Saturday, September 30, 2017

F8F-2P Propeller Hub

Note: The answer didn't take long - see comment below.

I recently took a close look at the propeller on this F8F-2P:

It appears to have an extension on the propeller hub. Moreover, the extension looks like a censored detail.

This same hub and appearance of censorship is on other -2P photos.

I did find one that showed the feature, uncensored or at least not painted white.
I didn't see this extension on hubs of F8F fighters in a quick survey of other photos.

The pod under the wing of the F8F-2P in the top photo is not a mystery. It contains a trimetrogon camera capability:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

F8U Two-Position Wing

The F8U was one of the few production airplanes with a variable-incidence wing, with the wing raised for takeoff and landing to reduce the nose-highness of the fuselage for those flight conditions while still providing a wing angle-of-attack that maximized lift and therefore minimized takeoff and landing speed to meet carrier-basing limitations.

It was in part the result of Vought's experience with the F7U Cutlass and the Navy's dislike of its nose-high attitude on takeoff and landing. The F7U-3's radome, cockpit, and canopy had to be redesigned to provide adequate visibility over the nose before at-sea carrier landing qualification trials were authorized.
When Vought proposed what was to become the F8U, the need for low drag for maximum speed restricted the height of the canopy. The height of the landing gear, particularly the nose gear, was also to be minimized for various reasons, including weight reduction and to avoid problems experienced with the F7U's long nose landing gear. However, these two design stipulations were difficult to accommodate with the longer aft fuselage of a conventional tailed airplane with an afterburner.

The two side views in the following illustration are to the same scale with the main landing gear wheels and static ground line (approximately the landing attitude relative to the deck) coinciding. Note that the aft fuselage of the F8U would strike the deck with the nose raised only a little over five degrees.
The result was the incorporation of a two-position wing to allow for both adequate visibility over the nose for carrier landings and aft-fuselage clearance on touchdown.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

F4U-4 Lancer II Reno Air Races

Once upon a time, I was the pit crew on F4U-4 BuNo 97259 at the 1967 Reno Air Races. When I say "the" pit crew, I was it. The rest of the team were the co-owners, Gene Akers and Mac Mendoza. Gene was the pilot and Mac was the head (and only) mechanic.

When I met them, N6667 was parked behind a hangar at Fox Field, Lancaster, California and I was working as a McDonnell flight test engineer at Edwards AFB.

It had come a long way from its disposal by the Navy, circa 1960.

June 1957

I volunteered to be their pit crew at Reno for room and board that year. It was a shoestring operation, including the first paint job.

If you look closely at this picture, you'll see that the right tire is missing.  Another Corsair arrived with a failing engine and the pilot blew a tire when he landed. We loaned it to his crew to get him off the runway.

 Basically, all we did was fill the oil and check the gas between races. Gene and Mac were there with their wives and went to bed early. I went into Reno with some of the other crews.
A couple of mornings I made a functional check of the oxygen system in a vain attempt to accelerate the end of a hangover.

This picture was taken 22 September 1967. I'm at the left wheel, ready to pull the chocks.

For the 1968 race (I wasn't there; I had gone back east to graduate school), Gene and Mac found a sponsor to give it a real paint job.
Several years ago, I looked up Mac and asked him what color it was. He didn't remember, other than it was a "bright green" that was picked from color chips at the aircraft paint shop they took it to.

More later...