Sunday, October 13, 2013

Turkey day leftovers.

I had a hard time narrowing down some of the turkey aircraft yesterday, so here's some leftovers!

Fieseler Fi 103r Reichenberg
Little more than a V-1 flying bomb with a cockpit added, the Reichenberg served a similar purpose as the Japanese Ohka kamikaze plane.  The only real difference was that the German pilot was encouraged to bail out after placing the aircraft into its final descent.  Yeah...  Good luck with that.



Mitsubishi F-2 (not an F-16).
If the picture above looks like a F-16 Fighting Falcon...  That's understandable, as the Mitsubishi F-2 is highly based on the "Agile Falcon" concept proposed but rejected in favor of the JSF project.  It does utilize a different wing design, and it's a heavier aircraft capable of carrying heavier payloads.  It's actually a pretty decent fighter, but what makes it a turkey is that, at a $127 million unit cost, the F-2 is roughly 4 times the cost of a comparable F-16 Block 50/52.  It's as expensive as Japan's F-15J fighter, but nowhere near as capable.  Even more painful for Japan is the fact that much of that added cost is due to simple license fees to big American defense contractors.



Convair F2Y Sea Dart
Similar to its Convair siblings, the F-102 Delta Dart and F-106 Delta Dagger, the F2Y Sea Dart tried to capitalize on its delta-wing shape to achieve supersonic speeds.  However, instead of retractable wheels, the Sea Dart utilized retractable hydro-skis, effectively making it a seaplane.  Unfortunately, the Sea Dart was two underpowered and draggy to reach supersonic speeds in anything less than a dive.  It's hydro-skis also vibrated violently at speeds over 100km/h on water.  The Sea Dart concept was neither sea-worthy, nor very air-worthy, and the advent of the modern supercarrier rendered the concept obsolete.


de Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle
Look at the picture above...  You stand on a tiny platform with swirling blades just inches below you.  Does this seem like a good idea to you?  I don't know how they got someone to test fly this thing, but I hope he got at least a promotion out of it.

Hiller Pawnee
See this?  It's the Hiller Pawnee.  It had an enclosed fan, so it was sort of safer than the Aerocycle, but the damn thing was still almost impossible to control (think Segway, but without the computerized gyroscopes).


Tupolev Tu-22 "Blinder"
The Soviet Union's first supersonic bomber, the Tu-22 "Blinder" was pushed into service despite failing its initial flight testing.  The cockpit had poor ergonomics and was difficult to see out of.  Flying at supersonic speeds would heat up control rods and warp them, making the jet near unflyable.  It's landing gear had a tendency to collapse.  To add insult to injury, the ejection seats fired down, making bailing out during take offs or landing a deadly option.  It had a shorter range and less payload than the Tu-16 it was meant to replace.  During the 60s, its crews flat out refused to fly it.  On the plus side, it stored up to 450 litres of pure grain alcohol in its hydraulic and de-icing systems.  This undoubtedly made it popular with the ground crews that serviced it, who nicknamed it "The Booze Carrier".

Note:  The Tu-22 should not be confused with the Tu-22M "Backfire" a newer, and much better, Soviet bomber.


No, seriously...  WTF?
I purposely left out designs from aviation's early years, because...  Well...  Just look at the picture above.  It's too easy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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