Air Enthusiast 1996-07
A.Pelletier - Towards the ideal aircraft? (1)
The Northrop N-1M in its initial configuration. This proof-of-concept prototype featured adjustable dihedral of outer-wing panels from 6° to 12°, adjustable sweep back from 26°46’ to 41°46’, and adjustable wingtip dihedral from 0° to -30°.
Restored to flying condition by the Planes of Fame Museum at Chino, California. Don Lykins, flying the N9M-B, December 1994.
The Northrop N-9M1 was the first of four third-scale models of the XB-35 strategic bomber. As the N-1M, the N-9M1 retained a wooden structure which enabled easy modifications, and saved strategic metals. The N-9M1 was destroyed during a flight test killing pilot Max Constant.
The Northrop N9M-2 eventually served as a training instrument at Northrop Aeronautical Institute. It is seen here in company of the Northrop JB-1a, a piloted glider variant of the JB-1 (MX-543) ‘buzz bomb’.
John Myers in the cockpit of the N-9M1, circa January 1943. Early flights indicated that longitudinal and lateral stability were generally satisfactory, but some difficulty was encountered in obtaining adequate directional control.
Northrop N-9M.
Smooth lines of the Messerschmitt Me 163 V4. Note the jettisonable main wheels and the tailwheel handling dolly.
Restored Me 163B.
Lippisch researches culminated with the incredible Messerschmitt Me 163 ‘Komet’. This is how its dreaded silhouette would appear to USAAF bomber crews over Germany.
DFS 194 during static testing.
Lippisch Delta I.
The Dunne biplanes were the first successful flying wings. The wings featured sweep as well as wash-out. This type of aircraft showed such inherent stability that the pilot could easily fly hands off.
The Westland-Hill Pterodactyl IB featured all-movable wingtips, as well as the so-called ‘electroscopic rudders’ which, when open differentially acted as rudders, and opened together served as airbrakes. This machine was eventually modified as Pterodactyl IC when a tandem-wheel gear was installed.
Westland-Hill Pterodactyl I.
Kalinine K-12.
Wash-out on the wings is fully apparent on this view of an American-built Burgess-Dunne. Note the narrow landing gear and the wingtip skids.
Featuring a very high aspect ratio (21.8), the Horten H.IV was built in Gottingen and accomplished its maiden flight on April 28, 1943.
Horten H.IV (w/nr 25) is one of the few Horten survivors. It is preserved at the Planes of Fame Museum, at Chino, California. Note how the pilot had to fly in a semi-prone position.
The Horten H.IX V2 (w/nr 39) at Oranienburg in February 1945. This spectacular aircraft was engined with two Junkers Jumo 109-004B-1 turbojets
Gotha Go 229A.
The Westland-Hill Pterodactyl IV was a three-seat cabin machine, powered by a 120hp de Havilland Gipsy III, and was fitted with a completely revised control surface system. During the tests, which spread over several years, the highest incidence reached was 24.5°, but the machine was found to be overweight.
The Westland-Hill Pterodactyl, part of Britain’s flirtation with flying wing aircraft.
The Mk V Pterodactyl applied the flying concept to a real military application, offering the rear gunner a totally unrestricted field of fire.
Westland-Hill Pterodactyl V
A sketch of what is believed to be the Pterodactyl VI which turned the tables of the Mk V by putting the gunner in the nose.
Tcheranovski ‘Parabola’ glider of 1934.
The AV.36 was the most successful of all the tail-less gliders designed by Charles Fauvel. First flight took place on New Year’s Day 1952, and 50 aircraft in kit form were eventually produced by Wassmer Aviation. Later, numerous sets of plans were sold to homebuilders. Illustrated is a Canadian-built A V.36.
The General Aircraft GAL.56/01 was fitted with the so-called ‘medium V’ wing, which featured a sweep of 28.4° at one quarter chord. On February 12, 1948, this weird-looking machine was totally wrecked in an accident, killing test pilot Robert Kronfeld.
Tcheranovski BITch-3.
The Baynes Bat, a scale flying test-bed of a tank-carrying glider.
The first Horten H.IIL (w/nr 6, D-10-125) in flight. This splendid glider was built at Lippstadt, and was entered in the 1937 German national soaring championships - the ‘Wasserkuppe’. A cockpit bubble was added to overcome the ‘middle effect’ problem, but it didn’t.
The Horten H.IIL landing on its single-track undercarriage. The pure lines of this 54ft span glider can be clearly seen, as well as the all-glazed leading edge cockpit canopy.
A Horten flying wing was not that comfortable for its pilot. He had to fly in a bent-over position with his head above the wing contour. Note the complicated welded tube structure of the machine.
Horten H.III
Most of the first flying apparatus imagined by men were more or less flying wings. Frenchman Resnier de Goue’s (1729-1811) design for a wing.
Etrich’s ‘Zanonia Gleiter’ of 1907 was inspired by ‘Zanonia Macrocarpa’ seeds. It featured one of the main characteristics of most successful flying wings, the wash-out.
Mouillard glider, 1897.
One of the first Alexander Lippisch tail-less hang-gliders, the Lippisch-Espenlaub E2 of 1921. The machine was fitted with elevons (here in the upward position) as well as downward wingtips.
The all-wing experimental Lippisch Delta V, or DFS-40, was test flown by Heini Dittmar at the DFS in Darmstadt in 1939. According to Alexander Lippisch, it demonstrated remarkable performance. This all-wing 39ft span aircraft was powered by a 100hp Argus pusher engine,
Lippisch 'Storch' VII
Focke-Wulf design for the 1,000 x 1,000 x 1,000 requirement.
Flight tests of the French 1913 ‘Stablavion’ designed by Rene Arnoux were reported to be disappointing. Note the straight rectangular wing and the vertical fin fitted downwards behind the wheels.
Charpentier twin-engined transport flying wing, 1931.
TsAGI-1 glider, 1934.