Jul 132011
 

Here’s a contest: tell me just what the hell this is. Because I honestly don’t know. All I know is that it *appears* to be a turboprop design, and clearly it’s a biplane. The photos are dated August 1944 1949 and are purported to have been taken at the David Taylor Model Basin near D.C.

At a guess it’s a design for carrier-based plane; the biplane arrangement allows for shorter wings that don’t need to be folded. The pilots visibility kinda sucks, though, so I’m guessing it’s a strike plane, not a dogfighter. It definitely has a real Skyshark vibe about it.

What do you win if you correctly identify this? Respect.

 Posted by at 10:20 pm
  • Robin

    The shape of the tail surfaces, and wingtips, shouts ‘Douglas’ , and the shape and arrangement of the engine exhausts is reminiscent of the Skyknight. The middle two photos are dated 8/49, which is the right time period. as to the pilot’s view, it may have been meant to have a nosewheel undercarriage, like the BTD ‘Destroyer’. Also, I think you’re right, the biplane configuration would increase the roll rate. This would increase the manouverability in the target area, plus ,according to Heinemann’s ‘Combat Aircraft Designer’,
    the Skyshark should be able to ‘defend itself against jet fighters’.
    So, yes, I agree, it could be an early, alternative configuration for the A2D Skyshark.

    • Pat Flannery

      I completely agree; the tail shape does indeed look Douglas and the whole nose screams “Skyshark”; which means it would have a contraprop on it.
      The biplane wing may have been an attempt to keep lift high without resorting to folding wings for fit on the carrier’s elevator, although it would limit space for stores pylons on the lower wing.
      Skyshark was meant to operate off of even the small “Casablanca” class escort carriers, so high lift takeoffs and slow approaches would have been mandatory.
      It would be fun to know what the estimated performance figures on it were. Minus any weapons load it should have climbed like a SOB with all that horsepower available.

    • admin

      > The middle two photos are dated 8/49

      I believe you are correct. I mis-saw that as 1944.

      • Pat Flannery

        I wonder how the landing gear was supposed to work? Does it come out of the bulges in the lower wing where the interwing pylon joins it?

  • Jeff Wright

    Other than any possible Coandish designs, were their any serious attempts at jet biplanes?

    • Pat Flannery

      Believe it or not, there was one; behold the Polish turbofan powered crop-duster:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZL_M-15_Belphegor
      They actually built 175 of the things, with the running joke being that it wouldn’t even need to carry pesticide, as just seeing it coming at them would scare insect pests to death. 😀

    • admin

      > were their any serious attempts at jet biplanes?

      Not sure if you’d call it truly serious, but Convair at least looked at a biplane version of the ramjet powered, Mach 4 Super Hustler.

  • Jeff Wright

    I was thinking in terms of something with some lower speed, but great maneuverability.I was reading an Air and Space Smithsonian magazine some years back, and a jet with low-speed capability due to some manner of ducting was detailed. Since UCAVs could take more g-force than any pilot, an unmanned jet drone that had both low and moderate speed capability might be possible. Don’t know if a bi-plane could be stealthy though, but a Cobra maneuver might make more sense with that.

    Some of the Soviet air-to-air missiles did have large control surfaces, but nothing to match a biplane UCAV one would think. On that episode of Dogfights, we saw a very lucky sabre jet look like the Gunstar from Last Starfighter and tumble while shooting down a MiG. A UCAV would be able to take any force that didn’t destroy the airframe. The M982 Excalibur shell showed how resiliant electronics can be to instant accelaeration after all, as what was in Sprint