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rare aircraft

2008-10-20 01:25:28.229067+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

[ related topics: Photography Aviation ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 13:40:14.561498+00 by: andylyke

I liked the "BELL XP-63 PINBALL MANNED AERIAL TARGET". Kind of a reverse kamikaze?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 14:32:04.01856+00 by: Dan Lyke

Huh, missed that... I went looking for more details, this page had a great explanation:

Maybe it's motivation for fighter pilot students that aren't getting the missile avoidance maneuvers down...Motivation...

But it lead to this page on a model of the aircraft, which says:

A new plane was totally covered with an armour from a specially treated aluminium alloy. The armour was 5-10 times thicker than in an usual P-63. The maximum thickness was in the area of the cockpit, motor and fuel tanks. All armament and a part of equipment were removed from the plane.

So, apparently it really was a piloted target.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 19:05:21.24753+00 by: andylyke

Add one more to the list of jobs I won't be applying for.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-21 12:39:52.786278+00 by: petronius

A dear friend of mine was a test pilot for Bell during WW2. He spent most of his time doing production tests on the P-39, flying them right off the assembly line to see if anything fell off, like the wings. The P-39 didn't have a turbocharger, so its mediocre high-altitude performance made it a poor fighter, but most ended up being sent to the Russians, who took advantage of its heavy armanent to use it as a ground attack plane. It was also air-cooled, pefect for Russian conditions. He says that there were actually Soviet officers working at the Bell plant overseeing manufacture.

He also tested the regular version of the P-63, out in the Mojave. He was perhaps the only test pilot who was able to do a power-dive test in a 1940s airplane. The diea was to to into a full power dive and recover. Since that got you up near Mach 1 the contrals got all crazy. He consulted with designers, like the people at Lockheed who put special dive brakes on some of their planes to keep the ships from the fatal speed. He still doesn't know he survived the test.