Aviation Historian 6
B.Hales-Dutton - A Day of Triumph and Tragedy
The only XFY-1 to fly, BuNo 138649, hangs on its impressive pair of 16ft (4-88m)-diameter three-bladed contra-rotating Curtiss propellers during a test flight with “Skeets” Coleman at the controls. Taking off presented its own challenges, but reversing back on to a spot on the ground (and ultimately on to a pitching deck, had the type gone into service) required incredibly fine adjustments and a level of airmanship that would have substantially lengthened the training process.
Convair production test pilot John Knebel, who was one of the first pilots to qualify on the Lockheed P-80 and who set a new transcontinental speed record for flying-boats in the Convair R3Y Tradewind.
Колеман в кабине "Пого" после успешного демонстрационного полета
“Skeets” Coleman demonstrates the XFY-1's somewhat awkward seating arrangements in September 1954.
With the XFY-1’s massive 5,500 e.s.h.p. Allison XT40 engine (essentially a pair of T38s geared to drive a contraprop through a common gearbox) running up, Coleman prepares to lift off from the runway at Brown Field in September 1954. Moments later Coleman lifts the XFY-1 into vertical flight
XFY-1 во время полета с большой скоростью
Having made the transition from vertical flight, Coleman shows off the Pogo’s pugnacious lines in horizontal flight. Despite the challenges of the aircraft’s unorthodox take-off and landing regimes, Coleman described it as the most manoeuvrable aircraft he had flown; unsurprisingly, however, he found the cockpit uncomfortable.
The second Sea Dart, YF2Y-1 BuNo 135762, in San Diego Bay. The garish yellow markings were applied to the first and second Sea Darts to enable Convair engineers to assess spray patterns during the type's intensive test programme.
Апрель-май 1953г.: 9 апреля Convair XF2Y-1 Sea Dart (фото) выполнил первый полет, после спуска на воду 16 декабря 1952 года в заливе Сан-Диего и рулежных испытаний в начале 1953 года. Впервые в мире боевой самолет с дельтовидным крылом был оснащен убираемыми гидролыжами. Силовая установка состояла из двух турбореактивных двигателей Westinghouse J34. С фирмой "Convair" был заключен контракт на постройку двух прототипов, вслед за которыми предполагалась постройка 11 самолетов с более мощными двигателями для эксплуатационных испытаний.
The sole XF2Y-1 prototype, BuNo 137634, during one of its many water trials. A total of five Sea Darts was built - one XF2Y-1 and four pre-production YF2Y-1S - although the last two of the latter remained engineless and never flew. The XF2Y-1 was initially fitted with a pair of Westinghouse J34s, but was later fitted with two J46s.
With Chuck Richbourg at the controls, Sea Dart BuNo 135762 pounds its way into the air from San Diego Harbour on November 4, 1954. Double “hydro-skis” were fitted to all five Sea Darts, although the XF2Y-1 prototype was also extensively tested with a single hydrofoil-type ski, which proved superior, if still not fully satisfactory.
Next stop oblivion - Richbourg taxies out for his demonstration flight in BuNo 135762 on November 4, 1954. The jetpipes of the afterburning J46-WE-2 engines were much longer than those of the J34s fitted in the XF2Y-1 prototype.
During Richbourg’s low-level pass at some 500kt (900km/h) the YF2Y-1 broke up under severe aerodynamic loads caused by the pitch-divergent oscillations which plagued numerous high-speed projects of the era. Richbourg initially survived the break-up, but was so badly injured that he died shortly afterwards. Sea Dart trials were suspended immediately and, although ski trials later continued, the type never flew at speed again.
Test pilot Chuck Richbourg (seen aft of the cockpit) makes preparations on the San Diego ramp for the ill-fated flight of the first YF2Y-1, BuNo 135762, on November 4, 1954. Note the small wing fences, added only to this machine, to cure a high-speed spanwise migration; and the wing of the R3Y Tradewind at the left of the image.