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The Boeing XC-97 which was a tranpsport plane modeled after the B-29 Super fortress flew from Seattle Washingotn to Washington DE in 6 hours and 3 minutes. The plane was fully pressurized and able to fly at a speed of 383 miles per hours.
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft originally designed and built by Lockheed, and now maintained and upgraded by its successor, Lockheed Martin. It provides the United States Air Force (USAF) with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsized and oversized loads, including all air-certifiable cargo. The Galaxy has many similarities to the smaller Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and the later Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The C-5 is among the largest military aircraft in the world.
|A United States Air Force C-5 in flight|
|National origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Lockheed Corporation |
|First flight||30 June 1968 |
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Produced||C-5A: 1968–1973 |
|Number built||131 (C-5A: 81, C-5B: 50)|
The C-5 Galaxy's development was complicated, including significant cost overruns, and Lockheed suffered significant financial difficulties. Shortly after entering service, cracks in the wings of many aircraft were discovered and the C-5 fleet was restricted in capability until corrective work was completed. The C-5M Super Galaxy is an upgraded version with new engines and modernized avionics designed to extend its service life beyond 2040.
The USAF has operated the C-5 since 1969. In that time, the airlifter supported US military operations in all major conflicts including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, as well as allied support, such as Israel during the Yom Kippur War and operations in the Gulf War. The Galaxy has also been used to distribute humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and supported the US space program.
Aeronautics and Astronautics Chronology, 1945-1949
January 20: Robert T. Jones, NACA Langley aeronautical scientist, formulated sweptback-wing concept to overcome shockwave effects at critical Mach numbers, and verified it in wind-tunnel experiments in March 1945 prior to learning of parallel German work. It was subsequently checked by the wing-flow technique before the first NACA report was issued in June.
January 24: Germans successfully launched A-9, a winged prototype of the first ICBM (the A-10) designed to reach North America. A-9 reached a peak altitude of nearly 50 miles and a maximum speed of 2,700 mph.
During January: JNW created Guided Missiles Committee to formulate broad program of research and development in the guided missiles field, the committee to consist of two members from OSRD, one from NACA, three from the Army, and three from the Navy.
During January: German Luftwaffe formed special squadron of 16 Me-262 jet fighters, each armed with twenty-four 55-mm high-explosive rockets, which operated with high success against Allied bomber formations.
February 20: The Secretary of War approved Ordnance plans for the establishment of the White Sands Proving Ground (WSPG).
During February: Project Nike initiated by Army Ordnance with the Western Electric Co. to explore a new air defense system against high-speed and high altitude bombers beyond the reach of conventional artillery.
---: AAF contracted with Bell for construction of three transonic flight research aircraft, to be powered by liquid rocket engines. Aircraft designated XS-1, and later X-1.
March 8: Navy rocket-powered Gorgon air-to-air missile launched from PBY-5A in first powered test flight off Cape May, N.J.
March 21: Navy initiated development of the Lark surface-to-air guided missile in BuAer contract with Fairchild Aircraft.
During March: "Summary of Airfoil Data," by Ira H. Abbott, A. E. von Doenhoff, and Louis Stievers of NACA Langley Laboratory, was issued, which was considered a classic reference summarizing NACA data on airfoil sections.
---: Project Paperclip to recruit German missile scientists was initiated in the Pentagon.
During Spring: Supplemental appropriation passed by Congress authorized expanded research on guided missiles at NACA Langley Laboratory, including establishment of a rocket launch facility at Wallops Island, Va.
April 1-13: 17 JPL Private F rockets were fired at Hueco Range, Fort Bliss, Tex.
During April: Aberdeen Proving Ground wind-tunnel tests of sweptback wing at Mach 1.72 carried out on the suggestion of Theodore van Kármán.
May 5: Russian ground forces occupied Peenemünde, Germany.
May 8: World War II ended in Europe.
---: At time of German collapse, more than 20,000 V-weapons, V-1's and V-2's had been fired. Although figures vary, best estimate is that 1,115 V-2 ballistic rockets had been successfully fired against England and 1,675 against continental targets. Great disparity between production figures and operational missions due to fact that series production and eveloment testing were performed concurrently, there being as many as 12 major modifications in basic design features.
May 10: Crash program to counter Japanese Baka (suicide) bomb, Naval Aircraft Modification Unit was authorized to develop Little Joe, ship-to-air missile powered with standard JATO unit.
During May: Boeing began development of Gapa (ground-to-air pilotless aircraft) antiaircraft missile for USAAF. Within 2 years 37 Gapa missiles had been fired and by October 1949 a total of 102 successful firings had taken place.
June 19: Dr. Frank L. Wattendorf, Engineering Division, Wright Field, and a member of AAF Scientific Advisory Group, recommended to Brig. Gen. F.O. Carroll, Chief, Engineering Division, that an Air Force Development Center, including facilities for development of supersonic aircraft and missiles, be built on a location away from Wright Field and near a large source of power.
June 25: Construction began at White Sands Proving Ground.
During June: Army Ground Forces Equipment Review Board concluded that increased emphasis should be placed on development of guided missiles.
---: XC-99, cargo version of B-36, made first flight.
July 4: Baby Wac rocket, one-fifth scale model of Wac Corporal proposal, flight tested at Camp Irwin by JPL.
---: First rocket launch at NACA's new Wallops Island facility for calibration of radar instrumentation.
July 13: White Sands Proving Ground (WSPG) was activated.
July 14: AAF A-20's from Hollandia set fire to Japanese oil fields at Boela, Ceram, in the first use of rocket bombs in the Southwest Pacific.
July 16: First test atomic devise exploded in New Mexico.
July 20: Navy Little Joe antiaircraft missile made two successful flights at Applied Physics Laboratory test station at Island Beach, N.J.
July 23: Life published drawings of a manned space station as envisioned by the German rocket scientists of Peenemünde.
During July: First launching of a two-stage rocket-propelled research model, the Tiamat missile, which employed six rockets as boosters, had automatic stabilization, its maneuvers were programed, and its testing was the first research program of the NACA's Wallops Island Station.
August 6: First atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
August 9: Second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
August 14: World War II ended with Japanese surrender.
---: Team of American scientists was dispatched to Europe to collect information and equipment relating to German rocket progress.
August 24: First successful use of a telemetry system in a rocket-propelled flight research model, the two-stage Tiamat at NACA Wallops Island, Va.
During August: First successful U.S. chemical gas, generator-driven, turbopump fed, regeneratively cooled rocket engine (XCALT-6000), delivered to AAF by Aerojet-General Corp.
---: Components for approximately 100 V-2 ballistic missiles were shipped from Germany to White Sands Proving Ground.
---: Joint Army-Navy Aeronautical Board established Research Committee to investigate and report on matters affecting research, development, and testing of aircraft, including liaison with NACA and industry, and to recommend action to foster aeronautical research and development.
September 8: William F. Durand, one of the original members of the NACA in 1915, retired.
September 20: First flight of airplane powered by propeller-turbine engines, made in England by experimental Gloster Meteor powered with Rolls Royce Trent-engines with five-bladed propellers.
September 26: The Navy publicly demonstrated the Ryan Fireball FR-1 at NAS Anacostia, the first propeller-and-jet-powered airplane designed for aircraft carriers.
---: Army Wac Corporal, first development flight, fired at White Sands, established U.S. record of 43.5 miles height, and was the first U.S. liquid-propellant rocket developed with Government funds (constructed by Douglas and Aerojet under JPL Project).
During September: First volume of the Toward New Horizons reports of the Army Air Forces Scientific Advisory Group (headed by Von Kármán), entitled Science: The Key to Air Supremacy, was submitted to the Commanding General of the AAF. These reports prepared by leading scientists are classic in their assessment of future developments emerging out of World War II advancements.
October 3: A Navy Committee for Evaluating the Feasibility of Space Rocketry (CEFSR) was established by BuAer. In November 1945, CEFSR recommended high priority for satellite development and estimated cost between $5 and $8 million.
October 11: First launch of full Wac Corporal (WAC-A) at WSPG attained an altitude of 235,000 feet.
October 18: NACA Langley's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD) launched the first successful drag research vehicle for wing and body research, forerunner of a large series of flight tests of various wings and bodies in a combination of transonic and supersonic speeds providing basic design information later applied on all later supersonic aircraft and missiles.
October 30: Chief of Army Ordnance invited Secretary of the Navy to utilize the White Sands Proving Ground (WSPG) as a test range for naval-guided missiles (BuOrd) and for pilotless aircraft (BuAer).
During October: Secretary of War Patterson approved plan to bring top German scientists to United States to aid military research and development. Small group of German rocket specialists brought to United States under Project Paperclip to work on missile development at Fort Bliss and White Sands Proving Ground.
---: Navy BuOrd established Guided Missiles, Jet Propulsion and Counter-measures Section in its Research and Development Division.
November 6: The first jet landing on an aircraft carrier was made by Ens. Jake C. West, USN, in an FR-1 Navy turbojet and conventional reciprocating-engine fighter.
November 7: Bell Aircraft Corp. announced successful test flights of a jet-propelled P-59 by remote control television was used to read the instruments.
During November: Guided Missiles Committee of the Joint Committee on New Weapons and Equipment (JNW) drafted Dewey Report on "A National Program for Guided Missiles."
December 3: The first USAAF jet fighter unit, the 412th Fighter Group, received its first Lockheed P-80 aircraft at March Field, Calif.
December 9: First Stratovision flight test made at Middle River, Md., by Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Glenn L. Martin Co. Telecasts were made from the airplane flying in the stratosphere.
December 14: AAF contracted with Bell for development of three supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by liquid rockets. Designated XS-2, and later X-2.
December 17: Rocket-Sonde Research Branch constituted in Naval Research Laboratory to conduct scientific exploration of the upper atmosphere.
December 19: President Truman submitted his plan to Congress for the unification of the armed services.
During December: Office of Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development created in Hq. USAAF, headed by Maj. Gen. C. E. LeMay.
---: More than 100 German rocket scientists and engineers, who had agreed to come to the United States under Project Paperclip, arrived at Fort Bliss, Tex.
---: Navy BuAer awarded contract to Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at Cal Tech to conduct research whose findings were to be used in formulating policy for a projected high-altitude earth satellite vehicle.
During 1945: Abe Silverstein of Lewis Laboratory made basic application of ramjet technology to the problem of afterburner design, leading to the first full-scale afterburner tests.
---: New wind tunnels placed under construction at NACA's Ames Laboratory at Moffett Field, Langley Laboratory at Hampton, Va., and Propulsion Laboratory at Cleveland, to attain speeds of 1,400, 1,800, and 2,600 mph with sized throats.
---: German Heinkel He-162 Salamander or "Volksjaeger" jet fighter appeared operationally, while the prototype of a heavy jet bomber appeared in the Junkers Ju-287 (four-engine) with auxiliary take-off rockets, sweptforward wings, speed over 550 mph, and bomb load of 8,800 pounds.
End of 1945: Increase in speed of recipricating-engined fighter aircraft by 300 to 400 mph between World War I and World War II (speed being only one military criterion) was estimated to be 75 percent gain because of increased horsepower, 25 percent from aerodynamic improvement.
---: Dr. Jerome C. Hunsaker pointed out that U.S. aeronautical research effort during World War II was based upon short-range policy of about 90 percent for specific development problems applied to help win the war and 10 percent on basic research to gain needed knowledge. The national research effort has "concentrated on the improvement of aircraft in the production program."
January 2: Special investigation of high temperature aluminium alloys begun by J. C. McGee, Wright Field engineer, which led by June 1947 to useful alloy known as "ML," named after the Materials Laboratory.
January 10: An Army R-5, demonstrated by C. A. Moeller and D. D. Viner, set an unofficial world helicopter record by climbing to 21,000 feet at Stratford, Conn.
January 16: U.S. upper atmosphere research program initiated with captured German V-2 rockets. A V-2 panel of representatives of various interested agencies was created, and a total of more than 60 V-2's were fired before the supply ran out. The Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University then undertook to develop a medium-altitude rocket, the Aerobee, while the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) directed its efforts to the development of a large high-altitude rocket, first called the Neptune, later the Viking.
January 19: First glide flight of AAF-NACA XS-1 rocket research airplane (No.1 of the original three X-1's built), by Jack Woolams, Bell Aircraft test pilot, at Pinecastle Army Air Base, Fla.
January 26: Army announced creation by AAF of the First Experimental Guided Missiles Group to develop and test rocket missiles at Eglin Field, Fla.
---: Naval Aviation Ordnance Test Station was established at NAAS Chincoteague to develop aviation ordnance and guided missiles.
During January: First missile launched at Naval Air Facility, Point Mugu, Calif., a KVW-1 Loon, USN name for AAF robot bomb (JB-2) modeled on the German V-1.
February 3: Development of a plane with automatic devices to preset takeoff, flight, and landing, with the pilot doing nothing except monitoring the equipment, disclosed by AAF.
February 19: S. Paul Johnston appointed Director of the IAS to replace Lester D. Gardner, retiring after 15 years of service.
March 7: BuAer Committee for Evaluating the Feasibility of Space Rocketry (CEFSR) held joint meeting with AAF representatives to work out joint satellite development program based on BuAer proposal. Nothing resulted until a subsequent Project Rand report and Navy CEFSR proposal were presented to RDB, Committee on Guided Missiles, Technical Evaluation Group in March 1948.
March 11: First successful operation of afterburner at altitude conditions in America, in Lewis Altitude Wind Tunnel, and reported by Fleming and Dietz.
March 12: Chief of Naval Operations directed that Glomb, Gorgon II-C, and Little Joe guided missiles be discontinued and that Gargoyle, Gorgon II-A, and Dove be limited to test and research vehicles. He directed that Loon be continued as a possible interim weapon, the Bat be completed, and the Kingfisher, Bumblebee, and Lark be continued as high-priority missile developments.
March 15: First American-assembled V-2 static fired at White Sands Proving Ground.
March 22: First American rocket to escape earth's atmosphere, the JPL-Ordnance Wac, reached 50-mile height after launch from WSPG.
During March: Fleet Adm. William D. Leahy sent memorandum to the Secretaries of the War and Navy Departments on a national program for development of guided missiles.
---: AAF established Project Rand as separate department of Douglas Aircraft Co. plant at Santa Monica, Calif., to study supersonic aircraft, missiles, and earth satellites.
---: Navy successfully flight tested XSAM Talos surface-to-air guided missile.
---: USAAF established initial program on ballistic missile defense, a contract for study of interceptor weapon to cope with V-2-type missiles. In April a second contractor began study of defense against true ICBM.
April 1: Bell Aircraft Corp. contracted with AAF (under Project MX-776) to produce a 100-mile guided missile (later designated the Rascal).
April 16: First flight test of American-assembled V-2 rocket launched by the Army at White Sands Proving Ground, N. Mex. In July firings, Missiles Nos. 5 and 9 set new altitude records of slightly over 100 miles, while Missile 17 set velocity record of 3,600 mph.
April 17: Army Ground Forces submitted to the Guided Missile Committee a summary of its program on antiaircraft, assault, antiship, air-launched close support, and long-range strategic guided missiles.
April 19: Project MX-774 inaugurated by AAF with Consolidated-Vultee to study rocket capabilities with an ICBM as a final objective.
April 22: Glenn L. Martin Co. contracted with the AAF to produce (under Project MX-771) a surface-to-surface guided missile (later designated the Matador).
---: U.S. Weather Bureau in cooperation with Army, Navy, NACA, Air Transport Association, and several universities, began series of flights into thunderstorms with pilotless P-61 "Black Widows" and piloted sailplanes to obtain scientific data.
May 8: Chief of Naval Operations directed BuAer to make preliminary investigation of earth satellite vehicle, such an investigation to "contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of guided missiles, communications, meteorology, and other technical fields with military applications."
May 16: AAF established an Institute of Technology at Wright Field to graduate 350 officers annually.
May 17: Original design and development of Aerobee sounding rocket begun when contract was given to Aerojet Engineering Corp.
---: First flight of Douglas XB-43, light jet-propelled bomber.
May 28: AAF initiated study of use of atomic propulsion for aircraft, Project NEPA.
May 29: War Department Equipment Board concluded in its report that missiles would play a prominent role in future warfare. It established requirements for seven types of missiles, including a strategic ground-to-ground missile for use at ranges from 150 to several thousand miles.
June 6: Joint Army-Navy Research and Development Board created for purpose of coordinating all activities of joint interest in fields of aeronautics, atomic energy, electronics, geographical exploration, geophysical sciences, and guided missiles.
June 14: Navy established Naval Ordnance Missile Test Center at WSPG.
June 17: First meeting of the AAF Scientific Advisory Board met in the Pentagon, chaired by Theodore von Kármán.
June 19: NACA Langley's PARD launched first successful control-surface research vehicle at Wallps Island for evaluating controllability with a roll rate transmitter and Doppler radar.
---: AAF contracted with Sverdrup & Parcel, Inc., for study utility and cost requirements, and site surveys for both an AAF Air Engineering Development Center, and a NACA National Scientific Research Center.
June 24: Office of Naval Research approved program for high-altitude manned flight, Project Helios, based upon concept presented by Jean Piccard in February for using clustered plastic balloons.
During June: First U.S. airborne infrared tests by USAAF.
July 6: Antiaircraft and Guided Missile Center Activated at Fort Bliss, Tex.
July 9: Subcommittee of the Guided Missiles Committee of the JCS recommended that location be sought for a long-range missile proving ground.
July 21: First U.S. all turbojet to operate from an aircraft carrier, a McDonnell XFD-1 "Phantom" from the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
August 2: National Air Museum was established under the Smithsonian Institution by act of Congress.
August 6: Two unmanned B-17 drones flown from Hilo, Hawaii, to Muroc, Calif.
August 8: First flight of the XB-36, the development of which had begun in 1941.
August 17: Sergeant Lambert of Wright Field, Ohio, became the first person in the United States to be ejected from an airplane by means of emergency escape equipment (ejected from a P-61 airplane traveling 302 miles per hour at an altitutde of 7,800 feet).
August 26: Army Ground Forces informed Chief of Staff that development of certain missiles had reached a point where an assignment of operational responsibility was possible.
September 17: Experimental booster for Nike R&D system first tested at WSPG.
September 30: 13 engineers, instrument technicians, and technical observers were ordered TDY from Langley Laboratory to the Air Force test facility at Muroc, Calif., to assist in the X-1 flight research program. Named as the NACA Muroc Flight Test Unit, this group under Walter Williams was the origin of the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif.
October 1: Naval Air Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, Calif., was established to conduct tests and evaluations of guided missiles and components.
---: Navy Lockheed PV-2, Truculent Turtle, set a record of nonstop long-distance flight, completing an 11,236-mile trip from Perth, Australia, to Columbus, Ohio, in 55 hours 15 minutes.
October 7: First of three XS-1 (later X-1) rocket research airplanes moved from Bell Aircraft's Niagara Falls plant to Muroc, Calif.
October 11: First glide flight of XS-1 (No. 2) by Chalmers Goodlin, Bell test pilot, at Muroc, Calif.
October 24: V-2 rocket No. 13 launched from WSPG carried camera which took motion pictures of the earth at approximately 65 miles altitude (pictures covered 40,000 square miles.) Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab experiment.
During October: Army Ordnance initiated Bumper Project for development leading to a two-stage rocket test vehicle, which resulted in use of JPL WAC Corporal as second stage of a V-2.
During Fall: Reaction Motors began design and development of rocket engine for the Navy Viking sounding rocket.
During November: First snow from a natural cloud produced by V. Schaefer of General Electric, the experiment carried out by means of dry-ice pellets dropped from a plane over Greylock Mountain, Mass.
December 8: First successful powered (RMI XLR-11 rocket engine) flight of an XS-1, flown by Chalmers Goodlin, Bell test pilot, reached a speed of 550 mph. This was first U.S. aircraft designed for supersonic speeds.
December 17: Space biological research program was initiated at Holloman AFB, N. Mex., by the National Institutes of Health.
---: Velocity and altitude record for single-stage rocket (3,600 mph and 116 miles altitude) made by V-2 at WSPG.
During 1946: Signal Corps by radio-echo transmissions between the Earth and the Moon, proved radio transmission across space was feasible with moderate power.
---: Jet Propulsion Laboratory under Army Ordnance contract developed the field of solid-propellant rocketry such as castable propellants, case bonding techniques, and radial burning techniques.
---: Daniel Guggenheim Medal for 1946 awarded to Frank Whittle for development of jet propulsion engines.
---: Program of transonic and hypersonic free-flight research on ramjet and rocket-propelled test vehicles launched from piloted aircraft inaugurated at NACA Lewis Laboratory.
---: Commandant of the School of Aviation Medicine, Col. H. G. Armstrong, and the AAF Air Surgeon, Brig. Gen. M. C. Grow, proposed establishment of aeromedical center for research and teaching.
---: Office of Naval Research contracted with General Mills for construction of a cluster of 100 plastic balloons for high altitude atmosphere research (Project Helios).
During 1946-47: Transonic bump technique¾using floor- or wall-mounted airfoil surface in subsonic wind tunnel to get transonic flow¾developed in 7- by 10-foot wind tunnel at NACA Langley Laboratory. A similar development was conducted by Lockheed in the California Cooperative Tunnel during the same period. This technique was a logical step from the earlier wing-flow technique developed by the Langley Flight Research Division, and it permitted testing in the range of Mach numbers from low subsonic to Mach 1.2 until the slotted-throat transonic tunnel was developed and put into operation at Langely 2 years later.
January 8: First experimental operation of model slotted-throat wind tunnel. Langley Laboratory's Ray H. Wright, working theoretically, and Vernon G. Ward, working experimentally with a parasite tunnel attached to the Langley 16-foot high-speed tunnel, collaborated in an effort that resulted in establishment of transonic flow with the use of longitudinal slots in the walls of the throat of a conventional subsonic tunnel. Known as the slotted-throat technique, first major installation was made in the Langley 8-foot subsonic high-speed tunnel in December 1949, a breakthrough in wind tunnel technique.
January 23: Telemetry operated successfully in a V-2 firing at WSPG, Army Ordnance's Hermes telemetry system.
February 5: President Truman directed that production of nuclear weapons continue, following the recommendations of the AEC and the Secretaries of War and Navy.
February 12: Navy Loon launched from submarine Cusk at Point Mugu, first launching of a guided missile from a submarine.
February 17: Wac Corporal (WAC-B), fired from WSPG, attained an altitude of 240,000 feet.
February 20: First of a series of V-2 firings (No. 20) known as Blossom Project, tested ejection of canister and its recovery by parachute, containing fruit flies and various types of seeds exposed to cosmic rays.
March 4: Air operations in the Antarctic known as Operation Highjump ended. From December 24, 1946, Navy PBM's and R4D's logged 650 hours in photographic mapping of 1,500,000 square miles of the interior and 5,500 miles of the coastline, the equivalent of about half the area of the United States and its entire coastline.
March 6: First four-engine jet bomber, the XB-45 built by North American, made first test flight at Muroc, Calif., with George Krebs as pilot. Its engines were arranged in pairs in single nacelles in each wing.
March 7: USN V-2 flight from WSPG took first photograph at 100-mile altitude.
During March: First test flights of plastic balloons conducted by General Mills at Minneapolis, Minn., for ONR Project Helios.
---: AAF transferred facilities for testing guided missiles from Wendover Field in Utah and Tonopah in Nevada, to Alamogordo Field (subsequently renamed Holloman AFB) in New Mexico.
April 15: First flight of Douglas D-558-I research airplane successful, Gene May, Douglas test pilot, as pilot. Airplane developed was a Navy-NACA project and three were built.
April 24: French Government established rocket test range at Colomb Bechar, Algeria.
April 25: NACA Langley's PARD launched its first rocket-propelled model of a complete airplane for performance evaluation (AF XF-91), at Wallops Island. This was followed by flight tests of models of practically all Air Force and Navy supersonic airplanes.
April 30: Standard system of designating guided missiles and assigning popular names was adopted by the Army and Navy. Basic designation adopted was two-letter combination of the three letters A (Air), S (Surface), U (Underwater), the first letter indicating origin of missile, the second letter its objective, to be followed by the letter "M" for missile. Thus a surface-to-air missile was designated "SAM."
During April: First Deacon rocket launched at Wallops Island, which achieved a velocity of 4,200 feet per second.
May 21: NACA Langley Laboratory demonstrated practically noiseless airplane with five-bladed propellor and muffled exhaust.
May 27: Army Corporal E, first U.S. surface-to-surface ballistic guided missile, was fired with results exceeding expectations (a JPL project).
May 29: V-2 impacted 11/2 miles south of Juarez, Mexico, resulting in new safety measures at WSPG.
June 5: First AAF research balloon launch (a cluster of rubber balloons) at Holloman, by New York University team under contract with Air Material Command.
June 17: Princeton University started construction of 4,000-mph wind tunnel.
June 19: World speed record regained by United States when P-80R flown by Col. Albert Boyd attained 623.8 mph at Muroc, Calif.
June 30: In meeting at Wright-Patterson, AAF and NACA representatives agreed to divide responsibilities for X-1 flight testing: AF exploit maximum performance in a few flights NACA acquire detailed research information.
July 1: Contract with Convair for MX-774 "Upper Air Test Vehicle," predecessor of the Atlas ICBM, was cancelled by the AAF.
July 3: Start of polyethylene balloon operations at Holloman, a 10-balloon cluster launched by New York University staff with a payload of less than 50 pounds, which reached an altitude of 18,500 feet.
July 9: Subsonic ramjet engine successfully flown in Navy Gorgon IV (PTV-2) in 28-minute flight test at Naval Air Missile Test Center.
July 18: President Truman designated a five-man Air Policy Committee, with Thomas K. Finletter of New York as Chairman, to submit by 1 January 1948 a broad plan to give the United States the "greatest possible benefits from aviation."
July 26: President Truman signed the Armed Forces Unification Act, creating a Department of the Air Force, coequal with Army and Navy, and creating a National Military Establishment under the Secretary of Defense. Stuart Symington sworn in as USAF Secretary and activities transferred to USAF effective 18 September, 1947.
During July: USAF relinquished responsibility for Army's missile program and Army assigned primary responsibility for it to Ordnance.
---: Soviet MiG-15 first flew but engine performance was unsatisfactory, a problem solved with purchase of 55 British Derwent V and Nene (4,500-pound thrust) engines, first placed in series production, then improved with the RD-45 engine (5,000-pound thrust) and the VK-1 (6,000-pound thrust) engine.
August 1-3: Boeing B-29 set a new official world "distance in a closed-circuit record" with a flight of 8,854.308 miles, Lt. Col. O. P. Lassiter as pilot.
August 8: A. L. Berger of Wright Field received the Thurman H. Bane Award for 1947 for work in developing new types of high-temperature ceramic coatings for use in aircraft engines.
August 16: Physicist Martin Pomerantz announced at Swarthmore College that he had sent a flight of four free balloons, carrying cosmic ray equipment, to a record height of at least 127,000 feet.
August 20: Comdr. T. Caldwell (USN) flew the Douglas D-558-I (No. 1) Sky-streak, powered by a General Electric TG-180 turbojet, to a new world's speed record of 640.7 mph. Five days later Maj. Marion Carl, USMC, added another 10 mph flying D-558-I (No. 2).
August 22: Dr. Hugh L. Dryden appointed Director of Aeronautical Research of the NACA, replacing Dr. George W. Lewis.
September 2-6: First Joint Technical Sessions by the royal Aeronautical Society, Great Britain, and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, held in London.
September 6: German V-2 rocket launched from U.S. aircraft carrier Midway in Atlantic tests, exploding prematurely after a 6-mile flight.
September 22: Air Force C-54 completed first transatlantic robot-controlled flight from Stephenville, Newfoundland, to Brize Norton, England, a distance of 2,400 miles.
September 25: First flight under ONR Project Skyhook, an unmanned plastic balloon, from St. Coud, Minn.
---: First successful firing of Applied Physics Laboratory Aerobee research rocket at White Sands Proving Ground.
September 26: Maj. Gen. William E. Kepner, was named chief of the new atomic energy division of the USAF.
September 30: Research and Development Board (RDB) of DOD superseded Joint Research and Development Board, with Vannevar Bush named as Chairman.
During September: After completing studies, Project Rand reported that earth satellites were technically feasible.
October 1: First flight of the North American XF-86 Sabre Jet, classic sweptwing USAF fighter aircraft until the Century series.
October 9: General Electric engineers obtained first carefully instrumented heat-transfer data from supersonic flight when V-2 fired from WSPG attained 3,400 mph.
October 10: U.S. Patent Office issued patent on the Norden bombsight, which Carl L. Norden had applied for 17 years earlier.
October 14: The first supersonic flight in manned aircraft in level or climbing flight was made by Capt. Charles E. Yeager (USAF) at Muroc, Calif., in a rocket-powered NACA-USAF research plane, Bell XS-1, later the X-1 (M=1.06).
October 30: Dr. H. J. E. Reid, Engineer-in-Charge of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory (1926-60), received the Medal of Merit from President Truman for wartime contributions to American airpower.
During October: Committee on Guided Missiles of RDB assigned responsibility for coordinating work on earth satellite program which had been conducted independently by each of the military services.
November 14: First complete Aerobee rocket was fired to a height of 190,000 feet from White Sands Proving Ground, N. Mex.
November 15: Air Force disclosed that the world's first ramjet helicopter, the McDonnell Flying Bike, had been successfully flown for 6 months.
November 26: First successful hypersonic-flow wind tunnel (11 inch) placed into operation at March 7 at Langley Laboratory.
November 28: Norton Sound was assigned to Operational Development Force for use as an experimental rocket-firing ship, alterations initiated at Naval Shipyard at Philadelphia in March 1948, and completed October 1, 1948.
December 10: Lt. Col. John P. Stapp (USAF MC), made his first rocket-propelled research sled ride.
December 17: USAF Boeing XB-47 Stratojet made first flight from Seattle to Moses Lake, first medium turbojet bomber and the first with engines (six) mounted on pylons.
December 23: Invention of transitor. (Smith, NYT 12/12/72, 45) see Master.
During 1947: USAF SAM initiated study of ecological conditions on other planets.
---: During a Politburo meeting reviewing the problem of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, Premier Joseph Stalin reportedly stated that a transatlantic rocket capable of hitting New York City "would make it easier to talk with the gentleman-shopkeeper, Harry Truman, and keep him pinned down where we want him." This probably reflected the high priority accorded large rocket development in the U.S.S.R. at this time.
January 1: President's Finletter Commission submitted its comprehensive report entitled "Survival in the Air Age."
January 4: University of California announced completion of pilot model for low-pressure supersonic wind tunnel, while NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory placed its low-density wind tunnel into operation about this time.
January 12: Northrop Aircraft Co. announced that rocket-powered test vehicles at Muroc Air Base, Calif., had attained a speed of 1,019 mph.
January 15: Gen. H. S. Vandenberg, Vice Chief of Staff, USAF, approved policy calling for development of earth satellite components and the initiation of satellite development at the proper time.
January 30: Orville Wright died in Dayton, Ohio, at the age of 76, thus ending his 28 years as a member of the NACA. In his lifetime, the speed of the airplane had been increased from 0 mph to almost 1,000 mph.
February 4: First flight of reseach airplane Douglas D-558-II (No. 1), John Martin of Douglas as pilot. Airplane had both jet and rocket engines and was flown from ground takeoff.
February 6: Successful electronic flight control exercised on V-2 launch to a 70-mile altitude at White Sands, N. Mex., by General Electric technicians for Army Ordnance.
March 4: NACA's Flight Research Division pilot, Herbert H. Hoover, became the first civilian to fly supersonic, in the XS-1 (No. 2) at Muroc, Calif.
March 6: ONR Aerobee sounding rocket attained an altitude of 78 miles.
March 11-14: Key West Agreement formulated by military service chiefs which delineated respective service roles and missions. It did not clearly assign military aeronautical and rocket research and development responsibilities to the services.
March 18: V-2 Upper Atmosphere Research Panel, representing all U.S. interested agencies, was renamed the Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel.
March 29: Technical Evaluation Group of the RDB, Guided Missiles Committee, after reviewing Navy CEFSR and USAF Project Rand satellite proposals, stated that "neither the Navy nor the USAF has as yet established either a military or a scientific utility commensurate with the presently expected cost of a satellite vehicle. However, the question of utility deserves further study and examination."
May 2: The Navy announced successful testing of a submarine capable of firing guided missiles.
May 3: Howard C. Lilly killed in takeoff of D-588-I (No. 2) research airplane at Muroc, the fist NACA test pilot killed in line of duty.
May 13: Two-stage Bumper-Wac fired at WSPG, the V-2 first stage reaching 70 miles and the Wac Corporal 79-mile altitude.
May 23: Army dedicated a continuous wind tunnel capable of 3,000 mph at Aberdeen, Md.
May 26: First North American NATIV missile launched at WSPG.
June 10: Air Force confirmed repeated attainment of supersonic speeds by X-1 (formerly XS-1) flown by Capt. C. E. Yeager.
June 26: Berlin airlift began, which continued until September 30, 1949, although the Russians ended their blockade of the city on May 12, 1949. 2,343,000 tons of supplies were airlifted on 277,000 flights.
During June: William H. Phillips of the Langley Flight Research Division published NACA report (TN-1627) which contained theoretical prediction of the then-not-recognized problem of roll coupling (sometimes referred to as "inertial coupling"). This phenomenon was to plague future high-speed aircraft with short wings and long fuselages, and almost 9 years passed before aerodynamicists were to use Phillips' theory to explain inertial coupling troubles.
During June: Bell Laboratories announced invention of the transistor of the point-contact type.
July 13: First Convair MX-774 (RTV-A-2) test rocket was successfully launched, first demonstrating use of gimballed engines and design features later incorporated in the Atlas ICBM. This was the first of three Convair-sponsored test flights.
July 26: Two separate rockets fired from White Sands, one a V-2 which reached an altitude of 60.3 miles, the other a Navy Aerobee which reached an altitude of 70 miles, carried cameras which photographed the curvature of the earth.
During August: Northrop F-89 Scorpion, an all-weather jet fighter with electronic intercept and fire control begun in 1946, first flew.
September 1: An XR-82 photographed a 2,700-mile strip of the United States from coast to coast in a single flight, using 390 individual frames and 325 feet of film.
September 5: Navy JRM-2 Caroline Mars carried a 68,282-pound cargo from Patuxent River, Md., to Cleveland, the heaviest payload ever lifted by an aircraft.
September 15: Committee on Guided Missiles of the Research and Development Board approved recommendation that Army Hermes project "be given the task of providing the National Military Establishment with a continuing analysis of the long-range rocket problem as an expansion of their task on an earth satellite vehicle."
---: A world speed record of 671 mph set by Maj. Richard L. Johnson, USAF, in F-86A at Muroc, Calif.
September 27: Second Corvair MX-774 test rocket fired.
September 28: An Army Signal Corps unmanned balloon, released at Belmar, N.J., set a 140,000-foot altitude record.
---: NACA Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory in Cleveland was redesignated the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, in memory of Dr. George W. Lewis who died on July 12, 1948.
September 30: Third Bumper-Wac launch from WSPG, the V-2 reaching 93.4 miles, the Wac-Corporal not firing.
During September: Delta-wing Convair XF-92 first flew, the precursor of the F-102A.
October 13: First launching of a rocket-propelled "flying wind tunnel" model by NACA Langley's PARD at Wallops Island, to measure roll damping of wings at transonic speeds.
October 19: Photographs of the earth's surface taken from altitudes between 60 and 70 miles by cameras installed in rockets, were released by the Navy.
October 31: The Air Force revealed the use of ramjet engines for the first time on piloted aircraft, a modified F-80.
November 4: USAF announced formation of the Rand Corp., successor to Project Rand, to assemble most advanced scientific, technical, industrial, and military knowledge available and bring it to bear on major Air Force decisions.
November 10-12: The first symposium on aeromedical problems of space travel was held at the School of Aviation Medicine, San Antonio, Tex.
November 22: The Wright Kitty Hawk airplane arrived at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., after 20 years in the South Kensington Museum, London.
November 30: Curtiss-Wright demonstrated its new reversible-pitch propellers which enabled a C-54 to make a controlled descent from 15,000 to 1,000 feet in 1 minute 22 seconds.
December 2: Third Convair MX-774 test missile successfully fired.
December 11: Secretary of Defense established Weapons Systems Evaluation Group.
December 13: Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson directed a review of military missile programs, under the aegis of Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington.
December 14: Jet Propulsion Centers established at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology by the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation to provide research facilities and graduate training for qualified young scientists and engineers in rocketry and astronautics. Robert H. Goddard Chairs were established at each center.
December 16: First flight of tailless X-4 (No. 1) research airplane completed, Northrop test pilot Charles Tucker as pilot. Two X-4's were built by Northrop and some 60 research flights were made by NACA at Muroc with the X-4 (No. 2) after about a dozen Air Force flights.
December 29: The first report of the Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, reported that the United States had been engaged in research on an earth satellite. The Report of the Executive Secretary of the Research and Development Board, contained as an appendix, stated: "The Earth Satellite Vehicle Program, which was being carried out independently by each military service, was assigned to the Committee on Guided Missiles for coordination."
During 1948: First turboprop airliner flown, the Vickers Viscount.
---: Human Centrifuge became operational at Aero Medical Laboratory at Wright Field.
January 7: X-1, flown by Capt. Charles E. Yeager, climbed 23,000 feet after launch at record rate of 13,000 feet per minute, at Muroc.
January 11: First launching of a rocket model employing known but nonaerodynamic torque from canted rocket nozzles, for determining damping in roll of wings, at NACA's Wallops Island, Va.
January 26: First guided-missile test ship, U.S.S. Norton Sound, launched its first missile, a Loon, off NAMTC, Point Mugu, Calif.
During January: Army established formal requirement for a surface-to-air missile system to combat ballistic missiles.
February 9: The Department of Space Medicine was established at the School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph AFB, Tex.
February 24: An Army JPL Bumper-Wac two-stage rocket (a Wac Corporal mounted on a V-2 first stage) attained a record altitude of 244 miles and record speed of 5,150 miles per hour over White Sands, N. Mex., yielding information about ion densities in the F-region of the ionosphere.
March 2: At Carswell Air Force Base, Tex., USAF Boeing B-50, Lucky Lady II, with Capt. James Gallagher as pilot, completed the first nonstop, round-the-world flight in history, having covered 23,452 miles in 94 hours 1 minute, and having been refueled in the air over the Azores, Arabia, the Philippines, and Hawaii.
March 4: Navy flying boat, Caroline Mars, set new world passenger-load record by carrying 269 persons from San Diego to San Francisco.
March 12: Development of a multichannel telemetering system announced by the Navy.
March 16: First experimental track-type landing gear delivered to USAF, received by 314th Troop Carrier Wing from Fairchild Aviation Corp. for installation on C-82 aircraft.
March 25: New world helicopter speed record of 133.9 mph at Niagara Falls, N.Y., claimed by XH-12 of Bell Aircraft Co.
March 26: USAF B-36 with six reciprocating and four jet engines made first test flight at Forth Worth, Tex.
March 30: The President signed a bill providing for construction of a "permanent" radar defense network for the United States.
During March: Concept of launching of small high-performance rockets suspended from a balloon above most of the atmosphere (later called "Rockoons"), developed by Cmdr. Lee Lewis, Cmdr. G. Halvorson, S. F. Singer, and J. A. Van Allen during Aerobee firing cruise of U.S.S. Norton Sound.
April 8: First successful rocket-propelled RM-10 research missile for drag and heat transfer studies at transonic and supersonic speeds, making use of skin calorimeter techniques, at Wallops Island, Va.
April 21: First European flight of aircraft powered solely with ramjet engine made in France, an air-launched Leduc which flew for 12 minutes. Rene Leduc had worked with ramjet design since 1935.
May 3: Naval Research Laboratory's Martin Viking rocket No. 1 fired at White Sands Proving Ground, N. Mex., reached an altitude of 511/2 miles and a speed of 2,250 mph its payload contained upper air pressure and temperature experiments.
---: President Truman approved amendments to the basic legislation of 1915 covering "Rules and Regulations for the Conduct of the Work of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," a basic statement of organizational responsibilities.
May 11: President Truman signed a bill providing a 5,000-mile guided-missile test range, which was subsequently established at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
May 13: Prototype of British Canberra medium jet bomber first flown, at Warton, England.
May 24-26: Second International Conference on Aeronautics, combining the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, held in New York.
During May: Single-stage Russian rocket attained an altitude of 68 miles with an instrument payload of 264 to 286 pounds, according to Tass, March 27, 1958.
---: Pratt & Whitney submitted specifications for XJ57-P-1 turbojet engine, basic design for which had begun in 1947 and for which production began in February 1953. The J57 ultimately powered the B-52, YB-60, F-100, F-101 YF-105A, KC-135, Boeing 707, F4D, and A3D, as well as the SNARK (SM-62) missile.
---: NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory completed a 10- by 14-inch supersonic wind tunnel with top Mach number of 5, later increased to 6.3.
June 9: First use of small pulse rockets in flight as disturbing impulse for evaluation of dynamic stability in a model of the Rascal missile, at NACA's Wallops Island.
June 14: Second V-2 flight carrying a live AF Aero Medical Laboratory monkey, Albert II, attained an altitude of 83 miles the monkey survived but died on impact.
June 27: Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL) at White Oak, Md., dedicated new aeroballistic facilities, which included supersonic and hypersonic wind tunnels (up to Mach 10) and the first pressurized ballistic range.
During June: NACA's first hovering flights of a simplified propeller vertical takeoff landing (VTOL) airplane model conducted at Langley Laboratory.
August 8: First operational emergency use of T-1 partial pressure suit by Maj. F. K. Everest (USAF) in X-1 aircraft at 69,000 feet suit's automatic operation saved pilot and aircraft.
August 9: First use in United States of a pilot ejection seat, by Lt. J. L. Fruin (USN), from F2H-1 Banshee while making over 500 knots near Waterboro, S.C.
During August: Wernher von Braun named an Honorary Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.
October 1: Long-Range Proving Ground at Cape Canaveral was activated.
October 27: The Unitary Wind Tunnel Act (63 Stat. 936) authorized the construction of $136 million of new NACA facilities, $10 million for wind tunnels at universities, $6 million for a wind tunnel at the David W. Taylor Model Basin, and $100 million for the establishment of the Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center, at Tullahoma, Tenn., in recognition of the fact that industry could not subsidize expensive wind tunnels for research in transonic and supersonic flight.
November 3: Charles B. Moore (General Mills) made first manned flight in a polyethelene balloon over Minneapolis, Minn.
November 10: Piasecki HRP-2 passenger transport helicopter made first test flight.
November 21: USAF Sikorsky H-19 12-place helicopter made first test flight.
November 22: D-558-II Skyrocket exceeded the speed of sound at Edwards AFB, Calif. It was powered by both a Westinghouse J-34 turbojet engine and a Reaction Motors, Inc. rocket motor.
December 1: Supersonic wind tunnels, capable of 3,000-mph speeds, was dedicated at MIT.
December 2: First firing of USAF Aerobee research rocket (RTV-A-1a) at Holoman AFB, the development of which was initiated earlier in the year.
December 12: Last monkey, Albert IV, launched in V-2 series of tests at WSPG, a successful flight indicating no ill effects on monkey until impact of V-2.
December 22: North American YF-86D completed first flight test at Edwards AFB.
December 25: Air Force revealed development of stupalith, a ceramic which contracts when heated and expands when cooled, and which can stand heat of 2,000°, used on jet and rocket engines.
December 28: USAF reported that 2-year investigation had found that there was no such thing as a "flying saucer" and that Project Saucer at Wright-Patterson AFB had been discontinued.
During December: First continuous transonic flow established in NACA's Langley 8-foot high-speed wind tunnel with use of slotted-throat technique. (See January 8, 1947.) This was a major milestone in wind-tunnel technique.
During 1949: USAF Advisory Committee headed by Louis N. Ridenour recommended that Air Force research and development be consolidated into a single command.
---: First "probe and drogue" method of contact aerial refueling performed in England (developed by Flight Refueling, Ltd.). Early in year the USAF had issued requirement for development of a refueling method other than loop hose for use with single-seat jet fighter aircraft. After the nonstop round-the-world flight of the B-29 Luck Lady using the Boeing loop-hose method in March, Boeing developed the "boom technique."
---: Complete fixed-component combined loads testing machine was completed and operated at NACA Langley Laboratory, remaining in use through 1960. It was first machine capable of applying forces along each of three axes and moments about those axes (positive and negative), in any combination of forces and moments, each applied independently.
History hour: World record for greatest payload above 2,000 m
30 July 1939: Major Caleb Vance Haynes, United States Army Air Corps, with Captain William D. Old, Master Sergeant Adolph Cattarius and Staff Sergeant William J. Heldt, flew the Boeing XB-15 experimental long range heavy bomber to a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Greatest Payload Carried to a Height of 2,000 meters. The XB-15 carried 14,135 kilograms (31,162 pounds) to an altitude of 6,562 feet over Fairfield, Ohio. The flight set a second record by carrying 10,000 kilograms (22,046 pounds) to an altitude of 8,228 feet (2,508 meters). Both records were certified by the National Aeronautic Association, the American organization representing the FAI.
Major Caleb V. Haynes, Captain William D. Old, Master Sergeant Adolph Cattarius and Staff Sergeant William J. Heldt, crew of the record-setting Boeing XB-15. (FAI)
FAI Record File Num #8739 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – superseded since approved
Class: C (Powered Aeroplanes)
Sub-Class: C (Aviation with engine)
Type of record: Greatest payload carried to a height of 2 000 m
Course/Location: Fairfield, OH (USA)
Crew W.D. Old, A. Cattarius, W.J. Heldt
Aeroplane: Boeing XB-15 (35-277)
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney 1830-11
FAI Record File Num #8740 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – superseded since approved
Class: C (Powered Aeroplanes)
Sub-Class: C (Aviation with engine)
Type of record: Greatest payload carried to a height of 2 000 m
Course/Location: Fairfield, OH (USA)
Crew W.D. Old, A. Cattarius, W.J. Heldt
Aeroplane: Boeing XB-15 (35-277)
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney 1830-11
The Boeing Model 294, designated XB-15 by the Air Corps, was an experimental airplane designed to determine if a bomber with a 5,000 mile range was possible. It was designed at the same time as the Model 299 (XB-17), which had the advantage of lessons learned by the XB-15 design team. The XB-15 was larger and more complex than the XB-17 and took longer to complete. It first flew more than two years after the prototype B-17.
Boeing XB-15 35-277, a prototype long-range heavy bomber. (U.S. Air Force)
Designers had planned to use an experimental 3,421.19-cubic-inch-displacement (56.063 liter) liquid-cooled, supercharged and turbosupercharged Allison V-3420 twenty-four cylinder, four-bank “double V” engine which produced a maximum of 2,885 horsepower at 3,000 r.p.m. The engine was not available in time, however, and four air-cooled Pratt & Whitney R-1830 (Twin Wasp) engines were used instead. With one-third the horsepower, this substitution left the experimental bomber hopelessly underpowered as a combat aircraft.
Boeing XB-15 35-277. (U.S. Air Force)
The XB-15 was a very large four-engine mid-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear. It was of aluminum monocoque construction with fabric-covered flight control surfaces. The XB-15 had a ten-man crew which worked in shifts on long duration flights.
The prototype bomber was 87 feet, 7 inches (26.695 meters) long with a wingspan of 149 feet (45.415 meters) and overall height of 18 feet, 1 inch (5.512 meters). The airplane had an empty weight of 37,709 pounds (17,105 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight of 70,706 pounds (32,072 kilograms)—later increased to 92,000 pounds (41,730 kilograms).
As built, the XB-15 was powered by four air-cooled, supercharged, 1,829.39-cubic-inch-displacement (29.978 liter) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-11 (Twin Wasp S1B3-G) two-row 14-cylinder radial engines, rated at 850 horsepower at 2,450 r.p.m. and 5,000 feet ( meters), and 1,000 horsepower at 2,600 r.p.m. for take off., each. They turned three-bladed controllable-pitch propellers through a 3:2 gear reduction. The R-1830-11 was 4 feet, 8.66 inches (1.439 meters) long with a diameter of 4 feet, 0.00 inches (1.219 meters), and weighed 1,320 pounds (599 kilograms).
These gave the experimental airplane a maximum speed of 197 miles per hour (317 kilometers per hour) at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) and a cruise speed of 152 miles per hour (245 kilometers per hour) at 6,000 feet (1,829 meters). The service ceiling was 18,900 feet (5,761 meters) and maximum range was 5,130 miles (8,256 kilometers).
The bomber could carry a maximum of 12,000 pounds (5,443 kilograms) of bombs in its internal bomb bay, and was armed with three .30-caliber and three .50-caliber machine guns for defense .
Only one XB-15 was built. During World War II it was converted to a transport and redesignated XC-105. In 1945 it was stripped and abandoned at Albrook Field, Territory of the Canal Zone, Panama.
Boeing B-15 35-277 arrives in Panama (49509 A.C.)
Stratoliner 75th Anniversary
It was introduced 75 years ago, and only 10 were built. Hollywood movie producer and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes bought one of them. But Boeing&rsquos Stratoliner changed commercial aviation.
For the first time, passengers could &ldquofly above the weather&rdquo at high altitudes because of the airplane&rsquos pressurized cabin. The Stratoliner, the world&rsquos first pressurized commercial airplane, was born in the 1930s, during a time of rapid evolution in the science and technology of flight, beginning with dramatic advancements in aircraft structures. Wood and fabric gave way to metal, monoplanes replaced biplanes and, before the decade was out, another great innovation would revolutionize flight&mdashcabin pressurization.
Throughout the 1930s, pressurization experiments were taking place in Europe as well as the United States, where the U.S. Army was testing cabin pressurization with a modified Lockheed Electra designated XC-45. Boeing researchers were also experimenting with the technology and made it workable with the innovation of a cabin pressure regulator.
In 1932, Boeing had introduced the fast, all-metal Model 247, considered the first modern commercial airliner. It was a leap ahead of the competition, but its success was brief, as Douglas Aircraft quickly developed a challenger with the DC-2 and followed with the legendary DC-3. Faced with being shut out of the commercial airplane market, Boeing had to design the next leap in air travel.
Fortunately, Boeing had already developed the Model 299, a giant four-engine bomber that would become the B-17 Flying Fortress. The successful design of the B-17 became the basis for a new commercial airplane that would be that great leap: the Model 307.The new airplane combined the wings and tail surfaces from the B-17 with a cigar-shaped fuselage purposely designed to be a pressure vessel. Not only would its size, four engines, and long range be a market advantage, but the addition of cabin pressurization would allow Boeing to market an airplane that could fly passengers higher than 20,000 feet (6,100 meters)&mdash&ldquoabove the weather.&rdquo To reflect this capability Boeing named the Model 307 the Stratoliner.
Orders for the plane came in from Pan American Airways and TWA. Hughes also ordered a Stratoliner for his attempt at a world speed record. On New Year&rsquos Eve in 1938, the Stratoliner prototype took off from Boeing Field near Seattle on its inaugural flight. Tragically, that prototype and a crew of 10 would later be lost in an airline demonstration flight.
But the Stratoliner&rsquos success was short-lived. With the outbreak of war, Boeing turned to a maximum effort to build bombers and ended production after just 10 airplanes. During the war, Stratoliners were drafted into military service and made thousands of accident-free crossings of the Atlantic serving as VIP transports.
Only two Stratoliners remain: Howard Hughes&rsquo personal Stratoliner is now a houseboat and continues to be a popular attraction in Florida the last flyable 307, Pan Am&rsquos Clipper Flying Cloud, was fully restored by Boeing and delivered in August 2003 to the National Air and Space Museum, where it is on display at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.
Two different X-37B vehicles have flown a total of five missions, which are known as OTV-1, OTV-2, OTV-3 and OTV-4 (short for Orbital Test Vehicle). Four flights have reached space with the help of United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket. The fifth launched in September 2017 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
OTV-1 blasted off in April 2010 and stayed aloft for 224 days. OTV-2 stayed in space for more than twice as long, launching in March 2011 and returning to Earth 468 days later, in June 2012. OTV-3, which uses the same vehicle that flew the OTV-1 mission, began on Dec. 11, 2012, and ended 674 days later, in October 2014.
The OTV-4 mission marked the second flight for the X-37B that flew OTV-2. OTV-4 began on May 20, 2015, and broke OTV-3's duration record on March 25, 2017. After 718 days in space, the OTV-4 mission ended with a smooth runway landing on May 7, 2017. It was the first X-37B landing at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The three previous missions landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The OTV-5 mission launched on Sept. 7, 2017 on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The mission lasted 780 days (another record) carried the Air Force Research Laboratory Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader, an experiment designed to "test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipe technologies in the long-duration space environment," according to an Air Force statement. It also carried several other experiments and small satellites, Air Force officials said. OTV-5 landed on Oct. 27, 2019 at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility, marking the second time an X-27B has done so.
"The X-37 is a technology testbed, and as such, pushing the envelope is the mission," Joan Johnson-Freese, professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., told Space.com, referring to OTV-3. "Endurance is one of several X-37 profile parameters that are being tested, along with others, such as in-flight capabilities and turnaround time for use."
All X-37B missions to date have launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. While the first three touched down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, future missions beyond OTV-4 may continue to land at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, right next door to Cape Canaveral, officials have said. Boeing is using an old NASA space shuttle hangar at KSC to service the X-37B space planes for the U.S. Air Force.
Some of the largest warbirds used at the time include:
The Tupolev Tu-95 – A four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile carrier.
Initially used by the Soviet Union in 1956, it is anticipated to be used by the Russian Air Force until 2040 and possibly beyond. A different version of the bomber for nautical patrols is designated Tu-142, while a passenger airliner offshoot was entitled Tu-114.
The Tu-95 has four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines, each powering contra-rotating props. It is the only propeller-powered strategic bomber currently in operation. The tips of the propeller-blades move faster than the speed of sound and the unique wings slant back at a 35° angle.
The Tu-95 is one of the few mass-produced propeller powered aircraft with wings designed in this fashion.
The same 35° angle was popular enough that the design was repeated for use on the Boeing 707 and DC8 airplanes.
The Convair XC-99- Built by Convair for the United States Air Force in 1947, it was the largest piston-engine conveyance aircraft created from the Convair B-36 bomber, imitating the Convair’s wing and other structure designs. The first flight was on 24 November in San Diego, California and after successful analysis, it was delivered to the Air Force on 26 May 1949.
The Convair Model 37 was a passenger model based on the XC-99 but was never completed. In July 1950, the XC-99 flew its first mission conveying over one hundred thousand pounds of aircraft engines and parts from San Diego to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
The aircraft later broke an aviation record by raising 104,000 lbs. at an elevation of 5,000 ft.
In August 1953, the XC-99 fascinated the public when it made a 12,000-mile flight to Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany by way of Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda and Lajes Field in the Azores loaded with more than 60,000 pounds round trip.
The Petlyakov Pe-8 – Another Soviet heavy bomber built during the war was used to bomb Berlin in August of 1941. It was also used to raise the spirit of the Soviet people by exposing enemy weaknesses. The principal use of the aircraft was to attack Nazi munition facilities after dark although one transported the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, from Russia to the United States in 1942.
After its primary designer, Vladimir Petlyakov, perished in a plane crash in 1942 the aircraft, formerly labeled the TB-7, was renamed the Pe-8. Problems obtaining supplies hindered production and additionally, the Pe-8 suffered from engine glitches.
The loss rate of these planes, from mechanical failure, or combat, increased twofold between 1942 and 1944 due to the fact that they were also popular targets for Hitler’s Luftwaffe.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress – Designed built and maintained by Boeing, this plane is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. Still in operation by the United States Air Force since the 1950s, the bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds of ordnance, and has a combat range of more than 8,800 miles without refueling.
With the establishment of a successful contract in June 1946, the B-52 design grew from a straight wing aircraft power driven by six turboprop engines to the ultimate YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and angled wings.
The B-52 was initially launched in April of 1952. Constructed to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era pre-emptive operations, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36.
The Tupolev TB-3– A heavy bomber aircraft which was originally used by the Soviet Air Force in the 1930s was returned to service during World War II.
The world’s first cantilever wing, the four-engine heavy bomber was deemed outmoded and was removed from service in 1939. During the war, the TB-3 was used as a bomber and transport for military tanks. By the end of the war, most of the surviving aircraft had been retired.
After the war, some were modified as transports for important officials, and a few others were used in various Soviet testing programs. The few remaining planes supported Soviet Arctic operations until the late 1950s.
The Convair B-36 “Peacemaker” A United States Air Force strategic bomber built by Convair operated from 1949 to 1959.
The 230 ft. wingspan, the longest of any combat aircraft, made the B-36 the largest plane ever built and the first bomber capable of delivering any weapon in the U.S. arsenal from inside its four bomb bays.
With a range of 10,000 mi (16,000 km) and a maximum payload of 87,200 lb, the B-36 was the world’s first bomber with the ability to fly from one continent to another without the need to refuel.
The B-36 was the Strategic Air Command’s (SAC) first aircraft to convey nuclear weapons until replaced by the more modern jet-powered Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.
The Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant- A German military transport aircraft of World War II and a variant of the Me 321 military glider. It was the largest land-based transport aircraft used in the war. Over 200 were made, and a few were converted from the Me 321.
In 1940, Operation Sea Lion about to be launched by Germany required a glider in order to invade England. The DFS 230 light glider tested successfully during the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium and was scheduled for use in the invasion of Crete in 1941.
No list of large aircraft can be complete without The Spruce Goose. The Hughes H-4 Hercules is a model strategic airlift flying nautical ship designed by publishing magnate, Howard Hughes and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company.
Hughes imagined a transatlantic flight transport for use during World War II, but it was still unfinished at the end of the war.Hughes made a single flight on November 2, 1947, but the design was never adopted for use in the military.
Due to wartime restrictions on the use of aluminum and other metals, Hughes’ ship was built from wood earning it the nickname the “Spruce Goose”, although it was made almost entirely of birch.
The Hercules boasts the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history. It can be seen at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
The MQ-25 Industry Team is all-in on delivering this vital aerial refueling capability to help the U.S. Navy extend the range of the carrier air wing. The industry team includes:
- Aitech Defense Systems
- BAE Systems
- Collins Aerospace
- Cox & Company
- Crane Aerospace & Electronics
- Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions
- Harris Corporation
- Innovative Power Solutions
- L3 Commercial Aviation
- Moog Aircraft Group
- Parker Hannifin
- Triumph Group
Vought Aircraft Company Collection (VACC)
This collection contains documents, records, correspondence, reports, blueprints, charts, diagrams, clippings, articles, presentations, photographs, negatives, microfilm, and other materials related to the operation of the Vought Aircraft Company. The Vought Aircraft Company Collection is housed in 340 boxes and film cans totaling 335 linear feet.
The collection arrived in fair to good condition and was arranged by the curator. The archivist identified eleven series.
The first series contains the Company’s History and is divided into thirteen subseries: 1. Chance Milton Vought, 2. Lewis and Vought Corporation, 3. Chance Vought Corporation, 4. Chance Vought Aircraft, 5. Vought-Sikorsky, 6. Chance Vought Aircraft, 7. Chance Vought Aircraft, Incorporated, 8. Chance Vought Corporation, 9. Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), 10. Carlyle Group/Vought Aircraft Company, 11. Northrop Grumman/Vought Aircraft Company, 12. Carlyle Group/ Vought Aircraft Industries Incorporated, and 13. Triumph Aerostructures/Vought Aircraft Division.
Subseries 1. contains various articles about Chance Vought's early history and a contract from The U.S. Army Signal Corps with the Wright Brothers.
Subseries 2. has a representation of the company logo.
Subseries 3. contains annual reports, ledgers, a financial statement, brochures and advertisements, and a list of engines used by Vought.
Subseries 4. contains financial statements and advertisements.
Subseries 5. contains the company's general ledgers, financial statements, articles about the company, advertisements, documents about the Connecticut facility, and aircraft information.
Subseries 6. contains the company's general ledgers, financial statements, annual reports, advertisements, internal and external correspondence, brochures, news and press releases, and reports.
Subseries 7. contains the financial statements, annual reports, advertisements, internal and external correspondence, brochures, news and press releases, personnel directories, and reports.
Subseries 8. contains an annual report, a financial statement, a management report, and news releases.
Subseries 9. contains history on TEMCO, annual reports, financial statements, news releases, newspaper and magazine clippings, articles, brochures, internal and external correspondence, organizational charts, promotional goods, and reports.
Subseries 10. contains news releases, brochures, reports, and promotional goods.
Subseries 11. contains newsletters, brochure, lecture series, and information about the retiree club.
Subseries 12. contains annual reports, brochure, newsletters, and various documents about the company.
Subseries 13. contains a document about the purchase of Vought.
The second series consists of the Aircraft Production Series and is divided into twenty-two subseries: 1. A-7, 2. Experimental Aircraft, 3. F4U, 4. F5U, 5. F6U, 6. F7U, 7. F8U, 8. O2U, 9. O3U, 10. O4U, 11. O5U, 12. OS2U, 13. Pre-Lewis and Vought Corporation Aircraft, 14. Proposals, 15. SB2U, 16. SBU, 17. SU, 18. Temco, 19. UO, 20. V Series, 21. VE Series, and 22. XC-142.
Subseries 1. contains brochures, design information request/release (DIR), departmental correspondence, drawings/blueprints, general A-7 information, magazine articles, papers, public communications, and reports all relating to the A-7 and all of its variations.
Subseries 2. contains documents, reports, and drawings pertaining to the XF2U-1, XF3U-1, and the XTBU-1.
Subseries 3. contains documents, reports, drawings, articles, brochures, catalogs, manuals, correspondence, handbooks, and photographs relating to the F4U and all of its variations.
Subseries 4. contains articles, drawings, brochures, a DVD of photographs, and fabric samples relating to the Flying Pancake (V-173) and the F5U (XF5U-1, Flying Flapjack ).
Subseries 5. contains articles, reports, brochures, correspondence, and drawings pertaining to the F6U Pirate, XF6U-1, and F6U-1.
Subseries 6. contains correspondence, reports, articles, photographs, drawings, advertisements, and brochures for the F7U Cutlass, XF7U-1, F7U-1, A2U-1, F7U-3, F7U-3M, and F7U-3P.
Subseries 7. contains manuals, brochures, reports, articles, photographs, and correspondence for the F8U Crusader and all its variations.
Subseries 8. contains a brochure, drawing, report, correspondence, and articles about the O2U, O2U-1, O2U-1A, O-28, OS2U-2, O2U-2, O2U-2A, O2U-3, and O2U-4.
Subseries 9. contains reports, correspondence, photographs, and articles for the O3U, O3U-1, O3U-3, O3U-6, XOSU-1, XO3U-5, and XO3U-6.
Subseries 10. contains a drawing and reports for the O4U and XO4U-1.
Subseries 11. contains three reports for the O5U and XO5U-1.
Subseries 12. contains articles, reports, photographs, and schematics for the OS2U Kingfisher, XOS2U-1, OS2U-1, OS2U-2, and OS2U-3.
Subseries 13. contains an information sheet listing the Romme, Lillie-Vought, PLV (Pontowski-Lichorsik-Vought), Simplex, and Wright-Martin aircraft.
Subseries 14. contains reports, brochures, news releases, manuals, articles, correspondence, drawings, and photographs for the various proposal aircraft of Vought.
Subseries 15. contains reports, advertisement, articles, photographs, correspondence, and drawings for the SB2U Vindicator and all its variations.
Subseries 16. contains reports, drawings, correspondence, booklets, articles, photographs, and letters for the SBU, SBU-1, SBU-2, XSB3U-1, V-142, V-142A, and XSBU-1.
Subseries 17. contains articles for SU and its variations.
Subseries 18. contains information regarding Temco aircraft such as articles, reports, drawing, photograph, brochures, and a handbook for the Globe Swift, T-35/TE-1A Buckaroo, Luscombe Silvaire, Model 33 Plebe, and Model 51 Pinto/TT-1.
Subseries 19. contains reports, photograph, and articles for the UO, UO-1, UO-3, FU-2, and FU-1.
Subseries 20. contains reports, drawings, correspondence, brochures, articles, photographs, letters, transparencies, log books, papers, and public communication for the V-Series aircraft.
Subseries 21. contains correspondence, photographs, reports, and drawings for the VE-7, VE-7SF, VE-7F, and VE-8.
Subseries 22. contains brochures, design information request/release (DIR), departmental correspondence, drawings/blueprints, general VTOL/STOL information, magazine articles, papers, public communications, and reports all relating to the XC-142, XC-142A, C-142, C-142A, and C-142B.
The third series consists of Aircraft Subcontract Production Series and is divided into eight subseries: 1. B-1B, 2. B-2, 3. Boeing, 4. C-17, 5. Canadair, 6. DC-10, 7. Gulfstream V, and 8. S-3A.
Subseries 1. contains fact sheets, department correspondence, documents, and reports.
Subseries 2. contains articles, fact sheets, brochures, newspaper clippings, department correspondence, documents, and reports.
Subseries 3. contains general information, articles, clippings, reports, documents, and fact sheets.
Subseries 4. contains news releases, department correspondence, reports, articles, brochures, general information, and documents.
Subseries 5. contains documents and reports.
Subseries 6. contains a brochure and an article.
Subseries 7. contains information sheets and news releases.
Subseries 8. contains documents, articles, information sheets, and reports.
The fourth series contains Non-aircraft and Missile Production Series and is divided into three subseries: 1. Airtrans, 2. Regulus I, and 3. Regulus II.
Subseries 1. contains articles, brochures, news releases, and press kits.
Subseries 2. contains articles, department correspondence, memoranda, documents, and reports.
Subseries 3. contains general information, data sheets, documents, and reports.
The fifth series features the Biography Series which contains documents, photographs, and negatives about various employees of Vought.
The sixth series contains the Photograph Series and is divided into four subseries: 1. Company History, 2. Aircraft Production, 3. Subcontract Production, and 4. Non-aircraft and Missile Production.
Subseries 1. contain photographs of Vought employees and facilities.
Subseries 2. contains photographs of the various Vought aircraft.
Subseries 3. contains photographs of the various Vought subcontracts.
Subseries 4. contains photographs of Vought missiles and Airtrans.
The seventh series consists of the Negative Series and is divided into four subseries: 1. Company History, 2. Aircraft Production, 3. Subcontract Production, and 4. Non-aircraft and Missile Production.
Subseries 1. contain negatives of Vought employees and facilities.
Subseries 2. contains negatives of the various Vought aircraft.
Subseries 3. contains negatives of the various Vought subcontracts.
Subseries 4. contains negatives of Vought missiles and Airtrans.
The eighth series consists of the Slide Series which contains slides of the various Vought aircraft and facilities.
The ninth series contains the Microfilm Series and is divided in two subseries: 1. Thirty-five Millimeter Reels and 2. Sixteen Millimeter Reels.
Subseries 1. contains all the thirty-five millimeter microfilm about the various aircraft and subcontracts that Vought built.
Subseries 2. contains all the sixteen millimeter microfilm about the various aircraft and subcontracts that Vought built.
The tenth series consists of the Moving Image Series which contains film of the various Vought aircraft.
The eleventh series consists of the Models Series which contains ten models of Vought aircraft. These models include A-7 Corsair II, ADAM II, B-1, B-1B, C-17, F4U-4, F7U-3 Cutlass, F8U-2N Crusader, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Series 30, Regulus I, V-523, VB-200 Blitzfighter, and XTBU-1 Sea Wolf.
Language of Materials
Literary Rights Statement
The second oldest American aircraft company, Boeing being the first, traces its origin in 1917 to a small Long Island, N.Y., aircraft firm established by Chance Milton Vought, a young aeronautical engineer and aviation pioneer. The first Vought Aircraft, the VE-7, made aviation history in 1922 when it became the first American aircraft to take off from an aircraft carrier.
Since then, more than 15,000 aircraft in more than 50 models have carried the Vought name, and many have made important contributions to the advancement of aviation history.
The “Corsair” tradition started in 1926 when Vought built the O2U-1, a biplane that could be used on land or at sea. This series of aircraft established three world speed records and an altitude record.
In 1929, Chance Vought Corporation joined with Boeing, Hamilton Standard, Pratt and Whitney and United Airlines to form United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. Government policies forced reorganization in 1935, and Chance Vought Aircraft became a division of United Aircraft. Then from 1939 until 1943, the company was merged with Sikorsky Aircraft to form the Vought-Sikorsky division of United Aircraft. During this period the company moved from Long Island to East Hartford, Connecticut and later to Stratford, Connecticut, where it remained through the duration of World War II.
One of the best known Vought aircraft was the F4U Corsair, which won the skies over the Pacific during World War II with an 11-to-1 victory ratio over enemy aircraft.
In 1948 the company moved to Dallas, Texas which brought 1500 people to the area in the largest industrial move in the nation’s history at that time, ushering in the jet era.
In 1954 Chance Vought Aircraft became an independent company, separating from United Aircraft. In 1960 the company merged with Ling-Temco and 4 years later, the LTV Aerospace Corporation was formed as a subsidiary of Ling-Temco-Vought Inc.
One of the products designed, developed, manufactured, and tested by Vought in Dallas, which made more than its share of aviation history was the F8U Crusader, which advanced Navy fighter operations from the subsonic regime to near Mach 2 speeds. Shattering records for the Navy and the Marines, this aircraft set the nation’s first speed mark for more than 1,000 mph. In 1956 the U.S. Navy and Vought were awarded the Collier Trophy in recognition of the unique design, concept and development of the F8U.
Another Vought, Texas product was the A-7 Corsair II deriving its name from Vought’s famed F4U, and like the earlier F4U Corsair, the A-7s have a distinguished combat record, having fought in Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Libya and Vietnam, where Navy and Air Force versions flew more than 100,000 combat sorties. Navy A-7Es also joined the coalition forces in combat in Iraq, where they carried such munitions as high-speed anti-radiation (HARN) missiles and Walleye missiles. The last of the A-7Es were retired from Naval operational fleet service in May 1991. Altogether, more than 1,500 of the single engine Corsair II were produced from 1964 to 1983.
Following the war in Vietnam, when prime aerospace contracts diminished, Vought offered the rest of the industry a new kind of support partnership. Vought's retreat from competition for the few available prime programs heralded its emergence as a major subcontractor, made unique by the retention of prime capabilities – integrated concurrent engineering, sophisticated testing laboratories and advanced manufacturing.
In its role of subcontractor, Vought successfully executed many military and commercial contracts in partnership with other aerospace firms with long and distinguished histories in the aerospace industry including: Boeing – 747, 757 and 767 Airlines, Rockwell – B-1 Bomber, Northrop – B-2 Stealth Bomber, McDonnell Douglas – C-17 Airlifter and DC-10 Airliner, and Canadair – CL-601 and Canadair Regional Jet.
In 1992, Ling-Temco-Vought sold what was known as the Aircraft Division of LTV Aerospace and Defense to the Carlyle Croup, an investment company headquartered in Virginia and the Northrop Corporation. The emerging company was named, Vought Aircraft Company and would operate autonomously under the ownership of the Carlyle Group. Additionally, the missiles division was sold to the Loral Corporation and later became part of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
In 1994, Northrop Grumman purchased Carlyle’s interest in the Vought Aircraft Company and assumed operational control of the Dallas Facility, and was renamed the Vought Center, Northrop Grumman Commercial Aircraft Division.
In 2000 the Carlyle Group purchased the entire company from Northrop Grumman and established Vought Aircraft Industries Inc., an aerostructures subcontractor.
As a subcontractor division of Northrop Grumman and Carlyle, Vought acquired contracts for parts of other aircraft including: Boeing – 787, Lockheed – F-22 Raptor and F35 Lighting II, Bell Helicopter – V-22 Osprey and Sikorsky H - 60 Black Hawk, and Airbus – A319, A320, A330, A340.
In June 2010, the Carlyle Group sold Vought to the Triumph Group, Inc., an aerospace component manufacturer, and is now operated as Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division.
Vertol VZ-2 (Model 76)
The McDonnell XV-1 (see NASM collection) and Bell XV-3 demonstrated that Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft could hover like a helicopter, but with a considerably higher top speed than conventional rotary wing aircraft. The U.S. military then began to examine the most effective approach to VTOL propulsion. A number of experimental projects appeared throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s with a variety of propulsion and lift devices to achieve vertical flight, including tilt rotors, tilt propellers, tilt jets, tilt wings, tilt ducts, lift fans and deflected thrust systems. The tilt wing emerged as a successful VTOL system, but other approaches proved more viable under operational conditions. The Vertol VZ-2 was the first tilt wing aircraft to successfully transition from vertical to horizontal flight.
After Frank Piasecki left the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation in 1956, it became the Vertol Aircraft Corporation and aggressively pursued government helicopter and research contracts. On April 15, 1956, the Office of Naval Research issued a contract to Vertol, for a tilt wing VTOL design, funded by the Army, and designated as the VZ-2, though inside the company many knew it as the Model 76. The justification for the Army absorption of the Navy research costs most likely arose from Air Force apathy towards Army aviation research programs. The Air Force normally handled procurement of Army aircraft, but did not demonstrate much interest in the Army's need for specialized aircraft, and made little effort to support its VTOL projects. Vertol quickly completed the VZ-2 for its April 1, 1957 rollout.
The VZ-2 could take off and land vertically by pivoting its entire wing upwards, along with its lifting propellers. The aircraft could then transition to conventional airplane-like horizontal flight by lowering the attitude of the wing. This configuration appeared to offer a greater degree of simplicity than other tilt engine and tilt rotor designs, as only one major component had to pivot. However, the VZ-2 required additional control systems for helicopter flight, which greatly increased control complexity. In hover and slow flight, pitch and yaw movements required the use of auxiliary-thrust devices because the high loading and twist of the propellers did not permit cyclic control as on a helicopter. Tilt wings did rely on differential collective pitch to maintain roll control.
The ungainly VZ-2 gave precedence to function over form. To keep costs down, Vertol engineers utilized a variety of off-the-shelf components. A Bell Model 47 helicopter made up the VZ-2's narrow slab-sided fuselage and large bulbous two-seat cockpit. The exposed Lycoming T-53 gas-turbine engine, perched on the top of the fuselage behind the cockpit, gave the aircraft a decidedly experimental appearance. Exhaust gases exited through an unusual forked duct that prevented damage to the vertical stabilizer. A complex cross-shaft drive system powered the rotors, regardless of wing tilt. A spindly fixed tricycle landing gear with a castering tailwheel supported the VZ-2 on the ground and a small fourth wheel, mounted on the underside of the cockpit, prevented damage from nose-strikes.
One of the biggest technical challenges in the development of VTOL aircraft was the integration of two sets of control mechanisms - one for flight in the helicopter-like vertical mode, and the other for airplane-like horizontal flight. In cruise, the T-tail control surfaces, which consisted of a vertical stabilizer/rudder and a stabilator (an all-moving horizontal surface), maintained pitch and yaw control, while conventional wing-mounted ailerons provided roll control. Just below the stabilator, a horizontally mounted four-bladed rotor, 61 cm (2 ft) in diameter, provided pitch control in the vertical flight mode. A hole in the stabilator allowed air to flow freely through the rotor. Another similarly sized rotor, mounted vertically on the lower right side of the vertical stabilizer, provided yaw control during slow speed flight and hovering. During the transitions from one flight mode to the other, the VZ-2's control system phased in control of the horizontal and vertical modes proportionally with the degree of wing tilt.
On August 13, 1957, test pilot Leonard LaVassar made the first flight, conducted entirely in vertical flight mode. On January 7, 1958, he made the first horizontal flight, but he did not complete a vertical-to-horizontal transition until July 15, 1958. For the next nine months, the VZ-2 continued to undergo tests at Vertol's facilities in Morton, Pennsylvania. During its initial flights, tufts of string covered much of the VZ-2's external surfaces to aid in the determination of airflow at various wing angles. Subsequently, the aircraft underwent testing at Edwards Air Force Base for five months. On October 9, 1959, Vertol turned the aircraft over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Langley Research Center. NASA conducted the Army's share of the flight tests because the service did not have any pilots qualified to fly VTOL aircraft.
The aircraft handled better than many of its VTOL cousins, but it had to overcome several hurdles. The most serious of which was the wing stall that occurred during the transition phase, which resulted in heavy buffeting and loss of roll stability in descents. In November 1961, Vertol replaced the wing with a new design that eliminated most of the buffet by incorporating flaps along the full length of the wing, along with a drooped leading edge. Split ailerons, which replaced the earlier conventional installation, provided roll control in horizontal flight. Pilots liked the VZ-2's maneuverability, but found that it handled poorly in vertical flight mode while flying in gusty conditions - a problem attributable to the sail-like qualities of the wing. Other modifications included revised exhaust ducting, a simplified control system, some limited fuselage covering, and the removal of the right seat in favor of extra test equipment.
The VZ-2 continued to fly through the early 1960s and accumulated an outstanding flight record as a technology demonstrator. By the time of its last flight on April 16, 1964, it had logged 454.5 hours, of which 73.2 were in free flight. The VZ-2 made at least 34 complete conversions between vertical and horizontal flight modes, along with 240 partial transitions. During the VZ-2 test program, the military services issued contracts for the development of larger, transport-sized tilt-wing aircraft. These included the Hiller X-18 and the LTV-Hiller-Ryan XC-142A. In its final months of service, the VZ-2 served as a trainer for the large four-engine XC-142A. In 1965, after completion of its flight test duties, Boeing, which had bought out Vertol, donated the VZ-2 to the Smithsonian Institution.
The tilt-wing and other VTOL programs that had prospered in the early 1960s soon fell victim to Secretary of Defense McNamara's abhorrence of military research programs. While VTOL aircraft have never been commercially viable, their speed gave them an advantage over conventional helicopters in military operations. When research into development of VTOL transports resumed nearly a decade later, engineers determined that the tilt-rotor configuration offered the most advantages and the tilt-wing became a technological dead-end. However, the data gathered during Vertol's tilt-wing program contributed significantly to this evaluation, and to a considerable extent, justified the value of the VZ-2 as a technology demonstrator.
Wingspan:7.59 m (24 ft 11 in)
Weight:Empty, 1,134kg (2,500 lb)
Engine:Lycoming YT-53-L-1 gas turbine, de-rated to 600 shp
References and Further Reading:
Markham, Steve, and Bill Holder. "Straight Up: A History of Vertical Flight." Atglen,
PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2000.
Rogers, Mike. "VTOL Military Research Aircraft." Sparkord, United Kingdom: Haynes
VZ-2 curatorial file, Aeronautics Division, National Air and Space Museum