shown, it's hard to make out, but is the tail an "A" tail on twin booms on the model?
 

Skybolt

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I enlarged the detail but the definition goes bust... Take it with a grain of salt, but it seems that the fuselage drops just before the tail and that the two rudders start each from a sponson attached to the rear of the wing root. This arrangement could leave space for a twin exhaust just in the tail, or even a single exhaust for a single-engine version. Stan Piet, were are you ???
 

Stargazer2006

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After searching for the Mighty Midget's model designation, it seems I found something which closely resembles this strange aircraft: the Model 265 is described as a "flying infantry ship for the Air Force". The year of the design (1951) is exactly right for that model number range too, with Model 259 being the sea-going versions of the XB-51 (circa 1950-51) and the Model 270 a variation on the Marlin, also of 1951.
 

Brickmuppet

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I recently bought the full brochure for the Midget (it's called Mighty Midget in the brochure) from Scott Lowther at APR.
http://www.up-ship.com/apr/apr.htm

One interesting feature was how they got the previously mentioned side firing guns in such a tiny plane. The cannons could be quickly dismounted and reinstalled to fire either ahead or mounted athwart-ships in the wings firing out of the wingtips for sustained close air support (like a gunship).
 

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I wonder if Hans Multhopp had anything to do with this design
 

Avimimus

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I've often wondered about this. If you'll pardon the speculation: It might be possible to develop a cheap, easy to fly, stoll out of civilian components, with some armour or redundancy. It wouldn't even have to be manoeuvrable. It could act as a light bomber, a true "infantryman of the skies", relying on low-altitude, small silhouette and numbers. Effective bombardment for the underfunded army. So, it is very interesting to see a similar design (if much more expensive and more manoeuvrable).
 

Skybolt

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The only problem was the prone position of the pilot.
 

Skyraider3D

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Yildirim said:
I wonder if Hans Multhopp had anything to do with this design
Judging by the tail design, his involvement with Martin and the German "style" of the aircraft (Hs 132, Bv 40, DFS 228, ...) I definitely would think so!
 

cluttonfred

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Thread necromancy, I know, but I just ordered Scott's APR monograph on this design and I am looking for some related materials. Does anyone have or can point me towards a copy lf this paper by Hans Multhopp?

  • Multhopp, Hans. "The Challenge of the Performance Spectrum for Military Aircraft" AUR (May–June 1966): 30-41.

My Google Fu is not turning up a source.

Thanks!
 

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I think it is safe to say that nearly all Martin designs of the late 1940s and the 1950s bear Multhopp's design marks.
 

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