Aviation Historian 26
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M.Willis - Son of Sea Dart (2)
High over the southern Californian mountains, the prototype Convair YF-102A shows the area-ruled “Coke-bottle” fuselage adopted when it became clear that the F-102’s original unwaisted fuselage would prevent the type from going supersonic. The Sea Dart is often thought of as an “F-102 on water-skis”, but the F2Y was a completely separate project and in fact owed more to the F-102’s predecessor, the XF-92.
The long fairing for the rudder control unit on the YF-102A is needed because of the thinness of the fin. (In the same way the aileron controls under the wing are external because of its thinness, although the elevator controls can be housed in the fuselage.)
Bearing a striking resemblance to ideas first outlined by Convair in the design of its Cudda No 3 in 1949, the Martin XP6M-1 SeaMaster prototype, BuNo 138821, was rolled out in the summer of 1955 and made its first flight on July 14 that year. The type would have fulfilled the nuclear bomber role in the Seaplane Striking Force.
The sole XF2Y-1, BuNo 137634, transitions from the Pacific Ocean to the Convair ramp at San Diego during the aircraft’s early test programme. Seen here with twin hydro-skis and short jetpipes for its J34 engines, as per its original configuration, the XF2Y-1 was fitted with a single hydro-ski and more powerful XJ46 engines in the summer of 1954.
A US Navy frogman perches on the wing of the first YF2Y-1, BuNo 135762, at San Diego on November 4, 1954, a matter of minutes before Convair test pilot Chuck Richbourg took off on his final display in the aircraft. Encountering a pilot-induced oscillation (PIO), Richbourg was killed when the aircraft disintegrated during a high-speed low-level run.
“Engineering to the Nth power” - this contemporary Convair advertisement uses the Sea Dart and the XF-92, referring to the forthcoming F-102 developed from it, to extol the virtues of the delta-wing plan forms of both. Convair optimistically anticipated both being adopted by the military, and, while the F-102 did enter service with the USAF after modification, the Sea Dart never saw service with the US Navy.
"Naval aviators ... the punch of the air arm" - this early 1950s US Navy recruiting advertisement uses Convair’s Sea Dart to represent the cutting edge of the USA’s military aviation capabilities, and appeal to “a very special kind of men - our naval aviators - born, like aviation itself, in America...”
An artist’s impression of the SSF in action, as published in the Convair brochure, with Tactical F2Ys sweeping overhead a semi-permanent support base “in sheltered water as near as possible to advance base operations”. Anchored LSTs (tank-landing ships) and CVEs (escort carriers) combine with R3Y-2 Tradewind flying-boats to keep the base supplied.
THE TACTICAL F2Y & THE SEAPLANE STRIKING FORCE
A more detailed view of the two-seat Tactical F2Y from the Convair brochure. The General Electric J79 engines of some 15,000lb+ (6,800kg+)-thrust were the same as those used for the company’s four-engined B-58 Hustler, as well as for the single-engined Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and twin-engined McDonnell F-4 Phantom II.
Around 1956 Convair prepared a confidential document offering details of a proposed tactical variant of the F2Y, which would incorporate a second crew position, as shown in this three-view from the brochure. This “son of Sea Dart”, to be used in the tactical support role as part of the SSF, incorporated an internal bomb-bay and a single hydro-ski.
The Convair brochure for the Tactical F2Y included several mission profiles, including this one for a 5hr extended-range “hi-lo-hi” attack mission using the “buddy” refuelling system, in which another F2Y would serve as an air-to-air refuelling tanker. In this profile, 7,700lb (3,500kg) of fuel was to be transferred 575 miles (925km) from the take-off point.
“Engineering to the Nth power” - this contemporary Convair advertisement uses the Sea Dart and the XF-92, referring to the forthcoming F-102 developed from it, to extol the virtues of the delta-wing plan forms of both. Convair optimistically anticipated both being adopted by the military, and, while the F-102 did enter service with the USAF after modification, the Sea Dart never saw service with the US Navy.
Вариант R3Y-2 отличался отклоняемой вверх носовой частью корпуса, что обеспечивало быструю высадку десанта и разгрузку техники.
The “flying landing-craft” element of the Seaplane Striking Force (SSF) was to be provided by Convair’s R3Y-2 Tradewind, fitted with a lifting bow door which could be opened while taxying into shore to deposit troops and materiel on the beachhead,
An artist’s impression of the SSF in action, as published in the Convair brochure, with Tactical F2Ys sweeping overhead a semi-permanent support base “in sheltered water as near as possible to advance base operations”. Anchored LSTs (tank-landing ships) and CVEs (escort carriers) combine with R3Y-2 Tradewind flying-boats to keep the base supplied.