WHIF P-59

Started by KJ_Lesnick, October 05, 2010, 07:45:29 PM

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KJ_Lesnick

I'm not sure if this was possible or not, but I was thinking of how the USAAF could have produced a jet-plane along the specifications of the P-59 that could have been successful.  

Firstly, was the decision to select Bell as a contractor a wise one?  What other contractors could they have reasonably selected?  Could McDonnell have been a good choice (They were new, but the USAAF had contracted them to build the XP-67 Bat as early as 1940)?  

Secondly, was the time-table to build the XP-59 excessively short?

Thirdly, was it really a good idea to license the British jet-engines for use in the Bell designs, or to have simply developed our own engines?  I know there was at least some private research going on into jet-engine research such as Nathan Price's designs.  Some time in 1941 (possibly in response to the Tizard mission, though I'm not sure) the US Government did create a study group on jet-propulsion.  By January 1942 the US Navy begun the development of a jet-engine and by March of 1943 they had their J30 running.


Kendra Lesnick  

That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

sandiego89

Some thoughts:
IIRC Bell was chosen because they had the design and building capacity.  Most other manufactures were full up building proven designs, or improving them.  These needed to get built and to the war as quickly as possible. Better to have a proven design in the air than something that had slightly better potential. I say slightly as in the early 1940's few realized the true potential of the jet.  

As for other US manufactures, I would say Lockheed, Grumman and North American may have been better choices as all had fast fighter history, and good, innovative designers, but again all were full up with current designs.  Most came out with solid jet designs once they could devote resources from urgent piston projects: Lockheed P-80, North Amercian F-86/Fury, Republic F-84, Grumman, Boeing etc.  Who knows what they could have come up with given the green light a few years earlier.  

The P-59 was designed around the UK engines, and was a very basic design- not much imagination.  Think it was done to show that it could be done, but I don't think anyone really beleived it would be a first rate fighter.  

The US was indeed behind in jet technology at the time, so going with the British engine was nearly the only choice @1942.    
Dave "Sandiego89"
Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

proditor

On a side tangent, I just want a 1939 where the AAC tells Lockheed to go ahead with the L-133 and and they get the engine to work.   ;D

kitnut617

KJ, two books you might want to read, Ginter's 'Air Force Legends Number 208, P-59 Aircobra' written bt Steve Pace and 'Turbojet, History and Development 1930-1960 Vol.1 Great Britain & Germany' written by Antony L.Key.

The Ginter book says that Bell was chosen because 1. they weren't swamped with work and 2. they were close to the GE plant where the gas turbines were being developed. Hap Arnold was the instigator for getting gas turbines going in the USA after a visit to Power Jets in April 1941 and realized that Britain was way ahead in jet engines so that is why the USAAF went with British engines, it was a short-cut to the new technology.
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike

kitnut617

I would say any of the companies could have, had they not been busy cranking out thousands of aircraft.  But they would all have been just like the piston engined ones because there was no supersonic research done in the Allied countries.  The aircraft wouldn't have been any different to what actually got developed.

The Germans wouldn't have had swept wing technology either if it hadn't been for the Versailles Treaty after WW.I, the Germans being banned from having any armed force of consequence, no army, no tanks, no navy, no aircraft, no artillery, ---- except rockets, which wasn't included.  The development of rockets in place of artillery by the Germans led to the advances in aerodynamics that put them out on the forefront of aerodynamics.
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike

Weaver

It's also worth remembering that even with the British lead in jet engine design, the production of the Meteor was only possible in the timeframe because a deliberate decision was made to sacrifice Gloster's conventional designs, some of which were very promising, in order to let them concentrate on jet work. You could have done something similar in the states, but what would you have been willing to give up? The Mustang, the Thunderbolt, the Hellcat or the Corsair?
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones '

Andrew Gorman

I'd thought Gloster was pretty much out of business by 1939- Wikipedia seems to agree:
1939 - World War II

Having no modern designs of its own in production, Gloster undertook manufacture for the parent company Hawker. In 1939, the company built 1,000 Hawker Hurricanes in the first 12 months of World War II and delivered the last of its 2,750 Hurricanes in 1942. Production was then switched to the Hawker Typhoons for the Royal Air Force, 3,300 being built in total.

Not the most authoritative source, so what treats DID they have in the pipeline?

Daryl J.

I was just looking at my Hobbycraft P-59's this past Monday night thinking they solidly belong in the Whiff world.  I was thinking  of a new wing, British turbojets of some fictitious nature, external ordnance, and painting it up to serve alongside the Skyraider.



:cheers:  (Folgers, black)
Daryl J.


PR19_Kit

Quote from: Andrew Gorman on October 06, 2010, 08:33:39 PM
I'd thought Gloster was pretty much out of business by 1939- Wikipedia seems to agree:
1939 - World War II

Having no modern designs of its own in production, Gloster undertook manufacture for the parent company Hawker. In 1939, the company built 1,000 Hawker Hurricanes in the first 12 months of World War II and delivered the last of its 2,750 Hurricanes in 1942. Production was then switched to the Hawker Typhoons for the Royal Air Force, 3,300 being built in total.

Not the most authoritative source, so what treats DID they have in the pipeline?

Perhaps it was just because Gloster had no designs in the pipeline that were acceptable to the War Ministry that they were allocated the jet research? The two types they did have, the radial engined F5/34 and the F9/37, both look a bit 'clunky' compared to contemporary in-line engined designs like the Hurricane, Spitfire and Mosquito.

I'm wholly biased of course because if they hadn't done so I wouldn't have been able to build the PR19.  :lol: ;)
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

NARSES2

Apart from the built and tested F9/37 Glosters really only had projects on the go as far as the design shop was concerned. None of these got very far so they were ideally placed to take on the Jet Fighter development. Their other advantage was they were part of the much larger Hawker group and could call on their resources if necessary.

Of all the projects I'd love to have seen the F18/37 reach the testing stage.
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

Andrew Gorman

Found some pictures at:
http://warbirdsforum.com/showthread.php?t=445
They look a lot like Bristols, but that's all I know.  Thanks for the information!

NARSES2

Thanks for that link Andrew. I'd been wondering what to do with my second Gloster F9/37. I had thought of a turret fighter (which was projected) but that single seat heavy fighter looks  :wub:
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

KJ_Lesnick

Was there any way that Bell could have been able to have produced a purposeful design within the very short time-table the P-59 was given?  When I say purposeful, I mean a design that could reach speeds fast enough to give it an edge over propeller-driven aircraft (The XP-59 did not have a sufficient speed advantage), and controllable (The XP-59 was laterally unstable)?

Did the P-59 have a laminar flow-wing?  Could the specs of the P-51's laminar flow wing have been given by the government to Bell Aircraft?
That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

apophenia

Quote from: KJ_Lesnick on October 08, 2010, 10:29:51 AM
Was there any way that Bell could have been able to have produced a purposeful design within the very short time-table the P-59 was given?  When I say purposeful, I mean a design that could reach speeds fast enough to give it an edge over propeller-driven aircraft (The XP-59 did not have a sufficient speed advantage), and controllable (The XP-59 was laterally unstable)?

Did the P-59 have a laminar flow-wing?  Could the specs of the P-51's laminar flow wing have been given by the government to Bell Aircraft?

Yes, the Bell Model 27/P-59 already had a laminar-flow wing design  (root NACA 66-014; tip NACA 66-212).

For a viable fighter in the P-59's timeline, I'd have ordered Bell to drop the XP-39E and turn the XP-76 into a twin-jet fighter. Or, rather, put the XP-76's laminar flow wings onto a new twin-jet fighter fuselage. (While at the redesign, the nose could be deepened -- to shorten the nose gear -- and make more space for ammunition.)

To make all this happen quickly, the twin I-16 turbojets would have to be mounted astride the Continental's engine bay (ie: above the wings) with the former Airacobra engine bay becoming a sandwiched fuel cell. Even still, the USAAF would have to accept the reduced range of this smaller aircraft.

The question then would be: would a short-range, circa 1943 jet fighter have made a useful contribution to the war effort. You'd probably get better results from making Bell crank out P-51s instead of P-63s (or jet fighters).

Chris707

Here's an alternative Airacomet from a 1942 patent:



Chris